Coaches react to Penn State penalty

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Virginia coach Mike London now knows he’ll have an opponent to play in the second week of the season. The Cavaliers will play Penn State Sept. 8 in Charlottesville, but until Monday morning, the possibility of an NCAA death penalty hovered over Penn State for its involvement in the sexual abuse scandal involving former coach Jerry Sandusky.

Prior to the announcement, London said,  there were “all kinds of thoughts about what might happen.”

Speaking at ACC Media Days, London and other coaches tried to digest the impending wreckage that will be the Nittany Lions program.

“Now that we know what it is exactly [the punishment] looks like, it may be more devastating what it is right now than receiving the death penalty because of the implications of years from now,” London said.

Among the sanctions: a $60 million fine, a four-year bowl ban and a limit of 65 scholarships starting in 2014 for four years. The limit for the FBS level is 85.

“At the end of the day, if you don’t do what’s right, there’s consequences,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “It’s just a shame because a lot of times when consequences are rendered, a lot of people who have done nothing wrong suffer. That’s kind of the way it is in our society.”

It was a sobering day for coaches and administrators. At a Bulldog Club meeting at the Cobb Galleria, Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said he wants to read all available documents to fully digest the scope of the matter. He said that he and his senior staff studied the Freeh report when it was released.

“Like the president of Oregon State said, this is like a gut check for everybody to make sure their house is in order,” McGarity said.

Said London, “It’s a wake-up call for everybody in college athletics and college sports, not just football, of creating a culture of accountability and responsibility.”

Swinney said he hoped that the punishment will give Penn State a chance to start over. He foresaw a process that will last far longer than four years.

“It’s really going to be five or 10 years playing with a lot of walk-ons and so forth,” he said. “It’s just going to be a long process.”

Said Boston College coach Frank Spaziani, “It’s going to take a while before anybody understands what the implications are of what just happened. It’s not going to be good.”

Coaches acknowledged to varying degrees their interest in seeing if Penn State players would be interested in transferring, as the NCAA has granted them immediate eligibility. While acknowledging that he wouldn’t take a player just for the sake of it, O’Brien said “you’d be crazy not to” look into the possibility.

“I think everybody in the country is going to want to know” how the transfer process will work, Miami coach Al Golden said.

Georgia Tech has 81 players on scholarship, four below the limit. Coach Paul Johnson said he didn’t know Penn State’s roster – Tech does little, if any, recruiting in Pennsylvania and has a handful of players from the mid-Atlantic.

However, Johnson said, “if a kid contacts us and has an interest, I’m sure we’ll follow it up.”

At the Bulldog Club meeting, Georgia coach Mark Richt said that while his coaches “don’t have a whole lot of previous relationships with kids on that team,” he said he would at least explore the possibility of luring a transfer to Athens.

Coaches that already have relationships with players from having recruited them in high school stand a far better chance of landing a potential transfer. It stands doubly so in this instance, as teams begin preseason practice in a matter of weeks, which would preclude Penn State players from a prolonged recruitment.

Said Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, who recruited players who chose Penn State, “I think things are going to happen quick.”

London also recruited players on Penn State’s roster, as did Spaziani, noting he even had a few prospects who had committed to the Eagles before ultimately selecting Penn State.

“It’s a fluid situation that’s happening and we’d be foolish not to be interested,” Spaziani said. “But there are a lot of other factors that have to go into it.”

London finds himself in the rather unusual situation of potentially receiving players that he has spent the offseason preparing for.

Said London, “It makes you wonder what the team will look like when we play them the second week of September.”

He’s not the only one.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

30 comments Add your comment


July 23rd, 2012
10:45 pm

This is a very sad day for Penn State. Joe Paterno was a very good man and coach; his legacy does not deserve this.

FL Jacket

July 23rd, 2012
11:08 pm

GT1971…While I’m certain Joe Paterno was a good man in many things, he was a terrible example of knowing wrongdoing was happening at his school, by a direct report to him, and instead of doing the right thing…he did the expeditious and self-serving thing. His inaction was directly responsible for the heinous acts of Jerry Sandusky on school property AFTER his crimes were already known to him.

For this, I’m sorry, he did not act like a good man.


July 23rd, 2012
11:09 pm


July 23rd, 2012
11:12 pm

GT1971, Adolf Hitler was an accomplished painter, helped feed children and brought jobs to a jobless country. But he did a few other things in his life that over shadowed those events.


