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Penn State Gets Hammered: How It Affects Purdue


On my first day back from vacation I was going to get back into some team previews for the upcoming football season, but instead the news is all Penn State all the time. For the foreseeable the Nittany Lions are going to be a I-AA team playing in the Big Ten. Here is the full list of what they get:

  • Four-year postseason ban
  • $60 million fine, to go to an endowment for children's charities
  • 10 incoming scholarships lost first year, 20 scholarship deduction for four years (more or less an entire roster worth of scholarships)
  • Vacation of all wins from 1998 through 2011
  • Five years probation
  • Penn State players can transfer immediately without penalty
  • The Big Ten is also denying them any bowl revenue for the next four years (An additional $13 per annum loss) and no appearances in the Big Ten championship game

First of all, this doesn't need to devolve into a forum for what is right and wrong about what both sides (Penn State and the NCAA) did. With the release of the Freeh report it was clear that the administration at Penn State valued football above all else. It actively protected a child rapist, and in my mind that means they should consider themselves lucky that they still have a football program. People complain that the innocent (the current players) are being punished here, but since they can transfer without penalty they have their out.

The school itself and the football program needed to be hammered, and hammered it was. Penn State now gets two more scholarships per year than a Division I-AA team. While that means Minnesota should definitely be worried, it is going to be incredibly difficult for Penn State to compete on the same level as the other 11 teams in the conference. Therefore, it affects Purdue.

There are also other repercussions. Essentially, Penn State has absolutely nothing to play for until the 2016 season. None of the current players (at least those who stay) can ever win a Big Ten championship or go to a bowl game. Recruiting is effectively slammed for the next four seasons. The school will also lose a ton of money at the box office, as I expect many of the 100,000+ seats at Beaver Stadium will be empty for awhile.

This has a trickle-down effect on our Boilers. As you are aware, Penn State is a Leaders Division opponent that appears on our schedule every season going forward. Already this season's home game will see Purdue's chances at victory go up as each player decides to leave the program. Purdue is now one of only four teams in the Leaders Division that has a chance at playing in the Big Ten title game this season along with Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois.

Purdue also does not have to worry about Penn State getting in the way of a Leaders Division title in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Of course, in those years with the scholarship reductions and the mass exodus of players it likely won't matter much anyway. What you will likely see is that this year may be alright, but the next two or three, once the Big Ten-level talent is gone, Penn State will take up residence in the basement of the division even behind Indiana. It is safe to say that anything other than a win over Penn State in the next four seasons should be a sign things are going very poorly for our own football program. Here are Purdue's schedules for the length of Penn State's sanctions:

Aug. 31 - at Cincinnati
Sept. 14 - NOTRE DAME
Oct. 12 - NEBRASKA
Oct. 19 - at Michigan State
Oct. 26 - at Wisconsin*
Nov. 2 - OHIO STATE*
Nov. 9 - IOWA
Nov. 16 - at Penn State*
Nov. 23 - ILLINOIS*
Nov. 30 - at Indiana*
* denotes Leaders Division Game

Aug. 30 - TBA
Sept. 13 - at Notre Dame
Oct. 4- at Ohio State*
Oct. 11 - WISCONSIN*
Oct. 25 - at Iowa
Nov. 1 - PENN STATE*
Nov. 15 - at Illinois*
Nov. 22 - at Nebraska
Nov. 29 - INDIANA*
* denotes Leaders Division Game

Sept. 5 - at Marshall
Sept. 19 - NOTRE DAME
Oct. 3 - OHIO STATE*
Oct. 10 - Open
Oct. 17 - IOWA
Oct. 24 - at Penn State*
Oct. 31 - at Northwestern
Nov. 14 - at Wisconsin*
Nov. 21 - ILLINOIS*
Nov. 28 - at Indiana*
* denotes Leaders Division Game

I don't know about you, but judging by the current state of the conference the 2015 looks especially juicy in terms of Purdue's conference title chances. With our own recruiting looking up the relatively easy slate that features Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Northwestern, and a destroyed Penn State team looks like a year of opportunity for Purdue. The 2012, 2013, and 2014 seasons also just got a lot easier as well because Penn State is essentially a second I-AA game.

During every season of Penn State's banishment we already have one I-AA game, so there should be two victories before we even start talking about the rest of the schedule. That means a path to a bowl game should be very clear, especially since there is still plenty of MACtion and Indiana to help pave the way. I know it is a haughty statement, but at the level our program is at we should always be favored against the Hoosiers or a MAC team. Danny Hope's record on the field would beg to differ, but I still have not given up on him.

There is also the possibility that Purdue could gain players from the current Penn State roster. With each player currently on their roster now immediately eligible if they transfer you never know where Purdue could pick up a guy. We've already made a few inroads into Pennsylvania with Robert Kugler, Brandon Cottom, Armstead Williams, Jack DeBoef, and Mike Lee. Will they convince some high school buddies to come our way? It remains to be seen.

Obviously, this is a horrible way to gain an advantage and nothing good comes out of the cover up of a child rape scandal. It is what it is, however, in that one of the roadblocks to Purdue's football success has now been removed for the next several seasons.