Penn State board of trustees at-one on consent decree, meeting on Sunday

8/10/12 in NCAAF   |   IvanRogers   |   1352 respect

The Penn State board of trustees has constantly bickered over the Freeh report, university president Rodney Erickson’s acceptance of the NCAA’s sanctions and the legality of the penalties levied on the institution. For a long-time now, the Penn State board of trustees had been threatening to become a dysfunctional governing body, but starting Sunday the trustees will work at pulling their act together. Chairman, Karen Peetz has called a meeting of the Penn State board of trustees to ratify NCAA’s sanctions "so that there can be no misunderstanding as to where we as the board stand."
 
Following public disclosure of the Freeh report, which found several Penn State officials guilty of a cover-up of Jerry Sandusky’s child sexual abuse scandal, the NCAA levied heavy sanctions on Penn State and its’ prized football program. Rodney Erickson signed a consent decree regarding the sanctions with NCAA President Mark Emmert on 23rd July.
 
According to the NCAA’s sanctions, Penn State faces a $60 million fine, loss of several scholarships, a four-year bowl ban, and the Nittany Lions have been stripped of their victories through 1998 to 2011.
 
During Sunday’s meeting, the Penn State board of trustees will deliberate over a resolution that labels the consent decree as “binding” but argues that the NCAA’s procedure led to “unfortunate and the punitive sanctions” that are unanimously considered “difficult” for the system.
 
The meeting will most likely entertain a one-sided argument since two previous unsanctioned voting procedures have already determined the Penn State board of trustees’ approach to the consent decree. An incomplete board of trustees meeting on Tuesday, it was openly argued if the NCAA’s sanction can or should be appealed.
 
However, the meeting failed to clear the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act, and was immediately labeled illegal since only partial board was present and there had been issues regarding a public notice about Tuesday’s meeting.
 
Of those present, over 20 trustees were interested in appealing to the NCAA’ sanctions levied on Penn State. The highly controversial meeting extended to over two hours as trustees and legal counsel overviewed the opportunity and procedure for appealing to NCAA’s sanctions.
 
Several groups have risen to the occasion over the weeks following the officiating of the sanctions, in an attempt to appeal to the process. On Monday, Penn State board of trustee Ryan J. McCombie entered an appeal to the NCAA on the very same subject. Ryan J. McCombie is being backed by three other trustees who want the consent decree sacked since Rodney Erickson’s made a individual decision without taking the full board into confidence. However, the NCAA stated that the sanction cannot be appealed.
 
 In case the appeal is shot down by the NCAA, the board members will look to take the issue to federal court to discuss the merits of the sanction. The four Penn State board of trustee members have already appointed lawyers to prepare a legal statement regarding Rodney Erickson’s power to make a unilateral decision. If the trustees are successful in determining Rodney Erickson did not have any such authority, they will take the case to Indianapolis or Philadelphia.
 
However, Karen Peetz is looking to bury the hatchet in Sunday’s meeting after getting opinion from around the board and even Rodney Erickson.
 
“We need a laser focus on the future of the university,” said Karen Peetz. “We need to be unified and we need to work together."
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