Report: O'Brien, Penn State discuss 'potential proposal' to NCAA

Bill O'Brien met with Penn State trustees Friday. (USATSI)
Bill O'Brien met with Penn State trustees Friday. (USATSI)
It's hardly a secret that very, very few people in and around Penn State are happy with the NCAA's unprecedented sanctions against the Nittany Lions in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky abuse scandal. But officially, the school has -- to-date -- accepted the NCAA's decision and made no effort to reduce the sanctions. 

Could that stance be changing? The Centre Daily Times reported that coach Bill O'Brien met with Penn State trustees for a private presentation Friday, one that included computer slides visible to the Daily Times reporter through "several full-length, glass-paned doors into the room where the session was held."

One of the slides bore the heading "potential proposal to modify sanctions."

Another detailed the impact of the NCAA's scholarship reductions. Another, per the Daily Times, emphasized that "Individual lawsuits do not help us!" with the words 'do not' underlined and in capital letters."

The family of the late Joe Paterno has sued the NCAA and president Mark Emmert in an effort to overturn the sanctions, which include the vacation of 111 of Paterno's wins at Penn State. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett's similar suit was dismissed by a judge in June.

Neither O'Brien nor any of the trustees commented on the presentation after the meeting adjourned. 

The NCAA said last August that the penalties were not subject to appeal, though that did not stop trustee Ryan McCombie, present at Friday's meeting, from sending a letter to the NCAA stating his intent to file an appeal all the same. Trustee Alvin Clemens said in February that the university's governing board would need to review the findings of its commissioned Freeh Report, which was used as the basis for the NCAA's sanctions.

Another trustee, Paul Silvis, told the Daily Times in March that he hoped the NCAA would roll back some of the sanctions after seeing the progress made by the school in the wake of the scandal. The NCAA handed Penn State a four-year bowl ban, stripped it of 40 scholarships and fined the school $60 million.

O'Brien was asked in May if he thought the sanctions would be reduced.

"I believe that’s a question for somebody other than me," the coach told reporters at a Penn State caravan stop in New York. "I’m playing under these rules. I think that’s a question for our administration or NCAA itself. My answer would be no, but that question would be for somebody else." writer Dennis Dodd contributed to this report.

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