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Penn State Football: NCAA President Emmert Happy with Ongoing Culture Change

by on March 26, 2013 9:33 AM

Penn State fans have hoped that time served and good behavior would allow the NCAA to back off of harsh sanctions on the football program. NCAA President Mark Emmert doesn't see that happening and according to an interview on ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning, he's happy with the decisions made.

"We're confident in the decisions that we made,'' Emmert said. "The facts were the facts and we operated on those. I guess if somebody were to come forward with a whole new set of facts, that would change the world."

"But otherwise, we're comfortable with where we are and know that we did it the right way.''

For Penn State fans, a bone of contention with the NCAA's head man has long been his apparently willingness to link the Jerry Sandusky scandal to the universities' academic priorities. While a connection between the two is difficult to construct, Emmert stated that he is pleased with Penn State's response to a much needed --and NCAA assisted-- change in culture.

"The university, I need to add, is being incredibly cooperative and helpful in all of this," Emmert said. "I think that, in the midst of all the noise around this case, it's being missed that Penn State's doing a really good job in being responsible and working on changing their processes and culture. I think they deserve a lot of credit for that.''

The American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) released its annual Academic Achievement Award in mid December naming Penn State an honorable mention. Penn State’s 91 percent graduation success rate was seventh in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and second in the Big Ten behind Northwestern. The FBS average graduation rate is 68 percent.

The award recognizes schools that have a graduation rate of 75 percent or higher for student-athletes who were freshmen in 2005-06. It is compiled through data from the NCAA. The Nittany Lions’ honorable mention recognition marked the 22nd time the school has been recognized in 26 years.

The state of Pennsylvania led by Governor Corbett, filed a anti-trust lawsuit against the NCAA in January. "I can't comment on ongoing lawsuits, obviously,'' Emmert said. "This is a litigious world we live in. Pretty much anytime you make any decision of any consequence, there's opportunities for lawsuits and people will do it as they see fit. And that's fine, we're confident in our legal positions in these cases.''

Emmert has recently come under more and more scrutiny following a botched NCAA investigation into Miami University. The breaches in NCAA protocol led the firing of the NCAA's Vice President of Enforcement, Julie Roe Lach. It also raised serious questions about the effectiveness of the NCAA's investigative branch.

Asked about his own job security, Emmert was unconcerned. "I shouldn't be fired for (the) NCAA Miami fiasco," Emmert said. Emmert compared himself to a university president, saying a president shouldn't be fired because an assistant coach did something wrong.

The full interview can be listened to here.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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