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Emmert Tells CBS Sports NCAA Handled Penn State 'Very, Very Well'

by on December 10, 2014 4:11 PM

Mark Emmert has no regrets about the way the NCAA handled the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal at Penn State, according to a recent interview with CBS Sports.

The topic of Penn State comes up as Emmert discusses a recent academic fraud controversy among student athletes at the University of North Carolina. When asked about delays in the NCAA's investigation into UNC, Emmert responds that he "stays away from investigations" -- prompting CBS Sports to ask if this policy was impacted by the investigation into Penn State.

"Penn State was unique in every way, in its scope, its impact," Emmert tells CBS Sports. "It was unique in the magnitude of the misconduct and called for, and got, a unique situation."

The Jerry Sandusky scandal broke in November 2011 after the former assistant football coach was indicted by a grand jury on numerous child sex abuse charges. In response, Penn State hired former FBI director Louis Freeh to investigate the university, leading him to conclude that top Penn State administrators had repeatedly hid knowledge of Sandusky's abuse from the public.

The Freeh report, released on July 2012, formed the basis for sweeping sanctions the NCAA imposed against Penn State. The sanctions included severe reductions in scholarships and a ban on bowl appearances, though these have since been lifted. The NCAA also vacated all football wins between 1998 and 2012 and imposed a $60 million fine, both of which are still in effect. The fine is the subject of two ongoing lawsuits between the NCAA, which wants to distribute the money nationally, and Pennsylvania Sen. Jake Corman and Treasurer Rob McCord, who want to keep the money in Pennsylvania.

"I think the (NCAA) executive committee and the board handled it very, very well," Emmert says of the scandal. "... in terms of the solution that was crafted and the sanctions that were put in place, the executive committee, the board and I think they wound up in exactly the right place."

Emmert does admit that the NCAA could have done a better job in communicating with the public during the scandal, but maintains that the NCAA acted efficiently and justifiably.

When asked about internal NCAA emails from 2012 that refer to threat of sanctions against Penn State as "a bluff," Emmert replies he is "not going to talk about it." The emails were released as part of the NCAA's lawsuit with Corman and McCord, and Emmert explains that an upcoming January trial will allow the NCAA to clarify misconceptions and "put the entire record out, not a sound bite."

The entire CBS Sports interview -- which primarily deals with various topics related to the future of college athletics -- can be read here.

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Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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