The Penn State Board of Trustees met at 5 p.m. today at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel to discuss Penn State President Rodney Erickson’s acceptance of the sanctions placed on the university by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
According to a statement released after the meeting, the board has resolved “to move forward together to recognize the historical excellence in Penn State's academic and athletic programs.”
The board did not vote on any issues during the three-and-a-half hour meeting.
“The Board finds the punitive sanctions difficult and the process with the NCAA unfortunate,” according to the statement. “But as we understand it, the alternatives were worse as confirmed by NCAA President Mark Emmert’s recent statement that Penn State was likely facing a multi-year death sentence.”
Erickson told ESPN on Wednesday that the NCAA said Penn State had to either accept the sanctions handed down Monday or take a four-year death penalty.
“Well, that’s a pretty tough number to swallow,” Erickson said to the network about the possibility of having football banned for four years. “It’s unprecedented. It’s a blow to the gut; there's no doubt about that, [...] I couldn't agree to that at all.”
Erickson was told about the possibility of Penn State getting a four-year death penalty in a phone conversation with Emmert last week, according to the ESPN report.
Talks between Penn State and the NCAA then started as the university lobbied to not be hit with such a harsh penalty, and the talks were kept under wraps as many members on Penn State's Board of Trustees had no knowledge of them, the report said.
Penn State spokesman David La Torre said Wednesday that Erickson had authority to act without the approval of the full board.
According to Standing Order IX, the President is entrusted by the board to make decisions, pending the board's approval.
The meeting was closed, and media was forced to vacate the area surrounding conference room 107 –– where the board was in session –– about 40 minutes into the meeting by conference center staff.
According to the release, the fact that student athletes have decided to stay at the university is a testament to the “good” that is Penn State.
“The commitment demonstrated by our student athletes in recent days embodies all that is good about Penn State and we look forward to unprecedented support by the Nittany nation when we take the field this fall,” according to the statement.
So far, one recruit, Ross Douglas, has decommitted, according to Scout.com, and no current players have transferred to other universities. On Tuesday, Douglas tweeted, “Just committed to Michigan!!!! #GoBlue” to display his new commitment.
The NCAA's sanctions include a four-year bowl ban, $60 million fine, four-year loss of scholarships and vacation of wins from 1998-2011.
These sanctions came as a result of the findings of the report released by former FBI director, Louis Freeh on July 12. The report included over 430 interviews and a review of more than 3.5 million emails and documents.
The Freeh investigators released a corrective document on their website that laid out six errors made in the findings on Wednesday.
The errors included discrepancies in the dates of meetings that took place as well as names of people who were involved in meetings involving reports about former assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky.
The Freeh Group was hired by the Penn State Board of Trustees in November to examine the university's structure, policies and approach to handling reports involving Sandusky.
Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts of child sex abuse on June 22.
Collegian staff writer Stephen Pianovich contributed to this report.