Penn State football's difficult year continues as backlash from Jerry Sandusky's transgressions and the subsequent cover-up by school officials have continued to put the spotlight on a program that was thought to be squeaky clean for 40-plus years.
Today, ESPN is reporting that Penn State football is facing punitive NCAA sanctions for these off-field incidents that have nothing to do with the players themselves.
Are Mark Emmert and the NCAA stepping over the line?
I believe they are. An anonymous former chairman of the NCAA Committee on Infractions told ESPN's Andy Katz:
The purpose of the NCAA is to keep a level playing field among schools and to make sure they use proper methods through scholarships and etcetera. This is not a case that would normally go through the process. It has nothing to do with a level playing field.
He is absolutely correct. The NCAA is set up so that there is technically an even playing field between the member schools, whether it is a major school like Ohio State or Florida State, or a small school like Norfolk State or Mount Saint Mary's.
The former committee chair also said:
But this has nothing to do with NCAA business...This is new. If they're going to deal with situations of this kind that have nothing to do with the games of who plays and so on and rather deal with members of the athletic department who act immorally or criminally then it opens up the door to other cases.
While what happened at Penn State is an egregious crime, Emmert is opening up a can of worms.
The anonymous committee member also stated that the only connections to athletics were that the department was lenient towards Sandusky, and some of the abuses happened at the football facility.
While the NCAA has built a case against the Penn State football program, they have broken their own procedure of doing their own investigation, instead basing it off of the Freeh Report. The report blames Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz for pursuing a cover-up.
While Freeh points a finger at Paterno, he never clearly states that Paterno was involved in the cover-up.
The NCAA are also going against their own procedure by not bringing the case in front of the Committee of Infractions.
In this case, NCAA has nothing to stand on for any sanctions they place on Penn State football. While the incidents involved former members of the football program, they have nothing to do with making sure the field of play is level. Mark Emmert is playing judge and jury in a case he has no authority over and he is overstepping the express purpose of the NCAA.