STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Penn State has been strengthened by improvements to compliance and governance in the year since former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested, the university’s president said Monday.
The past year has been difficult, but the university remains a diverse institution focused on academics, research and service, President Rodney Erickson said.
“Are we a better university? Yes, I think we are in terms of everything that we’ve accomplished and put into place,” he said.
Erickson spoke to The Associated Press as part of a series of interviews with media outlets Monday, a year to the day that Sandusky’s arrest ignited one of the worst scandals in higher education.
The NCAA, in levying strict sanctions over the Sandusky scandal, slammed Penn State for a “football-first culture” that was caused by a failure of institutional integrity. Those statements continue to draw the ire of some alumni and fans who were irritated that university leadership didn’t challenge the assertions.
Neither the marquee football program, nor any other aspect of Penn State life, dominates overall university culture, Erickson said.
He cited recent NCAA data showing high graduation rates for football players and other Penn State teams. The rates, Erickson said, are an example of Penn State’s dedication to academic and athletic success.