Some Big Ten coaches, like Purdue’s Danny Hope and Illinois’ Tim Beckman, are willing to explore the opportunity to add players from the school. Others, like Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema and Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald, said they would not reach out to any Penn State players.
Almost every coach fielded a Penn State question at Big Ten media day Thursday at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place. Conference Commissioner Jim Delany also expressed his concerns about the process.
“I said to our coaches this morning, you know, I get it; this is what the rules are. And I expect you to operate in a way that makes not sense just under the rules but sense to you as adults and grownups, so that if a player is interested in talking to you or has an interest in your university, so be it. Those are the rules. That’s what our presidents want. That’s what the NCAA wants,” he said. “But there comes a point of reasonableness where if a person says I’m not interested, I don’t want to talk to you, move on.”
There have been a variety of approaches.
“As far as reaching out, I see it as a kid wanting to transfer. If that kid wants to transfer, he’ll contact you,” IU coach Kevin Wilson said. “I don’t feel like contacting those guys. We’re working on our program, our team. We have not studied tape or talked about guys to this date.”
Hope said there has been communication between some players and his staff.
“The NCAA has established the rules and the guidelines and obviously because they’re strong from an ethics standpoint, and as long as we’re compliant, we’re going to exercise every opportunity we can to enhance our own football team,” Hope said.
Illinois reportedly had eight coaches in State College, Pa., on Wednesday.
“We did not go onto their campus,” Beckman said. “We only talked to individuals that would be willing to meet with us. We did not go after them. They had the opportunity to come to us if they would like to come to us and speak to us. And that’s how we handled the situation.”
Penn State football coach Bill O’Brien is dealing with the new reality.
“The rules are what they are and guys are – it’s like NFL free agency without the rules – so they can do what they want as long as they tell our compliance office that they’re contacting these kids,” O’Brien said.