On July 23, Penn State was transformed from football powerhouse to inconsequential also-ran; longtime head coach Joe Paterno dropped from fallen idol to historically invisible.
The football program at Penn State wasn’t given the death penalty but, for all intents and purposes, is dead. The Nittany Lions are no longer relevant, and every player on the roster should get out of Happy Valley while the getting is good.
Also, it’s time for the Paterno family to shut up.
Penn State won’t be bowl eligible for the next four years and won’t be playing in a consequential January contest ever again. The school has been fined $60 million dollars and will forfeit not only dozens of invaluable scholarships, but also all wins from 1998 to 2011, meaning that Paterno is no longer the most successful coach in college football history.
No recruit or current player owes the program or the school one iota of loyalty. Players need to do what’s best for them, their potential NFL careers and their families, and if that means leaving Happy Valley, so be it.
Nobody should question their loyalty or love of the game. Penn State failed them years ago. Some will choose to stay. That’s commendable, but doesn’t warrant any measure or sympathy.
Penn State knows what lies ahead over the next four years and should be fearful of the immediate consequences.
But what the Nittany Lions should truly be terrified of is what happens after they’ve served their sentenced time.
College football looks a lot different now than it did four years ago; what will it look like in another four? Super conferences are going to be formed—it’s only a question of when. It’s doubtful that any will be eager to include a mediocre (at best) program still trying to recover from the fallout of the worst scandal to ever hit college football.
Also, the Big Ten is going to be significantly better when Penn State finishes its sentence. Wonder how hard it will be for Urban Meyer to recruit in Pennsylvania? Michigan is on its way back, as is Nebraska.
It’s unbelievable to say, but now the Paterno family is Penn State’s worst ally. Please, Paternos, shut up. Everyday your patriarch is revealed to be more and more of a monster. If you truly love the school, keep your mouths shut.
There is going to be an exodus out of Happy Valley, and understandably so. Players have been presented with a free pass to transfer and play immediately, and should take advantage of that rare opportunity. They are innocent and should not be punished for the actions of a few wicked old men who are no longer at the school.
Players, get out while you can.