NCAA President Mark Emmert strongly hinted that the NCAA would take action against Penn State football program in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal—and that the so-called "death penalty" was a possibility. "I've never seen anything as egregious," Emmert told Tavis Smiley, in an interview spotted by Sports Illustrated. "I hope to never see it again." Smiley brought up the death penalty, and while Emmert didn't directly address it he said, "I don't want to take anything off the table."
"There have been people who’ve said this wasn’t a football scandal. Well, it was more than a football scandal. This is as systemic a cultural problem as it is a football problem," Emmert said. "I don’t know that past precedent makes particularly good sense in this case because it’s really an unprecedented problem." Emmert also tossed aside the notion that the NCAA wouldn't dare use the death penalty because it had so decimated its last recipient, SMU. "There's an enormous amount of political courage" in the NCAA right now, he said.