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. CommonSensed

    Zzzzzz...why are football teams revered and no one gives a da*m about the rockstar teachers at a University. Our society is focused on the wrong things.

    July 23, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Journey

    This whole PSU thing is more about how our family values have hit rock bottom under the Obama Administration than it is about football.

    July 23, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      What a silly way to bash Obama...and totally irrelevant to the situation at PSU, and those poor boys who were victims long before Obama was even elected.
      Shame on you for using the victim's backs to spout your anti-Obama rhetoric.

      July 23, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seriously are going to spin this as being about Obama? The abuses at this program were going on well before Obama took office.

      July 23, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. marctheduck

    I think it'll take a decade to recover, not two decades and not 4-5 years. They'll lose some good players to transfer right away and over the next 4 years won't have many scholarships to give out and no bowl games to lure good players with the remaining scholies. After the 4 years are up they can recruit more guys but they'll have an inferior team at that point and the new guys will all be young for several years... ergo a decade until they begin to emerge from the shadows. And at that point it's hard to say what they'll become. SMU never returned to their former football stature after their death penalty. PSU may do better but who's to say at this point.

    July 23, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    S m h.

    July 23, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. MagicPanties

    because football is so important why?

    puh-leez get a grip. The entire conference is not worth one child being abused.

    July 23, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mason

    Football is stupid. Why should muscle heads exceed in the world? The whole game is a metaphor for WAR!!!!

    July 23, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Steel City

    Once and for all, the current players are not being punished. They have three options. Stay at PSU on scholarship and play football. They still get to play in 12 games next year, in fact their chances of actually playing is better today than yesterday. Two, they can stay at PSU on scholarship and NOT play football. Free education with no payback...doesn't get much better than that. Three, they can leave PSU and play elsewhere. Three very viable options all of their choice.

    July 23, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • PittSucks

      Actually, they are being punished. If they stay at Penn State they can't play in a bowl game. If they leave, they only have 2 weeks to find another school before practice starts. By leaving, there is no guarantee the credits will transfer to their new school.

      July 23, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. @thiswidowswords

    Good job NCAA & Big Ten. Now bring on the sanctions from the Department of Education.

    July 23, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gussie Finknottle

      Is it easier to get into Penn State or the University of Phoenix?

      July 23, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gussie Finknottle

      The victims' families can take solace in the fact that the enabler Joe P is dead and Jerry Sandusky will be taking it up the anus.

      July 23, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rush

      DOE Penalties could include the loss of Pell grants for it's students.

      July 23, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • cwade

      Why are they punishing the players/victims? And punishing the students doesn't really make sense if you really want to help stabilize the educational system.

      July 23, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sad

    worst university ... i wish this university remains alive to show what can happen to people who ignore such serious concerns .. right from bottom to top ... keep it alive and kill it from inside ...

    July 23, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • PittSucks

      Sorry, Penn State was just ranked the 64th best university in the world. It will easily survive. There are already alumni lined up to cover the 12 million a year in fines and their insurance will cover the payouts to the victims. The football team will be back quicker than expected thanks to the dedicated fan base, facilities, quality of education, and 110,000 seat football stadium. They aren't SMU.

      July 23, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jim Phelps

    will the NAACP file a protest?

    July 23, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ujack2

    So what about the attorney general at that time who was notified of the allegations and chose to ignore them. Who also took millions in campaign donations from the 2nd mile charity as he was running for governor of PA. Who also did not want to alienate the Penn State alumni from voting for him. And we should also blame all of those who voted for Tom Corbett. No less guilty than Joe Paterno. I guess we can label all of those who voted for Corbett as pedophile enablers.

    July 23, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon-Michael Britain

      The State AG needs to be held accountable also....

      July 23, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Peter

    The problem is, the one's that are going to get hurt are the families of the students that had nothing to do with football and will have to pay higher tuition because you know the school has to get the money from somewhere.

    July 23, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • TexDoc

      Putting anyone in jail or punishing them, hurts 'innocents', their family, co-workers, children, employees. That doesn't mitigate the need for punishment.

      July 23, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. RobK

    What's next? Dig up Joe Pa's dead body and hang him from Beaver Stadium? Publicly flog his wife, children and grand children? The NCAA sanctions are an idiotic rush to judgment that did not follow established protocol and were simply made up on the fly. Changing past history by removing 14 years of victories is stupid.

    July 23, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • tryclyde

      Oh well, enjoy your crappy team next year.

      July 23, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • ddblah

      To PSU fans, it is idiotic. To everybody else, it is right on the mark.

      July 23, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rickapolis

    I can't help but think that the PSU people knew that no matter what they did to punish themselves the pubic would say, 'Not enough". So they just let the NCAA do it. They may have even told them to take the decision out of their hands. And now very few people are saying, Not enough'.

    July 23, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. determinant

    Silly jocks. Universities are for academics.

    July 23, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
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