- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 24, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Slow. Toothless. Tone deaf to the real problems in college sports.

The NCAA has heard such criticisms for years.

In punishing the Penn State football program with an unprecedented series of sanctions, President Mark Emmert said he hopes the NCAA has served notice that a win-at-all-costs mentality in major college football won’t be tolerated.

This has been a theme for the former University of Washington president since he got the job in October 2010 and scandal after scandal hit the headlines, from Auburn to Miami and State College, Pa.


Yet the NCAA does not plan to overhaul its procedures for handling potential infractions. Emmert made it clear that the $60 million fine, four-year bowl ban, scholarship reductions and more were put together largely by himself and a handful of NCAA leaders because Penn State and serial child molester Jerry Sandusky presented a unique situation.

In other words, few can imagine anything like this happening again.

“This is a statement about this case,” Emmert said.

There was no need for the NCAA to investigate what rules were broken, a process that can take months or years. Penn State handed over the results of its investigation by former FBI Director Louis Freeh and didn’t dispute the facts. Emmert said the decision to bypass the infractions committee and let the NCAA Executive Committee and its Division I Board of Directors decide on the penalties was not a sign of a change in the way future proceedings will go, but a sign that no investigation was necessary.

“This was just a singular case that we all hope we don’t face again,” he said.

Joe Paterno’s family criticized the NCAA and Penn State after the sanctions were announced.

“The NCAA has now become the latest party to accept the report as the final word on the Sandusky scandal,” the family said. “That the president, the athletic director and the Board of Trustees accepted this unprecedented action by the NCAA without requiring a full due process hearing before the Committee on Infractions is an abdication of their responsibilities and a breach of their fiduciary duties to the University and the 500,000 alumni.”

In Dallas, former Stanford athletic director and new Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby also wondered about whether the college sports governing body should be stepping into a criminal matter.

“I don’t know that it is absolutely clear on what basis this becomes an NCAA issue,” he said at football media days. “Having said that, there are certainly elements of our constitution and bylaws that go right to the heart of ethics, and clearly there are some ethical issues here. Perhaps the lesson that will be taken away from it is that things can get pretty far afield when there are people running the show that don’t ever get frank feedback and don’t ever have anybody push back against them in terms of re-centering their decision processes.”

North Carolina State coach Tom O’Brien said the NCAA had effectively made Penn State a “I-AA school” by reducing the number of scholarships.

“We’re in a new era, obviously, and a new stage,” he said of the NCAA. “One of the things the NCAA did when they came to our meetings was that they showed what penalties in the past were and what penalties were going to be in the future, and the penalties in the future were multiple times what the penalties in the past were.”

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