PSU news by
Penn State's student blog

Topics

About

Bill O’Brien: Removing NCAA Sanctions ‘The Right Thing To Do’

With the NFL Combine in full swing this week in Indianapolis, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien took the podium to offer his first public comments on the removal of the NCAA sanctions against Penn State — the sanctions O’Brien had to fight tooth and nail as the leader of the Nittany Lions.

Well-respected and admired by Penn Staters for helping navigate the university through its darkest times, O’Brien found a way to turn a team with limited scholarships, a free transfer clause, and bowl bans into a competitive force in one of the nation’s toughest football conferences. After the NCAA sanctions were handed down in July 2012, O’Brien overcame a two-game losing streak to start the season to finish 8-4, culminating in a thrilling OT victory over Wisconsin. In his second year, O’Brien once again put together a winning season, as Penn State knocked off No. 15 Wisconsin on the road in the season finale to finish 7-5.

After finding out along with the Penn State community that the consent decree was voided last month due to a settlement in Senator Jake Corman’s suit against the NCAA, O’Brien said he “felt great for Penn State.”

“I stated over and over again that obviously a terrible, terrible thing happened at Penn State,” O’Brien said, “but I felt like a lot of those sanctions, taking scholarships away, taking away bowl games punished a lot of kids that had nothing to do with anything other than going to class and playing good football so I thought when they brought the bowl game back and they brought the scholarships back, to me that was the right thing to do.”

Of those players he helped guide through some of the toughest times in their athletic careers, four will be participating in workouts and interviews at the NFL Combine this week. Despite being focused on helping turn the Texans franchise into a perennial playoff contender, O’Brien said he still found time to catch up with some of his old “bunch of fighters.”

“I ran into Donovan Smith and Adrian Amos at the Senior Bowl and Deion Barnes at the Senior Bowl,” O’Brien said. “Sam Ficken, his perseverance, can’t say enough about those guys. I hope they get their opportunity and you never know, maybe one of them will get their opportunity in Houston? But those guys did a lot for us and we owe a lot to all of those players there and hopefully they get an opportunity to play pro football.”

Despite all four playing under his tutelage at Penn State, O’Brien said it wouldn’t be hard to objectively evaluate their talent leading up to the NFL Draft in April.

“I have a good feel for these guys,”O’Brien said. “Those guys that are here are the combine, I’ll just speak on those guys. Those guys practiced hard for me, they showed up every Saturday and played hard, they were important members of the two teams I coached at Penn State.”

You can check out O’Brien’s full session with the media in a video on HoustonTexans.com here. Unless you’re interested in hearing about his rebuilding plan for the Texans, skip to to the 9:55-minute mark for his thoughts on Penn State.

About the Author

CJ Doon

CJ is a senior journalism major from Long Island and Onward State's Sports Editor. He is a third-generation Penn Stater, and his grandfather wrestled for the university back in the 1930s under coach Charlie “Doc” Speidel. Besides writing, one of his favorite activities is making sea puns. You can follow him on Twitter @CJDoon, and send your best puns to [email protected], just for the halibut.

Comments

More by CJ

Get Out There And Meet People: CJ Doon’s Senior Column

Whether it’s natural curiosity or fear of the spotlight, I’m not sure, but I’ve always been more comfortable asking questions rather than answering them. Interviewing interesting people — friends, family, or strangers — is an enjoyable activity that I hope to turn into a living. At Penn State, I was afforded the opportunity to follow that passion — and then some.

Penn State Women’s Lacrosse Wins First Big Ten Championship

Jesse James Drafted No. 160 Overall By Pittsburgh Steelers

Athletics

Penn State Women’s Soccer Sophomores Start Season Strong

Kerry Abello, Shea Moyer, and Frankie Tagliaferri combined to score four of Penn State’s seven goals during opening weekend.

Penn State Women’s Soccer Beats Duquesne 6-0

Shea Moyer Lifts Penn State Women’s Soccer Past West Virginia 1-0

Penn State Women’s Soccer Poised For Strong 2018 Season

Incoming Penn State Track & Field Athlete Kristian Marche Shot To Death In Philadelphia

Student Life

Your Fall 2018 Sylly Week Playlist

Whether this is your first semester or last, welcome to Sylly Week.

While You Were Gone…

Involvement Fair Returns To HUB Lawn Syllabus Week

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love to have you join us.

While You Were Gone…

Here’s a roundup of what went on around Penn State during summer break.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

What Changed In State College While You Were Away

With another summer in the books, here are all the changes to State College that happened while you were gone.

Send this to a friend