Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Playing Politics Instead of Football

Just so we are completely clear on this . . . this is not a football related post.  It is a political post on a football oriented blog.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

First, I want to discuss an article from Philly.com about the upcoming BOT election.
Lord was endorsed last week by Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship (PS4RS), which elected trustees the last two years on a platform objecting that the board copped too easily in the 2011 Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal to the stern criticisms of the Louis Freeh report, the costly NCAA sanctions, and the de-sanctification of the late football coach Joe Paterno. 
Also favored by PS4RS are ex-State Sen. Robert Jubelirer and St. John's University prof Alice Pope. 

Against them - among others - is the Upward State slate, backed by insiders, including three past heads of the Penn State alumni association. (Which made $30 million in 1994-2010 selling alumni addresses to a credit card bank where Freeh was a boss. Small world.)

Upward State nominee Julie McHugh, who recently stepped down as chief operating officer at what is now Endo International, said her group is "trying to represent a more positive point of view" than the "backward-looking" PS4RS.

What do they want? More taxpayer aid, for one thing: State subsidies have been going "the wrong direction." College aid offers "a pretty solid return on investment" by the public, McHugh told me. 

Could online classes cut expenses? They should supplement, not replace, classrooms, McHugh says - though she'll support "restructuring" if new Penn State president Eric J. Barron recommends it.

How's the endowment? McHugh says she's looking forward to learning more about that. She hopes more will go to student aid, not just buildings named for donors.

Joel Myers, Ph.D., founder and boss at AccuWeather, is the only alumni trustee seeking reelection. Just like Lord, he's a Philly boy and public-school grad who attended Penn State Abington and the Main Campus. Then he became a prof, stayed 20 years while building his business, quit in 1981 to run it, ran for the board, and was reelected to 10 more three-year terms.

If Penn State needed fixing, wasn't Myers part of the problem?

Did the board go too far? "People don't realize" the threat to funding, accreditation, survival, Myers said. He admits "there were problems here, and they emanated from the football area." But "do we want to look back and keep figuring out what we did right and what we did wrong? Or do we want to look at the future?"

Sounds like Upward State. "I agree with virtually everything they say," Myers told me. "But people I trust think I should serve another three years, because of the active role I play, the institutional knowledge, and the fact so many board members are new."
So in no particular order, here are my problems with what is said in this article and the situation in general.
Joel Myers . . . "I am not a . . . part of the problem!"

The problems emanated from the football area?  Tell me again, Mr. Myers, which NCAA rules the football program broke?  There hasn't even been a conviction in court--yet--of a PSU administrator for wrong doing.  The only thing emanating through all this is a board too willing to throw the football program and it's aging coach under the bus to protect . . . whatever they thought needed protecting.  There has been ZERO transparency regarding what the Board knew before the Presentment, what went on between the board and Mr. Freeh, and what transpired between Mr. Erickson and the NCAA.  This is why the Board wants us to MOVE ON.

The ideas being promoted by Upward State are laudable, but certainly not beyond question.  State funding is a constant concern and certainly needs to be addressed.  But then to question "buildings named for donors" in the context of student aid seems a bit ridiculous.  The buildings named for donors:  The Paterno Library, Pegula Ice Arena, Schreyer Honors College, to name a few, BENEFIT students in many ways and for years to come.  They are an investment in the life of the University that attracts students, enables students, and promotes the University.  And they are costly investments that depend on donations from donors.  Isn't it logical to reward those donors with some recognition?  Just a pet peeve of mine.  Don't throw the donors under the bus here.  If the donors wanted the money to be spent on funding student aid, I'm sure they could stipulate that.

What concerns me the most is that this--whether intentional or not--appears to be an effort to divide and conquer the alumni, with grandiose promises of better state funding, restructuring, presenting a positive view all whilst singing Kumbaya to provide a smoke screen for more devious purposes.

