PSU Coach Thanks Ferentz

New Penn State Coach Bill O'Brien thanked his counterpart at Iowa, Kirk Ferentz, for his handling of the situation where Nittany Lions might want to leave the den.

New Penn State Head Coach Bill O'Brien spoke on ESPN Radio Wednesday morning two days after his program was rocked by sanctions.

One of the topics raised dealt with other colleges recruiting his players. O'Brien didn't mince words.

"I respect the coaching profession," said O'Brien, who last season coached the Patriots' offense to the Super Bowl. "I have a lot of respect for the coaches in the Big Ten. But a lot of know they're playing within the rules; no question about it. They have recruited our players without the courtesy of calling me to tell me that they're doing that."

O'Brien spent the day hopping around ESPN's campus in Bristol, CT. His intent was to let people know that Penn State football was going to stay together and move forward.

You can hear the full, 15-minute interview on ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike Show with O'Brien here. At the 5:30 mark of the interview, you will find the audio of him speaking about Iowa's Kirk Ferentz.

Here is what he said:

"There are some coaches who have called," O'Brien said on ESPN Radio. "I can tell you that (Syracuse Head Coach) Doug Marrone (has) called. (Central Florida Head Coach) George O'Leary (has) called. Kirk Ferentz has called.

"These are guys that understand the profession and I think have done a a heck of a job of reaching out to me. And if our guy contacts them they're going to listen. That's what they've said. I understand that"

According to the NCAA ruling for Penn State, coaches of opposing schools do not have to contact O'Brien or anybody else in State College before pursuing a Nittany Lion player or recruit.

That's the written rule. Kevin Lennon, the NCAA Vice President of academic and membership affairs, interpreted the rule in this story:

"(Penn State) will not be able to limit where a student wants to go," Lennon said. "We would simply ask the student approach the institution and say ‘I'm interested in transferring.' Then the school who wants to recruit that student would notify Penn State and state they have an interest in recruiting that student."

It probably would have made sense for the NCAA to put Lennon's explanation in writing. But how would they know that six coaches from The Land of Lincoln would hit up State College on Wednesday trying to approach players about joining the Illini?

Yeah. Urban Meyer and Tim Beckman will fit nicely into the Big Ten.

Oh yeah, before we get too much farther into today's news, Penn State administrators and the powerful football program harbored a sexual abuser of children on their campus for at minimum 13 years. The transfer rules were a small part of the crap storm that plastered parts of central Pennsylvania and beyond on Monday.

The Story.

It could have been worse. The NCAA considered shutting down the football program for four years..


O'Brien was appreciative of the calls he received from Marrone, O'Leary and Ferentz, whose son Brian worked as tight ends coach under O'Brien in New England last season. He joined his dad as the Hawkeyes offensive line coach this spring.

"I just thank them for the courtesy of giving me the call that they might recruit our players," O'Brien said.

The 2012 Big Ten Kick-off Luncheon gets going on Thursday in Chicago. The conference's media days are included in the two-day event that wraps up with a meet-and-greet with fans and players and coaches from the schools.

Penn State announced on Wednesday that it would not be bringing any players to the Chicago meetings. One of them, Silas Redd, has been recruited by Southern Cal and deciding on whether to stay East or head West.

Ferentz's Thursday schedule includes TV and radio interviews along with a Q&A at 1:30 p.m. CT in front of a ballroom of reporters. You should be able to view that live here. If you miss it, you can see it here.

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