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. Andy

    This make the death penalty against SMU look like sunday school. Vacate the victories: Yes, cutting the scholarships by 20 per/year, that will kill the program for 10+ years, no bowl games for 4 years: Yes. Does the NCAA have the Legal right to force Penn State (aka the state of Penn.) to pay a $60 million fine? Wow, sounds like the UN or even worse the EPA. ala in all, the administration was a bunch of cowards, they are the ones that should be made to step down.

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

      The NCAA can't "force" Penn State to pay up, but the NCAA can kick them out if they don't comply, aka. permanent death penalty for the entire sports program.

      July 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      Andy, PSU could refuse to pay. The NCAA could also kick them out.

      July 24, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  2. GTI Hound

    Who cares is PSU's football performance is degraded long term? Change is hard. If one of the consequences of these decisions is the de-emphasis of the football culture at PSU, then I applaud them. It is this very culture that is at the root of their problem and must change. In time, perhaps PSU can serve as an example for other schools with misplaced priorities.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jy8504

    How can the NCAA impose santions without an investigation? they are going off of one man's opinion. Since when is the NCAA above the law?

    July 23, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      Even PSU's Board of Trustees isn't arguing with the findings. WAKE UP.

      July 24, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • jschrock

      One mans opinion? really? uh, hmmm, didn't a whole bunch of coaches including Paterno know about this. One mans opinion? oh my..

      July 24, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  4. kerrigjl

    Phew, I'm glad you said Vanderbilt and not Ole Miss or Kentucky... now THAT would be bad.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sick and Tired

    Fine them $300 million! Give the money to the victims! This is where the cult of sports takes colleges! 60 million is a slap to the face of all the victims.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. not a big fan

    Lou Holtz – If you think Beaver Stadium will be only half full in the next few years, you don't know anything about Penn State fans.
    Dan Levy & Stewart Mandel – "Half a decade?" Who SAYS that? Say "five years" like someone who actually took a journalism class somewhere along the way.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • jschrock

      Penn State and IU will now have something in common, BAD FOOTBALL, but you're right, the tail gating will still be awesome. Lets see how many victories Penn can produce (that is if they don't take them away..LOL) in the next 5 years, my prediction, only 3, and two of those from IU! LOL LOL LOL

      July 24, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  7. akhmedalkhlij

    Buggery turns boys into me.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mark

    I guess UVA should get the death penalty for allowing a murderer to be on their Men's Lacrosse team. Funny....nothing was done to that school..

    July 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Childrens lives have been ruined all because Penn State employees refused over and over again to do the right thing. They protected the pedophile but didn't protect the children and that's sick.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Won't Say

    I understand that Penn State should be punished by why punish the students. By beheading the football team, you are killing the local students and economy. I agree that a year of no football would have been more appealing compared to what they have lost. I feel horrible for the current students and those who have lost their scholarships. Shame.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. David B

    All of the "experts" (ie, sportswriters) comments lament the loss of Penn State football. What a shame! What about the blatant disregard for the law and the coverup? At least Penn has a chance to eventually rebuild their program. How long will it take these "kids" to rebuild their lives?

    July 23, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • emmertdusky

      My guess is not as long as you think after they cash in.

      July 23, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. The OM

    "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?""

    Isn't that the entire POINT, Mr. Wetzel? It ISN"T supposed to be business as usual with a one year sentence - it is supposed to drive home the point. Penn State ball is dead for at least 4 to 8 years. Sounds like a smart sanction to me.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. yoshi

    I don't know – I think Penn State football is getting hit too hard. Paterno reported the offense to the proper school authorities. It is not his job to investigage employees – what if the allegation was wrong? Penn State could have been sued by Sandusky or anyone else. These are delicate matters that have to be handled by the proper channels.. Paterno was so focused on football he did not see that the school officials were not doing their, yes, he did have some responsibility. But, this this an administrative issue, not a coaches issue. Same with the current players and coaches – they should not be penalized, they had nothing to do with this.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharon

      I agree those present and future students should not have to pay for the wrong doings of the ones before. They if given the chance might be an inspiration to the rest of the school. Those in charge who fouled up should be punished and new administrators brought in. The team should not be punished. Really, haven't they already suffered?

      July 23, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jo Ann

      Paterno reported the abuse to university authorities, but he apparently was also instrumental in PREVENTING the abuse from being reported to child welfare or the police – either of whom would have taken legal action against Sandusky and therefore preventing further abuse. It wasn't his job to investigate employees, but it certainly was his obligation to report the abuse to people who could investigate.

      July 23, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Turtleguy

      Read the Freeh report. Paterno ACTIVELY COVERED UP Sandusky's actions.

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

      Yoshi, you seem to have missed what came out in the report. The university was prepared to report Sandusky to child welfare but didn't because Joe didn't want them to. They let the football coach make the decision and now they will probably go to jail.

      July 23, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barbara

      Yeah, Paterno was a great humnitarian! "Focused on football"! Give me a break! Glad to know you were able to read his mind!

      July 23, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. BadDog

    PSU should just abolish football, rather than being relegated to ignominy for the next several decades. SMU has never recovered, from lesser sanctions; PSU has no chance. Just fold the tent and go.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • anonymous

      You obviously were never a Penn State fan. Penn State football will never die so making the comment to just get rid of football is ridiculous. Even if it were a 10 year penalty, the football fans would still come back, they are definitely not smu.

      July 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. anthony

    why is everyone upset and shocked with the sword coming down? For how many years have children been tortured and mentally scarred because of that animal? How many years did Penn State cover it up;because apparently football is more important then the future of young children. they should have been banned for life from any kind of football event. Nobody serious about sports should ever think about looking at Penn State, let alone playing there.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
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