UNIVERSITY PARK - Even before the NCAA handed down its list of sanctions against the university on Monday, some Penn State football season ticket holders had already asked for their money back.
Requests had come in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky investigation, but Associate Athletic Director Greg Myford said the university will not refund any 2012 season or regular game tickets already sold.
"We understand why some might ask, but on Sept. 1, the Penn State football team will emerge from the Beaver Stadium tunnel and take to the field for its 126th season," Myford said. "And this team's will to win will be no less than any other - ever. The resolve and character shown by the team to forge into the upcoming season will be something for everyone to be proud of."
So far, Penn State has sold 85,000 season tickets for the upcoming season.
Nittany Lions head coach Bill O'Brien said he remains committed to fielding a strong team for 2012 - and stressed the importance that no television ban was implemented by the NCAA.
But the NCAA sanctions follow on the heels of the Seat Transfer and Equity Plan (STEP), implemented before the 2011 football season. The STEP program increased the minimum donation needed to secure season tickets in certain areas of Beaver Stadium and drew criticism from students and alumni.
To purchase season tickets, fans must make a donation to the Nittany Lion Club. The minimum donation for midfield seats increased from the original $100 donation to about $400 to $600, depending on where the seats are located in proximity to the 50-yard line.
The move angered many longtime season ticket holders, who were forced to either relocate or forgo purchasing tickets.
At the time, former university president Graham Spanier said the move was necessary to maintain the athletic department's fiscal responsibility.
"We have to find ways to keep up, and the STEP program is part of it," Spanier said last year.
Myford said the Athletic Department will not hold a second student ticket sale or expand the student section. The student ticket sale was held last month; all 21,000 student tickets sold out.
"When our students fill [the student section] up on Sept. 1, it may look and sound bigger, but we're not able to expand this year," Myford said.
Officials expressed optimism for the 2012 season and future of Penn State football, despite the sanctions.
"Penn State will continue to fully support its established athletic programs, which provide opportunities for over 800 student athletes," acting Athletic Director David Joyner said in a statement following the announcement of the NCAA sanctions. "Working together, the path ahead will not be easy. But it is necessary, just, and will bring a better future."
The general public can purchase individual game tickets beginning at 10 a.m. Friday at goPSUsports.com/tickets.
Mirror Staff Writer Zach Geiger is at 946-7535.