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Reports: Franklin To Pull Up Anchor, Leave Vanderbilt For Penn State

still-waiting-skeleton copyIt was fun while it lasted.

James Franklin’s impressive three-year run at Vanderbilt is apparently coming to an end as various sources report that the coach will soon officially be named the new coach at Penn State.  However.  Vandy defensive end Caleb Azubike spoke with Franklin today and he says his coach told him that no decision has yet been made and “he’s still pondering.”  And VandySports.com reports that “rumor is, Vanderbilt did in fact match Penn State’s offer that is north of $4 million a year.”

But as most outlets are calling this race in favor of PSU, just as we’ve been saying for weeks, the story is turning toward the sexual assault that allegedly took place inside Franlin’s VU football program.

If there was one school we thought would not hire Franklin, it was Penn State.  We were wrong.  Now stories like this are going to start bubbling up — “James Franklin could bring his own scandal baggage to Penn State.”  Donald Gilliland of PennLive.com writes:

 

“… that doesn’t mean Penn State wouldn’t find its brand associated once again in unflattering national headlines if it hires Franklin.  

Defense attorneys for one of the players in the case have explicitly asked for — and complained about not receiving — text messages between players and (the) Vanderbilt coaching staff regarding the incident as part of the discovery in the case.

What’s more, the defense attorneys also say they are preparing to subpoena Franklin in anticipation of his taking a coaching job elsewhere.  

‘We want to make sure if he takes a job outside of Nashville we can compel him as a witness if we desire him to be one,’ said Defense attorney Fletcher Long.”

 

Gilliland goes on to detail the rape allegations against four ex-Vandy football players and says Franklin’s “potential ongoing involvement in the court case itself could bring seriously unsavory details into association with the Penn State name.”  A name that’s already been dragged through the mud due to Jerry Sandusky’s sex scandal.  A scandal which resulted in NCAA sanctions, the destruction of Joe Paterno’s reputation, perhaps the old coach’s immediate decline in health and death, and all manner of other troubles.

So are we surprised at this hire?  No.  We’re shocked.  Then again, since when have schools ever cared much about reputations and black eyes?  Louisville just re-hired Bobby Petrino, proving that winning is truly the only thing that matters to most big-time programs.

And to be fair to Franklin, if he’s not been involved in any kind of cover-up — and we continue to bet that he was not — he shouldn’t be penalized because of something four miscreants in his football program did.  He should be able to move elsewhere.  We just think Penn State — given all the circumstances — is the absolute oddest fit possible.

Now, Penn State will certainly get a man who knows how to recruit and who knows how to create “attitude” within his program.  Whether or not Franklin will like being compared to Joe Paterno at every turn, well, that remains to be seen.

For Vandy, it appears AD David Williams is about to be back in the coach search business.  As we wrote earlier this morning, thanks to Franklin and a newfound financial commitment to football at Vanderbilt, Williams has a better job to sell today than the one he offered Franklin three years ago.

Also, the Dores will have to work to hold together this year’s class of commitments, if/when Franklin does indeed officially take the Penn State job.

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