Let's be honest. Penn State was not going to compete for a national championship this year, with or without the Sandusky scandal, JoePa as head coach, or the NCAA sanctions recently levied against it.
So if reports are true that Silas Redd is considering transferring to USC to get a shot to play for the BCS title, he certainly wouldn't be doing so just to get out the situation in Happy Valley. And it's not as if Redd only wants to play for a clean program, since USC is just coming off a 2-year postseason ban of its own for the Reggie Bush scandal.
He'd be title-chasing, like a 15-year NBA veteran playing for the league minimum whose value is measured in high-fives.
Let's look at a few things here.
- The NCAA sanctions dictate that Penn State players have until just before the 2013 to leave without penalty.
- Penn State's scholarship sanctions don't come into play until the 2013 season.
- Redd is going to be a junior this year, and would therefore be eligible for the NFL Draft after this upcoming season.
- He has already played in two bowl games, so it's not as if he'll have never tasted the post-season if he stays in Happy Valley.
- Penn State's future looks bleak, but if its current players stick around, its 2012 team should be pretty good.
It makes sense for high school recruits to stay away from Penn State. The reduction in scholarships and inability to play in a bowl game are huge deterrents. But for existing PSU players, it's different - especially the upperclassmen. The 2012 season is the perhaps the last chance for the Nittany Lions to be competitive for a while.
Every young athlete grows up dreaming of playing for a national championship. He/she envisions standing at the podium, accepting some sort of MVP award, and praising his/her teammates for the hard work they've all put in to achieve their goal.
But assume Silas Redd does transfer to USC, and the Trojans do win the BCS title. If you don't think he'd have the slightest bit of regret thinking about his former Penn State teammates at that moment, you're crazy. Every ounce of happiness he'd be feeling holding the trophy would be matched by remorse. There he'd be, on top of the world, while his former buddies at State College roll their eyes at the television.
The decision Redd has to make isn't fair, and that's just what the NCAA intended. Penn State is indeed a sinking ship, but the big waves won't really hit until 2013. If Redd stays, as a friend of mine that's a PSU alumni put it, he "becomes a God." The fanbase would adore him - the star that stuck around through the worst period in Penn State history.
Couldn't Redd play the 2012 season and then look at transferring to a contender for his senior season? He'd still be eligible to do so without penalty, and Nittany Lions fans would surely understand if he felt that a 2013 squad filled with walk-ons wouldn't give him a great chance to show NFL scouts what he's capable of.
Whatever Silas Redd decides will be met with criticism. If he stays, he's an idiot. If he goes, he's a traitor. Which would you rather be?