No matter your opinion on whether or not the NCAA overstepped its bounds by eschewing their typical fly swatter techniques and taking a sledgehammer to Penn State's football cajones, I think we can all agree that they were right in granting any Penn State football player immediate eligibility at another institution. After all, Joe Paterno was covering up rapes before most of them were even born, so why should they be stuck rebuilding the program he both built AND destroyed? But, in the wake of that decision comes a tricky moral decision for coaches: Should they actively recruit Penn State athletes as if they were free agents? On the one hand there's no rule against it and all PSU athletes could technically be considered free agents until next summer when the "free transfer" window closes, to be all soccery. On the other, there's a difference between letting a PSU athlete know you're interested and stalking them on Penn State's campus, which is what has been happening. Some opposing coaches have placed calls to new Paterno basically saying, "Hey Coach, no hard feelings but we're about to turn your football team into an honorable mention intramural squad," while others have flat out been employing snatch and grab tactics without a courtesy call.
While you wouldn't necessarily expect many of these athletes to wind up on Big 12 campuses outside of WVU due to proximity, ESPN's Big 12 blog still raised the possibilities with a few of our bretheren. Most were above board about it - Charlie Weis said you needed to respect HC Bill O'Brien, but that you also shouldn't rule taking one of his players out, Dana Holgorsen thinks his team is good enough to compete without transfer, with Mike Gundy basically echoing that idea.
Then there's Baylor Coach Art Briles. Briles is by no means opposed to taking transfer athletes to beef up his roster, even those with troubled pasts like Lache Seastrunk (dirty recruiting), Daryl Stonum (DWIs, suspended license and violation of probation) and Mike Orakpo (beating the shit out of other students). It's safe to say the Baylor brass probably isn't listing those things in the brochure. Briles' thinking is as follows:
"If a guy can play, we're going to look at him without question. I like getting guys that are mature," Briles said.
It makes sense... except Briles is taking clearly immature players, so I'm not sure that statement wholly applies here. But then he offers the, literal, money quote, and it opens your eyes to why Baylor has been on a pretty solid recruiting tear lately. Straight from the horse's mouth:
"Not that 18 year olds are not [mature], but when you take a guy that's been through a few trials and tribulations and understands what's important, what's not, and has experience -- because there's one thing money can't buy, and that's experience, you gotta live it, you've got to taste it, you've got to feel it -- then we know what we're getting, too."
Oh, is that right, Briles? How would you know what money can or can't buy in college football since buying athletes with money is, well, highly frowned upon. Has Scott Drew gotten to you already? Money may not be able to buy experience, but it won't buy Baylor a Big 12 Championship either. Good luck, Arthur, with your bottom.
So, what do you guys think? Should it be frowned upon for opposing Coaches to actively recruit current PSU athletes? If so, who should TCU target off of their roster? hint: not their QBs. And lastly, is Baylor paying their players? Can I get whistleblower status on this?