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PSU Scandal Is an Eye-Opener

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Rocky Isn’t Seeking Any PSU Transfers

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Were the penalties levied on Penn State for its institutionalized inaction in the Jerry Sandusky matter too harsh? Too lenient? Just right?

Several Mountain West Conference football coaches, asked those questions Tuesday at the league’s Media Day, declined to answer.

Several MWC coaches did, however, reflect on what the Penn State affair – allegations of sexual abuse by Sandusky swept under the rug for more than a decade – means to their profession and on the sobering message it sends.


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“I’m not sure you can say it’s harsh or lenient,” Nevada coach Chris Ault said. “The reality is that football is not bigger than any university.

“What the punishment is that befits what the action was, that’s one thing. I think it serves as a reminder to all of us in this business that football is part of a university – and a big part, no question. But it’s an opportunity for us to know our place.”

Hawaii’s Norm Chow is a first-year head coach, but he’s worked for 35 years as a college assistant and coached against Joe Paterno-coached teams at Penn State in packed stadiums.

The NCAA sanctions – a $60 million fine, a four-year bowl ban, a drastic scholarship reduction, the erasure of all Penn State victories since 1998 – are expected to dramatically change the picture.

“You just hope time can heal some wounds, and they can get back to what (the program) ought to be,” Chow said.

But Chow preferred to think about the victims of Sandusky’s abuse: “I think it’s an awful tragedy. Who wins? Not a single person.”

San Diego State coach Rocky Long, who was head coach at New Mexico from 1998-2008, declined comment on the appropriateness of the sanctions.

But Long did address the situation of current Penn State players, who will be allowed to transfer and not have to sit out a year as normally required by the NCAA. Schools will be allowed to bring in a Penn State transfer on scholarship immediately and not have that scholarship count toward this year’s limit, but next year’s.


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Long also said that, as he reads what has been published, there are few if any rules restricting contact by coaches with Penn State players.

“I’m sure there are schools that have coaches on that campus right now, looking for those kids,” he said.

For the Penn State players, Long said, that’s right and fair.

Long said that, after a discussion with his staff, it was decided SDSU will not pursue any Penn State player unless first contacted by the player – unlikely, he said, because the Nittany Lions roster includes few if any players from the West Coast.

The NCAA’s action in this case is unprecedented, in that there is no NCAA bylaw that was violated or that covers such a situation. Has college athletics’ governing body overstepped its bounds?

Bobby Hauck, UNLV’s third-year coach, said he’s a bit uncomfortable with the NCAA’s involvement. But, he added, he needed more information before forming a hard opinion on the matter.

From a college athletics standpoint, Ault said, something had to be done.

“There’s perception, and there’s reality,” he said. “When you see reality that’s wrong, you have the obligation and the responsibility to (act).

“(The Penn State situation) was not only wrong, it was an unbelievable deal that went on and on. I know we all agree with that.
A Time for Sobering ReflectionRocky Isn’t Seeking Any PSU TransfersThe Associated PressIn the aftermath of the Penn State scandal, Nevada coach Chris Ault says: ‘Football is not bigger than any university.’See PSU on PAGE D5Penn State coach Bill O’Brien’s main goal is to keep his team intact D5