There's been some confusion about this since yesterday, when Jason Bristol of WHP, a television station in Harrisburg, Pa., first reported it. Initially, an NCAA spokesperson told Bristol that the NCAA expected Penn State to return the six bowl trophies the program had won during the 14 seasons from which all of its victories have now been vacated.
Then, later yesterday, an NCAA spokesperson went on the record with Bristol to clarify: While the NCAA "did not specifically direct" Penn State to return the trophies, its position is that "[w]hen a vacated championship involves an NCAA-administered game, the NCAA does require the school to return its trophy." In other words, because bowls are administered by their own committees, it would be up to Penn State and those bowls to decide what to do about the trophies.
Which brings us to today, when Ben Jones of StateCollege.com got the word from Jeff Nelson, a Penn State spokesman:
"Per the NCAA consent decree, all football team trophies won from 1998-2011 are to be returned to the awarding authority and we plan to do so."
Guess that settles it. But isn't it just like the NCAA to tell Penn State to fork the trophies over without actually telling the school to fork the trophies over?
NCAA: Penn State expected to return bowl game trophies [WHP]
NCAA clarifies trophy position; Penn State & bowls to decide fates [WHP]
Penn State Football: Bowl Trophies Must be Returned From Vacated Seasons [StateCollege.com]