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.