07/24/2012 02:43 pm ET | Updated Sep 23, 2012

NCAA Sanctions Against Penn State 'Unprecedented' and 'Frightening'

Following the NCAA's independent investigation into the widespread cover-up of child sexual abuse by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, the governing body of U.S. college sports has imposed unprecedented sanctions against Penn State University. Did they go too far?

Dave Zirin, sports columnist for The Nation magazine and host of Edge of Sports Radio, thinks so. Appearing on Democracy Now!, Zirin says the sanctions will punish Penn State students, while sparing top officials, including Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett -- who has drawn criticism for his handling of the Sandusky investigation while serving as the state's Attorney General and preparing for a gubernatorial run.

Zirin says the NCAA's sanctions represent an historic and dangerous power grab for a governing body that has no democratic oversight.

"What the NCAA did was something they have never done in their history, which is involve themselves in a criminal manner and punish a school unilaterally for the purposes of their own brand rehabilitation," Zirin says.

Zirin also believes the sanctions let Penn State trustees off the hook.

"We're attacking 18-year-old scholarship athletes and making them pay the price when people in power have not really had to be affected by the horrible crimes that took place in Happy Valley," Zirin says. "I do not trust the NCAA to be [the] adjudicating body for the simple reason that their very existence ensures more cover-ups and more scandals in the future."

Click here to read the complete transcript of this interview and for more information about Democracy Now!, an independent, global weekday news hour.

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