July 25, 2012

In the first 24 hours or so after the NCAA announced the sanctions on Penn State, there was a feeding frenzy expected for Penn State football players who had the freedom to transfer without sitting a year. Some top targets are almost viewed as rentals — juniors and seniors.

No surprise that PSU Coach Bill O’Brien is putting on a brave front, and talking of keeping the players together. It’s not so easy with the present recruiting class, as you would expect. But so far it seems to be working with plenty of present players saying they are not leaving.

Starting quarterback Matt McGloin, starting cornerbacks Stephon Morris and Adrian Amos, running back Bill Belton and wide receiver Allen Robinson all said they are staying at Penn State through social media.

Offensive tackle Mike Farrell, a Shady Side Academy graduate, and Fox Chapel product Miles Dieffenbach each told the Tribune-Review that they will remain at Penn State.

This shouldn’t be a big surprise. It also shouldn’t stop coaches at other schools from staying in touch with these players. This is a year-long courtship. Not a two week window.

Think about this. The sanctions have just been handed down. There is less than 2 weeks before training camp opens. You really think a lot of kids are going to be comfortable and able to easily make a life-changing decision to change schools this soon. After spending most of the past 6-11 months with an “us-versus-them” mentality about the whole Penn State scandal? After getting to know the new coaching staff for the past 7 months? There is to be a huge fallout right away?  They are going to up-and-go somewhere else this close to the start?

Most won’t go anywhere this year. And they don’t have to. Per the NCAA on Penn State players freedom:

Penn State football student-athletes can decide to transfer from now until the 2013 season (before participating in preseason practice with Penn State) and play immediately at the new school.

This is not a 2-week window to decided their entire future to stay or go. That would be insane and unfair. Emotions are too strong right now. Ties and loyalties still in place. They have this whole season to play at Penn State if they wish. And then they can re-evaluate what they want to do after their season ends on November 24. They will still be able to transfer without penalty for 2013.

They have a chance to play for Bill O’Brien. They can find out if he’s yet another pro coach in the college game along the lines of Weis, Wannstedt, Gailey, Sherman, Groh, etc. Guys that have the NFL pedigree but coach to a 7-5 mean in college. Find out for themselves if their campus life will be enough, when they know that the on-the-field stuff won’t get easier.

What happens after this season when a top assistant and recruiter like Larry Johnson, Sr. gets a slew of new offers. Yes, he’s a PSU alum, but will he sacrifice his own ambition for it?

That’s why I expect (hope) that Coach Chryst won’t stop staying touch with Diffenbach, Belton, Eugene Lewis and others. This will be playing out over the next 10-12 months, not just a week.

The hardest part for the Penn State coaches will be keeping the players after this season. Not keeping them before it.

I did go to Heinz for that ND game and the previous couple. I was a season ticket holder. while that game may not have technically been a sell out it was close and by far the biggest crowd of the year. Announced attendance of 65k. It was probably 60/40 Pitt fans. Kind of sad.

link to

Hey – there is a Boubacar Moungoro in the Aau game on EsPN.

Comment by Boubacar Aw 07.26.12 @ 7:23 pm

Just to be clear, the ACC should NOT take ND as a member for everything but football. They should stay right where they are in what’s left of the Big Least.

But I still have yet to hear a compelling reason why ND would want to join for football, even if they get to keep their NBC deal. What do they get?

The academics argument is complete nonsense. ND is higher ranked academically than all but one ACC school, Duke. Bowl money that they would split with other ACC schools? They already get to keep their own.

Then look at the schedule. Which games would they give up to play 5 more ACC games? Michigan? Michigan State? Navy? Purdue (ok maybe purdue), USC? This year they’re already playing Pitt, BC, and Miami. Could they play them every year?

Bottom line: ND does not want to be tied to a football conference. The other sports don’t matter.

It is ridiculous that we’re even talking about this (and that I am taking ND’s side) ’cause it ain’t happening.

Comment by Boubacar Aw 07.26.12 @ 7:57 pm

Forgot about Wake Forest. Nd is playing them this year too.

I would hate to see Pitt lose ND as an annual game. Tradition is one of the best things about college football. ND Pitt is rich in tradition. They’re pretty much the last traditional rival we have.

Comment by Boubacar Aw 07.26.12 @ 8:10 pm

Taxing matters.
The word you used is not vulgar. It is a noun. From this point forward, the plural form of that noun is the epilogue to the chant WE ARE.

Comment by SFPitt 07.26.12 @ 8:17 pm

To be a little more clear, ND does not want to go to the Big10 because they want to remain the big fish. The ACC provides that for them. Don’t think that ND is the draw that they were 15 years ago because they are not. They are perilously close to losing relevancy and power, like PSU will.

Folks that I have spoken to, indicate that ND feels their fit is with the ACC because they think they can win the conference in football and basketball. They say out loud academically as well, but make no mistake, it’s about sports. The ACC needs to accept them as a full sport member or no member. Everyone needs to remember that when ND went on their own, they had NBC wrapped up and there wasn’t alot of football watching competition. With all the conference networks and the other big networks televising games, the ND mystique took a big hit. For those reaons, I see an ND move in the next 3-5 years.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 07.26.12 @ 8:54 pm

Pitt1972 – I read that about O’Brien also but think it is a foolish decision in two ways. First PSU may well get beaten by a Hawai’i team when travelling over there. The Rainbow Warriors have made a name by upsetting teams that have had to fly and deal with the time difference. I wouldn’t think they could schedule Hawai’i before 2015 or so and they will probably suck by then anyway.

Secondly – there will be a NCAA “Compliance Officer” at PSU for the next five years. I think PSU would be foolish to even hint at giving their players anything more than the bare minimum that any other students get. Th ‘stay and extra two days’ would be, in effect, giving them a vacation and benefits that other PSU students don’t receive.

That is why school’s football teams fly in a day before and leave as soon as possible for away games. They don’t hang around unless travel is impossible earlier.

Comment by Reed 07.27.12 @ 8:47 am

Reed–Hope you are correct.

Comment by pitt1972 07.27.12 @ 9:54 am

@boubacar, I agree about their football independence.

Let’s face it, they are looking out for themselves, like everyone else.

What would ND really, really like?????

They would love for their football to be independent, and their olympic sports in the ACC.

That would be ideal.

I, personally, want nothing to do with that what so ever.

So, maybe we can’t force them in for everything. Agreed. Don’t let them in for partial membership either. We’ve all seen how that works.

My point really is, they aren’t going to the Big 10 or the Big 12 either.

Swofford, stand your ground. It doesn’t work, and they aren’t goin’ anywhere else.

Even if for some crazy chance they would, good riddance, we don’t need Big East-Notre Dame 2.0

Comment by Dan 07.29.12 @ 12:16 am

Which leads back to the question of what is going to happen.

Because, the other thing that is not going to happen, is Notre Dame leaving their olympic sports out to dry in the Big East.

Maybe for a year or two, but they ain’t stayin’ there either.

Actually, I do disagree. The other sports do matter, to a whole lot of people.

Yes, football is money. They have a lot of pride in their olympic sports, as does the ACC, and does Pitt.

Compared to football, no, of course not. But they aren’t sending their tennis team to Lubbock, and they’re not keeping their baseball team in the Big East.

So, what happens???

Comment by Dan 07.29.12 @ 12:23 am

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