The family of Joe Paterno sent a letter to the NCAA, essentially asking it to reconsider its decision to vacate Penn State's wins from 1998 to 2011. It was called an appeal, though really it was just a letter. The family can't actually appeal anything, and though its point about the NCAA side-stepping its own rules to hand down sanctions may have been correct, there's nothing they can do about it.
Penn State sanctions are not subject to appeal.— BOB WILLIAMS (@NCAABob) August 3, 2012
Penn State and the NCAA worked out something akin to a plea bargain. Penn State got to keep its football program alive (albeit on life support), the NCAA got to swing its ban-hammer of doom and the issue didn't have to linger. Since the deal was brokered and agreed to, appealing it is all rather pointless.
Well that and the Paterno family doesn't fall under the umbrella of the NCAA. So unless Penn State wants to file an appeal on their behalf (SPOILER: Not happening) which would also probably violate the terms of the sanction agreement, then this is much ado about nothing. A public relations play, if you will.
It probably would be the most NCAA thing ever if the appeal was heard and Penn State was handed the death penalty as a result, though.