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. Jim

    I say it is time to go after Gov Corbett. As Attorney General of PA in 98 he found NO REASON to prosecute. Now they get the death penelty for 98.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      With Joe Paterno and his staff activity covering it up, not having enough evidence to go to trail back in '98 is certainly possible.

      July 23, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • A real survivor ( not wussy victim)

      The ONLY reason Corbett didn't prosecute was because he was running for governor and Sandusky's organization and patrons were political donors. It was 100 percent political self serving.

      July 23, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Pfeffdaddy

    Sanduskey should get the death penalty.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |

    The Fans and the School are disgusting!!!
    Penn State Cheated! END OF STORY

    July 23, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark must have an iq of about 10!! how did they cheat Genius??

      July 23, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rebecca

      The fans are disgusting for standing behind their University, where so far a total of five people have been implicated? Since when is loyalty a bad thing? If that's disgusting, I'm damn proud to be the most disgusting person you've ever met.

      July 23, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • jy8504

      What excatly did they cheat at??

      July 23, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dean

    JoePa is no longer the winningest coach in college football. As my friend Denny says "Bet Sandusky made it to the top of Bobby Bowden's Christmas card list".

    July 23, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • TOM

      only because they are "butt" buddies !!!!

      July 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. gee

    Penalty not strong enough since university heads knew. Should have included at least 4 years of NO football. Let the guys on the team go elsewhere without penalty.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Matt

    WAH! Who cares about their stupid football? They're a bunch of criminals. Time for some big lawsuits and jail time!

    July 23, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RJ

    Best news I have heard all year. Maybe now they can focus more on.... academics! wooo!

    July 23, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rebecca

      You're a hateful person.

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

    NCAA made the sanctions severe because apparently many football fanatics still want just a slap on the wrist with a one-year penalty. They still don't "get" that this abuse that happened wrecked many lives. A half-hearted punishment is not enough. It's going to take a stiff punishment for people to get past the idea that football is more important than people. It would be interesting to know how many people at Penn State knew about the abuse but didn't come forward This punishment stings worse than the criminal and civil punishmentsfor those involved. So be it!

    July 23, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JudgeDB

    Cry me a river. People are supposed to go to a university to learn, not play a stupid game for the one-in-a-million chance of being scouted by an NFL team. People who go to a university simply because of their athletic programs (and get a degree in something useless like communications) are pathetic. Maybe now Penn State will have some more open spots for people who want to learn but couldn't get a football scholarship.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. yeah right

    Get the Movie "Necessary Roughness" and make that the template for the team for the next 4 years.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Journey

    This whole PSU thing has been yet another example of the collapse of our family values under the Obama Administration.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • journey'sAmoron

      yeah, all this happened before the Obama Administration. Don't be an idiot.

      July 23, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andy Daniel

      Well said – these events which took place a decade ago are clearly the fault of OBAMA

      July 23, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • chefjeff

      you are an idiot.

      July 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carol Snyder

      This all occurred under George Bush – and he had nothing to do with it either. Sandusky was Catholic. Maybe he took his lessons from the Catholic Church and their version of "family values". Actually they had nothing to do with it either. It had to do with a pedophile who managed to fool a lot of people. He wasn't even an employee of Penn State in 2001 when McCreary saw what he saw. (Sandusky retired from his coaching position in 1999.) Very sad that Penn State dropped the ball when they had a chance to report him, but I don't think it was to protect Penn State, as much as a guy thing – hating to confront friends and acquaintances, lots of denial, (since none of them actually saw it, denial is not so hard), hating to make waves, etc.

      July 23, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • larry

      You sorry excuse for a human being – how dare you take this discussion and wrap your stupid political views around it. This has nothing to do with Obama so go write your pathetic remarks in the Political section.

      July 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • MT

      No it's not.

      July 23, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Frank

    As much as something needs to be done, punishing the many who were not involved and clearly could not have known of Sandusky's acts is wrong. Obviously any change needs to be at the very root of Penn State culture. But allowing ego and emotion to rule the day is as wrong as the inaction of those that were in the know of Sandusky's crimes. And Paterno was never charged and in death cannot explain or defend his choices.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Matt in Virginia

    Honestly, if the Penn State student fans hadn't acted like such cult of personality worshipers, storming the streets, crying hysterically, flipping over reporters' vans, I might have more sympathy. What I think is getting lost in this whole thing is that this type of behavior is NOT NORMAL! It may be acceptable at a few of the "big ten" schools, but the vast, vast majority of college/University students/alumni who loved their collegiate years find that type of behavior bizarre to say the least.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. NitKit

    JoePa is still going to go down as a great football coach regardless what finger wagging NCAA does. You can’t change the final scores of those technical loses.
    As soon as the school has all of its scholarships back it will be winning as usual. There is too much local support for otherwise.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. rd403

    Gov. Corbett was complicit in this cover up. He was involved in the investigation since 1998. CNN or somebody, stand up and investigate this. Do your job and expose this corrupt governor! He has much to hide!

    July 23, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • NoMoJoePa

      Amen! This guy is into it up to his ears!

      July 23, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • A real survivor ( not wussy victim)

      He certainly is. He and all of his political donors. Noonan, too.

      July 23, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
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