By Diana Rocco
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (CBS) – In an interview with ESPN, Penn State President Rodney Erickson says the NCAA sanctions have no doubt hurt the University and healing will take time.
“It’s very traumatic for everyone, the student athletes that were involved. It’s traumatic for the University and it’s traumatic for community,” Erickson said.
Acting Athletic Director David Joyner says the penalties could have been worse. The NCAA was considering a death sentence for as many as four years, but new head Coach Bill O’Brien is ready to get to work.
“Well, we’ll have to go forward with what we have. What framework we have to operate under. Bill O’Brien is the right person at the right time for this. He is steely willed and a great leader,” Joyner said.
The NCAA sanctions come only a day after the university took down the statue of former head coach Joe Paterno.
“I would say there were very strong opinions in both directions,” said Board of Trustees chairwoman Karen Peetz.
“Not only verbally but in emails. They were more for taking it down than keeping it, but I would say the aspects of the discussion is, is there another way that we can utilize it?”
However, not all the board members agree the university should have accepted the NCAA’s judgment without some hard facts.
“The way to heal is first identify what ails you, and I think what ails this community is how Joe was treated in November and now of course, what we’re doing to him and what the NCAA just did to him,” said newly elected board of trustees member Anthony Lubrano. Lubrano was elected to the board on July 1st.
He says too much emphasis was placed on the Freeh report and the university should have consulted with board members before agreeing to the sanctions.
“I still question the NCAA’s authority to act in this matter. I think this was a criminal matter and I think the NCAA overstepped their bounds,” Lubrano said.
President Erickson maintains PSU had no choice in the matter. He also said the statue of Joe Paterno was removed for fear of vandalism after threats were made, and out of respect for the victims.