Banned from postseason, Penn State considers UH
Per Star Advertiser staff
"The Penn State football team is looking at options for scheduling the University of Hawaii, a Nittany Lions spokesman said. The NCAA has prohibited Penn State from playing in the postseason for four years and the Big Ten has barred the Nittany Lions from playing in the Big Ten championship game during that period."
In addition, the NCAA is allowing Penn State players to transfer to other schools without having to sit out a year. To sweeten its prospects for retaining players and recruiting new ones, head coach Bill O'Brien said, "I'm working on changing the schedule where we can have a potential bowl game against a big-time opponent or the University of Hawaii to act as our bowl game at the end of the year," CentreDaily.com reported. Penn State associate athletic director Brian Siegrist told the Star-Advertiser, "We have openings in 2015, 2016 and 2017 at this point."
UH currently has openings for all those years but said on Wednesday it had yet to hear from Penn State. In 2015 UH already has non-conference games against Colorado, Washington, Brigham Young and Navy. Though ESPN commentator Lou Holtz suggested O'Brien schedule UH all four years of the probation, Siegrist said, "We are looking at options, not necessarily talking to UH for all those years." Whether the games would be part of a 12-game season or Penn State would ask for an exempted 13th game remains to be seen. "(We) haven't gotten there yet," Siegrist said. "(We're) just beginning the process of looking at options." When Alabama was placed on NCAA probation, the Crimson Tide scheduled a regular-season-ending 13th game at UH in 2002 and '03. But the NCAA has since moved to close the exempted-game loophole for teams under postseason ban. In 2010, as part of postseason sanctions levied against Southern California, the NCAA prohibited the Trojans from playing an exempted season-opening game against UH, but a week later granted a "one-year deferral" because the game had been scheduled more than five years in advance of the sanction announcement.
NCAA spokespersons said they could not immediately comment on whether Penn State would be prohibited from scheduling a 13th game. Speaking on ESPN radio Monday, Holtz said if he were the head coach of the Nittany Lions he would tell players, " ‘We aren't going to a bowl game, but let me tell you what we're going to do, son. For the next four years the last game we're going to play is at Hawaii. And we're going to go there and you're going to have the time of your life. You are going to have an experience you won't forget.' " As head coach, Holtz brought Notre Dame to play UH in the 1991 regular season finale, a 48-42 Fighting Irish victory.
It'll be great when Hawaii can say they beat Penn St. even though the Nittany Lions will be watered down and horrible it's still a win in the record books. I have confidence to say that because its hard to win at Hawaii three times in a row.