PS4RS has seen great success promoting candidates elected to the BOT.  A second party--if you will--will only dilute the power the alumni now have over the BOT.  Let's face it.  Any one who is going to vote for Joel Myers is going to do so, regardless of these alumni groups.  The man has been there THIRTY YEARS.  To beat him, the alumni have to remain united--dispersing their votes over too many candidates only works in Myers' favor.  If alumni distribute their votes between SIX candidates, that only enhances Myers' chance of getting re-elected.

And if that doesn't convince, you, how about the fact that Mr. Myers agrees "with virtually everything they [Upward State] say"?  That alone is enough for me to not vote for any of Upstates candidates.

I didn't vote for Jubelirer before--mainly due to his arrogance as a politician and his role in the pay raise mess--so my third vote is saved for Ryan Bagwell.

You cannot move on until the wrongs of the past have been righted.  It's not looking back . . .it's called not overlooking injustice or choosing not to look the other way.  Paterno's enemies have accused him of looking the other way.  Don't expect or ask alumni to do the same.  Let's get to the bottom of it and find the facts.  Is that regressive?  I don't think so.

And another interesting rumor from The Intelligencer:
“There’s a nuclear war going on between Corbett and Kane,” Galloway said.

The story about Kane ending the corruption investigation was leaked to blunt Kane’s impending report on how Corbett handled (or mishandled) the investigation of the Penn State football scandal that landed then assistant coach Jerry Sandusky in prison on child sexual abuse charges.   

“Kane is about to release an explosive document about the Sandusky investigation six months before a gubernatorial election. The lead prosecutor in that investigation is also the lead prosecutor in the sting investigation. So, the idea is to discredit Kathleen Kane before the Sandusky thing hits,” Galloway said. “I’m just the roadkill along the way.”
Apparently Galloway has gotten caught in the cross-fire in an investigation of politicians accepting gifts.  As such, his comments fall in the realm of a disgruntled employee, but we have certainly heard rumblings of Corbett being involved in something bigger than the Sandusky scandal itself. 

And sometimes where there's smoke . . . there's fire.

And sometimes when there's fire . . . BOOM!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

FOUR-PEAT's Sake!


Bowling Coming to Penn State?


I don't think he's talking about rolling strikes or making spares!

Of course, this is Gerry DiNardo, so the relative value of this claim is probably less than the cost of a cup of coffee.

We can always hit the lanes in January!  But I'd rather the team hit the line and roll up the score . . .fight on to vict'ry ever more . . . Fight On, On, On, On, On, Fight On Penn State!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Big Fifteen?

The University of Illinois is feeling lonely in Illinois.

According to timesunion.com,
Two state lawmakers are proposing a plan to have another of Illinois' state colleges designated a Big Ten school.

The legislation is sponsored by Republican Sens. Matt Murphy and Michael Connelly. It would study the feasibility of having another of the state's nine public universities join the conference that also includes Penn State, the University of Michigan and Purdue University.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is currently the state's only Big Ten state school.

Murphy says the university has become so competitive that Illinois students with good grades and test scores often see their applications declined, causing them to travel to other Big Ten schools out of state.
That's not how it works.  That's not how any of this works.



Obviously, they are not legislating adding a school to the Big Ten against the conference's will, but isn't that the ultimate goal--to add a school?  How much is this feasibility study going to cost the average Illinois tax payer?  Wouldn't it make more sense to ask the Big Ten if there are any other existing schools in Illinois that could become members?  If the conference just laughs, then there's your feasibility study right there.  Hell, give me $100,000 contract and I'll give you a feasibility study!  (And while it's cheaper than the Freeh Report, I guarantee it will hold more truth!)

Wasn't the University of Chicago a founding member back in the days of leather helmets and no forward passes?  Maybe they are still available.

