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I'm back, but will Penn State be after NCAA punishment?

After several days of recharging at Allegany State Park near Salamanca, N.Y., I get back to reality with some big news.

The biggest has been the punishment handed down by the NCAA to Penn State.

It's quite a lot to take in:
  • $60 million fine
  • No bowl appearances for four years
  • Loss of scholarships
  • Loss of all wins dating to 1998
  • Players can freely transfer

Now, Penn State starts to rebuild.

Coach Bill O'Brien has rolled up his sleeves to keep the team together.

Quarterback Matt McGloin and others are saying that they'll stay with the team.

That should be the least of O'Brien's worries. In fact, I think he'll be able to keep everyone on the team. He'll be able to rally the players and fans to support the team through this four-year postseason ban. The Us. Vs. The World cry will win over the players already on the team.

The biggest hurdle to overcome is the loss of scholarships. We won't know the full effect of that for years.

As for the punishment itself, I don't think it goes far enough.

The fine seems steep, but the athletic department, plus the support from boosters, will defray that.

Players don't seem to be leaving Penn State at the moment, and the loss of wins doesn't harm the program, only Joe Paterno's legacy. It's deserving that because Paterno tried to protect his legacy by trying to deal with Jerry Sandusky in a humane way he loses what he wanted.

The lack of bowl appearances might hurt, but Penn State still will appear on television during the season. No bowls will really hurt if Penn State delivers a one- or two-loss season. Otherwise, a trip to a meaningless bowl game might not be such a big blow.

Like I said before, the big deal is the loss of scholarships. O'Brien's ability to recruit next year and the players he misses out on will be a huge factor. He still can sell recruits on playing in front of 100,000 fans at home, and he can sell them on his ties to the NFL.

If a player has legitimate dreams of playing on Sundays, O'Brien can certainly make that pitch.

One thing's for sure, it will take a while for us to see how much of a toll the NCAA's punishment will have on Penn State.


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