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NCAA Lifts Penn State Scholarship Restrictions
September 25, 2013 -Jessica Illuzzi
STATE COLLEGE- The NCAA's decision to dial back one of the penalties against Penn State for its handling of the Jerry Sandusky molestation scandal has been greatly anticipated over the past two years by students, fans and other people related to the University.
 
 Penn State officials say they 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.
 
Head football coach Bill O-Brien said, “Today’s announcement by the NCAA is tremendous news. 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.”
 
 This action, announced yesterday after two years, grants immediate relief from both the initial scholarship restrictions and overall team limit restrictions previously imposed on the University's football program. The NCAA announced it would gradually restore 20 football scholarships.
 
"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. "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 modification will restore a total of 65 scholarship opportunities for football student athletes wanting to attend Penn State. Five scholarships are being restored next year and 15 more will be phased in until the school reaches the limit of 85 in about three years. That's a season earlier than to which the school had agreed.
 
Specifically, the amendment to the consent decree increases the limit on initial football scholarships from 15 to 20 for the 2014-2015 academic year, and from 15 to 25 for each of the next three seasons. In addition, the amendment increases the overall football team limit of 65 total scholarships to allow for 75 total scholarships in the 2014-2015 academic year, 80 total scholarships in the 2015-2016 academic year, and 85 total scholarships (the NCAA limit for football) for each of the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 academic years.
 
The NCAA may later consider reducing the team's four-year bowl ban.
 
Erickson thanked Head Coach Bill O'Brien for his leadership during this critical time and for his dedication to his players and to the University through the past two difficult seasons. He also acknowledged the work of student athletes, both on the field and in the classroom. "The resiliency displayed by those young men, as well as our entire student body is something of which we are proud," Erickson said. "I would also like to thank the literally hundreds of University administrators, faculty, staff and students whose hard work over the past 15 months helped lay the groundwork not only for this action by the NCAA but, even more importantly, for a better Penn State."
 
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