- Associated Press - Thursday, December 15, 2011

STATE COLLEGE, PA. (AP) - With a Friday deadline looming, the NCAA signaled it would give Penn State more time to respond to its inquiry over the university’s handling of child sex abuse accusations against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Penn State general counsel Cynthia Baldwin said in a letter to NCAA president Mark Emmert released Thursday that answers to the NCAA’s questions about the Sandusky case might come from other, separate probes already in progress. Among them is a university trustees investigation spearheaded by former FBI director Louis Freeh.

Baldwin spoke to Emmert and other NCAA staff by phone Nov. 23 about the concurrent inquiries, according to the letter dated Dec. 12.

“The university understands that the NCAA will continue to monitor these investigations and will have access to the report” from Freeh and the trustees, Baldwin said.

“At that time, the NCAA will determine if further response from the university is necessary,” she wrote before requesting more time.

Both the NCAA and Penn State indicated in recent weeks that the school may not make the Friday deadline to provide complete answers to several questions posed last month by Emmert.

Freeh’s investigation is already sharing information that the NCAA said would help determine how the college sports governing body would proceed.

“Although this information will aid in our real-time review, once the counsel’s work is complete the university likely will need to formally respond to the questions raised by President Emmert,” the NCAA said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

The Big Ten announced last week it also would conduct its own review and reserved the right to hand down sanctions pending its findings. The 12-member league also planned an immediate review of institutional control of athletics at its schools.

The Department of Education also is looking into Penn State, along with the separate criminal case by the state attorney general’s office.

Sandusky has pleaded not guilty and waived his preliminary hearing Tuesday on charges he molested 10 boys. He has requested a jury trial.

The Sandusky scandal led to the ousters last month of Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno and school president Graham Spanier, amid mounting pressure on trustees and criticism that school officials should have done more to prevent the alleged abuse.

Kenneth Frazier, who heads the trustees committee overseeing the internal probe, said this week at a business forum hosted by The Wall Street Journal in New York that he hoped Freeh’s team would have findings by the end of the academic year. Penn State’s spring semester ends in mid-May.

Spanier’s replacement, Rodney Erickson, has pledged the university’s full cooperation with the NCAA and other inquiries.