Continued from page 1

Bank spokesman Fred Solomon said the NCAA sanctions have not changed PNC’s position.

Pepsi spokeswoman Gina Anderson said Tuesday the company also stood by its recent statement in response to the Freeh report.

“We are deeply disturbed by the findings of the investigation and the conduct of certain individuals at Penn State University, but will continue to honor our longstanding contract as a campus beverage provider,” the statement said.

Moody’s Investors Service said Tuesday that it may cut the school’s Aa1 rating. The Freeh report, along with the NCAA sanctions, could hurt enrollment and fundraising, and the school is still under state and federal investigation, the rating agency said.

A downgrade could make it more expensive for Penn State to borrow money for expansion or other projects.

Around Happy Valley, as the university and the surrounding area are known, Penn Staters and business owners worry that the NCAA sanctions will drive down attendance at home games and hurt the hotels, restaurants and university-themed clothing shops that rely on the Nittany Lions’ loyal football fans.

Football is absolutely intertwined with the university, therefore the town,” said graduate student Will Ethier. “Such hard hits really will hit the town economically.” He added: “If one gets sanctioned, everybody else gets sanctioned.”

Average attendance at the 106,500-seat Beaver Stadium has long been robust. It ranked no lower than fourth nationally in average attendance each year since 1991, a university spokesman said. And Penn State’s alumni association, with more than 165,000 members, is billed as the largest in the world. Already, the team has sold 85,000 season tickets for 2012.

Still, Matt Powell, an analyst with SportsOneSource, a Charlotte, N.C.-based provider of sports business information, said sales of Penn State clothing are dropping, from about $80 million in 2010 to $60 million after the scandal broke last year to possibly $45 million this year.

Chris Stathes, who has a daughter at Penn State and manages a Waffle Shop in State College, said he would not be surprised to see 20,000 or 30,000 empty seats at Beaver Stadium. He said some fans might not want to make the drive to see home games in State College, several hours from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

“What are you going to watch for?” Stathes said. “They can’t advance to any postseason bowl game or anything like that. People are still going to be disgusted over the whole thing.”

Several Penn State fans, whether they buy tickets or watch on TV, insisted they would not lose interest in the team.

“We will go to every game,” said Sam Zamrik, 80, a retired professor of engineering and a season ticket holder for 40 years. “They need our support.”

First-year head coach Bill O’Brien said of the team’s fans Tuesday: “I would tell them to renew their season tickets. I would tell them to move forward, turn the page. I would tell them we’ve got a football team that’s working extremely hard for this upcoming season.”


Story Continues →