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. Brian

    What about the victims? What are they getting?

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

      Brian, they don't care about the victims The same mentality that the report said was the problem exists in those who are rendering their form of justice..

      July 23, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Missknowitall

      They will get nothing. They may even be blamed for making the "school" lose their football status. The remarks by experts is proof positive that jocks that bang up their heads when they are young , WILL lose the ability to relate to anything not on espn.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • deadspam

      The $60 Million fine goes to establish a national program for victims of child abuse. Same with the Big 10 $13 M.

      As for Sandusky's victims, they should get each about $10-20M from the University when their civil suits come to trial – more if they are smart and go for class action status...

      July 23, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stephen

      The victims will no doubt be rewarded through civil suits, not through the NCAA.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      The fines and lost profits are suppose to go to various victim funds.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Actually that's a very good point. Slamming the football program will hopefully be a general warning to other college athletic programs that think they are somehow special and above the rules (or law.) But what does this do for the victims of this pervert?
      Instead of the fines, Penn State should have to give full ride scholarships to the victims and their immediate decedents.
      I also think there is no reason that Sandusky shouldn't be executed. His crimes were planned, went on for years and are the kind that will never be redeemed. He will never be a functioning member of society again and the damaged he has caused is grievous to say the least.

      July 23, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Gmil

    For all those saying the NCAA should only punish those at fault in the scandal...the problem is, the entire value system of the University for putting football above children is at fault. I mean, when a scandal like this runs from bottom to top involving almost every single person on the food's not just people who are to blame.

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

      Puleeeezzzze. The NCAA represents the real value system. It's trying to cover up that complicity.

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

    They should just put up a big sign where the statue used to be that says THIS IS WHAT YOU GET.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • DUH

      AMEN TA THAT!!!!!

      July 23, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarKris 712 reap what you sow. Joe Paterno spent 50 years with Penn State and the last year of his tenure there will be his legacy.....anyone can talk about the victories, the bowl wins, his many years there but you'll always have to add "yeah, but"......and all because he and his cronies didn't want to be "bothered" with the whole Sandusky mess.....truly a sad ending for man who's name would have been immortalized in college football history.

      July 23, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Paul

    From all of this, let us learn to look at ourselves and prepare us for the questionable situations that our lives will put us.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Necee

    Who cares about the crippling affects that the sanctions set forth will have on PENN State!! Think of the crippling affects the victims have to live with not only because of the VIAL acts of Sandusky, but the decision of the upper echelon to sweep all of this under the carpet for so many years. I only wish the sanctions could have been harsher if that's possible. NOW stop your crying about "Whoa is PENN State" & start thinking about what all this is really about = CHILDREN BEING VIOLATED WHILE THOSE WHO WERE SUPPOSED TO PROTECT THEM STOOD BY & DID NOTHING. Then worry about why you are really at that college, getting your education & not football.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • A real survivor ( not wussy victim)

      That's right. The parent that should have protected them threw them to the wolves instead. They are adults now, and need to quit using this as an excuse for not acting like it.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. MarkinWI

    Lucky I'm not the one handing out punishments. Ban them from playing any football for 10 years, all Football scholarships become Academic Scholarships for 10 years, and then you get harsh. I'm sure I could think up some serious penalties in a week.
    Sports in general have become too important to people in this country. Anything to keep the masses from waking up I guess. PSU could become an academic powerhouse instead of a football powerhouse, AND get back some genuine respect.

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

    Let's be clear where the blame for the death of Penn State football lies: directly with Jerry Sandusky and indirectly with Joe Paterno and others. Kudos to the NCAA for taking the hard line and sending a clear message. For those that believe that the NCAA is harming student athletes and the PSU community, this is like arguing that a court harms the children of a parent that gets sent to jail for committing a crime. Has the court harmed the children by taking away a parent that was a breadwinner? Undoubtedly, in many cases, yes but that doesn't vacate the parent's responsibility to not have committed the crime in the first place.

    This decision isn't directed toward Jerry Sandusky but toward those that were complicit in the cover-up / inaction – administrators and otherwise. They – and NOT the NCAA – are the ones that bear the blame for the death-blow that the NCAA dealt to Penn State. Let this be a lessons to those that would protect child molesters in the name of the "greater good."

    July 23, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. davey

    Just like the NFL players get what they want or doing nothing. those that thionk players are getting penalized. think again they get to keep their scholarship get to go to any college play ball by choice. your all a bunch of cry babies who probably got a full ride for doing nothing

    July 23, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. TFED69

    What NCAA is really doing is punishing the students (academics and athletes) and not the actual people themselves who did these hideous crimes. The fine that NCAA levying will cause more damage to the students than to Penn State in the long run. Penn State will eventually passed the fines back to the students so that one day they can recoup their losses. Personally, I don't think the NCAA is thinking this through.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dan

    If people think this is overly harsh think about what would have happened had the individuals who became victims of Sandusky (after Penn State knew about his actions and chose not to follow their legal obligation to report them) been allowed to determine the punishment. Penn State would have been lucky to continue participating in any sport.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jerry

    Is Penn State a college for higher learning or is it a football factory? Children were abused and the guilty were protected by all just to protect the "Football CLub". NCAA did it's job, albeit, too late.!

    July 23, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mike from Pittsburgh

    PSU idol worshippers...WAKE UP. These sanctions are NOT enough....PSU's football program should be shut down for a generation as PSU's leaders destroyed a GENERATION of youth and innocence.

    $60M...a joke,,,,,,PSU endowment is $1,800,000,000!

    There should BE NO football played at Beaver Stadium for YEARS.

    Your BOT should have resigned...Surma, Lubrano........CLEAN HOUSE FOR GOODNESS SAKE.

    What if it was your child's anus that Sandusky reamed and Paterno, Curley , Schultz and Spanier COVERED up?????

    July 23, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • A real survivor ( not wussy victim)

      No child of mine would ever be tossed out into a situation where that kind of exploitation could happen. But then, I am a responsible, functioning parent, not a mere gamete donor sucking off the system like these kids apparently had.

      I know first hand what people are capable of, given the opportunity. These kids weren't protected as they should have been. But there are three truly culpable parties in this: Sandusky for taking advantage of the situation, Tom Corbett for sweeping it under the rug in favor of his political career, and most of all, the "parent" that enabled the entire mess. No one else.

      July 23, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Missknowitall

    Also, I beleive it was President A Jackson that said corporations had no head or soul. I believe we may include big business universities also.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. davey

    Do away with all sports, tear down the stadiums and plant forest ...the way it was before man destroyed earth for his on gratifications.....

    July 23, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Fred

    The penalties are really gonna hurt the students, but there has to be an example made of this situation that was being ignored by people who had the power to do something. This will tarnish their reputation years to come.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
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