Penn State AD Sandy Barbour discusses future of PSU-Pitt
Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour discussed the future of Penn State-Pitt football on Wednesday, May 10 in Pittsburgh.
Here, she prepares to meet with the media in Los Angeles, Ca. on Dec. 31, 2016. The Nittany Lions will take on USC in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 2. Joe Hermitt | email@example.com
PITTSBURGH — Sandy Barbour’s first chat with Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke was full of “congratulations” and “welcome to the State of Pennsylvania.”
Her next will be about the future of the Penn State-Pitt football rivalry, though the next time they play won’t be the primary focus. It will be about fan behavior at games between the once-traditional rivals, Barbour said Wednesday evening at the Omni William Penn Hotel.
Speaking on the second-to-last day of Penn State’s Coaches Caravan, Barbour touched on the longterm future of the matchup on the field in addition to lobbying for relative peace between fan bases.
“Well first of all we have to respect each other, which we do, so it starts there,” Barbour said.
She and Lyke, whose hiring was announced in March, have known each other for along time, Barbour said. Barbour also worked with previous Pitt athletic director Scott Barnes leading up to last September’s renewal of the more than 120-year-old rivalry to try and ensure a respectful fan environment at Heinz Field.
The game largely went off without incident, though some Pitt fans wore “JoePa knew” t-shirts, referring to the late Penn State head coach’s knowledge of allegations of child molestation – later confirmed in cburt testimony – against former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
Barbour said she doesn’t expect Pitt fans to listen to her or for Penn State fans to listen to Lyke, but that if they continue to ask their own fan bases to tone down the rivalry, it would help.
For the teams on the field, Barbour said, she and Lyke will discuss future meetings between Pitt and Penn State football shortly.
She explained that the programs remained scheduled to play out their home-and-home through 2019, but also that the “Power 5 slot” in PSU’s schedule is filled through 2025.
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Penn State visits Virginia Tech in 2020, hosts Auburn in 2021, visits Auburn in 2022, does the same with West Virginia in 2023 and 2024, respectively, before hosting Virginia Tech in 2025.
Beyond that, more Pitt-Penn State is up in the air, but in play.
Said Barbour: “We both know we’ll get to that conversation very soon.”