INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA is watching developments in the Penn State case but will defer to criminal investigators for now.
"The NCAA will defer in the immediate term to law enforcement officials since this situation involved alleged crimes," president Mark Emmert said Thursday. "As the facts are established through the justice system, we will determine whether association bylaws have been violated and act accordingly."
Former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky is charged with sexually assaulting eight boys in a 15-year period. Longtime coach Joe Paterno and school president Graham Spanier were fired Wednesday night, and criminal charges are pending against athletic director Tim Curley and school vice president Gary Schultz for allegedly failing to report a 2002 incident involving Sandusky.
Curley has taken a leave of absence; Schultz has stepped down.
Emmert, a former University of Washington president, said he has read the grand jury report and finds the alleged assaults appalling.
"As a parent and an educator, the notion that anyone would use a position of trust to prey on children is despicable," he said. "My thoughts and concern go out to the alleged victims and their families."
Earlier this week, before Paterno was fired, Emmert called the allegations "gut-wrenching."
"This is a story that's not about sports, per se, but it's about somebody allegedly taking a position of power and trust and using it to abuse children," he said Wednesday on KXTG-AM in Portland, Ore. "That's about as disgusting behavior as we have in our society, and so it's just shocking that this is going on and we have to let the legal system work its course and see what the real facts are.
"But to have this kind of a story surround a university and an athletic program that has been so revered for all the right reasons for so long, I think you used the word numbing and I think that's the right word. It just leaves us all in a state of disbelief."
As for Paterno, Emmert said it was stunning to see someone with "such a distinguished career and has been so iconic may end his career amidst these issues."
"It's saddening, it's frustrating, it's shocking in a lot of ways and so we hope it's handled as well as it possibly can, and, of course, at the end of the day, we all want something as positive as we can to come out of it for these victims," he said.