Here is a list, from Wikipedia, of public universities in Illinois:

Chicago State University
Eastern Illinois University
Governors State University
Illinois State University
Northeastern Illinois University
Northern Illinois University
Southern Illinois University
     -Southern Illinois University Carbondale
     -Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
University of Illinois system
     -University of Illinois at Chicago
     -University of Illinois at Springfield
     -University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
Western Illinois University
     -Western Illinois University-Quad Cities
 
 I'd vote for Governors State University just because of the cool name, and it doesn't have Illinois or Chicago in its name.  And it's in University Park, IL.  How cool is that?!  Their school colors are black and orange, so it would be like Halloween all year long.  And when it comes to athletics:
Students at Governors State University can participate in a number of intramural sports. All students are encouraged to participate. Available athletic programs include men’s and women’s intramural basketball, handball, racquetball, soccer softball, table tennis, and women’s intramural volleyball.

Watch out for that table tennis team!  A new Big Ten sport!

Maybe they ought to be looking into ways to assure more residents of a spot in the Big Ten school(s)--Northwestern apparently has been excluded from the discussion because it is a private school--they already have.  But wait!  Maybe they don't want more in-state residents, since the cost of tuition is $14,000 higher for out of state students! 

Silly me.  It would be cheaper just to add Northeastern Illinois to the Big Ten.

Friday, March 14, 2014

STEP UPDATE: Pi Day Edition

It's that time of year again!

Here are the numbers of available seats by section.  I have listed the past three years, but the delta (difference) is just comparing today to last year.  The totals at the bottom are a little screwy because the STEP level donations were changed to include $200 levels.  I also noticed that some levels in the virtual view are listed as donations of ZERO to $100 or $400.  I don't know what this means.  Are there seats available with no annual fee?  I do know they changed the single game pricing so that less marquee match-ups will be cheaper than better opponent match ups.  If any one knows why they list a possible $0 donation for some areas, make a comment and let us know.  Maybe it's just a glitch.

SECTIONDonationSeats AvailableSeats AvailableSeats AvailableDelta 
  5/1/20123/31/20133/14/2014  
       
WB$40024626227513 
WC$40022708515 
WD$600-20004445516 
WE$600-2000531512 
WF$600-20003180833 
WG$40022487123 
WH$400269236336100 
WJ$100164133-8 
NA$10029329664 
NB$100536913061 
NC$100939815254 
ND$1001358112948 
NE$1001699015464 
NF$100956310744 
NG$1001998613549 
NH$1001766813062 
NJ$1002098016787 
NK$10022576184108 
NL$1007366170104 
EJ$1001635427 
EH$40042142148766 
EG$400577866-12 
EF$600-20007710680-26 
EE$600-20001022 
ED$600-20001087711033 
EC$4008710293-9 
EB$400765852-6 
       
WBU$0-10027103 
WCU$200573554379-175 
WDU$400712696642-54 
WEU$60033634540863 
WFU$400724699605-94 
WGU$200498464305-159 
WHU$100243441 
WJU$1006157227170 
NAU$0-40013515313-140 
NBU$0-10011011550-65 
NCU$0-40019320435-169 
NDU$0-40014815533-122 
NEU$0-40019518852-136 
NFU$0-40015614025-115 
NGU$0-40011411825-93 
NHU$0-40010811442-72 
NJU$0-40018824040-200 
NKUVISITOR0000 
NLU$0-400201313 
EJU$10030197425328 
EHU$100107314370 
EGU$200129112741092-182 
EFU$4001000955899-56 
EEU$6008707457538 
EDU$400140613611280-81 
ECU$200154214771066-411 
EBU$0-1001274518 
SAU$1005317312-161 
SBU$10018520916-193 
SCU$10018920425248 
SDU$10013714521267 
SEU$10054397738 
SFU$1009194930 
SGU$10031297647 
SHU$10013314719346 
SJU$1001411626-156 
SKU$10016713821173 
SLU$10012813421076 
       
TOTAL 148591417113400-77112%
       
100 444140153887-12829.01%
200   2842284221.21%
400 51045044516912538.57%
600+ 531451121502-361011.21%

The percentage at the far right for the total number of seats available is compared to a stadium capacity of 107,282--i.e. 13,400 of 107,282 seats are available or 12% of the stadium.  In a similar manner, the percentages to the far right for each donation level are the percent of available seats for that level compared to the total seats available (13,400.)  So the number of $600+ seats available is 11.21% (1,502/13,400.)  The dramatic decrease in available 600+ levels is due to shifting of a large number of those available seats to other levels and probably doesn't mean an actual surge in purchases of high level seats.  If you look at WD-WF, there are actually 21 more seats available than previously.  But the new STEP levels converted a lot of empty $600 seats to $400, and then some of those $400 seats were shifted to $200, which were not categorized previously.

