A Plan for Penn State

By Chad Peltier on July 23, 2012 at 6:00p
Time to band togetherDifficult for current student-athletes

Though Penn State was decimated by the NCAA this morning, it's difficult to talk about the impact on football or the Big Ten. 

In case you were with hiding under a rock this morning, Kyle wrote earlier that 

On Monday, the NCAA hit the Penn State football program with a $60 million fine, four-year postseason ban and the vacation of all wins dating to 1998, effectively removing Joe Paterno from the top of the all-time wins list...Penn State also must slash 10 initial scholarships and 20 total each year over a four-year period. Players will also be allowed to transfer immediately to another school. All combined, the penalties are akin to a living death penalty. Penn State will be afforded the opportunity to play in games, but any hope of being competitive is all but lost.

There are clearly more important matters here - namely, respect for the victims and ensuring that this type of negligant culture never happens again. Derek got it right: 

There are meaningful considerations for the remaining innocent coaches, players, and future recruits at Penn State, like where transfers will end up, how Penn State can recover, future recruits, and the competitive balance in the Big Ten. 

So how does Penn State manage? And I don't mean their football team alone - it's clear that winning football games should be the least important thing right now for Penn State. 

That doesn't mean sports should be abandoned, Penn State should withdraw from the Big Ten, or that it should stop playing football. 

It's important to remember that there can be Jerry Sanduskys at any school - any school can have coverups and scandals. However, if I'm Penn State right now, what do I do? 

1. Accept punishment and all penalties 

Penn State has done this part right so far. Agree to all penalties and remain deeply sorry for what has happend. Do not fight for any strategic advantage - the PR fallout will be far worse than any potential gain. 

As Dodd writes, 

2. Ensure non-revenue sports aren't damaged 

As Penn State works on changing its culture and rebuilding, sports can nonetheless rally the community together. Sports themselves are good, and can act as a centripetal force for the community.

The NCAA's $60 million fine is intended to penalize one entire year's worth of football revenue, though it equates to around 85% of a year's revenue in actuality. This money will instead go towards an endowment for children's groups.

Crucial here is that this money and - even more importantly - the money that Penn State will lose form lost ticket sales, t-shirts, and other merchandise is an important source of income for other sports as well. 

And Penn State's program was an extremely valuable one - Forbes estimated that it was the third most valuable program in the country, worth about $100 million. 

Hockey, swimming, tennis - all non-revenue Time to watch some swimming

The loss of this money might affect more than just the football program

That money raised through the football program funds nearly every non-revenue sport on campus, including tennis, swimming and track.

It's important for the university to not let completely innocent student-athletes in other sports to remain unaffected by the football program's penalties. 

It's a great time to be a Penn State hockey fan - and if I'm AD, I'd increase advertistments and incentives for students to attend these non-revenue sports. 

In addition to other sports, local business will likely take a hit, as Thoma understands: 

3. Give opportunities to walk-ons

The almost uniform opinion is that the scholarships reductions were easily the worst punishment for Penn State. As many have said, Penn State is essentially reduced to an FCS team with only 65 possible scholarship players. 

I don't think as many current scholarship players will leave as many think - school loyalties are fierce, often outweighing things like bowl games or winning.

Head coach Bill O'Brien will undoubtedly be recruiting 2- and no-star kids who likely otherwise wouldn't be playing college football at the Division-One level.

This should give ample opportunities for walk-on football players. Penn State may not be competitive for the next 8-10 years, so why not give tons of opportunities to walk-ons too? 

Travel squads are generally capped at 70 players, so now many more walk-on players will have the opportunity to travel with the team to away games.

This is a good thing - allow walk-on student atheltes the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play for a storied program, even if it is a hurting one.

These kids can form the new face of Penn State football - one built on a foundation of honor, transparency, and respect. 


Comments Show All Comments

superbuck's picture

Well even in his jail cell old Jerry Sandusky gave the Nittany Lion the bone. This man should be hung by his private part from the goal post .


