SBD/July 24, 2012/Colleges

Penn State Penalties: Emmert Widely Praised For Decisiveness, Handling Of Penn State Sanctions

Emmert's "swift and decisive action" called the "defining moment of his NCAA tenure"
The penalities NCAA President Mark Emmert announced yesterday against the Penn State football program was "a swift and decisive action from the head of an organization known for bureaucratic delay and the defining moment of his NCAA tenure," according to Adam Himmelsbach of the N.Y. TIMES. LSU Senior Associate AD Verge Ausberry worked with Emmert when Emmert was LSU Chancellor, and Ausberry said of his former colleague, "Once he makes a decision, it is very firm. You know exactly where he stands." Kutztown Univ. professor and NCAA watchdog Drake Group President Jason Lanter said, "I think this is really Emmert's legacy. This early in his post as president, this will I think be the defining moment as to what he's done. The important thing is, what does he do from here?" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/24). Emmert served as Univ. of Washington President immediately before taking over the NCAA position, and current UW AD Scott Woodward said, "Mark is as steady and solid a human being as I know and he dealt with this. ... He wanted to be fair and balanced about how he netted his penalty and I think in my opinion he struck that fair balance" (SEATTLE TIMES, 7/24).'s Dennis Dodd wrote with less than two years on the job, Emmert "marked the biggest moment in his career and perhaps in NCAA history" (, 7/23). In St. Louis, Bryan Burwell writes, "So the NCAA got it right, empowering Emmert -- at least temporarily -- with the far-reaching clout more fitting for a commissioner of a professional sports league. And with that power, Emmert showed the sort of intelligence and guts that I used to think had been completely eroded from the landscape of big-time college athletics" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 7/24).

CAPTURING THE MOMENT: In New Orleans, John DeShazier wrote for a day, and "perhaps under a one-time-only mandate, NCAA President Mark Emmert got to play the role of Roger Goodell." DeShazier: "And he did a hell of a job of it -- better, even, than many would say the NFL commissioner does his own job" (, 7/23). YAHOO SPORTS' Pat Forde wrote under the header, "NCAA's Mark Emmert Establishes With Penn State Sanctions That He's In Charge Like No One Else." Emmert "kicked ass and took names Monday" (, 7/23). In Pennsylvania, David Jones wrote PSU "ran into the wrong hombre at the wrong time, a man not averse to making bold strokes to make a point." Emmert has "proven to be the kind of man prone to making examples and on Monday he made one of Penn State" (Harrisburg PATRIOT-NEWS, 7/24).'s Tom Dienhart said, "Mark Emmert really showed his power here today. He really showed that he has an iron fist and this is a whole new era of NCAA enforcement. ... One of his biggest mantras upon taking this office in 2010 was to clean up this sport, and today he took a large step towards doing that” (Big Ten Network, 7/23). In Philadelphia, Marc Narducci notes Emmert was "forceful, but not bombastic." He "truly was in control, showing leadership and decisiveness as well as remorse in discussing the severe sanctions levied" yesterday (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 7/24). ESPN's Joe Schad noted the move by Emmert is a "Roger Goodell-like power play." However, there is "no question that some NCAA experts -- attorneys that I’ve spoken to, some former NCAA enforcement officials -- who wonder about the slippery slope that this could lead to” (ESPN, 7/23).
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