To outline what Mark Emmert and the NCAA did to Penn State isn’t a matter of black & white. It’s mostly grey, highlighted by some perverse nature to stick it to a program and a community suffering from the largest black eye received in college athletics. The association wants to be the face of all that is morally right in amateur athletics, knocking away wins and erasing scholarships when players get benefits and perks not within their guidelines. They chose today, hours after the university removed a statue dedicated to its beloved, now deceased & controversial figure head to lower the boom:

– Four year bowl ban.

– $60 million fine. ($12 million installment payments over 5 yrs)

– Vacate all wins from 1998-2011, forcing Joe Paterno to retroactively give up his status as college football’s all-time wins leader and regulate him to 8th.

– Athletic department on five year probation.

Without conducting an investigation of their own, the NCAA used Penn State’s own Freeh Report to hammer the university with such sanctions for their nefarious deeds but what exactly does it prove? Does it say that the NCAA, as inconsistent and flimsy a governing body as they are now has complete power to weigh in on moral matters as well as those that hamper the idea of “student athletes” and rules violations? They want to erase decades of belief (and actual fact) that football is paramount to some universities and colleges when that will never occur, not even at Penn State which grew in stature nationwide because of Paterno & the football program.

They were the white knights, the school that prided itself on never having bear the brunt of an NCAA violation or sanction. Instead, they’ve now replaced SMU as the receivers of the mythical “death penalty”. The lawsuits, the penalties from the federal government, the shame of it all isn’t enough to quench the NCAA (and some of America’s) bloodlust for justified punishment. For those on the Penn State campus still sheepishly following Paterno’s ghost, you have that right. Just be aware that you’d be worshipping a false idol who once said he wouldn’t want to “leave college football to the Jackie Sherrill’s & Barry Switzer’s of the world.”

The program itself is in shambles now given that the bowl ban stretches the length of some of the players entire playing careers. They’re eligible to transfer immediately to other schools without losing a year under special guidelines so they may be spared but these weren’t top flight athletes found at Alabama, USC, et. al. PSU was already headed for a down year and now they’ve been subjected to the dregs of the Big Ten (who by the way will also get their vulture on and sanction Penn State as well in the coming days, if not today as well) and now they’ve been crippled.

The only good sanction that holds no bearing on the people who had nothing to do with the matter is the $60 million which will be going to facilities who help people deal with sexual abuse. Everything else? Cracking Pandora’s box open with a sledgehammer while having a “Burn Penn State” bonfire.

Today, the NCAA found itself powerful enough to act without having to discover their own evidence. Which could wind up rendering investigations obsolete in the future. They wanted to send a message but the moral stain from the American public and sports world in general served as enough of a reminder. In a 24-hour news cycle, this wasn’t going away regardless of Joe Paterno’s statue being removed. Emmert understood that children were raped, that an athletic program and university figureheads allowed it to occur and swept it under the rug for the sake of bad press.

Now the school will be a laughing stock football wise for the next half-decade, maybe even longer. The NCAA once again decided to re-write its rulebook on their own accord and the message it sent was clear. They punish what they choose to punish, to their own extensions.

Welcome to the new world of punishment in college athletics.