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May 29, 2014

Franklin rankles SEC coaches

Maybe they didn't know he was in town.

Southeastern Conference football coaches, in Destin, Fla., for their annual spring meetings this week, were quite vocal in their displeasure that Penn State head coach James Franklin and his Nittany Lion staff would be spending time this summer in their back yards.

According to an Associated Press report Tuesday evening, SEC coaches "want the NCAA to close a loophole that allows schools to take part in out-of-state summer camps with high school prospects."

Actually in Destin right now with his family at his vacation home to soak up some much-needed rest and relaxation, Franklin was repeatedly cited as the reason for the complaint.

Utilizing an opportunity presented by Big Ten rules that allow its member institutions to lend coaches' services to other schools at camps, Franklin and the Penn State staff revealed earlier this month that they'd in fact make stops at both Georgia State and Stetson Universities this summer. While the NCAA prevents programs from setting up their own camps and running them more than 50 miles from campus, there is nothing to prevent staffs from acting as guests of other universities.

Based on comments from SEC coaches in the report, the specific prohibition of the practice in their own conference creates an uneven advantage against them.

"To me, what I'm seeing is a loophole in that if another school sponsors a camp - Georgia Camp featuring Penn State coaches - or some Division II schools in Texas featuring Oklahoma's coaches or Oklahoma State's coaches or Texas' coaches and then just barnstorming all around the place," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "The rule says that everybody's camp should be on their own institution, so it's basically people finding a way around that rule. We think the rule was set for a reason and it ought to stay that way."

Safe to say, Franklin does not agree.

Asked about the decision to send his staff to Georgia State and Stetson this summer for camps, Franklin explained the rules and the opportunity it provides not only his program, but also the students attending as well.

"For us to get where we want to go as a program, not only do we have to do a great job recruiting the state and this region, but we're also going to have to recruit nationally as well, and sometimes kids just can't afford to get to your place," Franklin said in York, kicking off his three-week Coaches Caravan tour. "So if the conference and the NCAA will allow you to go to them, why not? That's kind of how this whole thing got started.

"We're going to be aggressive. The only thing it's really costing us is a plane flight and some energy and maybe a few hours that we'll lose of sleep."

Penn State NEWS


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