Category Archives: PSU/Happy Valley

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Do not forget why the NCAA had the leverage to drop sanctions on Penn State

I’m glad that Penn State’s sanctions are mostly gone and that the $60 million fine is staying in Pennsylvania. However, it must be noted that the failures of Penn State’s most powerful officials, including but not limited to Graham Spanier, Gary Schultz, Tim Curley and Joe Paterno, to hold Jerry Sandusky accountable for showering with a minor on a Friday night in the football building in 2001 is what gave the NCAA leverage to create the sanctions in the first place. That can not be forgotten. The fallout that those individuals have dealt with is trivial to what Sandusky’s victims endured. Pretending that among those officials there was not a custom of keeping things in house is naive. That’s why their removal was necessary, regardless of previous service. Had each of them resigned outright within 72 hours, I believe the damage to the university would have been less significant.

Some are still angry that Penn State did not protect Paterno. I am, as I have been since Nov. 2011, angered that Penn State did not protect the boy in the shower.

I am also angry with Centre County D.A. Ray Gricar, The Second Mile, Louis Freeh, former Pennsylvania Attorney General/current governor Tom Corbett, NCAA, Mark Emmert, the Board of Trustees past and present, Dottie Sandusky and of course Jerry Sandusky. Nobody in power acted correctly in this scandal and accountability for all is important.

I know Pennsylvanians will take care of Corbett in November. Now, Penn Staters let’s move on, elect some trustees who care about the entire university, especially the students who attend it, and not just idolatry and vengeance.

May no act of ours bring shame
To one heart that loves thy name,
May our lives but swell thy fame,
Dear old State, dear old State.

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Penn State’s THON 2014 raises over $13 million for pediatric cancer care and research

THON 2014 raises more than $13.34 millionThe Collegian

Redefining possibilities was the goal of the 42nd annual Penn State Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon and as the 46-hour weekend came to a close, $13,343,517.33 was raised for the Four Diamonds Fund. The total broke last year’s record-setting $12,374,034.46 and climbed the collective total raised to more than $113 million.

That’s a lot money. The challenge is to keep the books open so we can see where the money goes. Five years ago, over 90%(!) of the money was going into the Four Diamonds Fund. Marketplace trust is considered 65%, 90% is excellent. THON ought to open up the books completely so that we can learn where the money is coming from and more importantly, where it is going.

Some reasons I think the total just keeps growing and growing:

social media/Web – Spreading the word and donating online is easy.

Not just “For the Greeks” – THON used to be an only and then mostly Greek event, almost jealously guarded. When it started opening up, it became “a Penn State event.”

Bigger venues – THON went from the White Building to Rec Hall and now the Bryce Jordan Center, so there are many more people involved.

More THON alumni – the 37th year, so the list of people involved just keeps growing annually

Year round events – It’s isn’t just a few canning weekends and THON weekend, there are events all the time.

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NCAA returning some scholarships to Penn State football is mostly a powerplay

The NCAA just reduced scholarship sanctions against Penn State Football. Starting with the next recruiting class, the Nittany Lions will be able to add five scholarships a year, meaning they’ll be back up to a full class of 25 by 2015-2016. Here’s the breakdown from SB Nation: Penn State’s reduced sanctions a major boost for recruiting: Explaining the math. In short, this is huge for Penn State football moving forward. However, let’s not think for a minute that this is the NCAA being magnanimous — this is a big power play.

By the way, there are approximately three schools of thought on the NCAA’s role in Penn State’s mishandling of Jerry Sandusky. They are:

1.) NCAA has no standing and the sanctions are an gross overreach
2.) NCAA simply had to do something and probably should have enacted the death penalty
3.) It’s BS, but trivial to the mishandling of Sandusky be Penn State employees and really trivial compared to the suffering of children that may have been prevented

I’m in the third camp by the way.

The NCAA, as it did in 2012, is throwing its weight around — this is about POWER and not anything else. In my view the NCAA reduced the scholarship sanctions in order to:

  • Change the conversation about the NCAA — there is a lot of questioning of its role in promoting amateur status while raking in millions if not billions of dollars while the student athletes are getting nothing more than scholarship, room and board, etc. for risking their physical well-being. Johnny Manziel might be pretty excited there is another NCAA issue getting people’s attention too.
  • Remind colleges and universities in the crosshairs that if you just roll over and do what the NCAA tells you, you may get a break if you go along with whatever they propose. Sure, I took all your food away, but if you do what I tell you, I’ll give you some scraps!
  • Takes away the growing sentiment that scholarship reductions put players in the targeted program at greater risk for injury.
  • In a sense, puts the existing Penn State administration and board of trustees in a better position since their compliance to the NCAA yielded something of a return to normalcy. “Hey, playing ball is working, let’s stop fighting.”
  • Undercuts pending litigation against the NCAA by several parties by “giving back” some of what they sought — current students, players, coaches etc. aren’t paying for the price for their predecessors as much.
  • By only giving back scholarships, gives the “move on” crowd some satisfaction, while giving a big middle finger to the “we won’t move on…” crowd who wants wins restored and so on. I dont’ see that happening, but then again, I didn’t see this happening.

In short, the NCAA is better at politics than I thought.

Bowl games may be back on the table, but we’ll have to see about that — Penn State football earns a lot of money for the NCAA and its hard to do that when the program is in shambles. I assign absolutely zero credit for the NCAA’s actions being based on the “right thing to do” when it comes to sanctions, the reduction of etc. I keep coming back to one thing — this is about POWER.

