Penn State coach James Franklin said he remains "extremely frustrated" that the Big Ten postponed the fall sports season without communicating with teams, players and families about the process or their futures.
In a wide-ranging media call Wednesday, Franklin occasionally grew emotional discussing meetings with players, parents and recruits in which he had few answers to their questions. Franklin said that Penn State had been successful at implementing a COVID-19 mitigation strategy, which produced zero new positive tests after the first week of training camp.
During a nearly three-minute opening statement, Franklin called the process of informing his players "gut-wrenching" and repeated that they "are left frustrated and unsure of what the future holds."
Here is Franklin's statement, his first since the Big Ten postponed the 2020 fall sports season, in its entirety.
The announcement postpone football was extremely disappointing. Witnessing the confusion on our guys’ faces when I shared the news of postponement last week was gut-wrenching. It is my responsibility to help our guys chase their dreams, and delivering the news felt like I was doing the opposite. It felt like I was taking away their dream to play at Penn State, even if for some it’s only temporary.
We as a coaching staff and administration fought as hard as we could to fulfill the desires of our student-athletes and their parents to play this fall. While I appreciate the complexities and difficulties of this decision for the leaders of our conference, I am extremely frustrated because we still have very few answers to communicate to our young men and their families about their futures and very little understanding of the factors contributing to the decisions.
Penn State has worked extremely hard to provide the safest environment possible for our student-athletes over the last three months. Our student-athletes have matched our institution’s diligence by following the recommended health and safety protocols with the intent to play this fall. Our most recent COVID-19 test of our entire program – student-athletes, coaches, trainers, strength & conditioning and equipment staffs – yielded zero positive results after our first week of practices.
That is attributed to the steadfast efforts of our medical professionals, student-athletes and staff. We’re heartbroken for our student-athletes because of how much they have sacrificed to put themselves in position to compete at the highest level, but now they are left frustrated and unsure of what the future holds. Despite our current circumstances, I couldn’t be more pleased with how our players and entire organization have handled themselves for the last five months during very challenging times.
It’s not lost on me the impact this postponement has on the State College community. Our town is fueled and driven by the football season. I feel for the people in this community and the effect this decision has on our local businesses as well. As we turn our attention to the potential of a winter season, we will lean into our culture and develop a thorough detailed plan on how to move forward. When we do return to competition, we know our guys will be ready, and I will continue to be unbelievably proud to be their head coach.
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