Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour is fed up with opposing schools using what she considers false information to negatively recruit against the Nittany Lion football program.
And during a Q&A session with a small group of reporters in her office Wednesday, Barbour not so subtly implied that certain (unnamed) fellow Big Ten schools are engaging in the tactic.
“Recruiting across the country, it’s crazy,” Barbour said. “And coaches will use absolutely any crack. They’ll create they’re own crack — I'm not talking about drugs — and that’s what’s happened in this case.”
Barbour was asked about recent statements PSU football coach James Franklin made to the Reading Eagle, in which he said any time something hits the news about the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal “other schools are contacting (Penn State targets) and telling them the NCAA is going to get involved and impose more sanctions.”
Barbour said she and PSU president Dr. Eric Barron are in “constant contact” with the NCAA and Big Ten, and “they could not be more pleased with how we’ve gone about addressing what they considered to be our issues.”
“We, in many respects, have become kind of the benchmark for some of the things that we’ve done here institutionally and athletic department-wise from a governance standpoint,” she said. “To insinuate that NCAA enforcement is looking at us and considering additional sanctions is preposterous. They consider the case closed. There are no more sanctions. Both the Big Ten and the NCAA agreed to end the sanctions — I believe it was 18 months early. There is no more monitor.
“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 gonna get hit with the death penalty or there are gonna be more sanctions is not only untrue, but disingenuous and I feel a real slap in the face to this profession."
“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 gonna get hit with the death penalty or there are gonna be more sanctions is not only untrue, but disingenuous and I feel a real slap in the face to this profession,” she added.
Barbour was asked if she has felt the need to intervene when she’s heard of such negative recruiting.
“Particularly if you felt like it was happening in your own conference, I think that’s when you have the conversation,” she said.
Barbour kept coming back to that line — or something very similar — when asked if there had been issues in the Big Ten. But her most telling statement came when someone suggested it sounded as if it was NOT an issue within the conference.
“I didn’t say that,” Barbour interrupted with a smile.
“Again, I believe if it is happening in our conference, it needs to be addressed,” she said.
Asked whether she believed negative recruiting within the conference would stop once addressed, she said, “It’s up to the integrity of each institution and each coach.”
If you are wondering about the context of her comments, please view the full exchange in the video above.
In the meantime, Barbour added that she often talks to recruits and their parents about “questions of any sort.” That includes negative recruiting.
“I am certainly 100 percent behind James Franklin and willing to do whatever is called upon to put some of these ridiculous assertions aside and allow perspective student-athletes to make decisions based on facts and truths,” Barbour said.