INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- The NCAA announced Tuesday the harsh sanctions imposed on Penn State after the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal at the school will be reduced.
The primary organizer of American colleges' athletic programs, the National Collegiate Athletic Association imposed the sanctions, including fines, a ban on lucrative bowl games and reductions in athletic scholarships, based on findings known as the Freeh Report, which blamed Penn State leaders for covering allegations of child sex abuse by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
The organization, based in Indianapolis, said in a statement it will gradually restore football scholarships lost to Penn State under the sanctions. It credited implementation of suggestions in the Freeh Report and by George Mitchell, the independent Athletics Integrity Monitor for Penn State, for its decision.
"The university has substantially completed the initial implementation of all the Freeh Report recommendations and its obligations to the Athletics Integrity agreement, so relief from the scholarship reductions is warranted and deserved," wrote Mitchell.
Penn State alumni and fans were critical of university leadership for not protesting the NCAA sanctions when they were handed down, the State College Centre Daily Times said.
University President Rodney Erickson responded Penn State would have faced a "death penalty" of no football had the school not accepted the sanctions.