Monthly Archives: June 2007

Sandusky, PSU hoops, other related items

Had the chance yesterday to venture down to Middletown and talk to former PSU defensive coordinator and legend, Jerry Sandusky. It’s always a thrill to talk to the man. He acts like a kid at heart, and you can see he still has the fire in his eyes to coach.

I asked him if he wanted to be remembered more for the Second Mile rather than coaching, he almost didn’t know what to say, both are equal in terms of stature in this state. Either the way the man is one of the best humanitarians you’ll ever meet and I wish we had 3,000 more like him around.

It’s an interesting bond that he and former Cumberland Valley/Stanford/Raiders/Eagles fullback Jon Ritchie have. Ritchie was there as well, same old Ritchie, messy hair, beard around the chin, I’ve always had a small part of me that rooted for Jon even though he played for teams I didn’t follow. He was a tough, tough, hombre.

You can read my column about that right here.

I also, earlier in the week, chatted with friend and PSU assistant basketball coach Kurt Kanaskie. Anyone who knows me knows I am not the biggest PSU hoops fan, but I will admit, it’s growing on me a little. We also have the local connection with Mike Walker still there, so you can expect more from the PSU hoops camp maybe in the next few weeks.

I’ve always admired Kurt, I loved watching his son play at State College HS, and hopefully his comments about the team doing a 180 this season are true. And about that game in Hershey….I say to both sides, get it done. The Giant Center NEEDS that kind of stuff. And they should get it done against Bucknell, but that’s just wishful thinking.

The Latest Recruiting Saga

If you haven’t been following this Mike Shaw stuff, be prepared…..

Head over to BSD and check out Mike’s stuff on the situation. Evidently there’s been a mix-up with a kid who plays a position PSU sorely needs to recruit this coming off season.

PSU needs a running back, they need to get a QB as well, and if they can hold down the fort and wait and see what happens with Terrelle Pryor, then maybe, just maybe they can have their man.

A source told me Pryor is definitely going someplace he can play both sports, but the question I have is this. If that’s the case, then why so many high profile football schools, like PSU, like Ohio State, etc. You’d think he’d go to a place like a Duke, where the transition from football to basketball would be a lot easier. Maybe it’s early and I haven’t thought this one out properly.

My guess? He will end up going to a football dominant school, and play one sport, football. But, if you believe the self-professed, No. 1 Terrelle Pryor Fansite on the Internet, then he can and will excel in both sports.

Are you kidding me? This kid has someone doing a website about him??? People in Jeanette need to seriously get a life or go to the mall or something.

Jet Blues
Travel advisory: PSU fans, please, please, if you are not within driving distance of Happy Valley, whatever you do, avoid JetBlue this fall.


A passenger exits a Jet Blue plane after being locked inside the cabin for 34 consecutive days on a trip home.

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Filed under Jerry Sandusky, Jon Ritchie, Kurt Kanaskie, Nittany Lions, Penn State Basketball, Penn State Football, The Big Ten

Delany and Comcast still at odds

You can read my column for the Friday edition of the Sentinel right here.

More on this situation tomorrow morning. I need a night to process the information and let my brain calm down.

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Filed under Big Ten Network Big Ten, Comcast, Harrisburg, jim Delany, Penn State Football

Delany to stump at Capitol

Sorry for the lack of posts, I’ve been on a mini-break from work this week.

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany will meet with PA state legislators on Capitol Hill Thursday morning (into the early afternoon) in an effort to try to hammer out a deal with Comcast regarding the Big Ten Network.

You’ll recall last week Delany’s conference call (scroll down for more on that) where he laid out issues and quasi-fired back at Comcast for their BS remarks in the New York Times.

Anyways, he will meet with the media at around 1:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Capitol, we’ll have some coverage from that and if I do get the one-on-one I’m hoping for, I’ll get the transcript up here ASAP.

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More BTN talk and other notes

I gotta be honest, all of this Big Ten Network talk is making my head spin.

