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Former Penn State Trustee Joel Myers Calls For Condemnation of NCAA, Restoration of Fine Money

by on November 11, 2014 3:59 PM

Penn State emeritus trustee Joel Myers is condemning the NCAA for its actions leading up to those devastating sanctions against Penn State.

Myers is threatening legal action and demanding a response from the university community.

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Myers says, "The NCAA has turned into an organization that deserves the 'death penalty.'  It needs to be reconstituted with new people and new practices and procedures."

Myers' attack follows the release of internal NCAA emails that suggest the athletic organization coerced Penn State into accepting sanctions.

Myers says it appears the NCAA abused the explosive nature of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal to force Penn State into paying an unjust and uncalled for $60 million fine. He calls on the Penn State Board of Trustees to petition state and federal authorities to investigate the NCAA to determine if any laws were broken by their actions.

He also demands the NCAA restore the $60 million in fine money to Penn State and restore the 111 football wins from 1998 and 2012 that were struck from the university's record. Myers will also consider civil legal action against the NCAA with the help of others in the university community.

In one email, former NCAA Vice President of Enforcement Julie Roe calls the threat of sanctions against Penn State “a bluff.” In another, NCAA Vice President of Academic and Membership Affairs Kevin Lennon writes that the NCAA was "banking on the fact [Penn State] is so embarrassed they will do anything."

The emails were included in a commonwealth court filing last week. The emails date from 2012 - days before the NCAA imposed sanctions on Penn State that included a $60 million dollar fine and loss of all football wins between 1998 and 2012.

The complete text of Myers' statement appears below:

 

"Trustees and Emeritus Trustees:

I have had a consistent record while I have been a Penn State Trustee
of condemning the NCAA actions. Rod Erickson had previously asserted
that the NCAA threatened the student football program with the" death
penalty" and he had to take the best of the bad choices.  The Penn
State lawyer said "it was crammed down".

Now it has come out that NCAA officials may have acted in deceptive
ways, using not only extortionate-like threats, but what seems to be
bullying, bluster, and bluffing and outright lies to exact an
agreement from a new Penn State president reeling from being thrust
into the middle of the Sandusky crisis.

The NCAA apparently acted in this unprofessional and perhaps illegal
way because they did not have a basis under their own charter and
rules to do what they did.

It seems to me that it was essentially similar to an elaborate swindle
or "protection money racket," placing at risk the careers of Penn
State student athletes who were at the University from 2011 and to
this day, kids who had nothing to do with the situation in any way,
for the purpose of extracting millions of dollars from the University
and significantly damaging our reputation for their own purposes.
These are students who were children when the Sandusky actions took
place. Students who were subsequently cheated out of being a truly
competitive team in order to possibly have a team at all. Student
athletes who were potentially cheated out of pro football careers to
satiate the NCAA appetite for money and power.

This is the basest form of improper behavior by an organization that
holds itself up as the very guardian of morality, student welfare,
fair play, and best practice.  Universities by their very existence
are supposed to stand for the search for truth and justice and new
knowledge.  The NCAA was set up to be the moral arbitrator of
intercollegiate sports.  When they told Rod Erickson that the NCAA
board wanted the death penalty, he had every reason to believe his
colleagues.  It would not have crossed his mind, nor should it have,
that they were using deception to trick Penn State. Since the NCAA
represents all universities, by doing so they undermined the integrity
of all of higher education.  It concerns me that there has not yet
been an outpouring of condemnation from the very universities that are
members of the NCAA.  Professors, students, administrators, and alumni
from all universities should be indignant about this apparent abuse of
power by the moral oracle of higher education in their name and under
their authority.  The NCAA has turned into an organization that
deserves the "death penalty."  It needs to be reconstituted with new
people and new practices and procedures.

I urge the Board to ask both the State Attorney General of
Pennsylvania and the appropriate federal authorities to look into
their actions to assess whether any criminal laws were broken.

I also intend to consider, along with other Penn State students,
alumna, faculty and financial supporters of the University whether
civil legal action is a desirable course based on these recent
revelations and the likelihood of more to come. Legal action is the
only path that can bring to light, through documents and testimony
under oath, what really was done, by whom, and why.

We now need to stand for the following propositions:

With the consent decree having been improperly acquired, all penalties
embodied in it become unenforceable.

Accordingly the $60 MM "fine" be restored to Penn State.

The 111 victories be restored to Penn State.

Determine the damages to Penn State's brand and reputation, as well as
actual financial losses caused by the NCAA actions and demand payment
from the NCAA for these damages.  I recommend that we hire an expert
now to begin working on estimating the likely amount of these damages,
but I believe the value of these damages will be quite substantial.

Whether the board chooses to reject the consent decree or not, it
certainly has a fiduciary duty to consider damages against the NCAA,
even if no new revelations come out.

Further, we need to call on the Big 10 to refund all money withheld
from Penn State, as this was based on the NCAA action.

These are not options for Penn State, I believe they are imperatives.

Sincerely,

Joel


 Editor's note: Joel Myers is the father of Dan Myers, the owner of StateCollege.com.

 

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