Posts tagged ‘David Jones’

The Penn Stater Daily — Jan. 8, 2014

Two of the running jokes around the office involve me: (1) Every time I go on vacation, big Penn State news breaks and (2) Every time it’s my turn to do The Daily, there are scandal and/or legal-related updates. I was wine tasting in Sonoma when when Bill O’Brien left to coach the Houston Texans, and today, my first day back on Daily Duty, there’s so much scandal-related news that there’s barely any coverage of what’s probably the most interesting part of it—the judge’s decision in the NCAA lawsuit, released late afternoon Tuesday. I hate to be a cliche, but I guess there is a pattern.

Paterno family attorney Wick Sollers arrives at the Oct. 29 hearing in this photo by Nabil K. Mark of the Centre Daily Times.

Paterno family attorney Wick Sollers arrives at the Oct. 29 hearing in this photo by Nabil K. Mark of the Centre Daily Times.

Paterno lawsuit going forward: More than two months after retired Potter County judge John Leete heard arguments as to whether the lawsuit filed against the NCAA by the Paterno family along with some faculty, trustees, former lettermen, and former coaches should go forward, he released his decision—a nuanced, detailed 25-page document that I had to read twice before I began to fully understand it. The upshot is this: the legality of the consent decree (breach of contract) will not be litigated unless Penn State itself joins the lawsuit because Leete ruled that the university is an “indispensable” party, but other parts of the lawsuit, including several defamation claims and a civil conspiracy claim, will go forward. Wrote Leete: “Penn State’s absence does not require dismissal of the entire Complaint. Plaintiffs’ tort claims stand on a different footing than the contract claims because they do not require rulings affecting Penn State’s rights in any significant way.”

I don’t know anyone who thinks that Penn State is suddenly going to change its mind and sue the NCAA, so don’t expect any movement on the consent decree. But this decision does mean that the discovery phase will begin, and that means that subpoenas could be forthcoming. In a statement, Paterno family attorney Wick Sollers called the decision a “significant victory” and added, “With this ruling the bright light of legal discovery will finally shine on the facts and records of all parties involved.”

Coverage of this has been scant so far, but my friend Mike Dawson ’02 of the Centre Daily Times did a nice job, getting NCAA reaction, as well, and Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann has some quickie analysis on his Twitter feed (you have to scan down and expand to see the conversations). Among McCann’s observations: “My instinct is NCAA now pursues settlement w/Paterno family, but I could see family saying no deal unless NCAA publicly says sorry.”

Sandusky pension hearing: Jerry Sandusky ’67, ’71g testified via video link for about three hours Tuesday in an attempt to get his Penn State pension restored. He lost  it because of a state law that allows for the forfeiture of pensions for people convicted of certain crimes, but he is maintaining that he was not a Penn State employee when the crimes occurred. Mike Dawson ’02, who had a really busy day, has the strongest story, which details how much of the testimony weirdly recounted Sandusky’s performance as a defensive coordinator.

Spanier v. Freeh: As if that weren’t enough legal news, there was another hearing Tuesday morning about whether Graham Spanier needs to file more than an intent to sue Louis Freeh for defamation. Spanier’s attorney contends that’s enough given that the criminal case is proceeding. Freeh’s attorneys said more details about the potential lawsuit are required.

No coach yet: And, yeah, the search for Penn State’s next football coach continues. The Patriot-News has a ton of coverage, ranging from an interview with Bill O’Brien’s right-hand guy, Jim Bernhardt, by Audrey Snyder ’12 to David Jones’ column on why Penn State needs stability in its next coach. For the latest rumors and hand-wringing, of course, go to Twitter.

9590029RIP Mary Jo Haverbeck: Like all of my friends and colleagues who cover Penn State sports and/or women’s sports, I’m mourning the death of Mary Jo Haverbeck ’76g, retired associate sports information director and the first woman inducted into the College Sports Information Directors of America’s Hall of Fame. Mary Jo worked behind the scenes, but she’s one of the main reasons that Penn State’s women’s sports teams became so prominent, as Centre Daily Times sports editor Walt Moody points out in a lovely tribute to Mary Jo. I’m one of the many, many people Mary Jo went out of her way to mentor, and I can’t say enough how much she taught me and what a nice person she was. I’ll try, though, in another blog post within a day or two.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

January 8, 2014 at 12:32 pm Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Nov. 25, 2013

Weekend sports recap: Another home game in Beaver Stadium, another overtime. It’s getting to be routine. This time, however, Nebraska defeated the Nittany Lions, although David Jones of The Patriot-News points out that Penn State always plays hard, and unlike most other teams, it doesn’t have any room for error. … A cross-country flight didn’t bother the men’s soccer team, which advanced to the Sweet 16 with a 1-0 victory over UC-Santa Barbara. Next up: seventh-seed New Mexico, on the road, Dec. 1. … The No. 2 women’s volleyball team won its 17th consecutive match and clinched a share of the Big Ten title over the weekend as it honored seniors Ariel Scott, Deja McClendon, and Katie Slay. … Brandon Taylor’s career-high 25 points led the men’s basketball team over Longwood. … For the third consecutive season, the wrestling team opened its schedule by raising the NCAA championship banner. It then won eight of 10 matches—one by pin, two by tech fall—to beat Lock Haven 34-6.

