PENN STATE coach James Franklin speaks at a press conference in State College, Pa., on Tuesday. Franklin has been flooded with congratulatory messages about his football team’s bowl prospects now that the NCAA has lifted the most severe sanctions to the program for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

PENN STATE coach James Franklin speaks at a press conference in State College, Pa., on Tuesday. Franklin has been flooded with congratulatory messages about his football team’s bowl prospects now that the NCAA has lifted the most severe sanctions to the program for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa.

Penn State coach James Franklin has been flooded with congratulatory messages about his football team’s bowl prospects now that the NCAA has lifted the most severe sanctions to the program for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

Not so fast — the Nittany Lions have a chance to become eligible for a bowl, they’re not in one yet. Still, the chance for a late December bowl berth is something that was missing from their early-season hopes.

“Now, there is nothing being held back from them in terms of opportunities,” Franklin said Tuesday. “They have the ability to chase their dreams now.”

Penn State was halfway through a four-year postseason ban handed down during the summer of 2012. Penn State also will be allowed to have the full complement of football scholarships in 2015.

“It will have an impact on this class,” Franklin said. “I don’t know if it will be as big an impact as some people think.”

Franklin said Tuesday there are 49 players who could have left when the sanctions hit. They were all given a standing ovation at a team meeting Monday night.

“We are all in debt to them,” Franklin said. “We’re going to play for them because they were here for this program and this university when we needed them most.”

Franklin said his only disappointment was that his team learned about the news through social media.

Penn State senior linebacker Mike Hull said he was eating lunch with teammates at a Chik-fil-A when they all found out on Twitter. Hull was one of the holdovers who never wavered in his commitment toward the program.

“I’m a Penn State guy at heart,” Hull said, adding that he never thought the bowl ban would be lifted.

There was a peaceful and jubilant celebration on campus late Monday night after the lifting was announced. The mob of students chanted former coach Joe Paterno’s name and, of course, threw in the popular “We Are” chant.

The rally was starkly contrasted a mess 2 1/2 years ago when disgruntled students took to the streets and wracked their college town in violence after Paterno was fired.

Good times — and big games — are back at Penn State.

“Last night was an opportunity maybe for that pride and that excitement to explode,” Franklin said


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