In the wake of former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky being found guilty of 45 of the 48 child sex abuse charges against him and a report from former FBI director Louis Freeh implicating several Penn State officials in a cover-up, it was clear that the Penn State football program would receive a major punishment from the NCAA.
That is precisely what happened as the university was fined $60 million, banned from the postseason for four years, docked 20 scholarships per season for the next four years and forced to vacate every win, bowl appearance and Big Ten championship earned from 1998 through last year, according to ESPN.com.
The sanctions were clearly levied against Penn State in order to make a statement and show that such actions won't be tolerated by the NCAA. While football isn't the main area of concern considering all that has happened, there is no doubt that new head coach Bill O'Brien has a tough road ahead of him. Here are the most crippling sanctions that he will have to deal with moving forward.
$60 Million Sanction
Perhaps the most staggering decision made by the NCAA is that Penn State will have to pay $60 million, all of which will be donated to programs that assist victims of child sexual abuse. The sanction is a symbolic and necessary one, but it remains to be seen how much it will affect the football program.
There is no doubt that it will change things to some degree as there won't be nearly as much money to allocate to football next season as there normally is, but I don't anticipate it being a long-term issue.
According to ESPN.com, the $60 million determination was made because that is the average annual revenue generated by Penn State football. With that in mind, the football program will be reeling next year, but things should be back to normal in that regard come 2013.
More than anything, I would say that the fine is likely to hurt recruiting as potential recruits will see the $60 million as a sign that the program is on the verge of dissipating. That isn't really the case, however, as the revenue will return the following season.
Losing $60 million may look like a bigger deal, but there is no question that losing 20 scholarships each season for four years will be far more crippling for Penn State. A football program is generally allowed 85 scholarships per season, but following 2012, the Nittany Lions will only have 65. While that is more than enough to field a full, competitive football squad, Penn State won't be getting the high-quality recruits it normally does, so 65 scholarships gives the school a much smaller margin of error.
It may be true that Penn State is under new leadership and is trying to become a model university once again, but potential recruits are only going to see the black mark on the program when they are choosing which school to attend.
The only thing that can heal that is time, so the Nittany Lions are going to be at a competitive disadvantage for the foreseeable future. A scholarship reduction won't help them in the least as it will give O'Brien far fewer options when it comes to securing new players.
Four-Year Bowl Ban
The monetary sanction and the loss of scholarships figure to be more tangibly devastating to Penn State, but being unable to play in a bowl or compete for a Big Ten title for four years is going to be the biggest blow when everything is said and done.
Not only is it going to hurt financially since programs make a ton of money from playing in bowl games, but the recruiting will suffer as well. Young players want to be able to play in big games and compete for championships, but that won't be an option at Penn State for a very long time.
Normally it wouldn't be a huge issue since big schools like Penn State can still pull in top talent, but the scandal alone already made Penn State a very unattractive option. Ohio State will be serving a bowl ban this coming season, but that didn't matter since the Buckeyes didn't commit any violations of a similar magnitude to what happened at Penn State.
Even if the Nittany Lions got off scot-free, they would have had some issues when it came to recruiting. The recent sanctions only cement that and the four-year bowl ban promises to be the biggest albatross of all.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter
Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com