Former Nittany Lion Speaks Out
Keith Olsommer played tight end for Penn State in the mid 90′s for former head football coach Joe Paterno. Now the Nittany Lion focuses his time on teenagers as Delaware Valley’s head football coach. Olsommer understands the need for the NCAA sanctions against Penn State, but not the harsh penalty to the team.
“I never think sanctions are fair and the NCAA because the kids that are there at the university at the time when the sanctions fall are never the kids who committed the crime. In this case no kid ever committed a crime. It was one heinous man and a few guys who made some poor decisions. I think it’s awful what these kids have to go through and I completely disagree with the bowl ban and the scholarship ban. I’m kind of all for the money thing. I think the NCAA was 100% correct with the fine,” said Keith Olsommer.
Olsommer also didn’t like the NCAA tone on academics at Penn State. During the news conference NCAA president Mark Emmert said Penn State puts too much emphasis on football. Olsommer disagrees . And feels a degree from his alma mater is worth plenty.
“I think the most difficult thing and I’ve said this is that the president of the NCAA comes out and talks about Penn State and not having the focus on academics. That’s the thing that’s most frustrating for me. As a football player our focus was academics first than football second,” again said Keith.
Olsommer has read the Freeh report . Which blames Joe Paterno and other school leaders for putting Penn State and its reputation ahead of children’s safety . But Olsommer is still reserving final judgement on his former coach.
“What if something else comes out here? The Freeh report has already changed some of the things that it’s said from its initial report. My opinion for my coach it’s hard to sway my opinion. I’ve seen the man in action. I was with the man for five years of my life. I know what he preached. I know what he expected us to do day in and day out. In my eyes he still is a first class man. Did he make a mistake. It appears he make a great mistake,” added Keith.
Four or five years down the road that’s when you will see the effect to the football program at Penn State from the reduction in scholarships and it’s at that point according to Coach Olsommer he feels if Coach O’Brien and his staff do a good job with recruiting it should lessen the impact from the sanctions on the overall program.
“If Penn State comes out of this and they’re (6-6) or (5-7), (7-5), (8-4) in that neighborhood I think within 3 or 4 years the way these guys recruit the way class kids they bring in there and the way this uniting the university they will be in the top 10 again.”
Penn State opens up September 1st, 2012 against Ohio University.