By Price Burton

The NCAA came down hard on the Penn State football program for the cover up of the Jerry Sandusky scandal Monday morning. They face unprecedented penalties that haven’t been seen since SMU got the death penalty in 1986. The only time in the history of the NCAA were they cancelled the entire regular season and made SMU forfeit all their games. Penn State might actually have been better off with the death penalty, they will be forced to pay a $60 million sanction, a four-year football postseason ban and vacating all wins since 1998. Penn State must reduce 10 initial and 20 total scholarships each year for a four year period. By 2014 they must be down to 65 scholarships, this is a crippling blow for the program. You’re allowed to have 85 full scholarships in division 1 football. To be outmanned by 20 scholarships against every team is almost impossible to overcome. It has to go down as the most extreme set of penalties levied against any program in the history of college football.

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Local Connections:

There are four players on Penn State’s roster from the state of Michigan. Three of which are from southeast Michigan including Robert Bolden (quarterback) and Allen Robinson (wide receiver) from Orchard Lake St. Marys and C.J. Olaniyan (defensive end) from Warren Mott. One player is from northern Michigan, Anthony Zettel (defensive end) from West Branch. Zettel and Olaniyan were recruited vigorously from the in-state programs Michigan and Michigan State. Many were surprised that both of those players headed out of state. Of those four, many of them have promising careers and only 1 would seem like a candidate to leave in Bolden.

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Bolden played and split time with starter Matt Mcgloin his first two seasons in state College until he was benched last season. He finished the spring 3rd on the depth chart and rumor has it he’s been looking to move for quite some time — even before the sanctions came out. Allen Robinson’s future looks bright as he was one of just four true freshmen to play last season for the Nittany Lions. He was number 1 at wide receiver on the most recent depth chart. He has impressed the new coaching staff and wouldn’t seem like a candidate to leave, but he along with many others on the roster have been silent and refused to talk to the media. So if they’re leaning toward staying or leaving only those inside the program know which way.

Olaniyan goes into this season as a redshirt sophomore and has three years of eligibility left. He was one of the more highly recruited players in the 2010 class. He enters the season as second string left defensive end behind Sean Stanley. He wouldn’t seem like a candidate to leave as he will likely receive quite a bit of playing time this season. Zettel falls into the same category as Olaniyan as a young player who red shirted last season and is fighting for the backup spot at right defensive end behind Pete Massaro. He has a promising career and even got a Nittany Lion tattoo on himself to show his pride and love for the university.

It’s a difficult time for these young men as they try to figure out what they’re going to do. They have been severely affected by this and have a decision to make. They have the right to either leave or stay. You feel bad for the player’s that they have to deal with the consequences that the leaders in charge of the university covered up. At the end of the day though nothing the NCAA can do can ever give back the damage the victims had to endure.

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Price Burton is currently a student at Northern Michigan University and will graduate in December with a degree in Media Production and New Technology with a minor in Marketing. Burton is currently an intern at CBS 62/ CW50. Burton played football at NMU until a career ending knee injury in the fall 2011 season.