UNIVERSITY PARK — Eugene Bodden thinks it’s about time Penn Staters got some good news.
That’s what Bodden, a Penn State cheerleader, called the NCAA’s decision Tuesday to ease one of the historic sanctions it imposed against the university over the Jerry Sandusky scandal by gradually restoring football scholarships.
“That’s one of the best things we’ve probably heard all year about that,” Bodden said. “The whole sanctions (have) been very negative (for students), so it’s finally nice to see something positive about it.
“It’s about time we hear some good news for Penn State,” he said.
The NCAA said Tuesday it, too, has heard good news. It cited the university’s success in implementing Freeh report recommendations in its decision to restore football scholarships to Penn State.
Bodden said each of those scholarships represents a quality education for a student-athlete.
“They say it’s a football culture, but we do have one of the best academic ratings out of all teams,” Bodden said. “Yet they were taking scholarships away. So it’s nice that they are going to give some back. It will give another student an opportunity to play and get a great education here at Penn State.”
Another student, Anthony Talamo, said it’s important to remember why the sanctions were levied in the first place.
“I’m just glad things are turning out better,” he said Tuesday afternoon as news of the NCAA’s decision slowly swirled across campus. “But at the same time, (it’s) not forgetting what happened. Don’t forget what happened and learn from your mistakes.”
Talamo said there are no winners in the situation and that the NCAA did what it thought was best while treading in uncharted waters when it handed out the unprecedented sanctions.
Others said they think the NCAA punished the university and its students unfairly for the alleged actions of top administrators accused of covering up Sandusky’s sexual abuse of children on campus.
“I don’t want to say everything was clean and happy and healthy up here, but certainly these guys (football players) did nothing, the coaching staff did nothing, and it should never have been affected at all,” said Greg Albert. “I frankly think they all (sanctions) should be dropped, but I’ll take what they’re giving us.”
Albert, a State College native and a 1995 Penn State graduate, said he hopes the NCAA’s decision to restore scholarships is another step in the healing process for the community.
“I think having the success we had last year, it was kind of like the Penn State family coming together,” he said. “Nothing can beat us. It was more or less, ‘Hey, you know what, to heck with all of you, we’ll stick together.’
“Hopefully this brings back a little excitement and fills the stadium a little more,” Albert said.
Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter.