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. Lawrence

    I am by no way a Penn State fan, far from it. The NCAA simply caved in to media pressure. Money fines, no problem with that. Vacate wins, you can judge that for yourself. The players did no wrong. Punish the new players for something they had nothing to do with(wrong). What happened at Penn State was and is, a criminal matter. If the NCAA has decide to punish programs for encouraging sports above academics, most major programs might fall under that category. If the NCAA wants to punish programs for moral and criminal behavior by coaches and players, don't stop here. Open the door to all major programs.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
  2. EyeOpener

    Perhaps, atleast now the students can focus on studies! We have given so much importance to sports (i.e., football) that the US is way behind in math and science and other areas as far as students' performance is concerned. Maybe such sanctions at the high school level itself will improve our schools/students so that the US will once again be number one in the world when it comes to education. Why don't you look at our counterparts in the Asian and European countries – their priorities are definitely NOT sports.

    It is pathetic that the student body/faculty, etc., at PState have not openly commented about the incident and the effect it has had; instead they have been quick to whine about the sanctions and still keep defending their football program (and JoePa – sic). They do not realize that there is something called "collective responsibility."

    July 24, 2012 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  3. PhilG

    Penn State Football is more then money and more then the records on the books.

    It's the true grit,the courage of the people that go to Penn State and who live near Penn State to get through adversity and move on.

    The Football program will get better and the team will do well.

    Nothing the former program heads did or did not do will kill that.

    Penn State football will be smaller for a while and maybe,just maybe in five or so years-it will be bigger and definitely better then it ever was under Paterno.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
  4. Brian

    Banning football would be a disaster for the beer industry. The purpose of football is to provide rednecks with an excuse to swill beer.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. Data1000

    I live far away from Penn State and am not a fan. That said, the only ones who will be punished by this are those who had nothing to do with the travesty that occured. I think those involved should face prosecution, but I do not think the team of current players, new coaches, and those remaining at the university should be subject to these severe sanctions. Instead, I think punishment should be directed at those involved in the cover up, which happens to be men and women who are no longer associated with Penn State.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
  6. Louis

    Abolish the footbal program at Penn St. permanently!!!

    July 24, 2012 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
  7. Rod Davis

    Tough... I am appalled that not one of these man spoke to the lie that was Penn State Football, the living hell that the individuals will suffer forever because of a failure to respond and protect those them.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. booboot0805

    Now Penn State can return to what it was meant to be to begin with: a center of learning.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
  9. joejoe

    Good. Couldn't happen to a better program.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
  10. Nicoleasm

    I'm having a really hard time grasping part of these sanctions. Maybe someone can explain it to me. I don't know who is it really designed to punish? They want to take away Paterno's past wins...FINE. They want to fine the sports program $60 M to go to victims charities...GREAT IDEA. But what is the point of taking away future scholarships from students, and banning them from future postseason championships if they've earned it? You have a brand new coach, who had nothing to do with this scandal, but stepped up to the plate to coach the team, and you have innocent student athletes who've also had nothing to do with this, so why are they the ones being punished? You can't say the NCAA is punishing "the system", b/c the system has nothing to do with the hard work these kids put out into the field all year. They've already gotten rid of all the key players, and its like the NCAA is saying now(to the new coach, the new athletic director, the new president..)..."Even though you guys haven't done anything wrong,,this is your punishment just in case you ever THINK about doing what those past people did"...Is this the right thing to do?

    I was always taught to use your mind, it's the end all, be all, so I never understood the desire to be a professional athlete, singer, model or anything else that only relies on the physical. But you have to admit, if they make it, it's a very lucrative career. Sometimes even more so than spending 8 years in school to get a Ph.D, like I'm currently doing. So for some of these players, this is their livelihood. Why deny a scholarship to a kid that was just born in 1994? Why punish the new coach, if he's trying to do better? They've cleaned house already. So what are these FUTURE sanctions going to prove? These two parts of the penalties I don't understand.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
    • dEan

      It is meant as a warning to all the other big time college programs that they better back off and stop wagging the dog

      July 24, 2012 at 2:46 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ed Charles

    No one at Penn State did anything wrong. NCAA is a jerk.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
    • lewtwo

      No one at Penn State did anything right.

      July 24, 2012 at 2:47 am | Report abuse |
  12. Ed Charles

    NCAA can't take away someone's wins. A win is a win. They are already wins. Even if NCAA says the wins will be taken away, they are still wins and will always be wins.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:20 am | Report abuse |
  13. Shawn

    I am a football fan but it does comfort me to see justice being served - no matter how mighty that program WAS. It should send a definite signal to programs throughout the country that you are NOT above the law.

    Also, from a realistic standpoint, this is how life goes in the real world. Professionally when your team or employer has to take a hit, you pretty much have to also - even if you had nothing to do with the past bad decisions. Have you or someone you know ever gone through a business "down-sizing"? Usually the newer / weaker employees are first ones to go away in that scenario. Welcome to the real world guys. Perhaps the best card the NCAA played was letting the current PSU players transfer anywhere without waiting.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:38 am | Report abuse |
  14. don

    It's not the football. The college wants the money. Look at all the money it lost and all the money it may have to pay up. College and Football should not mix because of the money. Take the money out of football in College. Why do you think they hid the child abuse because of football. No the real answer is the MONEY. All the athletic College knows it is the Money. They could care less if about football if there's no money.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
  15. steven909

    NCAA did the right thing. They may have been more lenient. Many, many children were abused and the school faculty turned a blind eye. Simple as that.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:45 am | Report abuse |
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