STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — The NCAA rule connected to Penn State's sanctions that had the earliest impact on the football program is set to expire today.
The rule allowing Nittany Lions to transfer without having to sit out a year at a new school elapses today, school officials said. On that front, at least, Penn State returns to a level playing field with other Division I-A schools a year after the NCAA levied its landmark penalties for the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal. Camp begins Monday.
"Emotionally, that's a big chunk out of the way," athletic director Dave Joyner said Wednesday.
"You know, a lot of things that we talked about last year when I was here, it's water under the bridge," coach Bill O'Brien said two weeks ago at Big Ten media days. "But at the same time I've said this over and over again, our staff, myself — we're thankful for our players."
O'Brien hopes to build on an 8-4 season in 2012, considered a resounding success given the unprecedented circumstances that faced the program. Still, other sanctions remain in place.
The requirement to reduce the scholarship roster to 65 players — 20 fewer than allowed — for four seasons starts in 2014. And three seasons remain on a four-year bowl ban, with Penn State postseason-eligible again in the 2016 season.
The sanctions were handed down July 23, 2012, and the transfer waiver essentially set up a college version of NFL free agency as other schools tried to cherry-pick players. In the end, about 10 took advantage of the rule until the start of 2012 training camp, most notably star tailback Silas Redd (Southern Cal). A few others have left the team since, including backup quarterback Steven Bench (USF), though most left primarily for reasons such as playing time.
Video game lawsuit: A federal appeals court ruled that video game maker Electronic Arts must face legal claims by college players that it unfairly used their images without compensation. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the company can't invoke the First Amendment to shield it from the players' lawsuit. EA said it plans to appeal the ruling. The company said its sports games were works of arts deserving freedom of expression protection. The court disagreed, ruling the avatars used in basketball and football games were exact replicas of individual players and the company did little to transform the avatars into works of art.