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.

Post by:
Filed under: College football • Football • Joe Paterno • Penn State • Sports
soundoff (719 Responses)
  1. Patricki

    I noticed among the years in the photo 2005 and 2006. Do these refer to national championships. If so, then these have to come down. If all their wins have been vacated, then any national championships have to be vacated too. .

    July 23, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. imying

    Penn States football program should be banned entirely. A lesson to them and a warning to any who would try such things again. Perhaps THEN Penn State could get back to whats important in college...Getting an education and not farming out stupid jocks who have no value on their school work

    July 23, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mattyboy126

    PSU is an amazing University with outstanding academic accomplishments. Yes, football has been iconic. The acheivements that have come from the alums ho have NEVER stepped on the field are well above the wins that have now been erased from the records. It will be the grads that fix the economy, discover new technologies to replace fossell fuel and impact global warming. Issues that are much more important than who won the Ornage Bowl in 1979.
    PSU will survive without football. The State of Pennsylvania will survive without PSU football.

    July 23, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jmd

    Football also pays for other sports. Unless you also watch penn state girls basketball, track and fields, volleyball, tennis, swimming, etc. Most of "revenue" is spent before its earned. (like states do). THey also will have no revenue stream in which to pay out anything. No new buildings, professors, acedemic tournaments. So either rise in tuition or the state will be forced to step in and pay. This isn't a death knell for just football, but all sports, the university, and a huge hit for the entire state. I also like how people are blaming the "football culture" Maybe they believe we should kill all muslums for 911?

    July 23, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • huh

      Football colleges do not make money from football, they spend money on football. Their only goal is to win football games and they use tuition as a means of funding that goal. If these football schools were making more money on football than tuition then they would all be Harvard level schools, but they are far far from that.

      July 23, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Grace011

    College athletes should wake up and realize that the colleges may offer scholarship money, but they are just using them to increase their bottom line. If injured, most of these athletes would get dropped from scholarships and perhaps dropped from the school altogether if they can't make grades. Even if they go 4 years uninjured, most will never have a pro career or any type of athletic career. Sports are fun but aren't part of academics and belong in a separate forum. Colleges that push sports should re-evaluate what values and life skills they are really teaching.

    July 23, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ben

    "'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." Yes, well, I think you may have identified the point, there, Dan.

    July 23, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Steve

    Serves as a good punishment for kids going through college who had nothing to do with this.

    July 23, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fact Feed

      You almost got it right.

      Your statement should have read: "Serves as a good 'LESSON' for kids going through college who had nothing to do with this. Without severe deterrents society will never, ever exhibit a Learning Curve.

      July 23, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      What punishment for the kids? They can still play football and still get a free ride through college for doing so.

      July 23, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smuanyone

      Smu got a much worse punishment for something not even close to this. Players are free to move on. We all feel bad for the players that are taking a hit and nothing to do with this crime, Im sure they will find a better program.

      July 23, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • BurstBubble

      Totally agree with you.........

      July 23, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay Langham

      I agree the kids are the innocent bystanders here, but they are allowed to transfer, and the NCAA had to send a message.

      July 23, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Apatheist

      and what was the ncaa to do? nothing? the leadership of psu covered up up child r@pe in the interests of their football program... for the kids that chose to attend psu solely based on their football program, who cares? i certainly don't. the kids that are on scholarship to play football still have their free ride or they can transfer with amnesty. for everybody else at psu... i'm pretty sure they don't give a sh!t.

      July 23, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sls0463

    This is not about the actions of ONE person. It is about the inaction of MANY.

    July 23, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hasai

      The current student enrollment alone at Penn State averages around 44,000

      That many? More, perhaps?

      July 23, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Fact Feed

    I applaud the insight, the courage and the honesty displayed by the NCAA in going well beyond a mere "slap on the wrist." It demonstrates a 'genuine' heart-felt concern which Penn State simply has not shown through this entire decrepit ordeal.

    For that reason, the only thing remaining is for every single member of the Penn State Board of Trustees to step down, if they were Board Members or in positions of authority while Sandusky was allowed on that campus. To this day, Penn State and too many of their sports-jock fans still "don't get it." That fact absolutely necessitated a very severe penalty. If innocent players are being hurt by these severe consequences, that harm is traceable to the Penn State University - NOT to the NCAA. Fire the Board and let's move-on.

    July 23, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ibetigetcensored

    OH well, so their Football program a gets destroyed and OLE Joe-PA gose down in flames. They shoud have totally killed it. OH well, tough break, the Football players have to go out and get real jobs now. "You want fries with that?" No pro team gonna even look at the players. No hiesmen prospects, No all Americans, OH well. Sux's to be them. As far as Joe Pa's statue, Lay it on the ground and let the dogs use it to Yourin8 on and p00p on.

    July 23, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hasai

      I don't bet you get censored; what I bet is you're one of those all-time losers who get-off on other peoples' pain.

      July 23, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Brandon

    Sad what has happened to punish these kids an they had nothing to do with this. Awesome job.

    July 23, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fact Feed

      You almost got it right.

      Your statement should have read: "Serves as a good 'LESSON' for kids going through college who had nothing to do with this." Without severe deterrents society will never, ever exhibit a Learning Curve.

      July 23, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • jay

      They can transfer and play immediately.

      July 23, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      What punishment for the kids? They can still play football and get a free ride through college for doing so.

      July 23, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Easy

    Wow if he had just used his head, he could have married a man and then adopt all the little boys he wanted to.

    July 23, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Journey

    Still shows the juvenile obsession our culture has with sports: to get back at people we'll take all your wins away when coached a kids game. Gasp.

    A real punishment would be to cancel a season. The University and local community need to feel the economic pain that goes with harboring these types of people. Would send a message to the rest of the programs in the U.S.

    July 23, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Barbara

    To Mr. Levy, Mr.Wetzel and Mr.Whitlock:
    Yes, the NCAA sanctions are a "death" to Penn State football for the next half decade. but have you thought about the death of the innocence of these young men and that the horrific damage done to these young men will last a liftime? Is football and money really more important than these young men? You certainly make it appear that way.

    July 23, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. biglifter

    Still not enough of a punishment. Football is a GAME. Real people are damaged for good because of all the cowards who failed to act and and/or follow-up

    July 23, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28