After the Jerry Sandusky scandal rocked the college football world over a year ago, the NCAA cracked down hard on Penn State — too hard, in my opinion. The NCAA levied sanctions that many believed would keep the program from being competitive for at least four years, punishing players who had nothing to do with the scandal or previous regime.
Today, the NCAA announced that it would be reducing some of the sanctions against the football program. Beginning in 2014-15, five scholarships will be restored to the program, and that number could increase in future years. The NCAA is also considering reducing the postseason ban.
Per George Mitchell, former U.S. senator and the independent Athletics Integrity Monitor for Penn State:
“While there is more work to be done, Penn State has clearly demonstrated its commitment to restoring integrity in its athletics program. 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.”
This is a fantastic move in my opinion, because it allows the university to move forward in a positive manner than isn’t so harsh on the current student-athletes, yet still punishes the school with a postseason ban and a $60 million fine that goes to support child abuse programs. Well done, NCAA.