Nitt Picks Will Be Supportive

The press tracked down Penn State athletic director Tim Curley in Tampa yesterday, and he had plenty to say on a couple of topics.

TAMPA, Fla. -- Penn State athletic director Tim Curley had a simple answer Wednesday when asked if he expects Joe Paterno to return as coach in 2011.

"Yes," Curley said.

Curley and president Graham Spanier plan to meet with the 84-year-old Paterno in January. Paterno's three-year contract expires at the end of next season.

"Sometime after we get back, we'll meet," Curley said. "We don't have any planned time."

Reporters followed up by asking about recruiting.

Penn State has just nine verbal commitments for its 2011 recruiting class. Curley says he doesn't believe the uncertainty surrounding Paterno's future is affecting the program.

"I think recruiting, as far as I can tell, is going well and continues to go well," Curley said. "At this point right now, I don't think it has any effect."

Of course, he pretty much has to say those things, but it's better for Penn State to have had them said than not. Rumors had been getting a little out of control and in three consecutive days, from Sue Paterno to Joe Paterno to Curley, people on the inside have pretty much come out and squashed them without equivocation. It puts Penn State in a stronger position than say, Michigan, which continues to string Rich Rodriguez along, or Ohio State, which hasn't commented on rumors that Jim Tressel could be leaving the program after the big suspensions handed down last week. How much stronger? Who knows. But getting out in front of a sensitive issue like Paterno's future or the state of recruiting is pretty much Leadership 101, even if the solutions aren't as simple as Curley and Penn State might like them to appear.

Curley On DeChellis

 

The athletic director was also questioned about Ed DeChellis' future with the basketball team on Tuesday by the Altoona Mirror's Cory Giger.

I asked Curley what he would say to fans in the "Ed must go" crowd.

"I'd say let's see how the rest of the season plays out," the AD said. "They're working real hard. The staff -- I really enjoy the staff. They're really focused on what they're doing. Let's just support the team and give them all our support and try to -- it's a tough conference, and let's give them all the support we can and hopefully we'll see success down the road."

Even with an embarrassing home loss to Maine earlier this month, conference play was going to define this Penn State team from the beginning. The Big Ten is strong enough this season that finishing in the top six or maybe even top seven will almost assure an NCAA Tournament bid regardless what happened outside of league play. If you wanted to see Ed get one more shot before the season and have wavered since, just remember that.

 

Moye On Money

 

Wide receiver Derek Moye commented on the incidents at Ohio State that came to light last week and expressed some understanding for the players involved.

Personally, I've never sold anything that we got as gifts," the redshirt junior from Rochester High said Wednesday. "But to be honest with you, the thought definitely has crossed my mind.

"A lot of people from the outside don't see the things we actually go through from a money standpoint. I guess it's not totally different from being a normal college student. But at the same time, we don't have the freedom to actually go out and get a job.

"There are a lot of times we don't have very much money. A lot of people from the outside will say that we are on scholarship, and we're definitely grateful for being on scholarship, but at the same time, any extra money we can make, we want to make.

"I'm fortunate now because my brother [Jermaine] has got a job and he's able to help me out a little more. Last year, there were times when I had $25 or $50 in my bank account and I had to make that last for maybe a month or two. That's tough."

I said last week that I didn't feel sorry for Terelle Pryor and his suspended teammates because I thought they could go out and get jobs. That was factually incorrect, so apologies to those players for the unfairness.

 

Moye's comments put a whole new perspective on the situation for me. Sure, the Buckeye players were in the wrong for selling off their stuff. There's no condoning that activity. But isn't the system a little messed up when a 20-year old kid with no cash isn't allowed to go out and get a job while his athletic department pulls in millions of millions from what he does on the field? It's one thing to say an athlete shouldn't be paid. It's another to say he shouldn't be allowed to go out and "work" for a booster who can give him untold sums of money off campus. But what is wrong with a campus job that pays a reasonable wage and is regulated by the university? If an athlete chooses not to show up for that job, fire him and take that privilege away, but for goodness sakes. Even prisoners are allowed to make a little money on the inside. Why can't our student athletes make a good faith attempt to take care of themselves in a responsible way instead? Doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

 

In Scores Of Other Games

  • Everyone loves Stefen Wisniewski [Philly.com]

  • Illinois knocks of Baylor in the Texas Bowl [ESPN.com]

  • On the hardwood, Illinois picked up another win, this one over Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye [ESPN.com]

  • The Penn State basketball team visited with sick kids in Hershey on Tuesday. [GoPSUsports.com]

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