Penn State received high praise just a year ago when athletic integrity monitor George Mitchell released his first annual report detailing the athletic program’s compliance with the Sandusky scandal sanctions. As we approach Mitchell’s second report, which is expected to be released in the coming weeks, two NCAA sources told SportingNews’ Matt Hayes that there’s a “strong case” to relieve the football program of the bowl ban.
The precedent was set last year when the NCAA responded to the first Mitchell Report by reinstating some scholarships. Now, Hayes is reporting that his sources within the NCAA believe Penn State can have the final year of the bowl ban lifted if it continues to “reach and go beyond” the benchmarks set by the organization after the scandal. There have been rumblings throughout the summer about the possibility of the sanctions being lifted among fans, but this is the first sourced report this summer of the sanction reductions being a possibility.
Another positive report from Mitchell and reduced sanctions for the Nittany Lions would obviously create a huge amount of momentum as the team heads into its first season under James Franklin. The head coach has already gone above and beyond expectations when it comes to recruiting in his first eight months in Happy Valley, but life would be made a bit easier for Franklin & Co. with a postseason to sell high school prospects on.
While Hayes’ sources didn’t mention further scholarship reinstatements, fine reimbursements, or the third year of the bowl ban that applies to the approaching season, all bets are off as we await Mitchell’s report. It could be released as early as next week and should be released by mid-September, so stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed for a positive report as word from the NCAA on any sanction reductions will come following that.