Q&A about new agreement between NCAA, Penn State
The NCAA on Friday announced a new settlement with Penn State that replaces a 2012 consent decree they signed in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.
Some questions and answers on the new deal:
Q: How did this come about?
A: Two Pennsylvania state officials filed a lawsuit challenging the validity of the NCAA’s 2012 punishment of Penn State. There have been repeated efforts behind scenes for some time to come to an agreement that would settle the litigation.
Under the deal, Penn State acknowledged the NCAA had a ”legitimate and good faith interest and concern” in the Sandusky matter. The agreement emerged just days after a federal judge declined to rule on the constitutionality of the sanctions and weeks before a Pennsylvania state court trial on the legality of the penalties.
Q: What does this mean?
A: It restores 112 Penn State football wins – 111 of them under coach Joe Paterno – and keeps the $60 million fine from the original July 2012 sanctions in place to fund programs in Pennsylvania for the prevention of child sexual abuse and the treatment of victims.
Adding back the wins again makes Paterno college football’s winningest coach and settles a point of contention for his most ardent supporters, who say he was mistreated. (Paterno was fired by the university in 2011, and a school-sanctioned report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh concluded he covered up reports of Sandusky’s abuse.)
Keeping the $60 million in Pennsylvania satisfies the original purpose of state Sen. Jake Corman and Treasurer Rob McCord’s lawsuit against the NCAA.
Friday’s agreement also wipes out other sanctions, including eliminating a five-year probation period and scholarship and transfer rules. It also ensures Penn State will operate under a new athletics integrity agreement and will continue to retain former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell to ensure it meets compliance, ethics and integrity criteria.
Q: Weren’t some sanctions lifted earlier?
A: A four-year bowl ban was ended last year and football scholarship restrictions have been eased ahead of schedule.
Q: Is there anything left in the courts?
A: Three former Penn State administrators – ex-President Graham Spanier, ex-Athletic Director Tim Curley and ex-university Vice President Gary Schultz – are awaiting trial on charges they covered up Sandusky’s abuse. They maintain that they are innocent.
Mike McQueary, the former assistant coach who testified that he witnessed Sandusky sexually abusing a boy in a Penn State locker room, has a whistleblower lawsuit pending against Penn State.
Paterno’s family says it will continue with a lawsuit against the NCAA to uncover what it says is the ”full truth” behind the sanctions and the Freeh investigation. NCAA President Mark Emmert had no comment Friday on whether there would be an effort to settle the Paterno family lawsuit.
Q: What else is unresolved?
A: A certain bronze statue. On campus, the university tore down Paterno’s statue outside Beaver Stadium in 2012. A university spokesman says he does not know if it will be put back.