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. wondering

    I've got bad new for Penn State, the Fat Lady hasen't sang yet! The show is not over.

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

      Looks like Penn State just got bent over......sound familiar ? They have been Sanduskyed in the shower!!!

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

    Its funny how the NCAA took Penn State to the showers. What goes around comes around. Feel that sting big boy?? Thats pride messing with ya.

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

      Oh, that's pride? Pretty small.

      July 23, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      yea..and your head coaches daughter sounds like she's a real winner too....

      July 23, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. RebelTexasDemocrat

    What's really sad here is that everyone is making such a big deal over the sanctions and calling it a "death knell for Penn football." OK – how is college football more important than KIDS? These "opinionators" who say that Penn should have gotten a year off from football, or how devastating the sanctions will be for Penn..........hey, folks - what about the KIDS???? If I have to compare the effects of years of sanctions and $60m in fines against Penn for letting this stuff happen and the crippling, devastating, life-long effects Sandusky's actions will have for those kids - they don't even compare. You opinionators who seem to be dismissing the kids and the effects on them and whining about how badly Penn's football program will be hurt are just as sick and twisted as Sandusky. You don't even mention the KIDS. I have a better idea - BAN FOOTBALL ALTOGETHER and concentrate on families, kids and helping the poor. We expend WAY too much energy and attention on FOOTBALL and not enough on families, kids and others in our society.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      If it's all about the kids, then why is the NCAA involved at all? Why are there any sanctions? Won't the justice system hold the guilty responsible?

      July 23, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Can you just stop. They are just discussing the football side of things, since they are sports reporters for God's sake! You are totally going overboard with this just ban football altogether b.s. It wasn't the football team that did this, so why are we coming down hard on the football program anyway??? If you want to tai aim at someone, take it at the sick people who do these things and the people who know about it and are not reporting it. Let's not throw football under the bus for absolutely no reason.

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

    Tough luck for people who depend on football money. All the USA now looks at your state supports child molesters. They should ban all college and NFL football in Pennsylvania!!!!

    July 23, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wen

      Why just football? Why just in Pennsylvania? Pennsylvania is part of the USA, why not the whole USA? Why not schools that played Penn State?

      July 23, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • emmertdusky

      Stay in your own country.

      July 23, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mel

    Have they checked track and field and their other sports? Might just be no reason to open anymore.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Wagman

    Way to compare apples to watermelons sharncedar...but Polanski should be in jail too.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tom

    Unfortunately Pennsylvania tax-payers and future students at PSU are big losers here as well. Especially when one factors in the anticipated high legal costs yet to come. Tuition and tax increases are coming.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Randall

    It time Football was made illegal. Look all the injuries, all the money wasted on it in out public schools, football teachs violence to our children. Week after week, during football season you can watch the players and coaches "ass grab eachother", how much more proof do you need?

    July 23, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Snow

    If this country takes a long and hard look about acedemic instead of sports then our students should be list as a top of the world

    July 23, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Stark from Texas

    I would hit them where it hurts. Have the board of regents fire everyone that was involved in the cover-up and make them forefit all their pensions (including Paterno's) How morally corrupt can you be, you know there is the posibility of child molestation and you don't act! you don't go to state police or even open an internal investigation to clear the air. You want to do the right thing, ban Penn from having a football program for 10~15 years with no chance for parole.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Logic

    The guy who brings PSU back to prominence will be much more worthy of admiration than Joe Paterno ever was. It will take a decade but that is the challenge. PSU needs to man up and take it, and all these whiners need to shut it.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John

    Football at Penn State is over. Plain and simple. The head has been effectively cut off and the tail will die. The arrogance of those at Penn State will be overcome by the searing message that children will never be sacrificed for any reason whatsoever. What took place at that university is an unspeakable act if ever there was one.

    Say goodbye to Penn State football.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      but please say hi to your momma..

      July 23, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bob

    They should be permanently banned, this punishment is a joke.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jerry

    I guess Penn State season football tickets just got cheaper! Bravo NCAA for putting down the hammer! If there is any integrity left at Penn State, perhaps they will see this as an opportunity to focus on educational excellence instead of winning a game at any cost! I wonder what the Vegas odds for that are?

    July 23, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Eric

    SINCE WHEN DOES THE USA PARTICIPATE IN GUILT BY ASSOCIATION???? THIS IS A LOAD OF CRAP. And I'm a true-blue Michigan fan. This makes me sick. F the NCAA.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
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