Even though NCAA spokesman Bob Williams declared last week that the Penn State sanctions are not subject to appeal, four trustees, led by retired Navy SEAL Ryan J. McCombie, who was elected to the board in June have filed a letter of appeal with the NCAA. ESPN is reporting:
Trustees and a person with first-hand knowledge of the discussions said the move is a precursor to a federal lawsuit asking a judge to invalidate the sanctions, because trustees expect the NCAA to reject the appeal.
Essentially, McCombie is saying that the NCAA did not follow its usual investigation and enforcement procedures with Penn State, that the consent decree is unfair because it relies on the Freeh report (which contains some disputed unproven conjectures) and that the sanctions are “excessive and unreasonable”, inflicting “permanent damage to an entire generation of student athletes and coaches who were innocent of any wrongdoing during their time on campus…”
McCombie retained the Boston law firm of Jackson Lewis to file the appeal. He wrote a letter to trustees Monday afternoon asking for their concurrence. Three immediately hopped on board. There was no comment as to whom, but I think we can probably guess at least three of them pretty quickly.
McCombie wrote to the trustees that it was his belief that the matter required board approval and that the board should engage in a full and complete review. He went on to write, “Furthermore, only after we have given all involved the opportunity to be heard can we move forward together as one university.”
No comments were to be had from either Penn State or the NCAA.
Well, this should drive a wedge into the board. These are interesting times. If the NCAA does shut down the appeal, which is I think about 105% likely, and the federal courts get involved, the case could broaden and get into all kinds of great anti-trust issues with the NCAA. They deserve to be slapped down by somebody, and who better than a Federal court to do it? Maybe pay liquidated damages to all the members and then reorganize into a helpful adjunct, rather than a dictatorial Kindergarten teacher.
I’m going to have my cookies and milk and think about this a little more.
Meanwhile, for those who want to read the actual appeal, I have it available here for downloading. PSU_trustee_appeal (pdf – 174K).