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NCAA begins inquiry into Penn State child sexual abuse scandal

November 18, 2011 |  5:40 pm

After weeks of sitting on the sideline, it appears the NCAA is ready to dive headlong into the Penn State child sexual abuse scandal.

NCAA President Mark Emmert sent a letter to newly appointed Penn State President Rod Erickson informing him that the governing body for college sports is looking into whether the school broke any rules during its handling of the case, which cost coach Joe Paterno his job.

Emmert wrote that the NCAA will examine how Penn State operates its athletics program and what role that played in the case of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who has been arrested and charged with 40 counts of child sex abuse.

Emmert told the Associated Press this is not a formal investigation, but there is a chance it could develop into one. He has given the university until Dec. 16 to respond to several of his questions.

"We have to examine those facts and make a thoughtful determination of what is covered by our bylaws and what is not," Emmert said.

"Everyone that works inside a university, a coach, an administrator, a faculty member, is first an educator and mentor. When you're in that position you have a responsibility to provide leadership and maintain a high ethical standard."

Sandusky, who retired from coaching at Penn State in 1999, is accused of abusing eight boys over a 15-year period. According to a grand jury report, an alleged on-campus assault in 2002 was brought to the attention of Penn State officials, but police were never notified.


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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: NCAA President Mark Emmert. Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press