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Whiteout Has New Meaning for Penn State Football

by on July 23, 2012 9:42 AM

For Penn State football, Whiteout will forever have a new meaning.

Nittany Lion football from 1998 to 2011 is gone.

Fourteen seasons of Penn State football have been erased by the NCAA.

A total of 184 games have been wiped from the record books – 112 wins and 62 losses.

And of those, 65 wins and 47 losses came in Big Ten Conference play.

The NCAA ruling “vacates all wins of Penn State football 1998 to 2011 – and records,” said NCAA president Mark Emmert.

It was not made clear by Emmert what he meant by “all records.”

No triple-overtime win over Florida State in the Orange Bowl. No comeback led by Zack Mills for win No. 324. No comeback led by Matt McGloin for win No. 400.

Beaver Stadium sell-outs? They never happened. LJ’s 279 yards against Michigan State? He was a galloping ghost. Back-to-back 11-2 seasons in 2008-09? All the wins are to be put back.

Among Penn State’s toll for its part in the Sandusky scandal is the repudiation of anything football since the convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky was spotted in a Lasch Building shower with a boy in May 1998.

“That point in time reflects when the failures began inside the insititution,” Emmert said.

With the forfeiture of the victories, the late Joe Paterno loses his status as the all-time winningest coach in major college football.

But the blow to Penn State – to the hundreds of players from those 14 years, the millions of fans, the alumni, the students – is much greater.

Paterno won 409 games on the field, his final victory coming in his last game as head coach on Oct. 29, 2011. Penn State beat Illinois 10-7 in Beaver Stadium when a last-second Illini field goal hit the goal posts.

Eleven days later Paterno was fired. And six months and one day after he died, Paterno’s record – a testament to his longevity and on-the-field success – was gone.

"The career record of former head football coach Joe Paterno will reflect these vacated records," the NCAA said in a statement.

Before Monday, Paterno’s career record was 409-136-3.

Now, and forever more, in the Penn State and NCAA record books it will be 298-247-3. The action by Penn State and the NCAA cut Paterno’s victory total by 111 games.

With the 298 victories, Paterno will fall to 12th on the all-time list of college football coaches. Tubby Raymond of Delaware had 300 wins, while Ken Sparks – still coaching at Carson-Newman, has 299.

Gone, too, is the 20-14 victory Penn State had last year at Ohio State under interim head coach Tom Bradley.

From a program perspective, Penn State falls sharply on the list of all-time winningest college football programs. Prior to the NCAA ruling, Penn State ranked No. 7, with 816 wins. Now, with the loss of 112 victories, Penn State drops to No. 17 on the all-time list, with 704 wins. LSU is ranked a spot higher, with 716 victories.

Mike Poorman has covered Penn State football since 1979, and for since the 2009 season. His column appears on Mondays and Fridays. Follow him on Twitter at His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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