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. toldUso

    While we are justifiably repulsed by Sandusky's actions and the university's protection, why punish the innocent? Would they have crushed the Chemistry Department if it had happened there? Taken away research grants from the Physics Department? This is a legal and civil matter, the NCAA is over-reaching. None of this helped them win football games.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
  2. Lmori

    To me this seems appropriate. Although the players will suffer, the good ones will find another scool and still be successful. the point is set an example to make sure football is never again put above things that are more important. the only people who complain about this are people who think that football IS more important than anything else.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
  3. RobK

    Like a typical politician, Mark Emmert had to do something to show people he is a tough guy. Since everyone involved will eventually be punished by the legal authorities, he was only left with striking out at those not directly involved but still connected. Why doesn't he resign? After all, he was president of the NCAA while this cover-up was happening. Doesn't the buck stop at his desk?

    July 24, 2012 at 7:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. Louser Holtz

    Is it just me or when I read the quote from Lou(ser) Holtz I had this overwhelming need to wipe the spittle from the corners of his mouth?

    July 24, 2012 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  5. The Ghost

    Bla, bla, its all about football and $$$ @ Penn ? Where's the articles about what happened to the careers of the young men Sandusky molested ? Who paid for their psychiatric care over the yrs – Penn ? What happened to their families ? Nobody cares......we're worried about football and $$$ !
    In my opinion, the board should be let go and anyone related to operating the system ! Flush it out and start afresh !

    July 24, 2012 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jan

    The administration and new football coach took the penalties with out question. These sanctions are a challenge and penitence for the resurrection on their school's football program and reputation. Unfortunately, student athletes will have to decide if being a student at Penn State is more important than being an athlete at a school with more post-season perks. Let the athletics auxiliary budget pay the fines.

    July 24, 2012 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  7. RtUp

    The football program will "recover" within 8 years; 4 years of "scholar"ship players. It will do them a world of good to be the Vanderbilt on the big 10.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ameehol

    Alabama was hit several years ago with severe penalties and they survived, it can be done if you have a good administration and good fans. Now they are back on top and hopefully will stay there. You have to have good people in place that will do the right thing and I believe we have that now.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Publius Novus

      Where do you buy your rose-colored glasses? College football is one of the most corrupt businesses in the United States. Wall Street has nothing on NCAA Division I football when it comes to corruption. Even the lowerlevels are corrupt and have been for many years. When I attended a Division II school in the early 1970s, players were provided with "work study jobs" in order to provide them with money to offset the lack of scholarships. Of course, they never worked at the "jobs." But they cashed the "paychecks."

      July 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • FastEddie

      Alabama's penalties were trivial; Penn State's penalties are catastrophic.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      But didn't Penn State believe they had good people before?

      July 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. shakeyjakey

    This will not have a major impact on that disgusting program. The fans will rally together with the team in an "us against the world" united stance. Penn State football will not miss a beat! If you don't believe me, tune into the soldout, whiteout against Ohio State in 3 months and tell me that the fans, players & university are suffering. A one year death penalty with $100M fine would have been much more effective. The cult won't even miss one home game thru all these sanctions.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  10. mike

    Just kick them out of the Big Ten and be done with it.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  11. jschrock

    Penn State sucks, regardless, white helmets? Really? lame!

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

    these kids want to stay, they are still chantingl they are still buying football tickets, the entire school and community shows NO REMORSE, just BOO HOO HOO, they DON:T care what hppened to the little boys, they only care about some old man freak, put barbed wire along the entire border of the town and donl;t let anyone of the freak enabler lovers out....maybe then we would be safe....

    July 24, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      Troll. How do you know how the PSU community feels about the child abuse? I know many PSU alumni. They share your feelings about Jerry Sandusky. However, they also feel victimized. People, like you, that simplify the situation to meet your opinions are just trolls.

      July 24, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • butch81385

      The entire school shows no remorse? What about when this whole thing broke and the school raised over $500,000 for child abuse charities in under a month? What have you done to help the situation? Or is your only involvement limited to the anonymous critiquing on the internet?

      July 24, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Josh

    "I cannot think of a more devastating decision ..." ESPN football analyst Lou Holtz, said.

    I can.

    The devastating decision made by Joe Paterno that his football empire at Penn State was more important than those young boys.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  14. RUBEN


    July 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. northernCA

    Most of us have never given a rat's behind to Penn State's football culture, coach and record. We do care about the victims and are shocked at the concern the community is showing for only their precious teams (past and future). Why not try to compete on the academic level, try going for a Noble prize (you know you tie with Arafat, you each have one).

    July 24, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
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