After the NCAA handed down unprecedented sanctions earlier this week, many have speculated about the future of Penn State football. Rocked by the Sandusky scandal and the subsequent investigation, led by former FBI director Louis Freeh, PSU was fined $60 million, banned from the college football post-season for four years, and stripped of all football wins from 1998 to 2001.
Some feel that the punishment, while incredibly harsh, was justified. Penn State created a passive environment, in which Sandusky's criminal behavior was allowed to continue. But others question punishing PSU's current student-athletes, who had nothing to do with the revolting scandal. The NCAA's sanctions allow for any member of the team to transfer and play immediately at another school this fall; and if a current member of the team chooses to stop playing football, he will still retain his scholarship. It would be virtually impossible for Penn State to compete on a national level if their entire roster chooses to leave, and many new recruits may be wary of volunteering for such an uphill climb.
Today’s Penn State football players are faced with an incredibly difficult, and, many might say, unfair challenge: leave and find a new place to finish their collegiate athletic career, or stay and deal with the fallout from the punishment.
Big programs are circling to poach Penn State's top players. But members of the current team, led by senior RB Michael Zordich and senior LB Michael Mauti, recently made a brief statement reiterating their support of the Nittany Lions football program. They spoke of the tremendous opportunity afforded to the team and urged students to continue supporting them. In the video, they also provided an interesting perspective, one that hasn't been explored much in the wake of Sandusky’s trial.
"This program was not built by one man," said Mauti. "And this program sure as hell won't get torn down by one man."
See the athletes' passion for PSU football for yourself in the video below.