UNIVERSITY PARK — Penalties against Penn State will no doubt affect many people in Happy Valley including Penn State students.
More than 40,000 go there every year and many of them live for Penn State football.
All eyes were fixed on the screen Monday morning at the HUB, the student center on campus.
The university is in the middle of a summer session so there were lots of students who were anxious to hear what the NCAA would do about Penn State’s football program.
When the sanctions were announced, gasps went up in the room. Students covered their faces and some even had tears in their eyes seeing a source of pride punished severely.
It has been one hit after another for students and football fans in Happy Valley with everything that has happened since November. The arrests of Jerry Sandusky and top university officials, a riot in downtown State College, Joe Paterno’s firing, then his death, Sandusky’s conviction and now this.
Many of the 40,000 or so students who go to Penn State live for football and will have to come to grips with a whole new ballgame.
Penn State students were in shock after hearing how severely the NCAA is punishing the football program. They watched in disbelief at the campus student center as each penalty was announced on the big screen.
“Sixty million dollars, no bowl games, Joe Paterno’s record wiped, unbelievable,” said Maria Wolfel of Jessup, a freshman at Penn State University.
Before that can happen, some of the students said they are bitter, claiming the current players will suffer the consequences of a few men’s decisions to cover up Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse of children.
“I don’t think its fair, these kids had nothing to with it, the coach, the fans. These kids were in elementary school when this happened,” said freshman Alex Gibson.
All that senior Maddy Pryor could do was bury her face in her hands after the NCAA handed a once-proud Nittany Nation a defeat unlike any its felt before.
“You cannot deny there has to be a punishment. I just didn’t believe it’d be this much I guess. Not to be funny, I’m speechless, I can’t even tell you what I feel,” said Pryor.
In just about a month, students will camp outside Beaver Stadium for front row seats for the first home game – September 1st against Ohio and all the home games after that.
Students said they’re grateful the NCAA did not suspend the football team for the season, adding it would have been more than devastating.
“I was taken back,” said PSU freshman Kyra Leasure. “We were all watching it together, all the students here and we didn’t know how to react to it. We’re shaken up.”
“It breaks my heart for what happened and for the victims,” said PSU sophomore Laura Lovins. “I’m praying we can use this to come together, move forward, and make Penn State an even better place.”