- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Government OKs Arab-owned company to operate U.S. cargo port
- Defense lawyer: McDonnell’s wife had ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House unveils bill to speed deportations of illegal immigrant children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
O’Brien says main goal is to keep team together
Question of the Day
Of the long list of problems now facing Penn State coach Bill O'Brien, the top priority sounds simple: keeping the Nittany Lions intact.
So he’s stressing education and the opportunity to play in front of 108,000 fans every fall Saturday as part of his pitch to persuade players to stay in Happy Valley.
It seems to be working _ so far.
O'Brien said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday that no current member of the team has indicated they will transfer following the NCAA sanctions imposed this week on Penn State. The penalties allow current players to transfer immediately without restrictions.
“Life is full of adversity. The way you travel through life is how you handle adversity,” O'Brien said in relaying what he told players during team meetings the last two days. “I told the guys to think about the guys they’re sitting next to in that room.
“We’ve got a bunch of good kids here who are good tough football payers who care about education,” he added.
The NCAA imposed unprecedented penalties in response to the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. The university’s investigation found that coach Joe Paterno and three other school officials concealed allegations against Sandusky, the retired defensive coordinator _ conclusions vehemently denied by Paterno’s family and the officials.
A reduction in scholarships and a four-year postseason ban are among the sanctions, so potentially crippling that some observers have suggested they are worse than the so-called “death penalty” of shutting down football entirely for at least a season.
Not so, said O’Brien, who added it was important for the fans and the program that games would remain on television.
“We are playing football. We are opening our season on Sept. 1 before 108,000 strong against Ohio University,” O'Brien said emphatically. “We get to get better as football players, and we get to do that for Penn State.”
It has been a trying year for the Nittany Lions even before the NCAA announced its sanctions. Players who had nothing to do with the scandal have been caught in the resulting media firestorm since Sandusky was arrested in November and Paterno was fired days later.
O'Brien was hired in January after serving as offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots.
While he didn’t offer specific details, O'Brien said he has a plan to get the program through its latest crisis. His experience coaching in the NFL, where teams are limited to 53-man rosters, might help in leading and shaping Penn State’s scholarship-restricted roster.
“You’re talking about having experience in how to put that roster together, learning from the best in (Patriots head coach) Bill Belichick. How to practice,” he said. “So there’s no question that my NFL experience … will certainly help.”
As for concerns about not playing in the postseason for the next four years, O'Brien counters that Penn State plays what equates to six or seven bowl games each year with home contests at massive Beaver Stadium, the second-largest stadium in the country.
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Obama: 'Not a new Cold War,' but new Russia sanctions announced
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- HURT: Impeaching Obama is a losing strategy for the GOP
- GOP Senate candidate: Obama needs to visit Central America
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Kerry's credibility questioned as fighting in Gaza rages
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world