Emmert said in an interview with The Associated Press that he doesn't think any comparisons can be made between the penalties Penn State received and what any other schools might face in the future. Yet he said he hopes the case will serve as a warning to other NCAA members.
"One of the grave dangers stemming from our love of sports is that the sports themselves can become too big to fail, indeed, too big to even challenge," Emmert said. "The result can be an erosion of academic values that are replaced by the value of hero worship and winning at all costs. All involved in intercollegiate athletics must be watchful that programs and individuals do not overwhelm the values of higher education."
Ed Ray, the executive committee chair and Oregon State president, said university presidents and chancellors let the NCAA know at a meeting a year ago that a change in the culture of college athletics is needed.
"They said, 'We've had enough. This has to stop. We have to reassert our responsibilities and charge to oversee intercollegiate athletics,'" Ray said. "So the first question you asked is, 'Does this send a message?' The message is, the presidents and the chancellors are in charge."
David Berst, the NCAA's vice president for Division I, said the Penn State penalties conjured up memories of 1987, when he was the organization's enforcement director and SMU was banned from playing football for a season — the so-called death penalty.
Berst believes the penalties handed down show the NCAA is re-emphasizing stronger punishment, particularly in the area of institutional control.
"If you find yourself in a situation where the athletic culture is taking precedence over the academic culture," Emmert added, "then a variety of bad things can occur."
AP Sports Writers Joedy McCreary, Dan Gelston and Stephen Hawkins contributed to this report.