WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) --While announcing some of the most severe penalties in the history of American college sports, NCAA president Mark Emmert referred to a sports program that had become too big to fail, evoking the image of a multi-million dollar football factory that controlled Penn State University and answered to no one. An athletic program, essentially, run amok.
It's an image all-too familiar to former University of Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams, who took over the Terps back in 1989. Less than a year later, the NCAA imposed severe penalties on the program for various rules violations under Williams's predecessor, Bob Wade.
Like most Americans, Williams said he was horrified to hear the specific details of Jerry Sandusky's crimes, but not entirely surprised that a large university that depended financially on a wildly successful team would go to great lengths to guard that team's image.
"The problem becomes when the school allows a program to be run bigger than the university," Williams said.
Williams added that while many big-time college sports programs are run the right way, clearly there are programs that are not. According to Williams, it's all about keeping college sports in perspective and, sometimes, when there's a lot of money involved, it's not easy.
"Coaches feel the pressure and when you get to that level that's when the problems can take place, when you'll do whatever it takes to win," Williams said.