The Game Will Go On

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The Pennsylvania State University football team and athletic department received the news this morning that everyone has been awaiting for months.

After the conviction of Jerry Sandusky on child sex abuse charges, NCAA president Mark Emmert announced this morning the sanctions the football program will face.

PSU was hit with a $60 million fine, a four-year football postseason ban, and all wins since 1998 were vacated. 

Penn State received sanctions from the Big Ten as well. The conference announced later this morning that the Nittany Lions will not earn the $13 million in revenue from the conference. The conference will work alongside the NCAA during the five-year probation period to ensure complete cooperation by the university.

The money Penn State would receive will instead go to charitable organizations aimed at protecting children and victims of sexual abuse.

The team must decrease its number of scholarships from 25 to 15 each year for the next four years. Also, the student-athletes on the football team have the right to transfer to another school and play immediately without facing penalties.

Because no "death penalty" was instated, however, the 2012 season will go on, and the Ohio Bobcats will take the field in State College on September 1.

"I think everything that Penn State got was appropriate," said Kevin Nye, a 2012 graduate of Ohio University.

Penn State leads the all-time series over Ohio, 5-0. The schools met five times between 1967 and 1974.

Ohio lost to Penn State 35-16 in 1974. September 1 will mark the first time the two universities have met since.

The Nittany Lions were 9-4 last season and 6-2 in conference play with losses to Alabama, Nebraska, Wisconsin in the regular season and a loss to Houston in the TicketCity Bowl. But the sanctions could certainly alter the lineup Penn State brings onto the field for the coming season.

“I thought Ohio would win the game regardless, but with players being able to transfer immediately it is hard to say what Penn State will have on the field,” said Dr. Dave Ridpath, sports management professor at Ohio University.

“Technically a PSU player could transfer to Ohio U tomorrow and play against Penn State. Unreal."

"I think Ohio's chances are better because Penn State lost a lot of scholarships today and I'm sure players are walking out so the talent level may go down," Nolan Gauvreau, a senior sports marketing major at Ohio University said. 

"Unfortunately, it's not the current players' fault, and there is no real precedent for anything like this," Nye said. "Hopefully, we as a public don't ever have to witness something like this again." 

While every game in the all-time series has been played in State College, this matchup promises to have a different air about it for Frank Solich and his squad.

“It will be a strange atmosphere for sure and who knows what will happen," Ridpath said. “Ohio will be the focus of huge national coverage to say the least.”

"Ohio will get a lot of national exposure as a by-productt of Penn State's scandal," Gauvreau said. "It will be a good opportunity for us to showcase what kind of team we have this season and hopefully we'll win the MAC championship." 

The game is still currently scheduled to take place at noon on ESPN.

For Ohio, it is an opportunity to continue to show the nation they are a mid-major program on the rise. For Penn State, it will be a chance to put the past away and start a new era of college football. 

"There is so much tradition at Penn State and I think the community and university will rally behind their team," Max Pendery, a junior at Ohio University who's mother and sister attended Penn State said. "Football means so much to them."

"I'm hoping, by then, people will have had time to sit back and think about everything that has happened," said Noah Meyers, a Penn State student who transferred from Ohio. "Knowing this community, the first game under coach O'Brien will be met with unwavering enthusiasm. There is a genuine desire around (Penn State) to actually live up to the expectations it built for itself. I'd expect a full stadium, hospitality, and a team ready to play with a huge chip on its shoulder."