Pat Narduzzi tells Sirius Radio Notre Dame `back channels’ asked Kenny Pickett about transferring before ’21 season

Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said Wednesday that tampering with other schools’ players — in this age of uncontested transfers — has become a serious problem in college sports.

How serious? During an interview on Sirius XM ACC Radio, he said people with connections to Notre Dame tried to get former Pitt quarterback and ACC Player of the Year Kenny Pickett to transfer there.

“I just found this out, you know, I’ll throw it out there,” he said, speaking with Roddy Jones. “I guess people reached out to Kenny Pickett to go to Notre Dame a year ago. I had no idea. He didn’t say anything to me, which obviously it didn’t get that serious, but Notre Dame recruited him through the back channels.

“It’s not (former Notre Dame coach) Brian Kelly but someone’s telling these guys, whoever they are, to come to Notre Dame, right?

“We’re gonna start losing more college coaches to the NFL game, so they don’t have to deal with this chaos. And I think that’s gonna be bad for college football.”

Asked about the relaxed name, image and likeness rules and the NCAA transfer portal, he said that combination makes coaching in college athletics difficult.

“I think they work hand in hand. You know, the tampering where, you know, you should not have to recruit your own team,” he said. “Nobody should be able to come in and say, ‘Hey, listen, we like that Biletnikoff (winner), that No. 3, that Jordan Addison, he’s pretty good. We think we want him to come down south and we’re gonna give you, you know, $500,000 to come down south and you’re gonna be driving a, you know, a BMW.’

“And it’s kind of like, `What are we doing? This can’t happen.’ “

Narduzzi was speaking in general terms because Addison did not transfer from Pitt after winning the Biletnikoff Award last season as the nation’s best wide receiver.

Narduzzi’s comments to Jones were a contination of what he told local media earlier in the day.

At that time, he said, “There’s a lot of tampering going on.”

“I don’t know how the NCAA or the FBI (is going to check) people’s phones for the tampering that’s going on. But it’s not good for the game of college football

“That’s another reason for putting the brakes on expanding to 12 teams in the playoffs. You’re spending time doing that and that’s bad. People would like to steal your developed guys and not have to develop them themselves.

“Develop them yourselves.”

Pitt used the transfer portal to add quarterback Kedon Slovis (USC), wide receiver Konata Mumpfield (Akron) and linebacker Shayne Simon (Notre Dame). He also lost 10 players to transfers, including linebacker and co-captain Cam Bright, who ended up at Washington.

Asked if he was surprised that Bright transferred, Narduzzi said, “No.” He declined further comment.

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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