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Dr. Saturday

NCAA restores some of Penn State’s scholarships

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

Score one for Penn State.

The NCAA announced Tuesday that it will partially restore scholarships the university lost as a result of the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal.

Beginning next year, the university will have five additional scholarships. The number will increase until the university reaches 25 offered scholarships in 2015-16 and 85 total scholarships in 2016-17.

“Today’s announcement by the NCAA is tremendous news," coach Bill O'Brien said in a statement. "As a staff, we are especially pleased for our players, who have proven themselves to be a resilient a group of young men. Penn State has long been known for graduating its student-athletes and providing them with a world-class education. The scholarship additions will allow us to provide more student-athletes with a tremendous opportunity to earn that degree and play football for Penn State.”

The NCAA has not made any changes to the Penn State being banned from postseason play, Joe Paterno’s 111 vacated wins or the $60 million fine levied the NCAA levied two years ago when the punishments were originally handed down.

The NCAA did say it might consider lifting the postseason ban in the future.

[Related: NCAA cites progress since Jerry Sandusky scandal]

Still, this is a small victory for an institution that was slapped with some of the harshest sanctions ever imposed on a university.

“While there is more work to be done, Penn State has clearly demonstrated its commitment to restoring integrity in its athletics program,” said George Mitchell, the independent Athletics Integrity Monitor for Penn State and former U.S. Senator. “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.”

Since the sanctions were handed down, O’Brien, the family of the late Joe Paterno and several other Penn State supporters have been fighting to have the NCAA repeal its sanctions. Many believed the NCAA, at the behest of president Mark Emmert, overstepped its bounds by issuing the sanctions that were ultimately agreed upon by Penn State President Rodney Erickson. However, part of that consent decree was that the NCAA reserved the right to change the sanctions.

The reduction in scholarships is a tribute to the changes Penn State has made in its culture of abuse awareness and policy changes that would safeguard that university from having something like this happen again.

Even though this is a small victory for Penn State, not everyone is happy:

View photo

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(USA Today Sports Images)

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