Sports

Penn State Football May be on Chopping Block

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Ex-football coach Jerry Sandusky (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Ex-football coach Jerry Sandusky (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — 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.”

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.”

Meanwhile, Joe Paterno’s name is losing its luster.

The group in charge of the camp-out spot where Penn State students set up tents and wait for tickets to big home games swapped “Paternoville” for “Nittanyville” on Monday. The same day, Paterno’s alma mater, Brown, took his name off its football coach job.

Those swaps are only the latest examples of the Hall of Fame coach’s moniker being dropped in the wake of a shocking child sex abuse scandal involving his former assistant Jerry Sandusky.

In November, the Big Ten dropped Paterno’s name from the conference championship trophy. Last week, Nike took Paterno’s name off a campus child care center after an investigation by former FBI director Louis Freeh concluded the late coach hid child sex abuse allegations against Sandusky.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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