It’s been little more than a year since the NCAA handed down one of its stiffest penalties of all-time, but it seems college athletics' governing body is finally ready to ease up on Penn State. On Tuesday it was announced the sanction the program’s football scholarships will be gradually restored over the next few years—earlier than originally planned.
The original sanctions called for a cap of 15 scholarships beginning in 2013 and running through 2016; the NCAA limit at the FBS level is 15. Additionally, whereas FBS programs are permitted 85 scholarship players, the Nittany Lions would be allowed just 65.
The new directive from the NCAA, however, will allow Penn State to increase by five its scholarships in 2014, increasing to the full allotment of 25 the following year. The program will be back up to its full allotment of 85 scholarship players beginning in 2016 — at least two full years ahead of what the original sanctions had called for — after moving to 75 in 2014 and 80 in 2015.
Other penalties included a $60 million fine and four-year bowl ban, but those will remain in place for now with no specific plan in place to reduce either. However, the NCAA said in its press release that it may consider lessening the bowl ban at some point as well. The original sanctions were a result of the Jerry Sandusky scandal that sent shockwaves throughout the country.
>> NCAA to reduce scholarship sanctions on Penn State [CFT]
PITTSBURGH --- Utility infielder Andres Blanco suffered a fractured left index finger in the fifth inning of Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates and is expected to be placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday.
Blanco was injured when Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco slid into his hand during a play at third base. Blanco was making his second straight start at third in place of Maikel Franco, who was out with a sore left wrist after being hit by a pitch Friday from Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole.
Franco took over at third for Blanco, who hit a solo home run off Pirates rookie right-hander Jameson Taillon in the first inning. Blanco is hitting .271 with four homers in 75 games this season.
Meanwhile, catcher Cameron Rupp was not in the lineup after being hit in the left ear flap of his batting helmet on Saturday by a pitch from Pirates rookie right-hander Tyler Glasnow. Carlos Ruiz started behind the plate.
Rupp passed Major League Baseball’s concussion protocol both Saturday and Sunday.
"If you get hit in the head, you probably want to take a little bit more precaution than if it was another part of your body,” Rupp said.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Mike Piazza has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Selected by the Dodgers in the 62nd round of the 1988 amateur draft with the 1,390th pick, ahead of only five other players, Piazza is the lowest-drafted player to reach the Hall of Fame. He made it in on his fourth try.
Piazza played 16 years with five teams and hit 427 home runs, including a major-league record 396 as a catcher. A 12-time All-Star, Piazza won 10 Silver Slugger Awards and finished in the top five in MVP voting four times.
Perhaps even more impressive, Piazza had six seasons with at least 30 home runs, 100 RBIs and a .300 batting average. All other catchers in baseball history combined have posted nine such seasons.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Ken Griffey Jr. has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Griffey, the first No. 1 draft pick to be selected for enshrinement, played 22 big-league seasons with the Mariners, Reds and White Sox and was selected on a record 99.32 percent of ballots cast, an affirmation of sorts for his clean performance during baseball's so-called Steroids Era.
A 13-time All-Star selection and 10-time Gold Glove Award winner, Griffey hit 630 home runs, sixth all-time, and drove in 1,836 runs.
Griffey also was the American League MVP in 1997, drove in at least 100 runs in eight seasons, and won seven Silver Slugger Awards.
In the 1995 ALDS, he became just the second player in major league history to hit five home runs in a postseason series.