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NCAA President Not Ruling Out ‘Death Penalty’ For Penn State Football

Joe Paterno Statue (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Joe Paterno Statue (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (AP/WFAN) — The president of the NCAA says he isn’t ruling out the possibility of shutting down the Penn State football program in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

In a PBS interview Monday night, NCAA President Mark Emmert said he doesn’t want to “take anything off the table” if the NCAA determines penalties against Penn State are warranted.

Emmert said he’s “never seen anything as egregious as this in terms of just overall conduct and behavior inside a university.” He added, “What the appropriate penalties are, if there are determinations of violations, we’ll have to decide.”

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The last time the NCAA shut down a football program with the so-called “death penalty” was in the 1980s, when SMU was forced to drop the sport because of extra benefits violations. After the NCAA suspended the SMU program for a year, the school decided not to play in 1988, either, as it tried to regroup.

“This is completely different than an impermissible benefits scandal like (what) happened at SMU, or anything else we’ve dealt with. This is as systemic a cultural problem as it is a football problem. There have been people that said this wasn’t a football scandal,” Emmert said.

“Well, it was more than a football scandal, much more than a football scandal. It was that but much more. And we’ll have to figure out exactly what the right penalties are. I don’t know that past precedent makes particularly good sense in this case, because it’s really an unprecedented problem.”

The first season of Penn State football started in 1887. The Nittany Lions have won two national championships and three Big Ten conference championships since then, all under Joe Paterno as head coach.

Should the NCAA shut down the Penn State football program? Sound off in the comments section below…

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