Rape Case at Vanderbilt Haunts New Penn State Coach

Tennessee lawsuit says Coach James Franklin contacted alleged victim.

The Patriot-News reports that Penn State’s new football coach still has some problems remaining at his last job: “New allegations have arisen that James Franklin contacted the victim who was allegedly raped by several of his football players when he was head coach at Vanderbilt University. What’s more, Franklin had allegedly recruited the victim – in an apparent violation of NCAA rules – to assist him in recruiting players to the Vanderbilt team because she was ‘pretty.'” The Patriot-News piece relies on reporting from the Nashville Tennessean, which adds some details about the case, in which former Vanderbilt player Brandon Vandenburg is accused of raping a 21-year-old female student in a Vanderbilt dorm room on June 23, prior to Franklin’s final season as the coach there.

The filing also includes a new allegation about interactions between the alleged victim and former head football coach James Franklin and former director of performance enhancement Dwight Galt — both now at Penn State University. Referring to records, the attorneys said the victim was contacted by Franklin and Galt during a medical examination four days after the rape to explain “that they cared about her because she assisted them with recruiting.” It went oin to say that at some point, “Coach Franklin called her in for a private meeting and told her he wanted her to get fifteen pretty girls together and form a team to assist with the recruiting even though he knew it was against the rules. He added that all the other colleges did it.”

The Tennessean said Franklin declined comment on the allegations. But the Patriot-News reports Franklin has run into trouble with sex- and gender-related issues before. The paper points to a 2012 incident covered at the time by USA Today:

Franklin made his comments during a radio interview with 104.5 The Zone’s 3HL drive-time show with Brent Dougherty, Clay Travis and Blaine Bishop.

“I’ve been saying it for a long time, I will not hire an assistant coach until I’ve seen his wife,” Franklin said in the interview. “If she looks the part, and she’s a D-1 recruit, then you got a chance to get hired. That’s part of the deal.

“There’s a very strong correlation betwieen having the confidence, going up and talking to a woman, and being quick on your feet and having some personality and confidence and being fun and articulate, than it is walking into a high school and recruiting a kid and selling him.”

Franklin apologized for the comments.