Erickson: PSU took deal to avoid 'death'

Mark Emmert made it clear Monday that the heavy sanctions handed down came from the NCAA, not Penn State. The school didn't offer any self-imposed penalties, the NCAA president said.

Although Emmert and others praised Penn State's transparency and cooperation in fast-tracking Monday's decision, the NCAA would have gone forward with or without Penn State's blessing. Penn State signed a consent decree and won't appeal the sanctions, and some wondered whether the school, despite its weakened position, gave in too easily.

Well, here's your answer.

From the Centre Daily Times:

Penn State president Rodney Erickson revealed that the university accepted the severe NCAA sanctions announced today to avoid the death penalty for the football program.

In an interview with the Centre Daily Times, Erickson said, "We had our backs to the wall on this. We did what we thought was necessary to save the program."

Joined by board of trustees chairwoman Karen Peetz and interim director of athletics David Joyner, Erickson said he signed the NCAA agreement because no better deal was available.

He said Penn State could have faced at least one year without football and still would have endured additional penalties.

Emmert and Oregon State president Ed Ray, chair of the NCAA's executive committee, both said the "death penalty" wouldn't have been the only punishment handed down.

How do Erickson's comments impact your view of Penn State's response? Although the NCAA penalties handed down will weaken Penn State's program, especially the scholarship reductions, the Nittany Lions still will play football this season and in future seasons.

A season without football in State College remains the most dramatic penalty Penn State could have received. That's the way Erickson saw it, and so he took the only deal he was offered.