July 23rd, 2012
11:31 pm

The NCAA has proved once again that it has no idea what the right thing to do is. They made the quickest decision in their existence based on less than facts. In the Freeh report there are two many “what ifs” and short on tangible facts. Those facts should come out at the Shultz/Curry trial, which the NCAA should have waited on to determine a penalty. There is a “Due Process” the NCAA has neglected to follow and based their findings on a questionable report. And they are not hurting the right people. I am not a PSU fan but I respect the University and what 95% of the school has stood for.


July 23rd, 2012
11:44 pm

JohnGT this will help you think about why PennSt is in trouble.

GT fan

July 24th, 2012
1:17 am

Good pt Dawg48 about Hitler. I’m disgusted at what Joe “Pa” DID NOT do. He chose football over young boys being molested by JS. Sick, sad, and unforgiveable!! Anybody who feels sorry for Joe Pa’s legacy is okaying Sudusky’s crimes & behavior.

Again people, Joe Paterno knew what was going on yet decided to practice Xs & Os instead of addressing the problem.

Like Dawg48 said about Hitler …… Michael Jackson was a hell of a singer/dancer, but he did some bad things that tarnished his legacy too. And OJ Simpson, he was a heck of running back, but there was a night in Brentwood, CA that has defined his legacy.

Randy From Macon

July 24th, 2012
1:42 am

Dawg48 – What do you not understand about Paterno being a good man? He had numerous opportunities to stop what was going on (child abuse) and he apparently did nothing. This is classic “I am going to protect my legacy at any costs” thinking. It happens on a daily basis everywhere – I am a teacher and coach and guarantee you that coaches will do almost anything to continue to do what they have been doing for years. Football should not be bigger than everything else. And I love football!

Americus Jacket

July 24th, 2012
9:56 am

The whole Penn State story sickens me — from the Grad Assistant who didn’t stop the abuse as it happens and Joe Paterno’s claim that he “reported it to his bosses.” First, there’s no doubt in my mind that the Athletic Director of PSU was NOT Paterno’s boss. Second, when the story came out and PSU had no choice but fire Paterno, he tried to imply that he was unjustly fired and stoked the fire by enjoying the student protests. Last, if he covered up child abuse, what else did he cover up during his time at PSU? Honestly, I can imagine myself trying to cover up some transgressions if I was a head coach at a major program, but child abuse like this?

A disgusting man who worked with disgusting people who had a very poor moral compass.

George Stein

July 24th, 2012
10:13 am

Paterno may have been a good man, GT1971, but his legacy absolutely deserves this. He either made a massive mistake or experienced an enormous lapse in judgment.

I must say that the NCAA penalties are an absolute joke, though. They do nothing to punish those responsible, and the message seems to be that lost scholarships and probation are an appropriate penalty for child sexual abuse.

Road Scholar

July 24th, 2012
10:21 am

Interesting quotes from Coach Johnson and Richt. Johnson said that if a player is interested in GT, he will talk. Richt implied that he would pursue players to see if they are interested …like the players cannot make up their own mind whether they will transfer and to which schools they would consider. Richt is a vulture.

Birmingham Jacket

July 24th, 2012
10:38 am

That’s it Johnson, don’t go out of your way to try to get some quality talent. We like losing to Miami and Georgia every year, and getting embarrassed in bowl games.

George Stein

July 24th, 2012
10:44 am

Yeah, that’s it B’ham. Johnson’s lazy!

I don’t think Richt is being a vulture here at all, Road Scholar. If anything, he’d be giving the Penn State players a soft place to land and an opportunity to play for that which Paterno and his staff no doubt promised them when they were recruiting them. I hate UGA, too, but Richt isn’t a bad man.

5150 UOAD

July 24th, 2012
12:02 pm

48… a DADDY now and he comes out with the Gloves Off. LOL

Birmingham Jacket is like a tampon.
He starts out with a purpose but he quickly gets used up and just needs to be FLUSHED.

Mark (another one)

July 24th, 2012
12:32 pm

Richt has the former Penn State S&C coach on staff, so he has a staff member with first hand knowledge of the players and someone those players know. Thomas might be an advantage, and there’s nothing wrong with Richt using that advantage.

By the way, I hate what happened at Penn State and believe Paterno needed to have done more to protect the children but I would never compare him to Hitler. Hitler was a monster responsible for the death of millions at his direction. People need to maintain perspective.

