Penn State Athletics
Athletic director Sandy Barbour says she is optimistic that the school will be able to sign football coach James Franklin to a contract extension.

Penn State’s James Franklin draws nearer to extension, gives thoughts on Garrett Sickels’ departure and more

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Extended negotiations

Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour was asked about a possible contract extension for coach James Franklin at each of the first two stops on the school’s coaches caravan Monday.

“Stay tuned,” she said at the first stop in York, Pa.

“We’re almost there,” she said at the second one in King of Prussia, Pa.

At both stops she emphasized that neither side was in a rush and that it seems more a matter of when, not if.

Franklin is entering the fourth year of a six-year contract he signed when he took over as the boss of the Penn State football program in January 2014. He reportedly earns more than $4 million a year and is the highest-paid public employee in Pennsylvania.

He came to PSU after three years as Vanderbilt’s head coach and is 25-15 with the Lions. They finished 11-3 and won the Big Ten championship in 2016.

Like Barbour, Franklin seems optimistic about where things stand. Per the Collegian:

“I think we are in a good place. For me, it’s always been about, ‘What do we need to do to keep Penn State moving forward? What do we need to do in terms of support? What do we need to do in terms of my staff? What do we need to do in terms of facilities?'”

He acknowledged that there is still much to be done on the facilities front. In March, the school unveiled a 20-year plan to upgrade many of its athletics venues, but funding is a potential stumbling block. Upgrades to the football facilities will not be undertaken until some projects involving other sports are completed.

Here, via the Collegian’s Twitter feed, is Barbour on Franklin:

James Franklin on early departures

Franklin was asked Monday in York about defensive end Garrett Sickels’ decision to forgo his final year of eligibility and enter the NFL draft.

Per, Franklin said he is “very supportive” of Sickels, who was not drafted and wound up signing with the Indianapolis Colts as a free agent. The coach then spoke “in generalities” regarding players who declare early for the draft:

“In a perfect world, what all the data tells me is, you really shouldn’t leave early unless you’re going to be a first or second-round draft choice. But again, that’s when everything is even and there’s no other factors. But life is not like that.”

David Taylor: Let the good times (continue to) roll

Former Penn State wrestler David Taylor, a two-time NCAA titlist and a member of four national championship teams between 2010 and 2014, said he believes the program will reach untold heights in 2017-18.

That would appear to be a tall order, seeing as PSU won its sixth NCAA title in seven years last season. But all five of the Lions’ individual champions return next year, leading Taylor to tell The (Johnstown) Tribune-Democrat the following during an appearance in Johnstown, Pa.

“I really believe that next year’s team will break every NCAA record there’s ever been – champs, points scored, everything. You list it, I believe they have the ability to break it. I think that’s really exciting for the Penn State faithful. Not exciting for the people that don’t like Penn State. I feel sorry for them, but moving forward, it’s a really good time to be around the program.”

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