Crimson's picture

Since I'm the first one to comment, I just wanted to say that I like your article.  However, the "can act as a centripetal force for the community" line seems like a forced way to use "centripetal force."

gravey's picture

Think of it as an opportunity to remember that this is still a college sport and that winning football games is not that big of a deal in the big scheme of things.  I would wager that it won't wind up hurting them that much in the long run.  Even with reduced schollies, their walk-ons and those that remain loyal will set them up to go .500.   If anyone remembers when Minnesota had the Iron Five and beat the Buckeyes in hoops; well certainly they can beat IU, and the MAC snacks on their schedule.  

buckeyedude's picture

The Toledo Rockets beat State Penn in Happy Valley a couple of years ago(and the Michelin Crapperines, and Indiana, and Purdue, and Minnesota)...before the scholly reductions, bowl ban, $60 mil and free pass transfers for current players. The next few year's PSU team would be most competitive in the friggin IVY LEAGUE! The ONLY reason that Emmert didn't give PSU a "one year death penalty" was because of the scheduling nightmare for the other B1G teams and PSU's OOC games.
This is going to hurt that program for a decade at least, and worse than I think people imagine.



pannich's picture

 Great ideas and on target.  
The leadership also must start doing a better job communicating - to students and the public at large. 
O'Brien should start some new traditions. This would be a good idea without the scandal - following a legend like Paterno would be tough in the best of circumstances.  Now I think it's even more important.  
Develop a new identity - start new traditions - include non-athlete students - be visible in the community ... I'm not saying to throw out everything but selectively make key changes that people can see and embrace. 
I'm sure they do some of this already but I think this is a chance to step up, be a leader and let the student-athletes who decide to stay be part of the solution. 

Buckeye living in SEC land. 

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

As I told my PSU buddies - the only bright side of today is in the fact that you now know what the penalties were and from that point - you can offically start moving forward.  I remember the day they announced OSU and it felt like we had put it to rest and we can start dealing with it.

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Bucks43201's picture

I still think it just doesn't feel right that they're going to be playing football this season, or next. I don't know that the current penalties & paying $60 million, especially for a cash cow like PSU, does anything to fix the culture problem. The shock of the death penalty may have helped to fix the deep-rooted culture problem.

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

Buckeyeneer's picture

I get what you're saying Bucks43201 and I somewhat agree, but I think as transfers climb and injuries over the next few seasons and weak recruiting classes mount you will see how much this might change their football-is-the-only-thing-that-matters culture.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

mastermiind's picture

i've always wanted to know how mount union would fair in the big ten. i'm essentially getting my wish.


lhardeman's picture

I think the penalties were just about right.  I understand $60 million doesn't seem like a lot for such a rich school, but when you factor in how much they will lose on merchandise, ticket sales, stadium sales, and money being spent by travelers to the games; I believe the total will be much higher.  I know some think that they will always sale out games, but if they start losing games to MAC schools on a regular basis fans will stay home.  I don't know where State College is located but if it is remote as people say, who is going to travel a couple hours to see their team get beatdown by teams they historically had their way with?  Especially a fan base that is used to winning. The NCAA president stated that they stressed to PSU that non-revenue sports should still be supported regardless of the penalties.  So they again will have to come out of pocket.  The fact they lost their share of BIG bowl money means that is another $13 million they won't have.  I wouldn't be surprised if the total financial hit by the end of the four years rose above the $150 million mark.  What happened to those children is deplorable, especially considering how it could've been stopped years beforehand if someone just gave a damn.  I know it can't be changed, but in my opinion they are paying a hefty price and I hope the criminal trials result in the other conspirators being thrown in jail with along with Sandusky. 

God, Country, Ship, Shipmate, Self.

Seabass1974's picture

Didn't know where to put this but Ross Douglass decommited from PSU.
And so it begins...

