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. Paul Willson

    M aybe Penn State can star focusing on education not sports

    July 23, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. M

    "I cannot think of a more devastating decision made by the NCAA," Holtz said.

    I can't think of a more devastating decision made by PSU to hide, lie and cover up everything that happened of the 14 years at Penn State!

    July 23, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. yup!

    Penn State wanted to protect one of its own, a child molester ... and this is the consequence.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kashbmaryd

    Penn state got what they deserved. If they knowingly keep a pedophile on staff and conceal it, what do they expect? To be treated like the Catholic Church? This is America and we are not having it at all. They are lucky more of them aren't doing time right now.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. olepi

    "If that's not death, what is?"

    How about a 10 year ban on Ped State football? Now THAT would be death, for a while at least.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Wired

    Atleast at My university the Alumni and various interests pour millions if not billions into the football program. They'll get through this, someone is just going to say "Here, let me cut you a check...but I get the skybox for free." and away they go.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Adam

    They "hit 'em where it hurts." And for good reason.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. laughable response

    nice slap on the wrist, for all the pro pedo football fans, the school should be banned from partaking in any sport or football at the least. Just goes to show you can be a serial pedophile/rapist, and for harboring it you get a fine and a penalty. Nice standard NCAA. Penn State should be expelled from the NCAA, and rethink how much sense it made doing nothing for the last 14yrs, while they harbored and nourished a pedophile.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Portland tony

    Like it or not, football brings alumni together for socialization and comradery. It also brings money to the campus, the college town and donations to the school. A four year college isn't just about book learning. It's so much more in terms of social interaction with others. Just try and book a room in any college town during a homecoming or rival game.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Loyal Northern Democrat

    It might be easier for students to get in now that the reputation and money has been damaged.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. admin

    NCAA 7
    Diddlers 0

    end of Q1

    July 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dongp

    I just wish Paterno had stayed alive. All the stuff that came down on him would have driven him crazy. He got off easy.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kevin Nivek

    What's all this fuss about Penn State anyway?

    July 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lee

    There is no shame in transfering to another school for a shot at a bowl game. In fact, I hope all the top players at State Penn do transfer- leave them with nothing worth watching. The players were decived into coming into a roten program and I'm glad they are given the chance to transfer without penalty. I think the whole program should have been disbanded for at least 2 years. The NCAA let them off easy, but if enough transfer, not much a a team will be left so it will be like the Death Penalty anyway. And, the Broncos might get a couple top players themselves, so GO BRONCOS!!

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

      You just don't get it, do you Lee. You're like the guys whose only response to the Colorado shootings has been to brag about how their guns are better than the shooter's. Get out in the world much?

      July 23, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • charles

      Its wasn't the team of players it was the coach and above. If a family member breaks the law do you put the whole famil in Jail???

      July 23, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • domenow

      No, but if you levy a big fine on them as part of their conviction, it is understood that their family, along with them, will suffer financially and otherwise until the debt is paid.

      July 23, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • josh223

      If the rest of the family members knew about the illegal activities and did nothing. Then, yes, they should be punished.

      July 23, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Coverup

      The school is punished – because they didn't report it, so they could KEEP THEIR MONEY. They were afraid to lose money if they reported the abuse, now they have to PAY for their greed. That's the moral of the story.

      July 23, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • MomofPlenty

      No, and that's why they are allowing the players to leave without the usual penalty of sitting a year out.

      July 23, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • blughst20

      Charles and the others like him, No it wasn't the current players that were involved BUT who was the best person and usually the last person who talked them into going to Penn St? JoPa. That paragon of virtue.

      If it was a current coach (well, he'd be in jail) I'm sure other sanctions would have been imposed. When a program has a rot in it that rot much be cut out. These penalties will hopefully do it.

      July 24, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • seconddavid

      If your house was used to sell drugs out of, or your car was used in a crime, you will lose either. That is the correct analogy. The program hired corrupt men, and now the program will pay it's share of the price.

      July 24, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Look Out!

      No, but once in jail, the family is impacted. No salary, lost benefits, social outcasts. Sound familiar?

      July 24, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • RLP1509

      No but the family suffers for the crimes of other family members. Innocent as they may be they do suffer along with the criminal. Likewise the PSU players, fans and PSU itself suffer for criminal activity and poor judgement of university officials. Fair? Probably not but it is what it is. In both situations the innocent have to deal with the bad behavior of the offenders and the resultant penalties inflicted on all.

      July 26, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • PittSucks

      The "Broncos?!" LMFAO!!!

      July 23, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee is an idiot

      What a stupid thing to say Lee. You really are just a hater and have no idea what you're taliking about.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:46 am | Report abuse |
    • butch81385

      You would cheer for your team in a post about the poor victims of child abuse? Obviously you have a cult-like mentality and idolize your team to such an extent that it is dangerous.... Time for them to be disbanded before a tragedy can happen...

      July 24, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dave

    Its funny how college football fans react to this. That entire program, Joe Pa included, knowingly protected a child molester for the sake of avoiding a scandal so that the money would keep rolling in. Frankly, I regard it as a systemic disease; we as a society have allowed college sports to get so saturated in money that academics, ethics, sportsmanship, and honor don't matter anymore. Hopefully this will be a wake-up call to the system.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cheese Wonton

      Sadly, nothing important will change. As long as fools are willing to pony up to attend games or watch them on TV, the money will continue to flow and sports will be more important than the pursuit of knowledge. We could end this distortion of the mission of a university by simply refusing to watch the teams play, but that is asking too much of a fat and lazy populace who will find a way to rationalize their support of their favorite team.

      July 23, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • House

      Its already forgotten, by next week this and Aurora will be back page news.

      July 23, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • MSA

      Everything money touches eventually becomes corrupted: Politics, religion, sports, medicine...let's face it, we're a greed driven species, and money is the easiest means of exploiting that.

      I truly do believe I'm becoming a socialist, and could care less if someone thinks so.

      July 23, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norasusan

      Well said Dave.

      July 23, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sue

      You said very succinctly what I tried to post. Thank you.

      July 23, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
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