The NCAA mostly got it right and should be commended for acting swiftly.
I also applaud the NCAA for not caving to the death penalty crowd that wanted blood at the cost of harming tens of thousands of people who did no wrong. But there are two penalties I would have changed. Doubling the fine to $120 million — two years' worth of football revenue — would have benefited victims of child sexual abuse even more.
And I am not in favor of vacating wins. Sure, it feels good to knock Joe Paterno off the top of the FBS all-time wins list, but those victories were earned by the players. These were immoral and criminal acts, not recruiting violations.
Unprecedented failures and depravity at Penn State followed by unprecedented sanctions and swiftness from the NCAA. Seems the punishments fit the crimes. One exception: the vacating of victories. It's toothless and completely unrelated to the sexual abuse.
But the scholarship reductions, four-year bowl ban and $60 million fine are just. They hamstring a program whose reputation became more important to the late Joe Paterno and his enablers than the welfare of defenseless children.
Yes, NCAA president Mark Emmert and the Division I Board of Directors bypassed standard investigative and enforcement procedures, but that's precisely what this tragic case merited.
The NCAA and President Mark Emmert may have chosen not to levy the death penalty on Penn State but it did leave the school and its football program essentially on life-support.
Fining the school $60 million — equivalent to one year of gross revenue from the football program — was the right step, but I think the NCAA should have done more. Why not two years of revenue? Or three?
If NCAA officials want to punish a program, then it needs to do it through its wallet.
The NCAA spared Penn State, the worst offender of all time, of the most crushing of penalties
It did not invoke the death penalty and close the football program down for at least a year.
In 1987, the NCAA banned Southern Methodist University for one season for violations that pale in comparison with what happened at Penn State. SMU players took money from boosters, giving us the classic take-away phrase, "We had a payroll to meet."
By not going far enough, NCAA President Mark Emmert allowed the Penn State sanctions to be compared with day-to-day NCAA skulduggery.
The NCAA, once again, reached high — and fell short.