"Thus, arbitrarily eliminating 40 scholarships to Penn State is undeniably and inexcusably punitive to young people" not involved with the scandal, he said.
The sanctions have also drawn criticism from Gov. Tom Corbett, who as attorney general headed the office that investigated Sandusky and won his conviction under his successor, Linda Kelly. Corbett has filed a federal anti-trust lawsuit against the NCAA and state Sen. Jake Corman has filed a legal challenge over the allocation of the fine money.
The NCAA has come under increased scrutiny of late, and not just for its response to the Sandusky scandal. The organization faces about a half-dozen lawsuits that could reshape how it does business.
The NCAA also announced last week that its enforcement staff had botched a high-profile investigation of the University of Miami. While Dent said he didn't know all the details of the Miami case, "it certainly should give hope to those concerned about how Penn State was mistreated."
Dent, in a phone interview, said he was hopeful there would be a congressional hearing on the NCAA.
The first day that high school seniors can formally sign with their college choices is Feb. 6. However, Penn State already has five recruits who enrolled early, for the spring semester that started this month, and their scholarships can count against the 2012 allotment which does not fall under sanctions.
That means the incoming scholarship freshman class for the football team this fall may have more than 15 members anyway.
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