Happy Valley is Happy Once Again

State College, Pennsylvania was the scene of celebration on Monday night as thousands of students from Penn State converged to celebrate the new found eligibility for bowl games for the school’s football team and a return to having its scholarships.

First, the students gathered on the lawn at the central administrative building known as Old Main, before running in groups to the football stadium where their beloved Nittany Lions play. From that point, they then marched to downtown and gathered on Beaver Avenue.

Once they were on Beaver Avenue the crowds swelled in size.

For over four hours on Monday night, the student body and local fans celebrated like their Nittany Lions had just defeated the nation’s top ranked team or won the national championship.

Chants were heard of “We are Penn State,” across the town and students started to shout the name of longtime head coach Joe Paterno.

In all it was quite calm and orderly considering the amount of people in the crowd. One of the celebrators attempted to scale one of the streetlights near Beaver Stadium, but police politely convinced him otherwise and he quickly slid down the pole. One witness said the crown even parted to allow a taxi to get through.

A few of the player briefly joined the fans for the celebration near Beaver Stadium, before thinking it would be best not to be present when TV cameras arrived.

The crowd dissipated little by little and by just after midnight, the majority had left.

On Monday the NCAA agreed to reduce the sanctions against Penn State that stemmed from the child sex abuse scandal of Jerry Sandusky, the former assistant coach of the Penn State football team under former head coach Joe Paterno.

The reduction in sanctions made Penn State now eligible for play in the postseason this season and restored all the scholarships for Penn State for next year.

The athletics integrity monitor for Penn State, former U.S. Senator George Mitchell had recommended that both actions be taken in his second yearly report that gauges the progress that has been made by the university.

Just minutes after the contents of the report were announced, the NCAA released a statement saying it would follow both of Mitchell’s recommendations at once.

The reduction comes just one season after officials in the NCAA had scaled back the penalty for scholarships following Mitchell’s glowing review in his first report.

Originally, Penn State was eligible to field just 65 scholarship players during this season, but now that has increased to 75.

Without the shackles on anymore, the football team can make a legitimate attempt at reaching bowl game qualification this season.

James Franklin the head football coach is the second one since Paterno was ousted and he has won over the fans and players.

Despite restrictions he has attracted top recruits and the team won its opener on a late field goal.

With Franklin at the helm and the Nittany Lions playing on an even football field starting next season, Penn State will become not only a force once again in the Big 10, but in the nation.

The fans at Penn State never stopped coming and the team never suffered a losing season since losing all their scholarships. Now the team can slowly work its way back to where they were prior to the scandal.

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