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. Sunny

    where is it written in stone, blood, or anything else that life is fair. Too bad, so sad, Penn State affectionadoes.

    July 23, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. tomasina

    Why doesn't Penn State tell NCAA to go to hell ? Just because an assistant coach was a dirt-bag does not justify a $60 million fine, loss of all wins, and no bowl games for 4 years. The current team and those considering Penn State should not be penalized for an error in judgement by school officials in 1998 !

    July 23, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • miguel

      Tomasina: if you think this episode is merely the story of one assistant coach's crimial behavior, you obviously haven't been following the case.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      And 2001. And possibly later than that.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • 666

      I am certain as they peel the onion they will find a lot more men (PS Employees) enjoyed the locker room activities.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      tomasina: and what will happen if penn state tells the ncaa to go to hell? no more football program for penn state.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • mm0626

      Also, part of the deal was that PSU would not contest/appeal the decision. They knew what was coming.

      You need to study this case.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous010

      You're clearly new to this case. This has been going on for years up to the present day, and the cover up by the university has endured almost as long. So, no, Penn State should not tell the NCAA to 'go to hell'; they should be saying 'thank you sir, may I please have some more?'

      July 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Socal

      tomasina, lets hope you never have a son or daughter molested by anyone and have it covered up for 12 years by an organization.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • applegate

      Read the report then you'll see why. It wasn't just an incident in was the President of the University, Joe Paterno and many other high ranking officials that knew what was going on....had more than one report of what was going on and did nothing to stop it. They cared more about their almighty football than the destruction of the victims! I agree it's a shame the talented players of today and future teams have to pay for their neglect. But football brings in alot of money and that's the only thing they care you gotta hit em where it hurts.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • sqeptiq

      You should realize that for colleges there IS NO FOOTBALL without the NCAA. Accept what the NCAA says or stop having football, or any other sport...those are your options.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Slyfox696

    How are the players being punished? They are free to go anywhere they want or quit the football team and still receive scholarship money. How are the players being punished? You did read the article, didn't you?

    July 23, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      The Players are being punished because all Div.1 schools have 85 scholarships to give out, so all those scholarships are gone. Now if they want to go to another school it is coming out of their pockets, that is how the student is being punished. Tell a senior he can leave and go anywhere, where is he going to go if he cannot get a scholarship?

      July 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jay


    July 23, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Larry

    I'm having trouble thinking of worse administrative judgement. Sandusky's reach was to a relaltively limited number of kids. The NCAA has now decided to punish a whole university population of innocent kids. Really bad judgement.

    July 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • tomasina

      I agree

      July 23, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • miguel

      Larry, yes – it's true. Sanctions against the university have undeserving, unintended victims. That's the case any time an organization behaves egregiously and is punished, though. An investment firm goes down in a scandal? Secretaries and file clerks lose their jobs, too. A suburban dad goes down for white-collar crime? His kids suffer. That's the way of the world, and it's all the more reason why those who wield power need to behave with accountability.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous010

      You want worse administrative judgment? How about the university administrators who had evidence this was going on and tried to cover it up for years?

      July 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Socal

      Larry, think about it. I am sure that Sandusky will be singing about who he also gave the boys to. Also I hope your son or grandson NEVER has to get near a child molester and have it covered up .

      July 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • stop abuse

      My god are you an idiot.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • sqeptiq

      Right. Slap their wrist so the next time nobody will be afraid of punishment. There's a manly solution.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wagman

      Are you for real? If it were just one kid it would still be one too many. The issue is the extent of the cover-up and how the upper echelon was directly involved and for how long it went on.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juanmom

      Larry, do you know what molestation does to a child? Well I do, we don't trust others, we suffer from PTSD, we are suicidal, we self-medicate, and more than ALL of that we blame ourselves. Yes, I said "we", because I am a survivor of childhood molestation, it took me 25 years to work through that garbage. My molestor was never arrested, even though I told, so please don't get on here and make it seem like it's not a big deal, because it is a big deal! PSU and Joe Paterno covered up years of abuse and I'm just sad that JoePa didn't live long enough to be dealt with too!!!

      July 23, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kat

      The 'Univesity' had no regard for any kind of kids. they just cared about their program. In order to punish them it is the program that must be effected. As far as I can tell th students, teachers ect will still continue on getting and providing an education which is what going to college is about.

