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re: #1 Feline Emperor of the Conservative Waste
While allowing current and incoming players to freely transfer to other schools without penalty will probably not hurt the long term prospects of the team all that much the loss of post season play and 20 yearly scholarships for four years certainly will.
The best and the brightest prospective star players will avoid Penn. State like the plague knowing that they will not be able to play in bowl games or in the Championship game. You simply can’t be seen by major league talent scouts while sitting on your hands in campus classrooms post-season.
The loss of twenty scholarship slots each year for four years will also have serious consequences. Penn. State will have to make many more hard choices as to who to bring into their program, do they offer a scholarship to a prospective freshman back-up quarterback or to a tight-end or a defensive tackle? 65 scholarships slots instead of 85 for four years may not sound like a crippling penalty, but in the hyper-competitive world of Pac Ten football there is no doubt that it will have extremely serious consequences to their teams competitiveness. Not just for the four years, but for at least two and more likely four more after that since the freshman class of 2014 will not be graduating until 2018.
Besides, as I already mentioned above it is fairly certain that many of the top prospects will shun Penn. State’s offers entirely in the hopes of becoming part of a team with better prospects of earning them the media exposure that they need to get a Major League contract.
With a truly great coach, careful recruitment, limited expectations, unwavering support from the Alumni, a surprise star player or two (or three), and a solid commitment by the University to keep the football program afloat come hell or high water. Penn. State could be back in serious contention for the national title in…six years or so, but I very much doubt it.
Realistically it will probably take more like ten to twelve years to be able to rebuild the program, starting with their ability to offer future stars the type of media coverage they desire about five years from now…