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. Dustin Goldsen

    Having punished the guilty, we have now punished the innocent as well. We can all sleep well swimming in self righteousness knowing that "they" Penn State are the molesters and "we" anyone else are not. Obviously this crime does not exist anywhere else so we are all safe from blame. Good work NCAA. You are free to make billions off your new playoff now that a scape goat has been identified shielding you from this nasty scandal.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
  2. Britt Reed

    Perhaps they can get back to education. I know the big money is not there for the school but they are in the business of education, though a secondary goal for sure. Perhaps they should try focusing on the real needs of the many, not the bloated, ego driven cash cow that lines the pockets of the few. Arts/sciences go by the wayside and all people can bemoan is that their precious sports venue, that will serve no one in the long term, has deteriorated and left dying a slow death. No wonder we have slipped in our ranking as the most powerful and educated Nation in the world. Maybe if this had happened thirty years ago the school would be known best for its contributions in cutting edge science instead of all things, a sports monopoly led by a egomaniac who was treated as a god. Now what is he, and even more important, who will care in 30 years?

    July 24, 2012 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
  3. 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.
    Money is to College like power is to politics or actives.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
  4. EMartin1978

    Is Syracuse & Boehiem next??

    July 24, 2012 at 3:23 am | Report abuse |
  5. Ike

    People oh my Gosh have you actually lived on planet earth. do you think that palyers can just leave and be fine? Like for example the players that were going to start on PSU team is now going to start on there new team? No they will become back benchers to the current players of there new schools. But im glad we did justice we completly erased the college carrers of 100s of innocent players and ruined many more. We sure did hurt sandusky though..... Oh wait he never had his wins removed he was never even puished lol wow justice at work good job guys we hurt everyone but the culprit. It is like if as puishment for the holocaust we shot every German execpt the ones who actually did the holocaust. for illegal sanctions that penn state could get rid of in court any time they feel like they sure were bad ones

    July 24, 2012 at 4:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. leslee

    Has anyone else wondered if those sweeping the molestation under the rug (Paterno, Curley, etc.) are (were) pedophiles as well?

    July 24, 2012 at 4:20 am | Report abuse |
  7. happydays

    You know it might help some of your arguments about how terrible PSU is if you actually have done something to help. Good job you posted a comment about hoe terrible PSU is but what have you done to help? Have you donated money to orginzations that help child abuse victums. PSU has the students alone without any university help donated 500 thousand dollars. This right here shows that the true heros of this story is the students of PSU. Lets learn from them and go do something instead of pretending that these"sactions" were little more than a PR scheme by the NCAA

    July 24, 2012 at 4:31 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jennifer from Maryland

    Oops, the NCAA isn't government. Gotta read better.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Kathy

      One comment said – thanks to the sanctions of the NCAA Penn State will never be the same. Let's hope so.

      July 24, 2012 at 6:27 am | Report abuse |
  9. MSL58

    Instead of concentrating in football and sodomizong little boys, couldn't Penn State consider putting an emphasis on some other field, such as perhaps, maybe, possibly ACADEMICS?

    The question is not whether Penn State Football should be shut down, the questio is whether Penn State itself should be shut down.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:53 am | Report abuse |
  10. OverlyOpionated

    What's ironic is that NCAA is continuing to harm young people by destroying their careers for a crime they did not commit. Shame on NCAA.

    It's sad that one man's horrible actions (Sandusky) have destroyed another man's life work (Paterno) – who had helped so many young men (Paterno) and that it has also devastated so many innocent lives including the young men currently in the program at Penn State, in different ways yes, but all disheartening. I feel that this Penn State situation was not only handled incorrectly throughout the Sandusky years but also throughout today. Who is going to right all of these wrongs? Apparently no one, and I can't stomach watching how this has played out. A criminal is a criminal and to be held accountable but destroying even more young lives and their hard work? Also awful

    July 24, 2012 at 4:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Did you ever hear of the legal concept of conspiracy? The school, faculty and students enabled and collaborated and therefore deserve punishment and must suffer the consequences.

      July 24, 2012 at 5:58 am | Report abuse |
    • TheDude

      Paterno was just as guilty through inaction.

