Penn State trustees back president on NCAA action

    In the weeks since NCAA sanctions were announced and swiftly accepted by President Erickson, Penn State has been dogged with questions of whether the president could accept sanctions without a vote by university trustees.

    Board chairwoman Karen Peetz said a conference call yesterday was supposed to include a vote to ratify the president’s Consent Decree to the sanctions, but the university charter requires a 10-days advance notice for a vote and that was not met.

    Peetz said the call would still show where the board stands.
    “The leadership of the board wanted to publicly demonstrate the board’s support of President Erickson and the University’s commitment to fully perform and comply with the consent decree,” she said. Erickson walked through how he came to his decision to sign the consent decree. He said an NCAA expert told him a challenge to the sanctions would be difficult because of the voluntary nature of NCAA membership.”I have to tell you this was far and away the most difficult decision I’ve ever made in my 40-year professional career,” he said. “There are many reasons why I opted for the Consent Decree.”Erickson said a challenge likely would have meant years in court, while not playing football, and eventually losing the case. He worried it might also mean being kicked out of the Big Ten Conference. Erickson says he talked to university counsel and the executive committee of the board before making his decision.At the end of the conference call, each trustee had a turn to talk. Trustee after trustee said they supported President Erickson’s actions. Many trustees said they were unhappy with the NCAA sanctions. Only Anthony Lubrano voiced concerns about how the university handled things.”I am deeply disappointed in the process to which Penn State agreed to the Consent Decree,” he said. “As a trustee, I was excluded from the process.”One trustee who had announced plans to sue the NCAA said he had called off his lawyers.  Many trustees talked about the importance of moving forward.

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