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Possible Penalties for Penn State

On Monday morning at 9 a.m., NCAA President Mark Emmert will make an announcement in Indianapolis regarding sanctions against both Penn State University and the Nittany Lion football program. “Unprecedented” penalties that will be handed down are expected to be severe, but according to some sources, the much discussed death penalty will not be one of them. Below is a brief look at what a few of them could potentially consist of:

Bowl Ban

A postseason ban that would make the Nittany Lions ineligible for both the Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis and a bowl game. This penalty was recently applied in cases involving USC and Ohio State. The Trojans were ineligible for postseason play for two seasons while the ban for the Buckeyes will only be for 2012. While USC was able to overcome it and still recruit well, bowl games are highly regarded and a ban of multiple years could damage future recruiting classes and take the luster and excitement away from seasons knowing many efforts will not be rewarded.

Reduction of Scholarships 

NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision programs are allotted eighty-five scholarships and are allowed to add twenty-five new scholarships per year provided the overall number does not exceed eighty-five. Penn State’s 2012 recruiting class consisted of nineteen prospects. In the two recent cases mentioned above, Ohio State is losing three scholarships per year for three years while USC lost ten per year for three years. If the reductions are higher than USC and for a longer period of time, one could argue that it would be more crippling than the death penalty as future recruiting classes would be damaged both in quality and quantity.

Television Ban

This one is interesting because it not only hurts Penn State but its twelve opponents as well. Television exposure is an important marketing aspect that helps draw attention to the program. While this is a possible scenario, it’s not quite as damaging nor as likely as bowl bans and loss of scholarships.

Other Miscellaneous Sanctions

It is important to keep in mind just how unique this situation is. While those USC and OSU references were made to provide a bit of context and comparative basis, something like this is truly unprecedented. Usual procedures have been completely bypassed as Penn State was never able to formally respond to the NCAA’s letter of inquiry back in November or appear before the Infractions Committee. It is unclear if Penn State worked with the NCAA at all to impose sanctions, and if so, how heavy the involvement and cooperation was from the university side. Emmert essentially has free rein over a nontraditional situation to do whatever he wants, and it will be interesting to see what he conjures up.

Ultimately, no one knows what the specific sanctions are going to be until at least 9 a.m. when it begins to become official, but based on some early indications, this is a look at some realistic options. Penn State may have avoided the death penalty, but that does not mean the penalties won’t be severe.

About the Author

Drew Balis

Drew is a senior marketing major. This fall, he will be covering Penn State Football for Onward State. He is a huge Philadelphia sports fan and loves THON and Domonic Brown.


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