A year ago, Penn State president Rodney Erickson signed a consent decree from NCAA president Mark Emmert that imposed multiple severe sanctions on the program. Those punishments included a $60 million fine, scholarship losses, postseason bans, and a period of time which allowed players to leave the program for any Division 1 school without sitting out a year.
It’ll be a few more years before PSU football can get past all the sanctions — assuming they are not reversed at any point over that time period — but the Nittany Lions have been able to outlast one part. As of the beginning of fall camp on Aug. 5 (university officials said Aug. 1), any player who transfers from PSU to another FBS program will have to sit out a year, meaning the program has survived the so-called free agency period.
And, in hindsight, the number of players who took advantage of the get out of Dodge free card could have been a lot worse. Running back Silas Redd (to USC) and wide receiver Justin Brown (to Oklahoma) were among the biggest names to leave the program last year, but 2013, outside of quarterback Steven Bench‘s transfer, has been much quieter.
There will be more players who undoubtedly leave Penn State for one reason or another — that’s simple roster attrition — but the bonus of immediate eligibility will no longer be there.