It's a milestone day for Penn State football.
The NCAA has announced that it will modify some of the unprecedented sanctions it levied against the program in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Specifically, Penn State will have five additional scholarships to offer next year, bringing its total to 20 in 2014-15. The Nittany Lions will be able to offer the full 25 initial scholarships after that year.
We will have much more on this throughout the day, but here is the full NCAA release on the reduced penalties. In it, Sen. George Mitchell -- who recommended the modifications to NCAA and Big Ten leadership -- had this to say:
“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."
And here's a statement from Penn State president Rodney Erickson:
"The action taken today by the NCAA, following its review of the positive report issued this month by Sen. George Mitchell, recognizes the significant efforts over the past year to make Penn State a safer, stronger institution," said Penn State President Rodney Erickson. "This news is certainly welcome to our University community, particularly the student athletes who may want to attend Penn State and will now have the means to do so. As we promised throughout this process, we are committed to continuing to improve all of our policies, procedures and actions.
"The resiliency displayed by those young men, as well as our entire student body is something of which we are proud. I would also like to thank the literally hundreds of University administrators, faculty, staff and students whose hard work over the past 15 months helped lay the groundwork not only for this action by the NCAA but, even more importantly, for a better Penn State."
More to come on this story ...