NCAA Restores Penn State to Full Scholarships, Bowl Eligibility

The worst of it is over for Nittany Lions fans.

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Well. Let’s see what this does for civility in the Penn State community.

The NCAA announced Monday afternoon it is ending two major punishments of the university in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal: Penn State’s bowl eligibility is being restored immediately — meaning it missed only two of the four bowl seasons it was originally penalized. Full scholarships will be restored to the team for the 2015-16 school year, a season earlier than the original penalty envisioned.

CBSSports.com reports:

Due to Penn State University’s significant progress toward ensuring its athletics department functions with integrity, the NCAA Executive Committee today eliminated the school’s postseason ban, effective immediately, and will return the full complement of football scholarships in 2015-16,” the NCAA announced in an official release.

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors and presidents from the Big Ten conference met prior to an official vote on the recommendation from George Mitchell, Penn State’s athletics oversight monitor. There Mitchell briefed the group on his findings prior to the release of his report on Monday.

The official NCAA release:

Due to Penn State University’s significant progress toward ensuring its athletics department functions with integrity, the NCAA Executive Committee on Monday eliminated the school’s postseason ban, effective immediately, and will return the full complement of football scholarships in 2015-16.

The committee’s action endorses recommendations released Monday by George Mitchell, the university’s athletics oversight monitor, in his latest report.

In addition to the scholarship and postseason participation changes, Mitchell also recommended that if Penn State continues to make impressive progress at the conclusion of the 2015 report, Mitchell’s oversight may conclude substantially earlier than 2017, the date set forth in the original agreement between the NCAA and Penn State.

“Penn State’s commitment to the integrity of its athletics department and its progress toward meeting the requirements of the Consent Decree are clear,” said Northern Arizona President Rita Hartung Cheng, who chaired Monday’s Executive Committee meeting. “We thank Senator Mitchell for his meticulous and exhaustive work over the past two years. Mitchell’s efforts and the dedication of Penn State officials made today’s decisions possible.”

Executive Committee leadership met Monday with the NCAA Division I Board of Directors and presidents from the Big Ten Conference prior to taking a vote on the action. During these discussions, Mitchell briefed the group on his work to date and the university’s compliance with the athletics integrity agreement.

The Board of Directors also accepted Mitchell’s report and endorsed the Executive Committee’s action.

“Penn State has made remarkable progress over the past year,” said Harris Pastides, Board member and University of South Carolina president. “The board members and I believe the Executive Committee’s decision is the right one. It allows both the university and the association to continue to move toward a common goal of ensuring that educating, nurturing and protecting young people is a top priority.”

The George Mitchell report: