Penn State Nittany Lions: Mark Emmert

Big Ten Tuesday mailblog

May, 20, 2014
May 20
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Kurt from Shawano, Wis., writes: With the likelihood that the "buy games" for Big Ten Conference teams will cost around or over $1 million, will the conference rethink the "no FCS" game policy? A few points: 1. FCS are cheaper, helping athletic budgets 2. No other "major 5" conference has stated that they will also not play FCS games. 3. Many FCS teams in the Big Ten footprint are ACTUALLY BETTER than low- level FBS teams. North Dakota State and South Dakota State come to mind. 4. Using the threat of playing FCS teams would help to reduce the cost of those FBS buy games. Could this policy change?

Adam Rittenberg: Good question, Kurt, and I addressed this Tuesday in my B1G numbers piece about the high cost of home games. The short answer is no, I don't see the league reconsidering its policy. Commissioner Jim Delany has been firm on the fact that while some FCS teams are excellent, he doesn't like the idea of Big Ten teams with 85 scholarship players playing teams with only 62 or 63. Financially and logistically, the FCS games make sense. But for the most part, they do not make sense competitively.

The Big Ten must do all it can to help its members with non-league scheduling. If things reach a desperate point and we start seeing Big Ten teams scheduling each other in non-league games, perhaps then we could see the policy reconsidered.




 

Mike from State College, Pa., writes: Have you been following the NCAA/PSU hearing today? There's some good stuff in the information coming from the trial. Most importantly: NCAA admits to threatening the Death Penalty unless the Consent Decree was signed for the first time, which is in direct conflict with what Mark Emmert & Ed Ray said after the Consent Decree was signed. Someone lied. Good story, no?

Adam Rittenberg: It's an interesting story, Mark, but it's not a new one. The conflicting statements from Emmert and Ray have been out there practically since the beginning. In fact, here's what Ray told me the day the sanctions were handed down:
President Erickson was quoted today as saying that Penn State accepted that deal because if not, you would have decided to suspend play. Can you confirm that?

Ray: I've known Rod for a long time. I didn't hear what he said. I was on a plane flying back to Oregon. But I can tell you categorically there was never a threat made to anyone about suspension of play if the consent decree was not agreed to.

And yet that's exactly what happened, which is not surprising at all. The NCAA had to at least broach the possibility of no games/no season to get Penn State to sign.




 

Rudytbone from Spring, Texas, writes: I'm surprised that neither you nor Brian has commented on the B1G's snub of Philly with the new league offices in New York. Philly is the obvious geographical location, about equidistant from Rutgers, Penn State, and Maryland. But, they chose NYC. Or is it not a snub, because the plan was to get to NYC any way they could? (Rutgers and the Twerps were just a convenient excuse.)

Adam Rittenberg: It's not a snub because New York is a much bigger business hub than Philadelphia. The Big Ten can access everyone it needs in New York to grow its brand on the East Coast, and it also has office space in Washington, D.C., for meetings. Rutgers, PSU and Maryland all can easily access the New York office, and more Big Ten officials go through NYC on a regular basis than Philadelphia. Putting full-time staff in NYC was a fairly easy decision for the B1G.




 

DJ from Minneapolis writes: It seems odd that a conference like the Big Ten that's trying to enhance its image and have a legitimate shot at the playoffs and a national championship game schedules the way it does. Why would a legitimate power like Wisconsin draw both Rutgers and Maryland for crossover games vs. either Ohio State or Michigan while an up-and-coming team like Minnesota gets both? Doesn't this damage Wisconsin's strength of schedule when it comes to the rankings and also potentially cost the B1G a bowl spot by putting a fringe bowl team like Minnesota in danger of not getting to the six-win mark?

Adam Rittenberg: DJ, that's one way of looking at it, and your point about Minnesota possibly having to scrape for bowl eligibility this season is understandable. But as I've told others, I wouldn't read too much into the crossover schedules for 2014 and 2015. When parity-based scheduling takes effect along with the nine-game league slate, Wisconsin won't have years where it misses all the big boys in the East Division.

Could strength of schedule hurt Wisconsin's playoff chances this year? Maybe, but Wisconsin opens with LSU. A win there puts Wisconsin in the playoff mix. Could the Badgers afford a loss in Big Ten play and remain alive for the playoff? That's tough to see, but few Big Ten teams are going to be able to afford a loss and make the top four this season.




