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NCAA Lifts Penn State Football's Postseason Ban Two Years Early, Restores Scholarships

Penn State football will be eligible to play in a bowl game this year and provide scholarships to players starting in 2015, the NCAA said Monday.

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The NCAA announced Monday that it is lifting the sanctions on Penn State football tied to the Jerry Sandusky molestation scandal.

Due to Penn State’s progress in ensuring athletics dept functions with integrity, NCAA immediately restores football postseason eligibility.

NCAA@NCAA

Due to Penn State’s progress in ensuring athletics dept functions with integrity, NCAA immediately restores football postseason eligibility.

2:30 PM - 08 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

The NCAA has also returned all 85 football scholarships to Penn State, beginning in 2015-16. Read more: http://t.co/wW5nQxl8nF

NCAA@NCAA

The NCAA has also returned all 85 football scholarships to Penn State, beginning in 2015-16. Read more: http://t.co/wW5nQxl8nF

2:34 PM - 08 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Previously, the NCAA ruled to strip the school's bowl eligibility through the 2015–16 season. The NCAA said that it was immediately eliminating the ban in a statement:

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 committee's action endorses recommendations released today 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."

Penn State will also be eligible to play in the Big Ten championship game this year, conference officials said in a statement.

AP Photo/York Daily Record

Penn State's Geno Lewis rushes against Akron's Kris Givens and Johnny Robinson in the third quarterin State College, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 6. Penn State won 21-3.

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