Penn State's school newspaper, The Daily Collegian, recently reported on how the players were handling the transfers. All in all, players were taking things in stride, understanding that everyone has to do what's best for them and recognizing that not everyone was going to stick it out with the hobbled Nittany Lions squad. However, one thing did stand out:
“That’s a coward move,” senior cornerback Stephon Morris said.
Nine former Penn State players have transferred to other schools in wake of the NCAA’s harsh sanctions against the university. Backup offensive tackle Ryan Nowicki is the only one to depart for a Big Ten team -- Illinois.
Morris has been outspoken about Nowicki’s departure, tweeting August 2: “One thing u don't do is Jump from big ten school to another big ten school.”
Ex-Penn State wide receiver Justin Brown transferred to Oklahoma on Saturday. Morris was good friends with Brown and he “wished Justin and [the other transfers] nothing but the best.”
“But I’m going to say what I’m going to say,” Morris added. “Come on, [transferring to Illinois] is like me saying I’m going to transfer to Michigan. How would you feel? How would they feel?”
To answer his last question, I wouldn't care. I wouldn't feel upset or bad or bothered by it. But, I also liked my teammates and wanted them to be happy. While I hated to see them go whenever they left, it was always about them doing what's best for themselves.
That said, I get that my opinion isn't shared by the masses. I know plenty of people who feel the same way Morris does, or would feel the same way if a teammate or a player on their team transferred to a school in the same league. Hell, when Justin Boren made the move from Michigan to Ohio State the Wolverines sounded quite similar to Morris with respect to their old teammate:
“It’s somebody who shouldn’t have been here in the first place,” Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham told the Detroit Free Press.
It is what it is. When you're that age and your emotions run hot that's how a lot of people act. I get it.
However, that doesn't make it right. No matter how well you rationalize it and how much sense it makes—and it does make a lot of sense—it is not right.
In this situation there are no winners and losers. There is no right and wrong. If it makes sense for you to stay, then you stay. If you'd prefer to leave, then leave. No one group is better than the other in this regard; just different. Every young man on that roster has to do what he and his family deem best. If that's transferring to another school then so be it. If that school is in the league, oh well, it just makes his decision different from someone else's. It most certainly doesn't make him a coward.