I guess I have come down on the side of the argument that the NCAA had to punish Penn State to the extent it has for a host of reasons, but the driving concern was political in the face of severe public/media backlash. I've read the statement that the actions were meant to "put the presidents back in charge" so I can infer that the actions were also in response to the general situation of big school sports. Independent of the ***** deal that PSU received, I am OK with this. So, as the actions by the NCAA against PSU are, IMO, political, it, in a strange way gives me some hope.
Being a student of Chinese history I am a little familiar with purges and political movements against certain elements of society by the Chinese communists and their cousins in the former Soviet Union...and I guess even in modern day Russia....but nothing sends fear in to communities like the unbridled use of total power. Maybe an extreme example of what the NCAA did to Penn State, but I think the observation put forth by many that the lack of due process and actions by the NCAA totally outside its normal scope of operations and normal investigative (and democratic) process is scary. And let's face it, continuing with the allegory, Penn State is on the prisoner train to Siberia. Screw the collateral damages. The fan post of the 'Boz in his NCAA as Communists T-shirt is striking...With this action against PSU, the NCAA is acting as if it is a Communist dictatorship. And I am not saying this in an absolute critique of Communism, just an observation. (And I am not wearing, nor do not wear, a tin-foil hat, nor am I a Birther or believe 9-11 was created by a US president.)
From my understanding, PSU will have to submit to a high degree of NCAA control..similar to a Communist country where the Party is represented in all organizations by a Party Secretary, the person with the government connections that tend to hold the real power (particularly the power of fear) over the non-party members. This "dual" power structure is what helps keep the proletariat in line, especially if you can be sent off to a labor camp for some infraction, real or otherwise. (Remember in "Hunt for Red October" the Party dude on the sub that was the alternate power structure to the captain!)
So, we will have a "shadow" power structure at Penn State, ensuring we follow the rules and making us a "model citizen." Call it 'reform through labor,' 'brainwashing,' whatever, this is where we are at.
And to the rest of the nation, PSU is bruised, battered and bloodied.... our proud tradition of Success with Honor lying in a heap for all the other coaches, boosters, football fanatics to see. And fear. This is certainly the goal of the NCAA - to reaffirm their role and power in the struggle between academics and $ports.
But, what if, after the purge and exile, "reform through labor" works? Wouldn't it be just as powerful and reaffirm the NCAA's status at the top if they were to decide to bring Penn State back from the Gulag....and what if they did this early?
There are plenty of actual cases of some dissident, intellectual, leftist, rightist, some other "ist" being carted back from a death camp, propped up and declared "reformed!" All the better if they are still in prison grab, starving, shaking, only to be brought back to society by the same hand that left them for dead in the first place. THAT is power. That creates true allegiance.
So, my guess is after two years, the NCAA will bring Penn State back, hold up a still quivering mess and say, "look!" "After submitting, they are better, they will not commit any infractions, morale or otherwise, and they are the new model."
So, maybe I am delusional or over hopeful. I don't think anyone sits on a prisoner train and believes that if they suffer enough they will be brought back as a model for reformation...but it has happened. Maybe our reform through labor will be cut short by the "benevolent" hand of the NCAA.
There is an equal amount of political power in the power of rehabilitation.