Tag Archives: Penn State

Coverage of Penn State University, in particular football and other Nittany Lions sports as well as the university community and culture.

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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Yale now has a better Penn State jersey than Penn State

Last year, two of my posts with highest traffic were about the Yale football uniforms. I was pleased they restored the traditional Y to the helmet, but not thrilled that they added merit decals. This year, Uni-Watch got ahead of me and posted the video below. he changes keep coming and it is a mixed bag:

Fall (football) fashion previewYale Alumni Magazine

GOOD: The Y-Dog logo has been removed from the sleeve, so Yale now has a better Penn State jersey than Penn State, right? Other than the thicker block numbers, the new Bulldogs jerseys have the same trim and nearly the same color as the pre-2011 Penn State jerseys.

BAD: The striping has been significantly changed — gone are the two blue stripes on the helmet, pants and socks. In the place of the classic double-stripes, some weird none stripe thing that Nike has been doing since the awful Denver Broncos redesign of 1997.

Overall, this is “fixing what isn’t broken” which is the trend in football uniforms of late. It is quite unnecessary, especially for an Ivy League program where merchandising is a non-issue.

Meanwhile, for the third season in a row, the Penn State uniform has been altered:

The “big” change is the “chipmunk” logo is now in the middle of the neckline. Combined with the Nike swoosh and the BigTen logo, it gets pretty crowded. I could take or leave the chipmunk, but the “B1G” is just aesthetically bad right there, a conference-mandated patch by the way. We all know the Nike swoosh isn’t going anywhere unless Penn State finds another outfitter.

Of course, I would prefer a return to the jerseys they wore through 2010 with the contrasting trim on the neckline and sleeves — the new Yale jersey. In 2011, Guido D’Elia claimed to be behind the change, but he may have been lying. Additionally, names are going to be retained on the back of the jersey because Coach Bill O’Brien wants everybody to know the names of the players who chose to be a part of the program during this difficult era. I won’t argue that reasoning.

Now, at least neither of the great blue and white football programs have gone the Oregon or Maryland route…yet.

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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 gets an old rival back: Maryland to Big Ten; Rutgers likely

Getting B1Gger: Maryland, Rutgers to join Big TenExaminer.com
Look at this! I’ve come out of my Penn State blogging slumber. Sort of. More of that someday, but today the big story is that Penn State has (a) new neighbor(s) in the Big Ten Conference.

The University of Maryland has accepted an invitation to the Big Ten Conference, press conference at 3 p.m. The Terrapins will begin playing in 2014-2015. The Terps used to play the Nittany Lions in football annually. And get beat. Often badly.

Rutgers University is expected to join the conference tomorrow. Another old football opponent/doormat for PSU. Right now, the State University of New Jersey is having a strong season, ranked in the Big East.

These new additions are blatant money grabs for the Big Ten, anything else is secondary. The Big Ten hopes that having these two will get Big Ten Network on basic cable in the Washington D.C., New York and Baltimore television markets. Those are a lot of eyeballs. I don’t think BTN will break into basic cable in New York City, but certainly has a shot in North Jersey which is significant. A good portion of Maryland will likely put BTN on basic cable too. There will be battles over it, but it will eventually be sorted out. Being on the Sports Tier isn’t too bad either and I anticipate greater adoption of that for BTN.

If you are a Penn State fan (or Big Ten fan in the Mid-Atlantic for that matter) this news is bit mixed. Having two “traditional rivals” back on the schedule is good if the Big Ten is too Midwest centric. It is also good news because Penn State dominated those series. Both schools are on the Northeast Corridor and far closer than any of the existing Big Ten schools, especially for all of us who live near Interstate 95. The downsides — potentially and particularly in light of the NCAA sanctions (speaking of blatant power grabs) is that Penn State doesn’t have the argument of a stronger conference than the ones Maryland and Rutgers were in. Also, Maryland and Rutgers may get TV priority, so that could mean fewer Penn State games on ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 though I don’t see that being that big a problem. Penn State is a bigger draw, even now, than those and tends to play in the later timeslots. That’s probably not that big a deal.

I anticipate the Big Ten will now break down strictly on geography for divisions, though I was joking they ought to have to divisions:

RED
Indiana
Maryland
Minnesota
Nebraska
Ohio State
Rutgers
Wisconsin
NOT RED
Illinois
Iowa
Michigan
Michigan State
Penn State
Purdue
Northwestern

By the way, if you want to be “subway alumni” here are the directions from the College Park UMd. Metro station to Byrd Stadium:


View Larger Map

A bit of a hike, but doable. Rutgers is not too far from Amtrak Northeast Corridor/NJ Transit either:


View Larger Map

2.8 miles — I don’t know New Brunswick/Piscataway, so I don’t know the practicality of walking from the train station. It is a nice idea though.

Really, I’ll write about Penn State football again sometime before the bowl game

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No more Sweet Caroline at Penn State games

Tweaking the traditionAltoona Mirror

And while the Boston Red Sox, Pitt football and others have elevated “Sweet Caroline” to a staple for their games, that popular PSU tradition may be interrupted or discontinued.

Long overdue, particularly considering the awful origins of the song:


Neil Diamond Storytellers by JimGoodwine

Okay, in the real world, I’m glad they are getting rid of it because it is a cliche that has nothing to do with the Penn State. Not that it has anything to do with the Red Sox, but they’ve made it their own long before Guido D’Elia brought it to Beaver Stadium. I’m sure it still gets played at the Shandygaff.

I still have a post to write about everything. Not real eager to do 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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If you can handle it, an update in the Jerry Sandusky scandal

The Jerry Sandusky Case Gets Weirder, BusierBlack Shoe Diaries
In case you are wondering what is going on in the scandal that Jerry Sandusky unleashed on Penn State, visit that link above. In short, whiskey-tango-foxtrot in perpetuity. Everybody lost and that’s never going to change. Well, Sandusky may win, because the Pennsylvania prosecutors appear incompetent. For alums like me, the reputation of our alma mater will probably never be repaired. So, I guess Gov. Tom Corbett won in that regard too. I still need to break down an article about him here.

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Sara Ganim, Patriot-News win Pulitzer for Sandusky coverage

Sara Ganim, Patriot-News win Pulitzer Prize for Jerry Sandusky coveragePatriot-News
In one of the least surprising developments of the scandal Jerry Sandusky has plunged Penn State into is the announcement that Sara Ganim (Journalism, 2008) has won the Pultizer Prize for her Patriot-News reporting. Specifically, it is for Local Reporting:

Awarded to Sara Ganim and members of The Patriot-News Staff, Harrisburg, Penn., for courageously revealing and adeptly covering the explosive Penn State sex scandal involving former football coach Jerry Sandusky.

This saga has been brutal for all Penn Staters and of course they boys involved, but we can take pride that Ganim has reported the story fairly and vigorously. She is a credit to the College of Communications, the entire university and her profession.

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