Penn State could be fined $30 to $60 million

At Penn State, a ghostly reminder of the area where the statue of former coach Joe Paterno stood until it was removed Sunday. Patrick Smith/Getty Images
At Penn State, a ghostly reminder of the area where the statue of former coach Joe Paterno stood until it was removed Sunday. Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Posted: July 24, 2012

AFTER WATCHING Joe Paterno's statue ripped from the ground, the Penn State community knew the worst was just beginning. Adding to the shock of the statue removal Sunday morning, the NCAA revealed that it will announce sanctions against Penn State at 9 a.m. Monday.

These sanctions will not include the "death penalty," which would shut Penn State's football program down, according to a CNN source. The only other program to receive the death penalty was Southern Methodist in 1986, forcing the cancellation of its 1987 season.

Although there likely will be football at Penn State next year, a source familiar with the case said the school would face "significant, unprecedented penalties" that ?include multiple years of postseason ineligibility and a loss of numerous football scholarships. CBS Sports also reported that Penn State will be fined between $30 million and $60 million, which will go to an endowment for children's causes.

Some current, former and future Nittany Lions believe the NCAA has no business levying groundbreaking sanctions against the university. Lydell Sargeant, who played cornerback for Penn State from 2006-08, believes current players should not suffer.

"I think it's unfortunate because unlike any other situation in the past with the NCAA, where a college athlete might have taken money from an agent or cheated on a test, the players aren't directly involved," Sargeant said Sunday. "I think this situation where the players aren't involved or even have a suspicion of involvement is unfortunate, especially in a time when coaches only stay in the same place for one or two years. So to punish the players for a coach's actions is contradictory. If anything, I don't think the NCAA should get involved.

“If anything, you should look at the school officials. There are more school officials implicated in this scandal than football personnel. There are just three coaches involved in this — Joe Paterno, Jerry Sandusky and Mike McQueary. There are at least five or six school officials involved," Sargeant said.

So far, the threat of sanctions hasn't scared off players.

The probability that sanctions are coming would enable players to transfer to another Division I program without having to sit out the mandatory one year. But many players are saying that they intend to stay. Junior tight end Garry Gilliam tweeted "I still bleed blue and white" while starting quarterback Matt McGloin said "the hotter the fire, the stronger the steel."

The ultimate fear is that sanctions will hurt recruitment. Defensive tackle Greg Webb withdrew his verbal commitment for Penn State Sunday and opted for North Carolina. But Adam Breneman, a senior at Cedar Cliff High near Harrisburg, who is considered the top tight end in the class of 2013, said, "It's going to take a lot to get me to decommit from coach [Bill] O'Brien."

"Our recruiting class is a really close group and we've taken the ‘us against the world' mentality ... I don't think you're going to see as many transfers and decommits as some people are predicting," Breneman said. n

Contact Daniel Carp at carpd@phillynews.com.

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