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Oklahoma football: Bob Stoops should talk about Justin Brown’s recruitment

Berry Tramel's Blog » OU football Published: August 8, 2012

Bob Stoops wouldn’t talk about how OU came to land Penn State receiver Justin Brown. When asked Tuesday how the Sooners came into contact with Brown, Stoops said, “I don’t need to detail all that. That’s a long time ago now.”

I have no idea what he means by “a long time ago.” From the NCAA announcement that Penn State would be punished so severely that every Nittany would be allowed to transfer to any school and play immediately, until Brown’s arrival in Norman, was 14 days. A fortnight. That’s not a long time ago.

The issue of how Penn State players have been recruited became a national story when several schools sent coaches to State College, Pa., to set up satellite recruiting posts. That drew the anger of not just Penn State officials, but other coaches thought it was a little much. You can read my thoughts on that here.

There is no reason to think OU did indeed anything wrong in the way it recruited Brown. No reason unless Stoops wants to go all secretive. Did Brown contact OU first? Or did OU reach out to Brown? Did Stoops call Penn State coach Bill O’Brien as a courtesy, which is really all O’Brien said he wanted from any coach? On Stoops’ tour of ESPN in late July, he said on the Mike & Mike radio show that he didn’t know how feasible it would be for every coach interested in a Penn State player to call O’Brien. That O’Brien might not be able to take all those calls.

I don’t know about that. But I know if Bob Stoops calls Bill O’Brien, O’Brien is taking the call. Let’s not get silly here.

Down in Dallas after the Penn State penalties were announced, Stoops was asked how most transfer recruitments work. Here was his response: “Usually when that happens, it’s through high school coaches. In our case, if there’s a tight end or receiver around, you never know. It’s one of those, hey, what are your needs? Sometimes you know a high school coach or you know the kid had interest because he was one of your visits (out of high school), or you had recruited him a long time and you knew you had a good relationship with him. So I don’t know. See how that all unfolds.”

As far as anyone knows, OU didn’t recruit Justin Brown out of high school. Primarily because the guy’s from Delaware. And there’s nothing wrong with the Sooners bringing in Brown. The NCAA made the rule, Penn State has to live with it. But one thing we’ve learned during this entire Penn State mess, from the scandal itself down to even the disbursement of its players, is that ethics should not be suspended for any reason. It’s never the wrong time to do the right thing.

There is no evidence that OU did the wrong thing in recruiting Justin Brown. Other than its coach not wanting to talk about it.

Sorry, but the circumstances mean coaches should talk about it. Kansas State coach Bill Snyder tried clamming up down in Dallas. Said he was there to talk about Kansas State, not Penn State. Snyder is one of my all-time favorites, but let’s set the scene. There are two places in America where football coaches are revered more than anyone else. Two places where coaches at least had the possibility of trumping the academic and administrative power structure. Two places where football coaches went past iconic status and into virtual god-like status.

Penn State and Kansas State. At Penn State, that coach had a mighty fall. And we were sitting there talking to the other one. It was Snyder’s duty to his school and to his sport and frankly to America, to address the Penn State scandal and tell us if and/or why the possibility of abuse of power would be less at K-State than it was at Penn State.

Here’s one of the bedrock truths that came out of the Penn State tragedy. We need football coaches to be more transparent. We need them to talk more. Not less.