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. AU Alumn

    Plus did you know Penn State hasn't had a successful post season in 14 years? They are not only pervs but are also losers.

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

      Really? You must not be a football fan because they were actually pretty good in the post season.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Vanesa from Oklahoma

    You are penalising everyone. You are hurting the school program eliminating scholarships and winning games. Those players/students do anything, why should you punish them, Punish those who are guilty....only.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vanesa from Oklahoma

      those students/players didn't do anything.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      By choosing to attend Penn State the students are also supporting the child abuser and those that covered it up. The pervo students definitely should be punished.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • harsh, but fair

      So let the players transfer to other schools without penalty...that's fair. I'm sure many schools would LOVE to have some of their best players. As for the bench warmers "c'est la vie"

      July 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marcus

      The students/athletes that continue to go to this school ARE doing something wrong. There are hundreds of universities they can transfer to. They need to get over the Joe Pa worshipping. Any kid that attends Penn State this fall is a sick o

      July 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Olaf Big

    This is a bizarre story that reminds of Stalin's USSR, but on a comically small scale. Just like Penn State, they would erect statues to living "heroes" and then demolish those statues, when the said "heroes" fell out of grace. Just like NCAA, Stalin's propaganda department would rewrite history to erase any mention of those fallen idols. It is just absurd to "vacate" the team's winnings or erase Joe Paterno's record. No matter what happened in Penn State's locker rooms, those wins were real, or weren't they? I mean, aside from the fact that the only real thing in the whole world of college football is the money it makes for the University and the brain damage the players sustain.

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

      Interesting Olaf

      July 24, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Amy

    who cares if Penn State football is ever a powerhouse again? Look what that did for them? That became more important than the welfare of children, literally. Let them start again and maybe move forward building it on the appropriate standards of true sportsmanship/humanity.

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

      You are so right, Amy:-)!!

      July 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. SarShack

    I can't say that I am sad to see these sanctions put in place. Anyone who has a problem with this then they are putting a game over the lives of the children who were harmed.
    Those players still have a future and options so they do have the option to not be affected by this.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Russ

    So, the decrease in attendance will affect the economy of the entire area, not just the university. There will be many family owned restaurants, shops, motels, and hotels that will see their revenues decline during the football season, which was for them no doubt the most profitable of the year. .

    July 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. A clifford

    W H Y

    July 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MJB

    IIn effect they just had a massive negative impact on the ability of probably 20000 students over the next decade to get a quality higher education. Given the monetary value of football you can conservatively guestimate there were 100+ educational scholarships destroyed for every football one. Nice of them to donate the money this time and all, but really they are not Robin Hood.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ge79

    im a psu fan and always will be, but my problem is 98 sandusky was being investigated. the district attorny did not press charges..this could have been stopped in 98 by police..

    July 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. College Football Fan

    Fans from SMU should be furious. While harsh, this still is not as bad as what SMU got. It is as though pedophilia is less criminal than whatever might have been paid out to the SMU players many years ago.
    While I don't condone either, NCAA didn't shut them down as they did SMU which to me was their only choice as far as penalty goes..

    July 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. billofrights

    Why do we need the court system, we have the NCAA? Football is big business at all major universities and this will change nothing. The public is at fault for making football and sports the most important thing in college, not to mention at the high school level. Education and academics mean nothing, just ask our lawmakers who continually cut the education budget, but fund new stadiums with taxpayer money.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sip Boy

    Still not enough. PSU got off easy!

    July 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. awram

    It's too bad the players have to suffer because of the coaching staff and president of the school. All who knew should face jail time and let the kids going there get on with life. The big problem: Only Sandusky will see jail. If the NCAA truly went after all the BS going on at the colleges there wouldn't be any sports programs.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. sqeptiq

    "We are Penn State" is apparently a slogan good for accepting rewards but not for accepting punishment. When you bask in the glory but refuse to join in the shame, you need to do a soul search; that's not a lesson kids should be taught.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. yup!

    The Penn State community should be welcoming the sanctions, not argue against it. Those who argue still have their heads in the ground.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
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