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Big Ten presidents to start own probe of Penn State

The Big Ten presidents say they will conduct their own investigation of the allegations stemming from the indictment of Jerry Sandusky to see whether proper procedures were in place to ensure institutional control of the athletic program.

The Big Ten Conference's Council of Presidents/Chancellors announced Thursday it will launch its own investigation of the allegations listed in the grand jury report against former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky as they pertain to the areas of institutional control of the athletic program.

Following a regularly scheduled meeting this week, the council said the findings of the grand jury charging Sandusky with molesting young boys proves there is "sufficient information to raise significant concerns" whether institutional control over athletics was "threatened or eroded."

In a statement, the council said it wants to review the Sandusky allegations "that pertain to matters of institutional control, ethical conduct and/or other compliance-related issues," and will request that Big Ten legal counsel be allowed to participate in investigations being conducted by Penn State and the NCAA.

The council also said, "It will reserve the right to impose sanctions, corrective or other disciplinary measures in the event that adverse findings are made" in the areas of institutional control of ethical conduct."

An indictment against Sandusky originally charged him on 40 counts of abusing eight boys between 1994 and 2009. Sandusky was re-arrested on Wednesday and charged with sexually assaulting two more boys.

The scandal arising from the Sandusky indictment resulted in the firing of 84-year-old head coach Joe Paterno and the arrest of athletic director Tim Curley and senior vice president Gary Shultz on perjury charges.

The Big Ten said the council also has directed the conference to look into "fundamental issues" relating to institutional control of athletics. It said a series of "stress tests" could be implemented to insure each university is accountable in that area, and to prevent any individual from eroding the effectiveness of procedures that oversee control.

The council said it hopes to wrap up its review in the spring of 2012 and will consider the findings, which involve proposed standards, enforcement procedures and penalties, at a special meeting.

"The Big Ten presidents and chancellors express their sincere concern for any harm done to innocent young victims and their families," the statement said. "Protection of our children is one of society's most central responsibilities and institutions of higher education should be particularly vigilant.

"We are committed to examining our own institutions to assure that effective measures are taken to assure the safety of children on our campuses."

--Joe Juliano