Having seen this happen, I foresee a couple of more half-reversals on previous sanctions:

  • Penn State football wins from 1998-2000 (a total of 23, I believe) could be restored as the program was not yet involved with Sandusky’s really creepy and ultimately illegal behavior. This would probably be more seen vindictive than anything to some parties as it was only a fraction of the vacated wins.
  • A large portion of the $60 million fine that Penn State has to pay to help fight child abuse could be directed to be specifically spent in the commonwealth Pennsylvania. There is a lawsuit insisting that all of it be in the commonwealth, but who know maybe $30 million or more gets that lawsuit out of the way. The NCAA has as much interest in going to court as Penn State does — they expression “they want to make money and not get sued” applies to both institutions.

If there is a lesson here, it is POWER and not rules, is what makes things happen in some many situations. If you have power, use it wisely or you will lose it and somebody or something else is going to use their power recklessly. Specifically, if there is an old man taking kids on campus late on Friday nights and taking showers with them, treat that behavior as extremely suspicious and make sure it gets investigated by police. Use your POWER.. You won’t have to deal with lots of hypocrisy, contradictions, grandstanding, and so on and more importantly HELP SOMEBODY WHO IS BEING HURT.

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Penn Staters, please read this column

Old Main tower
On Culture and #CultureOnward State
About 22 months ago, everything went to hell at my alma mater, Penn State University. We found out that the leadership of the university was aware that Jerry Sandusky was likely engaging in, at the very least, very unusual and suspicious behavior ten years earlier and did not do anything substantive about it. There continues to be debate, disagreement, denial and anger about their roles in the matter and what legal culpability is involved.

The column above addresses part of the reaction all of what has happened since. A lot of it is what I’ve been meaning to write. I may still do so, but until that time, I hope Penn Staters will read that column and think about it.

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Penn State THON raises $12,374,034.46 for pediatric cancer fight

THON 2013 total tops $12.3 millionThe Collegian

Penn State Dance Marathon raised $12,374,034.46, over $1.6 million more than 2012. When I was a student, it broke $2 million and we were in amazed.

From thon.org:

The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, affectionately known as THON, is a yearlong effort to raise funds and awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer. Since 1977, THON has raised more than $89 million for the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital.

That total raised since 1977 is now over $100 million.

Also, the last I heard, over 90% of the money raised goes directly to the charity. That’s HUGE — marketplace trust is considered 65%.

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Penn State: The Freeh report comes out today

Penn Staters are facing yet another dark morning of the soul today. I don’t have high expectations that the Freeh report will result in anyone being exonerated, any opinions being changed and certainly not any healing. We’re still where we were in November:

I don’t know when and if I’ll read the report or comment on it.

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RIP Wayne Hilinski

My COMM 320 professor at Penn State, Wayne Hilinski died over the winter; his obituary appeared yesterday in the CDT/Legacy.com. I took his advertising class, but mostly remember him from sitting out in front of Carnegie Building chatting and having fun with the journalism vs. advertising rivalry. For being on the “other side” he was a good guy. I even bought him a round at the Allen Street Grill once after graduation which he was quite grateful for at the time.

Hilinski, 72, was a veteran of the Cola Wars

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Pepsi State: Penn State and Pepsico set to extend contract 10 more years

PepsiCo awarded exclusive Penn State contractCDT
The official soft drink of Penn State will remain Pepsi for another 10 years if a contract between the university and Pepsi is completed in July as expected. The details are still being worked out, but Pepsi would have continue to have exclusive pouring and vending rights on all Penn State campuses.

When I was a student, there was a lot of grumbling about “Pepsi State” from Coke drinkers. I wonder if that is still the case. As of last year, there was a rouge Coke machine on campus (Onward State). From that link, I was directed to an 1992 article from the Times detailing the original Penn State-Pepsi agreement which is quite interesting. Apparently, Penn State was just trying to secure advertising for what was to be the Bryce Jordan Center, but it grew into more. There were concerns that the university was selling out with the deal. I always wondered if people would have felt the same way if it was Coca-Cola instead of PepsiCo and I suspect they would not.

Unless there the contract goes completely off the rails, seven or eight generations of Penn State students will have only been able to buy Pepsi products.

H/T Black Shoe Diaries

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Elm yellows has claimed 76 elms at Penn State, including one near Old Main

Last look at the elms?
The elms in happier times

Disease claims historic Old Main elmPenn State Live

Since the onset of elm yellows on campus in 2007, 76 trees have been lost. Add to these the number of trees killed prior and since by Dutch elm, and out of approximately 290 trees, about 100 remain.

Sigh. Another reminder that the Penn State we knew is going away. The university has put up a good fight against elm yellows, but ultimately, I think they are just buying time, not finding a cure. As these beautiful trees fall, they are being replaced with different types of trees. I understand the rationale, but the fact they were ALL elm trees made them that much more impressive.

What we’re losing:

I have created a Penn State elms public flickr group as well, so please add your flickr photos of the elms.

UPDATED MARCH 9:
StateCollege.com provided video and a gallery of the Old Main elm that got cut down today.

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86 candidates for 3 Penn State board of trustees spots

Penn State Trustees Scorecard: 15 Attorneys, 4 Football Players, 1 Navy SEALstatecollege.com
The formerly sleepy Pennsylvania State University Board of Trustees election is going to be a big deal this year, following the scandal that Jerry Sandusky caused and administrators like Graham Spanier and Gary Schultz didn’t take at all seriously. Eighty-six candidates will be on the ballot for trusteeships this spring, including Adam Taliaferro, who is a mortal lock to win.

I don’t know if I will preview the election at all, but I will note that if the firing of Joe Paterno is one of the candidate’s biggest concerns, they won’t get my vote. While that episode was unfortunate, there is are a lot more important issues facing the university.

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