Born to help children: In the wake of the Sandusky scandal, the university made a commitment to increase its research on child abuse and outreach to victims. The result: the Network on Child Protection and Well-Being, which is led by Jennie Noll, who came to Penn State as part of a group hire to beef up the university’s experts in the field. Jack Small, a Penn State journalism student who is writing for the Centre Daily Times as part of an advanced news writing class this semester (and, full disclosure, one of my former students), did a great job profiling Noll and tracing her path to Penn State. “Part of the reason I decided to join Penn State is because of the efforts I saw the school making after the scandal,” she said. “The only silver lining out of that terrible situation is that we now have a great opportunity to do some good.”

Matt Freeman twirled fire in his final Beaver Stadium performance. (Penn State News photo.)

Matt Freeman twirled fire in his final Beaver Stadium performance. (Penn State News photo.)

Final bow for feature twirler: Matt Freeman’s high school principal told him there was no way he could ever achieve his goal—becoming the feature twirler for the Penn State Blue Band. Goes to show what that principal knew. Freeman gave his final Beaver Stadium appearance Saturday, and Sue Snyder of The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote a nice piece about his rise to prominence—and a world championship.

Oldsey named to presidential selection council: A surprise announcement began Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting: Bill Oldsey ’76 was named to the Trustee Presidential Selection Council, meaning another trustee elected by alumni and another trustee with experience in higher education will be part of the group that interviews finalists for the president’s job. The search has been extended, but trustees say a new president will be hired before Rod Erickson retires June 30, 2014.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

November 25, 2013 at 12:51 pm Leave a comment

Board of Trustees Wrapup: Settlements, Sanctions, New Vice Chair

New vice chair Paul Silvis, left, and chair Keith Masser meet the media after Friday's meeting.

New vice chair Paul Silvis, left, and chair Keith Masser meet the media after Friday’s meeting.

The biggest news that come out of Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting came from two items that weren’t on the agenda.

The board voted to authorize settlement offers to some of Jerry Sandusky’s victims, although it did not provide any details about the number of settlements, the amount of the settlements or the deliberations that surrounded the settlements.

The chair of the board’s legal committee, Ira Lubert ’73, said the committee had been authorized to do so itself, but decided it was “in the best interest of the university” for the full board to vote. He said the board had twice been briefed confidentially, once on June 25, the other time during Friday morning’s executive session at Penn State Fayette.

The other big news also came from that executive session: football coach Bill O’Brien addressed the board—chair Keith Masser ’73 said he had issued an invitation—and appeared to be discussing the possibility of requesting a reduction in the NCAA sanctions.

Executive sessions are closed to the media and public, but the meeting was held in a room with windows, and O’Brien’s slides were visible to anyone in the hall. (Click here for a report from Mike Dawson ’02 of the Centre Daily Times, who was on the scene.)

Board chair Keith Masser ’73 confirmed in a news conference after the meeting that he had invited O’Brien to speak and that the university would like to ask the NCAA for relief from the sanctions: “We would like to do that at some point.” He said that “we have some work to do” before anything would happen. “I’ll use one of Coach O’Brien’s analogies: Instead of shoot and fire, you’ve got to shoot, aim, and fire.”

As usual, the meeting was jam-packed. Here are a few other highlights:

Paul Silvis ’06g was elected vice chair, a position that became vacant when Stephanie Nolan Deviney ’97g was not re-elected. His term, like Masser’s, lasts until January 2014. Silvis defeated Ryan McCombie ’70; the ballot is secret, but Masser said that 27 ballots were cast and that a majority—more than 14—went to Silvis on the first ballot.

At the end of the meeting, McCombie read a joint statement pledging that he and Silvis would continue to work together.

“Ryan and I have been been friends and respected each other for a long time,” Silvis said. “He decided to run, I decided to run, and we got together and talked about it. We said regardless of who wins, we will continue to communicate and respect each other’s difference of opinion.

“I’ve lived in State College for a long time,” Silvis added. “I’ve been involved in the community, involved in Penn State. There’s a time when you’re called to step up, and this was the time.”

Silvis, a gubernatorial trustee who’s been on the board since 2010, is founder and president of SilcoTek Corporation, which is based in State College, and is still chair of the board of the first company he founded, Restek, which he sold to its employees.

