Column: NCAA shows cowardice in lifting sanctions.

Penn State deserves to serve a full sentence.

David Nelson

The NCAA should be ashamed.

Not even 30 months removed from levying sanctions against the Penn State football program following the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, the NCAA made the decision Monday to lift the penalties inflicted on the school.

The penalties lifted included a four-year postseason ban and a four-year reduction of scholarships.

Forgive me for not cheering.

For comparison purposes, when the NCAA sanctioned the University of Southern California in 2010 for giving improper benefits to student-athletes, the school’s penalties included a ban from postseason play for two years and a loss of scholarships.

With the four-year sanctions lifted on Penn State two years early, the NCAA basically just told the world that the punishment owed for a scandal of Sandusky’s size is on par with giving college kids some nice presents.

Perhaps the NCAA isn’t as cowardice as the men of Penn State who reportedly covered things up in order to keep their noses clean, but they come very close with this decision.

Instead of standing by its convictions, the NCAA chose to let Penn State off for making progress and lift some of the school’s punishments.

Perhaps the NCAA feels like justice has been served. Perhaps it feels like the incarceration of Sandusky and the removal of all the people at the school who were involved in the scandal means things should be allowed to go to back to normal.

However, there are many victims of Sandusky’s actions whose lives have been affected forever.

Even though the sanctions levied against the football program might have meant nothing to Sandusky’s victims, the Nittany Lions won four bowl games with its leaders reportedly having knowledge of what transpired.

That’s appalling.

Penn State more than deserves to serve its full sentence, regardless of the fact that the current players and coaches had nothing to do with what happened.

The players had every right to transfer after the sanctions were levied, and recruits knew that a shot at the postseason was off the table if they went there.

I hold no sympathy for them.

Now the program — currently sitting at 2-0 — has a shot to go to a national championship. Isn’t it a happy coincidence that this news broke a few days after many media pundits said the Big Ten’s playoff chances were gone?

Forgive me for sounding like a merciless, cynical curmudgeon, but the punishment definitely fit the crime on this one, and the NCAA simply backed down.

I’m sure the NCAA thought it was being gracious when it decided to lift the sanctions.

But instead, they’re taking away part of the justice that Sandusky’s victims deserved.