Quite frankly, I don't care a flying fig about Penn State, vacated wins and the legacy of Joe Paterno. But the "unprecedented" sanctions levied by the NCAA this morning break new ground for that institution and it may not be good.
The NCAA took unprecedented measures with the decision to penalize Penn State without the due process of a Committee on Infractions hearing, bypassing a system in which it conducts its own investigations, issues a notice of allegations and then allows the university 90 days to respond before a hearing is scheduled.
The NCAA is a private organization set up by the university presidents to keep the playing field level in recruiting and provide uniform rules under which its athletic teams compete. It is not a civil or criminal court to punish the off-the-field misdeeds outside of its jurisdiction. NCAA President Mark Emmert has decided to give himself the powers of the professional league commissioners. He will now use the "institutional control" rule like MLB's all-encompassing "best interests of baseball clause" to try to wrestle control of football away from the conferences and back to the NCAA.
Because of the shame and the bad publicity surrounding this case, Penn State will probably not appeal. It will be left up to the next college that finds itself on the hook for something that falls outside of the normal NCAA purview to challenge this. Or perhaps this winter the university presidents will codify the NCAA's new powers and cede back control of football to Indianapolis.