In the final analysis, there are 771 fewer seats available right now than there were in April of last year.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Regrets . . . He's Had A few

Onward State posted this article about the resignation of Al Clemens, long-time Board of Trustee Member, first appointed by Tom Ridge in 1994.
I have resigned from the Penn State Board of Trustees. 
For most of the 18 years I served as a Trustee, I was proud to help Penn State grow and achieve its deserved stature, in both academics and athletics, as one of America’s top-rated public Universities. 
On November 9th, 2011, I and my fellow Trustees, voted to fire Joe Paterno in a hastily called meeting. We had little advance notice or opportunity to discuss and consider the complex issues we faced. After 61 years of exemplary service, Coach Paterno was given no chance to respond. That was a mistake. I will always regret that my name is attached to that rush to injustice. 
Hiring Louis Freeh and the tacit acceptance of his questionable conclusions, without review, along with his broad criticism of our Penn State culture was yet another mistake. In joining the Paterno family and others in their suit against the NCAA, I have distanced myself from the Board on this issue. I am determined to reverse all of the misguided sanctions which were designed to punish a football program without blemish, and were aimed at student-athletes innocent of any wrong-doing. 
Over the past two years, concerned Alumni have spoken clearly and forcefully. They have replaced six incumbents with reform-minded Trustees determined to acknowledge and redress errors of judgment with positive actions. Those who believe we can move on without due process for all who have been damaged by unsupported accusations are not acting in Penn State’s best interest.
To my knowledge, this is the first resignation of a Board member since the 2011 debacle for reasons related to that event, but I could be wrong about that.  Several have been voted off the Board by Alumni.



Message Boards across Nittany Nation are already hailing his decision, describing him as a man of "courage and conviction," and an "honorable man," but "no hero."

Personally, I am happier about his stated reasons, than his actual resignation.  The acknowledgement that firing Paterno was a mistake and an injustice, questioning the Freeh Report's validity and "tacit acceptance", and criticizing the "misguided sanctions" of the NCAA which punishes student-athletes who have done nothing wrong are the REAL reasons to cheer this turn of events.

Upon further reading, I discovered that Ira Lubert also resigned, but did not give any public comment as to why.  Apparently, Gov. Corbett has already nominated Todd Rucci and Cliff Benson to replace them, pending approval by the legislature.  Cliff Benson was on the Board of The Second Mile---yup.  Jerry Sandusky's now defunct charity.  Imagine that!

As if this soap opera isn't interesting and disturbing enough already, have you heard about the Mike McQueary gambling and sexual abuse revelations!  I kid you not!  Big Red admits that he gambled on sports, (probably even Penn State games) and he was sexually abused as a child.    Hollywood can't make stuff like this up!

It remains to be seen whether this resignation will trigger others.  The election this year should be interesting, as incumbent Joel Myers seeks to retain his position.  Myers has likened his re-election campaign to a referendum question for alumni:  “Do they believe, as I do, that it is time to surge onward, toward a bright future and out of the Sandusky darkness? Or do they support the group calling itself Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, whose eyes seem to look only backward, using counterproductive acrimony and recriminations to continue to churn our collective hurt?”

Apparently Mr. Myers has no ragrets.  Not even one letter, or note, delivered to Paterno in the dark of night.
We're the Millers Myers's


Read more here: http://www.centredaily.com/2014/02/20/4046751/challenging-ps4rs-penn-state-trustee.html#storylink=cpy