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Dr. Saturday

Bill O’Brien thinks Penn State’s NCAA sanctions could be reduced in the future

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(AP)

Even after Penn State was hit with NCAA sanctions that have been likened to the dreaded "death penalty" that was given to SMU in the mid-1980s, coach Bill O'Brien is still maintaining a glass-half-full mentality.

On Friday, O'Brien said he believed the NCAA could reduce the penalties levied against Penn State last Monday. Included in those penalties were a four-year bowl ban and a loss of 40 scholarships over the next four years.

"That can go either way," O'Brien said. "If we're not crossing our Ts and dotting our Is, that can go either way. But if we are, if we're behaving and acting like the program that we're gonna act like, then I'm under the understanding that they can come in and revisit that."

In a statement, NCAA president Mark Emmert spelled out the NCAA's desire for Penn State to install corrective measures and establish an academic integrity agreement. The statement also says that if Penn State doesn't manage to do these things, the NCAA reserves the right to reopen the case. However, Emmert's statement doesn't seem to have any leeway in regards to lessening the penalties.

"Certainly the NCAA has the right to reopen the consent," Penn State acting athletic director Dave Joyner said. "I think the feeling is that's if we don't do things correctly. It's never been said they'll reopen it if we're doing a really good job. Not being an attorney, I can't say if they're willing to do that or not."

But O'Brien is holding out hope and he's not the only one. Last week, several of his players issued a statement that they were staying with the program.

"I'm gonna make sure we're compliant in every single way," O'Brien said. "In the six months that I've been there, we've had four or five compliance meetings. And I wanna make that clear that many, many, many things have already taken place before the sanctions came out.

"We opened up our doors. You've had more access to Penn State football in the last six months than you had in the last 30 years."

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