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Meyer, Dantonio Deny Using Negative Recruiting Tactics Against Penn State

College football recruiting can be ugly, and it’s an unfortunate reality that coaches will do anything within the confines of the rules to attract top athletic talent to their programs — even if that means casting ethics and tact aside. Mark Dantonio and Urban Meyer took to the podium at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago to clear their names after comments made by James Franklin implied that such tactics are being used by programs — though none were ever specifically targeted, it was only implied they might be guilty.

Coaches ostensibly used news surrounding surfaced allegations from the Jerry Sandusky scandal as a tool to poach players from Penn State, according to James Franklin. Penn State’s head man didn’t explicitly indict any Big Ten schools by name, but tipped off the Reading Eagle after his comments unveiled that certain programs around the country had used the scandal to change the minds of potential Penn State recruits. Here is the comment in question:

“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.”

Franklin backtracked slightly by saying those comments were taken slightly out of context, but the notion that coaches would use such tactics remains feasible given the competitive nature of recruiting in the Big Ten.

Dantonio and Meyer — leaders of two programs indicted by Franklin — refuted allegations of negative recruiting at Big Ten Media Days. “That’s a pretty strong allegation,” Meyer said. “We have a great deal respect for every school in our conference. We do just fine in recruiting to not worry about that stuff.”

Dantonio shared a similar sentiment as he immediately denied using the Sandusky scandal to pry recruits. “From my standpoint, I have not said anything negative about Penn State, and hopefully our coaches have not as well,” Dantonio said. “I was surprised to read that. That’s not our MO.”

Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour defended Franklin by upholding the notion that this tactic was being actively used by programs around the country. She referenced comments made regarding the allegations last week, and further backed the claim citing proof from recruits themselves. “What I was specifically referring to last week was making stuff up, and things that are not factual. That’s a fact, that that is happening. We’re hearing it from prospective student-athletes, and we’ll handle it.”

We’ll provide updates if any further comments are made.

About the Author

David Abruzzese

David is a senior from Rochester, NY, nestled right in beautiful Western New York. He is majoring in Broadcast Journalism, and as an avid sports fan, he passionately supports the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. He is the first Penn Stater from his family, and couldn’t be prouder to represent Penn State University. In his free time, he likes to alpine ski, and play golf. You can follow him on Twitter @abruz11, and can contact him via email at [email protected]

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