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Report: Penn State could have final season of bowl ban lifted

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Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press
James Franklin has cautioned his players not to count on having Penn State's bowl ban lifted in 2014.

Penn State's four-year postseason ban, imposed by the NCAA in July 2012 in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, could be lifted.

The Sporting News reported Wednesday that "two sources within the NCAA say Penn State, if it continues to 'reach and go beyond' benchmarks set by the NCAA in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, will have a 'strong case' to get its final year of postseason probation lifted."

The ban currently runs through the 2015 season; the Sporting News report would seem to mean that any hopes Penn State has of going to a bowl this season will not come to fruition.

At the Big Ten Media Days event last month, senior linebacker Mike Hull told reporters that coach James Franklin had addressed the team "two or three times" about not getting ahead of itself and thinking about a bowl game this season.

The NCAA removed some recruiting restrictions put in place in 2012 last September, but left the postseason ban in place. In making the recruiting ruling, the NCAA's Executive Committee said it would consider additional mitigation of the ban in the future.

The Sporting News reported that George Mitchell, Penn State's athletic integrity monitor, will release his second report on the state of the university's athletic programs soon, possibly even next week. One NCAA source told the Sporting News that Mitchell's report last year "reached well beyond expectations," which is why the recruiting restrictions were eased.

Penn State opens the season Saturday against UCF in Dublin, Ireland. The overseas trip was meant as a quasi-bowl trip for Penn State's seniors. Perhaps they will get a chance to make a real bowl trip this season, too.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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