Emmert: NCAA ‘did it the right way’

Penn Staters, don’t count on the NCAA relenting on the unprecedented sanctions on the university and football team.

The NCAA’s president, Mark Emmert, said Monday during a radio interview that he and the organization’s executive board “did it the right way” when deciding to hand down a $60 million fine, a four-year bowl ban and scholarship reductions, among other penalties.

“We’re confident in the decisions that we made,” Emmert told ESPN hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic. “The facts were the facts, and we operated on those. I guess if somebody were to come forward with a whole new set of facts, that would change the world, but otherwise, we’re comfortable with where we are and know that we did it the right way.”

The sanctions have been a lightning rod for criticism ever since Penn State President Rodney Erickson agreed to them last summer in the face of the so-called “death penalty” that meant no football.

But Penn State alumni have not forgiven Erickson and have criticized the board of trustees for not standing up the NCAA. Earlier this month, Penn State lettermen assailed the board of trustees during their meeting in Hershey, calling on the university to work to undo the sanctions.

Trustee Paul Silvis was optimistic recently, suggesting that the NCAA might be moved to reduce the sanctions because of the university’s progress in instituting reforms.

Even Gov. Tom Corbett got involved. In January, he sued the NCAA claiming the sanctions were in violation of federal antitrust law.

The NCAA is asking a judge to throw out that lawsuit, and the organization sued Pennsylvania officials over a new law that would prohibit money from any fines worth millions of dollars from leaving the state.

While Emmert said Penn State has been “incredibly cooperative” in its work to implement governance and policy reforms, he couched any discussion about his thoughts on the lawsuits, saying “this is a litigious world we live in.”

“The way we proceeded was with much greater deliberateness than the world thinks, and that we did it thoughtfully, and we’ll let lawsuits play out.”