Scott Woodward, University of Washington athletic director, said he thinks Mark Emmert got it right in using his power as the head of the NCAA to levy unprecedented penalties on Penn State. Emmert was the UW president before taking the NCAA job.
Washington athletic director Scott Woodward kept in close contact with his longtime friend and colleague, NCAA President Mark Emmert, as Emmert spent the last few weeks struggling with what actions to take concerning the situation at Penn State.
“I’ve talked to him frequently and it has (worn on him),” Woodward said of Emmert, who was UW’s president from 2004 to 2010 before going to the NCAA.
Emmert hired Woodward as AD in 2008.
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Woodward said he thinks Emmert got it right in using his power as the head of the NCAA to levy unprecedented penalties on Penn State for the manner in which it handled child sex-abuse allegations against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Those penalties included a $60 million fine, a four-year postseason ban and scholarship reductions.
“Mark is as steady and solid a human being as I know and he dealt with this,” Woodward said. “He was, obviously like we all are, appalled and outraged about what happened and what went on, but here again he wanted to be fair and balanced about how he netted his penalty and I think in my opinion he struck that fair balance.”
Woodward added he felt the NCAA and Emmert “took extraordinary measures” he thinks “frankly are the perfect fit for the crimes. I think that the NCAA struck a tone that they were concerned for the victims. And as an athletic director and, first and foremost, as a father that’s what I think about, and I think the victims of this horrid situation are the most important and the most paramount object of what we have to think and talk about. And I think what was done and what the NCAA handed down is probably as good as I have thought was the balance for the victims as well as everyone involved.”
Emmert said he hoped the penalties sent a message football would “never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people.”
Woodward said he thinks there is much for those who oversee college athletics to learn from what happened with Penn State.
“It’s more of a daily lesson,” he said. “Every time I think about this thing, I’ll walk through Alaska Airlines Arena and look at the kids we have in our camps, whether it be a volleyball camp or a basketball camp, and think about ‘are we safeguarding as good as we can do? Are we doing proper background checks? Are we making sure that the kids are being treated fairly and properly?’ It just makes you more vigilant and more attuned, and I guess that’s the positive that comes from this, that you get on your guard and don’t get as (non)chalant as you could if you just see kids every day, all summer long, and you think ‘Oh, everything is fine.’ “
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @bcondotta.