Joe Pa could have pulled the plug on Sandusky’s child molestation practices and he didn’t. His lack of action is either cowardice or self protection (or both). His offense is not the same as Sandusky’s who actually committed the acts.

One of my former employees was convicted of a crime while he worked for me. It caused a lot of soul searching because I hired him, but I had to act as he had committed a crime. He told me that he thought I was his friend, and that he couldn’t believe I would have him arrested as that would make his crimes public. I went a little overboard and attended everyone of his hearings but it sent a message to my other employees and my employer.


July 24th, 2012
1:12 pm

There is more evidence building up that JoPa was not a good man. He knowingly allowed a child rapist to continue raping kids because of JoPa’s concerns about how exposing him would affect the PSU program.


July 24th, 2012
1:41 pm

Great to see PJ just wearing ordinary, everyday apparel. Next year, at SEC media days, the coaches will have to wear tuxedos and will be carried to the meeting room with their 3 players in a horse-drawn carriage. The media will present a glass slipper made to the size of the coach that they believe will be the conference champ. Won’t that be cute ?

5150 UOAD

July 24th, 2012
2:20 pm

Guys are if you are in town of close to a Varsity in the burbs they are celebrating the creation of the F.O. and they are offering DEALS. Take the Family to a Varsity near you and enjoy an F.O. today.


July 24th, 2012
2:52 pm

I strongly disagree with the people saying that Paterno was a good man. He allowed a beast, child predator to roam the campus and not do a thing about it. Rest assured he will have to answer for that decision.

5150 UOAD

July 24th, 2012
2:58 pm

DIT………….and how would you characterize RICHT based on what his players have done?


July 24th, 2012
5:19 pm

Randy from Macon, I did not defend Paterno. Go back and read again.

BIrmingham Jacket

July 24th, 2012
6:17 pm

Great to see our wonderful coach already excusing himself from the task of evaluating PSU’s roster, doing his homework, and actively recruiting PSU players like another coach in our state that is paid 7 figures.

Hello Johnson?!?!

There are plenty of guys on PSUs 2nd team that would start for us!

Lazy Jack-Wagon…


July 24th, 2012
6:28 pm

Torn between the disappointment of so many adults not protecting children from these boy’s mother’s to the coach who SAW this abuse, and finally to an institution not wanting to air it’s dirty laundry. But I also wonder how many other institutions and coaches would do the same thing but maybe in a different way…how many people want to bring such an ugliness to their storied programs and schools? I’ve asked myself what would I have done? The answer has been difficult but if I had been the coach who witnessed the abuse I would have physically defended the boy by tearing apart the monster that was abusing him and then would have called the police, notified my superiors and stood by and demanded that this guy never set foot on my campus again…I wouldn’t have run like a tattletale to my head coach and stood by….Penn State deserves to be punished but the boys who were youngsters don’t deserve to pay for others sins. JoePa isn’t here to defend himself and admitted he should have done more but he won without cheating and taking away wins from him and the school only shows the jealousy that many have toward a winner. I know that if this had been other’s institutions they would have felt the same. A wrong has not been righted until those that covered up or lied are brought to justice.


July 24th, 2012
6:50 pm

Wess getss thems allles. Theyses fits rightsts int theses seresers

Oh, gee...

July 24th, 2012
8:30 pm

Prosecutor: Man ‘groomed’ kids for sex

Former Ga. Tech computer technician allegedly abused children he knew.

old dog

July 25th, 2012
8:15 am

The bottom line is that Sandusky should be boiled alive in hot oil. There is not a sorrier sack of sh*t out there……forget football for just a minute and sell tickets for the right to pull the switch/push the needle/ drop the trap door on this scumbag!! Teckies,Dawgs, and N. Lions alike would line up for this chance. Apparantly, barbarism still exists, as I would buy the first ticket and hope I would win!


July 25th, 2012
10:19 am

Look, CPJ has a couple ’ships left and there is probably a couple good guys trying to decide b/t Tech and some other school. If CPJ says he is going to start shopping for some PSU guys with those ’ships, what do you think some recruits will do that were considering TECH? They’ll go ahead and commit to the other school. If CPJ looks into the PSU players, he won’t tell us about it.


July 25th, 2012
10:19 pm

Daad-gum, I didn’t want to be the winningest coach in the NCAA this way!! – Bobby Bowden


July 25th, 2012
10:23 pm

What is an FO at the Varsity?????

William Casey

July 26th, 2012
12:25 am

Frosted Orange