The sanctions handed down to Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal were harsher than Joe Nocera thought they would be—but not harsh enough. The NCAA should have imposed the so-called "death penalty," a move that would have been reminiscent of University of San Francisco President John Lo Schiavo shuttering his school's legendary basketball team after the program got "out of control" in the 1980s, Nocera writes in the New York Times. Though the program never recovered, Lo Schiavo had no regrets—because he felt the university needed to show that "we intended to be good citizens."
Not so at Penn State. With its lighter sentence, the NCAA reminds us that college sports are all about money. "The decision not to suspend football was, in part, a business decision—which only makes sense since college football is very big business," Nocera writes. The NCAA president was sanctimonious and hypocritical in his announcement, claiming that "football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing, and protecting young people." Let's be honest, Nocera writes: "At big-time sports schools, football is always placed ahead of everything else," and that's not going to change. At this point, we can only hope that Penn State itself "may finally learn perspective." Click for Nocera's full column.