Mark Emmert, President of the NCAA, has said on record that he will not rule out the death penalty for the Penn State football program.
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Following the explosive Freeh Report on the conduct of the university’s administration during Jerry Sandusky’s decades-long reign of child sex abuse, Freeh told PBS that he doesn’t want to take anything off the table in terms of potential NCAA punishment.
“(I’ve)never seen anything as egregious as this in terms of just overall conduct and behavior inside a university,” Emmert said. “What the appropriate penalties are, if there are determinations of violations, we’ll have to decide.”
The death penalty has only been used once in NCAA history, on SMU in the late 1980s for excessive benefits to recruits. Following that investigation and reinstatement of Southern Methodist, the rules for the death penalty were changed to include only repeat offenders of the NCAA code.
Penn State has not been penalized by the NCAA prior to this scandal, but the death penalty code also states that the repeat offender clause can be overridden by egregious misconduct.