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Monday, July 23, 2012
Scholarship penalties could crush PSU

By Adam Rittenberg

INDIANAPOLIS -- Forget about the money. The revenue that Penn State must forfeit both now and in the future as a result of NCAA penalties handed down Monday won’t cripple the football program.

Scholarship reductions might. Especially scholarship reductions coupled with extremely liberal transfer rules for current players and incoming recruits.

Because there was a lot of confusion about the scholarship component earlier Monday, let’s review it again:
A reasonable conclusion: Penn State football might not be back to normal in terms of its roster until the 2020 season or so.

The NCAA and Big Ten also are making it very easy for current Penn State players to transfer. Players who signed national letters of intent with Penn State in February may be released from those letters and allowed to go elsewhere without penalty. If players pledged to Penn State decide in the next year that they want to compete elsewhere, they shouldn’t face much, if any, resistance.

And if Penn State players decide they don’t want to play football but remain in school, their scholarships will be honored until they complete their degrees.

“We recognize the immediate consequences here have an impact on these students, who didn’t have anything directly to do with the transgressions at Penn State,” said Kevin Lennon, the NCAA’s vice president of academic and membership affairs. “So we’re trying to provide the best relief possible.”

Here are some of the specifics:
Will the NCAA’s scholarship sanctions prevent Penn State’s ability to compete in the coming years?

“We think you can certainly field a team with these numbers,” Lennon said. “And part of this is a penalty. The institution needs to do the best they can within that construct to field the best team they can.”

That’s the daunting task now facing new Penn State coach Bill O’Brien and his staff.