OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — NCAA President Mark Emmert says the association agreed to a settlement with Penn State to ensure that $60 million in fines paid by the school could finally be distributed to victims of sexual abuse.
Emmert added Friday that the settlement was not an acknowledgement the NCAA overreached by getting involved in the Jerry Sandusky child-molestation case.
“The reason that the association and the governing board entered into the these conversations was, again, to make sure that we were moving forward in getting the fine to go to the places that it needed to go,” he said during a news conference during the NCAA convention with University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides and Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz.
“We spent two and half years arguing that and frankly it was likely to continue to go forward as a running debate and discussion.
“Penn State has dutifully put in a trust account $12 million a year for three years and intends to do it for another two years and those dollars have been sitting there idly and that was something we all found very objectionable.”
The NCAA announced the settlement before a scheduled trial on the legality of the 2012 consent decree it will replace.
The settlement also restores 112 football victories that had been vacated as part of the penalties placed on Penn State for the Sandusky scandal. Late Penn State coach Joe Paterno will have 111 victories restored to his record, making him the winningest coach in major college football history again.
The sanctions against Penn State did not follow normal NCAA procedures. The NCAA executive committee handed down the penalties and Penn State leadership agreed not to fight them.
“The board’s authority to act in this process was sound and we believe it was appropriate,” Emmert said. “And as the agreement points out was conducted by both parties with good intent.
“It’s had a very positive impact on the university. We’ve seen the university adopt all the requirements of the athletic integrity agreement and it received a very positive response from Sen. George Mitchell, who was there as a monitor. So in many respects it had all of the intended impacts.”
The NCAA also hit Penn State with a four-year bowl ban that was decreased to two and huge scholarship losses for the football team that have been rolled back sooner than scheduled.
“Someone asked about who is the victor today? Whenever there are settlements rarely is it an opportunity to jump for joy, but I think the victors are those of us who were advocating for the children and who can finally see this money put to good use,” Pastides said. “And the fact that some of it or more of it will be spent in Pennsylvania than originally consented to is fine with me.”
Emmert said rolling back the various penalties against Penn State, one way or another, is not likely to set a precedent that could be applied to other infractions cases. Nor do the association have an intentions of using the same methods.
“The board felt they had to quickly and decisively put forward a set of sanctions,” Schulz said. “I hope we never have to do this again.”
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