By Tony Hanson and Elizabeth Hur
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (CBS) – One word describes the reaction to the NCAA’s announcement at Penn State: stunning.
The organization announced sanctions against the university on Monday morning, including a $60 million fine, reduction in scholarships, a four-year ban on post-season play (including bowl games and any playoff games). In addition, all Penn State wins from 1998-2011 will be vacated.
There were at least 100 people in the student center — current and prospective students, employees and alumni, all watching a big-screen television. And, with the announcement of each penalty, there was an audible gasp from the people in the audience, watching the television screen.
Afterwards, there were no tears visible, but it seemed that some people were beyond tears; they were speechless.
“I couldn’t even tell you what I feel because there are so many things running through my head, like student athletes that aren’t going to be able to come here,” says senior Maddy Pryor of Neptune, New Jersey. “Not just football players, but anybody else.”
Many people shared her concerns for not just the program and the school but, for many of the other athletes, losing all of that money in one year. They say that’s going to hurt other programs in the school and they think there will be unintended consequences. That was one thing the NCAA said they did try to avoid.
“I mean obviously there had to be a punishment, like you can’t deny that there had to be a punishment,” Pryor says. “I just didn’t think it would be this much, I guess.”
Recent graduate John Kruse believes the NCAA went too far.
“People expected the fine. People expected that, but when they say ‘We’re taking away all of your wins’ the coaches weren’t the ones playing the game,” Kruse says. “These are atheletes that came here and played the game, and now their record is destroyed.
Future Penn Stater James Gamble, a long-time Penn State football fan, was among those watching the announcement. He says he never considered going anywhere else.
“Yeah, it’s rough to see.” Gamble says. “When you think of Penn State, you think of Penn State legacy and what they’re all about. It’s just really, really unexpected. Over the last six months — as I said, six, seven months — everything is coming out so fast and so rapidly, you just wouldn’t think that any of this would happen at Penn State. Penn State legacy, what they’re all about. This is just the total opposite of what you would think would happen at Penn State.”
Which makes what did happen, and what was alleged to have happened all the more puzzling and troubling.