James Franklin Denies Accusing Ohio State, Michigan State, and Michigan of Negatively Recruiting Against Penn State

By D.J. Byrnes on July 26, 2016 at 11:10 am
James Franklin denies negative recruiting accusations

Penn State head coach James Franklin, a month ago to the day, spoke to The Reading Eagle in a lengthy interview. When asked by The Eagle's Rich Scarcella where he sees his program in 2018, Franklin proffered a long, meandering answer.

In a really healthy place. The one thing that I can't predict is when there is going to be finality to everything. A month ago, I'm in Chicago at a wedding of one of my former players and the most recent things (allegations that late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was told that Sandusky abused children in the 1970s) come up. I spend all Friday and Saturday on the phone talking to all of our players because other schools are contacting them and telling them the NCAA is going to get involved again and impose more sanctions. I think everybody will feel really good when everything has been resolved and we can truly put this thing in our past. When I say our past, I don't mean we just move on. We have to learn and grow from those experiences. We have to have things in place to make sure we don't have any issues moving forward. I think one of the things that's a challenge is as Penn Staters, we're so proud and we know what we're all about and who we are. The people we're competing with - Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame - this is just not something they have to deal with. Although we want to move on, those other schools are not letting us move on. I think in so many areas we can be really, really healthy in 2018. We can be in a really good position to have the type of program everybody wants us to have. The thing that we don't know is when is everything going to be resolved.

Some reporters and publications seized the latter part of the above quote as Penn State's coach accusing Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, and Notre Dame of using the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal that disgraced former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno to negatively recruit against Penn State.

If you look closely, however, Franklin merely identifies those four historical powers as the programs with which his program competes. He labels "other schools" as those "not letting [them] move on."

Negative recruiting is a nasty business, and it happens throughout college football, as Franklin noted during his Monday podium presser at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. It's not as newsworthy as Penn State's coach naming and shaming programs for using a sex scandal in which his staff and team played no part to negatively recruit against the program.

This did not stop SpartanNation.com's Hondo Carpenter from pursuing the angle during Tuesday's installment of Big Ten Media Days. 

Mark Dantonio said that's not the way his program does business. Urban Meyer said he would address the matter personally with Franklin.

Franklin then spoke with FOX Sports reporter Bruce Feldman to clarify his comments:

"All I said was that every kid that we're recruiting is also being recruited by Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Notre Dame and that they don't have the same challenges that we have now," Franklin said. "Then, in a separate quote, I mentioned that right now we're (dealing) with negative recruiting. It was two separate quotes, though, over a 35-minute interview. 

"I never said that any of those schools are the ones doing the negative recruiting against us. They're not. There is one other particular school, but I didn't name who that was."

So there you have it, folks: James Franklin, according to James Franklin, was a victim of ham-fisted editing and sloppy reporting.

Scarcella, for his part, doubled down on his reporting:

Just another day in college football.

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