The mantra entering this season was ONE TEAM, ONE PURPOSE, ONE MISSION, ONE FAMILY.
In some articles leading up to last week’s Navy game, there were recaps of the 1974 Navy game played in a rain storm where PSU fumbled five times and Chris Bahr missed four field goals. I vaguely recall stories about Joe recruiting kickers from the soccer team, and one source noted that Bahr had been recruited by Joe from the soccer team and still played soccer, missing a game against Air Force so he could play soccer.
This got me to thinking, which is always a dangerous thing.
With the upcoming sanctions and scholarship limits, should or could Penn State be looking to recruit multisport athletes? While it’s easy to knock Ficken based on his performance so far, wouldn’t it be better for the team . . .ONE TEAM . . .if Penn State could recruit a kicker from the soccer team? The kid would have his soccer scholarship, and PSU would have a kicker (with presumably a strong leg) and not a lose a valuable scholarship?
Perhaps a sprinter or two from the track team as running back or kick off/ punt returner? Perhaps there’s a wrestler that can tackle? Or a tall basketball player who can cover wide receivers? A lot of these kids played multiple sports in high school.
The possibilities are not endless, but a handful of athletes playing more than one sport could bridge or dampen the loss of scholarships temporarily.
Obviously, the soccer and track coaches would not be overly thrilled with the prospect of one of their scholarship athletes potentially getting injured on the gridiron. For overlapping sports (ie sports that are both played in the fall) some leeway would have to be made so that full practice schedules would not be requisite for both sports and perhaps players/coaches could select which games athletes could participate in. It would be a sacrifice, though, for the other sports teams to make. But does ONE TEAM apply only to the football team, or to Penn State sports as a whole?
How long has the football program supported these other teams?
Wouldn’t this be a remarkable opportunity to thank the football squad for years of financial underwriting and contribute to keeping Penn State competitive in the next few years on the football field, if nothing else by at least providing some depth to the football scholarship players?
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know how the NCAA actually handles scholarship athletes that compete on more than one team. For all I know, that damned Consent Decree expressly prohibits such cross-over athletes. It seems to be the only legal document I know of that can’t be challenged in a court of law. But I digress.
Maybe I should just worry about Temple for now. That’s what O’Brien is doing.