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. conrad shull

    In true Stalinist fashion, the wife, sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and all his landlords of the past 30 years are to be executed for the crime of the man.

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

      What a drama queen !!!

      July 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • APersona

      Exaggerate much?

      July 23, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Yep

    "So many lives screwed up because of one man" ??? What? It wasn't just Sandusky, Paterno and the higher ups are also guilty and what they did to Penn State Football is VERY appropriate considering what Sandusky did, and what he was able to do, because of the poor decisions made by Paterno, Curley and Schultz. And the athletes on scholarships still get to continue with school on their scholarships and the ones good enough to go somewhere else will. Case closed, move along, nothing to see here. Good job NCAA!

    July 23, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. tempertempertemper

    They should have banned football from unhappy valley until 2023 and stripped (vacated) every single win from Joe "enabler" Pa relegating him to last place on the career victories list with zero.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lions

      Yes, that would make it all better for your little mind but would hardly solve the issue at hand. And no need for explaining stripped, you aren't talking with your friends, we get the big words.

      July 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BobZemko

    If only the Catholic Church would get crippling sanctions from the government !!

    July 23, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. wally

    The administrators who covered up the atrocities should be gone from Penn State and sent directly to the State Penn.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. CTSadler

    Who cares?

    July 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Grumpster

    Check the clearance section for Penn State merchandise.....appearing for quite some time, probably....I wouldn't take it free.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Liftline

    All the yowling from the Penn State apologists has left me with one impression: there is obviously nothing special at PSU other than football.

    Just saying...

    July 23, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. yup!

    i can see a movie made with Joe Pesci playing the lead role

    July 23, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mistylynn

    They will just make the students pay more for their education.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. PK

    I'm glad.....they leveled the playing field but good. Let PSU focus on education.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. boneyhurdle

    Universities are for higher education. Football does not advance civilation.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • PK

      We're on the SAME PAGE...glad it played out the way it did......

      July 23, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Todd

    Isn't the point of college Education. Football is an extracurricular activity?

    Why don't the schools stops being a bunch of Hippocrates. Offer a Major in Football?
    Better yet, a professional Football team, where they just pay their staff, and as a benefit offer them free education?

    July 23, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mistylynn

    Wally, THAT is a very good statement...

    July 23, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Gale

    Beautiful. The loss of revenue alone should go a long way to destroying the "football -above-all-else" culture at PennState that values winning at all costs over decency and moral values. May their last bowl game be the only one they have for the next fifty years as they attempt to re-build theirprogram from these totally justified sanctions.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
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