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Rob Bolden responds: QB 'upset' about JoePa denying transfer release

January 4, 2011 - Cory Giger
Rob Bolden said he no longer wants to play for Penn State and is angry, along with his father, that Joe Paterno has decided not to release him from his scholarship so he can transfer.

"I'm pretty upset," Bolden told the Mirror by phone Tuesday night. "I didn't understand why [Paterno] would want me to stay if I didn't want to be there. I was looking to get out and get a release, but he thinks otherwise."

The freshman quarterback and his father, Robert Sr., drove from Michigan to State College on Tuesday to meet with Paterno, and both thought the trip was merely a formality.

"I completely expected a release," Bolden's father said. "[Paterno] could have told me [no] over the phone. I could have stayed in Michigan. I didn't have to drive down here for that."

Bolden needs the release in order to get a scholarship at another school. If Paterno doesn't grant the release, Bolden can still leave Penn State, but NCAA rules stipulate he would have to pay his own way while sitting out at another Division I-A college next year.

"He doesn't wish to release him," Bolden's father said of JoePa. "He made it clear that he's not in a position quarterback-wise to release Rob, nor does he want Rob to go.

"He wants him to stay and go through the spring and kind of go from there," Bolden Sr. added.

Bolden, who started the first seven games before suffering a concussion and eventually losing his job to Matt McGloin, hasn't figured out his next move. Classes for the spring semester start Monday, and Bolden was asked if he plans to return to Penn State.

"I'm not sure yet," he said. "If I can figure out a way to get out of there with the release or whatever before Monday, then I'll do that. But if not, then we'll see what happens."

Bolden's situation has gotten messy the past few days, since he sat on the bench for all of Penn State's loss to Florida in Saturday's Outback Bowl. His father said Sunday night that a decision already had been made for his son to transfer, which Bolden Sr. initially indicated was "100 percent" certain.

Given how dysfunctional everything has been the past few days, Bolden was asked if the situation can be resolved or if the relationship with the PSU coaches has been strained beyond repair.

"If I do come back, for that time me being there, I'll take advantage of what I have to do and not be a problem for the program," Bolden said. "But I'm not looking to do that at all."

Bolden said his decision to leave wasn't based on just the Outback Bowl, where McGloin had five interceptions and nearly several more but continued to play.

"It was before that," Bolden said. "After the point I got hurt and I wasn't around to do anything, as far as getting back on the field at all for the next six or seven games, I was already thinking about leaving."

Bolden returned from his concussion in week nine against Northwestern and was pulled after only two series and a fumble on his final play. From that point on, he says he never got straight answers from quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno or the other coaches.

"I don't think they were being honest, I don't think they lied," Bolden said. "I think they kind of like avoided the whole situation, with me talking to Jay week to week, trying to see what's up with me getting back on the field. He kind of told me the same thing that he told me [Tuesday], so I've just been hearing the same stories for a while now."

The Boldens told their side of the story to JoePa on Tuesday.

"We expressed how we felt," Bolden Sr. said. "Rob expressed his views on why he wanted to leave, why he didn't want to stay. And Joe said no."

The Boldens did not try to convince Paterno to change his mind about granting the release.

"There's nothing to talk about after that; no is no," Bolden Sr. said. "I'm not looking to change his mind. If he's made his mind up that he's not going to release him, I didn't have to drive down for that."

Bolden's father then was asked if Paterno said anything about giving it some time for his son to think things over.

"It was just a no," Bolden Sr. said. "Giving it a week or two or three would be meaningless."

It's rare for a coach to deny a scholarship release, but it does happen on occasion at different schools. When it does happen, however, it typically doesn't get the kind of publicity this situation has generated.

Much of the publicity has been sparked by statements of frustration made by Bolden's father to the media. Since Sunday night, Bolden Sr. had been doing all the talking for his son, so no one knew exactly how the player felt and if the father was conveying his son's actual thoughts or just his own frustrations.

The latter possibility was presented Tuesday night to Bolden Sr., who then offered to turn the phone over to his son for his first interview on the matter.

Earlier Tuesday, Bolden's mother, Tonia Williams, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that she wants her son to stay at Penn State and that it would be "the wrong decision" to transfer.

