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. Chris

    It's good to see that Mandel is taking a shot at Penn State FANS for this. Are you seriously, as a sportswriter, in an age of journalistic sensationalism going to smash fans for liking football too much? You're lucky they do, otherwise you wouldn't have a job. Look, the crimes here are heinous, but don't for a second implicate the fans in this who were minding their own business and just rooting for their team. If you're going to trash the fans, you better take a hard look at yourself, and your brethren in sports media for the cause of all this "idol worship.". Prior to this whole mess, it must have been all those books your industry didn't write about this sports "idol," all those interviews you didn't air, all that football that you didn't put on tv and develop multiple 24 hour networks dedicated to just these sort of people. You sure did your part to prevent "idol worship." Hey, if you want to smash the legitimately guilty parties in this thing, go ahead. But get off your soap box before you start calling the kettle black.

    July 23, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Billy

    Blindly following football or any idol like Paterno makes so much sense.?????!?!

    July 23, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. coach

    culture? yeah, just ask high schools, colleges, professionals, we want the best for our team. do we agree or does that team reflect me as a person, no. dont let the actions of some sick ass over see all the good the psu athletes and students and community have done. if you are going to sit on cnn and bash everyone then donate money to a child abuse fund and get off your computer. do something about it. maybe it will help one child. but dont point the finger at others when you can help.

    July 23, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. pojaw

    if u ask me they should be penalized for every cent their football program earned over those years not just the 60 mil

    July 24, 2012 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  5. Nevis Mn

    Penn State is just one of thousands of universities worshipping at the altar of societie's gladiators. The donors/spectators could never do anything on a field or court so they live their dreams by buying slaves to do it for them. Universities are very willing to take the money and become partners in the slave trade. Athletes sign on and lose all rights that every other citizen holds dear. They work for the slave owner and many get nothing in return but broken bodies. Penn State got punished but many others deserve a similar fate.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  6. Brian

    "Penn State is number one in graduation rates for student athletes.".................................................

    With a major in what – underwater basket weaving? I know these "student" athletes. The instructors are pressured to give them a "C" when they are actually flunking the course.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
  7. more than sports

    Paterno should have lived to have seen what his inactions have caused, and what this has done to his reputation. In the first instance, he should have done the right thing.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  8. drew

    Absolute blow for the lions.. no pun intended. This is by far 100x's worse than the death penalty. serves them right.... Harboring a child molester is a crime that deserves absolute pain and suffering. I beleive that PSU is finished for the next 10 years, if not for life.. good to hear. And the paterno fam is as guilty as Joe himself.. oh, he's won so many football games, gave millions to the school,.had a great graduation rate... Yea, cause he had to make up for knowing he was protecting a child molester. Burn PSU,burn......

    July 24, 2012 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  9. Matthew

    Penn State is now the new Ball State

    July 24, 2012 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
  10. rosethornne

    Why, exactly, did this athletic program ever mutate to the point where coaches were worshipped and feared?

    How was that remotely a good thing?

    Why is it surprising that power corrupts?

    July 24, 2012 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  11. michael

    pSo what. In the rhem of human events who cares of football when children are involved.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
  12. czar33

    First of all I am not a sports fan, but I must say 2 things. #1 What went on in Penn State was SICK SICK SICK and all involved should PAY. #2 It is unfair that incomming students have to suffer for things done in the past!

    July 24, 2012 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
    • DaVuVuZeLa

      PSU students suffering? You make it sound like everybody who graduated there over the past 11 years just had their degrees invalidated. Are the ones currently attending going to have their class credits invalidated? Are their scholarships suddenly null and void?

      IT'S JUST A FOOTBALL PROGRAM. It's not the end of Penn State, and if football means more to Penn State than its academic programs, then that's not a school I want my kids to attend.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
  13. Barry

    The NCAA is punishing students, innocent students who had nothing to do with the scandal!

    July 24, 2012 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  14. Vogler

    What were these children going to accomplish in their lives that was more important than Penn State football???

    July 24, 2012 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
  15. Bryan

    I have no attachment to Penn State.....but after this they just earned a new fan.....Mark Emmert is a piece of trash....go Nittany Lions!!!

    July 24, 2012 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
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