Yeah, I spent part of my Sunday night rewatching the four-overtime victory over Michigan. You could argue that it was my first time really seeing what happened—I was standing at the back of the opposite end zone when Bill Belton scored the winning touchdown, so I didn’t have the best view. And given how tall the lettermen standing around me were, even though I was on the same side of the field as Allen Robinson’s catch, I didn’t have a great view of that, either.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to relive that game:
“Epic:” That’s the adjective Belton used when he tweeted this video of his touchdown run, filmed by Tim Owen ’11 of Blue White Illustrated, who was standing in exactly the right place. The post-touchdown celebration footage is entertaining, too.
Over and over: Can’t get enough of Allen Robinson’s catch? Or Belton’s run? That’s why someone invented GIFs. Click here to watch Robinson, and you’ll see why his catch was the No. 1 play on SportsCenter on Saturday night. And click here to watch Belton from a cool, overhead angle.
Unbridled emotions: Tony Mancuso of GoPSUSports gets to hang out in the locker room for exclusive interviews, and this footage from Saturday night is some of his best work yet. Calm, cool, and collected offensive lineman John Urschel is practically giddy. It’s hard to tell who’s smiling more widely, Christian Hackenberg or Allen Robinson. And then there’s Bill O’Brien’s postgame speech: “You never quit. Don’t ever forget that the rest of your lives.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to hug a large, sweaty man:” That’s Onward State’s Kevin Horne, recounting his evening in the student section. Lots of fun observations in this piece.
How loud is a Whiteout? Patriot-News photographer Joe Hermitt pulled out his Decibel 10 app to see exactly how loud it was Saturday on the field. Among his comparisons: a chainsaw, a pneumatic drill, being 300 yards away from a jet engine. Check out his video here. And of course his photo above.
Best Beaver Stadium game ever? Mike Poorman ’82 of State College.com (and the College of Communications) thinks it was. But he consulted with a couple of experts—Fran Fisher and Lou Prato ’59, and they’re holding out for the 1982 Nebraska game. What do you think? Check out Poorman’s list of the 10 top Beaver Stadium games and let us know your vote in the comments.
If you still didn’t get enough: The game will be rebroadcast at 8 p.m. Eastern time tonight; it’s ESPNU’s College Football Game of the Week. Of course.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
P.S. A lot of other stuff happened over the weekend. The Pegula Ice Arena was christened, and the first game there was a resounding success (more coming later from our Tina Hay, who was there with her camera). THON revealed its 2014 theme: Redefine the Possibilities. And Science World Report published a story that will be of particular interest if your weekend was anything like mine: Penn State researchers looking into whether you can “make up” for lost sleep.
Penn State football-player-turned-artist Matthew Rice ’05 knows that some people might look at his newest painting, “Heart of Homecoming,” and wonder why there are only five lines in the stitching on the football. Real footballs, of course, have more.
The reason is simple—deceptively so.
“I think very deep when it comes to the things I’m creating,” he says. “I wasn’t thinking how many lines a real football actually has. I dedicated five years to Penn State. In my vision, I see each stripe as a level of dedication, a level of transition that I went through not only as a person, but how I started my whole artistic journey.”
Rice—known professionally as Mateo Blu—knows that not everyone will see the same thing in his painting. And that’s exactly how he wants it, not just with this work, but with everything he creates.
“I may set a certain mood,” he says, “but there’s (more…)
Yeah, it’s raining. The Campus Weather Service just tweeted about a new record for daily rainfall. But it’s still a pleasant day around here—it’s the start of Homecoming weekend. There are already students staking out their positions on College Avenue for the Homecoming parade, and there was a Berkey Creamery truck parked here at the Hintz Family Alumni Center when I walked in this morning, so it looks like we’ll be well-stocked for this afternoon’s ice cream social. Stop by!
And in the meantime, check out these stories to get you in a Penn State mood:
It’s a wedding night—er, hockey night—in State College: My favorite one-liner in the buildup to the opening of the Pegula Ice Arena comes from Terry Pegula himself, who apparently hasn’t been inside the arena. Joe Battista ’83, the director of hockey operations, says Pegula ’73 explains it like this: “Why spoil it? I’ll wait for the wedding night.” All the pieces are in place, with Army getting the all-clear to travel despite the government shutdown for tonight’s sold-out opener. If Pegula—or anyone reading—needs a little help getting his bearing on the first trip to the building, this infographic from the Centre Daily Times is terrific.
