It has not gotten much better for Penn State. Not yet. The idea that the start of the football season would turn attention away from the Jerry Sandusky scandal that rocked the campus and football program just is not panning out that way. Not yet.
First, a slew of players bolted to other programs. And when the games began, the Nittany Lions blew two prime chances for victory.
So, they sit at 0-2 when this news came down Wednesday: starting wide receiver Shawney Kersey has quit the team for what the school is calling “personal reasons.”
Kersey was Penn State’s more experienced receiver, a redshirt junior the coaches were counting on to provide leadership on a team with creaky stability.
He started the first two games this season and had six receptions for 44 yards. True freshman Trevor Williams and senior Brandon Moseby-Felder likely will fill the hole left by Kersey.
Kersey is the 12th player to depart the program in the wake of the NCAA sanctions levied against the program in connection with the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal. Nine transferred, and Kersey is the third to leave while remaining a student at Penn State.
“It was definitely a surprise to me,” quarterback Matt McGloin said Wednesday. “We just have to focus on the people we have now.”
Because of the Sandusky scandal, which resulted in a jury convicting the former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator on 45 counts of sexual abuse, players who choose to leave the team while staying at the school have been permitted by the NCAA to remain on scholarship. Players who elected to leave school before the season were granted immediate eligibility elsewhere.
“I don’t really know too much about Shawney,” cornerback Stephon Morris said. “All I know is the train can’t stop rolling. Right now we’re 0-2; we can’t really think about that.”