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PSU denied due process

| Monday, June 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

In his column “Penn State's progress” (June 4 and TribLIVE.com), fellow Penn State Trustee Keith Eckel criticized a “well-funded and highly vocal constituency” that, in his view, has employed a “burn it all to the ground to prove a point” approach to the university's business.

While it is not entirely clear to whom he is referring, we, the five trustees who recently joined a legal action against the NCAA and its president, Mark Emmert, feel obliged to respond.

We support the governance changes and improvements recommended by Louis Freeh in his report, which are being implemented and monitored by former Sen. George Mitchell. Institutions must grow and adapt to changing times and challenging circumstances and we are proud to be part of that effort at Penn State. We certainly do not subscribe to the “burn it all to the ground” approach of which Eckel speaks.

Our issue, and the reason we have joined the lawsuit, is the NCAA's complete failure to afford Penn State due process. Under its own constitution and bylaws, the NCAA owed Penn State certain fundamental rights and adherence to rules and procedures designed to provide fairness to a member institution. These rights were due not only to the university, but to intended beneficiaries of its NCAA membership agreement, including student-athletes, coaches, faculty and administrators.

It is not incompatible with our legal and fiduciary responsibilities as trustees that we challenge and seek relief from the NCAA's unprecedented and unlawful actions while embracing the governance improvements that have arisen therefrom. It comes down to a distinction between the Freeh report's flawed and unsupported findings leading to rushed imposition of crippling sanctions — which we do not accept — and its recommendations for improved governance leading to an enhanced environment for learning and academic pursuits — which we enthusiastically accept and support.

Al Clemens

This letter also was signed by Peter A. Khoury, Anthony P. Lubrano, Ryan J. McCombie and Adam J. Taliaferro.

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