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. OPEN400

    There is a great deal of hypocrisy to all of this. Everyone know that college football and college basketball are the paid for minor leagues for the NFL and NBA. If the coach is a 100% by the rules 100% of the time, chances are the coach will not be successful and will be fired. We have long thought Paterno was the role model for collegiate athletics, but it turns out Paterno had his own skeletons in his own closet. Maybe it is time that the NFL and NBA should foot some part of the bill for college athletic scholarships. Some jock that can’t spell his own name gets a free ride to see if he might it to the NFL or NBA; while some other kid ends up with a 100K student loan.

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

      OPEN400 – You make an excellent point, but it should also extend to the NCAA itself. It's a BILLION dollar industry (that's BILLION with a B) that takes advantage of hopeful athletes day in and day out, most of whom never see any financial benefit from the money made by the NCAA, the conferences and the colleges. So when the NCAA chastises Penn State for the "football first" mentality that allowed these crimes against children to remain hidden, it is like the pot calling the kettle black.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cynic

      Of course, there is a chance that the jock "who can't spell his own name" won't be able to cut it in the pros either.

      WWWWAAAAYYYY too much influence and importance are placed upon sports in this country. And what is it really, but entertainment?

      What does kicking a ball around on the field contribute to society? Surely not enough to merit the attention it receives.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. dastreagus

    There are a whole lot of insurance payouts, and lawsuits in the millions and still no good bike lanes. Good idea NCAA. Protect the kids.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kurt

    Wow, talk about retaliation against the entire student body of Penn State, all because those people who were in charge failed to act. The NCAA is nothing but an abusive organization who should be stripped of its power in order for the legal system of this country to take charge. I hope people across the country quit watching all NCAA functions, I hope TV stations ban NCAA events from beng aired just to show the NCAA how it feels and I hope someone finds a way to bring a class action suit against the NCAA for these actions.

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

      Emmert slipped into Sandusky's shoes and took PSU to the showers.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Henry

      Yeah that will happen (snicker)

      July 23, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ellen

    The needs of the weak, by far out weigh the needs of football. This is a stand that will impact greatly... and the far reaching affects will make a statement to abusers. I think football can take the hit for that gracefully... the kids have been taking it long enough, and it certainly wansn't their fault ! This is great! This is the kind of thing that has to happen to affect change! Abusers beware..... if you do this again, your enemies will be football fans worldwide! What better way to deter these ... I can't even call them people. BRAVO NCAA. I personally feel like this is one giant leap for mankind. This kind of things does affect us all... and we all should take responsibility. BRAVO again NCAA !!!!

    July 23, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Ellen, first learn to spell and learn proper english syntax before your ignorant mouth opens. It is sad what happened to these children. But, this will not impact the actual abusers as you suggest. It hurts mostly innocent people. I am glad I do not know you.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bob

    While I agree these sanctions are harsh and they affect not only current students/athletes at PSU and they local economy what was the NCAA to do? I'm shcoked at some of the comments at this article and others where people are concerned about vacating victories, records, wins and what this will do to the program. Seriously when did a sports program become a greater concern then the lives of those it affected, Has anyone who posted these comments, PSU footballers past and present, sports writes etc ever read the NCAA oath/creed. As a parent of a former NCAA athelete, not a revenue based sport btw, I have seen and read it and this was violated in the most basic way. Come on folks the spirit of what we are looking at here is the health and welfare of young people involved directly and indirectly with NCAA sports, How can you ignore that and the magnitude of what was let to go on there by the university. This is bigger than wins, records , coaches and participants. Sorry if that stings but it should frankly IMO.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. cait

