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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Many in this leafy, vibrant college town nicknamed “Happy Valley” worry the temporary evisceration of Penn State’s football program might inflict similar damage on a community that, for years, thrived as fans flocked to home games at the massive football stadium and a far-flung alumni base stayed connected by loyalty — and by checkbook.
Some business operators saw the same silver lining that many survivors do after a near-death accident: They had feared a complete shutdown of Penn State’s football program by the NCAA.
Yet they also know Penn State, and the hotels, eateries and apparel shops that cluster around campus, face rough times ahead.
“Football is absolutely intertwined with the university, therefore the town,” said graduate student Will Ethier. “Such hard hits really will hit the town economically, as well as a community. Penn State, Penn State football, State College, they’re all absolutely intertwined. If one gets sanctioned, everybody else gets sanctioned. So it’s really tough on everybody.”
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