Five experts: What happens to Penn State football?
Large crowds and Penn State victories at Beaver Stadium may be a thing of the past, college football experts say.
July 23rd, 2012
01:29 PM ET

Five experts: What happens to Penn State football?

Saying it is "a stark wake-up call to everyone involved in college sports," the NCAA announced a $60 million fine against Penn State University on Monday and took away 14 seasons of football victories from the late Joe Paterno.

The school's football team was also banned from the postseason for four years and will lose 20 football scholarships a year for four seasons, NCAA President Mark Emmert said.

Emmert said the unprecedented fine will be paid over five years to fund programs that serve the victims of child sexual abuse.

The Big Ten Conference also acted Monday, ruling Penn State ineligible for its conference title football game and saying the Nittany Lions' share of bowl revenues for the next four seasons - approximately $13 million - will be donated to charities that "protect children."

So what does that mean for the future of Penn State football? Five experts weigh in:

Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel says a year of the "death penalty," a complete ban on football, would have been preferable to the sanctions Penn State received.

"It could've been abolished for a year, continued mostly business as usual and been back long before these recruiting sanctions will endure," Wetzel writes of Penn State football.

"It's nearly impossible to recruit a great or even good player when he knows he can't participate in the postseason until he is, at best, a senior. Any player worth his scholarship wants to compete for championships. Penn State players can't. So why wouldn't recruits just go to Michigan or Alabama or wherever?"

Dan Levy, national lead writer for the Bleacher Report, calls the sanctions "murder by suicide, college football style."

"Make no mistake: The NCAA sanctions are a death knell for Penn State football," Levy writes.

"The NCAA stepped in to make it virtually impossible for Penn State to field a competitive team this year, next year or any year in the next half decade," Levy says. "If that's not death, what is?"

Fox Sports' Jason Whitlock lines up with Wetzel and Levy.

"The sanctions cripple Penn State football. The four-year bowl ban, four-year scholarship reductions and the freedom granted to current players to transfer immediately without penalty or simply decline to play while maintaining their scholarships will make Penn State the Vanderbilt of the Big Ten," Whitlock writes. (Vanderbilt is a longtime doormat in the powerhouse Southeastern Conference.)

"The reduction to Vanderbilt’s level of competitiveness is likely permanent," says Whitlock. "It’s going to take two decades for Penn State football to recover."

Stewart Mandel, writing on, says the NCAA's decision will have a long-lasting impact.

"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," Mandel wrote.

"Penn State will remain at the front of the news for many years to come, not for the criminal acts of a former assistant coach or its leaders' abhorrent inaction in handling him, but for its football players' inevitable on-field futility," Mandel said.

ESPN football analyst Lou Holtz, a former college football coach himself, also cited the severity of the scholarship reductions and the ability of current football players to transfer freely or remain at Penn State and still take scholarship money without playing football.

"I cannot think of a more devastating decision made by the NCAA," Holtz said.

The sanctions will hurt football attendance, Holtz said, limiting crowds to 55,000 to 60,000 in Beaver Stadium, where average attendance last year was more than 101,000, according to Street and Smith's Sports Business Journal.

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Filed under: College football • Football • Joe Paterno • Penn State • Sports
soundoff (719 Responses)
  1. yup!

    Wow ... there is a dysfunctional mentality at Penn State which goes from the top down. I'm glad the new leaders of Penn State are trying to change it. I'm sure in about 10 years when the culture has changed and there are fresh new students who chose to attend the school not because of the football team, then Penn State will be a better place.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. LTK

    Did anyone consult the victims on what they felt would be an appropriate consequence for the school, and football program? These sanctions are being brought against Penn state because of the horrible things that happened to them.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • butch81385

      You can't consult the victims. That would be logic. Instead you just have to use the victims to further your agenda... That is the way it is done!

      July 24, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. stephen

    Penn State football will be dead perhaps for ever. There will be no opportunity to bring in talent for at least the next four years and, in years thereafter, high school talent will not be interested. The older generation will move on to other pursuits and the newer generation will just not care. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Thanks Joe!!!!

    July 24, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Carol

    I do not understand the people that say that Penn State didn't deserve these sanctions. In the United States of America, the home of the free and the brave, it is okay to abuse your children, it is okay to kill each other, it is okay for people to say what they feel. Put yourself in the shoes of the young men that were abused. Put yourself in the place of his mother, his father, his sister, his brother, his grandparents. How humiliating and how wrong that it is okay for us in the United States of America to allow this to occur in our schools, in our homes and in our communities. People should be ashamed of themselves. Many, many people knew this was going on and many many people turned their head. Let the chips fall where they will. Let these men know they did the right thing coming forward and let the school know, the place our children go to get an education that we pay for, the place where our children should feel safe that this is not acceptable and everyone should be appalled this went on for as many years as it did. Did you see something and should you have reported it! How would you feel if it was your son, your son in law, your uncle, your father! Shame on you, all of you that think Penn State got a raw deal. That ring you have, that jersey you have and that jacket you have to boast about, is nothing absolutely nothing when you see what happened behing the walls of Penn State!

    July 24, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ken

    I wonder what the NCAA will do to Florida A&M since the hazing death.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jalek

    The NCAA clearly believes every Penn State player is also a child rapist, that's the only explanation.
    Who is still on staff or the team that was implicated in the investigation?

    July 24, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Deep Sea

    The attack on a University (PSU), the athletes, staff, students, and fans that is now happening is as disgusting as the child molestation that was perpetrated by Gerry Sandusky. As long as human beings work at factories, schools, government offices, etc., then terrible things are going to happen in the midst of all the good things....nothing short of the extinction of the human race will prevent it. Destroying all that's good to extract revenge on the few bad acts is moronic, at best. Gerry Sandusky was tried and convicted, end of story. Why destroy the hopes and lives of all the players who had nothing to do with it? If this punishment is really fair, then we should use it for every organization that ever housed a rapist, child-molester or murderer. Lets disband and punish the armed forces, the government, all the auto industry, every college and university, all the churches, etc. My God, you all have turned my country into a Gerry Springer episode. Idiots.

    July 25, 2012 at 6:51 am | Report abuse |
  8. Penn State

    The reality here is that Sandusky is not the issue, he was the problem. The issue is the complete and utter unwillingness for the leaders to deal with the problem and the failure of the Trustees to be more assertive in asking tough questions. I been happier to see Beaver Stadium leveled, but accept the greater wisdom of the NCAA in perserving some future for Penn State Football and all the people who are dependent on it for work. Now, we need to focus on the leadership failure because it is not jsut in football and not just at Penn State.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • bruce

      Well said! People just don't like to be held accountable.

      July 27, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. YouArePennState

    Losing builds character!

    July 26, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
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