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James Franklin Frustrated With ‘Timing, Process’ Of Big Ten’s Fall Sports Postponement

Penn State football head coach James Franklin met with media Wednesday morning to discuss several topics surrounding his team.

In the nearly hour-long press conference, Franklin fielded questions surrounding the Big Ten’s postponement of fall sports last week. The head coach didn’t mince words on how he feels about the handling of the decision in his opening statement.

“The announcement to postpone football was extremely disappointing. Witnessing the confusion on our guys’ faces when I shared the news was gut-wrenching,” Franklin said. “We as a coaching staff and administration fought as hard as we could to fulfill the desires of our student-athletes and parents to play this fall.

“While I appreciate the complexities and difficulties of this decision for the leaders of our conference, I am extremely frustrated because we still have very few answers to communicate to our young men and their families,” Franklin added.

Franklin went to to explain that he remains disappointed that he and his staff have “very little understanding” of the factors contributing to the Big Ten’s decision.

As reports swirled early last week that the Big Ten would in fact postpone fall sports, the head coach stated that he understood why the conference felt there was too much uncertainly to play. Despite that, he still feels the overall handling of the postponement leaves a lot to be desired.

“I don’t necessarily have an issue with the decision,” Franklin said. “But I have an issue with the process and the timing. It was challenging to keep getting up in front of my team and not having answers to their questions.

“To me, if we were going to make the decision to delay the season, we at least took the time to work with the NCAA and the Big Ten to have all the answers for what that’s going to mean,” Franklin added.

With the football season now delayed for an undetermined amount of time, the head coach noted that several questions remain surrounding eligibility, scholarships, future schedules, and roster management. Franklin feels that the Big Ten hasn’t done much to help solve those issues.

Along with several unanswered questions, Franklin stated that a huge number of people within Penn State Athletics worked hard to make sure the practice plan for a fall season worked. As of last Wednesday, the university had administered 560 coronavirus tests to its student-athletes with just eight total positives.

In terms of football, Franklin said he and his staff worked tirelessly to remind players to keep their masks on when not wearing a helmet, and practice social distancing at all times. Overall, the head coach feels the Big Ten’s decision wasn’t wrong, but wishes those people helping to execute the plan weren’t left in the dark when it was made.

“A lot of people sacrificed a lot of things to allow the football season to happen,” Franklin said. “I’m not naive to think this was gonna be smooth sailing the whole time. But so many people made a plan to make sure this thing would work, and all of the sudden it changes and you’re not really a part of the conversation.”

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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