—The trustees granted emeritus status to Anne Riley ’64, ’75g and David Jones ’54; two trustees, Anthony Lubrano ’82 and Ted Brown ’68, objected to the timing and voted no. (For more details on the emeritus trustee issues, click here for coverage of the Thursday governance committee meeting.)

Masser said he wasn’t particularly concerned about the disagreement: “It is healthy for differences of opinion among our board members to be aired out and discussed.”

—After protests from State College residents, the board voted to change the route of the natural gas pipeline to the West Campus Steam Plant so that it will go through campus, not through town. The change adds an additional $9.6 million to the cost of the project. State College residents were concerned about whether the pipeline—which is being built as the steam plant converts from coal to gas—was safe.

Asked whether the campus route is any safer, Masser said, “We feel there is no safety issue with what we’re doing. We would not jeopardize the safety of our students and staff and faculty on campus to do that. There’s gas lines running all over the world, so it will not be a safety issue.”

Lori Shontz, senior editor

July 12, 2013 at 7:04 pm 8 comments

Emeritus Trustees Become Point of Contention

It’s certainly not news that Penn State’s Board of Trustees has some divisions:

—In the past two alumni trustee elections, candidates upset with the board’s handling of the Sandusky scandal—and particularly its treatment of Joe Paterno—won election by large margins.

—Friday’s election for vice chair won’t be a formality, because there are two candidates, Ryan McCombie ’70 and Paul Silvis ’06g. Although it’s not unprecedented to have an actual vote, it is rare. (And there were three candidates until Linda Brodsky Strumpf ’69 withdrew Thursday morning.)

—Five of the trustees have joined the Paterno family, former Penn State football coaches and players, and Penn State faculty in a lawsuit against the NCAA.

But for a vivid example of the division—and the emotion involved—look no further than the governance and long-range planning committee’s discussion Thursday afternoon at Penn State Fayette about whether to recommend two former trustees for emeritus status.

The background: Emeritus status is granted to former trustees who have “served as a board member for 12 years or more with distinction,” according to the board’s standing orders (click here for a PDF; scroll down to page 11 for the specific criteria considered). Making clear the role of emeritus trustees and deciding upon more specific criteria has come up in discussions about governance reform, but the issue hasn’t really been discussed deeply.

On Thursday afternoon, for the first time since the scandal, the governance committee considered recommending former trustees for emeritus status. Keith Eckel, the new chair of the committee, put forth the names of the two alumni trustees who left the board in June 2012: David Jones ’54, who decided to not run for reelection, and Anne Riley ’64, ’75g, who was defeated. Both had been on the board since 1997.

Immediately, alumni trustee Anthony Lubrano ’82 spoke up.

“These two may well be qualified to receive that status from this board,” he said. “But I think we would be sending the wrong message to our community if we granted them the status today when we haven’t yet decided what status we give to Joe Paterno, who gave 61 years of exemplary service.”

Barbara Doran ’75, who just joined the board after becoming the top vote-getter in the most recent alumni trustee election, immediately backed him up. “I think it’s a legitimate issue because of where the alumni are,” she said. “One issue is how Joe Paterno has been treated. I know the board has said at some point in time it’s going to honor Joe Paterno, but that time is not here yet. So I think this timing on this … the time now is not ideal in terms of alumni feeling about this.”

The first voice for the opposing view was another alumni trustee, Marianne Ellis Alexander ’62, who has been on the board since 2005: “I think it would be unfair to hold these two people hostage. … We’re talking about status for people who have served on the Board of Trustees; this is a very narrow subject that we’re talking about. In the case of these individuals, they’ve done exactly what I think would qualify them to be an emeritus trustee. Quite frankly, I think we need their help out there … for example, as ambassadors for the good of the university. I think they should be recognized. This is a separate issue from the former issue.”

The discussion continued in the same vein for about 15 minutes and included a heated exchange between Lubrano and board chair Keith Masser ’73 over the procedure used in May to vote on the governance reforms. Lubrano accused Masser of going back on his pledge to vote on each individual reform separately; Masser said he had provided an opportunity to do so via a procedural move to save time and added, angrily, “I fulfilled my word!”

Another new trustee, business and industry appointee Richard Dandrea ’77, said he agreed with Alexander. “There’s no reason to obstruct the recognition of these individuals because, Anthony, of your desire to see the recognition move at a different pace than apparently the board has decided to go.”

Also weighing in was Bill Oldsey ’76, another newly elected alumni trustee, who is not a member of the committee but was sitting at the end of the meeting table. It’s not unusual for trustees from other committees to sit in on discussions, but they generally sit in the area provided for the public to observe, as McCombie was doing during this discussion.