Commissioner Jim Delany met with the media yesterday, via phone to lay out more plans and to discuss the distribution of the network. Long story short, if you are a fan of any team in the Big Ten and their game is on the BTN and you have Comcast, right now you’re SOL. (editors note: you may want to check out the first two definitions on that site in order to catch my drift)

Penn State fans will be SOL unless there’s a last minute agreement with Comcast. I was on the call, did a story for today’s paper, you can check that out right here. Delany had some very interesting things to say about his agreements with the cable companies.

Here’s the thing I am still trying to grasp about the network itself….the games that are airing on a given day count towards the 380-400 games Delany said will be televised, but the coverage for football is no better than that of ABC, ESPN whatever because it’s on a regional basis. So where is the groundbreaking coverage on this new network?

What I have an issue with is the ongoing feud with Comcast Cable company. You know the dominate cable provider in this area of mine. And really all over the country.

Delany cited that Comcast has 5.6 million subscribers in the Midwest, AKA home of the Big Ten, including Delany himself. Interesting. I think it simply comes down to the fact that Monopoly-cast simply isn’t controlling the content, therefore they really cannot control the price. Check mate Big Ten.

But when it boils down to it, Comcast WILL jump on board because they are alienating too many football fans of every Big Ten team. They will buckle first before Delany does, but it won’t come until say, Wednesday of the opening week of the season. I’m sure at some point the cable provider will go the route of what they did with the NFL Network and put it on for free, then eventually dump it into their sports tier and charge people to watch it.


Where’s the good help when you need it?

Somewhere Gordon Gecko must be smiling…..greed is good, greed is right, but in this case it’s creating a ton of headaches and further proving the point as to why you’re smart if you are a DirecTV subscriber.

East-West notes
Tomorrow night from the sunny people’s republic of Altoona, the annual East-West game takes place. There is a PSU tie in, Southern Columbia’s Josh Marks is on the East roster. Marks is looking to buck the trend of Class A linemen in the state and make it legit when he goes to PSU.

I covered the kid for two years in a previous life, I can tell you 100-percent, I’m confident he will have an impact at PSU if he can keep his knees healthy and stay toned.

Of course we are all reminded of the laundry list of PSU lineman that haven’t panned out. Mark Harrington from FightOnState.com had an interesting post in his blog back in May that puts into perspective the amount of linemen, recent lineman that haven’t panned out at PSU.

11 lineman between 2002-06. That’s a lot. Most were highly touted too. With this incoming class and that of next year, PSU has gone with two more in-state linemen from smaller schools. Fans worry, but Marks is legit, trust me.

That’s it for today. Updates as they warrant.

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Sanctions handed down on players

The Centre Daily Times reported late last night that the Penn State football players involved in the off campus fight have accepted their sanctions. All except for Lydell Sargeant.

I tried contacting Office of Judicial Affairs head Joe Puzycki for a story in the paper, but he is out of the office (go figure huh?)

The punishment means the players are booted off campus until August 6th, a full week or so students are allowed to return from a suspension. It also means they can participate in preseason football practice.

The punishment itself sounds a little week on the OJA front. I fully expected the hammer to be dropped, but they backed out on this one. On the other hand, I support Joe Paterno’s assertion that “it was just a fight,” and I think about what I would have done in the same circumstance as the players involved.

Either way, I fully believe Paterno will suspend the four main players involved, Anthony Scirritto, Chris Baker, Jerome Hayes and Lydell Sargeant….and we may say a guy or two move ahead of say Justin King on the depth chart, but don’t mistake that for any action taken against King.

Paterno has long stated since this went down that he is more upset at those on the team that didn’t tell the players involved to “knock it off,” I’m with him on that one too.

More info as it warrants….

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Breaking news: IU’s Hoeppner passes away; other tidbits

This just in from the main offices of the Big Ten and commish Jim Delany.

“The Big Ten Conference, along with our institutions, coaches and student-athletes, are greatly saddened by the passing of Terry Hoeppner. In his time in Bloomington, we came to know Terry as a great leader of young men and an important member of the Big Ten coaching community. He will be truly missed and our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Jane, and his children and grandchildren along with the entire Indiana University family.”

