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Thirty Penn State Football Players Staying Nittany Lions

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) -- Even with the football program seemingly crashing around them, a group of 30 Penn State University players said on Wednesday that they're not going anywhere.

Earlier this week, the NCCA imposed stiff penalties against the program in response to officials covering up the crimes of convicted sex offender Jerry Sandusky, once the late Joe Paterno's trusted defensive coordinator.

Knowing how the punishment might affect current players, the NCCA gave them the option to immediately transfer out of Penn State so they could play football for another school this fall.

However, fifth-year senior linebacker Michael Mauti issued a statement on behalf of himself and other players, saying they would remain at Penn State, using it "this as an opportunity to build our own legacy."

In a dramatic pronouncement of their loyalty to the university, Mauti said, "This program was not built by one man, and this program sure as hell is not going to get torn down by one man," a reference pehaps to Paterno and Sandusky.

He went on to say, "No sanction, no politician is ever going to take away what we’ve got here. None of that is ever going to tear us apart. Right now, all we can do, we can put our heads down and we’re just going to work."

On Tuesday, Matt McGloin, a fifth-year senior quarterback, declared, "Even though these penalties are extremely harsh, I am a Nittany Lion and will remain one."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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