Tuesday night, McGloin was interviewed by ABC affiliate WNEP-TV at a high school basketball game in Scranton. He kept his comments about Bolden brief but had this sound bite: "If he does go it's tough. He was a good backup to have."

If Bolden ultimately does transfer, along with third-stringer Kevin Newsome, who is considering leaving, as well, then McGloin and redshirt freshman Paul Jones would be PSU's only two scholarship quarterbacks next season.

Linebacker Nate Stupar, though, tweeted Tuesday night that Newsome is staying put.

"Seems like all our QB's are staying. Joepa denying Bolden's transfer and Newsome is staying. Guess were having another QB battle this Spring," Stupar tweeted.

Recruiting expert Bob Lichtenfels of scout.com said so much uncertainty likely played a role in Paterno denying Bolden's request.

"Joe Paterno's first responsibility is to his program, first and foremost," Lichtenfels said. "It's a shame that Bolden's unhappy ... but Joe Paterno has a responsibility to Penn State and to that football team. And maybe he feels like he can't put himself in a position to be down a quarterback right now."

Cory Giger can be reached at 949-7031 and cgsports12@aol.com.

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The entire Q&A with Bolden and his father

Rob Bolden

Q: How disappointed are you that Joe denied the scholarship release?:

A: I'm pretty upset. I didn't understand why he would want me to stay if I didn't want to be there. I was looking to get out and get a release, but he thinks otherwise.

Q: What is your plan now? Are you coming back to PSU for school?:

A: I'm not sure yet. If I can figure out a way to get out of there with the release or whatever before Monday, then I'll do that. But if not, then we'll see what happens.

Q: If Joe does not release you, do you plan to come back?:

A: We'll see what happens. I'm not sure yet.

Q: If you do come back, can it work after how messy things have gotten, or is it beyond repair?:

A: If I do come back, for that time me being there, I'll take advantage of what I have to do and not be a problem for the program. But I'm not looking to do that at all.

Q: Have your teammates and friends been supportive of you?:

A: Yeah. Pretty much all of my teammates are at this point, they've texted me or called and understand where I'm coming from.

Q: What were the deciding factors for you to transfer? Was it the Outback Bowl, or was it before?:

A: It's not just the Outback Bowl. It was before that. After the point I got hurt and I wasn't around to do anything, as far as getting back on the field at all for the next six or seven games, I was already thinking about leaving.

Q: Do you feel like the coaching staff lied to you in any way or do you feel like they were being honest with you?:

A: I don't think they were being honest, I don't think they lied. I think they kind of like avoided the whole situation, with me talking to Jay week to week, trying to see what's up with me getting back on the field. He kind of told me the same thing that he told me today, so I've just been hearing the same stories for a while now.

***********************

Comments from Bolden's father

Q: Did Joe explain why he wouldn't grant the release?:

A: He doesn't wish to release him. He made it clear that he's not in a position quarterback-wise to release Rob, nor does he want Rob to go.

Q: Did he make it seem like his decision is final, or does he want Rob to stick around for a while and think about it?:

A: He wants him to stay and go through the spring and kind of go from there.

Q: Classes start at PSU soon. Is he coming back to class?:

That's kind of up in the air right now. We're just kind of weighing our options where to go from here. We were not expecting him to deny a release.

Q: Did Joe say anything along the lines of give it some to think about it, or was it a flat-out no?:

A: It was just a no. Giving it a week or two or three would be meaningless.

Q: How surprised are you by this?:

A: I completely expected a release. He could have told me over the phone. I could have stayed in Michigan. I didn't have to drive down here for that. There's nothing to talk about after that. No is no. I'm not looking to change his mind. If he's made his mind up that he's not going to release him, I didn't have to drive down for that.

Q: Did you guys try to talk Joe out of it? Was there a dialogue?:

A: We expressed how we felt. Rob expressed his views on why he wanted to leave, why he didn't want to stay. And Joe said no.

Q: Is Rob pretty upset?:

A: I would say so, yes.

Q: I ask this will all due respect. We haven't heard yet from Rob in this whole process, but you've been outspoken about him being unhappy, so does Rob feel that way, or is there a chance your words aren't necessarily reflecting his thoughts.

A: Well, I could let you speak to him if you wish. (NOTE: This is when he put Rob on the phone for the comments above.)

 
 

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