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July 24, 2012

HORNING: NCAA didn't seem right until it acted

DALLAS — You want to believe in what NCAA president Mark Emmert announced Monday. You want to believe it because it seems to help.

Because Jerry Sandusky’s reign of terror, perpetrated by one man, received cover from many men; one of them, the until-Monday all-time winningest football coach in NCAA history, another one the athletic director, another a school vice president and still another, if you believe the Freeh Report, the since-fired university president.

It seems about right.

It seems right that Penn State pay a $60 million fine, which Emmert said was about a year’s worth of the football program’s revenue.

And it seems right that the Nittany Lions shall not play any bowl games nor Big 10 championship games for no less than four years and it seems right 10 scholarships of an annually allotted 25 be stricken for four years.

And, a nod to the student athletes who deserve better than to be trapped on a sinking ship, it seems right they be allowed to transfer without losing eligibility and without having to wait to play for their new school.

There is a clever perfection to it.

It is not the death penalty leveled at SMU. Some say it’s worse, yet on its face it clearly isn’t, because you know who gets along with 63 scholarships for their entire program? Every team in the Football Championship Series, and some of those teams are plenty dangerous. Ask Michigan, which lost its 2007 opener to Appalachian State.

If Penn State can retain most of its current players and award 15 scholarships each of the next four years, it might well keep 60 to 65 scholarship athletes in the program. And that’s enough. Enough to remain competitive and enough to not fall off the face of the earth.

But it is falling off the face of earth. Because many are bound to leave, and who’s going to want to go to Penn State now? Who’s going to want to be associated with such horrible history? Who wants to be stained?

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