TODAY ON “CBS THIS MORNING,” NCAA PRESIDENT MARK EMMERT DISCUSSES THE SANCTIONS PLACED ON PENN STATE UNIVERSITY FOLLOWING THE FOOTBALL SEX SCANDAL
EMMERT TELLS CO-HOSTS CHARLIE ROSE AND ERICA HILL, “THAT KIND OF BEHAVIOR IS INTOLERABLE IN INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS. WE CAN’T STAND TO THE SIDE AND WATCH THE VALUES OF INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS BE BLOWN UP IN THAT FASHION. WE WANT EVERYONE TO PAY ATTENTION. THIS IS INDEED A CAUTIONARY TALE THAT THE ATHLETIC TAIL CAN’T WAG THE ACADEMIC DOG”
NCAA President Mark Emmert discussed with co-hosts Charlie Rose and Erica Hill the $60 million sanction, four-year football postseason ban and the vacation of all wins dating back to 1998 that the NCAA placed on Penn State University’s football program following the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal, live today, July 24, 2012, on CBS THIS MORNING on the CBS Television Network (7:00 AM – 9:00 AM).
Below are excerpts from the interview:
ROSE: What was the intent of this, and what do you hope to achieve by this?
EMMERT: The intent is fairly straightforward, but the challenge is enormous. The intent is to make sure that we keep our values straight. We play sport in America in our schools — and K-12 schools and universities — for the purpose of embedding in our youngsters the kind of core values that we all associate with sport. Responsibility, honesty, integrity and fair play, and when you have a sport program that casts those values aside for the values of hero worship or winning at all costs, then you've completely lost track of what's going on. We're trying to force everyone to look at why we play these games and what is this about and let's keep those values in the right perspective.
ROSE: Are you using Penn State to send a signal to all athletic programs at all universities in the United States, saying “rethink big-time sports at your college”?
EMMERT: The actions of Penn State itself send that message. We’re reinforcing that message by saying that kind of behavior is intolerable in intercollegiate athletics. We can't stand to the side and watch the values of intercollegiate athletics be blown up in that fashion. We want everyone to pay attention. This is indeed a cautionary tale that the athletic tail can't wag the academic dog.
HILL: You talked about how the athletics should not overshadow the academics. That is much easier said than done, though. I mean, realistically, do you believe these sanctions are going to change something like a football culture so engrained for so many people and that it’s above academics in many cases?
EMMERT: Of course not. We're not naive. I've been a university president and been a participant in some of the most successful athletic programs in the country. I know firsthand what that looks and feels like. This isn't about trying to hold down athletics. I'm one of the biggest supporters of athletics in the country. But, it’s about trying to keep perspective. Trying to keep in balance the sets of values that we all hold so dear in the academy.
HILL: There's been criticism about whether or not you overstepped your bounds with these sanctions because we're not looking at directly violating NCAA bylaws. How do you respond to that?
EMMERT: I think, again, it's by saying this is a case that's not about any one bylaw, not about any one rule. It's about an institution that had a severe systemic loss of integrity. It failed to maintain control over its athletic program. There were multiple violations of any sense of ethical conduct. Those are the things that surround and build up the culture inside an athletic department and we simply can't abide that. Rather than saying there's one little specific rule that's been breached here, this is a systemic failure.
ROSE: Clearly you want to do all the things you have said, but there also must have been a sense of some kind of gyroscope in your mind in terms of balance? What would be going too far and be too harsh?
EMMERT: Many people wanted us to impose the so-called death penalty, the suspension of play. The reason that I, and the executive committee, decided not to impose the death penalty, was that it was too blunt an instrument. It affects too many people that had utterly nothing to do with these affairs. The marching band didn't have anything to do with this. The mom and pop that's running the hot dog stand in the town didn't have anything to do with this. The rest of the institution probably had nothing to do with this. We're trying to focus the penalties where they’re most likely to change the culture. We're saying to Penn State, don't worry about going to the Rose Bowl next year, worry about getting your culture right and your values right, and in a few years you can worry about going to a bowl game.
ROSE: Who suffers because of what others did?
EMMERT: Everyone does. In the end, there's no pretense here that this is a surgical strike here. It affects everyone. That's the unfortunate reality of where we find ourselves. This is not a happy day for college sports. This is a very, very difficult moment.
Click here to watch the video.
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Chris Licht is Vice President of Programming, CBS News, and Executive Producer of CBS THIS MORNING.
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