I originally wrote this as a reply to Gwinnett's article until I realized it was way too long for a reply:
The BIG TEN can go without one of its members for a while.They will have a hell of a time filling those slots at such a late date, but it doesn't matter. Penn State football should be shut down for at least a year and have some pretty strict restrictions when they start back up.
I wasn't really convinced of this till earlier tonight. I thought they deserved it, but it wasn't the NCAA's place. I have to admit that the comments after tryptic's article convinced me. The issue is: where do we, as the college football community, draw the line of what we will allow within our ranks. Wherever that line is, this is clearly across it. They could have covered up anything, and it would not be as bad as this.
One of the hosts on 107.5 the other day asked: what is the purpose of punishment? His purpose was to conclude that the kids currently in the program and the coaches that came after or where there and didn't know didn't deserve to be punished for crimes committed by others. His belief was that punishment is a retroactive tool to dispense justice on those that deserve it.
I disagree. The purpose of punishment is to deter further action of a similar nature. The crime of Penn State, as an institution, wasn't the molestation of children. That crime solely rests on Jerry Sandusky. The crime of Penn State is the crime of holding the interests of the institution above the interests of the public, the students, the faculty and the various communities it operated within (whether that be academic, athletic, municipal, or other). The punishment required to deter that behavior from Penn State as well as other institutions needs to be public and directly effect the institution which was being protected. That institution was Penn State Football and Penn State University.
The NCAA, as the oversight party of the Athletic community in which Penn State operates, has the duty to protect the community as a whole by regulating egregious behavior detrimental to the community. Exactly what the limits of that regulatory power are have been a divisive topic of discussion in the sports community over the last couple of years. However, this level of disdain for its neighbors goes so far beyond anything that UNC, SoCal, Ohio St., Miami or even SMU has done; it clearly justifies a punishment harsher than any of the others.
Lastly, for those that think that this doesn't fall under the purview of the NCAA (as I have until recently), I give you two examples of where the NCAA has exerted control over issues that have not had anything to do with on the field competition or recruiting. The NCAA's demanding of schools to change their native-american themed mascots with the threat of sanctions and the ongoing post-season ban on the State of South Carolina for the the flying of the Confederate Flag at the Confederate Soldiers Memorial (an issue the in-state institutions and coaches have no control over). If the NCAA believes that it has the jurisdiction to exert influence on these issues, it clearly believes it has the jurisdiction to exert punishment to Penn State.