Negative recruiting happens on a daily basis within college football, but Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour felt some of the recent tactics from opposing coaches had gone too far. Barbour was made aware of negative recruiting efforts that suggested Penn State was in for another investigation from the NCAA and said those assertions are over the line.
“There are no more sanctions,” Barbour said. “Both the Big Ten and NCAA agreed to end the sanctions, I think it was 18 months early. There is no more monitor, and again, for someone, anyone, to try to plant in the mind of a 17-year-old that you don’t want to go to Penn State because they’re going to get hit with the death penalty or there are going to be more sanctions, is not only untrue but disingenuous and I think a real slap in the face to this profession.”
Barbour went on to say that the NCAA considers the case involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky to be closed.
The Nittany Lions’ athletic director understands that negative recruiting happens. But the fact it’s happening within the Big Ten makes her believe conversations need be had and that the issue needed to be addressed.
Barbour had spoken with coach James Franklin and his staff, who were well aware of the issue as they’ve also heard about it from some of the Nittany Lions' commitments, including ESPN 300 quarterback commit Sean Clifford.
“I’m not going to name any schools just for privacy sake, but there has definitely been a few schools that have come after Penn State about things that have happened in the past,” Clifford said. “It has occurred with me on a few instances where they would bring up the past and talk about new things that could possibly come along with the sanctions. The (Penn State) coaches know that I’m strong with them, so they don’t worry too much about it.”
Barbour said that Franklin has handled the issue effectively and capably and went on to say that both she and Penn State president Dr. Eric Barron have been proactive with prospective student athletes and their families in squashing the rumors and negative recruiting.
“I do think sometimes it’s different to hear it from somebody outside of the football program,” she said. “I’m involved on their visit weekends, occasionally if there are questions of any sort. I’ll FaceTime with a recruit and his or her parents, so I’m 100 percent behind James Franklin and willing to do whatever is called upon to put some of these ridiculous assertions aside and allow prospective student athletes to make decisions based on facts and truth and I’ve done some of that.”
Whether their efforts have worked to stop the negative recruiting is yet to be seen and Barbour says it is ultimately up to the integrity of each institution and each coach.