Updated Thu, Jul 26, 2012 10:30 pm
There has not been a more talked about college football team than the Penn State Nittany Lions in the past seven months. On Monday, NCAA President Mark Emmert announced the punishments handed down to Penn State University and their football program.
PSU was given a $60 million sanction, a four-year football postseason ban, and stripped of all wins between 1998 and 2011. PSU players were bestowed the right to transfer to any school in the country and participate immediately. The team will reduce scholarship allotment from 25 to 15 for the next four years. The Nittany Lions will also forfeit the $13 million in revenue from the Big Ten Conference. Penn State was not given the “death penalty,” meaning the season will go on.
The first opponent on Penn State’s schedule is the Ohio Bobcats. So how do the Green and White concentrate on football with so much controversy, humiliation, publicity and shame surrounding their opponent? The Bobcat football family is keeping it simple: focus on the game.
“I think all the guys realize that it’s just going to be another game and all that stuff is off-the-field stuff,” junior quarterback Tyler Tettleton said. “All we can do is focus on the game and I don’t think anybody will be distracted by [the publicity].”
Ohio head coach Frank Solich said the coaching staff has stressed the importance of only focusing on what is in their power, especially under these unusual circumstances.
“We wanted to look at ourselves and know that we can control how we prepare; we can control how well we play. The rest of [the attention] that surrounds the Penn State game, we’ve got to make sure we’re not a part of.”
That shouldn’t be too hard for the Bobcats to do. The punishments have been handed down. Now all that’s left to do is prepare for the season. The Penn State team has been permitted to play football and the Bobcats will have the opportunity to take down their first Big Ten opponent since 2006. That opportunity is what has Ohio’s players and coaching staff dialed in.
“Obviously everyone is heartbroken for the victims” Solich said, “but playing the game, we need to be focused on that. “
“We’re going to be excited to go in there and hopefully get a win and play our best, Tettleton said. “That’s what I’m looking forward to and what the team is looking forward to.”
Ohio’s season starts on Sept. 1 in Happy Valley.