Acting Athletic Director Dave Joyner addressed several topics Friday regarding the post-NCAA sanctions Penn State football team.
Joyner said a few athletic directors in the Big Ten have contacted him regarding recruiting of possible transfers. The NCAA has allowed Penn State players to transfer without penalty in wake of its sanctions. Most of the team has reaffirmed its commitment to Penn State, but the return of other big names, such as running back Silas Redd, are still in question.
Assistant Athletic Director for Communications Jeff Nelson confirmed Sunday night that third string quarterback Rob Bolden is no longer on the Penn State roster. The Times Picayune reported Sunday that Bolden took an official visit to LSU over the weekend and that he could transfer to the Southeastern Conference school.
"There's a qualitative and quantitative [approach]," Joyner said Friday of Penn State's transfer dilemma. "If you follow the rules, and you stay within the rules, there's nothing you can do. But if we're watching, and people are violating the rules, we'll let the appropriate authorities know.
"Our hope is by reaching out to whatever coaches or programs might be doing some things, just to ask them to be gentlemanly about it, it's OK to follow the rules. If it's not going the way they want it, be gentlemanly about it."
Illinois was the first school to have openly admitted sending coaches to State College in an active, recruiting effort
Joyner also said the athletic department may tweak the STEP program for purchasing season tickets. The STEP program requires season ticket owners to make a donation to the university that is proportional to the price and location of their seats.
Joyner said no changes have been made yet, but that the system would be reexamined. He does not believe that the NCAA sanctions will heavily affect the attendance this season at Beaver Stadium -- coach Bill O'Brien has used the facility's 108,000 capacity as a selling point to draw recruits.
"I'm getting a lot of emails from people who are saying they're going to buy a lot of tickets to come to the games," he said. "I can count [the negative] emails on one hand. I just refer them back to the trustees' statement, which I think says it all ... I can tell you, I've had far more emails from people who said, 'We're behind you.' There's a lot of excitement out there, a lot of energy."
He said he maintains that confidence even if the team has a losing season.
"Back in the early 2000s, we were [under .500] for a few years, and we still had a good fanbase in the stadium," Joyner said. "I think you saw back then there was still a lot of support even when we had losing seasons back to back."
Joyner said he's also on board with any changes O'Brien decides to make as long as they are compliant with the guidelines of Penn State and NCAA. O'Brien has caused a stir recently by suggesting a change in Penn State's long-standing uniforms, possibly ending the tradition of a nameless back.
It also looks like a regular-season trophy game is in the works between Wisconsin and Penn State. The Badgers and Nittany Lions are currently scheduled to play each other on the last game of the season until 2016. The game was Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema's idea, which he pitched to Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez a few months ago. Joyner supported the idea. A name for the trophy has not yet been decided.
Joyner said he was very pleased that the NCAA sanctions did not include a television ban.
"I want to play on TV," he said. "It's national exposure for recruiting. Nothing against the print media, but that's not the immediate. When you're on TV, high school players can watch what's going on."
As for his own job status, Joyner still holds the "acting" tag.
"Well, I expect to finish today [with a job]," Joyner said Friday. "I'm here at the behest of [Penn State President Rodney Erickson]. As long as he wants me, I'm here."