Absegami Coach: Penn State Has 'Work Cut Out For Them'
Football coach helped recruit at Rutgers before coming to Absegami.
Some may argue that the NCAA sanctions against the Penn State football program are too lenient. Some may argue they are too harsh.
Absegami High School football coach Dennis Scuderi has a unique perspective, and believes the sanctions will have repercussions long after they expire.
In the aftermath of Jerry Sandusky's conviction, and the alleged cover-up from Penn State's top officials, detailed in the Freeh report, the NCAA handed out a $60-million dollar fine, took scholarships away for the next four years, banned the program from post-season play and bowl games for four years, and vacated all the program's wins from 1998 through 2011, knocking the late Joe Paterno out of the record books.
Before coming to Absegami, Scuderi served two stints working in player development and recruiting for Rutgers University. Ray Rice, the Baltimore Ravens All-Pro running back, was among the players Scuderi helped land in New Brunswick.
"I don't agree with taking away the scholarships," Scuderi said. "As a former recruiting coordinator, taking away scholarships is the death penalty. You are going to play Division I football games with 65 scholarship kids at some point, which is equivalent of Villanova or the CAA. That hurts even more than the bowl ban."
Scuderi argues that the Penn State recruiters can stress to current high school football players that they will get a shot to go to a bowl game in their careers.
"In the case of the Class of 2013 they will get to play in bowl games as seniors and possibly another if they red shirt," Scuderi explained.
However, the lack of scholarships is what is going to set Penn State back, according to Scuderi.
A recruiter's job is already difficult enough trying to target athletes that will be a good fit at their programs. The coaches and recruiters then have to convince the athletes to come to their schools.
Penn State has to convince athletes to come to a school that has been publically embarrassed, and also won't be eligible to play for a championship in at least five seasons. On top of that, the coaches and recruiters have to be right about their recruits at a much higher rate than usual.
"Here's the problem: you don't know what's going to happen," Scuderi said. "You have a recruit that loves football but he could be gone the next day. You don’t know what you are getting until they are on campus. I was fortunate in my time at Rutgers to have players that went on to play in the NFL, but they were not four-star recruits."
He added: "Recruiting is not an exact science unless you get the best of the best. But even at the top, like at LSU and Alabama, they lose a lot of the kids to transfer."
Current Penn State players can also leave without having to sit out the upcoming season. The majority have chosen to stay in Happy Valley. However, some players have left and some athletes who verbally committed have now chosen other schools.
Scuderi knows Penn State coach Bill O'Brien, who was at Georgia Tech and the University of Maryland, from the recruiting trail.
He believes that O'Brien is the right man to keep Penn State together.
"He is a great guy, a great human being and will do a great job," Scuderi said.