      July 23, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Chris

    The irony is that the PSU program was one of the most honorably run football programs in the country. This was as sefl-inflcted wound on their part, no doubt. The penalties go to far in punishing people who had absolutely nothing to do with the crime. The only really honorable and useful part of the penalties is the fine. At least that will go to help prevent this type of abuse. The rest of penalties only go to satisfy the blood lust of the public and as a pathetic attempt to improve the image of a useless and corrupt NCAA.

    July 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bigboard

      "The irony is that the PSU program was one of the most honorably run football programs in the country." Or so we were led to believe.

      July 23, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • schme212

      One of the few intelligent comments on this thing. I agree completely!! I don't see why players and students have to suffer because of other's sins.The fine makes sense, especially since the money is going to victims of child molestation. The rest of the punishment, however, does nothing to help remedy or bring awareness to the problem of child molestation. It's just punishing students and players.

      July 23, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • msuwebmanager

      See Miguel's comment above. Perfectly said.

      July 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Christine

    Who is going to oversee the $152 million and how will they decide which charities will be recipients? Will it be local, state, national or international? Is this $ separate from all the civil payouts that will happen?

    July 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • PDD

      The NCAA will appoint a board to oversee the distribution of the money to the charities. As for the Civil Suits and other suits that will come out of this horrific ordeal, Penn State and those involved (sued) will be responsible for the payments. Penn State will never be the same.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. steve

    The should be penalizing PEOPLE and not the program. The people who turned their heads and pretended this was not happening will have the deserving fate of loss of careers or even criminal prosecution. But many unfortunate and completely innocent kids have already accepted scholarships or otherwise committed to this program, are now going to be under this cloud even though they have not done anything wrong. We have a legal and civil court system to take care of these issues and it seems to be working quite well in this case. The NCAA should focus on enforcing league rules and not grandstanding like this. The move is simply to show the NCAA flexing its muscle and attempting to humiliate Penn State.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Grey

    Overheard at Penn State... "If only the rest of the US could just ignore these little things like child moles-ation." Personally, I can't wait to see how big the civil suits are going to be, and how many new accusers will be coming forward when it starts.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. tomasina

    the story supposedly told to Joe P. in 1998 was third hand ..... and he said in an interview that he was told the coach was showering with a "kid" . While inappropriate, Joe had no appreciation for the severity. The man is dead and gone. Give him the benefit of any doubt.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      based upon his entire life, i agree.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Socal

      And you believe that......get into the real world, this is also about money, power and prestige. In fact, look at Joe's son....I would bet money he was molested by Sandusky also.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dawn

      Have you read the Freeh report? The crime witnessed by McQueary was in 2001. And JoePa was given more than enough details. Discovered emails make it apparent that Schutlz and Curly were going to go to child services with the allegations but then changed their minds after one of them had a conversation with JoePa. I suggest starting at page 62. You will be sickened by the consideration they give to Sandusky while never once mentioning the victim.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Robert Fields

    When the University of San Francisco was a basketball powerhouse in the mid 1950s there was a scandal with athletes being admitted when not scholars. The Jesuit president of the university closed the basket ball program for 10 years and students, alumni and the City were satisfied that that punishment was justified.

    When the basketball program was reinstalled it was on a much smaller scale.

    I am an alumni of that great university and proud of the actions taken to right the wrong there.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. linda operle

    Prior article states they made 52MM in 2010. So they are only being fined roughly one years profit!!!! They should be fined 60MM for every year Sandusky molested children that's a "wake up call".

    July 23, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • m

      Why? So that an entire university can be destroyed because they can't afford to stay open and thousands of students won't be able to get an education?

      I mean obviously the current students of Penn State who were between the ages of 6-10 in 1998 should be blamed and punished for Jerry Sandusky's actions. Those 6-10 year olds really should have stepped up and done something!!! I think we should prosecute each and every single one of them! They had to have known what Sandusky was up to!

      July 23, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kyle

    @Gheezy, the program didn't fail to notice, individuals within the program did. You need to realize that there are a lot more than a few coaches and a couple administrators that that make up an athletic program.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Qbee37

    I'll be damned. The NCAA found its backbone.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • emmertdusky

      Sure they did, in a squid. Don't believe it was difficult to come up with this now. The really hard part is figuring out where they were before?

      July 23, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Socal


      July 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. tempertempertemper

    Football should have been banned at unhappy valley until 2023. All of Joe "enabler" Pa's victories should have been vacated making his win total ZERO for his unhappy valley career.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
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