So apparently the “hammer is going to fall on PSU tomorrow”:http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaaf-dr-saturday/ncaa-announce-penalties-against-penn-state-monday-paterno-141212517–ncaaf.html. Who knows what will happen, but I think it is reasonable to assume that PSU will be uncompetitive in football for at least the next 5 years. Either because of massive financial penalties (this seems likely to me as it penalizes the institution directly), significant scholarship reductions (less likely in my mind, as this hurts future kids), loss of TV and bowl exposure which has financial and recruiting implications (this will certainly happen), an outright ban on the team (unlikely), and the resultant flow of staff and players to other schools. It is hard to imagine that PSU will field a quality program for years.
So what does the Big 10 do? I am sure there are very active conversations today.
* Stand by PSU. The noble thing to do. And the Big10 at times has tried to be noble. I could certainly live with this. But you can bet this would hit the Big10 in the pocketbook, it will affect the next round of TV rights negotiations. And on every discussion of the Big10 standings, or Big10 allstar teams, or whatever, there will be that PSU logo and the PSU issues will come up. It is going to be a thorn for the league. But I could live with this.
* Dump them ASAP and try to fill their spot with 1 team. Given how damaged the Big10 would be with PSU in the league, I think the league would make substantial compromises to get the right 12th team in, so this may be ND’s best time to strike a deal that preserves some of their special treatment.
* Dump them ASAP and make a big play to the south. Try to pick up the disaffected ACC football programs who aren’t getting the revenue they should because of their ACC affiliation. This would be costly, but there are no cheap solutions in sight. If you could pick up 3-5 southern teams, this would create a dramatic positive press story and allow the league to bury the PSU story.
My bet is that the league does not stand by PSU. They may throw PSU a bone and say that they will reconsider them for full membership in 6-7 years but this is just window dressing.
I wonder if this PSU story was a motivator for some the Pac-12 schools who submarined the Big-10/Pac-12 linkup.
UPDATE: and so we know. The Big10 will stand behind PSU, as PSU works thru it’s misery. It is going to be 10 years before PSU is a competitive team again, if that. I’m not sure this was the right business move for the Big10, but it is noble. Perhaps having PSU ever-present in the league will serve to remind every other coach and institution, every day, that they need to put the kids and players first.