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Penn State Football: Barbour Talks Franklin Negotiations and More During Annual Bowl Update

by on December 27, 2019 1:30 PM

DALLAS — Penn State director of athletics Sandy Barbour isn’t overly concerned about the annual pursuit of coach James Franklin by other programs. In fact, as Barbour looks to enter her sixth calendar year atop the department, she ultimately sees the attention as a positive, and to a certain extent unavoidable. 

“First of all, I think it's awesome,” Barbour said during a brief media session on Friday. “You always want someone that other people want. Because if they don't, you’ve got a different problem. So I think it's fantastic. I love the fact that Penn State has a head coach that a lot of other people want. Contracts are not going to stop that. This contract, any contract, is not going to stop that.

“And I don't really want it to. I want us to continue to have the kind of success that's going to draw other people to James. But he's a Penn Stater, he’s our coach, and he's gonna remain that way.”

Franklin has still yet to officially sign his new deal despite being weeks removed from its announcement. Barbour indicated that the details will be released in the coming weeks, likely in the early days of 2020.

As for the nature of negotiations, Barbour did not go into much detail, but did note discussions regarding facilities upgrades and assistant coaching salaries are a constant and ongoing conversation and not necessarily the driving force in Franklin’s most recent talks.

“As it relates to the assistant coaches, as it relates to facilities, those are conversations we have, frankly, almost daily, certainly weekly, about our ability to compete,” Barbour said. “And so I would hesitate to say that those ended up being part of his contract negotiation.

“Don't get me wrong. James is always looking out for his assistants. James is always pushing for what's going to help Penn State become competitive. Those commitments were made by us long ago, as we've talked about, from an assistant coaches salary pool. I actually don't think it's the media, I think it's more fans continue to look at a salary figure for one of our more high-profile assistant coaches from like five years ago. I can guarantee you that's not what he's making today.

“But we made a commitment several years ago to to upgrading our assistant coaches pool. And for the last three years, James and I have and others have sat down and determined a number. He's asked for a number and that's what he's been given. And this year is no different.”

Recently hired offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca was making just shy of $750,000 while at Minnesota and was slated to begin a new two-year deal on Jan. 31, 2020. His contract with Penn State almost certainly bumps that figure beyond the million dollar mark. Penn State is not required to and does not release assistant coach salaries.

Across the rest of the department there was little movement on any major projects but a few notes to add.

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  • Barbour anticipates getting plans back in late summer or early fall relative to the $70 million renovation project of various football facilities. Penn State's Board of Trustee appointed the design firm HOK out of Philadelphia in May to undertake the preliminary design process.

  • Barbour says that Beaver Stadium renovations are constantly in discussion behind the scenes but that Penn State is “years” away from anything significant happening on that front.

  • Penn State men's and women's basketball are slated for upgrades. A source indicates that this involves upgrades to the locker room areas this spring with an eye toward weight room and training room improvements pending funding down the road.

  • Barbour indicated, again, that while the Pitt series is not dead in any official capacity, it’s not a conversation currently being held with most of Penn State’s future schedules already in place.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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