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. alan

    blindbear, that is actually very funny and very true at the same time.

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

    Great post! You've just proved that you have no idea what you're talking about. Penn State is number one in graduation rates for student athletes.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • John75

      Get REAL! I have personally known numerous Division I athletes and they will admit to close friends that they don't attend most classes and still receive passing grades, and everyone knows about this that has went to college with them. Highest graduation rate? What A JOKE. Some may actually go for the education, but it does NOT cover the majority at all.

      July 23, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • FHofstetter

      Free tutors, better food, better dorms, pressure on professors, sports management degrees, of course they've got a high graduation rate. Most of them are not "student" athletes – they suffer through class to get to play football. It's a culture the boosters and the NCAA have built, to use the kids and make money.

      July 23, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Malasada

      Wouldn't matter if they graduate. A Penn State Diploma is worth the same as toilet paper now. Four resumes from Penn State grads have come across my desk. They all went straight into the round file.

      July 23, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      That makes a ton of sense. You're not very bright, are you?

      July 23, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • drew

      Sounds like you like to discriminate against people. Hope your don't get sued.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
    • ahp5002

      Hardly. Notre Dame graduates 99%, PSU is respectable at 89%

      July 23, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • keyser

      No. Marquette University in Milwaukee is number one in student athlete graduation rates. Are you living on Mars?

      July 23, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deserving grad student

      Hi, krizzle, great post! You've just proven that you don't know coaches intimidate teachers who threaten to fail poorly-performing student athletes.
      Great post! You've just proven that you have no idea that you can pass a total fool from college. Graduating them doesn't mean they actually know a doggone thing. Tutors are hired and they still lag way behind other students who actually had to get decent grades to get to college (and especially a scholarship) in the first place.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:08 am | Report abuse |
    • The hero we don't deserve

      PSU was just ranked number 1 by Time for highest graduation rate among football players

      July 24, 2012 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
    • mike

      No it's not, krizzle.

      July 24, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • ABC

      So Harvard, Yale and Stanford doesn't have student athletes or do you not recognize them? So disappointing to hear comments that are not based upon facts.

      July 24, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • jschrock

      Number one? LOL, what classes do these football boys take anyway? LOL number one!

      July 24, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Tiger

      Graduation Rates, talk about missing the point ... Let's see, tell them what classes to take, give them the material and tutors and wonder why graduation rates are high ... These kids are not students (AT ALL SCHOOLS)


      July 25, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Krizzle-great post you just proved that you have no idea what you are talking about.( you must have graduated PSU) if you check the official NCAA statistics on athlete graduation rates PSU is nowhere near number one. Not even number one in Big Ten.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Techpro

      Yes but! I hear that the majority too often don't attend classes, and many major in the "easy" degree programs such as history or PE. No wonder they "graduate!"

      July 26, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Diane

    Finally a school that will have to educate....i hope all their football scholarships get transferred to a school that holds morals as a standard....what a bunch of pigs !!! Glad to see that they got what they deserve...I feel for those poor guys who had to suffer at the hands of these animals...!!!!

    July 23, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Class of '80

      Wow Diane, you mean the 100,000 plus alumni who graduated from there were never educated? Unlike your genius, your stupidity has no limits.

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

    So what I am reading is that the future and some present students at Penn State are going to have to pay for the actions of some of the previous members in charge of the program. I think this is unfair to those future and present students who had nothing to do with this. Why not make the people responsible pay. Penn State could be taken over by new leadership and rebuilt with the football team. Tragedy that others are paying for the wrong doings of others. What about this is fair?

    July 23, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. TR Rose

    This is very unfair to the current and prospective students who had nothing to do with the scandal. Why not take it out of the personal wealth, acquired due to their standing at the university, so that the students aren't' penalized.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Myron Pitts

    They'll have large crowds out of solidarity for the first season, or most of the first season. Then they'll have large crowds from people who could not get seats before, as many of the die-hards drift away b/c of the on-field futility and release their seats. After that, it's anybody's guess - but crowds will lessen if they lose year after year after year. Fans are loyal, but not that loyal (except maybe Cleveland Browns fans).

    July 23, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Whome

    It is laughable to take away Penn States record from 1998 thru 2011 and erase Joe's record to say it didn't happen doesn't make it so, if you lose you lose saying it didn't happen only makes you feel good go ahead you can't undo history it is what it is.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Matt

    They might as well have banned the program. No athlete worth anything will choose penn state this year or for the next 5 years. And after 5 years of bad football and losing seasons you will have a program that has been forgotten and left behind. Look what happened to Notre Dame and they didnt have a scandal – Losing begets losing, and in college football three years of losing is like the groundhog seeing his shadow – You are guaranteed another 3 years of future loses. FL State, Miami, Notre Dame – Texas A&M, Tennessee – they can all tell you – once you are irrelevant for a year or three your recrutiing power fades rapidly.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Just Sayin'

    I think it's terrible that young men have chosen to go to Penn on football scholarships and now THEIR future is also being jerked away from them. Not to mention all the other students it affects. The whole situation could have been different if the higher up's had done their job and fired Sandusky when they first learned of his perverted behavior. So many lives screwed up cause of one man.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jimmie

    Everyone seems to understand this EXCEPT Paterno's family !!!

    July 23, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Evangelicide

    Here's an idea– instead of sanctioning an entire football program, how about actually prosecuting those responsible for obstructing justice? Wouldn't that make much more sense?

    July 23, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katniss12

      I agree, why sanction the ones who did nothing?

      July 23, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Matt

    George Washington owned, sold and legislated slavery from before the American Revolution until his death. I want him removed from the dollar bill and stricken from the history books – Washington didnt found or lead this country any more in the history books – someone else should get that credit.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Veina Sloveskzy

    OH NO!! The poor people!! Such a shame!!

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

      Well of course!

      July 23, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      They deserve it and worse. Putting football and money from football over the health and safety of children. They have no right to play a game when it means more to them than small children being r4ped. It's a collage acting like a corporation to protect profit at the cost of people and it's sick.

      July 23, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Matt

    Why not also take away the Chemistry departments new beakers and the women's swimming teams wins – they had as much to do with not bringing sandusky to justice as the football team, curewnt coaches, or new president had to do with it. Wait even better why not just declare all of Pennsylvania no longer a state. Peel off a star from the flag!!!!

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

      False. It was all about protecting the football program, not chemistry or swimming.

      July 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. John

    I fail to see how the students are penalized. The students can still do whatever they want. If they want to stay, stay; if they want to go, go. The point is to change the culture that led to grown men believing they can cover this kind of act.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
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