Tuesday, July 24, 2012

07/24 (Penn State, Cont'd) Quickie

Long term, Penn State football is going to be hurt badly by the scholarship reductions. In the short term, I'm most fascinated by how many players choose to leave.

There might be a quasi-macho attitude of "I made a commitment and I'm sticking it out!" but I'm not so sure that's the rational (or optimal) choice. I've been looking around for an expert take, and Andy Staples' evaluation is as good as any:

If you're an NFL prospect, you should leave. If you can get an offer from a top-level program, you should leave. If Penn State was the best you can do and your next-best alternative is a MAC school and the Little Caesar's Bowl, you should probably stick around. (That said: I can't imagine that even the weakest links of each Penn State recruiting class wouldn't be welcome at, say, Maryland or Rutgers, two nearby programs desperate for a talent infusion.)

If it was my kid? I don't know. That's a pretty awful football experience for the next 1-4 years. If they had NFL aspirations, I'd probably encourage them to see what else was out there. If college football was merely the means to a scholarship and diploma, I think there is a lot to be gained by going through the next 1-4 years at Penn State.

Most of all: I'd want to know that coach Bill O'Brien was going to stick it out with my kid -- if he bolts after next year because the situation is so brutal, what kind of message does that send the kids? If he is in it for the long haul, it's easier to join him. The problem is that even if he sincerely thinks he's in it for the long haul now, what happens when it's a slog two years from now -- with no end in sight -- and an NFL team comes calling with a sweet job offer that comes with no baggage?

There are no guarantees, which is why it is ludicrous for anyone to judge any player who chooses to leave. What is unclear is if the "Can leave at any time without penalty" extends throughout a player's remaining time at Penn State, not just a one-week window to make a life-altering decision. I hope it does include that provision -- I suspect it doesn't.


*Ichiro: I feel for my Mariners friends, but I think all of them knew this was coming eventually. It was nice that the fans could give him an ovation last night, even if he was in pinstripes.

*USA Hoops: If I'm Spain, I'm tanking the game tonight -- lose by 30. Worst-case scenario is that they keep it close (or win) and the US is ultra-motivated for the presumptive rematch in the gold medal game. If I'm the US, I'm sizing up the Gasol brothers and the US size issues -- and playing Anthony Davis a ton. Give the kid a chance, Coach K. He's not Christian Laettner in '92.

-- D.S.

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