The next Mitchell Report is due to be released very soon. Last year at this time (September 6, 2013 to be exact), George Mitchell issued his (then) update on the successes/ways in which Penn State was complying with the mandated steps that the university began to undertake upon the signing of the Consent Decree. Shortly thereafter, the NCAA partially reduced the scholarship limitation portion of the penalties.
As of Wednesday, September 3, 2014, the exact time when the next update from Mitchell will become public is unknown (most likely it will occur between today and Monday), but when it does there will be further easements granted to Penn State.
According to a Lion’s Pride source within the walls of the NCAA offices, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Penn State head coach James Franklin was given two choices in regards to a further reduction of the historic sanctions levied upon the football program two summers ago. According to the source, the options were:
1.) Keep the scholarship limitations as they currently are and receive, effective immediately, an end to the bowl ban (meaning that the already-in-place gradual scholarship plan would continue, but Penn State would be eligible to compete in a bowl game starting this current season); or
2.) Receive, effective immediately, an end to the scholarship reductions and receive a one-year reduction of the bowl ban (meaning that Penn State would not be eligible for post-season play this current season but would be next season).
Lion’s Pride believes that Franklin was and is very much in favor of option 2.
There was also some discussion, according to the NCAA source, of a blended third option which would have included giving Penn State more, but not all, of the scholarships back along with allowing PSU to officially compete for a Big Ten title this current season with the acknowledgement that if the Nittany Lions were to win the conference title game, the loser would be the team available for the bowl selection/playoff nonsense. In essence, it would allow PSU to officially be listed in the record books as the 2014 Big Ten titlists but Franklin and Co.’s season would end there. That idea was thrown out fairly early on in the process – most likely (and hopefully) because of how absolutely absurd it was.
Speaking of the record books, the issue of Coach Paterno’s now-defunct/erased 111 victories (which, out of everything involved in this historic penalty, was the absolutely dumbest, most idiotic, ridiculous item on the punishment docket) has also been brought to the table. Stay tuned for an update on that.
There are also of course non-football related segments of the sanctions’ entirety that could be involved in the upcoming next round of reductions. For most of Nittany Nation, though, obviously the issues relating to the football program are the top priority.