Penn St. hoping for lesser sanctions

Updated: July 22, 2013, 12:55 PM ET
By Brian Bennett | ESPN.com

Penn State coach Bill O'Brien said Friday that he hopes the NCAA can someday "meet us halfway" on the crippling sanctions levied against the program one year ago in response to the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

I go back to what I said from day one. I understand why the sanctions are in place. It's about putting an end to child abuse. It's about the victims. I get that, I really do, and we're doing our part to help put an end to child abuse. At the same time, we want to do what's right for this program, and I think this program is heading in the right direction and behaving well.

-- Penn State coach Bill O'Brien

O'Brien, speaking on a teleconference about Penn State's 2014 game against UCF in Ireland, was asked whether the penalties -- which included a four-year bowl ban and the loss of dozens of scholarships -- should be modified.

"I believe this football program is being run the right way," he said. "I believe that we have great kids here, that we work very diligently to sustain compliance, just like every program around the country. ... I think we're in compliance, and hopefully at some point in time, the NCAA ... hopefully, they look at that and they can meet us halfway."

O'Brien also confirmed that he met with the school's trustees last Friday to discuss the sanctions. It was reported that one of the slides in his presentation dealt with making a proposal to the NCAA to modify the sanctions. Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner said no such proposal is imminent.

"We're focused on dealing with the sanctions as they are right now," he said on Friday's teleconference. "Whatever may or may not happen down the line is always contingent. We're not planning on anything happening, so we're paying attention to doing what we have to do, what we've been given to do and doing it very, very well."

Penn State is not eligible for the postseason until 2016, and the program can field only 65 scholarship players from 2014 to 2017. The Nittany Lions expect to play with about 65 players this season and could ask the NCAA to start that part of the penalty early.

O'Brien made it clear that he's not minimizing Penn State's role in the Sandusky scandal.

"I go back to what I said from day one," he said. "I understand why the sanctions are in place. It's about putting an end to child abuse. It's about the victims. I get that, I really do, and we're doing our part to help put an end to child abuse. At the same time, we want to do what's right for this program, and I think this program is heading in the right direction and behaving well."

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