The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

September 25, 2013

Today's rave: NCAA to restore Penn State scholarships

The Daily Item

— The NCAA’s decision to dial back one of the penalties against Penn State for its handling of the Jerry Sandusky molestation scandal has drawn positive reaction from students and others associated with the university, who got some good news after two years of scandal.

College sports’ governing body announced Tuesday that it would gradually restore 20 football scholarships, saying the school has already made significant improvements to its athletics programs.

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, the NCAA said.

Penn State president Rodney Erickson called it particularly welcome news for student-athletes who want to attend Penn State.

“As we promised throughout this process, we are committed to improving all our policies, procedures and actions,” Erickson 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.

Here is some reaction from around the county:

"The executive committee's decision to restore football scholarship opportunities for more student-athletes at Penn State is an important recognition of the university's progress -- and one I know it was pleased to make.” – NCAA president Mark Emmert

"Penn State has consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to fulfilling the requirements of the athletics integrity commitment. The amount of time, energy and resources devoted to these efforts have been notable." – Penn State’s athletics integrity officer George Mitchell

“I laud Emmert and the NCAA for taking the first step in righting their wrong against Penn State, even as he refuses to admit he ever acted out of place to begin with, and even as this decision only reinforces the common perception that the NCAA arbitrarily makes up rules as it goes along.” – Sports Illustrated’s Stewart Mandel

Fourteen months after pinning the sheriff star on his chest and locking up Penn State, Mark Emmert is looking a little saddle sore from his sojourn into frontier justice. He won't admit it, of course. Nobody at the NCAA will acknowledge that Emmert's grandstand move in July 2012 to slam the Nittany Lions for the sins of Jerry Sandusky was a vast overreach. But they don't have to admit anything. Actions speak louder than words, and the embattled president of the most controversial institution in sports just had the biggest decision of his tenure significantly softened Tuesday morning.” – Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde