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. tacostand

    Should have had sanctions for 100 years. Joe Pa was a waste of space. Looking the other way so his precious football program is protected yet so many children were violated? That program needs to be killed. If there is a he11, we all know where Joe Pa is right now.

    July 23, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • local

      And how will Corbett and the campus police chief at the time be punished. There is still that 1000 lb gorilla in the sky.
      Congrats to the NCAA for beating up a dead man. Let see them go after the guilty ones still alive. Don't hold your breath.

      July 23, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. LouAZ

    Couldn't have happened to a nicer, more deserving bunch of people !

    July 23, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Eli

    All this proves is that football really is more important than everything else. Why else would the NCAA choose to punish a program when there are criminal penalties to be handed out? Spanier and Curley will be going to jail over this.

    As for killing the football program? This will destroy all the years that the state of Pennsylvania has bled Nittany blue and white. All the people who grew up rooting for Penn State will go away, people will stop rooting for them, and even the stadium will be demolished. Yeah, right. Can you imagine that happening at Alabama or Ohio State or Nebraska or Texas? Neither can I. This will be a blip after ten years, just like the sanctions at USC.

    July 23, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. shinden58

    It is just a pitty they did not abolish the entire program for FIVE years. Penn State almost got what it deserved. You can't deny that Penn State covered up what Sandusky did. The ruling was fair because it protected current students and made Penn State pay up, although no amount of money can offset their corrupt actions.

    July 23, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. POD

    Schadenfreude is pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.......get a life

    July 23, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Journey

    This whole PSU debacle is a reflection of the deeper collapse in family values we've seen over the last four years. Hopefully voters will take another statue of a false messiah off their TV screen in November. Romney 2012.

    July 23, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarKris 712

      Seriously?..................there has been a decline in family values over the past couple of decades, not just the past for years...........dont use the disgraceful acts at Penn State to bash President Obama because that is disrespectful to the REAL can't blame the President for everything.

      July 23, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. charles

    Why would regular students be responsible for the 60 million. I assume the money has to come from the students. IF
    it out of the school funds its still the students who pay. Why are the students being taught a lession? Why does the players have to pay a price?? If it was players doing something I could understand. If you want to make a statement why didn't they fine the people responsible fire as necessary.
    To me its like Kill the Cow because the milk went sour.

    July 23, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • NE_Wombat

      It's about 3% of Penn State's endowment balance. That aren't using those funds to make school affordable anyway.

      July 23, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • JacinJax

      60 million is the amount of money Penn State made yearly from football. You don't think they covered up because they liked Sandusky? It was all about the money.

      July 23, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bryan

      It's equivalent to the average 1yr revenue of Penn State football. It will come from the students in the sense that they're purchasing the tickets to watch the games.

      July 23, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • huh

      The students are catching a break, $60m is less that what they were paying to keep the team running. Now more of their money will be going to their education.

      July 23, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Brad D.

    Ban them from football for ten years. A fine (even of this magnitude) will not teach a lesson. College clubs will just purchase more insurance. They will make the fans pay by charging higher ticket prices or charge more for memorabilia. The only way to set an example for these schools is to kill the program. Let them know that they need to report problems early, and cooperate fully, or 'Death to Football'. Time to pay the iron price.

    $60 million is nothing to these schools, as I'm sure a back room deal will help them balance the books. The victims will have to suffer for the rest of their lives. Where is their justice? What are they suppose to feel with a Penn State game comes on TV this year, as if nothing happened?

    July 23, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. blf83

    The tail, no pun intended, had wagged the dog for far too long. To an abuse victim myself, the penalty for Penn State is neither too severe nor enough given the widespread cover-up.

    July 23, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Justin H

    When you consider that Paterno and the others covered up Sandusky's acts in order to save the football program, it's very difficult to have much sympathy. It's unfortunate for the current player, but the NCAA has to send a message that being ethical is much more important than any person or sports program. Hopefully it will be a wake up call to any schools with their own skeletons to clean house and make changes.

    July 23, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. gcinnevada

    Personally, I think there should be no such thing as an athletic scholarship. A college/university is primarily for education. Everyone going to the school should have to qualify equally. If they earn an academic scholarship to get a free or reduced tuition, good for them. The school should field their teams based on the students they have, not go around recruiting from high schools and telling the kids they can just take a couple basic classes and we'll give you a personal tutor to make sure you can pass to stay eligible.

    I think athletes at the service academies have to be real students and earn their way into school, don't they? That would make college sports much more interesting in that the same schools wouldn't be on top year after year.

    And to deal with the argument that kids that have athletic skills that could never qualify to get into college, what about them? This might force football and basketball to develop minor leagues, like baseball.

    July 23, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Scott

    Death penalty???? How's one year without something a death penalty? If Sandusky gets the death penalty does he get to walk in one year. Penn should never have a football program ever again with the level of coverup here. Now that would be a death penalty. This 60 million nonsense? I guess the NCAA figures each of these kids lives was worth 10 million. Sick bunch of people!

    July 23, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tg

    For those of you thinking "it's not fair to punish students" blah blah blah, you are missing the whole point here. The football culture at the school is the problem – and that culture is created not just by coaches and administrators, it is endemic with students, current and past players, and certainly all of the athletic boosters! The whole university needs a massive reset on what is important (i.e. integrity and protecting children) and these penatlies are designed to force everyone at the school to re-learn what is important in the absence of a strong football team. Just look at how so many people/students are still lamenting taking down the Paterno statue and you will understand the problem goes much deeper than a few administrators and a coach. Kudos to the NCAA for recognizing this and making the penalties meaningful.

    July 23, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Donald in CA

    I thought we sent our kids to college to learn and be successful in life. How did football become #1?

    July 23, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Car Chaser

    Turn P State campus into the world headquarters for abused kids, Oh wait a minute, They got a head start

    July 23, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
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