Penn State takes next step with bowl game
NEW YORK (AP) Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour views an invitation to the Pinstripe Bowl as a necessary next step in the healing process for the school.
For Boston College coach Steve Addazio, it's an opportunity to eat a ''meaningful meatball.''
To each his own.
Penn State and Boston College were introduced Tuesday as the participating programs for the Dec. 27 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.
''Where is there a better place to be than New York City at Christmastime?'' Yankees President Randy Levine said. ''This year's game is an incredible, incredible game. This is a dream matchup for us. I don't think it can ever get better than that.''
The bowl is Penn State's first since the NCAA in September rescinded a postseason ban levied in 2012 in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell recommended the move.
Mitchell, who serves as the school's athletics integrity monitor, wrote the program ''remains on track and Penn State's commitment to complete these projects is apparent,'' in a 58-page report he submitted to the NCAA. The report prompted the NCAA to lift the ban and allows Penn State to have a complete allotment of scholarships in 2015.
''This is a unique situation,'' Barbour said. ''We (didn't believe we would have an opportunity to participate) in a bowl because of the sanctions. It's a step. It's a really proud community. It's a step in our healing.''
''It's a huge step for so many different reasons,'' said Penn State coach James Franklin, whose team finished the season 6-6. ''I think it's a part of us getting back to where we belong in college football. This 2014 football team will never be together again. We couldn't be more excited. It's going to be a great experience for all of us.''
While the game will not hold the same emotional significance for Boston College (7-5), Addazio left no doubt about his excitement for the bowl berth.
''It means the world to Boston College to be here,'' Addazio said. ''When you have respect, when there are relationships'' between the programs it is a positive thing.
''They want to beat us, we want to beat them.
''Our kids wanted to be here more than anything in the world. We're (a) northeastern program, like Penn State. That's a northeast event. It's going to be a heck of a Dec. 27. I want to go right now. I want to get here, get practicing, get rolling. We're looking forward to it.''
Now in its fifth year, this incarnation of the bowl game will mark the first time Big 10 and ACC teams compete.
''It was the natural next step,'' said Pinstripe Bowl executive director Mark Holtzman, who noted other programs he did not identify had presented proposals to play in the game. ''Both conferences are a northeast footprint. It made sense with the footprints to be a partner of (the Big 10 and ACC).''
Along with Levine, Barbour, Holtzman, Franklin and Addazio, dignitaries in attendance included Yankees COO Lonn Trost, Boston College athletic director Brad Bates and New Era vice president Bill Adams.