NCAA to Restore Penn State Scholarships Beginning in '14

By DJ Byrnes on September 24, 2013 at 12:15p
RT @mattytalks: Ladies call me the Joe Paterno statue because I'm in bad taste,I weigh 1000's of pounds and have been forcibly removed from a college campus


Beginning in 2014-15, five additional initial scholarships will be restored to the football team. That number, according to the NCAA, will continue to increase.

The action is based on the recommendation of former U.S. Senator George Mitchell and endorsed by the Division I Board of Directors.

"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," Mitchell said in the official release.

And here's part of Penn State's response (H/T: @Ben_Jones88):

Penn State officials are gratified by the decision of the NCAA Executive Committee to modify the scholarship limitations previously imposed on the University under the consent decree between the University and the NCAA. This action, announced today, taken in recognition of Penn State's significant progress under and continued compliance with the Athletics Integrity Agreement, grants immediate relief from both the initial scholarship restrictions and overall team limit restrictions previously imposed on the University's football program.  This modification will restore a total of 65 scholarship opportunities for football student athletes wanting to attend Penn State.

The good news keeps on coming for Bill O'Brien, who also received a pay raise this summer. This is also good news for the Big Ten, because a competitive Penn State is good for the conference as a whole. It makes sense too, because Joe Paterno is dead, Jerry Sandusky is rotting away in protective custody of a maximum security prison, and Graham Spanier is awaiting trial. No reason to punish those who didn't engage in cover-up of systematic, institutionalized child abuse.


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BKLYN_Buckeye's picture

Good to hear. It would be great if they cut off a year of the postseason ban.

Buckeye-in-DC's picture

by this logic, once Tressel was fired, Pryor and the Tat5 were gone/finished their suspensions and the university upped its compliance (or whatever institutional reforms were implemented), OSU should have gotten its scholarships back.  got it. 

Denny's picture

The second you used the term 'logic' when describing an NCAA action you rendered your statement null and void.


Buckeye-in-DC's picture

Good point. 
I get that reasonable minds can disagree about this, but once the NCAA made its decision to wade into that cesspool and take action against Penn State, I think it should have stuck with it and not half-*ssed it by in essence backtracking.

CC's picture

I know this isn't a popular sentiment around OSU but I'm happy for them.  IMO the NCAA was punishing a team for legal matters that had nothing to do with the players and the fans.  As mentioned above those involved are either dead or dealing with it through the justice system.
I'll continue to have this opinion until PSU beats OSU again.

Orlando Pancakes's picture

Agreed CC. What's even more peculiar is that the NCAA threatened Penn State with the death penalty if they refused their current punishment, but by their own rules they had no authority to administer the death penalty since Penn State was never a repeat offender. The NCAA is SO inconsistent.

dumpus's picture

The NCAA was punishing an institution and its supporters for allowing a rampant football-first-at-all-costs culture to destroy lives.  It meant to set an example to the rest of the collegiate athletics that the punishment levied upon Penn State for such a transgression would be so severe that any institution that had a similar situation occur would be better off bringing it to light instead of conspiring to sweep it under the carpet.
Way to make sure that message was sent with authority and conviction, NCAA...

alust2013's picture

I agree with that, although I think the whole situation left the NCAA stuck between a rock and a hard place. If they don't do anything, they look insensitive to what happened to the victims, if they come down hard, they look like jerks because it really doesn't have anything to do with the football team, and is a legal matter. 

...and Michigan still sucks.

Riggins's picture

That's a reasonable response from the NCAA.  The sanctions were severe and Bill O'Brien and the current players (or former players for that matter) had nothing to do with that mess.   

Denny's picture

Time off for good behavior, if you will.


Denny's picture

There are still repugnant morons who cling to the ghost of JoePa, but there is nothing that can be done about them. They are old, foolish, and soon will die. The university needs to move on, and has. And it needs to educate students, and it has. And it will. So it should be what it is -- the flagship public university in Pennsylvania.
The narcissism of minor differences does a ton to delude us in to thinking that we're so dissimilar from Penn State. We're not -- and being bitter about it in the long term (or worse, expecting something like 'consistency' or 'fairness' from the NCAA) does us no good.
Lessening up on PSU makes sense here. The current team had nothing to do with the crimes committed. They shouldn't bear the brunt of it.


AlphaMaleBettor's picture

The JoePa morons are not all old, some are young and dumb. (See: 2011 PSU riots when a child rapist-enabler coach is rightly fired).

redfox's picture

JoePa had everyone fooled into thinking he was such a great guy but he was nothing but a phony.

luckynutz's picture

This is the perfect place for a family guy big fat phony gif...sadly, I am not versed in the ways of adding said gif to a post. Can someone who is oblige my request?