James E. Delany
Big Ten Commissioner

Very sad news indeed. Indiana Media Relations released a statement about Hoeppner’s passing.

“Coach died due to complications from the brain tumor for which he had been treated surgically and therapeutically over the past 18 months, ” said Indiana University team physician Dr. Larry Rink. “His family was at his side.”

Hoeppner is the second coach from the conference to die in less than a year. Remember the tragic passing of Northwestern head coach Randy Walker during the summer (June 29th) of last year.

Hoepper stepped aside to have surgery on his brain during the season last year and Indiana was actually looking like they’d turn things around under Hoeppner. The Hoosiers won five games a year ago, up from the previous year total (4). They also upped their conference win total from one to three in the last year.

Hoeppner also coached in the MAC, at Miami University, where he guided the RedHawks to back-to-back bowl berths in 2003-04 and posted a 15-1 conference record in his final two seasons there.

Big Ten News and Notes

It’s a slow day around the PSU camp, I’m beginning to slowly piece together preview material, some for here, most mainly for the paper. It’s slow these summer months and there isn’t any fresh content on the “fight” side…..July 13th is the next chance to talk to players as they participate in the annual “Lift for Life,” kidney cancer benefit.

So with that in mind, here’s some news and notes from around the conference.

Michigan has received the OK to start some remodeling of the Big House. (Ann Arbor News)

Apparently this decision has been met with some criticism from the fan base. The remodeling will consist of the addition of luxury suites and run a total of $227 million.

This photo courtesy of the Ann Arbor News shows the basics.

The New York Times has a story this morning about the Big Ten Network and how Comcast subscribers are going to have a lot of problems watching said channel. Nice. The nation’s largest cable provider provides nothing more than a giant pain in the ass to subscribers…..at rip off rates too. The main reason I have DirecTV is because of Comcast.

According to the story:

The dispute over the Big Ten Network, which is to go on the air in August, is typical of the tensions between cable operators and sports networks. The cable operators prefer not to add sports channels, whose costs of acquiring the rights to carry teams are inflated by high player salaries.

The Big Ten Network will be paying the conference a $50 million annual rights fee — not much less than what SNY is paying the Mets or YES is paying the Yankees.

Comcast discussed becoming the Big Ten’s partner in the network, before Fox entered, but the talks foundered over the cable operator’s view of a more limited, less expensive channel than the conference envisioned.

Comcast is developing a campaign that will attempt to prove that the network is too expensive and too provincial to be broadly distributed.

“I have no doubt that the Big Ten will try to rile up their fans and alumni to say that big bad Comcast is denying their content to Big Ten fans and alumni,” said David Cohen, an executive vice president of Comcast.

So basically Comcast (you should hear the name my aunt gives it) is going to SLANDER the Big Ten Network??? We have enough problems being in the heart of Big Ten Country here in good ‘ol Central Pennsylvania watching Big Ten content. Luckily WLYH/UPN/CW/Whateveritisthisweek provides good ESPN+ coverage during the football and basketball season that it satisfies enough of the viewer thirsty.

Still, for Comcast to get out and bash this network is absurd….are they trying to drive away MORE customers? It’s bad enough their product is junk now, how many will axe their subscriptions come fall when a certain PSU game isn’t available? Forget just PSU, if you’re like me and home on a Saturday, you will watch another Big Ten game before PSU is on, right? Even if it’s Iowa V. Northwestern.

The story continues….

As for carrying the network in non-Big Ten markets at 10 cents a subscriber, he said Comcast would most likely make it available as a subscription service like Major League Baseball’s Extra Innings out-of-market package.

“They have a right to do as they wish,” Silverman said.

A spokesman for Time Warner Cable, with the second-most subscribers in Big Ten markets, said its position was similar to Comcast’s.

