Mark Emmert: Penn State Sanctions Proof NCAA President Has Plethora of Power
The Penn State sanctions have allowed NCAA president Mark Emmert to finally flex his muscles in a way that we have never before seen.
On Monday morning, he announced from the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis that Penn State's football team would be stripped of all victories dating back to 1998 and banned from bowl games for the next four years. They also face scholarship reductions, and the university was given a $60 million fine.
It isn't the "death penalty," but it's not too far off.
The scandal was unprecedented in so many different ways, and whatever Emmert and his colleagues decided on was going to set the benchmark going forward.
Last year, Emmert was under considerable fire for appearing to lack much authoritative power after doling out what many believed to be a slap on the wrist to Ohio State. Last August, he made it a priority to ensure harsher penalties and appease to higher academic standards, according to Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports.
Penn State was Emmert's first big opportunity to show who was in charge.
He knew the penalties had to be harsh. He had to send a message to not only Penn State but to the rest of colleges around the country that if you allow sports to cloud judgments in criminal matters, the punishment is going to be incredibly unforgiving.
This is a clear message that shuts up critics who claim the powers at be don't possess much authority.
Forde believes Monday's decision was a huge day for the president of college sports moving forward (via Yahoo! Sports):
Monday, the hammer fell. Presented with the first major litmus test of the new era, the NCAA response was emphatic.
Said Oregon State president Ed Ray, a member of the Division I board, "The message is, the presidents and chancellors are in charge."
More to the point: Mark Emmert is in charge. The fresh Nittany Lion skin on his wall shows he's in charge like no NCAA president before him.
With the Freeh report released on July 12 detailing just how much negligence had occurred at Penn State, I assumed the NCAA would either let the court system handle any further punishment or take an extremely long time to settle on a reprimand.
Emmert shocked a lot of people today and has made it clear that the behavior by Penn State is not acceptable on any level.
ESPN's Tom Luginbill was on SiriusXM radio after the punishment was announced and echoed a sentiment that is what the vast majority of universities must be feeling right now:
ESPN's @TomLuginbill,'I believe Mark Emmert for some time has wanted to effect change by laying the hammer down.'— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) July 23, 2012
Sure this is an unprecedented situation that has little to do with Terrelle Pryor getting discounted tattoos, but Emmert has shown universities that if you break rules and try to cover your tracks, the punishments are going to be incredibly damaging—regardless of how prestigious your university and sports teams may be.
Emmert is in charge, and will not allow the deceitfulness and cover-ups of big-time programs to rule the day.
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