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. Carol

    It is sad that innocent students, athletes, and fans have to pay the price for one man's insanity and for the coverup that followed.

    July 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Toku Mei

      It's also sad that innocent children paid the price for the failure of Penn State leadership. The current and future atheletes/students of Penn State have the choice of staying at Penn State for an education and to help rebuild their school. Sandusky's victims had little choice.

      July 23, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cliff

      Close the school fully!

      July 23, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bobbie Jo McAllister

      Again, the sons pay for the sins of the father!!??! Taking away 14 years of victories form the football TEAM is OUTRAGEOUS!!!! Penalize the people responsible-not the young people who played the games! So many of them have built a life and career around the successes of those teams. What are they thinking?? What about the future of the hundreds of students involved, and now left out of the next four years of games? We're talking about cheerleaders, band members, vendors, charities, and on and on and on. I am not a huge fan of football, but, even I, am in shock by these actions. As horrible as this Sandusky crime is-it not right to take everybody to the showers with him!!!!

      July 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. gj

    i disagree with their decision. its more like the children are paying for their price.

    July 23, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bonnie

    Buh Bye Penn State football. What player wants to play for a school with nothing to offer. All you will get are wanna be's and losers who have no inclination to play in the NFL. HA HA HA!!!!

    July 23, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johnny

      Honestly,. why the HA HA HA? whats so funny about any of it? Its sad how peoples lives are so miserable and worthless, that they find anything funny about it. A lot of pent up hate in people like you. WHy I dont know. sucks to be you though. But finding it funny that these kids and the university as a whole has to suffer for that. Just shows what a worthless person you, and people like you, are.

      July 23, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • jbg757

      Any brain cells left?

      July 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Who cares?

      Whats more important is this:
      Israel’s Defense Ministry has ordered eight Palestinian villages in the West Bank to be razed, claiming the land is needed for military training. Hundreds of Palestinians are to be displaced despite evidence that the villages have existed since 1830.

      ­The residents of the villages, located in the southern region of Hebron, are accused of “illegal dwelling in a fire zone.” The government said in a memo to the Supreme Court on Sunday that the 1,500-plus residents will be moved to the nearby city of Yatta, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported. The Defense Ministry has obtained evidence the Palestinians have permanent homes there.

      July 23, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • jbg757

      Bonnie: Any brain cells left?

      July 23, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Too bad Paterno isn't here to see the results of his inaction. The team will rebuild eventually, but the victims of child abuse may never rebuild their lives.

      July 23, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. madison

    Ok..I'm ok with some form of punishment toward the school and/or program for the fact of the coverup and the length of it..but im not ok with the removal of scholarships for students..who had nothing to do with ANY of this. You went from punishing those involved, to punishing those relying on those scholarships to attend school, to better their futures, and for some even to go to college in the first place. You dont punish the STUDENTS for the ADULT'S folly's.

    July 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • geeky

      Maybe I read it wrong, but I don't think they will take away current scholarships, they will just have 20 fewer to offer per year.

      July 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • JerryC

      Welcome to the real world. See, in the business world when the corporate bigwigs get caught doing illegal and immoral things, the rank and file workers get "downsized" or unemployed as the company tanks. Usually the bigwigs on the board continue making the decisions and the CEO might walk away with a huge separation package. Like Parteno, as a matter of fact.

      What, you didn't know college football is nothing but a business?

      July 23, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Splash kid

      They are not taking away anyones scholarships. They are removing future schlorships . Those future kids will take scholarships some place else.

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

      Penn State didn’t actually violate the NCAA rulebook in this case. The Pennsylvania criminal code and universal standards of human decency, yes; NCAA rules, no. Indeed, it’s not even clear that the NCAA has jurisdiction here. – James Joyner, om Andrew Sullivan's blog earlier today.

      July 23, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Splishkid

      They are not taking away anyones scholarships. They are removing future schlorships . Those future kids will take scholarships some place else

      July 23, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      I totally agree. Why are players being punished? Whoever has been given a scholarship should be grandfathered in.
      If they want to start next year to stop granting scholarships, fine, for however many years. But to take away from current players, and those already recruited, doesn't even make sense. Football didn't make Sandusky a pedophile, nor did the players. HE is fully responsible, and Paterno too for covering up, and anyone else who did. But the players?
      I don't get this.

      July 23, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. 22X Richer

    Football brings in boatloads of money so the alumni of PSU will do everything in their power to get through this and move forward. $60M? Drop in a bucket in the big scheme of things. PSU will be rebuilding for the foreseeable future, starting four years from now.

    July 23, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cliff

    Just close the school, this should extend to the sports, and the classes. Close the damn school.

    July 23, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • fvg

      You comment shows complete ignorance. So by your logic if someone at your place of employ commits a crime they should they shut down the entire business.

      July 23, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Aaron

    How do you invalidate a win? Either you won or you didn't! They won said the scoreboard at the end of the game. This is symbolic only. Silly sports.

    July 23, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • CRK

      This was done to take away Joe paterno's legacy as the winninest coach in college football.

      July 23, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sue

    The Paterno family should keep their mouths shut. Penn State is being sanctioned not for Sandusky's actions. It's being sanctioned because the leaders, including Spanier and Paterno, enabled this child predator for so many years. Football has long ruled our universities and now we see the twisted and downright criminal results of making football top priority. Perhaps the NFL ought to create its own training league the way professional baseball has done instead of using college scholarships to finance their overpaid athletes. Then these great land grant universities can return to providing an education as a real mission.

    July 23, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cliff

      Cose the school and put Paternos family in Jail, (and all the rest involved in the coverup...their families too.)

      July 23, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tony

    They should hammer the University leadership; in fact wait until you see the lawsuits that come flying at them. I don't think the kids on the team should have been forced to pay the price; it was the team leadership and the University that allowed this to happen, not the kids.

    July 23, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Vincent

    'Unprecedented' fine and punishment?
    And so it should be for the crime.

    $60million will be a slap on the wrist for the university and its contributors and i think they got off lightly. But the other punishments will be more of an impact on the football program for the next few years.

    While its sad that a whole university has to suffer for the actions of one man, and the inaction of several other people in its administration, this kind of heavy sanction is whats required to make Penn State AND other programs wake up to the fact that if they try to protect their athletic programs and the school at the expense of their morals and integrity by covering up a crime, then there will be serious repercussions. To ensure this message gets hammered home, all such coverups need to be punished severly as befitting the crime involved.

    July 23, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cliff


      July 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Buckaroo Bill

    There is no excuse for the lack of action taken by senior management at PSU however; you are penalizing the students. The NCAA is an antiquated monopoly that should not exist any longer. They are not a legal judge or jury recognized by any state or federal government. I think PSU should pull out of the Big Ten and remain an independent college sports program. The financial penalty should remain and it should be donated to causes that benefit abused children.

    July 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Randy

    I'm confused about the NCAA fine of 60M. I thought Penn State was a State School (The State Part of Penn State) so who is paying the 60M. This looks like the tax payers are going to foot the bill and that just seams wrong. I can understand the rest of the sanctions but I have never heard of the NCAA fining a school before.

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

    What a disaster. PSU students will have to concentrate on studying.

    July 23, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. rad666

    What happened to education was the most important thing. Oh that's right schools found out how many millions of dollars they could make off a stupid game (and everything that may have mattered in the past went right out the window)

    July 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jenny

    What's up with the guy named "Cliff" who keeps repeating his "close the school" blog? Do you have a stutter problem or did someone respond to the first time you said it with a "what?" For crying out loud, take your med's buddy, we heard you! Sheeesh...

    July 23, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
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