NCAA acting as judge, jury, and executioner: What could possibly go wrong?

Many quarters praised the NCAA for not wasting time with its own investigation of the Sandusky affair, which would inevitably take forever and cost a fortune, but rather relying on the report prepared by Louis Freeh’s company.  However, the NCAA’s purview is entirely different from the university’s itself (and, of course, from those of a civil court or criminal prosecutor):  “The NCAA’s job is to investigate whether Penn State broke its rules and whether it gained a competitive advantage in doing so”—i.e., not the same objective as the Freeh report.

For that matter, what is the NCAA’s interest in this case, beyond any interest of the university itself, the criminal justice system, or the tort lawyers?  None.  Sandusky’s conduct and the corruption at Penn State were horrific, but none of this is alleged to have impacted any Penn State students or anything impacting the competition on the field.  Would the NCAA have similarly intervened if Sandusky shot up a shopping mall while wearing his PSU hat?

The NCAA’s punishment was a gross violation of “the rule of law,” such as there is one that pertains to its relationship with member universities.  It seemed to invent the rules that the university broke and the appropriate punishments as it went along.  Its Orwellian punishment—pretending past Penn State victories (but not losses, apparently) didn’t exist—seems to have nothing to do with the crimes committed.

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