A silent leader, and a must-read: You’ve got to check out this profile of defensive tackle DaQuan Jones, which is one of the nicest pieces I’ve read about a Penn State football player in a while. The author: Collegian writer Anna Orso, who got Jones to open up about how he took care of his siblings while their mother was in jail and about an unusual path to Penn State—and becoming a leader for the Lions, who of course play Michigan at 5 p.m. Saturday in what is shaping up as the season’s first sellout.
Flipping out: How does Blue Band drum major Chris Siergiej practice the flip? Only after 800 milligrams of ibuprofen, and only early in the week. You don’t want to pound your legs too much before the big game. Learn more about this and other tidbits about life as the drum major in this Q&A with Schreyer Honors College intern Julia Kern.
Virtual Homecoming: If you’re not coming to town, you can still experience the Homecoming parade. For the ninth consecutive year, students from the College of Communications are producing a live webcast. Tune in here at 6 p.m. And click here to read about the students in COMM 383A, Webcast Production, and the faculty member, Maria Cabrera-Baukus.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
“If it’s a turd, it’s a turd:” That’s the still-irrepressible Matt Millen, explaining why he didn’t shy away from discussing his … let’s be blunt, as he’s always been … awful tenure as president of the Detroit Lions in an NFL Films documentary about his career. (It’s part of the A Football Life series.) Millen talked with David Jones of The Patriot-News about the documentary, and Jones colorfully explained how unusual the NFL Films production is:
What comes across is something fairly rare among major sports figures: A guy with a fiery competitive nature driven by the sizable ego all such competitors must have, yet who speaks evenly and willingly of his failure with as much thoughtfulness and depth as his successes.
Think that’s not unique? Consider the response NBA TV would receive if its documentarians asked Michael Jordan to spend half his bio discussing his abject and continuing pratfall as chief basketball ops exec of the Charlotte Bobcats.
I’m walkin’: I love that I live close enough to campus to walk to work. It’s always beautiful, often peaceful, and good for the environment—I got an emissions waiver because I drove my car so few miles last year. So I wasn’t surprised to see that State College was ranked the No. 2 city for walking to work by MSN Real Estate. (Lots of college towns on that list, BTW.)
Gotta be the shoes: I’ve got a pair of plaid Chuck Taylors for strict fashion purposes, and I have no idea how anyone ever used those flimsy shoes for serious athletic competition. I bet they wouldn’t score very well on the tests that Penn State’s Center for Sports Surface Research does on athletic shoes. Interesting piece here from The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Musical chairs: This is fascinating. The student section for football games is oversold, thanks at least partly to a Ticketmaster glitch, so the athletic department offered some pretty amazing deals to students willing to move their seats for Saturday’s Homecoming game to the Upper South Deck.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
From news to features, your daily dose of everything Penn State.
A sellout, in the good sense: If you don’t have tickets for the Nittany Lions’ Homecoming clash Oct. 12 against Michigan, well, you’re out of luck. Penn State announced Tuesday morning that the game is officially sold out.
Opener in jeopardy? The government shutdown has forced the service academies to suspend their varsity sports programs, so if the Congressional impasse continues, the first game for the men’s team in the Pegula Ice Arena, Oct. 11 vs. Army, may be canceled or postponed. The problem: The government funds travel for academy sports teams, so without a budget, they can’t travel.
Employee health-care update: The Centre Daily Times has the latest update on the health-care saga on campus: Anyone who completes the personal health screening, a requirement that rankled many faculty and staff, will receive a $100 bonus. If an employee and the employee’s spouse both complete the screening, the bonus rises to $150.
Inspirational words: I spent Tuesday evening with my news writing class listening to New York Times managing editor (that’s second in command) Dean Baquet speak at the first session of the Foster-Foreman Conference of Distinguished Writers, one of the great programs sponsored by the College of Communications. Baquet was particularly inspirational; as I told a student who interviewed me after the speech, if you didn’t want to run out and commit great acts of journalism after that talk, you’re in the wrong major. I’d like to share one piece of Baquet’s advice that applies to everyone, no matter your major, profession, or age: “Take the job that will teach you something you don’t know.”
Lori Shontz, senior editor
No football? No problem: So how’s Bill O’Brien going to spend the bye week? According to this video—which is well, well worth 48 seconds of your time—he’s going to be checking out County Cork vs. County Clare in the All-Ireland Senior Final Hurling Replay. Seriously, that’s what he said. O’Brien’s analysis: “I’m not sure who to cheer for, because my family comes from both areas.” OK, then. The Nittany Lion Shrine, as pictured on the Croke Park Classic Twitter feed, seems to be having an equally difficult time making up its mind.