      July 24, 2012 at 6:07 am | Report abuse |
    • ch

      wow you miss a lot the only one who destroyed joe pa's work is Joe pa, he is the one who held the power to do something and he choose to do nothing

      July 24, 2012 at 6:09 am | Report abuse |
    • JoeVa

      1. Paterno helped cover-up and enable Sandusky. He also violated state law which requires state employees to report even SUSPECTED cases of child abuse.

      2. In instances like this, recruits and scholarship athletes are free to transfer to other schools. As I'm sure many will do.

      Sandusky was the problem. But Paterno added to the problem. He's a great example of what happens when a football coach or football program becomes bigger than the school. Have you read the account where the School President and AD went to Paterno's house (he didn't come to one of their offices!) to talk about why he should retire and instead he told them he wouldn't be retiring and ordered them to stop talking about this and leave? Paterno was no mortal on that campus. And sadly, there are a bunch of other college football coaches who have power that puts them ABOVE the University and makes their program more powerful and with more clout than that of the University.

      July 24, 2012 at 6:28 am | Report abuse |
    • ncrednk

      I don't get the view that this is destroying these players' lives. They can transfer to any school that will take them and if they have the stuff to move to the next level, they will.
      I've been watching this saga from the beginning. I actually feel that more sanctions against the school, board of trustees, coaches, faculty, employees, campus security, local law enforcement, judges, DA's, etc., etc., need to come quickly. So many things seem to have been lost in the filth that surrounds this case. I remember a recorded call that included Sandusky's wife as much as admitting knowledge of his behavior. It was played for a couple of days, then disappeared. Detectives that absolutely KNEW about his behavior, conveniently not being called on the carpet. If the detectives / police elevated this within the legal system and it was swept under the rug, everyone that even had an ounce of knowledge should be brought up on criminal charges.
      For those who still don't believe that the football program ruled without prejudice, are either ignorant or as irresponsible as those involved. And, to the point of what has happened in the past few days, if you don't believe that at the top of this football program, Paterno did not in some way facilitate non-action, you need to pull your head out of the sand.
      Sandusky may as well have taken a loaded gun into a McDonald's, killed 10 kids and then taken cover within the PSU locker room, having been given aid by the coach, trustees, AD, local law enforcement.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
    • chefdugan

      No one is "destroying young lives" as you so stupidly put it. Paterno was a piece of crap just as much as his buddy Sandusky. Those kids can leave or stay, whatever they wish. Why anyone would want a degree from that place I'll never know. For years to come, as soon as you write Penn State on your resume, the abuse will pop up."we are Penn State" sure sounds silly now.

      July 24, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jay

    Maybe the university will do something truly important like fund the physics and engineering departments so they can win Nobel Prizes or send people to Mars. That would give them my respect, unlike watching know-nothing-muscle-heads run a leather ball up and down a field. There should have been the death penalty for at east a year in addition to the sanctions.

    July 24, 2012 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |
    • gtr2011

      Penn State has one of the better engineering programs in the country. Dr. Barry Marshall won a Nobel prize in medicine, and Guy Bluford was the first African American in space. But hey – you're doing a great job with your fact-checking, too.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  12. Merlin

    Since these crimes were committed years ago, it would seem prudent to focus on prosecuting the perpetrator/s and administrators who were aware of it who did or said nothing. Punishing the current students and staff makes about as much sense as...well, it doesn't make sense to me. For goodness sakes, Paterno is dead and the perpetrator is behind bars. If other guilty parties emerge, punish them. How would you like to be punished for the crimes of others?

    July 24, 2012 at 6:09 am | Report abuse |
  13. Greg

    Looks like Penn State will be just as good as Seton Halls football team...

    July 24, 2012 at 6:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Todd in DC

      Still better than the Johns Hopkins football team

      July 24, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. gary

    Foot ball should die. It's not a game or sport; it's become a marketing gimmick, the players are pawns. Too dangerous, too expensive, for what? So Coke and Ford can run commercials? Return to academics, get USA back towards the top in science and math.

    July 24, 2012 at 6:38 am | Report abuse |
  15. JOEPA: NAMBLA President

    Not dead enough! TEAR DOWN BEAVER STADIUM

    July 24, 2012 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Todd in DC

      Keep your hands off of my beaver

      July 24, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
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