The NCAA announced today that it is restoring the Penn State football program’s eligibility to appear in post-season games effective immediately, as well as allowing the football program to return to a full-season roster of 85 scholarship players, following an independent investigator’s report that the program has made significant progress since the Jerry Sandusky affair.
According to USA Today, former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, who was appointed by the NCAA in 2012 to monitor the Penn State football program’s rebuilding, issued a “glowing” report praising the progress made.
“Through the second year of the Consent Decree, Penn State has not wavered in this commitment. The initiatives undertaken in the first year have begun to take root as a result of Penn State’s continuing focus on these reforms.”
According to the Patriot News, this is the second report Mitchell has issued praising Penn State’s progress since 2012. In light of two consecutive reports showing not just satisfactory, but exemplary progress, the NCAA made the decision to revoke the ban on post-season play.
“Following our briefing with Senator Mitchell, the [Big Ten’s Council of Presidents and Chancellors] reached consensus agreement to support his latest recommendation and also agreed to restore the school’s eligibility for the Big Ten Football Championship Game, which ran concurrently with the NCAA postseason bowl ban.”
The NCAA confirmed, via Twitter, that Penn State will be eligible for post-season play.
Due to Penn State’s progress in ensuring athletics dept functions with integrity, NCAA immediately restores football postseason eligibility.
— NCAA (@NCAA) September 8, 2014
In 2011, the Penn State football program was the focus of international news – and condemnation – after revelations that assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky had been sexually abusing boys for decades. A further investigation revealed that the Penn State athletic department promoted a “culture” that looked the other way at abuse and treated members of the football program as if they were above accountability, according to this Inquisitr report.
The news of the sanctions being lifted bodes well for this season’s crop of Nittany Lions. Penn State football coach James Franklin, in his first year coaching the team, has a recruiting class for 2015 that is ranked among the top ten in the nation, according to USA Today. The Nittany Lions are 2-0 for the season, having beaten Central Florida and Akron. They will take on Rutgers this Saturday.
Do you believe the NCAA is making the right move in removing some of the sanctions against the Penn State football program? Let us know what you think in the Comments.
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