If Comcast’s view prevails, it will impede the Big Ten Network’s earning potential because digital sports tiers are not purchased widely by customers. But if all the subscribers in the eight states got the channel on expanded basic at $1.10 a subscriber, the revenues would add up to $237.6 million, more than any regional sports network’s except YES, which generated $277.2 million from subscribers in 2006, SNL Kagan estimated.

All I can add is simply…..ooofah.

Meanwhile, over at TVPredictions.com (huh?) Phil Swann is debating whether or not cable companies will carry the BTN in high-def? Well we know one cable company that won’t….don’t we?

I dunno if I am more amazed at the fact there is a website called “TVPredictions.com” or that there is actually a debate about carrying this in high def? How can you NOT carry football in high-def???

The Big Ten has officially announced their TV schedule for the first three weeks of action. According to the release….

Saturday, September 1
Appalachian State at Michigan, Noon EDT/11 a.m. CDT
Youngstown State at Ohio State, Noon EDT/11 a.m. CDT
Florida International at Penn State, Noon EDT/11 a.m. CDT
Northeastern at Northwestern, Noon EDT/11 a.m. CDT
Bowling Green at Minnesota, 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. CDT
Indiana State at Indiana, 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. CDT

Saturday, September 8
Akron at Ohio State, Noon EDT/11 a.m. CDT
Nevada at Northwestern, Noon EDT/11 a.m. CDT
Bowling Green at Michigan State, Noon EDT/11a.m. CDT
Miami (Ohio) at Minnesota, Noon EDT/11 a.m. CDT
Eastern Illinois at Purdue, Noon EDT/11 a.m. CDT
Western Illinois at Illinois, 7 p.m. EDT/6 p.m. CDT
Syracuse at Iowa, 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. CDT

Saturday, September 15
The Citadel at Wisconsin, Noon EDT/11 a.m. CDT
Buffalo at Penn State, Noon EDT/11 a.m. CDT
Akron at Indiana, Noon EDT/11 a.m. CDT
Duke at Northwestern, 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. CDT

I’m guessing that the games that overlap mean that certain games will be available in certain geographic regions? Listen, I still have no clue what this network means. It’s too confusing. All I know is that I have DirecTV and I get it.

Closet UM fan
Phil Cmor of the Altoona Mirror is on the East-West game beat this weekend. The game takes place at Mansion Park this weekend and is the little brother of the (struggling) Big 33. I actually have more interest in the E-W game this year than Big 33. Tells you how times have changed.

Anyways, Marks reveals a dirty little secret. (Editors note: If you know Josh and I do from my time spent working in the Shamokin area for two years, you knew that he was a Michigan fan all along)

Ticket dump
Bill Kline, SE at the Allentown Morning Call has an interesting take on the student ticket situation at PSU. You can check out his blog via this link right here: Click me


Pryor update

Bob Lichtenfels, of scout.com, was on hand at Gateway’s 7-on-7 camp on the 17th and caught a glimpse of the top quarterback prospect in all of America, Jeanette’s Terelle Pryor, aside from his performance, Lichtenfels had this hilarious nugget, which you can read right here (subscription required).

Pryor was hilarious as he tried to dodge one of the team writers from a website. Pryor literally ran across the field after a team meeting to try and grab his car keys and make his exit. It’s sad at times to see what some of these kids have to go through from overzealous fans who run websites.

How times have changed.

That’s it for this morning, more on the Terry Hoeppner situation as updates warrant. I’m expecting something from Joe Paterno on the matter in a little while. When we get that, we’ll pass it along.

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Incoming prospects do fine at Big 33

I’ll be honest, I didn’t watch, nor listen to Saturday’s Big 33 football classic, but just before heading to bed (early, thanks to a 7:21 a.m. tee time at Deer Valley), I caught some of the coverage from the game already.

Sounds like Rochester’s Derek Moye is a keeper. If PSU wasn’t so loaded at wide receiver, he might crack the depth chart early.

Earlier this week, I did my beat duties and talked to both Drew Astorino and Nate Stupar. You can catch those stories here and here if you so desire.

Back tomorrow with more news and notes.

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