Franco Harris Confronts NCAA President Mark Emmert in Los Angeles; Police Called
Franco Harris, the Pro Football Hall of Famer and Penn State alum, flew to Los Angeles on Wednesday to confront NCAA President Mark Emmert about Joe Paterno’s role in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal and the Penn State sanctions.
John Ziegler, the documentary filmmaker behind “The Framing of Joe Paterno” mini-movie, accompanied Harris and published a YouTube video Wednesday evening detailing what happened at the event. Emmert was making a scheduled appearance at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce to discuss the NCAA’s efforts to embrace academics and sustain the student-athlete model.
According to Ziegler, police were called after Harris confronted Emmert, who left through a back door. Nobody was arrested, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The NCAA did not return a request for comment as of the publication of this article.
Harris was seeking one answer: Why didn’t Emmert give Paterno and former athletic director Tim Curley, who was charged in connection with the Sandusky case, due process?
“I wasn’t happy with his answer at all,” Harris says on the video. “He really didn’t answer it. How he found Joe Paterno guilty when Jerry Sandusky in those two time-frame incidences was found not guilty. So him not addressing that was also I guess very, uh, very disturbing that he didn’t want to get into that issue.”
Harris was also hoping Emmert would address what Paterno was supposed to do in 1998 to avoid punishment by the NCAA, given that local authorities did not charge Sandusky after he was investigated for sexual misconduct with a young boy in a shower.
Sandusky, 68, was sentenced to what effectively is a life sentence in October after being convicted of 45 of 48 counts in a child sexual abuse case. Paterno died in January because of complications from lung cancer treatments. A university-commissioned report released in July found that he, along with three former top school officials, concealed knowledge of allegations against Sandusky out of fear of bad publicity, which led to the NCAA imposing unprecedented sanctions on the football program, including a four-year bowl ban, loss of 40 scholarships over four years, vacation of all wins from 1998-2011 and a $60 million fine.
“This is far from over,” Harris said. “And being here today just made me realize this is just the beginning with the NCAA. This is far from done.”
Added Harris: “We know Joe Paterno. We know Tim Curley. We know the type of culture they have at Penn State. The culture they have at the football program. And the one the NCAA portrayed and our Board of Trustees portrayed, that is not the Penn State culture. With them trying to do that, portray that type of culture, is not acceptable. We’re in this for the long run.”