Penn State avoided the “death penalty Monday,” but NCAA sanctions were so severe — including a four-year bowl ban — that players are being allowed to transfer to another school without having to sit out a year.
Will Georgia pounce? Possibly so.
Coach Mark Richt said at a fans’ “UGA Day” Monday night, “Some colleges are going to be interested in some of their players, and we’re one of those schools. It’s pretty well-documented that we’re under our 85[-scholarship] limit. We’ll try to get in touch with some of these young men and see if they’re interested.”
Approached by a few media members following the event, Richt said he and his assistants already have gone over over Penn State’s two-deep roster. But he was vague — probably intentionally — on what (or how many) players Georgia would pursue.
“We do have some space available and if somebody fits a need and they’re excited about coming we would look into that possibility,” he said at the Cobb Galleria Centre. “There may not be anybody. But we’re at least going to explore. … I don’t want people to think we’re trying to load up a bunch of them. It could be zero, it could be one or two.”
Richt believes coaches are limited to one recruiting phone call per week per player, but admits, “We don’t have a whole lot of previous relationships with kids on that team.”
Personally, I don’t know what structure, if any, the NCAA has set up for this. But this seemingly could get pretty chaotic if all the nation’s coaches start descending on Penn State players.
“I’m sure there were some young man who were recruited by Georgia, as well as every other school,” athletic director Greg McGarity said. “I’m sure it will be active both ways as far as these young men who may or may not want to stay. But it hasn’t even been 24 hours. So it may be jumping the gun for individuals to be assuming things are going to happen. Penn State is still going to play, obviously. There’s some restrictions but it’s not like they’re canceling the football season.”
Some other comments from Monday night:
• McGarity on the NCAA’s sanctions against Penn State: “I think it’ll take 48 to 72 hours to digest everything. I’m interested to read the documents to see all the information that’s there, other than just the high points. Like the president of Oregon State said, this is like a gut check for everybody to make sure their house is in order. In all situations like this, whether it’s this or Southern Cal, it’s lessons learned.”
•McGarity on the NCAA penalizing Penn State for non-competitive issues: “There’s several areas of NCAA rule book that talks about ethics, talks about reporting violations, and whether that’s a violation of NCAA rules or just basic principles of life…”
• McGarity also said he and his senior staff went over every page of the Freeh Report when it came out ‘just to make sure we weren’t missing anything.”
• Dogs basketball coach Mark Fox on the NCAA’s decision: “We’re talking about crimes against children. Let’s just hope – and there’s no comparison here, because the offenses are different – but will the NCAA be as stiff with people who cheat to get a competitive advantage? For them to get involved in this, it’s groundbreaking.”
• Fox on Mark Emmert being compared to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell: “I’ll say this: Roger Goodell is the one commissioner who’s not afraid to penalize his stars. He’s not afraid to say, ‘This is how it’s gonna be.’ I have a lot of respect for how he operates on the whole. It’s what leaders are supposed to do.”
By Jeff Schultz