The NCAA's penalty on Penn State University — "a $60 million sanction" and "a vacation of all wins from 1998 through 2011" — seems excessive.
Forcing the university to pay $60 million doesn't punish coach Joe Paterno, who is dead, or assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse. It punishes the university's current students and professors and staff. Few, if any of them, did anything wrong. It also punishes the taxpayers of Pennsylvania, who contribute to funding the university through their tax dollars. Few, if any of them, did anything wrong, either. It's a collective punishment rather than an individual punishment.
The vacation of wins is also absurd. It affects the records not only of the coaches but also of players who did nothing wrong, and it suggests a power of retroactive reality-adjustment that defies reality and common sense. Why not vacate all the college degrees granted by Penn State during that period, too?
It's hardly the first example of overkill punishment in a case involving Louis Freeh: look at what happened at Mercedes.
The NCAA also calls for "an independent, NCAA-selected Athletics Integrity Monitor, who will oversee compliance with the agreement." This will likely be lucrative work for whatever former government official or law firm gets the job. But it may also reinforce the idea that monitoring integrity is the job of some outside Louis Freeh type rather than the university's own students, faculty, and administrators. You could argue that the administrators haven't proven themselves trustworthy in that regard. But some of them have resigned.