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NCAA, Big Ten lift sanctions against Penn State

Penn State’s long struggle to get the NCAA to reduce it’s sanctions has finally paid off. After working hard to meet all progress the organization outlined, the NCAA announced that Penn State’s postseason ban is lifted and it will get scholarships back in the 2015-16 school year.

The Nittany Lions’ are getting most of the sanctions lifted thanks to the work of the previous administration and ongoing work of the new administration in place. As such the NCAA released the following statement:

“Penn State’s commitment to the integrity of its athletics department and its progress toward meeting the requirements of the Consent Decree are clear,” said Northern Arizona President Rita Hartung Cheng, who chaired Monday’s Executive Committee meeting. “We thank Senator Mitchell for his meticulous and exhaustive work over the past two years. Mitchell’s efforts and the dedication of Penn State officials made today’s decisions possible.”

Along with the NCAA’s announcement, the Big Ten followed suit and lifted the postseason ban it had on Penn State football.

However, Penn State wasn’t all the way out of the woods with this announcement. That’s because PSU will still have to continue some of the other parts of it’s sanctions.

According to the Big Ten’s statement:

The $60 million fine, vacation of wins from 1998-2011, Athletics Integrity Agreement (AIA), and five-year probation initially imposed by the NCAA will remain in effect, as will the official censure, five-year probation and monetary fine equal to Penn State’s Big Ten bowl revenue share during the probationary period initially imposed by the Big Ten COPC.

For head coach James Franklin and his football team, who are off to a 2-0 start to the season, it means they have a chance to become an interesting player in the Big Ten race.

Before today, Penn State was a team that could only play spoiler in the Big Ten race. However, this gives the team a new lease on life and makes Saturday night’s Big Ten opener against Rutgers vitally important to it’s future in the Big Ten and the national picture.

Could Penn State go from nationally irrelevant to a fixture in the Big Ten race? Time will tell on that, but this flips the narrative of so many when talking about the Big Ten East race.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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