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. Name*peejasaye


    July 23, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. brillpro

    Joe Paterno is still the winningest coach in college football history. I want to ask the NCAA "how do you un-win a game?" The penalties overall were severe. That being said what good has come from taking away all Paterno wins since 1998? Sandusky wasn't even there? Remember the bowl game loss by PSU to OU (I believe) which was overturned and the win given to PSU due to an illegal player on the OU squad? Remember what Paterno said after that? "We all know who won that game." A class act. Maybe we should penalize the NCAA by disbanding it and for the life of college football. The NCAA serves no real purpose anyway. It could all be done without it..

    July 23, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • skipper Sam

      Nope wrong oops Bobby Bowden would have more victories the NCAA Took 12 from him.

      July 23, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ujack2

    Will be interesting to see if loss of business by state college businesses results in their filing suits against Mark Emmert for their loss of business. At what extent is Mark Emmert immune to being sued for his actions. If he were to shoot a state college business owner would he not be liable for his death/injury? If Mark Emmert has caused a state college business to fail due to his actions today should he be held liable in a court of law. No one is above the law, as so mentioned ain all of these posts.

    July 23, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. patiat

    So what if this results in the end of football there? It's just another form of entertainment. Let it go. People can find other things to do on Saturdays.

    July 23, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mike

    Well Penn State athletics are done fr many years.

    July 23, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. DP

    Meh. If death is the result, so be it. Take away the illusion that protecting the program or players is a justification for allowing this stuff to go on. Because the NCAA just said they can take it all away that fast.

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

    So wrong that current students/players/teachers/coaches have to pay the price for colossal administrative failure in the past – yet Paterno's family, even Sandusky’s family all of the administrators and the board members who were responsible keep their sweetheart deals, their pensions, their buyouts, their perks and benefits....that is the real injustice here. It’s shameful.

    July 23, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. throwing the baby out with the bath water!

    I agree that football has become more important that education, but that should be corrected at every college, not just Penn State. More important, coaches and board members are not "the university". A university is students, classes, libraries, social events, and so much more. True, people associated with Penn State football did commit offenses. However, the university and the even the football program were innocent bystanders. Punishing the university and its football program because of the offenses of these people is throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    July 23, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • jopa

      I disagree, it’s sending a clear and concise message that not standing up to a pedophile (like the coward Joe Pa and everyone else at PS) for fear of losing money, football games etc.. will not be tolerated.

      Bye bye Penn State football.... so sorry

      July 23, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Yeah, universities need to get out of the pro (er, I mean "collegiate") sports game altogether. It's a toxic culture best isolated.

      July 23, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • cageybee

      anyone associated with Penn State, whether a staff member, a student, or fan than thinks the penalty excessive shows themselves to be part of the problem that the NCAA says needs to be fixed

      July 23, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • cageybee

      anyone associated with Penn State, whether a staff member, a student, or fan that thinks the penalty is excessive shows themselves to be part of the problem that the NCAA says needs to be fixed.

      July 23, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • coach

      i disagree. sports is a way out for kids. the way our government has things set now with education, we pass everyone. a high school diploma means nothing. we want to look good on paper and not what our children need most, skills. there are many skills our children learn through sports that they will not get in science class. but our government says our test scores is what makes a good student. just ask the kid that just shot up the movie theatre. bull crap.

      July 23, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • coach

      its not every day a pedophile coaches football at any university or high school. you cannot control the actions of another person. what was done was done, we cant change that. but what we can do is move forward as a college football community. is every team going to support help for victims or just psu? maybe just psu because it happened to them? it wont ever happen to my team. never, right?

      July 24, 2012 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
  9. Diditright

    Sports analysts...well, at least the spelling of the word is correct.

    The sanctions were appropriate. I'd have preferred a four-year full abolishment, but this works well enough. No one, NO ONE should be "idol-worshipping", as Mandel whines that the Lions fans will not get to be. That's what got them into this problem in the first place! I'd call these analysts idiots, but that would be insulting to those who actually are idiots.

    The entire point of the sanctions is to make it absolutely clear that the "idol-worshipping" culture at Penn State *and any and all other Universities that are dumb enough to follow the same path* is what led to the opportunity for a child molester to get away with it for years with the complicit knowledge of others in the football program. The entire reason for not standing up and stopping the abuse, for not blowing the horn was to preserve the "idol-worshipping" culture. So when these ANALysts whine about not preserving the idol-worshipping culture, they openly perpetuate a desire to continue the exact same behavior that led to the problem in the first place. DUH!

    It is the CULTURE at Penn State which has to change, that is the entire point of not merely allowing things to 'carry on' as they would with a one year banishment, then reinstate themselves and the potential for a new molester to move in immediately thereafter.

    For the two or three Penn Sate players with the actual potential to make it to the NFL, there will be the opportunity and invitations to transfer. For the rest of is better to get to the point of realizing that $$$$ aint coming in from football as a career anyway, and that they'd be better off putting their time toward getting an actual education and thinking about what to do with their futures.

    July 23, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • LisaMBA09

      Very well said! I am sick of listening to these whining sports writers. I wonder how they would feel if it was their own child? because all I hear them doing is justifying Paterno

      July 23, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Peedee

    It is a shame that Penn State should be punished for the misdeeds of a few. If I were on the board of trustees I would close the school for good. There is no way that Penn State will ever recover from the sanctions passed down by the NCAA. These actions are mass punishment for school as a whole, just makes no sense!

    July 23, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      I completely disagree with you. You talk about how it isn't fair to punish the university over the mis-deeds of a few. Well, is it fair to the victims and their families to be abused and suffer the life-long ramifications because football meant more to JoPa than innocent children?

      Besides, Penn State will eventually recover, unfortunately.

      July 23, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • BB

      The school as a whole is being punished because the school, as a whole, messed up big time!!!

      July 23, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Buck Ofama

    Mark Emmert and rest of the NCAA can suck it!! Joe Peterno won 409 games and they're not going to change that!!

    July 23, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • South Westport

      The school was not punished because of the abuse scandal. Penn State chose material gain over morality and humanity. Penn State supporters still don't get the massive EVIL done in their name. If they would have murdered those children to keep the scandal secret, it would still have been acceptable to Penn State fanatics.

      July 23, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mark A Palmer

    The school deserves more than the fine or the "weak death penalty". I think that in addition to the fine, the team should be forced into Division 3 for at least 10 years. After that the school could work its way up; hopefully with at least 5 years at each level, until they reach Division 1.

    Let those football players with scholarships transfer to other Division 1 schools.

    Penn State needs to transform. It should be able to thrive not simply survive without football. If it can't it is not as great as it seems, I don't believe that.

    The penalty suggested make Penn State an example to others

    July 23, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. IndyVoter

    For all its harness, the penalty just doesn't seem to be enough.

    Hopefully, the NCAA will also start working on the culture at the other universities. This is just the tip of the iceburg.

    July 23, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Justice

    Hey! Maybe they could play frat flag football! That should fill the stadium!

    July 23, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. keyser

    This is not even close to being a real penalty. It was time to send a message on child abuse and the NCAA dropped the ball. Penn State should have been banned from football permanently. I have no doubt that had Paterno lived he would have been indicted for aiding and abetting Sandusky.

    July 23, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
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