Following the announcement of the NCAA sanctions for Penn State University on Monday, students and alumni reacted to the news.
The atmosphere outside of Beaver Stadium felt more like a place of mourning, Channel 11's Courtney Brennan reported. The site has become a place to say goodbye to a football program that's forever changed in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal.
"I guess it's a real depressed feeling. I guess it's disbelief at the same time," said Penn State student John Falconio.
The university was spared the so-called "death penalty" but some fans think the four-year ban from bowl games and a $60 million fine were worse.
"I like that the fine goes to charity. I think that's a good call on the NCAA's part but it's going to be tough to rebuild the program now. They're going to be devastated with the scholarship loss and everything like that," alumnus Pete Shellenberger said.
Penn State will now only have a small number of football scholarships to give out and current players are permitted to transfer without repercussions. The football team held a meeting after the sanctions were announced and a few players said they would stay at PSU.
Belle Vernon senior Dorian Johnson is one of Penn State’s 2013 recruits, but has decided not to comment on the subject.
Gateway junior Montae Nicholson, who has a scholarship offer from Penn State for 2014, told Channel 11’s Alby Oxenreiter that he still plans on considering Penn State because an education is important to him.
Current head coach Bill O'Brien said he not only comply with the sanctions but will help guide the university to become a national leader in ethics.
Former Penn State running back Franco Harris continued to criticize the Penn State Board of Trustees on Monday as he called the sanctions, “upsetting but not surprising.”
“We have all this aftermath laying around and all the devastation, let’s move forward,” Harris said. “That’s not going to happen. A lot of things that they do have moved us backwards and I just want to let them know that we, as alumni, are going to clean this mess up and get this stuff right.”
Joe Paterno's family released a statement calling the sanctions a "panicked response" that punishes the students.
"I'll always stand by Joe Paterno no matter what. I'm a diehard fan. But with Bill O'Brien I just have a good feeling that he'll move us forward in the right directions," student Courtney Rhoads said.