Penn State Won't Be Able To Field A Full Football Squad Until At Least 2018

One of the heavy penalties coming Penn State’s way is a large reduction in football scholarships over the next four years.

PSU will have to reduce its annual allotment of new football scholarships from 25 to 15 the next four years. It will also have to limit the total number of scholarship players on its yearly football rosters from 85 to 65 over that same time period.

But as Pete Thamel of the New York Times points out, this doesn’t mean the Nittany Lions will be fielding a full 85 scholarship-roster by 2016 (when the sanctions end).

The reason is simple maths. At best, PSU will add 25 scholarship players in 2016 to a roster that includes 65 scholarship players. So one year after the penalties are over the team can have no more than 80 scholarship players. (You can keep doing the maths for the following years by guessing how many players leave via graduation, NFL Draft, etc.)

The situation isn’t that simple, though.

Having 65 returning scholarship players in 2016 is unlikely seeing as many of them will either graduate, jump to the NFL, or leave the program for entirely different reasons.

On the flip side, much like USC’s football program has done after it was found guilty of handing out impermissible benefits to student athletes, PSU can red-shirt players and use other recruiting tactics to diminish the blow.

This won’t be as easy for Penn State as it was for USC, however.

USC was in the middle of its long run of football glory where it could recruit anyone and everyone, Penn State is long removed from its heyday. 

A significant hiatus by current PSU players seems very likely since they can begin playing for their new school immediately instead of sitting through four wasted seasons. USC players only had to wait two years for things to get back to normal.

So even though it’s a rough, inexact estimation, the basic tenant of Thamel’s assertion is correct: it’s going to take a very long time for Penn State football to get back to the top, if it ever does.

DON’T MISS: A Perfect Photo Of Horrified Penn State Students Watching The NCAA Torch Their Football Team→

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