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. Anonymous010

    Who cares how long it takes Penn State's team to 'recover'? Football is just a game. The acts of negligence that Penn State's administration and athletic personnel committed, while not wholly criminal, are morally deplorable – and they did it all so that the university's football program didn't have to suffer embarrassment. In my view, no punishment the NCAA can dole out is too severe. Throw the book at them and let them serve as a cautionary tale and reminder to other athletic programs at universities and colleges around the country – athletics is not the reason colleges and universities exist; academics is. Athletics should always take a backseat to academics.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. nick

    I don't understand how this is the end of PSU football. The Ivy League schools have been fielding great teams for literally decades without ANY athletic scholarships. The Ivy League has had Heisman trophy winners and many players and coaches go on to the NFL. Matt Birk All-Star center for the Ravens, George Seifert for the San Francisco 49ers; just to name 2. Maybe it won't be as easy as it has been for them to be a football powerhouse, but then again, isn't that the point?

    July 23, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Minorkle

      Ivy League teams aren't great. They are...Ivy League Teams. The best Harvard team in history could never win one game in the Big 10 if they played 100 games. This decision devastates the Nittany Lions but that maybe the best thing. Paterno worship got out of hand years ago. A truly great man and coach,John Wooden, knew when to step down. Paterno's ego let to this tragedy.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jesse ballew

    I love the verdict!

    July 23, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joey Merlino

    Anything short of mass arrests and people being taken away in handcuffs on live TV is a joke of a punishment.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. crimsontide

    They never had a great team anyways. Who cares about these fools anyweays? They deserve what they got.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Wait a Minute...

    Ok, I just don't understand how the NCAA can hand out a punishment that would be violative of the 8th Amendment (if it applied–it doesn't), but Miami (a.k.a Thug-U) is able to skate by with...wait for it....wait for it...actually, does anyone even recall what Miami got?

    I understand that what happened was terrible...very terrible. But this is overkill to the Nth degree.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. NCAA hurt all the remaining innocents

    Yup the NCAA was able to hurt all the innocent people who play, work, or live near the college. The NCAA will costs many hundreds of people their jobs; cripple the local economy; and injure thousands upon thousands of innocent teachers, students, athletes, local area small businesses; and an entire area. One of the dumbest decisions of all time by the NCAA

    July 23, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • mm0626

      I'd say that PSU is to blame, not the NCAA. School had multiple chances to do the right thing, and didn't. NCAA had to do the dirty work. Good for them.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • wow

      So, football > child ra so long as it lines the pockets of local business? It's reasoning like this that brought about the problem in the first place and exactly why this punishment was very much necessary.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • jnpa

      I totally agree. They hurt more innocent people than just the PSU administration that caused all of this. NCAA should be ashamed!

      July 23, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joey Merlino


      July 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • KE

      In essence, it was the football program and the neded to preserve the "culture" that enabled Sandusky so I feel the NCCA was rather lenient on PSU.

      July 23, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. notafan

    its time this nation wakes up, collage football is not god, some of these fans think so. i'm happy what the ncaa did and hope they do it more often to the big schools who think there above the rest.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wait a Minute...

      Then why does the NCAA not give the same program-ending penaltlies to the likes of Miami. Why, I ask you?

      July 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. duklips

    Where have YOU been? It was a systemic problem, that went from the janitors who were afraid to report Sandusky, to the university president, who conspired with others, including Paterno, to hush things up. And make no mistake, Jopah was no teddy bear when it came to intimidating others in order to get his way. The people who make excuses for the university and Paterno are missing the boat.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • emmertdusky

      The systemic problem is in society such that it takes traffic fatalities to finally get a red-light put up at an intersection.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. David Molnar

    If I were Penn State, I would simply follow the example of Chicago U. a long time ago and abolish football as an intercollegiate sport. For now and forever.

    I don't understand their vacating the wins. Nothing in this mess indicates that anything PSU did gave them an unfair or illegal advantage on the field of play. This seems like a spiteful attack on a dead man, a man who is unable to defend himself.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Craig

      Better Paterno gets the shaft in death than boys getting the shaft while alive.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lissa

      They are vacating his wins because, even posthumously, he doesn't deserve the honor after turning a blind eye to such horrific acts upon children. It could be argued that making Sandusky leave when allegations first surfaced could have hurt the program, but because Joe ignored the mounting evidence, he was able to keep his coaching staff intact. A team is stronger when there's little disruption to it's structure.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. coolhead

    Sports is all about the money. Unfortunately that is what makes people hide the dirty secrets. Below is a list of the top 8 Texas government salaries. Notice 3 are University of Texas coaches.
    Mack Brown The University of Texas at Austin Head Coach $5,266,667
    Richard D Barnes The University of Texas at Austin Head Coach $2,400,000
    Rodney James Rohrich The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas PROFESSOR & CHAIRMAN $1,750,000
    Ronald A DePinho The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center President $1,404,000
    Walter Lowe The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Prof, NTC, Chair, Smith En $1,200,000
    Raymond E Sawaya The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Chair $1,133,889
    Gail Ann Goestenkors The University of Texas at Austin Head Coach $1,080,000

    July 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. relieved

    tiddlywinks isn't so bad....

    July 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mark

    Too bad PSU.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. PUCK

    GOOD STUFF. Maybe its time for our bloated university systems to re-focus on educating their co-eds vs. entertaining them. Football has, for too long, dominated the attention spans of those supposedly seeking higher education. If it weren't for these programs which have become a national obsession for us, individuals within the same would not be hiding a pedophile in their ranks for fear of what it will do to their IMAGE. A good life lesson for all involved and justice for those that were injured by the one and crushed by the indifference and arrogance that the system creates.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. crimsontide

    They should have torn down the stadium. I'm sure that some kids were done in the bleachers and the 50 yard line while ole jo pa gave a thumbs up.

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