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 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!

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