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Penn State football program value damaged by scandal: report

(Reuters) - Penn State held onto the No. 3 position in Forbes' rankings of the most valuable college football programs this year, but is expected to drop in the future because of a sex abuse scandal, the magazine said on Thursday.

The University of Texas held the top spot with a football program value estimated by Forbes at $129 million over the past football season, followed by the University of Notre Dame at $112 million and Penn State at $100 million, Forbes said. Forbes said Penn State made a profit of $53 million on football in the last season.

"It seems almost certain that Penn State's reign as a top-earning program is coming to an end," Forbes said.

Former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky has been charged with molesting 10 young boys over more than a decade, including incidents at the university's facilities. Sandusky has maintained his innocence.

Penn State trustees fired legendary football coach Joe Paterno and the university president in November for not telling police after they were informed about one alleged incident. Two former senior university officials have been charged with lying to a grand jury about what they knew about allegations against Sandusky.

Penn State's program could lose $20 million to $30 million in the long term as a result of the scandal, according to Patrick Rishe, a Forbes contributor and Webster University economics professor, the magazine said.

The loss of alumni contributions and game-day income could reach up to $10 million per year and the team also is already losing some major high school recruits who have decided not to play football for Penn State, Forbes said.

Forbes cited Cars.com and other companies pulling their ads from telecasts of Penn State games after the scandal broke, but said other major sponsors have remained.

(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Greg McCune)