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NCAA delves into Penn State scandal

Associated Press / November 19, 2011

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - The NCAA will examine whether Penn State broke any rules with its handling of a child sex abuse scandal that has shocked the campus and cost the school’s former president and football coach Joe Paterno their jobs.

NCAA president Mark Emmert sent a letter to Penn State president Rod Erickson saying that the governing body for college sports will look at “Penn State’s exercise of institutional control over its intercollegiate athletics programs’’ in the case of Jerry Sandusky, the former defensive coordinator accused of 40 counts of child sex abuse.

“We have to examine those facts and make a thoughtful determination of what is covered by our bylaws and what is not,’’ Emmert said yesterday.

Emmert said the case is not yet a formal investigation, though the inquiry could lead to that. NCAA investigators have not yet been on Penn State’s campus. Emmert has asked the university to respond by Dec. 16 to several questions.

If the NCAA decides to move ahead from there, the process could take an additional six to 10 months.

“Everyone that works inside a university, a coach, an administrator, a faculty member is first an educator and mentor,’’ Emmert said.

Sandusky is accused of abusing eight boys, some on campus, over 15 years. Among the charges is an alleged assault in 2002 that was not brought to the attention of police, according to a grand jury report, even though top officials at Penn State knew there was an accusation of inappropriate behavior.

The resulting scandal has tarnished the image of a once squeaky-clean football program.

“It will be important for Penn State to cooperate fully and provide any assistance possible to the NCAA,’’ Erickson said. “The university’s and NCAA’s interests are perfectly aligned in identifying what went wrong and how to prevent anything similar from happening again.’’

The school’s athletic department also released a statement, pledging it would work with the NCAA.

Faculty members at Penn State yesterday called for an independent investigation of how the university handled allegations of child sexual abuse, and the school indicated that may be forthcoming.

The faculty Senate endorsed a resolution asking for an investigation to be led by a committee whose chair has no links to Penn State. The resolution also called for a majority of the group’s members to have never been affiliated with the university.

David Joyner was formally introduced yesterday as the school’s acting athletic director. Joyner, a Penn State graduate who played offensive line from 1969-71 under Paterno, said he will make sure that the “core values’’ of the school’s sports programs are aligned with the university’s academic side.

Joyner takes over a job held until last week by Tim Curley. Curley was charged with lying to a grand jury and failing to pass on a 2002 abuse report to police that allegedly occurred at the football building.

“I’m sorry I’m here for this reason,’’ Joyner said during his news conference. “And first and foremost, I want to tell you how sad I am for the victims in this case.’’

Joyner said his deep Penn State roots won’t affect his decision-making. He said he told his staff Thursday, “I’m here to do the right thing.’’

The new president of a charity founded by Sandusky said the organization is looking at three options for its future and may not close.

David Woodle, who was named president of The Second Mile this week after longtime leader Jack Raykovitz resigned, told The Patriot-News newspaper of Harrisburg that the organization was exploring how it could stay open and keep serving children.

“No decision has been made,’’ he told the newspaper in a report on its website yesterday after The New York Times reported that the charity was set to be closed down, its programs folded into other nonprofit organizations.

Sandusky informed The Second Mile’s board in November 2008 that he was under investigation. The charity subsequently barred him from activities involving children.