Unknowns hover over PSU
Now that the NCAA has handed down the sanctions to Penn State there are many unknowns that are hovering over the Nittany Lion program.
Of course the big debate at the time is whether or not the sanctions are fair? Some individuals believe that there is no penalty harsh enough for what happened to the victims of Jerry Sandusky.
Overall, anybody with a heart knows that the most important part of all this is the victims and the fact that everybody needs to explain that before they give their position on whether or not they think the sanctions are fair is mind boggling.
So back to the original question of were the sanctions fair?
The 60 million dollar fine to help victims of child abuse makes sense. The 13 million dollars PSU will lose every year from the BIG 10 post season pool will also be donated to help those who have been affected by child abuse is great.
The four-year bowl ban I think is a punishment that a team can handle, but not paired with the loss of 40 scholarships. The loss of 10 scholarships a year will simply crumble the Penn State program. It would have already been difficult to attract players to State College without being able to play in the post season, add the fact that now PSU has only 15 scholarships a season and it will become almost impossible to stay competitive.
The NCAA is also allowing any PSU player with eligibility remaining up to four years the opportunity to transfer immediately and play immediately. This is also going to be a problem for PSU, especially if a big-time player from the team decides to do so. One starter transferring could open the flood gates and gut the Nittany Lions roster within the next few weeks.
That could be a possibility as ESPN's Joe Schad reported yesterday that starting running back Silas Redd has been contacted by many schools already, including USC. A lot of media outlets pre season number one heading into the college football season. Redd rushed for over a 1,200 yards last season with seven touchdowns and is one of Penn State's leaders on the field and in the locker room. If the Lions lose Redd, it will almost certainly encourage others to leave State College.
Lastly, the vacating of the wins from 1998-2011 is just a formality in my opinion. It's just a way to punish Paterno from beyond the grave because it really has no affect on the victims what so ever. Other than the money all the measures taken by the NCAA seem to be entirely punitive, which in some faction is deserved.
So what now for Penn State?
There are rocky waters ahead for Bill O'Brien and his staff and it will take an immense amount of leadership from the first year head coach to keep the program together.
In order to get some perspective from people that know what it's like to lead young men I spoke to a few high school head coaches from the TIMES NEWS area to get some insight on what Bill O'Brien has ahead of him.
"In my opinion Coach O'Brien just has to stay as positive as he can and has to just do his best to keep motivating his players," said Northern Lehigh coach Joe Tout. "He obviously has a lot of obstacles ahead and right now he has to worry about losing current players on his team, which is something that he has to try and limit. The first thing I would do is to call Lane Kiffin from USC. They have seemed to bounce back from their two year bowl ban and scholarship reduction and are going to field a top tier team this season. I think Coach O'Brien should call Coach Kiffin if he's willing to give him advice because it seems that USC has handled their NCAA sanctions the right way.
Tamaqua head coach Sam Bonner also weighed in on the discussion. One of the questions I asked Coach Bonner is one that many high school coaches with Division 1 talents on their team, especially from Pennsylvania will have to deal with in the next four years. That question was what counsel do you give to a D-1 athlete on your team that is being recruited by Penn State?
"I think first things first Coach O'Brien just has to keep it business as usual out there," said Bonner. "There is nothing he or any of the players can do about the NCAA's decision.
"I think every regular season game they play in this season should be treated as a playoff game because there is no bowl game.
"Now to answer the question about a kid on our team being recruited by Penn State, I think that if he isn't a die hard Penn State guy, who has wanted to play there his whole life it makes sense to probably look at some other options.
"To not be able to play in a bowl game is tough for a kid to take and that's going to be a problem for Coach O'Brien when it comes to recruiting."
No matter what anybody thinks or debates the sanctions are in and they are final.
Penn State will no doubt struggle probably for the next decade or so.
There are many stances that people will have on this matter, but the fact remains that this all came to down to people abusing their power to cover up sex abuse.
Whether the sanctions are fair or not doesn't matter anymore. All that matters now is how Penn State reacts.
If they can fight through these sanctions they can once again become relevant on the college football spectrum.