The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender. - Woody Hayes

buckeye76BHop's picture

^^^^That is going to be inevitable...who cares really???  It probably won't benefit OSU and who cares this time around because we're under restraints in recruiting #s unlike last year?  It's the players who are already there are going to be the real problem (how do you keep them there if they can leave without penalty???).  Anyhow...this article isn't about who's going to decommitt.  However, it's more about how this will effect PSU more than just football ( really worry about non-revenue sports).  I'd say it could almost bring down PSU as a whole...it won't though and in the long run, as in the next 4-8 years could be an extremely trying time for PSU (economically and in everyway).  
To Seabass:  I sure do love your pic of Raven Riley in OSU gear...hmmmm...hmm:-)

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."

Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

Maestro's picture

The plan for Silas Redd appears to be to bolt to USC.  Jeez, not even gonna let the paint dry on those punishments Silas.

vacuuming sucks

USMCBUCKEYE82's picture

It is too bad we didn't snatch him up. He would have been a savior for BMiller. Silas woudl have taken so much load off of Braxton's shoulders, ultimately buying time for him to develop more under the new system in gametime speed. Why did we not go after him??? Sounds like a mistake from the old regime.
It also makes me wonder if a lot of the players will leave the conference due to them developing a dislike for conference schools while playing against them. Hopefully we can snatch up some of the younger guys that haven't developed that dislike for other schools within the conference.

GlueFingers Lavelli's picture

Sounds like Silas Redd may be heading to USC.  This could turn into all out college free agency. Someone call Willie Lyles!

Dustin Fox was our leading tackler as a corner.... because his guy always caught the ball.

BuckeyesMJ's picture

We can't compete for a Big Ten title or NC so why would he come here?

USMCBUCKEYE82's picture

Good write up. A nice positive spin on this poisonous time for Penn State fans and all of college football fans.
I really cannot comprehend the joy people feel the need to add salt to a wound. I only can remember the day I found out about tatgate. I started thinking about how the end was coming(typed with a bit of sarcasm) because we were going to lose past victories, bowl appearances, future wins, and how we could possibly start losing to the skunkweasels again while we were being investigated and punished. What was I going to do when the team couldn't compete the way we were a custom to in recent history. I grew up in the Cooper years, and believe me when I say I never want to go back to those third Saturdays of November ever again.
A few days later is when it hit me. I was part of the problem. I let myself become so absorbed in everything Ohio State and winning, particularly with the football team. We as a fanbase let our players and coaches believe they were bigger than the university and above being caught. That I made The Ohio State football more important than anything in the fall, and specifically on Saturdays. I made myself step back and really re-prioritize what was truly important to me in my life. 
(After typing this and then reading it, I make myself sound like a lunatic)
I hope that Penn State fans and fans from all over can maybe wake up and realize that as remarkable as college football is, it is only our favorite pastime. There are so much more significant things in our world that are more vital than football/basketball(for other universities) victories. 
So this takes me back to my original thought. What did the PSU fans get out of relentlessly demeaning us during our misery. Now some of our fans and the majority of the rest of the nation are sneering down upon the PSU fans, students, and faculty. What do you get out of this? I do know that I am not speaking about the majority of members here at 11W. 
Stay Classy Buckeye Nation!!! 
This is still our time to prove to the world who we are as The Ohio State and it's fans who we really are and what we are about. We need to show them our true honor and morals that our university really does represent.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Has anybody heard if Urban and company are trying to snag any Penn Staters?

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Boom777's picture

I wish more people would comment and leave football out of it, its a shame the only way to get retribution is to get it from people who aren't involved. They should have made them donate all their earnings from football for the next four years(or at least bowl earnings) and stripped PSU of all Joe Paterno wins and fine them more! This really screws more people not involved hard, while those involved ,Sundusky included, have to face a punishment they truly deserve but will not recieve.

Wherever you are, there you be!

timdogdad's picture

what's sad is this disease exists in people.  reading just a few paragraphs on pedophilia in wikaped is enough.  sandusky was affected by this and just like a gambler or alcoholic, did not do anything to stop himself.