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Big Ten Notebook: Franklin reacts to NCAA ruling

BY CODY GOODWIN | SEPTEMBER 10, 2014 5:00 AM

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The NCAA announced Monday that Penn State’s postseason ban has been lifted, meaning the Nittany Lions can play in a bowl game this season, should they qualify for and are invited to one.

The program will also receive a full complement of football scholarships beginning next year.

Penn State head coach James Franklin talked with members of the Big Ten media on Tuesday and expressed his excitement about the NCAA’s ruling.

“We had a team meeting and brought the whole team together, and I’d say 99 percent of the team knew already,” Franklin said. “… I’m getting a phone call from [Athletics Director Sandy Barbour] as it’s being reported. It’s just the way social media works nowadays.”

Penn State was originally banned from postseason play until 2016, and it wouldn’t have received a full complement of scholarships until the same season. These sanctions were levied against the program in July 2012 in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child-sex-abuse scandal.

In addition to the heavy sanctions, Penn State had to pay a $60 million fine and also forfeit more than 100 victories from when Joe Paterno was the head coach. The school must still adhere to those two penalties.

The NCAA endorsed the recommendations set forth on Monday by former Sen. George Mitchell, the school’s independent athletics-integrity monitor.

“Penn State’s commitment to the integrity of its Athletics Department and its progress toward meeting the requirements of the consent decree are clear,” Northern Arizona President Rita Hartung Cheng said in a statement. “We thank Sen. Mitchell for his meticulous and exhaustive work over the past two years. Mitchell’s efforts and the dedication of Penn State officials made today’s decisions possible.”

Illinois football earns weekly awards

Two members of the Fighting Illini football team took home weekly conference awards, the Big Ten announced on Monday.

Quarterback Wes Lunt, who transferred from Oklahoma State after the 2012 season, was named the league’s Offensive Player of the Week. He completed 35-of-50 passes for 456 yards and 3 touchdowns in a win over Western Kentucky.

Mike Dudek, a freshman receiver, was awarded the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Week award. He caught 4 passes for 55 yards and a touchdown this past week against the Hilltoppers.

Dudek is the first Illinois freshman to catch a touchdown pass in each of his first two games.

“I think if you ask them, they’d compliment the whole football team,” Illinois football coach Tim Beckman said. “They’re team players, and all awards that are received are received as a team.”

Maryland unveils star-spangled uniforms

The Maryland football team, through its partnership with Under Armour, has unveiled a new uniform that it will wear this coming Saturday in its game against West Virginia.

The uniforms are a patriotic style — the lyrics to Francis Scott Key’s “Star-Spangled Banner” decorate the helmet and both shoulders. The outfit is intended to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle for Baltimore.

Saturday’s game will kick off at 11 a.m. (CDT) and will air on the Big Ten Network. That day also marks 200 years to the day that soldiers successfully defended Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.

“We are excited to continue our outstanding partnership with Under Armour as we usher in a new era of Maryland athletics in the Big Ten,” Maryland Athletics Director Kevin Anderson said in a statement. “Kevin Plank and his entire team have been strong supporters of our athletics programs and our student-athletes who proudly don the Under Armour brand.”

Follow @codygoodwin on Twitter for updates, news, and analysis about the Iowa football team.


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