NCAA president Mark Emmert has not ruled out drastically punishing Penn State football in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Emmert gave a candid interview Monday on PBS' "Tavis Smiley," claiming that he still is waiting for Penn State's official response to the Freeh report and acknowledging that the NCAA has not eliminated the possibility of imposing severe sanctions against the school's storied football program.
"I've never seen anything as egregious as this in terms of just overall conduct and behavior inside a university and hope never to see it again," Emmert said during the interview. "What the appropriate penalties are, if there are determinations of violations, we'll have to decide.
"We'll hold in abeyance all of those decisions until we've actually decided what we want to do with the actual charges should there be any. And I don't want to take anything off the table."
Emmert gave the interview four days after Penn State released the scathing internal report by former FBI director Louis Freeh. The report concluded that late football coach Joe Paterno and other top Penn State officials concealed Sandusky's abuse of children to shield the university from bad publicity, exhibiting "callous and shocking" disregard for child victims.
Still reeling from the content of the Freeh report, Emmert did not dismiss the notion of issuing the so-called "death penalty" against Penn State, asserting that the unprecedented nature of the Sandusky scandal could warrant extreme punishment.
"This is completely different than an impermissible benefits scandal like happened at SMU, or anything else we've dealt with," Emmert said. "This is as systemic a cultural problem as it is a football problem. There have been people that said this wasn't a football scandal.
"Well it was more than a football scandal, much more than a football scandal. It was that but much more. And we'll have to figure out exactly what the right penalties are. I don't know that past precedent makes particularly good sense in this case, because it's really an unprecedented problem..."