NCAA restores scholarships, bowl eligibility to Penn State

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It was a bad week for the Big Ten. It was a fantastic one for Penn State, however.

The NCAA announced on Monday that the school would have its bowl eligibility restored for the 2014 season and have a full allotment of scholarships available starting with the upcoming class of 2015.

"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 the NCAA's Executive Committee meeting on Monday. "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."

"Penn State has made remarkable progress over the past year," South Carolina president Harris Pastides added. "The board members and I believe the Executive Committee's decision is the right one. It allows both the university and the association to continue to move toward a common goal of ensuring that educating, nurturing and protecting young people is a top priority."

Penn State previously was limited to just 80 total scholarships for the upcoming recruiting class and banned from a bowl game as part of an already revised set of sanctions against the school stemming from the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

Mark Emmert and the NCAA Board of Directors originally gave the program a four-year bowl ban, vacated wins, imposed significant scholarship reductions and slapped the university with a $60 million fine back in 2012.

The news will no doubt be a boost to head coach James Franklin, who already has one of the top recruiting classes in the country ahead of National Signing Day in February. The actions also provide a welcome relief for school officials as they try to move on from one of the worst college athletic scandals in history.

The Nittany Lions play Rutgers on Saturday and are already 2-0 on the season.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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