The culture of college football revealed itself in two drastically different ways Wednesday on Penn State's campus.
First came the good side of that culture, when about 30 Nittany Lion football players showed their character and resolve while pledging their commitments to the school they love.
"This program was not built by one man, and this program sure as hell is not going to get torn down by one man," senior linebacker Michael Mauti said.
Shortly thereafter, the ruthless business side of the sport reared its ugly head when many of those same players - who are free agents who can transfer anywhere they want and play immediately - became recruiting targets as coaches from opposing teams came onto campus trying to lure them away.
"We have chosen to stay at Penn State and opposing coaches are outside our apartment, was that the intention of the NCAA?" PSU cornerback Adrian Amos tweeted.
Coaches from Illinois were among those on campus seeking out potential transfers. USA Today confirmed the Illini coaches were there to visit PSU players who had contacted the school.
Passing on Chicago
No Nittany Lion players will be attending Big Ten media days in Chicago today and tomorrow. Running back Silas Redd, defensive lineman Jordan Hill and offensive lineman John Urschel had been scheduled to represent PSU, but the school announced Wednesday that they would not be in attendance.
Redd also was not at the player gathering outside Holuba Hall on Wednesday morning.
Talk about awkward, Penn State plays at Illinois on Sept. 29, and if the Illini coaches aren't successful getting Lion players to transfer, there certainly could be some hard feelings leading up to that game.
There still has been no confirmation of any Lions transferring, including star running back Silas Redd, who is being recruited by USC. ESPN's Joe Schad tweeted Wednesday that a decision regarding Redd could be reached by Monday.
While some PSU players may be considering transferring, most who have spoken out so far have maintained their commitment to the school.
The group of about 30 players gathered Wednesday morning outside Holuba Hall to express their unity in the team and the university in the wake of the NCAA sanctions.
Mauti and senior running back Michael Zordich served as the spokesmen for the team, and each issued passionate comments - speaking from the heart and without notes - on behalf of the squad.
Mauti said the players "take this as an opportunity to create our own legacy," then talked about how one man - alluding to Jerry Sandusky - would not tear down the program.
"This program was built on every alumni, every single player that came before us, built on their backs," Mauti said. "And we're going to take that right now. This is our opportunity to do that."
Mauti later said, "No sanction, no politician is ever going to take away what we've got here."
"None of that's ever going to tear us apart," Mauti added. "Right now, all we can do, we can put our heads down, and we're just going to work. That's all we can do. We're going to play for Penn State, we're going to fight for each other because this is what Penn State's about - fighting through adversity. And we're going to show up every Saturday and we're going to raise hell."
Being a Penn Stater means something extra for Mauti and Zordich, both of whom are legacy players as their fathers also played for the Lions.
"We want to let the nation know that we're proud of who we are," Zordich said. "We're the true Penn Staters. We're going to stick together through this. We're going to see this thing through, and we're going to do everything we can for the university.
"We know it's not going to be easy, but we know what we're made of. We know that through this ride there's going to be tough times ahead. But we know what our coaches are made of, and we know what the university is made of and we're ready and willing to fight and stick together to get through this thing to the end.
"As a team, we don't see this as a punishment. This is an opportunity. This is the greatest opportunity a Penn Stater could ever be given. We have an obligation to Penn State, and we have the ability to fight for not just a team, not just a program, but an entire university and every man that wore the blue and white on that gridiron before us. We're going to embrace this opportunity, and we're going to make something very special happen in 2012."
Zordich said the football players suit up for their teammates, the fans, the students and "all the families of Nittany Nation," and he added the players will do everything they can "to make them proud, and we're going to do everything in our power to get this place back on track."
Zordich also had a message for all Penn State fans.
"I'm personally calling out every member of Nittany Nation - all the students, faculty, fans and family members, alumni, everybody that there is, please, please come support us through this because we need you just as much as you need us, and together we're going to get through this thing to the end," he said.