Penn State Scandal: Nittany Lions Players Deserve Bowl-Game Opportunity

Wes ODonnellFeatured ColumnistNovember 17, 2011

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 12:  Devon Still #71 of the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrates after sacking Taylor Martinez #3 (not pictured) of the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the game on November 12, 2011 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

A lot of people have been calling for Penn State to turn down a potential bowl bid.

Coach Tom Bradley acknowledged this and said the Nittany Lions would accept a bowl bid if one is offered.

People still want Penn State to turn it down.

Whether they think the program needs to be punished immediately or because they simply don't want to hear about Penn State anymore, those people are missing the point.

There needs to be action taken against any and all involved with the Penn State scandal—and that doesn't include any current players on the Nittany Lions roster.

From freshmen to seniors (especially seniors), this current group of players doesn't deserve to be punished for something they have absolutely nothing to do with.

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA - NOVEMBER 08:  A statue of  Penn State University head football coach Joe Paterno is seen outside of Beaver Stadium on November 8, 2011 in University Park, Pennsylvania. Amid allegations that former assistant Jerry Sandusky was involv
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Former defensive coordinator and alleged pedophile and child abuser, Jerry Sandusky, hasn't been a coach at State College for over a decade. These kids may know him by name, reputation and face, but they've had no part of his tutelage whatsoever.

These players have already been unjustly punished from this scandal. In preparation for the season's most important game—last week versus Nebraska—their legendary head coach, Joe Paterno, was fired midweek.

One day he was at practice and the next day he wasn't; it was that simple.

Whether you agree or disagree with Joe Pa's removal from the program, there is one thing you cannot disagree with: These players didn't deserve this.

Even after the Nebraska loss, the Nittany Lions still have a shot at winning the Big Ten.

Both Penn State and Michigan State are 8-2 overall with 5-1 conference records. With the inclusion of Nebraska at the start of the season the conference now has a conference championship game.

The Nittany Lions hold a one-game lead over Wisconsin and a two-game lead over Ohio State and Purdue in the Leaders Division.

Penn State already beat Purdue this year and its remaining two games just happen to be against the Buckeyes in Columbus and against the Badgers in Madison.

It is a difficult two-game stretch, but the Nittany Lions control their own destiny for a shot at the Big Ten championship and a BCS bowl berth.

Even if they fall short of this end zone, the players deserve the opportunity to experience a bowl game.

They've put in countless hours of practice, homework, schoolwork, weight training, studying and playing to have their season shot down in flames because of something they have no control over.

The Penn State scandal is an absolutely horrendous situation, but taking away this current football team's opportunity to play in a bowl game would only makes things even uglier.

As of right now the university is expected to accept a bowl offer should it come. This is the first thing it's done right since this scandal hit the airwaves.