As allegations of sexual assault continue to emerge against Bill Cosby, Penn Athletics has confirmed that no official relationship exists between the University and the Philadelphia comedian.
Despite Cosby’s presence at various on-campus sporting events over the past several decades including Penn Relays, Penn does not have any sort of consistent interaction with the 77-year-old.
“As best as I can tell, there is no official relationship between Penn Athletics and Mr. Cosby,” Mike Mahoney, Penn’s director of athletic communications, said in an email. “Obviously, he has been a presence at Relays for many years — missing some years here and there.”
Cosby has consistently been a fixture at one of the world’s most renowned track and field events, held every spring at Franklin Field. In addition to serving as an honorary race starter at various editions of Penn Relays in years past, an episode of Cosby’s sitcom “The Cosby Show” was filmed during the relays in 1986.
But the athletic connection between Cosby and the Red and Blue has not been limited to Relays. Over Homecoming weekend in 2013, Cosby performed a stand-up comedy set at the Palestra following Penn basketball’s season opener against Big 5 rival — and Cosby’s alma mater — Temple.
Mahoney confirmed that Penn paid Cosby for his performance last year and that the comedian is not currently on any of the University’s boards in any official capacity.
Despite action from several other schools related to Cosby, Penn has given no indication that it will rescind its honorary doctorate nor prohibit the comedian from attending Penn Athletics events in the future.
“I have nothing to add beyond what was in the [Penn Athletics] statement,” Steve MacCarthy, Penn’s vice president for university communications, said.
In 1990, Penn awarded Cosby with an honorary Doctor of Laws. Over the course of his career, Cosby has received over a dozen honorary degrees, including awards from local institutions, such as Swarthmore College and Haverford College in 1995 and 2002, respectively .
Cosby was also invited to speak as the University’s commencement speaker in 1997.
Earlier this week, Temple announced that Cosby had submitted his resignation from the school’s Board of Trustees after serving as a member since 1982 .
“I have always been proud of my association with Temple University,” Cosby said in a statement released by the university. “I have always wanted to do what would be in the best interests of the university and its students.
“As a result, I have tendered my resignation [to the Board of Trustees].”
The news of the comedian’s resignation came several days after the University of Massachusetts — the institution at which Cosby received his master’s degree and Doctor of Education — revealed that it had formally severed ties from the Philadelphia native. Cosby had served as the honorary co-chair of UMass’ current fundraising campaign before being asked to step down .
“[Cosby] no longer has any affiliation with the campaign nor does he serve in any other capacity for the University,” UMass spokesperson Edward Blaguszewski told the Boston Globe.Comments powered by Disqus
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