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NCAA Taking Up Penn State Scandal

Nebraska v Penn State
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The NCAA has told Penn State it will examine how school officials handled a child sex abuse scandal that has shocked the campus and cost the school’s former president and coach Joe Paterno their jobs.

NCAA president Mark Emmert sent a letter to Penn State president Rod Erickson saying that the governing body for college sports will look at “Penn State’s exercise of institutional control over its intercollegiate athletics programs” in the case of Jerry Sandusky, the former defensive coordinator accused of 40 counts of child sex abuse.

Penn State released the letter Friday.

Sandusky is accused of abusing eight boys, some on campus, over 15 years, allegations that were not immediately brought to the attention of authorities even though high-level people at Penn State apparently knew about them.

The resulting scandal has tarnished the image of a once squeaky-clean football program that prided itself on the slogan “Success with Honor.”

Athletic Director Tim Curley has been placed on administrative leave, and Vice President Gary Schultz, who was in charge of the university’s police department, has retired.

Schultz and Curley are charged with lying to the grand jury and failure to report to police. They maintain their innocence, as does Sandusky.

In addition to the ongoing criminal investigation of Sandusky, Penn State has started its own, internal review and the U.S. Department of Education is examining whether Penn State failed to report incidents of sexual abuse on campus, as required by federal law.

Emmert, in his letter, said the allegations made in a grand jury report on Sandusky impact “not only the integrity of the university, but that of intercollegiate athletics as a whole and the NCAA member institutions that conduct college sports.” Paterno, Division I’s winningest coach with 409 victories, was fired by university trustees Nov. 9, the same night president Graham Spanier also left his job under pressure.

Neither Erickson, who replaced Spanier, nor acting athletic director Dave Joyner, could immediately be reached for comment. Joyner had been formally introduced earlier Friday, promising change following a turbulent two weeks for athletics. He said he would make sure that the “core values” of the school’s sports programs are aligned with the university’s academic side.

“I’m sorry I’m here for this reason,” Joyner said. “And first and foremost, I want to tell you how sad I am for the victims in this case.”

 (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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