Former NCAA Leaders: Penn State Got Raw Deal with Penalties, But No Room for Recourse
October 04, 2012 6:00 AM
by Nate Mink
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A panel with ties to the NCAA, including two men who once led the association, left a pro-Penn State audience with little comfort on Wednesday night about how the governing body of college athletics handled the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case.

From the moment the NCAA sent its letter of inquiry to Penn State in November, former NCAA President Cedric Dempsey said, it put pressure on itself to take action against the university. Media scrutiny amid a growing outrage over the findings in the Freeh Report set in motion plans to sanction the football program without a formal NCAA investigation and despite the report's limitations with subpoena power and reliance on circumstantial evidence.

It was the unprecedented course of action combined with the severity of the sanctions that created a swirling firestorm of criticism directed toward the NCAA by the Penn State faithful. Wednesday night, those in attendance, including recently elected Board of Trustee member Anthony Lubrano and backup quarterback Shane McGregor, were left with the realization that a rush to judgment most certainly occurred in advance of key trials in the scandal set to start in January and, perhaps more disheartening, that any recourse is probably a lost cause.

"You all have been caught in one of the darndest things I have ever heard of and witnessed," said Gene Corrigan, a former president of the NCAA, commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference and athletic director at Notre Dame. "And I wish you well to get out of it."

Penn State, of course, was sacked with a $60 million fine, loss of 40 scholarships over the next four seasons and a four-year postseason ban, among other disciplinary and corrective measures.

Wednesday night's panel included: Dempsey and Corrigan, the two former leaders of the NCAA, Amy Perko, a spokeswoman for the Knight Commission, Scott Kretchmar, the former faculty athletics rep to the NCAA for Penn State, and Tom O'Toole, the college sports editor for USA Today. A video of Kretchmar's prepared marks during the forum are embedded in the video above.

NCAA President Mark Emmert declined an invitation to attend Wednesday night's panel on the future of the NCAA.

Other notable comments from the panelists:

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