Now that the sanctions against the Penn State football team have officially been announced by the NCAA, many teams will be chomping at the bit to get some of the talent that will presumably be losing over the next couple of weeks.
As a Temple fan, I would gladly welcome most Penn State players who'd like to transfer from State College to Philadelphia, but I am still under the realization that, for the most part, this will still not happen right away, as it's too late in the summer to effectively transfer at this point. While I personally believe that the NCAA got this one right, I still feel bad for Penn State and its fans, as even though I have never really like its football program, I still have respected what it did on the field, and for the actions of a few individuals to tarnish such a rich history is really a shame.
With that said, here are a few more thoughts I have on the Penn State situation, being that I have closely followed Penn State's program for years, and have even gone to Beaver Stadium when my Owls played them in recent years.
Recruiting - Temple and Penn State have rarely been in a recruiting war over the same players. Even though you will see many players on the Penn State roster who have offers from Temple, you won't find a lot of players on Temple who have also had Penn State offers. With a four-year bowl ban, some players from Philadelphia might be a little more apt to stay closer to home, I am still under the impression that most players from Harrisburg and western Pennsylvania will still lean more heavily toward going to the University of Pittsburgh (or other schools like Virginia Tech, Virginia, West Virginia, or Maryland -- just to name some close local possibilities). Temple has traditionally had trouble recruiting directly against Penn State, but one benefit of the sanctions will be that a lot of the players Temple and Penn State are both going after will at least go somewhere else altogether, and a few who never truly considered Temple might start giving Temple a second look, particularly now that Temple is back in the Big East.
1941 - The longest current winning streak of one opponent over another is Penn State beating Temple, going on 30 straight games dating back to 1950 (which was a 7-7 tie; however, Temple hasn't won since 1941). While Temple lost over half of its starting roster from last year, Temple still has some talented players returning, and with the addition of Boston College all-time leading rusher Montel Harris, Temple still has a better roster than it has had over many of the previous years the Owls have played Penn State. Temple might still not be in a position to win against Penn State this year, but with matchups in 2014, 2015, and 2016, the sanctions might catch up to Penn State in one of these years, and might finally end college football's longest winning streak against one opponent.
History - Taking away 14 years of meaningless wins is one of the most pointless things the NCAA can do, because it really doesn't accomplish anything but changing a couple of record books. Unless the NCAA can wipe away the history of people's memories, by vacating all of these victories, the penalty on this front is fairly weak because looking in the record book at victories that don't exist anymore doesn't really change anything. While taking away the all-time wins record from Joe Paterno (which still belongs to John Gagliardi of Division III St. John's MN for all of college football at 484 and counting), it doesn't change the fact he is still dead, and presumably doesn't change anything for him (with the exception of anything on his tombstone that might be factually inaccurate now). But it might tarnish the family name of Paterno a little bit, but the Freeh report did a good job of that already.
This whole situation has been a mess since the story broke of what Jerry Sandusky did, and while this might seem like the final straw, the sanctions will extend this story by the four or so years that the penalties will last. As a fan of a rival school, it will be nice to see Penn State's football team struggle a little (and before anyone gets on my case too much, Temple is a team that has suffered many zero-, one-, and two-win seasons in recent history no less)), and, if nothing else, it will teach Penn State fans that there really is more to life than just winning college football games.
Life will go on in Happy Valley, and, hopefully, the sanctions the NCAA has laid down will be the wake-up call that some of its higher ups desperately needed, as I can think of at least one thing that is more important than winning football games -- child sex abuse victims -- and it's especially nice to know the NCAA thinks so as well.
Gabe Venit is a graduate of Temple (class of '99) and a season ticket holder for the last 6 years for Temple Owls football.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Penn State