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. Rascal Rabble

    itsah gone peecahn...bub-bye!

    July 23, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kyle

    Punish the individuals involved, not the program.

    July 23, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • gheezy

      sorry but the program failed to notice or take action in this long abuse case, so the punishment is fit for the crime. this will set an example to all other schools, that if you are in a position of power, you still need to do the right thing. Think of all the other positions of powers that have been abused.

      July 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. GeorgeBos95

    Seems to me, the real price will be paid by the players. Collateral damage in the form of innocents paying the price for the misdeeds of a few people.

    This is wrong on so many levels.

    July 23, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • irongoat81

      what's an appropriate penalty then? few scholarships? a post season ban? the creatures not decrying Joepa's unforgivable lack in judgement are turning my stomach. you live and die by the actions of the team members in the ncaa... it sucks, but that's college football. if this was a player that looked the other way, that'd be one thing. but it was your FRIGGIN COACH.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      How so? The current players are free to transfer without penalty, or if they'd prefer, keep their scholarships to PSU and need not play.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jonny

    Just went on Penn State football website, not a word about any of this, looks like business as usual!!
    STILL in denial??

    July 23, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • REIRPH

      Not true, responses from both acting AD and Coach O'brien! Stop lying!

      July 24, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  5. Joe Provincial

    Why punish the kids that are playing now – NOT FAIR – the people responsible have been delt with. Give the young scholars a chance to make things right for Penn State.

    July 23, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • PennState dead meat

      The students athletes are not being punished, as they are beign allowed to transfer with no loss of eligiblity, stay and continue to play, or be allowed to stay and keep their scholarships and not play. Pretty ggod deal if you ask me. If I was a decent college player with draft potential, I'd be out of PSU for sure as I'm sure this will hurt your potential draft selection.

      July 23, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      How are the kids being punished? They can either go play somewhere else, or if they don't think they can get a spot on another team, still go to PSU for FREE. I would argue that the bar, hotel, and restaurant owners will be the most hurt from all of this.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      The kids playing now are free to transfer without penalty or keep their scholarships to PSU without playing. The players are not being punished. The school is.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Janimare

    They are hurting a whole lot of innocent people, young and old, for the actions of one (alleged)filthy pig who has (allegedly) hurt young people already. Why hurt more young people? It seems counterproductive.
    Punish those directly involved.
    Follow the money trail.....

    July 23, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • jonny

      Janimare – another kool-aid drinker – still in denial!

      July 23, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      janimare: it was way more than one person. read the articles, please

      July 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      Alleged? He was convicted of raping young boys. And the school covered up to keep their image intact.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darren

      There's no "allegedly" about it. He was convicted.

      Penn State University chose football over the safety of children. I don't see any other options (punishment-wise) than to target that aspect that was held above all things more important: football. Collateral damage happens. It happened to the family and friends of Sandusky's victims, and now to the players, current and future, of PSU football.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ELH

    Not quite as draconian as I have recommended but sufficient to send a strong message. However, the NCAA needs to closely (as with a microscope) monitor schools like Ohio State which has no qualms about throwing truckloads of money at its new head coach.

    Is college football out of control? You bet it is. Even a cursory look at any school in any major conference will spot some smoke and where there is smoke, there is fire. I especially like the Thug Conference, SEC for its enlightened handling of the many boneheaded thuggery acts it is famous for.

    July 23, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kevin

    Now there will be plenty of seats available, twice, to go and watch the Buckeyes steamroll PSU.

    July 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Richard

    I think the extreme sanctions are a bad idea and not particularly fair to all the people who had no idea that any of Sandusky's shenanigans were going on – but, I don't care one way or the other. I never cared about football or Penn State. This is a problem they will have to work out without my concern. It's not like they ever asked me what I thought, anyway.

    July 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. MKF71

    It seems unfair to me that in the end, the players themselves are indirectly being punished for the actions of others – and something that had been going on LONG before they ever played for Penn State.

    July 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sam

    I hope that this is an attention-getter to Ohio State U, who tend to worship their winning coaches, pay $6M for a winning coach, and quickly get rid of coaches that don't buy into that culture.

    July 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Robert

    It's going to take Penn State football decades to recover, and most of us will likely not see it in our lifetimes.

    July 23, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. emmertdusky

    Just like economic forecasters, these talking heads have no idea what the outcome will be. The NFL also doesn't care about who won what championship when or where the players came from. All they are interested in is who is the best football player on the field. Their draft includes those from all schools. For the players, they continue to have top notch facilities and training. For everyone concerned it was still is and will be in the future – all about the $$$.

    July 23, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • emmertdusky

      Including the NCAA with their own corrupt leadership.

      July 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marc

      I have to agree with you. The precedent in recent history with USC has them coming out in 4 years with a top 25 contender. The program will attract good and great players who believe in restoring Penn State as a good place to play football.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rascal Rabble

    church of football and pastor coaches and deacon assistance coaches.....gone...bub-bye!

    nah the restah yus...go to the real church on sundays and make reparation foryah sins...!

    July 23, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. SSampson

    And if those in charge had done what was required by the LAW – turned Sandusky in to the police.... The school would have been held in high regard morally....and NO sanctions such as this

    Greed and reputation above responsibility – I've heard people say what a great guy JoePed was.... Exactly how many victims per championship is considered OK?? – Can JoePa be forgiven is the ratio was 3 games per one instance of abuse??? 4 games??? I really want those 'supporters' or JoePa to tell me what that acceptable number is....

    July 23, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharncedar

      Ok so you think child abuse is a bad thing. How do you feel about Roman Polanski, a convicted child rapist who escaped to Europe, and has been lionized and given awards by Hollywood and the liberal media. Does that get you upset and angry, do you want the Hollywood film industry to be shut down for a few years? If not, ask yourself why. Could it be that you are more interested in hating on Paterno and football than you are interested in protecting children. Which is why despite all the self-professed saviors of kids one meets online, in real life child abuse is rampant, especially in liberal areas and industries. Self-righteous, ridiculous hypocrites. More about hate than anything else.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
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