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Penn State Scandal: Nittany Lions Players Release Statement on PSU Program

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistJuly 25, 2012

After being hit with some of the most devastating NCAA sanctions in the history of college athletics, Penn State's reputation has been destroyed in what has been the worst year in the university’s long history.

While most people are writing the Nittany Lions off, the players are standing together and standing tall.

UPDATE: Wednesday, July 25, 11:30 a.m. ET by Donald Wood

Many Penn State student-athletes from the football program came out today and announced that they would be sticking with the school through the toughest time in the university’s history.

Penn State’s official YouTube account provided the footage from the statement:

In such a horrible situation, there aren’t too many people who could blame an athlete for wanting to attend another school and try for bowl wins or a national championship.

With that said, the strength, courage and pride that these young men showed by coming out and defending their school's honor is admirable.

It will be a tough time in Happy Valley, but this video proves that school and community are strong enough to withstand the controversy and move on.

----------End of Update---------

Many PSU players, led by senior linebacker Michael Mauti and senior fullback Michael Zordich, reaffirmed their commitment to the school on Wednesday via a statement given in front of the now infamous Lasch building.

StateCollege.com insider Ben Jones was there:

Zordich and Mauti led the statement on behalf of roughly 25 players.

— Ben Jones (@Ben_Jones88) July 25, 2012

Mauti: "This program was not built by one man and this program is sure as hell not going to get torn down by one man."

— Ben Jones (@Ben_Jones88) July 25, 2012

While Jones is reporting that star running back Silas Redd was not in attendance, Penn State insider for 247Sports.com Jeff Rice is reporting that Silas was on his way to the Big Ten Media Days:

Silas Redd was not at player gathering this morning because he is en route to Chicago for B10 Media Days.

— JeffRice247 (@JeffRice247) July 25, 2012

If there is one aspect of all college sports that is universal, it's the students' strong connection with their school. Some players will decommit or transfer, but it is clear that the majority of the Nittany Lions' current team will be around for the long haul.

That’s music to head coach Bill O’Brien’s ears.

What It Means

As bad as the sanctions were that the NCAA brought down on Penn State, the school is strong enough to weather this storm and come out on the other side better from its experiences.

The school obviously lost control of its athletic department because of the dedication to former head coach Joe Paterno, but what it has on campus now is a system of checks and balances that will ensure this never happens again.

While these punishments will set the school back for the better part of a decade, PSU is a school first and will never falter because of athletic issues.

What’s Next?

Just like Coach O’Brien said to CBS Sports, the fact that some players on the team will not be returning does not take away from the core group of young men who will be staying to complete their mission at Penn State.

O’Brien knows how hard the work ahead of him will be, but the players coming out in support of the school will go a long way in reassuring future recruits who may be considering Penn State.

If prospects still see that they can have the same treatment at PSU that they would get at other schools, they may actually view the lack of depth as a way of ensuring playing time.

The Nittany Lions will overcome this.

Check back for more on the NCAA Football as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s College Football page to get your fill of college football.

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