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Penn State To Ratify NCAA Football Sanctions

Penn State president Rodney Erickson.

The Penn State  board of trustees will hold a special meeting Sunday and is expected to formally ratify the consent decree of sanctions agreed to last month by university president Rodney Erickson and the NCAA, ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” has learned.

Board chairwoman Karen Peetz called the meeting “so that there can be no misunderstanding as to where we as the board stand.”

Erickson and the NCAA signed a consent decree on July 23 that laid out a package of sanctions against the university and football program as a result of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. The sanctions include a $60 million fine, a four-year bowl ban, scholarship losses and the vacating of wins from 1998-2011.

The resolution the board will consider states “the process followed by the (NCAA) was unfortunate and the punitive sanctions are difficult,” and refers to the consent decree as “binding.”

The outcome of Sunday’s meeting seems almost certain, sources told “Outside the Lines,” because two straw polls about whether to appeal the sanctions were taken by a quorum of trustees during a conference call Tuesday.

That call may have constituted an illegal board meeting, given the votes taken, the number of trustees present and the lack of public notice given about the call — a requirement of the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act.

Only a few of the more than 20 trustees on the Tuesday call said they wished to appeal the NCAA sanctions.

Trustee Ryan J. McCombie filed an appeal to the NCAA over the sanctions on Monday. At least three other trustees, including Anthony Lubrano, supported that appeal, which said that the consent decree should be “null and void” because Erickson “lacked the legal authority” to enter into such an agreement without the full board’s approval.

The NCAA has said the penalties cannot be appealed.

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