The NCAA handed down a long, tough list of punishments for Penn State on Monday morning, the result of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal and the related cover up efforts. The school did manage to avoid the death penalty, but the sanctions it did receive were plenty harsh and likely to have a long lasting impact on the football program there.
For fans, the reaction is naturally mixed. There is plenty of disappointment, but as Black Shoe Diaries, SB Nation's Nittany Lions blog, points out, at least they know their fate now.
Mark Emmert said that the death penalty was originally in play, but that these sanctions would be less destructive than that "blanket penalty." These sanctions, he claims, are meant to help Penn State regrow its athletic department in a more constructive form, without more undue consequences. As it is, they've still dealt a huge blow to Penn State's ability to complete. Rather than ripping the band-aid off in one swift move, the NCAA has made it very difficult for Penn State to move on for the near future.
Other indications hint that the Big Ten may be next to act. In what form, we can't say. But after this, I'm not sure if anything could possibly be a surprise.
The only positive, I suppose, is that we know what's facing us--and that the death penalty didn't apply. There's no more uncertainty, no more fear, no more wondering what the future has in store for us. As the saying goes, the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know. And while we can be sure that, at least for the next few years, Penn State football won't be the same, at least we'll still have our Nittany Lions, even if they are just a shell of their former selves.