MAC commissioner addresses Penn State punishment, attendance issues with league title game
DETROIT — Mid-American Conference commissioner Jon Steinbrecher made a statement Tuesday, giving his thoughts on the Penn State sex scandal and the recent sanctions handed down by the NCAA on the university.
“From a personal and professional point of view, I have a deep sadness over what was a horrific tragedy, and quite frankly a great deal of anger that this was allowed to occur for such a long period of time,” Steinbrecher said during MAC Media Day at Ford Field.
“The events that occurred there were unthinkable and unspeakable, and yet we must do exactly that. We must speak about that and continue to speak about it so we don’t forget what occurred and so that never occurs on our watch.”
NCAA President Mark Emmert issued steep penalties Monday against the Penn State football program, including banning the team from bowl games for four years, massively reducing scholarships and fining the school $60 million.
Penn State’s victories from 1998 through 2011 were also vacated.
“The actions taken by the NCAA, I’m sure everyone has an opinion on it,” Steinbrecher said. “In this case, the sanctions handed out are severe and it was done swiftly. And I think it is appropriate for an association to hold its members accountable for how they handle situations.”
Steinbrecher also announced the MAC reached a new agreement with the Detroit Lions to have Ford Field host the conference championship game for the next four years.
The Marathon MAC championship game is the second longest running conference championship game in the nation, behind the Southeastern Conference. 2012 will be the ninth year Detroit has hosted the game, with Central Michigan reaching the title game three times during that span.
Low attendance numbers have been an issue in recent years, with the last two games drawing less than 13,500 fans.
“I think it’s an issue I continue to talk about with our staff and with our institutions. Attendance is driven by the teams within it and what we have to continue to work on is building a culture where as soon as the season begins, you are thinking about and building toward, ‘we are heading to Detroit’.”
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