Ill will pops up among coaches at Big Ten Media Days

CHICAGO –– Perhaps the juiciest storyline of Big Ten Media Days on Tuesday was some heat between Penn State and fellow East Division rivals Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan that emerged after a reporter asked both Mark Dantonio and Urban Meyer about supposed negative recruiting allegations Nittany Lions coach James Franklin had made last month in the Reading Eagle.

"That’s not our M.O. and that’s not how we do business," Dantonio replied.

Meyer’s answer: "Absolutely not. That’s the first I’ve ever heard of that. That’s a pretty strong allegation. I will address that with coach Franklin."

FOX Sports spoke with Franklin a few minutes after Meyer’s comments. The Penn State coach was surprised to hear the direction things had gone. 

"All I said was that every kid that we’re recruiting is also being recruited by Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Notre Dame and that they don’t have the same challenges that we have now," Franklin said. "Then, in a separate quote, I mentioned that right now we’re (dealing) with negative recruiting. It was two separate quotes, though, over a 35-minute interview. 

"I never said that any of those schools are the ones doing the negative recruiting against us. They’re not. There is one other particular school, but I didn’t name who that was."

Below are the comments from Franklin from last month, per the Reading Eagle:

"I think one of the things that’s a challenge is as Penn Staters, we’re so proud and we know what we’re all about and who we are," Franklin said. "The people we’re competing with — Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame — this is just not something they have to deal with. Although we want to move on, those other schools are not letting us move on. I think in so many areas we can be really, really healthy in 2018. We can be in a really good position to have the type of program everybody wants us to have. The thing that we don’t know is when is everything going to be resolved."

Q: Where do you see the program in 2018?

A: In a really healthy place. The one thing that I can’t predict is when there is going to be finality to everything. A month ago, I’m in Chicago at a wedding of one of my former players and the most recent things (allegations that late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was told that Sandusky abused children in the 1970s) come up. I spend all Friday and Saturday on the phone talking to all of our players because other schools are contacting them and telling them the NCAA is going to get involved again and impose more sanctions. I think everybody will feel really good when everything has been resolved and we can truly put this thing in our past. When I say our past, I don’t mean we just move on. We have to learn and grow from those experiences. We have to have things in place to make sure we don’t have any issues moving forward. I think one of the things that’s a challenge is as Penn Staters, we’re so proud and we know what we’re all about and who we are. The people we’re competing with — Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame – this is just not something they have to deal with. Although we want to move on, those other schools are not letting us move on. I think in so many areas we can be really, really healthy in 2018. We can be in a really good position to have the type of program everybody wants us to have. The thing that we don’t know is when is everything going to be resolved.

Q: How would you describe the challenge of being in the same division with Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State?

A: Like most things in life, there are some real positives about it. We’re able to tell kids they’re going to compete against the very highest level week in and week out. What makes it tricky, they’re not having to deal with some of the things we’re dealing with and working through, which magnifies it. Those programs as well as others know that and use that against us. We have that conversation with every single prospect. We don’t usually initiate it, but it’s coming from somewhere.