Penn State's postseason and scholarship sanctions have been reversed, allowing the Nittany Lions to play in a bowl and other postseason games this season and have a fuller roster next season, the NCAA announced Monday afternoon.
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.
Penn State vs. the NCAA
The NCAA gave an historic punishment to the program in 2012 in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, including a four-year bowl ban, vacated wins, scholarship reductions and a $60 million fine. The scholarship sanctions were previously reduced in September 2013.
Penn State is 2-0 and will need to reach six wins in order to make a bowl. It could now also reach the Big Ten Championship by winning the East division. The Nittany Lions will likely finish the 2014 season between one of the Big Ten's two three-team clusters found here. That makes the TaxSlayer, Capital One, Outback, Music City, San Francisco, Holiday and Pinstripe Bowls the most probable destinations.
The Big Ten released a statement announcing Penn State's restored eligibility for the conference's championship game, as well as the penalties still in place.
The $60 million fine, vacation of wins from 1998-2011, Athletics Integrity Agreement (AIA), and five-year probation initially imposed by the NCAA will remain in effect, as will the official censure, five-year probation and monetary fine equal to Penn State's Big Ten bowl revenue share during the probationary period initially imposed by the Big Ten COPC.
The biggest impact of this decision will likely be found on the recruiting trail, where the Nittany Lions can now add full 25-man classes like other FBS programs (as well as adding the potential promise of immediate postseason play to his recruiting pitches). New head coach James Franklin hasn't exactly looked like he needs the help: Penn State has the seventh-best recruiting class in the country according to the 247 Sports Composite, grabbing commitments from seven of the top 10 prospects in the state of Pennsylvania.
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