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OU Sports Journalism Instructor Says Penn State Sanctions Are Misguided

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The NCAA made history this morning as it announced a series of unprecedented sanctions against the Penn State football program. Fans across the nation are calling the penalties severe, but Molly Yanity says it's not enough.

Yanity used to work for ESPN Internet Ventures and covered sports in California and Washington state. Now, she's a Ph.D. student and journalism instructor at Ohio University.

“The NCAA is throwing down the hammer when they really need to be picking up a mirror, analyzing what they see and getting rid of the hypocrisy,” she said.

Yanity says the problem stems from the NCAA treating college football as an entertainment industry where coaches become revered and players become stars.

“Coaches aren’t gods; people aren’t gods.”

The penalties stem from the program’s involvement in the sex abuse scandal that centered on former coach Jerry Sandusky.

Penn State football’s punishment includes a $60 million fine, a four-year postseason ban, an annual reduction of 10 scholarships over a four-year period and five years of probation. However, none of these penalties come close to what may be the most significant individual sanction in the context of college football history: a loss of all of Penn State’s wins from 1998 to 2011.

The NCAA’s last sanction hit former Nittany Lion’s coach Joe Paterno the hardest. A total of 111 of his wins have been vacated, removing him from the position as the sport’s all-time winningest coach. Yanity says that this may bring a little justice to victims.

“Those wins and him being the winningest coach of all time are things that are constant reminders to victims of this crime,” Yanity said.

Penn State says it will not appeal the sanctions.