CHICAGO (AP) — Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany took a non-committal stance on an effort by five Pennsylvania Congressmen to rescind sanctions against Penn State for its handling of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal.
Several outlets reported that U.S. Reps. Charlie Dent, Mike Doyle, Glenn Thompson, Jim Gerlach and Mike Kelly wrote a letter to NCAA President Mark Emmert saying that penalties handed out by the governing body based on former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell's recommendation deprive innocent players of opportunities.
The punishments include a $60 million fine and reduced football scholarships. The team remains on probation that includes no bowl-game participation through the 2015 season.
Delany said he had not seen the letter but looks forward to getting a copy of it "and learning more about the request." He also voiced his support for Penn State's leadership.
"The leadership over the last three years, two years I guess, by President (Rodney) Erickson, (former athletic director) Dave Joyner and (former) coach (Bill) O'Brien really met the challenge as far as we are concerned," Delany said. "We are a partner in the integrity agreement among and between the Big Ten, Penn State and the NCAA. We've worked really closely with Senator Mitchell and have fully supported his recommendations as this has played out. I'm unfamiliar with (the letter). I hope that if progress continues to be made, that the NCAA would look positively on any request that is suggested by Senator Mitchell."
New coach James Franklin had little to say about the letter. His attention was on the opener against Central Florida on Aug. 30.
"My focus is on what to call on third down against Central Florida," he said. "Obviously, that's something that's floating out there and we'll see what happens. But again, I've spent very little time thinking and talking about those things because I don't want to be disappointed. I don't want our players to be disappointed, so we just focus on what we know. Right now, it's very black and white, so we focus on that."
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