Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bill O'Brien and Penn State

I think the NCAA sanctions against Penn State were both fair and predictable. You knew there would be reductions in scholarships and a bowl game ban. I'm glad they took away the program's wins because that punished Joe Paterno's legacy. Make no mistake - Joe Pa was one of the bad guys in this saga. The $60 million fine? That I have an issue with but it is more because does anyone really trust the NCAA with that $60 million? How much of that money will be wasted on "administration" fees?

Going from 25 to 15 scholarships shouldn't be that big a deal in the first year since I'm guessing the number of recruits who bail on the program will whittle that number down to around 15 anyway. Bill O'Brien can sell the remaining freshmen on either redshirting so that they get the chance of going to a bowl in their 5th year or having the chance of playing right away - something they probably won't get at any other major program.

The reduction in scholarship will certainly hurt Penn State's ability to get Blue Chip prospects and I agree that the depth chart may become an issue. But that too could be turned into a positive. Bill O'Brien could go after players who may want to play both ways. Highlight that the Patriots did this all the time and that this flexibility may make them more attractive to NFL scouts. No other major program could offer this up to players torn between playing offense or defense. At Penn State you could play both.

I think the NCAA sanctions were fair but now I'm rooting for Bill O'Brien to be successful.