The Big Ten players' poll wraps up with a question about Penn State, the top offseason story in college football. Since the NCAA handed down severe sanctions to the program July 23, including a four-year postseason ban, much of the attention has been on who's staying in State College and who's leaving for other programs.
So we put the question to players from other Big Ten schools: If you played for Penn State, would you stay in State College or go elsewhere?
As a reminder, these interviews took place in recent weeks with 28 Big Ten players representing 11 teams. Because of this question, we didn't survey Penn State players for the poll. Big Ten blogger Brian Bennett, WolverineNation's Michael Rothstein, BuckeyeNation's Austin Ward and myself interviewed 2-3 players per team. The players agreed to answer five questions, on the condition of anonymity. While you can guess who said what about whom, we're not revealing any specifics.
Stay -- 17 votes
Depends on class (freshman, senior, etc.) -- 4 votes
Leave -- 2 votes
Depends on what teammates do --1 vote
Don't know -- 4 votes
"It would depend on what year. If I was a senior, I'd stay. Anything else, I'd probably leave."
"You should be loyal to your school."
"I'd look to see what my teammates are doing. If a bunch of starters left, I'd leave."
"Stay. That's my team and it would be my senior year."
As you can probably guess, most of the players we polled are juniors or seniors, and several are star players. My sense is if we asked more freshmen or sophomores, we would have received more "leave" votes. The eligibility component seemed to be a big factor here, and it has been at Penn State, too. A portion of players felt leaving would be a breach of loyalty, and that it would be important to finish what you started. Others really felt the circumstances would dictate their decision -- how many years they had left, what their teammates were doing. We did poll some Ohio State seniors, who are essentially in the same situation, although these players already had pledged to stick with the Buckeyes despite a postseason ban for 2012.
We hope you enjoyed the players' poll. We realize it's not scientific and can be improved, but it's something we wanted to try and likely will try again in the future.
In case you missed the previous questions ...
Part I: Big Ten coach you want to play for the most
Part II: Big Ten coach you want to play for the least
Part III: Big Ten's dirtiest player
Part IV: Big Ten's toughest stadium