Several Penn Staters have been vocal about the NCAA’s recent actions, including a former Penn State NCAA representative.
On Monday afternoon, Dr. Scott Kretchmar, Penn State’s NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative from 2000-2010, guest lectured a communications class before an audience of about 70 students, saying that “Penn State is being used and abused by the NCAA.”
To begin, Kretchmar examined the landscape of “big-time” college athletics. He insisted that the actions of major university presidents are partly at fault for college athletics spiraling out of administrative control. Kretchmar believes that University Presidents are after three things:
- Market Share – applicants, people interested in the University
- Visibility – what he called “front porch value” – good headlines, campus spirit, etc.
After speaking about possible solutions for college athletics and the NCAA, he began commenting on what the students sitting before him were eager to discuss: the NCAA’s recent decision to cripple Penn State with harsh sanctions.
“A child sex-abuse scandal was never on our radar,” he said of the crimes and allegations revolving around the actions of Jerry Sandusky.
While he admitted several times that he was not objective to the matter, Kretchmar was extremely critical of the NCAA and its recent decisions. The former NCAA representative believes that even though Penn State football remains, the “size and scope of these sanctions is the death penalty.”
Additionally, Kretchmar had many reservations about the accuracy and veracity of the Freeh Report. He noted that at many instances, the Freeh Report uses language like “it is more reasonable to conclude that…'”
He wondered how a group could give a program such harsh penalties without absolute factual evidence of concrete violations. “Did the NCAA penalize quickly, or penalize fairly?” he asked.
The former NCAA faculty rep then drew a parallel to capital punishment within the American government and the NCAA’s decision to drop the hammer on Penn State. He insisted that if you’re going to put someone to death, one must be absolutely sure that they are guilty of the crime. The jury is still out on whether Penn State actively covered up Sandusky’s crimes, he said, yet the NCAA still lowered the boom on the football program.
Furthermore, he refuted the supposed “culture” that the Freeh report and NCAA president Mark Emmert have repeatedly referenced. He sternly and steadfastly said that after all the time he has spent around Penn State and its athletic department, the purported “culture” surrounding the Penn State Football Program simply “is not true.”
Kretchmar, who also has taught in Penn State’s kinesiology department and authored several books, was appalled that the NCAA would step into a situation such as Penn State’s when the organization is supposed to uphold the standards of the student athlete, but cannot prevent rampant cheating and academic fraud amongst its member institutions. Going forward, the NCAA “should focus on integrity of intercollegiate athletics,” he said.
Lastly, Kretchmar argued that several ulterior motives played a factor in the NCAA’s judgment to sanction Penn State.
“The NCAA is about the money,” he said.
He believes that levying the sanctions against Penn State was a PR move, and that the NCAA simply wanted to look spotless in the public eye.
“Nobody will argue with child abuse,” he remarked.
Want to hear more from Dr. Kretchmar and others regarding the direction of the NCAA?
Tonight at 7 p.m., a panel will discuss the future of the NCAA at the State Theater.
The panelists include:
- Gene Corrigan, a former NCAA president (1995-1997) who was also the commissioner of the ACC from 1987 to 1997 and the athletic director at Notre Dame.
- Amy Perko, the executive director of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.
- The aforementioned R. Scott Kretchmar, a professor of exercise and sport science at Penn State who was an inaugural chair of the NCAA Scholarly Colloquium on College Sports.
- Thomas O’Toole, the assistant managing editor for USA Today Sports.
A livestream of the event will be available here.
Sam Cooper contributed to this post.