Baroclinicity's picture

As I said in the other thread, they should still pay all of the $60 million, however.  Otherwise, I'm ok with this.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

hodge's picture

Posted this in the other thread, but I'll drop it here, too.
With regard to the culture that caused the Sandusky problem, I think that's been almost completely eradicated--which, in essence, was the reason for the punishment (to get PSU to focus on destroying the culture that created the problem).  If we agree that the NCAA's "ex-post-facto" style of punishment isn't fair to those whom it punishes, you have to at least be happy for all those who were undeserving of it in the first place.
Sandusky's in jail, Paterno's legacy is gone, the administration's been carpet-bombed, the legal process for those responsible is ongoing, and the culture that caused this horrendous crime--which was the basis of the NCAA's jurisdiction--is been all but obliterated.
I really wanted to see Penn State go down after all this happened.  But I think that as an institution they've done everything in their power to get past this and move forward (even if some of the lunatic fringe refuses)--much like we did after Tatgate.  More than O'brien and his players, I'm happy for Penn State--as it seems like they're finally starting to emerge from the long, dire shadow Paterno helped cast over his beloved program.  They're well on their way to escaping that shadow, and I think that gradually easing the pain that he caused (read: the sanctions) is the best way toward moving forward entirely. 
The damage has already been done to that program.  They'll never forget that--nor ever allow someone else the autonomy they gave their demigod-in-status head coach.

Sean N's picture

It is good to see that whining can pay off.

buckeyestu's picture

This is good stuff, this will help the big 10 get stronger. Off topic, but now can the NCAA get about punishing the hurricanes?

gobucks96's picture

Is this a setup to go light on Miami??

Buckman's picture

If O'Brien stays, Penn State will become an annually top 15 program.

I like to believe that my best hits border on felonious assault.


Hovenaut's picture

A rare moment of logic......the NCAA got this one right.

Penn State, out of respect for the students and those involved with the program - present and future, should not be punished for what's happened in the past. There is an entire community earnestly looking to heal and move forward.

And I offer that opinion up as a former resident of PA, who has seen the worst in PSU/Paterno fans even long before the tragic events involving Sandusky ever came to light.

Michael's picture

Penn State received:

  • Four year post-season ban
  • A decrease of 10 scholarships per year for four years (now decreasing)
  • Five years probation.

USC received:

  • Three year post-season ban
  • A decrease of 10 scholarships per year for three years
  • Four years probation.

If I'm a USC fan, I'm absolutely livid right now.

hodge's picture

Except that USC did nothing to help the NCAA during its investigation.  The AD at the time essentially flipped the bird to the entire entity--which contributed heavily to the severity of their sanctions.
Penn State may have had a terrible, monstrous thing happen, but the board was completely complicit with the NCAA's sanctions and never once tried to fight the process.
Say what you will about "fairness," but when the cops come knocking, it's best not to be a dick.

Poison nuts's picture

This is not an accurate portrayal of the facts Michael. For one, PSU lost 20 scholarships per year, for another, USC received a 2 year postseason ban. In addition, there were financial penalties & losses of decades worth of seasons to the official record at Penn State. So no, USC shouldn't be angry. Not in comparison to PSU anyway - PSU's penalties were much worse. 

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

AJW_16's picture

Glad to hear this. I hope the PSU community rallies around BOB - who I think is the second best B1G coach.

"Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you." 

Brutus's picture

The NCAA announced yesterday that it was planning on making some major changes during their next meetings and acknowledged that they've made some mistakes.  This latest move by the NCAA with regard to Penn State isn't about doing the right thing.  It's about damage control.  They know public opinion is heavily against them.  Conference commissioners have openly questioned the utility of the NCAA in its current form.  To me, this is like a government regime that has lost all support of those it governs and it starts doing whatever it can to improve it's image and appease the masses.  The NCAA isn't loosening its grip.  It's losing its grip.  Well, at least that's what I hope is happening.

luckynewman13's picture

Not saying the punishments weren't really severe, but can we please have a moratorium on using arguments like "the sanctions never should have happened because they affected players and personnel that had nothing to do with the Sandusky situation".
Has there ever been an NCAA sanction that has avoided affecting players and personnel who had nothing to do with the violation in question?

cplunk's picture

Agreed. It is like arguing a man shouldn't do jail time for armed robbery because it will affect his innocent children when they lose their breadwinner. Of course it will affect innocent people. The crime is still punished.

hodge's picture

Ehhh, it's more like arguing that the company that employed the robber shouldn't be shut down because his bosses suspected, but never informed anyone, that he was a committing armed robberies.  Punishing the company after they've fired the offending parties and made tremendous strides towards changing the culture that led to those suspicions not being aired only serves to punish the innocent employees and consumers of the company's goods, all of whom had nothing to do with the offending party's actions.

BuckeyeLurker0509's picture

what a bunch of bullsh*t.

RBuck's picture

Even though I agree with this decision, it shredded the last ounce of the NCAA's credibility.

Long live the southend.

Larryp713's picture

For competitive reasons, I am glad to see this decision. As far as the NCAA credibility, I think that has been slaughtered over the last couple of years. They are a joke.



luckynutz's picture

This doesn't bother me too much. The scholarship reductions seemed a bit overdone in the first place. They didn't win their biggest fight though...paternos legacy is still tarnished and the wins aren't coming back. So basically they are adjusting the punishment to lessen the blow to uninvolved parties such as players and the new coach. And left the parts that punished the people who allowed the unspeakable acts to take place. That's the worst part...most people were outraged over paternos wins and legacy being taken away. Not about the players who were innocent in all of it. At least the NCAA is gibing the players a chance to at least have something to show for their hard work.

Ramon's picture

Fine. Give us back the 2011 Sugar Bowl and we're good.