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. Lee

    Won't someone please think of the children?!?

    July 23, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. WDinDallas

    Remember, Joe Pa is the lowest man on the Totem Pole that is being punished or indicted. And he is dead!

    The NCAA is just trying to make sure that the University Administrators are never culpable in these crimes. They want to set precedence that they can always blame Football or some other Sports program and keep an arms distance away from them and their Universities real money (endowment funds). But, they are the ones culpable here. They are the ones eager for the money college football brings in. $60 million is less than one year of Football revenue.

    Remember, the NCAA is made up of University Presidents! Not AD's.

    They need to change out everyone in the administration at Penn State and investigate them all. This extends to more than 3 people.

    If the players can go elsewhere to play football (as some have said) then the students can go elsewhere to get an education. Penn State is culpable, not Penn. State Football

    July 23, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Freddie

    Lock 'em all up, throw away the key, and switch the two words: State Penn.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. rob911

    Oh, boo hoo for PSU, the cover up was for 14 yrs. So should the punishment, not 4 yrs.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. HappyMadison

    What data are they using that says it will take them 20 years to recover from the sanctions? They are over in 4 years and everybody interested in college football will be counting them down. They will be recruiting top players the day the sanctions end. No sympathy here.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. House

    My Football Dream: The field is mined with explosives that ramdomly activate when the ball is in play; the players spike shoes are tipped with a potent hallucinagen; if you the hemet a certain way, it explodes; the ball itself can explode if not caught in a certain fashion. Now, that's what I would call an interesting game.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jdowdle66

    Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports says "It’s going to take two decades for Penn State football to recover." How long will it take those children to recover, I wonder? Thanks for the cogent, intelligent and compassionate commentary, Fox. Just like your political coverage.

    It's just football. The players can go play somewhere else.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. GeigerZ

    Thought going to University was primarily about education. No?

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

      Education takes a back seat in this country when it somes to sports, and most anything else. Don't you dare diss sports or you will be branded as gay, or worst-maybe a terorist.

      July 23, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. kirkewilliams

    Colleges are about education, not sports. Nothing really lost here.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Robert

    I think they went too far. They could have evacuated the wins for Joe Paterno but not for the school. Destroying a major part of this school for something that an assistant coach did and a handful of top officials failed to report is not justice. It is like they are executing a wife for a crime her husband comitted when she not only wasn't there, but didn't even know what was going on. It is actually very unjust and grievously wrong. It would seem that the NCAA did this only to distance itself from a very dark cloud with the motive of protecting the programs of the other schools. Therefore, they have decreed an unjust judgement to protect their own programs, which means that they are comitting the same crime that they claim to be punishing. And that makes them hypocrites of the worst sort.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • House

      why so worried, have stock in the place. it will blow over before the end of this week.

      July 23, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • LordPet

      Robert, you need some perspective. Paterno and PSU aided and abetted Sandusky by not going to the cops immediately and covering up his behavior. If Joe Pa was alive today, he'd be up against some serious criminal charges.

      July 23, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ticked Off

    Listening to all of the idiots that defend their beloved Joe Pa, makes the common sense people in America sick. The man covered up a pedophile for years. Why didn't he go to Sandusky's retirement party? That's a hard one to figure out, isn't it. How many years did he really know that Jerry was a pedophile? Not only should Joe Paterno be condemned but so should his family that had to know as well. They should all be brought up on charges of hiding a pedophile. Penn State supporters that love Joe Pa should wonder where his is now. I think we know.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • akhmedalkhlij

      Eat me.

      July 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Liz

    Sandusky and Paterno, along with other accessories after the fact, have brought this program to its knees. I hope the punishment to Sandusky, personally, is much more severe. The football players aren't at fault, but they are paying the price along with the University. Something doesn't seem right about that.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norasusan

      Liz, Those little boys were not at fault either, but their lives were ruined. It's too bad that the players are being punished, but I say...too bad.

      July 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Paul

    I think Penn State got off easy!

    July 23, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lee

    State Penn football should have gotten the death penalty. Keep your coaches away from my childern!

    July 23, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Buddy

      Penn State may have another record - Longest Losing Streak.

      Check the NCAA Record Books.

      July 23, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. akhmedalkhlij


    July 23, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
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