It was no secret what Illinois coach Tim Beckman's feelings were on recruiting Penn State players after the NCAA levied sanctions against the Nittany Lions this past summer.
The penalties allowed all Penn State players to be recruited by any school and transfer immediately without penalty.
While the rest of Big Ten coaches publicly stayed away from recruiting players from a conference brother, Beckman had members of his coaching staff on the ground in State College just two days after NCAA president Mark Emmert announced the penalties.
The coach then explained his rationale later that week at Big Ten media day and said he did not feel as though he was out of line. Beckman said then his assistants went to "two establishments outside campus and called some individuals if they wanted to come by."
Beckman again addressed the issue at his weekly press conference Monday as his team begins preparations to host Penn State in Saturday's Big Ten opener. The coach tried to downplay the issue, and said the only thing he regrets from his actions over the summer was the attention it received.
"When we had that opportunity to go out and ask young men, or if they come to us, and they would like an opportunity to speak to us, I think that's what college football is about," Beckman said. "I regret that it's being this much talked about, but it did give a young man an opportunity to make his decision on what he wanted to do."
In all, one Penn State player transferred to the Fighting Illini. Reserve redshirt freshman lineman Ryan Nowicki, who was born in Elgin, Ill, was the only player to leave for Champaign.
"I stated what we believed in and what the NCAA allowed us to do," Beckman said. "We were contacted prior to any of this stuff happened by a young man and we pursued it. We didn't go and chase him."
The issue is expected to be a hot button topic of conversation all week leading up to the game. After Penn State's win on Saturday against Temple, senior linebacker Michael Mauti grinned when he was asked about his feelings on the situation.
The senior said that at the time he was not allowed to comment on the issue, but laughed and said maybe later in the week he would be able too.
It appears Mauti will not get his chance to speak this week, however. Mauti is not scheduled to speak at Tuesday's press conference or on Wednesday's conference calls.
Mauti has been the team's outspoken leader all season, and he was very vocal this summer in his attempts to keep the team together.
Penn State coach Bill O'Brien is sure to be pressed at this afternoon's press conference about his feelings on the subject. O'Brien's answers to questions on the topic were very short over the summer.
The two coaches, who will both be making their Big Ten debuts this weekend, spoke at the conference's media day in late July.
Beckman said Monday he hopes there is no tension between the two coaches and the focus remains on the game.
"This game is about the players and about playing it on the field and I know they will be prepared," Beckman said. "I know Coach O'Brien does a great job of getting his players prepared and ready. I think he's done a fabulous job with that program and we know it will be a 60-minute battle."