President of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Mark Emmert told CBS Sports Monday that the NCAA would have launched its own investigation into Penn State if former Director of the FBI Louis Freeh’s investigative report had not been made available.
Emmert told CBS that the investigation would not have waited for the conclusion of legal proceedings in relation to the case, and that the hypothetical investigation would have taken a year.
Freeh and his investigators were hired by the Penn State Board of Trustees in November to conduct an investigation into university officials’ handling of reports that former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was abusing boys.
Based on the findings of Freeh’s report, the NCAA handed down “unprecedented” sanctions to the university, including a $60 million fine and a four-year ban on bowl games.
The John Curley Center for Sports Journalism will bring a number of panelists to State College to examine the NCAA and its recent actions in a session titled “The Future of the NCAA and Its Membership” on Oct. 3. The session will be held at 7 p.m. at The State Theatre.
The discussion will surround the most recent actions that the NCAA has taken, including the sanctions levied against Penn State by the NCAA on July 23.
According to CBS, Emmert also said he never again plans to use the authority he used in the case regarding Penn State.
Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society and director of the Curley Center Malcolm Moran will moderate the panel’s discussion.
“We wanted to find the best possible way to advance conversations about what has happened [at Penn State] and what the implications are,” Moran said.
Moran said that the members of the panel have all had extensive experience — whether they were a part of the NCAA decision-making process, or covered the events as they unveiled.
“Everybody on the panel brings a specific expertise to the commission of the NCAA and the politics and everything about how it works,” Moran said.
Moran said he is really confident that the panel will have an interesting discussion.
In order to advance the conversation, Moran said focus needs to be placed on the big picture, or national significance in regard to what has happened at Penn State.
“We in this community have looked at things a certain way because we live in this community[…]this panel will look at the implications of the sanctions in a national sense,” he said.
Moran said this viewpoint is particularly valuable because the panel can look at what is being discussed nationally.
Executive Director of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics Amy Perko said her role is to promote national policies and practices to ensure that intercollegiate athletics are operating within the academic mission of the universities they are a part of. There are a number of policies that her organization is trying to advance, she said.
“We see the current environment that there is a sense of urgency on the part of national leaders to try to improve the outcomes as well as the integrity of intercollegiate athletics,” she said, adding the current environment is “ready for change.”
She said the Penn State case is not the only situation that showcases the need for change.
“What happened to Penn State is one of a number of situations that have occurred over the past two years that have presented challenges for college sports,” she said.
She said intercollegiate athletics are an environment that is ready for change, citing that there have been more “significant challenges” over the past two years than in the past two decades.
She said that meaningful dialogue that advances the conversation about ideas about change is important.
This type of discussion coincides with the purpose of the Curley Center.
Moran said part of the mission of the Curley Center is to provide leadership and discussions about relevant events that have to do with sports and journalism.
“In addition to providing classes and programs for students in the sports journalism program, the idea always was to have topical discussions as often as possible throughout the school year,” John Curley, visiting professor and founding co-director of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism wrote in an email.