First-year Illinois football coach Tim Beckman spent part of his time with the media Thursday at the Big Ten Kickoff in Chicago discussing where his assistant coaches had spent their Wednesday.
Bill O'Brien offered little comment about which schools visited his campus Wednesday.
Outside Penn State's practice facility, or somewhere else in State College?
"We were in State College, but we did not go on campus," Beckman told reporters in Chicago. "We went to two establishments outside campus and called some individuals and if they wanted to come by, it was their opportunity to come by."
The NCAA sanctions levied against Penn State earlier this week stipulated that the current Nittany Lions would be allowed to transfer to any institution, in FBS or otherwise, without having to sit out a year. Since, schools from across the country have been in contact with Bill O'Brien's players. Illinois, according to multiple reports, was one of the most prominent, sending eight members of its coaching staff to State College.
Some Penn State players -- without naming specific schools -- Tweeted that assistant coaches were outside their apartment. Other reports had coaches outside the Lasch Football Complex. Not the Illini, Beckman said.
"It was brought to our attention by two individuals prior to even any sanctions being granted by the NCAA that an opportunity might present itself for a transfer," Beckman said. "We did not go onto their campus. We only talked to individuals that would be willing to meet with us. We did not go after them. They had the opportunity to come to us if they would like to come to us and speak to us. And that's how we handled the situation."
Later Thursday, O'Brien was characteristically blunt on the matter, saying, "I have no idea what schools were on campus, nor do I care. That's all I have to say about that."
The Big Ten's coaches and athletic directors met Thursday morning prior to their media responsibilities, and Beckman said he spoke briefly with O'Brien and Penn State athletic director David Joyner "about the situation."
"We're just following the rules of the NCAA," Beckman said. "We provided Penn State with the names of the people that -- prior to us even going there, our compliance coordinator, Ryan Squire, and Mike Thomas, our athletic director, gave (us) a list of people that -- so that they were aware of, before we got there, of who those individuals might be."
The Fighting Illini open their Big Ten season against Penn State in Champaign on Sept. 29.