Unverified Voracity Coins A Nickname

Submitted by Brian on July 13th, 2012 at 1:39 PM


in his Rat Pack phase

In other Paterno chiseling. I've read more than my fair share of outraged reactions to the Freeh Report and recommend those of Dan Wetzel, Scipio Tex, and Paul Campos. Wetzel has a passage at the end about the Grand Experiment that captures how ridiculous the very idea was from the start:

Paterno did help his football players. Those men, however, were heavily recruited, talented and often highly motivated people. If they hadn't gone to Penn State they would've gone to Michigan or Virginia or Notre Dame.

For decades he found a way to take top-line kids and maximize what they could do, usually by motivating them to excel at a sport they already loved. They were subject to mass adulation and had the potential to become millionaires at the professional level.

He wasn't taking illiterate Third World children and getting them to Harvard. Almost every person Paterno positively impacted through football would have fared similarly had Penn State not even fielded a team. They just would have played elsewhere. Bo Schembechler or Lou Holtz or Bobby Bowden would've coached them up in football and life, just like Paterno did.

That's always bugged me about the sanctimony of a certain section of the ND fanbase. Congratulations: you took kids from Catholic schools with solid families and didn't turn them into the Joker. Well done.

Campos touches on the refrigerator thing without having to cross the Atlantic for a metaphor:

A man who breaks some rules in order to win a few more football games is likely to understand himself to be nothing more exalted than a hustler on the make. By contrast, a man who talks himself into believing that he is running a uniquely virtuous Grand Experiment, rather than just another successful college football program that mostly avoids the most egregious forms of cheating, is far more likely to develop the delusion that he’s some sort of role model for his peers, or even a quasi-spiritual leader of our youth.

And Scipio Tex bombs the one moment of regret Paterno expressed:

Before his death, Joe Paterno remarked that "With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more."

The measured banality of that phraseology, the suggestion that hindsight is the necessary ingredient when confronted with the most simple matters of immediate moral action, reveals his own disconnection and concern for reputation right up until his last moments.

Let's be clear: Those boys wish you'd done anything at all, Joe.

That closes the door on Brian's opinion of Joe Paterno story time. Wait, one more: Grantland's Michael Weinreb, a State College native with Penn State ties that run as deep as they can, declares the experiment "failed." 

NCAA matters. The Paterno debate closes as another one re-opens: should the NCAA step in and hammer Penn State for the above? I'm on the "no" side. The NCAA has an enforcement mechanism to maintain its own set of rules for things that the legal system has nothing to say about. Here, the perpetrators are going to jail. That is an appropriate punishment and effective deterrent. The NCAA stepping in is redundant, and the hammer would fall on a completely unrelated set of people. The legal system has a laser-aimed bazooka; the NCAA would be deploying a wonky BB gun with a misaligned sight. Meanwhile, the Department of Education could look into Penn State essentially ignoring the Clery act and PSU is about to be flooded with civil lawsuits that insurance probably won't cover. Deterrence: check.

That said, if the NCAA were to vacate Paterno's victories after the 2001 incident* and instate Bobby Bowden as the all-time victories leader I would clap like a seal. (Or Les Miles.) Paterno's maniacal pursuit of that goal long after he'd ceased to be capable of anything other than muttering in the press box seems like a symptom of the broader disease.

*[Ideally they'd deploy some sort of double standard so the Big Ten wouldn't have to go back and pretend that a decade of games didn't happen. Just nix them from Paterno's record, not the program's.]


rejected nicknames included "the super seven," "excellent thirty-six," and "adjective-free e to the x"

A rain of thunder from the FABULOUS FIVE. I just came up with that nickname for Michigan's incoming basketball recruiting class. You see, there are five of them, and they seem very good at basketball collectively. Thus I have decided to call them the FABULOUS FIVE. I may decide have a few of those letters lower-cased in the future. It's a work in progress.

