A Penn State Board of Trustee member filed an appeal Monday afternoon with the NCAA over sanctions levied against the university after the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal.
Three other trustees joined the appeal, which states a consent decree that university president Rodney Erickson signed with the NCAA agreeing to the sanctions is "null and void" because Erickson "lacked the legal authority" to enter into such an agreement without the board's approval.
Trustees and a person with first-hand knowledge of the discussions said the move is a precursor to a federal lawsuit asking a federal judge to invalidate the sanctions, because trustees expect the NCAA to reject the appeal.
The appeal, sent to the NCAA from attorneys hired by Ryan J. McCombie, a retired Navy SEAL who joined the 32-member board in June, also challenges the NCAA on the following fronts:
• The NCAA did not give Penn State trustees and the university due process when it did not follow its usual investigation and enforcement procedures.
• The consent decree is fundamentally unfair because it relies on the Freeh report, which "contains findings and conclusions not that are contrary to the evidence presented ..."
• The sanctions are "excessive and unreasonable" because they inflict "permanent damage to an entire generation of student-athletes and coaches who were innocent of any wrongdoing during their time on campus ..." Erickson signed the consent decree late last month with the NCAA after consulting with Board of Trustees chairwoman Karen Peetz and university counsel, but he did not bring the decree to the full board for review or a vote.