Penn State Board of Trustees member Ryan McCombie plans to file an appeal to overturn the sanctions placed upon the university by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, according to a letter he sent to fellow trustees.
According to the letter, McCombie said that in addition to filing an appeal with the NCAA, he and other board members plan to look into Penn State President Rodney Erickson’s role in the matter.
“It is my belief that this matter did require board approval and that we should engage in a full, and complete, review,” McCombie said according to the letter. “In the end, we all benefit from having this matter handled correctly and with full regard for due process –– only then can we be truly confident in the result and the actions we take as a board.”
The NCAA sanctions came as a result of Former FBI Director Louis Freeh’s report on the university’s handling of reports that former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was abusing boys.
According to the letter, McCombie said that while he respects Freeh’s report, it has no legal standing and that the report is not a “full and fair review.”
“I believe we owe to all involved — especially our University community — to insist on and require full due process before we accept these penalties,” McCombie said according to the letter.
The Board of Trustees hired the Freeh investigators in November.
According to the letter, McCombie said that due process is something he fought for during his time as a Navy SEAL, and that it should not be an option.
“I spent much of my adult life in 3rd world countries ruled by tyrannical dictators,” he said according to the letter. “Little did I know upon retiring from this exciting yet stressful vocation to bucolic Central PA, that I would become embroiled in a comparable experience here.”
According to the letter, McCombie said Penn State should do whatever possible to best serve those affected by Sandusky, but the university should also be sure to thoroughly determine that due process has been served in regard to the NCAA sanctions.
“The argument that is given on all of these issues is that we must do whatever we can to serve the victims and act in a way that eliminates the chance that something like this can ever happen again,” McCombie said according to the letter. “I support that end and understand the sentiment behind it, but also know that we owe it to our University and the constituencies we represent to demand due process in this matter.”
NCAA spokesman Bob Williams said Penn State’s sanctions are not subject to appeal.
McCombie is one of the three new board members elected in May. According to the letter, he said that as long as he is a member of the board, he will make sure due process is served.
“If in the rush to put this crisis behind us, we act in a way that limits the discovery of the full truth or unfairly blames certain individuals, while exempting others who rightfully deserve blame, we will have completely failed on the most important task this Board will ever have,” McCombie said according to the letter.
McCombie said according to the letter that he does not know what the outcome will be, but only after due process will he be able to accept the facts.
“As long as I am a member of this board, I will fight to learn the full truth of the Sandusky scandal and then, and only then, endorse the assignment of blame and the imposition of sanctions,” McCombie said according to the letter.