Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official view of College Spun or its affiliates.
One of the biggest story lines as Penn State tries to move forward as a football program in the wake of the crippling NCAA sanctions handed down is which PSU players will remain at the school, and which will transfer away for a chance for postseason glory.
Some players have opted to stay, but many others have expressed serious interest in moving on, and coaches across the country are doing their due diligence and exploring the possibility of adding Penn State transfers to improve their rosters; which is great, because the players weren’t guilty of the actions they are being punished for, and if they have an opportunity elsewhere to make a great career for themselves, they should definitely consider it. So I have no problem with that whatsoever.
What I do have a problem with is the lack of courtesy being shown by some of the other schools, namely Illinois. According to BigLeadSports, Illinois sent six coaches to PSU to recruit players for the Fighting Illini. Six. Is that really necessary?
I know that the situation is unprecedented, and there aren’t any rules laid down about how to approach players, but sending six coaches is a little much. Many schools have faxed lists of players that they are interested in to the Penn State athletic offices, and the department is then able to get those players in touch with the right people. That is fine. And you would assume that players would also want to meet their potential future coaches, so even sending a head coach, or position coach, is fine as well.
But again, six?
To me, that seems like overkill, and it changes the message from “recruiting possible transfers” to “poaching as many players as possible”. After all, these aren’t children we are talking about. If they want to transfer, or have interest in another school, they can express interest from their own end. They don’t need other schools banging on their doors with a sales pitch in hand. They are past the stage of intense recruiting and being sold on incentives such as facilities, nightlife, and other common gimmicks.
In fact, several other big-time coaches have mentioned the recruiting of Penn State players as being off-limits in their mind. Bruce Feldman at CBS talked to several coaches about it and tweeted some of their responses:
“Urban Meyer on recruiting PSU players: said he’d have “a problem” w coaches doing that.”
“Bielema on recruiting PennSt players: ‘I made the decision that we would not reach out to any PSU players.'”
~ @BFeldmanCBS via Twitter
Maybe I’m just over-reacting, but these players have been put in an unbelievably trying situation, and now each is required to make one of the toughest decisions of his life. They have established friendships and started working toward careers at Penn State – which is where they initially wanted to be. Given the circumstances, they have good reason to transfer if they think Penn State is no longer the best fit or gives them the opportunity that they had once hoped for. But ultimately, that decision needs to be made by the student, and coaches should respectfully back off and let them make it on their own.