HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP/CBS) — The NCAA says it will gradually restore football scholarships taken from Penn State over the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal, saying the school has made significant changes to its athletics programs.
College sports’ governing body said Tuesday that five scholarships will be restored next year and more will be phased in until the school reaches normal totals in 2016-17.
“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 in a statement.. “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 NCAA says the decision was made based on the recommendation of former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, who’s been serving as Penn State’s athletics integrity monitor.
“I am very happy for Coach O’Brien, the football coaches and staff and the players; especially pleased for our current and future student-athletes, who are the most important reason why we love working in intercollegiate athletics,” Dave Joyner, Penn State Director of Athletics said. “We will continue to work hard within the Athletics Integrity Agreement to fully comply and to achieve excellence in everything we do at Penn State.”
“Today’s announcement by the NCAA is tremendous news,” Penn State coach Bill O’Brien said. “As a staff, we are especially pleased for our players, who have proven themselves to be a resilient group of young men who are able to look ahead, focus and overcome adversity. 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.”
Governor Tom Corbett Tuesday afternoon issued the following statement regarding modification of the NCAA sanctions against Penn State University:
“Penn State is a world class university with a strong commitment to educational excellence for its students.
“I am pleased that the NCAA is recognizing the important changes and reforms that the university has undertaken and will continue to make moving forward.
“We are also encouraged that the NCAA shares our view that the primary purpose of athletic scholarships is to provide an educational opportunity for student athletes.”
Penn State and the NCAA agreed to the penalties a year ago, shortly after Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse.
Penn State is also paying a $60 million fine and serving a five-year ban on postseason play.
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