The NCAA has joined a growing number of organizations launching investigations into Penn State in the wake of the sex abuse scandal that has marred defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky's career, and has put an end to head coach Joe Paterno's and that of other university officials.
Penn State was notified of the pending investigation via a letter from the athletic association.
The inquiry asks Penn State to explain how the university and its employees complied with the NCAA's bylaws – specifically those governing an employee's moral obligation by the NCAA.
"They must do more than avoid improper conduct or questionable acts," the NCAA rules state. "Their own moral values must be so certain and positive that those younger and more pliable will be influenced by a fine example."
Recently, Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of sexually abusing eight young boys over a 15-year period.
Other areas of the investigation focus on the university's policies and its cooperation in the Sandusky investigation.
"How has Penn State exercised institutional control over the issues identified in and related to the Grand Jury Report?" NCAA President Marc Emmert wrote in the letter. "Were there procedures in place that were or were not followed?"
The central points of the inquiry focus on the university's integrity while handling the investigation into Jerry Sandusky and others involved in the sex abuse scandal.
"It is critical that each campus and the NCAA as an association re-examine how we constrain or encourage behaviors that lift up young people rather than making then victims," Emmert wrote.
Penn State has until Dec. 16 to respond to the inquiry.
Federal prosecutors and the FBI also announced they are looking into investigating Sandusky at a federal level.
Investigators want to determine if Sandusky crossed state lines to abuse victims or used the Internet to locate victims.
It is unclear what disciplinary action might result from the separate investigations.
Sandusky reportedly faces a maximum of 460 years in jail if convicted on all charges.