PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Penn State Board of Trustees were supposed to comment on the harsh NCAA sanctions against the university on Sunday, but it never happened.
However, there were some new details that came out of the special meeting about Penn State President Rodney Erickson’s decision to sign off on the sanctions.
An expert on NCAA enforcement told Penn State trustees the NCAA was receiving updates every few weeks on the progress of the “Freeh Report.”
That report was the basis for the sanctions handed down last month.
The expert and Erickson agreed that Penn State’s football program was under serious threat of receiving the “death penalty” from the NCAA Board of Directors.
“An overwhelming majority of the board wanted blood. To shut down Penn State’s football program for multiple years,” Erickson said.
Erickson told the board, he didn’t know the death penalty could be avoided until the Saturday night before the sanctions were announced.
He said he signed off on them only after being advised he had the legal authority to do so.
Erickson admits to consulting with only a handful of trustees, but said the NCAA threatened to pull the deal if information was leaked.
Erickson also revealed he discussed the possibility of sanctions with football coach Bill O’Brien last winter.
“Coach O’Brien said first and foremost he wants us to play, and he wants us to play on television. And the consent decree makes that possible,” Erickson said.
Learning Erickson consulted with O’Brien did not sit well with one trustee.
“As a trustee, I was excluded from that process. Yet our new head football coach was consulted. To me that seems ironic,” Anthony Lubrano said.
The board was expected to take a formal vote, but it did not happen as the trustee chairwoman said the board did not post a 10-day notice for the meeting as required by law.
Instead, more than two dozen members of the 32-member board of trustees voiced informal support for Erickson’s decision and a desire to move forward.
“Our board should find the wisdom to learn the things we cannot change and the things we can change,” Keith Masser aid.
Many members of the Board of Trustees also expressed their anger with the severity of the sanctions.