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Giving the Big Ten too much power would be big mistake

In the wake of the biggest scandal in the history of college athletics, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany has gotten a little power hungry. Wednesday morning, a Big Ten official was quoted in The Chronicle of Higher Education as saying the league's presidents and chancellors "could consider removing Penn State from the conference." Furthermore, according to the report, Delany wants the ability to fire coaches.

Either of these, especially Penn State's removal, would be tremendous mistakes.

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Granted, these are probably natural reactions on Delany's part. It's understandable that, given the situation, the commissioner's office wants to bring the hammer down hard, making a statement to its member institutions and all of college athletics. But these are the wrong statements to make.

Sanctions are obviously needed, but kicking a team out of the conference would be unprecedented and a poor message to send. The Big Ten needs to be a leader and rush to the aid of one of its schools during its darkest of days, rather than abandon it.

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The NCAA, in its purest form, is an educational institution. Its function is to take young men and women and turn them into better people. If the Big Ten is seriously considering cutting Penn State, and it seems unlikely that they actually are, let's hope the NCAA would intervene. Sure, the Big Ten has the right to pick and choose what universities it wants (Hello, Missouri), but these are not grounds for dismissal.

This just isn't the Big Ten's war to fight. There are certainly examples when removal would be appropriate. For example, if one school began trailing by miles academically compared to the rest of the pack, it would be reasonable for the conference to propose a change. However, acting on this after the sexual abuse that occurred in State College would cause more harm than good.

For starters, it would be crippling the entire athletic department, not just the football program. In this sense, the death penalty would make more sense. Why exactly are we punishing a field hockey player because of this? We wouldn't. It's absurd. It's punishing the wrong people.

So Delany wants the ability to fire coaches. It should be obvious that, even if he had that right before this horrible scandal, nothing would have been different. It would be a completely proactive move on Delany's part, and he could justify it by saying he wants to prevent a future situation from arising.

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In terms of the Big Ten, Penn State is still a baby. The league's second newest member joined in 1990. Let's keep the sanctions, and the Nittany Lions, too, who will recover from this and one day make the Big Ten proud again.

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