This morning, the NCAA brought the hammer down on Penn State. No. They didn't get the "death penalty". No. They didn't get a TV ban. What they got...was much worse.
The official sanctions are as follows: 1. $60 million fine (which equals one year of revenue from football) that goes to charities of the sexually abused. 2. 4 year postseason ban (no Big Ten Championship game, no bowl game). 3. A reduction of annual football scholarships from 25, to 15. 4. All wins vacated from the year 1998 to 2011 (every single one of them, bowl games included).
The fine was a great move by the NCAA. What they're doing with the fine is even better. They shouldn't pocket the money for NCAA revenue. They should put it to some sort of sex abuse charity. It's their own way of literally making Penn State pay for the damage those men did.
The four year postseason ban is a much deeper penalty than I think some realize. Any incoming recruit will never go to a bowl game unless he becomes a fifth year senior. What recruit wants to go to a program that will never go to a bowl game? Not only does that impact the trophy case of Penn State, it effects their recruiting abilities.
Penn State is a program that gets judged based on whether or not they won a bowl game. Now, they won't even have the opportunity to go to a bowl game. The NCAA took a shot right to the heart of Penn States football existence: to go to the postseason...and win (isn't that what Joe Pa wanted?).
The reduction of the scholarships is going to piggy back on the reduction of players willing to go to Penn State. Those 15 annual scholarships may be just enough to cover whatever recruits want to go there.
The big kicker for me, though, is the vacating of the wins from 1998 to 2011. For those wondering, that puts Joe Paterno at 298 all time wins...officially. Want to know where he ranks on the all-time list now? 12th. Bobby Bowden now assumes his rightful place at the top of the all-time wins list.
I like the fact that current players on Penn State's football team will be allowed to transfer and will be immediately eligible when they arrive on their new campus. In doing so, the NCAA didn't punish people that were not responsible for those horrendous acts.
I also like what NCAA President Mark Emmert said in his press conference to announce the sanctions this morning. He said that he wanted to create a culture change within the Penn State program. He didn't want to do away with it completely. He just wanted to take their minds off of football for awhile.
Since the NCAA won't allow Penn State to go to bowl games for the next four years, they will be able to focus on the culture change that Emmert wants. The NCAA has asked Penn State to setup a compliance officer and the NCAA will conduct what could be called remedial sessions to aid in Penn State making the culture change.
What the NCAA did was worse than the death penalty. If Penn State got the death penalty, they simply wouldn't be allowed to play football. Now, they have to go out there with nothing to play for. All of the Penn State faithful will have to walk by that empty stone wall where Joe Paterno's statue once stood. The product on the field will always be a reminder of this teams heinous past.
Over the next four years, Penn State will get more and more embarrassed on the field while they lose top recruits to teams around the Big Ten and the NCAA. The quality of player that will sign with them won't be as top notch as the teams they'll be playing. Penn State simply won't be able to keep up with the rest of the NCAA football world.
The past eight months have been dreadful for the victims of Jerry Sandusky's terror. They've sat on the stand and have been forced to recall those terrible days numerous times in front hundreds of strangers. The damage done to those innocent people will never fully heal.
We've had the Freeh report, the Sandusky trial, Joe Pa's statue has been removed, and now today the NCAA has finally handed down the sanctions. Penn State's run of terror has officially come to an end. It's time to move on. It's time to rebuild. Penn State will be able to.
But, what about the victims?...
Follow the blog on Twitter @SkinnyOnSports and on Facebook by searching The Skinny On Sports.