Onward State’s Kevin Horne has written an excellent piece about the possibility that Penn State President Rod Erickson might have broken a standing order of the BOT by signing the consent decree agreeing to the NCAA’s sanctions that were handed down Monday.
The debate on whether or not the sanctions handed down to Penn State by the NCAA are warranted has been ongoing with Penn Staters and college football fans alike over the last several days. But one area that hasn’t been broadly discussed is whether President Rodney Erickson — without approval and vote from the Board of Trustees — had the authority to sign the agreement with the NCAA essentially accepting the sanctions without even a whimper of a fight.
This Turkey had expected at least deliberation and possibly an appeal before Penn State fell on its sword. However, Erickson had already agreed to the sanctions before they were presented to the media on Monday morning. Why? Whom did he consult? Penn State just rolled over for Mark Emmert and the NCAA. Erickson gets the Neville Chamberlain Appeasement Award* for performing this slick sacrificial move on his own, appeasing the haters (including the NCAA) while totally pissing the rest of us off.
According to provision 2-e of Standing Order IV, the following actions must be approved by the Board: Authorization to borrow money; authorization of persons to sign checks, contracts, legal documents, and other obligations, and to endorse, sell or assign securities.
Penn State President Rodney Erickson’s signature appears on the document that accepts the NCAA sanctions. Certainly, that agreement would be considered a legal document — and one that directly costs Penn State $72 million, with some experts saying it could amount to up to a half billion dollars in losses.
No hearings. No approval from the governing body of Penn State. No alumni input. All President Erickson did was accept the NCAA quasi-dictatorship’s ruling without a fight, and move on.
Some have reported that Erickson was given the choice of a four-year “death penalty” or the sanctions as written. Obviously, he felt pressure to accept the sanctions, but without consultation with his governing body? Isn’t this the kind of rogue action the University is supposed to be curtailing? But wait! There’s more!
However, NCAA Executive Committee Chirman Ed Ray denied Erickson’s claims, saying “I can tell you categorically, there was never a threat made to anyone about suspension of play if the consent decree was not agreed to… That was never even a point of discussion within either the Executive Committee or the Division I board.”
Interesting conflict isn’t it? Either Erickson or Ray is lying, or Emmert and Erickson met in secret to “negotiate” without divulging details either before or after the fact.
I hope this all comes to a head, and divides the BOT so we can all see which trustees are on Penn State’s side and which are siding with our enemies. I further hope that when it hits the fan it results in the conclusion that not only Erickson, but also Emmert, exceeded their prescribed authority limits.
We’re dealing with powerful people here, there are lots more of us than there are of them. Emmert has become too powerful, and Erickson is a wimp. They both should be in deep shit over this. Such chutzpah!
Read the entire article “Erickson May Have Broken Standing Order.”
UPDATE: The BOT are meeting this afternoon to discuss President Rodney Erickson’s handling of NCAA sanctions, per the Lehigh Valley Express-Times.
*Neville Chamberlain was the British Prime Minister who felt that the best way to prevent a major conflict with Germany in the 1930s was to appease Adolf Hitler by signing the Munich Agreement in 1938, conceding part of Czechoslovakia to Germany. He was a doormat who with the Munich Agreement tacitly gave Hitler the go-ahead to invade Poland, prompting Britain to declare war on Germany and starting World War II.