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Local High Schoolers: Penn State Players ‘Screwed’ By NCAA Sanctions

Marist High School football players at practice on July 23, 2012. (Credit: CBS)

Marist High School football players at practice on July 23, 2012. (Credit: CBS)

Dorothy Tucker Dorothy Tucker
Dorothy Tucker has served as a reporter for CBS 2 Chicago since 1984....
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CHICAGO (CBS) – After the NCAA brought the hammer down on Penn State University on Monday over the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, and the cover-up by former football coach Joe Paterno and other top school officials, prospective student-athletes were weighing in on how the sanctions might affect Penn State’s recruiting.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker spoke to local high school football coaches and players about the impact of Penn State’s football team being banned from bowl games for the next four years, losing 10 scholarships a year during that time, and having all its wins vacated dating back to 1998. Existing players may transfer to another school without losing any eligibility, or being forced to sit out a year.

The school was also fined $60 million and the team has been placed on five years of probation.

At Marist High School, on the Far South Side, the football team was focused on winning their first game in a couple weeks, but players were also talking about one of the biggest stories in football history.

The seniors at Marist weren’t being recruited by Penn State even before the NCAA’s sanctions on Monday, but if they were, the penalties would have had a big impact on some players’ decisions.

“That school would probably go to the bottom of my list, just because of all the sanctions,” Marist player Josh Hickey said..

The worst sanction, in the Marist players’ view, was banning Penn State from postseason play for four years.

“All the players are screwed. It’s like you go on the field during the season, and they you won’t get any reward for it,” Marist player Shannon Smith said.

Morgan Park High School football coach Wesley yates said the penalties will hurt Penn State “a great deal.”

“Penn State has always been known for getting quality student athletes, the blue chippers,” he said. “Because of what took place, people are kind of hesitant, and that’s understandable.”

The university can still offer scholarships to recruits, although only 15 a year, rather than 25.

Morgan Park player Derrick Elmore said, if offered a scholarship to Penn State, he’d still take it, even with all the sanctions the school is facing.

“I know all this is happening, but I have to think [about] the big picture. I’m going to need the money to get into college, to get what I need to get done,” he said. “If it has to come to it, I would go there for the money.”

Some local coaches think Penn State might do more recruiting in the Chicago area, in light of the sanctions.

Traditionally, the school recruits mostly from the East Coast, but since potential recruits could be reluctant to join the program, Penn State might have to expand its recruiting efforts and pay more attention to the Midwest than in years past.