More relief on NCAA sanctions for PSU? Possibly, but not quickly

Pennsylvania State University may get more relief from sanctions imposed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association in the wake of the Sandusky scandal, but probably not before next August, said former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell (D., Maine).

In addressing the board of trustees on Friday morning, Mitchell – the external athletics integrity monitor overseeing the university consent agreement with the NCAA – said he likely will wait until his next annual report before considering more relief.

“It’s not likely I will take up the matter before that time,” he said. “…It would be premature to consider further action prior to that time.”

Citing the university’s progress, the NCAA in September announced it would begin restoring some football scholarships to the university after Mitchell gave a glowing endorsement of Penn State’s efforts.

The NCAA stripped Penn State of the scholarships, fined the university a record $60 million, enacted a ban on post-season play and removed 111 victories from the late coach Joe Paterno’s record. The action was taken after a university-commissioned investigative report found the university culpable in failing to deal with former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, now in jail for sexually abusing boys.

A board member asked if Mitchell will consider restoring the bowl games. The loss of the games is costing the university $13 million in bowl revenue over four years.

Mitchell said it’s possible.

“It’s premature to speculate,” he said. “…It’s one that will be considered along with all others.”

Mitchell promised further relief from sanctions if Penn State continues to make progress.

So far, so good.

“Penn State has cooperated fully with me and my staff and has provided us with unfettered access,” Mitchell said.