In the hours after the NCAA’s announcement it was, essentially, wiping out its remaining penalties affecting the current and future Penn State football teams, I talked to several people connected to the program. I also, like everyone else associated with the university, saw social-media from ex- and current players and media reports citing others. Here is a compilation of what people said about the Nittany Lions being immediately postseason eligible and getting the final five scholarships back for next year:
“Obviously, it’s a great day for Penn State. We’re all just thrilled. I’m just really happy for the kids — going to a bowl is a reward for their hard work all season.
“It’s got to be a great feeling for coach Franklin to be at full scholarship strength next year. With the way he’s been recruiting he’s just got to to be overwhelmed. That had to come as a complete surprise.
“It very much so (bothers him the wins from 1998-2011 remain vacated). Hopefully they’ll be addressing that next. It’s not just Joe (Paterno) who this is about; it’s about all those kids that played there that never won a game.
–Shane Conlan, college football Hall of Famer and member of PSU’s 1986 national title team, by phone
“All the guys who stayed and some of the guys who committed to Penn State when it wasn’t looking bright for the program, for them to go to any bowl game at all, that’s big. And that’s a good reward for them.”
–Steelers WR Derek Moye from Rochester HS, who played at Penn State 2008-11, so every game he won has been vacated. I asked Moye in our phone interview if restoring those wins would mean anything.
“That would be all good, I guess, for coach Paterno’s legacy and everything, but I would really care less about it because we played in those games. We know who we beat and know who we lost to. I still have my Big Ten championship ring and still have all the memories. They can take away statistical things but they won’t be able to take away of that away from us as players.”
“Today’s announcement should come as no surprise to Penn Staters. Penn State has always been the model for Athletics Integrity. We don’t need to pay George Mitchell to tell us that. However, I have mixed emotions about the announcement. On the one hand, I am happy for our student-athletes who were unjustly penalized by the heavy-handedness of the NCAA. On the other hand, I am saddened by the fact that the NCAA has returned only a portion of the penalties they had no legal authority to impose in the first place.”
–Anthony Lubrano, outspoken, alumni-elected board of trustees member, in a phone interview
“Long time coming! Now we need Paterno’s wins restored. He did exactly what NCAA protocol calls for.”
–text from Tom Hull, linebacker for Penn State 1971-73 and father of current PSU LB Mike Hull
“Overall, I’d have to say simply, ‘It’s about time.’ Everybody knows very well who is responsible for the terrible things that happened years back, and they have been punished accordingly. From the beginning, there was no reason to punish hard-working athletes that had nothing to do with it.”
–text from West Mifflin native Adam Gress, Penn State offensive tackle 2010-13 who spent training camp with the New York Giants
“I’m so stoked about it! Such a great day for PSU. We get to recruit more players. And we get to go to bowls.”
–text from Steven Gonzalez, a four-star offensive lineman from New Jersey who made a verbal commitment to Penn State and plans on signing a national letter of intent in February
“Senator Mitchell’s report and recommendations, along with the actions taken by the NCAA today, are a recognition of the hard work of many over the past two years to make Penn State a stronger institution. This is welcome news for the University community, particularly for our current and future student-athletes.
“Our student-athletes and our entire student-body are to be commended for their resiliency and spirit during a challenging time. We also are grateful for the dedication and commitment to success on and off the field of our football student-athletes, and the leadership of Coach James Franklin and Coach Bill O’Brien before him.”
–Penn State President Eric Barron, in a statement released by the university
“This report is a welcome acknowledgement of the University’s efforts. Such a massive undertaking has made Penn State a national model in an array of university functions – including compliance, safety and security. I commend President Barron and his predecessor, Rodney Erickson, for their tremendous leadership throughout this process. The Board of Trustees is committed to the continued monitoring and improvement of university policies, procedures and actions.”
–Board of Trustees Chair Keith Masser, in a statement released by the university
“I am very happy for Coach Franklin, the coaches and staff and most importantly, our outstanding football student-athletes. I am gratified for the student-athletes who have remained resilient, committed and dedicated to Penn State during the past three years. We will continue to work hard and strive for integrity and academic and athletic excellence every day and to provide our student-athletes with the best experience possible.”
–Athletic director Sandy Barbour, in a statement released by the university
“I think that’s great news for Penn State. It’s a fantastic place. Great education. Great football program. Lot of great people.
“Penn State is a special place. I’m happy for the players and for the coaching staff that’s there now.”
–Former Penn State coach Bill O’Brien, at a press conference for the Houston Texans, whom he now coaches
“Following our briefing with Senator Mitchell, the (Big Ten’s council of presidents) reached consensus agreement to support his latest recommendation and also agreed to restore the school’s eligibility for the Big Ten Football Championship Game, which ran concurrently with the NCAA postseason bowl ban. “We support the NCAA announcement acting on that recommendation, thank Senator Mitchell for his dedicated service and appreciate Penn State’s ongoing commitment to improvement.”
–Big Ten COPC Chair and Iowa President Sally Mason.
Now, some tweets…
–Former standout linebacker
–Sophomore LB Nyeem Wartman
–Graduate assistant coach
–Freshman defensive lineman
–Junior wide receiver
–Freshman tight end
–Sophomore running back from Blackhawk
–Fifth-year senior guard from Fox Chapel
–Freshman tight end Mike Gesicki