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JUST IN: James Franklin & Penn State Agree to Extension

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Franklin is locked in at Penn State until 2031.

NCAA Football: Cotton Bowl Classic-Memphis vs Penn State Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Despite some reported flirtation with the USC and LSU openings, James Franklin made his intentions clear today: he is staying at Penn State. The board of trustees compensation committee approved Franklin’s extension, which will keep the 49-year-old Pennsylvania native in State College until 2031.

James Franklin said this about his extension.

“Penn State’s future is bright, and I’m honored to continue to serve as your head football coach. Nine weeks ago, the administration approached me about making a long-term investment in our football program. This prompted numerous conversations outlining the resources needed to be competitive at a level that matches the expectations and history of Penn State. What’s most evident from those conversations is the importance of our student-athletes’ success both on and off the field.”

“With the support of President Barron, Sandy Barbour and the Board of Trustees we’ve been able to create a roadmap of the resources needed to address academic support, community outreach, Name, Image and Likeness (NIL), facility improvements, student-athlete housing, technology upgrades, recruiting, training table and more. This renewed commitment to our student-athletes, community and fans reinforces all the reasons I’ve been proud to serve as your head football coach for the last eight years and why my commitment to Penn State remains steadfast. Throughout this process I’ve kept our leadership council, recruits and staff updated on those conversations and I’m excited we’ve reached an agreement we can finally share with you.”

It has been a bizarre season for the Nittany Lions the last few weeks. After starting 5-0 and reaching the No. 4 ranking in the country, Penn State and Franklin went into a major slump, losing four of their next six to fall to a 7-4 record heading into the regular season finale at Michigan State.

That downswing certainly complicated matters — not only in Happy Valley, but potentially at LSU and USC too — but in the end, the Penn State administration clearly still has belief in Franklin to get it done at Penn State. Prior to the 2020 season, Franklin had the Nittany Lions on the doorstep to the college football playoff, as evidenced by three 11-win seasons during that time. Now, with a big new contract in hand, it will be his job to get Penn State back to that spot.

Within college football, things aren’t always perfect. I even wrote just last week that for the first time, I have begun to question if Franklin can get it done in Happy Valley. But today should be a day that is celebrated, on two accounts. One, that Franklin — despite the reported flirtations elsewhere — is committed to this university. And secondly, that this university is committed to getting this program to where it deserves to be.