Football Culture!

On Monday morning, the NCAA crashed their “hammer” down on the Penn State football program. A four-year bowl ban and a loss of 10 scholarships per year for four years were penalties designed to humble Penn State’s proud football program. The vacation of all wins from 1998 through 2011 and a $60 million fine (with the money going to charity) were just icing on NCAA president Mark Emmert’s cake of darkness.

The penalties handed out by the NCAA were supposed to “change the culture” of Penn State and scare other schools into downplaying the importance of their football programs. However, recently occurring events seem to imply that student wellfare is still taking a backseat to the desire of football coaches to win football games.

For example, I don’t think Emmert anticipated that frenzy that would occur when he opened up the recruitment of Penn State’s current roster to every school in the country. Today, coaches from various schools were witnessed loitering outside of the Lasch Football Building, waiting for the opportunity to recruit PSU players.

“Our players are in our building right now and they don’t want to leave the building because there are coaches from other schools in the parking lot waiting to see them,” said O’Brien, who spent the morning at ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., campus.

According to defensive back Stephon Morris, coaches were even stalking the players in their apartment complex.

Well, that’s a little unsettling. Also interesting was USC coach Lane Kiffin’s not-so-subtle remarks at Pac-12 media day that his team might need help at halfback.

“Our No. 1 concern is our running back depth,” Kiffin said. “We really have to do a good job there developing depth.”

It’s not exactly a secret that Kiffin covets Penn State’s stud halfback Silas Redd in order to give his team an even better shot at the BCS Championship this season. Although Redd is probably Penn State’s most valuable offensive player (well, you could argue McGloin because of the lack of depth at QB), losing him could be tolerated if Curtis Dukes and Bill Belton turn into an effective thunder/lightning combo. Unfortunately, Dukes was also mulling a transfer as of yesterday.

The good news is that today, a bunch of Nittany Lions, led by Mike Zordich and Michael Mauti, told the media that they were staying with Penn State. However, Redd was not with the group, so his situation still remains uncertain.

The steadfastness with which the two seniors spoke was enough to bring pride to any Penn State fan’s heart. While there are certainly tough challenges ahead, things could undoubtedly be a lot worse for PSU football right now.

More fun stuff

  • LSU offered a scholarship to an eighth grader. I’m sure the young man’s potential area of study was an important part of this decision. Washington is also looking at kids who are too young to drive.
  • Penn State president Rodney Erickson is saying that Penn State faced a four-year death penalty if he did not agree with Emmert’s sanctions.
  • It turns out that O’Brien was not unprepared for the NCAA penalties. The bowl ban has triggered a four-year extension in the coach’s contract.
  • Emmert was always so adamant about the importance of education over football.
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