    I think this is a bit crazy. This hurts the players, business owners of state college, hotel owners, independent restaurants. It is going to chnage not only the football team or football administrators lives but those of the people in the PSU community including the neighbors of the school, the alumni, and the students. The majority of these people didn't do a thing wrong yet they have to live through the punishment. Usually when you are punished, humiliated etc you had something to do with it but by the NCAA action I feel like they will in affect take away all that makes PSU great. Prior to this I felt that the University itself could recover but they really put the entire community through the ringer thus tarnishing the name of not just the football program but State College in general. I never went to PSU but its been an amazing community for decades and i feel that this sanction is going to take all that away. You can say that its ridiculous and it shows how much football rules the school if thats the case, but the NCAA never seemed to care previously how much money college football brings to the United States or individual schools. Thats just how it has become. I for one am still proud of everyone I know who went to PSU. Great education, great people, great business leaders, engineers, architects, doctors, and football fans. I'm going to cheer for PSU every game (except when they play my alma mater) as no one affiliated with it now had anything to do with this scandal now.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Retaliation here is nothing less that the raping of the entire, innocent, student body.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Robert

    PSU area residents may as well go to a local high school football game.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. audreyr

    remove the man, cencure the college if it is found wanting, but dont punish the students and staff who have worked so hard in the past.
    There should be new regime, a new start, fresh hope NOW, the students deserve nothing less.
    Dont let them down.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. thejourneywithnoend

    Reblogged this on On The Road Again and commented:
    Sadly this does not heal the victims he was convicted of abusing and maybe some that were not even comfortable coming forward.... However, the truth is known and I pray this helps with the healing process.
    Thank you for sharing and keeping this in the forefront.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. davey

    Football what a great sport....overpaid players ....overpaid coaches....staff too......eragant idiots....who cares do away with the sport

    July 23, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JM

    What Sandusky and PSU staff did is criminal and should be dealt with by the courts, including civil penalties. Do not understand how NCAA and B1G even have the authority to levy the sanctions they have. Student-atheltes that had nothing to do with Sandusky and the student body as a whole are getting shafted big time. I am no fan of PSU but this is extreme.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. paul

    aww, poor babies cant throw their ball around anymore..I'm glad someone finally sees how asinine sports have become

    July 23, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Hugh

    So, let me get this straight. Transferring to another school after spending two or three years at Penn State (working toward a degree, making friends, etc) is not a penalty. Be honest, not only have you never transferred from one school to another – none of you have ever even smelled a college campus, have you?

    July 23, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • oakhill

      If the bulk of guys who go to PSU to play foot ball are REALLY there because they have much of an academic concern, I'd maybe feel a little worse for them – however, they don't. And the same is true of almost EVERY college or university campus where football has become more important than academics – and the size of sports scholarships far exceeds academic ones. These kids don't HAVE to transfer. They can stay at PSU along with the scholarship money. But if they decide football is more important and transfer, I don't feel sorry fro them in the least.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ellen

      These boys smelled a college campus... while they were being tortured.... and the COLLEGE covered it up!
      It's about time a bigger statement is made.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. yup!

    Only the football program has been hurt, so the students there should not really care much ... unless they care very much about the football program.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      The football programs at school have unfortunately a massive impact on the growth of the school. That scholarship money is used to pay for a lot of the educational programs plus any bonus revenue the attraction football brings in.
      I suppose one thing is good though is that the football program generally is a just giant greed full monster where a lot of the income goes to paying for head coach ridiculous salaries, and other high ranking officials in the school.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Andrew

    The people that chose to go to Penn State to gain a higher education are now victims too. Not only were they let down by their leadership despite their undying dedication to them they have now been ridiculed and punished by outside influences.
    I don't expect everyone to understand what it means to degrade everyone for the acts of a few but in reality that is what we are doing here. Of course this will have an impact on the guys who make bank off of the football program but that in itself is a problem with the system but this also takes everyone else associated with Penn State down with them.

    The people who deserve to be the most upset at the Penn State fans for being let down by the man they idolized and the school leadership. Those people despite having everyone trust lied to their faces. They even defended them until the very end only to find out the truth. Its the worst kind of dishonesty a man could ever go through with.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
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