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Serious Accusations of James Franklin Have Surfaced

In a wrongful termination lawsuit levied against the program, there are allegations that James Franklin pressured medical staff numerous times.
james franklin allegations

There are new allegations of wrong doing at Penn State. This time they involve head coach James Franklin. Penn State University football program is no stranger to attention, for better or worse. Joe Paterno‘s legendary 46-year tenure and two national titles are overshadowed by the Jerry Sandusky case. While the saying goes that winning cures all, it comes up short in this instance. After Paterno’s reign, the Nittany Lions had the Herculean feat of not falling to obscurity with the sanctions. Bill O’Brien came in and treaded water for two years and left for the NFL. Then Franklin came from Vanderbilt to stabilize.

He has won 88 games in 10 years, winning the Big Ten once and making a New Year’s Six game five times. Now, all of that is called into question as some serious allegations have surfaced.

James Franklin Dealing With Serious Allegations

According to a wrongful termination lawsuit from one of Penn State’s former team doctors, Dr. Scott Lynch, Franklin meddled in medical decisions and allegedly fired him and Dr. Pete Seidenberg for not leveling a medical decision.

In the suit, a former player, who was unnamed, was planning on committing suicide. As a result, Franklin allegedly tried to get Seidenberg and his staff to medically disqualify the player from the team. As a result, that player’s scholarship would have been freed up, allowing Franklin to recruit another athlete.

Seidenberg declined to do so. This was allegedly one of the many times the medical staff felt pressured to hand down a medical designation – or lack thereof – at the behest of Franklin and then-Penn State athletic director, Sandy Barbour.

James Franklin Allegations of Playing Hurt vs. Playing Injured

Along with the allegations of medical disqualification, Seidenberg alleged that he and his staff were pressured to clear players to return earlier than they otherwise should have. According to the doctor’s testimony:

“Coach was trying to get us to release the athlete for return to play,” Seidenberg said. “We were being pressured to release the athlete. There was a discussion. Coach was trying to influence medical decisions.”

After refusing to clear the athlete, Seidenberg added that Franklin was angry with the training staff’s decision.

In the suit, Lynch alleged that he was fired for refusing to “allow a coach to interfere with his medical treatment and return-to-play decisions.” Lynch said he reported Franklin’s actions to Penn State Athletics and Penn State Health, including his immediate supervisor David Black, whom Lynch is also suing. Lynch is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

This is a developing story, first reported by John Leciew of the Philadelphia Inquirer.


james franklin allegations
Photo courtesy: Dan Rainville / USA TODAY NETWORK


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