This summer, there were many, including some with the NCAA, who thought that Penn State should not be allowed to play football for a few years as punishment for the way the university grossly mismanaged the child sex abuse scandal involving ex-assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
But the school was allowed to field a team, albeit under severe restrictions: No bowls for four years, loss of 20 annual scholarships for four years, a $60 million fine and free transfers for Penn State's players until August 2013 in what basically amounts to free agency.
Many pundits opined that the team would have been better off not playing. The seniors on Penn State's football team did not agree.
Instead of running away from the problem, seniors like Michael Mauti and Michael Zordich stood up just hours after the sanctions were handed down and not only said they were staying, but challenged their teammates to do the same. In the end, a few players left for various reasons. But the majority stayed.
Even after heartbreaking losses to Ohio and Virginia to begin the season, the seniors stayed the course. The team won its next five games and six of the next seven. They picked Penn State up off the mat and willed it to a very respectable season.
Even last week the adversity continued as Mauti, the unquestioned team leader, suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury and had to be carted off the field, unable to walk on his own.
As he left, it was Zordich there by his side, just as he was during the summer. The argument over whether the penalties levied against Penn State were justified rages on. Most in the blue-and-white camp disagree strongly with the NCAA's decision. Most outside think it was fair.
But no matter which side of the argument you stand on, this senior class has to be respected for what it has endured and how it has handled itself in the face of adversity.
The seniors chose to stay, not run. They decided to start the next chapter at Penn State instead of closing the book. They helped shed a positive light on their university when it needed it most.
The situation at Penn State is far from over and way bigger than the football program. It wouldn't be surprising to continue to hear sickening details of exactly what happened as criminal and civil proceedings play out. But the recovery has begun.
The players didn't ask for anyone's sympathy and never said they were victims. They knew what they were going through was nothing compared to the children Sandusky abused. They just wanted a chance to keep playing football when they did nothing wrong.
No matter what you think of Penn State, the seniors who will be honored Saturday before their final game as Nittany Lions deserve our respect.
For all these men have done this year for the football program and Penn State as a whole, they have shown that "success with honor" at Penn State is alive and well after all.