Yeah, people are staying away from Penn State games not because it’s hard to enjoy a football game while thinking about a storied coach who for decades raped boys in the team’s shower rooms while an even more storied coach looked the other way.

No, it’s those pesky sanctions.

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7 Responses to ““When asked how the [empty seats at Penn State's stadium] can be pinpointed to the [NCAA] sanctions, and not the scandal itself or a sluggish economy, no politician could answer.””

  1. GTWMA Says:

    Since the decline in attendance began 5 years ago, it would be tough to pin it on either the scandal or the sanctions:

    PSU football attendance
    2007 108,917
    2008 108,254
    2009 107,008
    2010 104,234
    2011 101,427
    2012 96,730

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    GTWMA: I guess the real number will be how much it will have declined by the end of 2013 – I mean, the amount of decline in one year.

  3. GTWMA Says:

    It’s probably more complex than that. The scandal broke in November 2011, well before most people have to decide whether they will purchase tickets for 2012. So, I think both the scandal itself and the sanctions (good luck disentangling those to any who care to try)are reflected in the 2012 numbers. But neither could really be the source of the 7,500 drop in average attendance from 2007-2011 (there was only one home game in 2011 impacted by the events). That has much more to do with ticket prices, changes in required donations, and the overall economy.

    The effects of the sanctions and scandal, however, may persist beyond 2013. In particular, the sanctions, if they continue, will impact the team, school, businesses, etc at least through 2015, and based on past history could have impacts that extend beyond their official end. The scandal impact, I think, will depend on what we learn from upcoming trials about the extent of university actions. But, trying to identify its effects is probably going to be difficult.

  4. Margaret Soltan Says:

    GTWMA: Is there any possibility that numbers declined in part (of course declining ticket sales is a national trend) because more and more people began to suspect that something sick was happening with the program?

  5. GTWMA Says:

    No, I don’t think that’s even remotely possible. I’ve lived there for 20+ years, and there was not a sense at all among more than a few people that something anywhere close to this was going on. While I think many people outside of events like this like to believe that it was all so obvious, they are definitely fooling themselves. If it’s so easy to identify, I’d like anyone to tell me who are the child molesters in their community–you know they are there somewhere.

  6. Margaret Soltan Says:

    I take your point, GTWMA.

  7. Jack/OH Says:

    ” . . . [M]any people outside of events like this like to believe that it was all so obvious . . .”.

    Thanks, GTWMA. FWIW-when more than a 100 local judges and other public officials in my area were prosecuted and imprisoned, a retired court official told me, “You can’t know there’s criminal misconduct, unless you are right there in chambers when money’s changing hands. Then what do you do? Remember, lawyers get paid to talk to criminals all day long.” Yes, some court officials strongly suspected criminal activity in the courthouse, but the price of whistleblowing was too great. They kept their heads down, collected their paychecks, and paid their mortgages.

    I’d wager at least a nickel there are some former Penn State sports guys who strongly suspected something was wrong with Sandusky, then got the heck out of Dodge.

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