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. Jean

    Good. Let's go back to worshipping God.

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

      I totally agree with Jean. This might also work in other sport venues! Hummm....after that, you could go after the politicians!!!

      July 23, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • YouArePennState

      Go back?

      July 26, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Merlino

    Again, the imbeciles are putting a STUPID GAME above the well being of innocent human beings.

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

      Unfortunately due to lack of political will by our overlord Congressmen and President we are stuck in a vicious cycle of funding from sources outside of the traditional government/endowment world. Sports in this country generates a huge amount of money and college sports and no slouches at this. The money from the big time sports are used to fund all others sports on campus, which would cease to exist in the current funding climate without input from the big time sources. Imagine, gymnastics as a self funding sport. Never going to happen. Swimming? Nope. Soccer? Note in the US. Field hockey? Water polo? Lacrosse? Ice Hockey? Running and track? Any other of the hundreds of sports that student athletes participate in. They would cease to exist as well without big time support. So now Penn State is going to have to tell thousands of student athletes, sorry you are losing out because of Joe Pa? No way that is right.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juanmom

      Rosie, what does congress and the president have to do with this story? Especially since the president wasn't in office when this happened, I guess you're just one of those people that HAS to insert politics into EVERYTHING:-/

      July 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Carl75

    Clearly from Freeh's report, the Executives of the University gave way too much power to Paterno over the years. Their inexcusable non-protection of the children victimized is just that..inexcusable and criminal. That is where this should have been handled, both in criminal and civil court. Not the NCAA destroying a program to send a message that is loud, clear, and will be financially, socially, spritually and ethically unavoidable in and of itself. Let the criminal and civil justice system re-balance the scale, as it should be. The conduct of the core football program was intact...the decisions of those involved in the program and the supervision of its management (the coaches themselves) failed morally for actions that took place in those areas, but the players or the program did not. Fines and top management cleaned out with civil and criminal suits on the way...I really don't believe the NCAA sanctions will help change a culture...they will only serve to further destroy a community that is much more than football. No one is above the law. Hopefully, those young men will start to recover and hopefully, this will prevent this from happening ever again. I am not ashamed of my/our university...I'm ashamed of the actions of a few men who made very bad, very wrong decisions that devasated lives. If the cure kills the patient, we have all lost.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • rosie

      Also the football program is used to generate a lot of money for other sports at the university that have no way of self funding. Almost all universities with strong programs in sports (football, basketball, baseball) do this. This is a huge blow to the 'lesser' sports that provide thousands of students a goal in life. Why are they now to be punished for things they never did?

      July 23, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Todd

    How does the Catholic church get away with all of this? Crazy how much media Football gets with the average American, funny how we turn a blind eye to other more dramatic situations in our world but yet we know all about sports...crazy

    July 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • YouArePennState

      Todd, believe it or not, not everybody CARES about the catholic church, that's why. More people follow football than follow religion. Shocked?

      July 26, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. nancy

    How many of those stating that this is too harsh have been abused themselves or have a loved one who has been abused? Nothing is going to make that go away. It is unthinkable when a sport, any sport and the money it generates for a school is more important that young lives. If they had faced the situation from day one and gotten rid of Sandusky at the beginning their "punishment" would have been over a long time ago if there was any. They would have been praised for stopping this abuse. The publicity they feared would not have been anything like what they have now.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • rosie

      Sandusky retired from the program in 1999.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Marcus

    The Penn State crowd make us sick. You are a disgrace to humanity.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • billofrights

      And MARCUS, you are the poster boy for the intellectually challenged. I know this will be new to you, but try to actually think before expressing yourself.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Big Tom

    Any person that attends Penn State in the future is a sick sick person. Choose a school with morals instead.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • billofrights

      Careful, your ignorance is showing.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. valwayne

    Kind of a day late and a dollar short? Where was the NCAA when the football program was being run as a personal fiefdom? Where were they when they could have done some good? All this is is grandstanding, and most of the people that will suffer from these kind of penalties are innocent of any involvement in the actual scanda. Paterno is dead, Sandusky is off to prison for the rest of his life. The people hurt by the fines and other punishment mostly had nothing to do with any of this. Of course it looks really harsh, and really tough, so the NCAA is hoping nobody will ask them where they were at when it might have done some good. And taking away 14 years of wins? That's just dumb. You can't take away a win all you can do is change/fake the written record. Those games are won and done! I don't object to some stiff penalties. What went on was inexcusable, but these just look hyped and punitive to me to cover the NCAA rather than fix what happened!

    July 23, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Monkey Business

    Penn State is way overrated in the Big Ten anyway. It's not like they were going to go to the BCS in the next 4 years anyway.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bob

    Hey idiots, the NCAA made a decision NOT to punish the criminal that was convicted in a court of law but instead punish the entire PSU community which has many great people in it.

    The entire German race was NOT responsible for the Holocaust, so don't blame all of the good people.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • peg

      1. really the german race? it is a population, race is white, black, asian.
      2 acutally, um....the majority of the german population new exactly what was going on in the camps. what a perfect example. everyone pretended not to see the missing jewish population being shipped off? please tell me you are kidding and not that stupid.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • YouArePennState

      Hey Bob, someday when you have children, you'll understand. BTW, the average Penn State student is not being punished, only the football fanatics are, it seems. Losing builds character, Bob

      July 26, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. rosie

    See now this is how rich executives view 'punishment'. Let's punish those who have nothing to do with the problem. I cannot for the life of me understand why it is necessary to remove records of games that were played by people that had nothing to do with the situation. I understand that Paterno knew about Sandusky and that Sandusky 'retired' in 1999. Why punish the football program after Sandusky was gone. You can punish the memory of Joe Paterno, but you should NOT take away from those young people that played those games. So now what, you gonna make all those wins mean nothing? Are you going to say that those teams they played against actually WON instead? What about the losses? Why not get rid of them too. Stupid. Sanction the program going forward if you must but do not punish the innocent for the crimes of one man and his enablers.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juanmom

      Rosie, it's the same as when a black person does something and ALL black people are blamed, harassed, and treated badly because of the actions of a few! We all know the good have to suffer with the bad and life is not fair, just ask the kids that were abused for all of those years at PSU:-/

      July 23, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dastreagus

    I am not saluting the NCAA, but this goes a long way to show the NCAA is not a bunch of monkeys and snakes. Funding programs that protect the many not the few is something I will salute. Good concept. Our legal system could learn something about taking a part huge awards to better protect against the original problem across the board.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. cedaly1968

    Penn State University has 500,000 living alumni. It's time for them to step up. If you think the NCAA was heavy handed, show up, show up to every football game. Pay your money, even if to watch a mediocre team. As for the team, gut check. Championships do not make NFL players, hard work, skill, leadership, mental toughness, those are the qualities that make great athletes into professional players. Time to step up, were you there for no reason or are you truly Penn State? The best response to the NCAA is to play. To play and to win. Stand up. You are being escorted to the slaughter house through no fault of your own. Stand up and win.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carl75

      Totally agree.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • YouArePennState

      And if you DON'T win, just remember that losing will build character.

      July 26, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kim S

    This ruling sends a clear message to the rest of the NCAA schools, football is not more important than ethics, compassion, and a good education. At least until the next scandal.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. yup!

    So sad ... Paterno could have been a hero, but he turned out to be a tyrant and a coward.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
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