What next at Penn State?
As far as the NCAA is concerned, all punishment options are in play after former F.B.I. director Louis J. Freeh delivered his scathing report on the university's handling of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal.
In an exclusive interview with Tavis Smiley that aired on Monday night on PBS, NCAA President Mark Emmert discussed potential punishments as well as his own reactions to the 267-page report produced by Freeh's eight-month investigation. The report indicated that former head football coach Joe Paterno and three top PSU officials "concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse."
"I don’t want to take anything off the table," Emmert said when asked about the possible use of the NCAA "Death Penalty," which was applied to Southern Methodist University's football program in the 1980s. "The fact is this is completely different than an impermissible benefits scandal like happened at SMU, or anything else we’ve dealt with. This is as systemic, a cultural problem as it is a football problem."
WATCH PORTION OF INTERVIEW ABOVE
Among the many aspects of the Freeh report that the NCAA may find troubling is the assertion that a "culture of reverence" around Paterno and the football program enabled Sandusky's crimes to be obscured.
"We’ll have to figure out exactly what the right penalties are," Emmert told Smiley. "I don’t know that past precedent makes particularly good sense in this case because it’s really an unprecedented problem."
Shortly after the initial publication of Freeh's findings, NCAA Vice President of Communications Bob Williams issued a brief statement citing "four key questions" from a Nov. 17 2011 letter from Emmert to PSU that still need to be answered. According to the statement, these unanswered questions pertain to "compliance with institutional control and ethics policies."