First Faculty Senate Meeting Talks NCAA Sanctions

Faculty Senate convened for the first time of the academic year yesterday afternoon with an NCAA sanctions discussion at the top of the agenda.

Over 30 former Faculty Senate chairs issued a signed statement condemning the Freeh report and the NCAA, saying in part, “The NCAA Consent Decree, which substantially embellishes the initial Freeh findings in both tone and substance, claimed no standard of proof for its conclusions but nonetheless required Penn State to accept the Freeh Group’s assertions as fact.”

The statement continues, “Not only are these assertions about the Penn State culture unproven, but we declare them to be false.”

President Rodney Erickson opened up the meeting also by assessing the “Penn State culture. “I don’t know what the culture of a university is,” Erickson said.”There’s not just one culture…many different parts make up a university.”

Ironically, Erickson went on to say, “Penn State has an outstanding student culture.” He continued by also praising the culture of Penn State faculty and student athletes. Of course Erickson wouldn’t use the words “Penn State doesn’t have a culture problem like the Freeh report concludes,” but he was willing to say that in about 1,000 more words.

No Faculty Senate meeting is complete without a meaningless debate about issuing a statement, and yesterday was no different. Senator Keith Nelson proposed that Faculty Senate issue a statement against the NCAA, saying “The student athletes have no violations…This is illogical.”

The debate continued for several minutes, as the Senate seemed to be fairly split on the issue. While all agreed that the NCAA was out of line with their sanctioning, several faculty members just wanted to move forward, while others felt that the Senate had a “duty to speak out” even if it “certainly wouldn’t change anything.”

“The $60 million fine is about $100 per student and faculty at Penn State…essentially we’re all paying a traffic ticket,” one faculty member said.

No vote was taken on the NCAA at the meeting. A video of the NCAA discussion and the statement from the former Senate chairs can be found below, thanks to @LC_Nichols of

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About the Author

Kevin Horne

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014 and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus, which is a fake title he made up. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is also the president of the graduate student government. Email: [email protected]

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