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Ferry apologizes, explains what led to reprimand

Penn State interim head coach Jim Ferry

Update: 11:30 p.m.

Jim Ferry opened his postgame news conference after a 79-65 loss at Illinois on Tuesday by apologizing for his actions Sunday at Purdue that led to him being publicly reprimanded by the Big Ten and Penn State being fined $10,000.

The reasoning for the punishment was vague, with the Big Ten noting only that it was a result of Ferry’s “postgame actions.”

That led many people to believe the punishment was a result of him criticizing the officials in his postgame news conference after the Purdue game. But Ferry elaborated a little bit more Tuesday night, mentioning briefly that there was something else that occurred.

“I’m really not gonna discuss that right now,” Ferry said initially when asked. “I acted inappropriately after the game. I made a comment to the officials. And it’s just, you know, I accept responsibility.

“OK. And that’s really all I’m gonna say, guys, alright. I’d like to talk about our game now.”

The “comment to the officials” part after the game had not been made public until Ferry mentioned it himself. Whatever he said, that would make more sense in drawing a reprimand from the league than what the coach said to the media (see below).

Ferry received a technical foul during the game at Purdue, then was heard on TV yelling an obscenity, which did not draw another technical.

The Big Ten was vague about what the punishment was actually for, and a Penn State spokesperson never responded to Nittany Sports Now on Tuesday when asked to clarify the situation or if anything else happened.

This is Ferry’s apology from the beginning of his news conference Tuesday:

“The other night, I apologize to the officials, to the Big Ten conference, our fans, the university, everybody. I really regret my actions. It was uncalled for. Sometimes frustration pops up. But I apologize to our team. I want to apologize to our athletic department and our university.

“I’ve been doing this a long time, I have great respect for the officials. I have really high standards for myself and for my team in the way we represent Penn State. And again, my actions failed to do that. And that’s on me. I should know better. I’m really extremely disappointed in myself. Obviously I’ve definitely learned from this experience, and it won’t happen again.

“And again, I’m truly sorry. I would never want to put anybody in this situation. It was just something a little bit out of character. So I really just want to start with that, because I am really disappointed in myself. And we’ll learn and move on from this.”

This is what Ferry said in his postgame press conference about the technical foul he received Sunday at Purdue, which led to people believing these critical comments are why he was reprimanded.

“I was just fighting for our guys, man. I thought some of the calls were a little uneven or inconsistent, whatever you want to call it. I’ve been coaching for a long time. I wasn’t ranting and raving, I wasn’t cursing. I thought there was a little sensitivity on that, but I’ll deal with that differently.”

From the Big Ten:

The violation is a result Coach Ferry’s postgame actions following the Penn State versus Purdue game on January 17, 2021. The fine and reprimand are a result of Conference Agreement 10.01 stating: The Big Ten Conference expects all contests involving a member institution to be conducted without compromise to any fundamental element of sportsmanship. Such fundamental elements include integrity of the competition, civility toward all, and respect, particularly toward opponents and officials. 

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Written By

Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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