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‘Net reaction: Were the penalties against Penn State appropriate or not?

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Mark Emmert (Getty Images)

About the only thing that's not debatable about the NCAA's unprecedented sanctions against Penn State is this: They were among the most polarizing penalties the organization has ever handed out.

Some found them too harsh. Others thought they were appropriate. And many thought NCAA officials shouldn't have been the ones doling out punishment at all.

Here's a sampling of some of the strongest reactions from our experts at Yahoo! Sports, from our colleagues at other media organizations and from others in college football circles.

Pat Forde, Yahoo! Sports: This is the new reality ushered in Monday: Two college athletic institutions saw their images recast. Penn State football's clean NCAA record, trumpeted for decades under Joe Paterno, is now officially tarnished. And a governing body often lampooned in recent years for being out of touch and too lenient now has renewed potency.

[Pat Forde: Exclusive one-on-one interview with NCAA boss Mark Emmert]

Spencer Hall, SBNation.com: What would I have the NCAA do here? Absolutely [expletive]-nothing. After all, it's what they do most of the time. Ideally, I'd like them to evaporate overnight, and simply cease to exist. That will not happen, so I would instead like them to admit what they're doing: stabbing a corpse, and then demanding some public recognition of their ersatz bravery. I would like them to admit they are seizing a horrific moment in time to advance their own fartgassy agenda, and then demanding credit for it.

Ex-Penn State running back Evan Royster: "ah crap... so i lost every college football game i ever played in?"

Gregg Doyel, CBSSports.com: [Emmert] convinced me I'd been wrong when I wrote that the NCAA had no business judging Penn State. Shame on me for writing this in November, and this in June. Bravo to Mark Emmert for saying this. He spoke for you, me and everyone out there who was horrified, repulsed and ultimately furious with a school that would allow a child predator to run free because the apprehension of Jerry Sandusky -- regardless of how many boys it would have protected -- might have damaged its football team and coach.

[Dan Wetzel: NCAA sanctions will cripple Penn State for years]

Ex-Penn State cornerback Adam Taliaferro: NCAA says games didn't exist..I got the metal plate in my neck to prove it did..I almost died playing 4 PSU..punishment or healing?!? I truly believe the NCAA should have done something to promote and support healing 4 victims..having hard time understanding everything.

Michael Rosenberg, SI.com: Emmert is not fighting against the hypocrisy of college sports. He is acknowledging it, legitimizing it, and -- in a way -- even embracing it. Emmert can say that he is standing up against child abuse. He is not. The child abuse already happened. The people responsible are either in jail, going to jail or deceased. Emmert decided that Penn State put too much emphasis on its football team, and as a punishment, Penn State is not allowed to win football games for a while.

Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports: For first-year Penn State coach Bill O'Brien, dealing with a one-season suspension of the program would have been easier to handle. The death penalty is a misnomer because in NCAA terms there is always life after death. It's just the suspension of play for a year or two. As painful as a silent season in State College would've been, O'Brien, the freshly hired 45-year-old, could have spent the fall recruiting and pointing to the future. Instead he deals with mountainous hurdles in an attempt to win. Emmert was clear he wanted a culture change at Penn State and nothing changes the culture like 5-7 seasons. Football stops being so important.

[Rivals.com: Recruiting impact of Penn State sanctions]

Gene Wojciechowski, ESPN.com: Penn State required more than the death penalty because its sins were so unconventional, so groundbreaking in scope. Compare that with SMU, which was shut down by the NCAA in 1987 because it was an outlaw program in an often outlaw Southwest Conference. There was cheating, lots of it when it came to paying recruits, but at least you could wrap your arms around the deceit. The transgressions of Penn State were far more troubling and profound.

Former Miami Hurricanes and Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson: Penn St penalties Wow! ... their program will be no better than Div 2 for many years.

Stewart Mandel, SI.com: For the sins of Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier, Gary Schultz and Tim Curley, the NCAA dropped the hammer on Bill O'Brien, Matt McGloin, Silas Redd and 20 players who won't be able to receive scholarships from Penn State over the next four years (the NCAA stripped the school of 10 scholarships in each of the next four seasons). It assured that the Nittany Lions won't be a contender in the Big Ten for half of a decade -- if not longer -- and that their idol-worshipping fans will no longer cheer for a winner. Justice has been served, assuming your idea of justice for rape victims is to deprive a school of its next four Outback Bowl invitations.

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