Penn State Picks up a Transfer

This is the state of Penn State football – getting excited about a transfer from Akron:

The 5-foot-10, 182-pound wideout will not have a Penn State scholarship this season and will have to sit out a year because of NCAA transfer rules. Still, he has three years of eligibility remaining.

“He wanted to play for Penn State initially back with his high school and recruiting, but things didn’t seem like they were going that way for him,” his father, Philip, said. “And those sanctions opened up some opportunities.”

Jared Fagnano said the thought of transferring first crossed his mind in early August when he wasn’t invited to Akron’s preseason camp. He said he got lost in the shuffle after some shake-ups with the coaching staff.

Penn State, a school he grew up rooting for, was the natural choice.

“I wouldn’t say it was an easy decision because I liked Akron, I fit up there,” Jared said. “But it was an easy decision in the sense I could play at Penn State and play with my brother. That’s always kind of been a dream for me, just to be on Penn State. I was real excited when I found out I had that opportunity.”

A couple of thoughts:

1) You have to respect a guy like Jared Fagnano.  It’s not exactly Rudy, but props for him for following his dream and going to Penn State.

2) Fagnano was a walk-on at Akron and he wasn’t invited to preseason camp.  Things could pretty ugly for the Nittany Lions for, oh, maybe a decade.


Penn State’s Going All Crazy with Their Unis, Too

It’s not exactly a take-off on the Wisconsin throwbacks, but it’s a start:

The new unis will feature a blue ribbon in support of victims of child abuse, though the release doesn’t say exactly where (I would assume somewhere on the helmet). Also, the jerseys will have names on the back recognizing those who stayed with the program.

The blue ribbon is a nice touch.

However, they got all crazy with the names.  Next thing you know, they’ll throw a number on the side like the old days.

Reconciling Joe Paterno

I’ve been too busy with work and life to add anything meaningful to the Joe Paterno story.

I’m sure the Penn State faithful are mourning JoePa much the same way Alabama fans mourned – and in some ways still mourn, the passing of Paul Bryant.  But while Bryant’s death left Bama fans to mourn with one eye on the past and one eye on who would be the next big winner, Paterno left behind a much messier situation than who would be his successor.

Penn State fans were left to mourn a leader who’s actions apparently fell short – at least at times – versus the mantra he espoused.  They have a lot of things to reconcile and talks about this:

Joe Paterno is dead, and I’m still unable to reconcile anything.

How could a man accused of instilling no influence to prevent the worst kind of harm be called the most important influence in the lives of players who didn’t even like the guy?

How could a man who cared so very much about Adam Taliaferro and his tragic tale not be seen showing the same public support for child abuse victims in 2002, or at the very least after the Grand Jury report in 2008?

How could a man who suspended former running back Austin Scott the week before his (subsequently dropped) sexual assault charges not banish Sandusky from football buildings after official accusations were made?

How could a man unwilling or unable to ask Mike McQueary for more details also be investigative enough to make a pattern out of unannounced trips to his players’ classes to keep track of attendance?

How could a man be so defiantly resilient in the face of his institutional superiors in 2004, yet not have taken control of the Sandusky situation in 2002?

How could a man so well-versed and clearly in love with the classics not see a real life sickening tale staring him in the face, the lead role cast by a man he’d knowing of for decades?

There aren’t answers to any of those questions, by the way. Admitting that is not helping resolve my understanding of what just happened.

It’s frustrating. What’s more so is that there are perfectly reasonable questions — what exactly did everyone know, what exactly did everyone do, why the hell was Sandusky in the weight room this fall? — that we aren’t likely to have answers to and therefore aren’t likely to be able to judge and project upon. Or maybe the specifics don’t actually matter. Prohibition was supposed to cure all social ills rather promptly in 1919. A mandate for full information about how the institution of Penn State failed might end with just as much futility.

Either way, we’re now living in a Paternoless world where the events just are, because of the conditions that caused them. I’m concerned by the very real possibility that this is going to have to be good enough.

The Underbelly of College Sports

I guess I shouldn’t be shocked by now, but I am.

I’ve followed collegiate athletics since the late 1970s and in the time since, one would think we’ve seen enough to dull the senses: run of the mill cheating, point fixing, players murdering teammates, split personalities, coaches cheating on wives and beating secretaries, keep it down home ‘cuz and the list goes on.

But the Penn State situation has shocked me and taken my disgust level to new depths.  And the hits keep coming.

Today’s turn of events includes at least one person having the courage to stand up to Joe Paterno:

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Thoughts on Penn State

The “alleged” crimes committed by Jerry Sandusky and covered over by Penn State officials are horrifying.  They are so much so that “legendary” Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno should either step down or be fired.

I come to that conclusion because there’s no reasonable explanation for how he handled the situation.  Sure, he reported the 2002 incident to his boss, but apparently then washed his hands of the situation and went about his business. Keep in mind that in 2002, the Roman Catholic sex abuse scandal was still fresh on everyone’s mind.  And in this environment, Paterno basically did nothing and that led to more children being abused.

Why would Paterno handle the situation this way?

1) Was Paterno, even so far back as the late 1990s, so far removed from his faculties that he had no comprehension of the situation and how it should be handled (other than reporting to his boss)? or

2) Was Paterno so narcissistic that he knew these type of allegations associated with someone in his program could possibly derail his quest for more wins?  Did he basically sweep these allegations under the rug so as to prolong his career?

What other reasons are there to explain how this was handled by Paterno and PSU officials?

There’s a lesson for all of us in this.  For decades, we’ve been preached to by the Big 10 about how they do things the “right way.”  But in the course of a year, we’ve seen that lie exposed – from Columbus, OH to State College, PA.  It’s easy to say all the right things, but tough often tough to do them when no one is looking.  I pray that if (when) I’m put into difficult situations such as these that I’ll have the courage to do the right thing.


He’s Stunned I Tell Ya

From Ivan Maisel at

“If true, the nature and amount of charges made are very shocking to me and all Penn Staters,” Paterno said. “While I did what I was supposed to with the one charge brought to my attention, like anyone else involved I can’t help but be deeply saddened these matters are alleged to have occurred.”

Yeah, I mean you only had an eyewitness – a former player, no less – come to you directly and tell you what happened.