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.

Post by:
Filed under: College football • Football • Joe Paterno • Penn State • Sports
soundoff (719 Responses)
  1. jay

    Small hit to football program had the problem been dealt with in 1998 when it first came to light OR
    Giant scandal with massive outrage and huge penalties due to lies & coverups and failure in protecting children all for the sake of protecting FOOTBALL program and the legacy of Joe Paterna.

    Which one do you choose! Obviously the powers that be rolled the dice and selected the wrong choice and it all came back in the end to bite them in the you know what.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. yup!

    this is really a blessing for PSU
    they could now move away from their long-standing reputation as a football school

    July 23, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • butch81385

      And be known for academics and philanthropy? Oh wait, they already were in many fields....

      July 24, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. yeah right

    Are you serious? PSU would have gladly taken the death penalty. This is far worse than what SMU got, and rightfully so.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • happydays

      it's also illegal, but who cares about all this "being legal" stuff we got a which hunt on our hands. Burn any and all it doesn't matter as long as we feel like we did something we win.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:23 am | Report abuse |
  4. Big Orange Cowboy

    Maybe these penalties will bring a reality check not only to Penn State but Syracuse and Ptt as well. The ONLY reason those scholls have had any percieved relavancy is because the Northeast Media has adompted them and stuffs them down the throat of the rest of the USA where real football teams play. Penn State is Dead and buried.....beautiful.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big Ten Fan

      Oooo, real football teams. What a dork.

      July 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. b0bc@t

    The trustees and the sports program hierarchy were directly involved in the scandal and the decisions leading to it. That means the entire governing body of the school made a concerted effort to put the prized football program paramount before their own values and the lives of young impressionable boys. That football program is a multi million dollar operation that is infused throughout the school, and could not just be separated by those who made lapses of judgment. The Joe Pa mentality needed to be cut off at the knees in order to drive this message home: a child's life is more important than a tailgate party and bad press. When the trustees took the school in that direction, it was the whole school that was dragged with them into those showers, not just one old touchy feely hairy bearhug ex coach.
    The Florida marching band tried to cut off the head and fire the athletic/band director as a solution .... and within a few months, there was already another hazing incident with the band. Those no-tell sanctions need teeth to fix the problem.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. al

    not fair to punish future players having said that paterno deserved everything he got and more and im sure there were others that kept quiet too including some ball players

    July 23, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mavent

      Future players have a wide variety of other schools to apply to, if football is their only deciding factor on which college to pick.

      July 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. PSU 2009 Grad

    They should have made a requirement that all admin and board of trustees step down. Then I would have been satisfied with the punishment since it would have affected at least some of the offenders.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mavent

    Talk about missing the point. The people quoted in this article apparently have no sense if irony. The sanctions were implemented SPECIFICALLY to make the point that there are some things much more important than football, and yet all these people can whine about is how the sanctions will harm the football program.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. No Drama Zone

    The only way to punish Penn State is to penalise/takeaway the thing that they valued above the welfare of the children that man abused (I refuse to use the name of a person that vile). If some of you don't understand the need for that I feel sorry for any children that may ever be placed in your care. Anyone supporting Penn State still having a football program is pathetic. Remember victims before complaining about sanctions. If "JoePa" et al had done right thing Penn State wouldn't be in this position.

    In addition the entire athletic program at Penn State should be investigated based on the decisions of the former President and Athletics Director. You never know what else may have been ignored.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Huh?

    i hardly would consider a player a coward if they transferred-why shouldn't they have an opportunity to do that? you think they would have went there in the ifrst place if they knew what was going on?

    July 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. yup!

    PSU may do well in the Big 10, but they always get hammered when they play the SEC. How many time has Alabama put PSU in its place?

    July 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • PittSucks

      Yeah, only because Alabama backed out of the scheduled series with Penn State back when Alabama had sanctions against them.

      July 23, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bernie

    "It could've been abolished for a year, continued mostly business as usual and been back long before these recruiting sanctions will endure,"

    Yes, but that wouldn't have been much of a sanction, would it? This is how penalties are supposed to work. Going forward other schools will think twice before knowingly enabling participants in their athletics programs to flaunt the law. If schools knew they could get away with this sort of behavior with just a slap on the wrist and a minor fine they wouldn't have much incentive to change. I think the NCAA recognizes that too many stories like this will ultimately alienate fans to the point where they boycott collegiate football. That would be the death knell for all collegiate football.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joe Johns

    From now on, wearing something that says Penn State will be like wearing a sign that says 'Child Molester'.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ted Ward

      By that logic, the same goes for anyone calling Sandusky, Ohio their home town.

      July 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • PSU Love

      I wear the lion proudly! Kids love lions!

      July 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ali Baba

    Everyone is being too hard on Penn State and especially Joe Paterno. Penn State got a raw deal.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      you're kidding right?

      July 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      And what kind of a deal did the children get?

      Paterno and the administrators made their choice. Now the entire university is paying for it. They could have reported/fired Sandusky 14 years ago and they would have been heroes. Don't blame the NCAA. I'm only sorry Paterno didn't live to see this.

      July 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • eroteme

      Penn State and Paterno did not become bad with Sandusky's conduct becoming known. Penn State and Paterno were the same before the news broke. The public simply learned what they were both like when the news surfaced. Up to that time the nation had been fooled, making a hero out of Paterno, and promoting undeserved greatness for Penn State.

      July 23, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. shizuoka

    Now if the NCAA is really serious the money should go to those who were injured in this case. But this is the NCAA the most corrupt people in all of college sports. They have had a monopoly for decades and they have sop much power they are totally corrupt. The only people approaching thier decadence is the SEC. They have treated college athelete like slaves and helped the College Administrations around the country to enrich themselves off of the lives of these young atheletes. The kids put up life and limb to play sports and the fat cats roll in the cash. It is as obscene as the events that have occurred at the school. Maybe we can all get back to college sports not the business it has become. College life should be about, all the aspects of coming of age activities of education, social, and life preparation.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arthur

      You realize that the $60 million isn't going to the NCAA, right? All of it is going to children's benefit programs.

      July 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      Seriously? The SEC almost as corrupt as the NCAA?!! Are you forgetting that two 'powers' in the Big 10 are now on some sort of major probation? You should've said the Big 10 is almost as corrupt as the NCAA. On a side note, the Big 10 has, by far, the most god awful, ugliest women of ANY conference in America. Maybe Penn St can suit up some of those fatties that sit in the stands on Saturday?!

      July 23, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28