Indianapolis, IN, United States (4E Sports) – In a move to reduce the unprecedented sanctions against Penn State, the NCAA will gradually restore scholarships starting next season.
League officials also did not rule out future modifications, such as reducing the four-year postseason ban.
The announcement came 14 months after NCAA president Mark Emmert levied the historic penalties in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
Sandusky, convicted in July 2012 on 45 counts of sexual abuse of 10 boys, is serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence.
The NCAA vacated Penn State’s wins from 1998 to 2011, hit the school with a $60 million fine, and banned from the postseason from 2012 to 2015.
As part of the penalty, Penn State’s scholarship cap had been reduced to 65 in 2014 but Emmert said the Nittany Lions will have will have 75 scholarships next year, 80 in 2015 and the full allotment of 85 in 2016.
“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,” Emmert said.
As result of the reduction, Coach Bill O’Brien can now sign 20 in 2014-15 and 25 the season after.
O’Brien said Tuesday afternoon that he still needed time to readjust his recruiting strategy, but even when he does formulate a new one, he doesn’t plan to publicly share it.
“Obviously we’re able to sign some more guys and have a roster of 75 scholarship players next year,” he said. “So things will change, and we’ll see how things go. “We’re happy right now for our players. … They’re a resilient bunch of kids.”
Emmert said the league reduced the sanctions because of the good-faith efforts by Penn State.