LOS ANGELES — Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour and coach James Franklin created some headlines at Big Ten media day in Chicago before the 2016 football season when they addressed the subject of negative recruiting by other programs.
After Penn State won the Big Ten championship outright for the first time in 22 years, Barbour spoke to reporters in Los Angeles two days before the Nittany Lions play Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl. She was asked about those comments from media day, which multiple Big Ten coaches denied.
“I say what’s on my mind. I said what was on my mind that day,” Barbour said. “There’s going to be negative recruiting. I just don’t want it to be flat-out lies.”
Barbour said in Chicago that “certain schools” were telling recruits that Penn State was going back on probation, which was not true. The 2016 season is the first that Penn State has been allowed to have 85 scholarship players since the NCAA levied sanctions in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal.
Penn State is currently No. 13 in the 247Sports team composite recruiting rankings for the Class of 2017. It would be the third straight top-20 class for coach James Franklin and his staff after the Nittany Lions finished ranked No. 20 in 2016 and No. 15 in 2015.
Barbour was asked if her comments in Chicago had the desired effect she was looking for.
“There’s still negative recruiting,” she replied.