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NCAA to Gradually Restore Penn State Football Scholarships

Penn State Football

Penn State University has been granted permission to award football scholarships again, the NCAA announced Tuesday.

According to Yahoo Sports:

“Five scholarships will be restored next year and 15 more will be phased in until the school reaches the limit of 85 in 2016-17, a season earlier than the school had agreed to, college sports’ governing body said. The NCAA said the unanimous decision by its executive committee was based on the recommendation of former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, who has been serving as Penn State’s athletics integrity monitor.”

“This action provides an opportunity to recognize Penn State’s significant momentum, while also providing additional opportunities for student-athletes,” said Nathan Hatch, who is Wake Forest University president and the chair of the NCAA’s Division I board of directors, which endorsed the decision.

The action was also based on the recommendation of former U.S. Senator George Mitchell.

“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.

The school will still have to address other penalties which were issued amid heavy criticism of university leaders’ response to complaints shortly after Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse. A four-year postseason ban, a $60 million fine and other sanctions issued by the NCAA will still stand. The scholarships restoration has been structured by the NCAA so that the football team can increase to 75 scholarships in 2014-15, 80 in 2015-16, and a complete 85 in the 2016-17 academic year.

“While there is more work to be done, Penn State has clearly demonstrated its commitment to restoring integrity in its athletics program,” said Mitchell. “The university has substantially completed the initial implementation of all the Freeh Report recommendations and its obligations to the Athletics Integrity Agreement, so relief from the scholarship reductions is warranted and deserved.”

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