An NCAA official gave the usual bureaucratic response after the report was released, saying it needs to hear Penn State's response to some questions before the agency can proceed. Given the devastating conclusions drawn by the Freeh report, the university might as well leave its response blank. There's no defense.
NCAA — here's a suggestion for punishment: Give Penn State a year's probation and bowl ban for every year Sandusky ran amok at State College since 1998, until he was arrested last year. That's a staggering 13 years, a penalty that would gut the football program much as Sandusky gutted the lives of those young boys.
They never got a second chance, but the NCAA can still take the high road and give Penn State one. Shave a year off the penalty for every year the university demonstrates it is moving forward and has control of the program. Throw in a bonus year if everything symbolic of the cult of Joe is removed from campus once and for all.
Six years from now, declare it a new day and let Penn State football emerge for a new era.
No, it's not fair to the players currently enrolled. It's not terribly fair, either, to new coach Bill O'Brien, though he had to know when signing his deal that a day of reckoning would come. And it's certainly not fair to Penn State fans, whose only crime was believing all that was St. Joe.
Remember this NCAA: There was nothing fair at all about what was done to those young boys, either.
This one is so simple. There is no other choice. Gut the program. Doing anything less will strip the organization of the last bit of credibility it has as the watchdog of college athletics.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg