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. Fonz

    Serves them right for all who covered for that piece of garbage Sandusky. I think they were let off with a slap on the wrist. These boys lives are destroyed because Penn State officials were more interested in winning then doing the right thing.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Restaurant Critic

    Imagine, young people wanting to attend Kid Toucher University not because of the football program, but because of academic excellence. Disturbing thought, no?

    July 23, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Class of '80

      Stick to the kitchen reviews Cookie . PSU has much more to offer than just football. Athletics just happened to make it possible for some of us to get a great education there. What happened is unforgivable but don't pretend you know you why someone would want to go there if not for the football program. But I guess that comes with being a pompous "critic" as it is easier to criticize others than try to do it yourself right?

      July 23, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. DesMoiner

    Oh well, the NCAA has once again stuck its overbearing nose into something completely unrelated to college athletics. Not really a surprise given their Zeus-like status. Penn State football will be back. It will get a full season of play and people will continue to watch it. The fine will be paid, the scholarship forfeitures served, and Paterno will continue to be amerika's favorite scapegoat. Ultimately, football will continue to be played and that is the only thing relevant. The rest is a criminal/civil matter that the courts will handle. The NCAA, as usual, has no business here.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • melora

      DesMoiner, He willingly covered up Jerry Sandusky's crimes. He is NO scapegoat. You can go back to football shrine and kneel before it now.

      July 23, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Victor

    Oh wah. Its just a game. Small price to pay for criminal negligence and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sarah

    "We aren't . . . Penn State!"

    July 23, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. yup!

    So sad ... Paterno could have been a hero, but instead he turned out to be a tyrant and a coward.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      And all that, by his own hand.

      July 23, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Look Out!

    But how will the fine residents of central PA spend their fall weekends now if they can't drink to excess in the parking lots in and around the school? What to do, what to do?!?!

    July 23, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      It might work out a lot better for them. The parking lots will be a lot more empty now.

      July 23, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kona

    One has to wonder what the real point of these sanctions are. Joe is dead, so you can't really hurt him anymore, just his legacy. Graham Spanier and the rest of his merry band will be dealt with by the courts, both criminal and civil. Sandusky will die in jail. So what is the REAL motive behind these sanctions? I think the NCAA wants to overcompensate for its own shortcomings in the way it handles so many other issues surrounding college athletics. I could think of other, more targeted ways at punishing those responsible at PSU, but the collateral damage from this action will have far reaching consequences for more than just the small circle of individuals who covered up for a child molester.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Laura S

    Several of you are saying this is sad for the kids. And it is. But just because Enron had thousands of innocent employees does that mean they should go on business as usual? The kids who are having to move on or quit playing should be upset with Penn State for being a bunch of crooks, not the NCAA for punishing them.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Emily

    The University staff members who covered up the wrong doings of a very sick man are gone. They will receive their punishments. So why punish the students, alumni, community, and all the PSU sports players for something that they were all unaware of? Without a top football program at Penn State, the town of State College is going to financially suffer. That town and it's residents' businesses (and not PSU owned businesses) keep afloat because of the students and alumni that come into town for big football weekends. Why should they be punished? A lot of the other student athletic programs are funded by the revenues that are brought in from the football program. Why should a PSU field hockey player, basketball player, golfer, etc have to be punished? I agree that this punishment needs to fit the crime, but it needs to affect the individuals that are at fault and not thousands of innocent bystanders.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. yup!

    The infamous 5
    Sandusky, Paterno, Curley, Schultz and Spanier

    July 23, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. mordrud

    Holy CRAP! Look at all those box seats in the photo! No wonder they made so much money each year.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Charlotte

    Good for them, good decision and appropriate long-term consequences. Maybe there will even be a generation of Penn State grads who don't suffer early Alzheimer's because of a knuckle-dragging "sport" designed for the entertainment of the testosterone-impaired couch potato.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jeff b

    Sjame on anyone evolved with removing Joes name and statue. Joe cared for the school and it's kids, and he is not here to defend himself. Next thing you crazy people will do is strip the students of their degrees because they attended the school during those years.

    Penn state is a great school with great people!! U am a loyal Alabama fan and a Joe Paw loyalist! You alums need to stand up for you school!

    Sad Dsy!!!!

    July 23, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • melora

      Your lack of empathy for the victims is truly disgusting

      July 23, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. blindbear

    Too bad NCAA doesn't have authority over the Catholic Church.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
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