Regis Philbin wasn't among the college football fans who were THRILLED to see Penn State take down the iconic Joe Paterno statue ... in fact, Reg tells us, "It broke my heart to see that."
Reg -- an avid Notre Dame-aholic -- was out in NYC yesterday where he told us he actually felt bad for the people in Happy Valley.
"I think the Penn State sanctions were overdone ... really excessive in so many ways."
Regis says the NCAA punishment "hurt a lot of people who had nothing to do with this whole thing."
Of course Reg didn't just bitch about the problems ... he also offered some solutions.
Check out the clip ...