by Travis Normand
We knew this was going to happen. When the NCAA levied it’s sanctions against the Penn State football program one thing was certain — the current football team was going to be punished for what others had done years before.
He [Michael Mauti] also took exception to Emmert’s comments that Penn State football had not placed the proper emphasis on academics.
“Who said that?” Mauti said. “Penn State graduates eight of 10 players. No other school does that. To say my degree means less because of (the Sandusky scandal), no way.
“Hey, I was watching Barney when that happened,” he added, referring to the alleged 2001 cover up of Sandusky’s actions by school officials. “Our freshmen were like 6 years old.”
O’Brien had no problem with his linebacker’s strong opinions. He actually enjoyed seeing the fighting spirit.
Mauti’s comments about PSU academics are dead-on. NCAA President Mark Emmert wishes the school had focused more on academics than they actually did. However, in comparison to many other programs around the country, PSU was doing better than most.
However, even if PSU was merely average in terms of where academics related to football, Mauti is right in that the Sandusky scandal doesn’t diminish the value of his degree.
As you heard Mauti say in the video, the transfer rules granted by the NCAA have made things pretty tough on the Penn State players. Coaches from around the Big Ten and elsewhere have begun to contact PSU players in order to convince them to transfer and join their respective programs. Such a tactic is obviously not illegal or against any rules, but it is something that Mauti has taken issue with.
One penalty was the ability of current players to transfer out of the program and be immediately eligible to play at another FBS school — including fellow Big Ten programs. And it has had a side effect NCAA president Mark Emmert may not have anticipated.
Mauti said Penn State players are being badgered because there are few rules on how opposing coaches can contact them. He said at least 40 schools have tried to contact him even though he’s maintained that he intends to stay at PSU.
“There’s been coaches hounding our players (with) 10-12 calls per day,” Mauti said. “(They are) on our campus, outside our classrooms. Even some coaches from this conference.
“At this point in time, the fact that there’s no rules — the door has been opened,” he added. “You don’t have to have ethics in this game. That’s the game they created.”
Asked how Emmert could say so much about integrity while handing down the punishments and then create this sort of situation, Mauti at first replied: “I think it’s kind of ironic.”
Mauti says he will remember which coaches came to campus and tried to recruit fellow players. The idea of wishing him well, while also trying to recruit players away from the program, is something Mauti isn’t going to forget anytime soon.
“I’m a competitor,” he said. “If someone tells us they feel for us or wish us well, but at the same time they want to go after our guys, I’ve got a problem with that.”
Also, it must be noted that Bret Bielema (Wisconsin), Urban Meyer (Ohio State), Brady Hoke (Michigan), and Kevin Wilson (Indiana), are all Big Ten head coaches that have said they would not actively pursue any Penn State players.