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NCAA Takes Back Penn State's Bowl Ban, Scholarship Limits - This Is Sports Zone
 
 

The Jerry Sandusky scandal back in 2012 suddenly seems like it was a lifetime ago, for some. Just two years later, the NCAA has decided to remove the bowl/postseason ban as well as the scholarship penalty on Penn State University. The original punishment inflicted by the NCAA towards the University was a 40 scholarship reduction over four years, a four-year postseason ban, $60 million fine, a five-year probation and every win (111) being vacated from 1998 to 2011.

Two of these bans were lifted Monday morning after Penn State’s athletics integrity monitor, former Senator George Mitchell, recommended doing so in his second annual report that gauges progress made by the university. The NCAA was expected to restore all of their scholarships a year from now anyways but still, it was surprising to see it addressed this early, though it does come a year after the NCAA scaled back the scholarship penalty after Mitchell’s first report last year came up aces for the university. Without that, the Nittany Lions would have been able to field only 65 scholarship players this season; now that number is at 75.

ncf_g_jamesfranklin_ms_300x200Unfortunately for the Penn State’s sake, they probably will never be credited those wins, which remain forfeited, and the school still has to pay the $60 million fine. The NCAA will have to keep some of these sanctions forever intact to ensure they do not completely restore Joe Paterno’s legacy. Paterno resigned amidst the scandal, with those associated with the believed cover-up; former school president Graham Spanier, vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley, are awaiting trial.

It is however, great to see the re-emergence of Penn State’s football program after having to start almost entirely from scratch in the aftermath. South Carolina president Harris Pastides, a member of the NCAA’s board of directors said in regards to PSU, “Penn State has made remarkable progress over the past year. The board members and I believe the Executive Committee’s decision is the right one. It allows both the university and the association to continue to move toward a common goal of ensuring that educating, nurturing and protecting young people is a top priority.” Before this announcement, Penn State would have had 80 scholarships next season and a full 85 in 2016. The Nittany Lions also wouldn’t have been eligible for the postseason until 2016. Now, head coach James Franklin and Penn State can play in a bowl this season and will see its scholarship limit return to 85 in time for next season.

On a different note, the Paterno family still plans to continue with its lawsuit filed against the NCAA. The surrounding buzz about this decision is bound to elevate in the upcoming week. Whether the NCAA let Penn State off too easy in the end, will be open for debate. The football program, however, has shown great strides and made significant improvement on and off the field, and now their students can finally be treated like students. Take it for what it’s worth. Penn State is good for college football.

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