No? You're saying something about how that's ridiculous, fraught with historical significance, and derivative. Well, you are a hater.

Anyway, the FABULOu5 FIvE are on campus and taking it to the veterans!

"They got us two out of three games. I don't think they got the better of us, but they looked really good. They came in and they're willing to learn and that's a good sign for freshmen. We should be really good with their help this year," sophomore Trey Burke said. "I remember there were a couple times they beat us … that doesn't surprise me because that's the type of players they are.

"They're really good, they have size and they know their roles — they can play."

Said Tim Hardaway Jr.: "The first two or three games, they destroyed us. I think they were very excited. (In) games to 11, they're beating us 11-6, 11-7."


"(Jordan Morgan) and I looked at each other and said we have to show them what Big Ten basketball is about and we beat them 11-1, 11-2, so they got their time, but it won't happen again."

Also, Burke and Hardaway are revealed to be on separate teams when this is going on, meaning 1) walk-ons are filling out the veteran five-man rosters, and 2) Burke and Hardaway are not playing together. You may have not needed the second bullet point there.

Anyway, I predict Mitch Albom thinks none of these guys are taking 600k from a Detroit numbers runner. This time, he will be correct. Also the basketball team will be good at basketball.

BONUS: Caris Levert is "built like small Kevin Durant," which means he can be used as a kite should the situation call for it.

Nevermind the good nonconference scheduling business. The Pac-12/Big Ten scheduling pact that was like conference expansion except brillianter, that was a historic way to something something with synergy, the thing that promised Wisconsin would finally have to play an opponent with zero confused Albanians in the secondary… it's dead.

The two leagues announced Friday that their pact, which initially called for 12 football games per year, has been called off. The reason: at least four Pac-12 schools were unwilling to agree to mandatory scheduling, ESPN.com has learned. A key sticking point is that Pac-12 teams play nine conference games, while Big Ten teams play only eight. Adding in traditional non-league series like USC-Notre Dame, Stanford-Notre Dame and Utah-BYU, and it makes the scheduling situation tougher for those in the Pac-12.

So much for that. The silver lining is that the Big Ten will look at going to a nine-game conference schedule in 2017, like they had announced they were going to do before the stars aligned with the Pac-12. I preferred a nine-game conference schedule anyway. From Michigan's perspective anything that helps balance the crossover-rival playing field is beneficial, and I hate going four years without playing Wisconsin, etc.

Libel lawsuit business. Prediction: Kitchener's lawsuit will have no effect on the Daily. As Tyler Dellow points out, the US passed an act that prohibits libel tourism and what they're accused of—paying an employee—is only debatably defamatory. Meanwhile, OHL restrictions on compensation may not be legal since the players have not collectively bargained for their contracts. Given the state of the law the play for the Daily may be to ignore the lawsuit:

In any event, it seems to me that one consequence of the SPEECH Act is that, if your assets are in America and you’ve received advice that a foreign defamation action against you could not succeed in America, you’d never bother to defend it. Let the plaintiff have his default judgment and then who cares. This is, of course, more true of corporations then it is of individuals – a judgment against him personally would kind of limit the career opportunities of Matt Slovin, the reporter in question, because the judgment could be enforced against him if he ever moved to Canada and acquired some assets.

The fact of the individual journalist apparently being named in the litigation is the one thing that might make it sensible to fight the thing here. Here’s hoping the case goes all the way to trial – a trip through the sausage factory of junior hockey could be a considerable amount of fun.

The Daily is standing by its story. Kitchener's playing a game of chicken here—it seems like their business model is based on not having anyone look too closely at why their players aren't employees.