Canners fanning out: The bye week isn’t the only reason campus will be quiet this weekend. It’s also the school year’s first Canning Weekend for THON, when students fan out across the state—and beyond—to solicit donations. Onward State weighs in not only with advice for canners, but with suggestions on how to spend the weekend if you’re one of the few people still left on campus.
Not over yet: Yes, the NCAA eased its sanctions on Penn State. But it also filed court documents Thursday asking that the Paterno family’s lawsuit against the NCAA, which is joined by some trustees, faculty, and former athletes, should be thrown out because the plaintiffs don’t have standing.
Critical acclaim for Key and Peele: The comedy team of Keegan-Michael Key ’96g and Jordan Peele got The New Yorker treatment this week because critic Emily Nussbaum went down the “rabbit hole” of Key and Peele sketches on YouTube and discovered what so many of us already knew—these guys are not just hilarious, but intelligently hilarious. “Like many of the best, most transgressive comics,” Nussbaum writes, “they treat human behavior as a form of drag, shape-shifting with aggressive fluidity.” (Note: Not sure the whole article is available to non-subscribers, but you can get the gist from the link.) If you’re not watching hurling or going canning, going down that rabbit hole could be a good weekend activity.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
Over the past couple of years, I’ve spent some time getting to know the people at the World in Conversation project, the brainchild of sociology instructors Sam Richards and Laurie Mulvey ’94g. I’m finally reporting the story about the program this semester—it will be published in an upcoming issue, mid- to late 2014—and I wanted to share something I watched Monday as I sat in on a class with the student facilitators, who lead dialogues among students of various races, genders, and ethnicities. It’s a video from the Cleveland Clinic, and it’s not a spoiler to say that the theme is empathy.
I found it powerful. Hoping it makes you think about your day, too.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
There’s one story about the university dominating the media this morning: The NCAA’s decision to ease the sanctions against Penn State, namely by restoring scholarships sooner than planned. Here are some worthwhile reads we’ve found:
Best detail: Most of the coverage has focused on reactions to the NCAA’s decision. But Mike Dawson ’02 is the only one who wrote about exactly what Penn State did that convinced Sen. George Mitchell to recommend to the NCAA that some scholarships be restored. (He’s got a particularly complete overall story, too.)
Behind the scenes: Don’t underestimate the role that the Big Ten, particularly its powerful commissioner, Jim Delany, played in this decision. This piece from Pete Thamel and Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated, who were covering a meeting of NCAA Division I athletic directors, provides some insight.
NCAA feeling pressure: Nationally, the story was less “Penn State gets scholarships back” and more “Embattled NCAA realizes it overreached.” Among the standout columns: Pat Forde of Yahoo, Ivan Maisel of ESPN.com, and Dana O’Neil ’90 of ESPN.com.
Victim advocates: Jeff Franz ’04 of the Harrisburg Patriot-News checked in with two advocates for abused children: Delilah Rumburg, CEO of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, and Cathleen Palm, of the Protect Our Children Committee. They agreed with the decision.
The other side: While most of the coverage has praised the decision, there are a few dissenters. One is Christine Brennan of USA Today, who’s been highly critical of Penn State since the story broke; another is Seth Gruen of the Chicago Sun-Times.
The student perspective: Anna Orso, one of the Collegian‘s football writers, gives credit to Rod Erickson, whom she covered as an administration reporter, and Bill DiFillippo of Onward State analyzes the team’s scholarship and personnel situation through the 2016-17 season, when the full 85 scholarships will be restored.
Did we miss any pieces you found that are beautifully written? Particularly enlightening? Let us know in the comments.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
For the past year, since the Board of Trustees added a public comment session to its agenda, the drill has been the same. Speakers spoke. Trustees listened. When the speakers criticized the board for its handling of the Sandusky scandal, some portion of the audience clapped or cheered.
Friday’s public comment session, however, was different.
After the second speaker—a tandem of two faculty members, Maria Truglio and Brian Curran, who said that although Penn State had suspended the $100/month surcharge for employees who didn’t get a biometric screening and fill out an online health survey, they were still concerned about what happens next—board chair Keith Masser ’73 said that David Gray, senior vice president for finance and business, would respond to the comments.
