Trustees Meet To Discuss NCAA Sanctions
Another day, another unexpected development on campus.
This time, it was an impromptu Board of Trustees meeting. A portion of the board gathered at The Penn Stater Conference Center at 5 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the unprecedented NCAA sanctions handed down Monday and the consent decree that President Rodney Erickson had signed, signaling Penn State’s intention to abide by the sanctions. Reports had surfaced indicating that some trustees were unhappy with the decision and didn’t think they had been adequately informed.
About the time that the meeting started, Don Van Natta Jr. of ESPN’s Outside the Lines settled some of the controversy in this story, in which Erickson said he was told July 17 that a majority of NCAA officials favored a four-year death penalty. NCAA president Mark Emmert confirmed that to Van Natta. Penn State lobbied for the death penalty to be taken off the table, and the reason Erickson signed the consent decree was suddenly more clear.
Reporters, of course, showed up at The Penn Stater this evening ready to ask questions. Turned out, no one answered any. Police were stationed outside the room where the trustees met, and eventually a barricade was installed, preventing anyone from walking down the hall to the room. Erickson left the meeting at a little after 7 p.m. and waved to a couple of reporters who followed him to the parking lot, but he didn’t comment. About an hour later, trustees began leaving one by one, through various doors. (The Penn Stater hotel has some maze-like properties.) Reporters encountered only a few of them, and everyone declined comment.
They did release a statement, which you can find here. It says, in part, “The Board finds the punitive sanctions difficult and the process with the NCAA unfortunate. But as we understand it, the alternatives were worse … The University and board resolve to move forward together to recognize the historical excellence in Penn State’s academic and athletic programs. We anticipate and look forward to demonstrating our outstanding performance in complying with the sanctions.”
No vote was needed, the statement said, and none was taken.
Lori Shontz, senior editor