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The Death Penalty Would Have Been Better

When it came to the Big Ten Football Penn State used to be mentioned in the same breath with Ohio State and Wisconsin. Now for maybe the next decade look for the Nittany Lions to more closely resemble Minnesota and Indiana. 

NCAA president Mark Emmert speaks as Ed Ray, chairman of the NCAA's executive committee and Oregon State president looks on,
NCAA president Mark Emmert speaks as Ed Ray, chairman of the NCAA's executive committee and Oregon State president looks on. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

In the wake of the child sex abuse scandal the NCAA hit the football program with the harshest penalties and sanctions in the history of the organization and it will likely result in Penn State becoming a non-factor for years to come.  The football program was hit with a 4-year bowl ban, loss of scholarships, $60 million fine, 5 years of probation and in addition all wins from 1998 to 2011 have been vacated.

The scholarship reduction will result in Penn State only being able to offer 15 scholarships per year instead of 25 and restrict them to 65 scholarship players….20 less than usual.  In addition any current player, including all incoming freshman, can immediately transfer to any other school and becoming immediately eligible.   That may not be as much a factor this year because of the closeness to the new season but it’s sure to have a much bigger impact in 2013.

The Big Ten also weighed in by announcing that Penn State will be ineligible for the conference championship for the next four years and during that time will not share in any of the bowl revenue earned by Big Ten schools.

The sanctions are likely to result in most, if not all of the high school seniors who had verbally committed to Penn State in going elsewhere…a couple have already done so.  The bottom line is there will be little to cheer about in Happy Valley on football Saturdays for many years and the tough job new coach Bill O’Brien had just became seemingly impossible.

As a footnote the loss of wins for a 13-year period means Joe Paterno is no longer the winningest coach in college football history as that distinction is one again held by former Grambling coach Eddie Robinson.   With the removal of the Paterno statue from Beaver Stadium Sunday it appears the tarnishing of his image as well as his record is now complete.

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