At State College, Penn State students and residents react

    People in State College speculated Monday how NCAA sanctions against the Penn State football program will cripple the Nittany Lions and the surrounding economy.

    Fourteen years of Nittany Lion victories — expunged, says the NCAA.

    Benjamin Willis, a State College resident for 25 years, considered the ruling as he stood next to the chain-link fence encircling the former site of the Joe Paterno statue, which was uprooted and hauled away Sunday.

    Willis says the penalties, including a $60 million fine, are even more severe than he expected.

    “That’s huge. And it’s sad because it’s going to impact a lot of people who had absolutely nothing to do with this incident. The young students here who came here to play for our football team, now their careers may be wrecked, if not ruined,” Willis said.

    Senior Chevon Williams says wiping 14 years of football victories off the record books is too harsh.

    From her spot on a bench outside the Paterno Library, she saw the announcement taking a toll on her peers.

    “Just the faces passing by, ” she said. “I attended two classes this morning, because I’m taking summer classes, so just walking around with other students, and just, like, seeing their faces all depressed. I’m like, ‘What’s up?’ and they’re like, ‘Yeah, did you read the news today?’ It’s the first topic of conversation.”

    Penn State avoided what was called the “death penalty,” a suspension of the football program for a year or more.

    But some say the ban on post-season games will sour alumni, donors, and Penn State fans.

    They worry many will skip attending football games this fall — a potentially devastating blow to the local economy.

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