NCAA to Gradually Restore Penn State Scholarships, Consider Removing Bowl Ban
According to Penn State Trustee Barbara Doran, the NCAA has agreed to loosen some restrictions on Penn State’s scholarship limits. Here’s what Doran posted on her Facebook page moments ago:
“The NCAA has modified the sanctions relating to the number of football scholarships allowed: official announcement out soon with specifics.
Scott Paterno confirmed Doran’s report and said he had obtained an unpublished press release from Penn State.
According to the PR, NCAA decided to soften the scholarships due to progress on governance.
— Scott Paterno (@ScottPaterno) September 24, 2013
We will update this story throughout the day as it develops.
UPDATE 11:25 a.m. — The official NCAA press release is out.
Penn State’s scholarships will gradually be restored. Starting next season, Penn State will be allowed 75 scholarships, 80 in 2015, and back up to 85 in 2016. Previously, Penn State was required to operate under 65 scholarships for four seasons starting in 2014. If my math is correct, Penn State goes from losing an aggregate of 40 scholarships to 15 scholarships.
“While there is more work to be done, Penn State has clearly demonstrated its commitment to restoring integrity in its athletics program,” said Penn State’s athletic integrity minor George Mitchell. “The university has substantially completed the initial implementation of all the Freeh Report recommendations and its obligations to the Athletics Integrity Agreement, so relief from the scholarship reductions is warranted and deserved.”
“Providing relief from the scholarship restrictions will give more student-athletes an opportunity to attend Penn State on athletics scholarship while also creating an incentive for the university to continue its progress under new leadership after President Erickson’s impending departure.”
Senator Mitchell said in a conference call that he met with the NCAA and Big Ten last week to recommend loosening some of the sanctions after his annual Athletics Integrity Report showed positive progress for Penn State. He also said that NCAA may consider additional mitigation of the postseason bowl ban in the future depending upon Penn State’s continued progress.
“The decision is the result of a thoughtful and deliberative process to ensure we reached the most appropriate outcome,” said Rita Hartung Cheng, who chaired the recent Executive Committee meetings regarding Senator Mitchell’s annual report. “During our discussions, we had the benefit of engaging with Senator Mitchell’s expert perspective and the views of our Big Ten colleagues.”
In the conference, sen. Mitchell said “it’s premature to speculate on what may occur in the future” about what other sanctions could be reduced in the future, including Joe Paterno’s wins. The NCAA website says “additional mitigation may be considered in the future depending upon Penn State’s continued progress.”
“The action taken today by the NCAA, following its review of the positive report issued this month by Sen. George Mitchell, recognizes the significant efforts over the past year to make Penn State a safer, stronger institution,” said Penn State President Rodney Erickson. “This news is certainly welcome to our University community, particularly the student athletes who may want to attend Penn State and will now have the means to do so. As we promised throughout this process, we are committed to continuing to improve all of our policies, procedures and actions.”
“The resiliency displayed by (our student athletes), as well as our entire student body is something of which we are proud.”