 

Drew from Austin, Texas, writes: What is the new name of the collection of the best college football teams (Formerly Division 1-A, formerly FBS.)? Certainly it cannot still be referred to as Football Bowl Subdivision considering there is now a playoff?

Adam Rittenberg: No, the FBS/FCS designations are still around because those divisions are still in place. The term you'll hear more of in the coming years is the Group of Five, which signifies the five major conferences (B1G, SEC, ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12). Technically, all FBS teams are eligible for the upcoming playoff. But a lot of the upcoming NCAA governance changes based around autonomy are linked to the Group of Five.
1. It will be weird to see Larry Johnson wearing scarlet and gray. The last coaching connection to Joe Paterno at Penn State has left for Ohio State. Like Ed Orgeron at USC, Johnson auditioned for the head coaching job, didn’t get it, and refused to stay and work for the guy who did. It’s hard to believe that Johnson would set aside 18 years, but egos can be slow to heal. Penn State will pay a price for his departure. Defensive tackle Thomas Holley of Brooklyn already has decommitted from Penn State for Florida.

2. NCAA President Mark Emmert will deliver his State of the Association address Thursday, and the title of the speech alone speaks to the pomposity that the NCAA needs to reduce. How Emmert survived the mess his administration made of things at Penn State and Miami is beyond belief; his inability to push through the increase in benefits to student-athletes he has championed for three years is another poor grade on his report card. Perhaps his remarks Thursday can begin to turn around a disappointing tenure.

3. The first thing to leap out about the Pac-12 schedule announced last week is how well things set up for Oregon. Three of the Ducks’ toughest opponents -- Michigan State, Washington and Stanford -- come to Eugene; the Pac-12 South teams that Oregon skips are defending division champ Arizona State and USC; and the toughest road games are at UCLA and at Oregon State. The intersectional game against the Spartans in Week 2 will serve as a national stage for quarterback Marcus Mariota. Let the Heisman talk begin.
Exactly one year ago today, Mark Emmert announced unprecedented sanctions against Penn State.

One year later, those penalties are still being debated -- as is the NCAA's inconsistent punishments. ESPN took a closer look at the enforcement issues the NCAA is facing with cases such as Penn State's.
The NCAA is facing more political pressure to lessen its unprecedented sanctions against Penn State.

The Associated Press reports that Pennsylvania congressmen Charles Dent and Glenn Thompson co-authored a letter to NCAA president Mark Emmert asking that the 40 football scholarships taken away from the Nittany Lions be restored. The scholarship reductions were part of the heavy sanctions Emmert levied against Penn State for the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

Dent and Thompson argued in the letter that the loss of scholarships only deny opportunities and do nothing to punish those associated with the scandal.

"I want to make it clear to the NCAA who they are really hurting with this scholarship reduction," Dent said in the letter. "It’s not Jerry Sandusky and it’s not the University. They are hurting young people who are completely innocent of anything relating to the Sandusky situation and who through no fault of their own are being denied a chance to get a great education.”

This latest action comes on the heels of a federal lawsuit filed by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, who is seeking to overturn the NCAA sanctions. And, of course, the NCAA is under fire for how it botched the Miami investigation, announcing last week that an enforcement officer acted improperly and forcing the organization to investigate itself. The NCAA might not look too popular in many courtrooms these days.

Will any of these things wind up lessening Penn State's burden? It's very difficult to say. We must note that the school itself is not a part of these proceedings and agreed not to appeal when university leaders signed the consent decree accepting the penalties. So this is entirely externally driven, and there's no doubt that politics are playing a major role here.

Emmert seized unprecedented power to levy the sanctions against the Nittany Lions, so it's hard to see him giving in now. Then again, his power may be fading after a series of missteps. We've never seen anything like the penalties handed out to Penn State before. Who's to say we won't be surprised again in this case?
NittanyNation takes a look at news and reaction from Pennsylvania and around the country on Gov. Tom Corbett's decision to file a lawsuit against the NCAA in hopes to get Penn State's sanctions overturned.
  • Michael McCann, the director of the Sports Law Institute at Vermont Law School, analyzes the key issues in this case and says that the NCAA would suffer a "loss" if the lawsuit wasn't dismissed early. He calls it a "landmark case in NCAA legal history."

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