NCAA Next to Come Looking for Answers

Article excerpt

Byline: Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA said Thursday it expects Penn State to answer a handful of crucial questions stemming from the child sex-abuse case against Jerry Sandusky, any of which could result in sanctions against the school.

Whether that could include the so-called death penalty -- where a program is shut down -- seems unlikely, at least for now. That has happened just once, against SMU back in the 1980s. Current NCAA rules limit the penalty to colleges already on probation that commit another major violation.

But NCAA leaders have indicated in recent months they are willing to use harsher penalties for the worst offenses. That includes postseason and TV bans, which haven't been used extensively since the 1980s.

Ohio State is banned from playing in a bowl game this season as a result of the "failure to monitor" charge that followed coach Jim Tressel's admission that he knew several of his star players were trading memorabilia for cash and tattoos in violation of NCAA rules and did not report it. The Buckeyes also vacated the 2010 season and were hit with NCAA probation and a loss of scholarships. Southern California was banned from the postseason for two years and stripped of 30 scholarships following the Reggie Bush scandal.

Still pending before the NCAA is the Miami case involving booster Nevin Shapiro.

NCAA president Mark Emmert told Penn State (http://www.psu.edu/ur/2011/NCAA.pdf) in November that the organization would be examining the "exercise of institutional control" within the athletic department, and said it was clear that "deceitful and dishonest behavior" could be considered a violation of ethics rules. So, too, could a failure to exhibit moral values.

A searing report, commissioned by Penn State, found that beloved coach Joe Paterno had helped hush up allegations of child sex abuse against a former assistant. The report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh concluded that Paterno and three former administrators -- President Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and Vice President Gary Schultz -- "repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse."

Sandusky is awaiting sentencing after being convicted of 45 criminal counts for abusing 10 boys over a number of years. …