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NCAA to restore Joe Paterno's vacated Penn State wins

All of Joe Paterno's vacated Penn State victories are set to be restored, the NCAA announced on Friday.

The NCAA will restore all of Joe Paterno's vacated wins at Penn State, the organization announced on Friday. ESPN's Don Van Natta Jr. first reported the news.

The restoration is part of a proposed settlement in Pa. Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman's lawsuit against the NCAA. 

The settlement, which is subject to board approval from Penn State and the NCAA, will replace the July 2012 consent decree between the school and the NCAA, which sanctioned Penn State in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. The Associated Press reports that the PSU board has approved the deal. 

The school was forced to vacate 112 victories from 1998 through 2011, all but one of which came under Paterno, as part of the sanctions following the release of the Freeh Report in 2012. The NCAA penalized the school for the Jerry Sandusky scandal, in which the longtime Penn State assistant football coach was convicted on 45 counts of sex abuse earlier that year.​

The punishment had dropped Paterno's career win total from 409 -- the most in Division I college football history -- to 298. Paterno died in January 2012 at the age of 85. 

From a statement issued by the family of Paterno in response to the news:

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"Today is a great victory for everyone who has fought for the truth in the Sandusky tragedy.

This case should always have been about the pursuit of the truth, not the unjust vilification of the culture of a great institution and the scapegoating of coaches, players players and administrators who were never given a chance to defend themselves.

For nearly three years, everyone associated with Penn State has had to bear the mark of shame placed upon the institution by the NCAA. It was a grievously wrong action, precipitated by panic, rather than a thoughtful and careful consideration of the facts."

The sanctions had also included the NCAA giving Penn State a four-year postseason ban, restricting the team to 65 scholarships per year through 2017 and a $60 million fine. Under the new settlement, the university has agreed to commit a total of $60 million to activities and programs for the prevention of child sexual abuse and the treatment of victims of child sexual abuse.

Penn State and the NCAA will also "enter into a new Athletics Integrity Agreement that (with concurrence of the Big Ten) includes best practices with which the university is committed to comply" as part of the settlement. 

In early September, the NCAA Executive Committee restored Penn State's postseason eligibility and its full allotment of scholarships.

Sandusky is currently serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence after he was convicted in 2012.

- Molly Geary