The NCAA hit Penn State harder than the death penalty, and Nittany Lions recruiting is unlikely to recover for at least a decade.
The fallout from Penn State's NCAA sanctions are far reaching and multi-faceted. One of the most immediate impacts, however, will be in recruiting.
What Do The Sanctions Mean?
Penn State received a penalty of 10 initial scholarships and 20 total per year. What this means is that Penn State's recruiting class size is restricted to 15 for each of the next four years, and that the maximum roster size for four years, beginning with the 2014 season, will be 65.
This is an enormous penalty. It's more severe than the penalty received by USC. It will almost certainly cripple Penn State and make the Nittany Lions the worst team in the Big Ten. Penn State will likely not have a roster of 85 recruited, scholarship players until 2018 at the earliest.
Already, Penn State cornerback Ross Douglas has decommitted from Penn State according to multiple reports. This follows a decommitment from star defensive tackle Greg Webb on Sunday.
Star tight end Adam Breneman, long the glue that had been holding the class together, offered a no comment on the situation.
We will not be making any comments regarding Penn State or Adam's recruitment at this time. Thank you. -Brian Breneman— Adam Breneman (@AdamBreneman87) July 23, 2012
It is difficult to see much of Penn State's current recruiting class staying together. The quality of player being recruited by Penn State is going to decline sharply.
Additionally, according to the release, Penn State must also release its incoming freshman from the 2012 class if they want. All Penn State football players may transfer and are immediately eligible elsewhere.
In 2017, the NCAA will once again permit Penn State to have the full allotment of scholarships. What the NCAA cannot do, however, is fix Penn State's image in the collective mind of parents and recruits. The NCAA cannot make Penn State cool again.
Yes, Penn State's fans and boosters will be extremely hungry to return the Nittany Lions to an elite level via recruiting, but that might take longer than many Penn State partisans would like.
Penn State will still have great facilities and tradition, but recruits who will be wooed by Penn State after the penalties are lifted will not have seen Penn State play at an elite level in their lifetimes.
Since 2000, Penn State is 91-52 (.640). It would be a shock if Penn State can maintain even that modest level of success over the next decade. Penn State will need to sell playing time and the chance to bring Penn State back to relevance in college football.