This caused a stir. Not once since the board added a public comment agenda item—up to 10 speakers, each allotted three minutes—had trustees done anything but sit and listen. Twice, however, during Friday’s meeting, Masser directed someone to respond to the comments—Gray to the professors, and governance chair Keith Eckel to former state Sen. Robert Jubelirer ’59, ’62g, who was practically shouting by the end of his three minutes, during which he accused the board of not being transparent.
Masser had indicated he was considering doing this during Thursday’s meeting of the Outreach, Development, and Community Relations Committee. (more…)
It appears, more and more, that change in the structure of the Board of Trustees will not end with the removal of the university president and governor as voting members and the other reforms enacted in May. The governance and long-range planning committee, which recommended the May changes, plans to hire a governance consultant by the board’s November meeting. This consultant would help the governance committee to determine what further changes should be referred to the entire board.
This process is moving quickly. Keith Eckel (pictured here) suggested that a consultant was needed in July—his first meeting as chair of the committee–just two months ago.
At Thursday afternoon’s committee meeting, Eckel reported that he, board chair Keith Masser ’73, and Barbara Doran ’75—a subcommittee, I’d note, that incorporates both a veteran and a new member of the board—had reviewed about a dozen possibilities and narrowed the field to four or five people. Doran said they had solicited recommendations for the position “as broadly and widely as we could.”
The idea that Penn State needs to hire another consultant to discuss governance after already receiving reports on the subject from Louis Freeh, former auditor general Jack Wagner, and Penn State’s Faculty Senate has sparked anger and some ridicule among critics of the board. But Eckel said the trustees are not looking for another informational report.
“We want a top expert in the field, but we also want a facilitator, because obviously a number of these issues don’t have unanimous agreement,” he said.
Eckel, Masser, and Doran want to get some additional information on the remaining candidates, they said, and are planning to bring the full committee together again to interview the candidates as soon as possible. Their goal is to have made a hire by the board’s November meeting. Eckel called the timetable “aggressive,” but no one at the meeting objected to it.
Eckel, who talks and explains more in committee than his predecessor, Jim Broadhurst ’65, did, also gave what seems to be his mission statement going forward:
“We can’t emphasize enough, the improvement of our governance is a work in progress,” he said. “There are a number of areas that need to be looked at, need to be reconciled.
“If you’re going to be world-class, each year you ought to have the entire board review the operations of the board and make suggestions for changes as well as committee operations. And, in fact, if we became very aggressive in that area, we might reach a point where the board agreed on an evaluation process of each other by every member of the board in order to create a more efficient process and higher-performing board members. That’s an aggressive step.
“I’m only listing these things to indicate it will be a work in process that I don’t believe is ever completed. But our goal is to have the best governance for this university.”
Other notes from Thursday’s governance committee meeting:
—More information on the formation of a separate compensation committee, including bylaws changes, was given by Susan Basso, vice president for human resources, and Frank Guadagnino ’78, an outside attorney from Reed Smith hired by Penn State for his expertise on governance issues. This committee would help to determine salaries for several tiers of university officials, ranging from the president (its primary purpose) down through top vice presidents, the athletic director, and even some highly paid coaches.
The discussion expanded into Penn State’s structure, in which Basso reports to David Gray, senior vice president for business and finance. Doran asked how this lines up with recommendations in the Freeh report and best practices at other universities.
Making human resources a separate department reporting directly to the president is a Freeh report recommendation that Penn State has decided to not follow, partly because this would give the president of the university another direct report in a time when he has many obligations, and partly because that’s not how most other universities do it. (Sen. George Mitchell, who is assessing Penn State’s compliance with the Freeh report as part of the NCAA-mandated Athletics Integrity Agreement, has signed off on Penn State’s decision.) Guadagnino also said only one or two other universities have the structure outlined in the Freeh report.
Doran said she found the Big Ten’s practices, which are consistent with Penn State’s interesting, saying, “It seems that modern governance is evolving away from” having HR and finance in one department.
Marianne Ellis Alexander ’62 voiced a sentiment that I’ve heard often around campus, but not at trustees meetings: “Freeh was using a corporate standard to apply to higher education. We are going with the best practices of higher education, and there’s definitely a different model. We chose to go with the higher ed model.”
—The committee also engaged in an interesting discussion about how trustees should conduct themselves in public forums, particularly if they disagree with the position the board or university has taken as a whole. Anthony Lubrano ’82, of course, was the focal point of the discussion, which was nuanced and thought-provoking. I’ll delve into that in a later post.
Lori Shontz, senior editor