NCAA needs to make it count with Penn State

It's reckoning day in Happy Valley.

The NCAA will finally decide the fate of Penn State and its football program Monday.

Fifteen years after school officials first heard disturbing allegations about Jerry Sandusky's behavior, penalties will finally be handed down. Penalties that, according to the New York Times, will be "corrective and punitive measures."


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In an unprecedented move, NCAA President Mark Emmert will bypass the Committee on Infractions and decide the punishment he believes is best suited in this case.

It had better be.

The NCAA needs to make this one count.

There will be no second chances to send the right message to all of those involved, especially considering the NCAA's track record when it comes to handing out punishments for programs that have been under scrutiny lately.

From something as simple as sending a text message at the wrong time, or buying a soda for a recruit — to the extreme of agents providing money to players, NCAA rules have been as convoluted and inconsistent as the penalties rendered.

In fact, the group has spent the past year trying to simplify and streamline its rule book.

The NCAA had to make changes to considering the wake of trouble that has washed over the sport the past three seasons.

From USC having to vacate a national championship and sit out the postseason for the past two years to the more recent accusation of improprieties at the University of Miami, college football has seen better days.

Although, it's not just recent activities that hurt the NCAA and its image.

SMU was the first and only Division I football program to face the so-called "death penalty" back in the late 1980s. It was a punishment so severe — as the name dictates — that it set Mustangs football back two decades.

NCAA officials never believed there would be a day when it would be necessary or tolerable to take such drastic action.

Until now.

Critics have been demanding the NCAA take similar aggressive action against Penn State. However, what happened at SMU is nothing compared to the atrocities that took place behind closed doors at Penn State.

This isn't providing Camaros and cash to some players.

This is administrators and coaches — men of power — who were put in place to help protect and prevent things like this from ever happening.

They knew long before a jury convicted Sandusky that he was leveraging his position of power as a former Penn State assistant coach to sexually abuse underprivileged boys. In some cases, the abuse took place at the football complex and on football road trips.

 

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