Big Ten to review Penn State scandal

Updated: December 8, 2011, 5:24 PM ET
By Brian Bennett | ESPN.com

Big Ten leaders say they want to conduct their own review into the Penn State sex abuse scandal and that the conference could impose its own sanctions on the school if it doesn't like what it finds.

The league's Council of Presidents/Chancellors said Thursday that it wants Big Ten lawyers involved in any investigation into "matters of institutional control, ethical conduct and/or other compliance-related issues" at Penn State.

The council also wants to review the "fundamental issues and systems" at all its member schools and develop a "stress test" to make sure this type of situation doesn't occur again.

Retired assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky faces more than 50 charges of sexually assaulting children. Sandusky was arrested Wednesday and charged with 12 new counts involving two new alleged victims.

While noting that the Sandusky investigation is ongoing, the council said in a released statement that "there does appear to be sufficient information to raise significant concerns as to whether a concentration of power in a single individual or program may have threatened or eroded institutional control of intercollegiate athletics at Penn State."

Nittany Lions longtime coach Joe Paterno was fired in the wake of the Sandusky scandal.

The NCAA sent a letter to Penn State last month saying it wanted to look at Penn State's "exercise of institutional control." The NCAA asked the school to respond to a series of questions by Dec. 16. Earlier this week, NCAA president Mark Emmert said Penn State officials had been forthcoming and cooperative so far in the inquiry.

The Big Ten said it will reserve the right to "impose sanctions, corrective or other disciplinary measures" during its own review.

The conference leadership council also said it wanted to develop some standards to ensure that no single person could hurt a school's ability "to protect the institution's integrity and control over its intercollegiate athletic programs." It wants this proposed stress test ready by spring 2012.

Brian Bennett covers Big Ten football for ESPN.com.