Penn State Nittany Lions: Mark Emmert

1. It will be weird to see Larry Johnson wearing scarlet and gray. The last coaching connection to Joe Paterno at Penn State has left for Ohio State. Like Ed Orgeron at USC, Johnson auditioned for the head coaching job, didn’t get it, and refused to stay and work for the guy who did. It’s hard to believe that Johnson would set aside 18 years, but egos can be slow to heal. Penn State will pay a price for his departure. Defensive tackle Thomas Holley of Brooklyn already has decommitted from Penn State for Florida.

2. NCAA President Mark Emmert will deliver his State of the Association address Thursday, and the title of the speech alone speaks to the pomposity that the NCAA needs to reduce. How Emmert survived the mess his administration made of things at Penn State and Miami is beyond belief; his inability to push through the increase in benefits to student-athletes he has championed for three years is another poor grade on his report card. Perhaps his remarks Thursday can begin to turn around a disappointing tenure.

3. The first thing to leap out about the Pac-12 schedule announced last week is how well things set up for Oregon. Three of the Ducks’ toughest opponents -- Michigan State, Washington and Stanford -- come to Eugene; the Pac-12 South teams that Oregon skips are defending division champ Arizona State and USC; and the toughest road games are at UCLA and at Oregon State. The intersectional game against the Spartans in Week 2 will serve as a national stage for quarterback Marcus Mariota. Let the Heisman talk begin.
Exactly one year ago today, Mark Emmert announced unprecedented sanctions against Penn State.

One year later, those penalties are still being debated -- as is the NCAA's inconsistent punishments. ESPN took a closer look at the enforcement issues the NCAA is facing with cases such as Penn State's.
The NCAA is facing more political pressure to lessen its unprecedented sanctions against Penn State.

The Associated Press reports that Pennsylvania congressmen Charles Dent and Glenn Thompson co-authored a letter to NCAA president Mark Emmert asking that the 40 football scholarships taken away from the Nittany Lions be restored. The scholarship reductions were part of the heavy sanctions Emmert levied against Penn State for the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

Dent and Thompson argued in the letter that the loss of scholarships only deny opportunities and do nothing to punish those associated with the scandal.

"I want to make it clear to the NCAA who they are really hurting with this scholarship reduction," Dent said in the letter. "It’s not Jerry Sandusky and it’s not the University. They are hurting young people who are completely innocent of anything relating to the Sandusky situation and who through no fault of their own are being denied a chance to get a great education.”

This latest action comes on the heels of a federal lawsuit filed by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, who is seeking to overturn the NCAA sanctions. And, of course, the NCAA is under fire for how it botched the Miami investigation, announcing last week that an enforcement officer acted improperly and forcing the organization to investigate itself. The NCAA might not look too popular in many courtrooms these days.

Will any of these things wind up lessening Penn State's burden? It's very difficult to say. We must note that the school itself is not a part of these proceedings and agreed not to appeal when university leaders signed the consent decree accepting the penalties. So this is entirely externally driven, and there's no doubt that politics are playing a major role here.

Emmert seized unprecedented power to levy the sanctions against the Nittany Lions, so it's hard to see him giving in now. Then again, his power may be fading after a series of missteps. We've never seen anything like the penalties handed out to Penn State before. Who's to say we won't be surprised again in this case?
NittanyNation takes a look at news and reaction from Pennsylvania and around the country on Gov. Tom Corbett's decision to file a lawsuit against the NCAA in hopes to get Penn State's sanctions overturned.
  • Michael McCann, the director of the Sports Law Institute at Vermont Law School, analyzes the key issues in this case and says that the NCAA would suffer a "loss" if the lawsuit wasn't dismissed early. He calls it a "landmark case in NCAA legal history."

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