Oldsey said he doesn’t know Jones, but that he knows Riley well. “Anne will never stop being an ambassador for Penn State, whether she’s granted emeritus status or not,” he said. “She’s one of the truest Penn Staters. I may not agree with every decision she’s made, but she’s an extraordinary Penn Stater. I don’t think you can take that out of Anne Riley. It’s just part of her DNA.

“Many times in business, you have to hold off on one decision to leverage what is perhaps a more important decision. This is the way things happen sometimes. The phrase holding hostage, I’m not sure is completely apropos here. I do think some of us have an extraordinarily good radar right now for how the alumni base will react to certain things. You may believe it or choose not to believe it. That’s up to you. But the alumni base may not respond particularly well. We have to decide as a board whether we care or not.”

After a little more back-and-forth about the qualifications for and duties of  an emeritus trustee, Oldsey’s statement prompted Jim Broadhurst ’65, the former committee chair, to weigh in on behalf of Riley:

“I hate to do this,” he began. “But you can’t know her that well in that you don’t know how important this distinction is to her. I have never, in my many years on the board, ever seen anyone up for this status that was so anticipating that occurring in her life.” Broadhurst turned to address Oldsey directly. “You ought to go talk to her about it, see how important it is to her. It’s extremely important.”

Broadhurst talked a bit about how the role of an emeritus trustee has changed; they are less involved than they were in the past, and the board is still considering exactly what the emeritus trustees’ role will be in the future. He talked about what Riley has done for Penn State, how she teaches classes and has been helping oversee the restoration of the Land Grant Frescos in Old Main. He pointed out that in the past, trustees qualified for emeritus status received it within months—at the meeting after their final board meeting—but that the current contenders had been on hold for a year.

“I think to hold this up would be a travesty,” he concluded. “As much respect as I have for Joe and everyone else … I feel sorry for the alumni that would be disappointed in this action, I really do.”

The committee then voted on whether to recommend Riley to be named emerita trustee. Lubrano voted no loudly and said he would like his vote “absolutely recorded.” Doran voted no as well, but she did so silently, by raising her hand, and Tom Poole ’84g, the board’s secretary, made sure to clarify what the final vote was. It was 5-2.

The committee next considered Jones, and while the discussion was shorter and less passionate, it followed the same basic framework. The vote was the same, too: 5-2 in favor of recommending emeritus status for Jones. Among its other business Friday—including approving a tuition increase and electing a vice chair—the full board will vote on the recommendations.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

July 12, 2013 at 7:03 am 17 comments

Two More Reasons Why Saturday Could Be Special

If you pay the least bit of attention to Penn State football, you know that Joe Paterno could win his 400th game as head coach Saturday afternoon. Lots of stories have been written this week about the potential milestone, and we’ve linked to a few of these on our Facebook page, but there’s one more that I think is worth sharing: This piece by David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News offering perspective on why Joe’s 400th is a mark unlikely to be reached by any other college coach.

Win or lose Saturday, the game against Northwestern will be memorable for a group of veterans and staff members from the Van Zandt VA Medical Center in Altoona. It seems an anonymous donor is providing the group with 41 game tickets and a catered tailgate, all as a thank-you to the vets and those who help them. That’s just awesome.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

November 5, 2010 at 6:03 pm Leave a comment

Dave Jones on Big Ten Expansion

The college football offseason is rarely quiet, and much of the noise this year has come from folks talking, writing, prognosticating and blogging about the possibility of Big Ten expansion. The traditional story line — the Big Ten has coveted Notre Dame as a 12th member ever since Penn State joined the league nearly two decades ago, but the Fighting Irish never bit — has been updated as the league recently announced it was taking its most serious look yet at adding a 12th school. The topic has been buzzing online, with a variety of folks making arguments and guessing at the league’s intentions. What seems clearer than ever is that, with or (most likely) without Notre Dame, the Big Ten is more likely than not to expand in the next few years — to 12 teams, perhaps, but maybe to 14 or even 16. The ultimate decision will reshape the college football landscape as drastically (if not more so) than did Penn State’s switch from independent to Big Ten power nearly 20 years ago.

David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News posted a three-part story today that’s as well-done as anything I’ve seen on the topic. Part One explains why expansion appears to make so much sense right now, for reasons that shouldn’t surprise anyone (hint: it’s what makes the world go ’round). Part Two explains why, in Dave’s opinion, the addition that Penn State fans would most like to see is not the most likely to happen (hint: the lure of a classic rivalry is trumped by the bottom line, every time). And Part Three offers Dave’s pick for the “sleeping giant” that might ultimately make the most sense if the Big Ten adds just one team.

Time will tell if Dave’s right (or if our friend Frank the Tank is prescient with his prediction of Texas), but this is compelling stuff regardless.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

March 8, 2010 at 9:53 am Leave a comment

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