Penn State athletic department seeking $30 million loan

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In year two of NCAA sanctions, Penn State is really starting to feel their effects. Losing at home to Central Florida is an experience that is new to Nittany Nation. Home pre-conference losses don’t happen very often in Happy Valley; especially so at the hands of mid-majors.

And it isn’t just Penn State football that’s feeling the hurt of sanctioning. It’s not just on the college football field. The Penn State athletic department is seeking a $30 million loan, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Officials said Thursday that Penn State athletics face a “difficult period” financially after losing $6.15 million in the most recent fiscal year. The university attributed the shortfall to “significant current financial challenges to the football program,” according to a news release.

To help compensate, Penn State is exploring a $30 million external loan to help fund department projects over a five-year period. Joe Doncsecz, the university’s corporate controller, unveiled the plan Thursday at a meeting of the Board of Trustees’ finance, business and capital planning committee.

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Because of the crimes perpetrated by Jerry Sandusky, and not acted upon by Joe Paterno, Penn State had to pay a $60 million fine. They also got a four year bowl ban. In year one of the new regime, Bill O’Brien admirably led Penn State to a 8-4 record, and earned some Coach of the Year accolade. But this year’s team looks down from 2012. A downturn in ticket sales has led to a decline in revenue.

The Penn State athletic department is currently in the black, but is projected to be in the red, to the tune of $5.5 million by 2016-17. Missing out on projected bowl revenue is expected to cost the football program $21.6 million. It also doesn’t help that ticket sales have been on the downturn for five straight years. And private donations hit a downward trend as well.

Penn State corporate leadership said the next five years will be a difficult period.

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An analyst for 95.7 The Fan and 1620 The Zone, he also writes for Chicago Now. Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks) and Facebook

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