Well, I suppose that this satisfies the blood-lust of those who were screaming for the demise of the Penn State football program. Mark Emmert and the NCAA have levied penalties against the Nittany Lions that will have a greater lasting effect than even the much ballyhooed "death penalty."
This morning, the NCAA slapped Penn State with five years of probation, four years of bowl bans, a loss of 40 total scholarships (which basically reduces PSU to a 65-man scholarship squad), immediate eligibility for transferring players, and a $60 million fine (via NCAA.com).
If you are a fan of the Penn State program you better enjoy any success you have this year, because the next five to eight years are probably going to be a pretty rough around State College.
As you can probably surmise from my tone and previous writing on this issue, I am no fan of this penalty mainly because I do not believe that the NCAA had any right or authority to take action in this case.
There was once a process, a sure to be slow, cumbersome process, that the NCAA followed when it wanted to punish a member institution.
There was always some charge of breaking NCAA rules involved, a notice of the charges, an investigation, a hearing with the Committee on Infractions, and usually a (sham) appeals process. The schools weren't ever treated fairly, but at least it was the unfair system of treatment that they had voted to establish.
In this instance, the NCAA decided that those rules simply did not apply, so Emmert and a group of other college presidents decided that they should totally abandon the rules of the organization and give PSU some extrajudicial punishment.
It certainly helped their cause that the "leaders" at Penn State have been so beaten down and are so afraid of any more negative media coverage that they willingly rolled over for whatever punishment Emmert and Co. chose to hand down.
However, that does not mean that allowing the NCAA to create rules as it goes along was the right thing to do.
Emmert basically stated that this was a punishment designed not to around what happened inside the program, but was based on the fact that the football program had become so much bigger than the university itself that it had to be reined in.
That is really rich coming from an organization that only exists because of the tremendous revenue and attention that is generated by the athletic departments at its member schools. If all the sports at the college and university levels were just club sports, would the NCAA be needed? Nope. And neither would the exorbitant salaries being paid to top NCAA staff.
Also, where does the NCAA get the authority to fine a state institution $60 million of taxpayer monies and then tell them how the money must be spent? I have seen some naked power grabs in my day, but none quite as audacious as this one.
For the people who long ago decided that Penn State was deserving of severe punishment for this situation, today is a day of rejoicing. The white knight at the NCAA have come riding in and slain the dragon of Penn State football.
But for those of us who do not trust this organization any further than we can throw their opulent Indianapolis offices, this is a sad and scary day. Because today the NCAA decided that no written rules apply to them in their quest for power.
Today, they used their own rule book as striking paper and did so with glee. Today, the NCAA became all powerful in the world of college sports, with no checks on what they can or cannot do.
I hope everyone is ready for what will likely ensue from this point forward. All hail the omnipotent NCAA.