The NCAA has decided to reduce sanctions imposed on Pennsylvania State University from the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
Some features of the relaxed punishment include bowl eligibility and full return of scholarships for the Nittany Lion football program. Penn State is still required to pay a $60 million fine, and vacate 112 wins, 111 under the legendary coach Joe Paterno and one game coached by interim head coach Tom Bradley.
Scott Paterno, a son of Joe Paterno, reiterated that the lawsuit by the Paterno family will continue despite the reduction in sanctions against Penn State.
"Finding out the full truth is the first priority and focus," Paterno said. "I am also hopeful and certain that at some time his victories will be restored."
The reduced sanctions are the result of Penn State's diligent efforts to improve their culture and policies following the revelation of Sandusky's actions. Louis Freeh, ex-director of the FBI, gave 119 recommendations to Penn State and the school is reported to be following at least 115 of those recommendations. Three of the remaining four recommendations are said to be on track to reaching their goals.
"Penn State has made remarkable progress over the past year," said Harris Pastides, a member of the NCAA's board of directors. "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."
Sandusky worked as a football coach for Penn State from 1969 to 2011. In July 2012, Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts of sexual abuse of 10 boys, and is currently serving a 30 to 60 year sentence. He was first investigated for sexual abuse of a child in 1998 but no charges were filed.
Many of the victims did not come forward because they feared no one would believe them, or that the university would protect Sandusky anyway to avoid staining the reputation of Penn State football. Unfortunately, many school officials were fired as a result of the cover-up to keep the accusations against Sandusky hidden for as long as possible.
Joe Paterno was accused of negligence for not insisting that Sandusky's behavior receive more scrutiny or investigation. The Paterno family claims that their lawsuit seeks to clear Joe's name, and find out "the full truth."
Dottie Sandusky, wife of Jerry Sandusky, has maintained her husband's innocence, and claims the accusers sought to "cash in." Dottie is hopeful that the state Supreme Court will grant her husband a new trial, although a lower-level appeal has already been lost.