Penn State Scandal: Nittany Lions Faced 4-Year Death Penalty, According To Report

If Penn State had not accepted the NCAA sanctions levied by President Mark Emmert on Monday, it would have faced the so-called "death penalty" over four years, according a report from ESPN's Outside the Lines.

Emmert reportedly told university president Rodney Erickson during a phone conversation on July 17 that he, along with a majority of NCAA officials, wanted to hit the school with the four-year penalty for its involvement in covering up child sexual abuse allegations against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, as outlined by the Freeh Report.

"Well, that's a pretty tough number to swallow," Erickson told Don Van Natta Jr. of ESPN.com. "It's unprecedented. It's a blow to the gut, there's no doubt about that and I couldn't agree to that at all."

Erickson said Penn State then lobbied for the death penalty, which would prevent the school from fielding a football team, to be taken off the table, and instead, it was slapped with a $60 million fine and a four-year postseason ban, among other penalties.

Bill O'Brien, the Nittany Lions' recently-hired head coach, told ESPN on Wednesday he just wanted his team to play and told Erickson as much.

"I want to play football and I want to play football on television," he said.

For more on Penn State athletics, head over to Black Shoe Diaries. For more on everything surrounding the Penn State scandal, stick with our StoryStream.

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