A bit of a soap opera seems to have broken out at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago.
After Penn State football coach James Franklin, who has rarely met an excuse he couldn’t embrace during two disappointing seasons in Happy Valley, was said to have accused Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State of negative recruiting against the Nittany Lions, two of those head coaches were asked about it Tuesday.
Spartans coach Mark Dantonio, who is perhaps not coincidentally the most successful branch of Jim Tressel’s coaching tree, excluded himself from such actions but didn’t exactly rule out the possibility it has happened.
“From my standpoint, I have not said anything negative about Penn State. And hopefully our coaches have not as well,” Dantonio said. “So I was surprised to read that. I don’t know what happens out there on the road completely. But it’s not our MO. And that’s not how we do business.”
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, as is his general manner as well, left much less wiggle room.
“Absolutely not,” he said when asked if his program used negative recruiting against PSU. “And that’s the first time I’ve heard that. I’ll address that with Coach Franklin if that is an issue. That’s a pretty strong allegation that I’ve not heard yet. So that’s not been presented to me until this moment. Absolutely not.
“We’ve got a great deal of respect for every school in our conference. And we don’t worry about that stuff. I’m glad you told me that. If that’s true, I’ll address that.”
The source of accusations was a story published Tuesday by the Reading Eagle, timing that was unfortunate because Franklin and Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh had their turns with the media in Chicago on Monday.
Through Bruce Feldman of FoxSports.com, Franklin said his original statement was taken out of context, but this is probably all much ado about nothing.
It should not really surprise anybody negative recruiting occurs between programs, especially ones that butt heads on a regular basis on the field and the recruiting trail.
And yet this might not be the last we hear of such actions – one way or another.
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