The Penn State Nittany Lions open the 2014 season on Saturday in Ireland to face UCF in what is essentially their bowl game as they continue to ride out the sanctions imposed by the NCAA in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
However, according to a report, the program could be in a position to have the final year of the postseason ban lifted in time to participate in a bowl game after the 2015 season.
The Sporting News reported Wednesday, citing two sources within the NCAA, that Penn State could make a “strong case” to have the final year of the postseason ban lifted with a positive report from athletics integrity monitor George Mitchell.
The NCAA restored some scholarships to Penn State last year after Mitchell’s first report found the school had gone beyond benchmarks set by the NCAA in the aftermath of the scandal.
One NCAA source told The Sporting News that Penn State “reached well beyond expectations” last year.
Mitchell’s second annual report could be released as soon as next week and with similar results as 2013, the program could have the fourth year of the four-year bowl ban laid down in July 2012 rescinded.
Penn State did not go to a bowl game in 2011 after the late Joe Paterno resigned as head coach as the scandal escalated and Sandusky wound up being sentenced to 30 to 60 years in state prison after he was convicted of sexually abusing 10 children.
Along with the bowl ban, Penn State was stripped of 10 initial scholarships and a total of 20 per year for a four-year period. Last year, however, the NCAA reinstated five scholarships for this academic year and 10 for 2015-16.
Penn State also vacated all of its wins, a total of 111, from 1998-2011.
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