WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Charlie Dent (PA-15) and Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-5) and 14 members of the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation sent a letter Wednesday to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) calling for the release of all the organization’s documents relating to the Consent Decree imposed upon the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State).
The lawmakers decided to act in the wake of the revelation of e-mails that surfaced during the discovery process in the lawsuit brought against the NCAA by Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman and the Commonwealth’s Treasurer Rob McCord.
Among the communications released was an e-mail revealing the NCAA had “bluffed” Penn State – a member institution that represented the gold standard of NCAA rules compliance for decades – to accept unduly punitive sanctions. Even though the matter at hand was a criminal matter and outside the NCAA’s purview, their internal e-mails go on to state that “we [the NCAA] could try to assert jurisdiction on this issue and may be successful but it’d be a stretch” (emphasis added).
Another e-mail revealed that NCAA staffers actively “bank[ed] on the fact the school is so embarrassed they will do anything.”
Additional recent news reports call into question the independence of Freeh Sporking Sullivan LLP (Freeh Group) during its review of Penn State. While the NCAA has released selected e-mails regarding their employees’ interactions with the Freeh Group, these have only led to more questions and greater doubts concerning the Freeh Group’s independence.
For Dent, enough is enough. “The NCAA needs to let the sunlight in on the process it used against Penn State,” he said. “They hold themselves out as an arbiter of good conduct and sportsmanship, but their tactics are those of the Star Chamber, lacking any procedural fairness, and their intent was the subversion of due process,” Dent added.
“The NCAA would be wise to act in a transparent manner and put all the cards on the table, before they continue to dig a bigger hole for themselves,” said Thompson.
“It is important for the public to know the full rationale behind the NCAA creating a new jurisdiction for themselves, and equally so, why they would collaborate with a supposedly impartial and independent investigation,” added Thompson.
“We’re going to help get to the bottom of this,” Dent stated. “They’re not going to be able to ‘bluff’ us into giving up and if they’re ‘banking’ on our going away, the NCAA is sorely mistaken,” Dent concluded.