MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The watch continues as rumors swirl about University of Miami football’s head coach Al Golden being targeted to be the next head coach at Penn State
While there is no official word, according to our news partners at The Sun Sentinel, Miami athletic director Blake James told the paper he’s spoken with Golden.
“Al and I are in regular communication. He is our football coach and I believe he will be our coach going forward,” James wrote in a text message to the Sentinel.
As rumors continue to swirl that Golden is being targeted to be the next head coach at Penn State, Golden has remained mum about whether he would consider the job or if he’s firmly committed to UM.
According to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, opinions in the UM athletic department vary widely on what Golden is planning to do. The Herald said at least one “prominent member of the athletic department and (a friend of Golden) believes the (Penn State) job holds appeal to him.”
Golden played and coached at Penn State in the past and at one time was considered a possible heir apparent to the late Joe Paterno. If Golden were to take the Penn State job, he would walk into a school with much more in terms of a stadium, facilities, and resources than UM.
But, Penn State is still facing a few years of sanctions from the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal. Penn State is banned from bowls for the next two years, unless the NCAA eases that sanction, which is possible.
PSU can also only have 75 scholarship players in 2014 and 80 in 2015; the normal scholarship limit is 85, which Penn State can get back to in 2016. However, the NCAA has been evaluating the sanctions and depending on the Nittany Lions’ progress, they could be eased further.
Golden would inherit a top quarterback recruit in Christian Hackenburg at Penn State, but would be leaving another top 10 recruiting class at UM if he left.
Penn State may be planning to act in a hurry to get a head coach in to keep recruiting from completely getting away. Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner said Thursday a new coach could come “in a matter of days rather than weeks.”
Joyner also said that a “number of prominent head coaches” have reached out to Penn State about the job opening. Whether that is true, or if Joyner is trying to drum up interest in the job, isn’t known.
Penn State can’t miss on the hire because the school is living in a division with Ohio State, Michigan State, and Michigan and if the school can’t pull out of the crippling sanctions on the right path, it could be decades before the school is relevant again in the Big Ten Conference.