Impact of Penalties on State College Businesses

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STATE COLLEGE -- Many stores, hotels and restaurants in the State College area rely on football season for much of their business.  Many of the businesses here did not want to comment on the penalties imposed by the NCAA, but the ones who did said they are concerned.

There were not many people walking down College Avenue in State College. Businesses say summer is the slow season.  Katelyn Smith is a waitress at The Diner.  She says the busiest time of year for businesses in State College is football season.

"On football weekends we're always packed. Usually a line out the door, things like that, and reservations," Smith said.

Smith says the staff at The Diner is relieved the NCAA did not impose the so called "death penalty" on the university, which would have cancelled the football season.  Even so, she says the staff at The Diner is concerned by the severity of the penalties that were handed down.

"We're kind-of worried.  We don't know if it's going to affect our business, if people are going to stop coming here, or if it's going to bring in a lot of business.  We're worried," Smith said.

Newswatch 16 spoke to the manager of this hotel.  She did not wish to go on camera but says she has already had two cancellations since the penalties were announced.  But she and other business owners say it is too soon to tell exactly what the fallouts will be for them.

One place that will most likely feel the effects of the sanctions is Centre for Travel, a travel agency that books trips to bowl games.

"Well that's an extra plus, and we've always enjoyed that. It's going to be a void because we've been going to a bowl for a number of years," Kay Rogers said.

Kay Rogers owns Centre for Travel.  She said her company has booked bowl game trips for hundreds of Penn State fans every year, for more than 35 years.  She hopes people will still book trips to Penn State football games.

"Now maybe people will do the away trips. We have a nice number going to Virginia and Nebraska because we haven't been there for a while," Rogers said.

Many business owners in State College did not want to speak to the media, but one employee at a clothing store says 60 percent of its business is during football season.  The store relies on it, and is trying to stay optimistic.