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.

Penn State: THON raises $13,026,653.23 for pediatric cancer charity


The annual Penn State Dance Marathon raised $13,026,653.23 for the Four Diamonds Fund a huge number, but not as huge as last year. Here’s how THON.org describes the philanthropy:

The mission of the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon is to conquer pediatric cancer by providing outstanding emotional and financial support to the children, families, researchers, and staff of the Four Diamonds Fund.

The ongoing challenges for THON are to keep the books open so we can see where the money goes and to stay humble. THON claims that 96% of funds go to the Four Diamonds Fund. Marketplace trust is considered 65%, 96% is incredible. I’d like THON to provide details that confirms that number. As for humility, that has historically a bit of a challenge for some people. I can’t imagine many Penn Staters never heard someone in the Greek system say something along the lines of “we do THON, so don’t criticize us ever.” Given the Sandusky scandal, pointing to THON as a reason to not criticize the university seems inevitable by some and that’s sad.

The success of THON should stand alone and not be co-opted by any other agendas.

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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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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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