Gary Klingensmith is emphatic when he says Jerry Sandusky's victims are the most important consideration, more so than his beloved alma mater.
But the proud Penn State alum and veteran Juniata football coach, sitting at his kitchen table Monday afternoon, was furious that the university accepted a sanctions package from the NCAA that he fears could kill the football program of which he once was part. Pulling occasionally at his ring - the one he got as a member of the Nittany Lions' 1961 Gator Bowl team - he thought about the half century that has passed since he first slipped it on his finger.
Then he talked about what happened in Indianapolis Monday.
"I knew they were going to do something," he said - a few missed bowl games, some scholarships taken. "I thought at worst it would be half of what it turned out to be."
George Miskinis has been a part of the Penn State program through his son, but has been part of football a lot longer. The Mifflin County coach said the situation goes beyond helmets and pads.
"I think it's a societal issue. We all know people who have been abused. We see it as teachers. A person who works in the media, you see it. Ministers see it. Everybody sees people that have been abused," he said.
He points out that the standard that should be applied to the punishment agreed to by Penn State should be looked at in contrast to the actions of those involved.
"We do our best to identify them and turn it in to the proper authorities," he said. "If you were following the direct steps of what you should have done at that time and you drop the ball on it, that's a different set of circumstances."
Rusty Beitz has two sons - both Juniata graduates - who now wear a Penn State wrestling singlet. He's had a chance to talk with them, and understands that, in a sense, they are lucky not to be impacted by Monday's decision.
"I'm relieved that the other sports are left alone," he said, but at the same time feels for his sons' friends on the football team.
Brent Bobb, who coaches basketball at Midd-West High School, has had plenty of experience dealing with crime and punishment in his first line of work, as a Pennsylvania State Police trooper. And he's conflicted as to whether the punishment handed down to Penn State fits the crime.
"It's hard to wrap your head around the whole thing and take a position one way or the other," he said. "The sanctions, most of them, barring maybe the fine, are excessive. Joe's dead, Sandusky's going to spend the rest of his life in jail."
Meanwhile, he notes, the members of the administration who also are named in former FBI director Louis Freeh's report are either retired or still on the payroll.
"Those are the goombahs that need to take a beating," he said.
Mixed reactions. Uneasy feelings. The scandal that has been splashed across the front pages of newspapers nationwide for months has reached the penalty phase, but people in the athletic community are asking whether it's fair to punish today's athletes for the actions committed more than a decade ago. They say it should have waited until the administrators - two already under indictment - have been in court.
"When people have to swear under oath, and make statements under oath, that's maybe when more of the truth is going to come out," Klingensmith said. "It crossed my mind that maybe they're going to give something for this year then wait until all the trials are over, Spanier, the AD and all, to see what actions they're going to take. That might have been a reasonable way to go."
Miskinis said it might have been better if the program had been shut down.
"My initial reaction to the whole thing was I think it's worse than the death penalty," he said. "If they shut down the program for a year without harming the scholarships, and having to pay that $60 million endowment ... I think that would be a great initial part of it. I think the overwhelming part of it I see is that the loss of scholarships, this is probably going to take a decade, I'm guessing, to overcome."
And then came the part of it that hit home for Miskinis - his son Greg, a walk-on who played for Penn State and still is involved in the program as a grad student, saw all of the football history he was part of erased Monday morning. Echoing Klingensmith, he said, before the last piece of evidence is in.
"To vacate the wins, that's another issue," he said. "I don't know if the Freeh report was the last say. We have to look at it like statistics. Everybody interprets the same stat differently. This may go longer than the sanctions against Penn State until they finally find out what happened."
Bobb has prepared cases for court, and even he admits he's not sure the sentence should have been passed so quickly - or that it fits the crime.
"I can't answer that. You have to get down to the nitty gritty details of what exactly the culture was," he said. "There are certainly people who did things they shouldn't have done or didn't do things they should have done.
"I don't know how today's football progam benefited from anything that happened years ago," he continued. "The only thing that may be applicable is the fine. To kick the football program, I don't see it 10 years later. If this happened last year, maybe I'd go with that."
The two local wrestlers will stay put, their dad said.
"They're blue and white," Beitz said. "They support the football team, they have friends who are on the football team."
But Miskinis said he doesn't expect that will hold for football.
"It's going to take away some of the top-level athletes who have the aspiration to go to a bowl game. My son was there for five years, they went to five bowl games. It's a great reward for a successful season," he said. "I just think it's very, very devastating - you're going to lose a lot of the top-flight athletes who are even considering going to Penn State."
"I just feel bad being a Penn Stater that it has come to this," said Klingensmith, pointing out how Penn State players are some of the best students on campus. "I think everybody knows how it got to this - one doggone bad apple ruined the whole barrel. It's a sad situation."