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Rich Rodriguez on Penn State sanctions: ‘Nothing is going to be as tough as what those victims went through’

LOS ANGELES — Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez, who coached against Penn State as the head coach at Michigan from 2008 to 2010, was the first Pac-12 coach asked this morning about the fairness of NCAA sanctions delivered to the football program on Monday.

“It’s a tough situation, there’s no question about,” Rodriguez said.

“You get hit with the scholarship reductions, you get hit with the loss of the bowls and, obviously, the monetary fine. It’s going to be tough for that school to recover. But nothing is going to be as tough as what those victims went through.”

The NCAA levied multiple, severe sanctions in the wake of the Freeh report, detailing the university’s action/inaction regarding the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse charges.

The NCAA fined Penn State $60 million, imposed a four-year bowl ban and cut scholarships from 85 to 65 for the 2014 through 2017 seasons. The effect on recruiting could easily impair the Nittany Lions program for 10 years. The NCAA vacated all the program’s victories from 1998 to 2011, knocking former head coach Joe Paterno from the top of the list as college football’s winningest coach.

Rodriguez went 0-3 against Penn State while at Michigan.

“As tough as the situation is for (Penn State), they’ll recover,” Rodriguez said.

“It may take some time, but they have a great coaching staff. (New coach) Bill O’Brien will be a tremendous job. They have a terrific university, a great community. I have been there many times. I was there as a player, as an assistant coach and there as a head coach competing against them. They will be able to rally.

“Will it take some years? Probably. But at the same time I think there are a lot of lessons to be learned, and the lessons go beyond athletics. It’s more than an athletic issue, it’s a societal issue. Hopefully, everybody can learn from that and be better going forward.”

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