Former All-Western New York football players Akeel Lynch of St. Francis and John Urschel of Canisius were looking forward to the writing the next chapters of their football careers at Penn State, but that was before the NCAA threw the book at the university.
The NCAA on Monday morning announced a series sanctions against the Penn State football program for its involvement in the sexual abuse scandal surrounding former coach Jerry Sandusky. One of the sanctions allows current and incoming Penn State football players to transfer immediately to another school without penalty. Typically, players who move from one Division I school to another have to sit out one season.
Now Lynch and Urschel have to decide if Happy Valley will continue to be their home.
When contacted by phone after the NCAA announcement, St. Francis coach Jerry Smith said Lynch and Urschel were not immediately available because as of 11:45 a.m. they were in a players meeting at the Penn State complex discussing what steps to take. Lynch, an incoming freshman, left Buffalo for Penn State last month and has been taking summer school classes. “I can’t begin to tell you what’s going through his head,” said Smith. “His grandmother just died last week, so it’s been a stressful couple days. He left June 24, and he’s been loving it.”
Urschel is a 2008 Canisius graduate, who will be a senior this fall. He is a mathematics major and owns a perfect 4.00 grade-point average his last six semesters through the spring of 2012.
Lynch originally committed to Boston College.
-Mary Jo Monnin