Pressed for time. Michael of Braves and Birds also writes for the Atlanta SBN site and has a post on ESPN's suddenly great coverage of international soccer and how they could improve their coverage of college football:

Whereas ESPN starts off Euro matches in the studio with a discussion of the lineup choices made by the managers, they start off college football games with Mark May and Lou Holtz getting into contrived fights or Jesse Palmer looking pretty. Whereas ESPN includes the pre-match pomp and circumstance when covering Euro matches, they ignore it almost entirely in college football. Instead, the approach is for the play-by-play and color guys to drum through the story lines for the game - story lines that they will stick to regardless of how the game actually plays out - and then maybe the viewer gets a five-second shot of Michigan players touching the banner or Clemson players rubbing Howard's Rock. Whereas ESPN shows the starting lineups for both teams in formation at the outset of each Euro match, they cannot be bothered to even list the starting lineups for college football teams anymore, instead showing only the "Impact Players," as if every word coming out of Matt Millen's mouth is so critical that he does not have time to list 44 starters.

In short, ESPN feeds both the mind and the heart in the first 15 minutes of covering a Euro match, while it does neither in the first 15 minutes of covering a college football game. If ESPN started Georgia-South Carolina by covering the entire rendition of Also Sprach Zarathustra* and then discussed the teams' starting lineups and how they would match up against one another, both in terms of styles and in terms of individual matchups, then I would be a very happy camper and I suspect that most college football fans would be, as well.

The asterisk notes that yes, that's ESPN coverage, but if you watch that youtube clip it is remarkable because Mike Patrick just gets out of the way and lets you have your moment with the fans. I'd love it if every word spoken by Mark May was replaced by the PBP announcer pointedly not saying anything as the pageantry of the pregame played out.

Newspapers still struggling. An extensive Nieman Lab article on the situation of the Detroit papers is full of doom, gloom, and happy faces put on crappy situations by Paul Anger:

“Very soon, sooner than most people expect, we’ll only publish on Sunday,” Elrick, the Pulitzer winner, told me. “We’re still losing money. I think they were smart to do a lot of research. I think they were smart to communicate to people what they were doing and why. But there’s no question that they did this because there was no better alternative. To my mind, this was cutting off your arm so you can get out from under the boulder. This was not, ‘I’ll be so much faster and lighter with one arm.’ Anybody who’s telling you that is full of baloney.”

Anger insists that the delivery change has been “extremely successful,” but that doesn’t mean things are bright. Weekday circulation continues to drop — nearly 6 percent between March 2011 and March 2012.

Even the director of the Knight-Wallace Fellowship is dismissing papers out of hand:

Charles Eisendrath, director of the Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan, puts it bluntly: “They do not matter,” he told me. “They’ve been fading for a long time. The decision to get rid of half of your [delivery] schedule accelerated the rate by two. What advertisers think is, ‘This isn’t going anywhere. It doesn’t carry any influence.’ What readers think is, ‘There’s nothing in this.’”

The Free Press just announced they would "sizably reduce" its newsroom again. Section 1 opens up a bottle of champagne.

Etc.: Lloyd Carr thinks the playoff will expand. He seems to like it all the same. Behind the Call Me Maybe holdouts. Denard gets you a plaque. The Detroit metro has the third highest effective income in the country. We can probably stop bemoaning the implosion of the state. Rothstein on Michigan's influx of SYF Players.

Off Tackle Empire's quest to determine the worst Big Ten team of "all-time" goes back to 1996. GopherQuest scorns you.



July 13th, 2012 at 1:51 PM ^

Here's my issue with the Wetzel passage that you highlighted:

Paterno was chosen to lead the program and helped build it up.  Yes, many of his players (at least once the program was built) would have been successful elsewhere.  Some would not have been.  Regardless, taking away the PSU program means those players/people filter down to a second tier university...and some second tier players/people filter down to a third tier university.  So on and so forth.

We could say the same thing about virtually any coach of a big-time program, including Brady Hoke or Lloyd Carr or Bo Schembechler.  Kids recruited by big-time schools are often people with the drive to succeed, regardless.  That doesn't mean Schembechler or Hoke or Carr should be revered/respected any less.  "Great" men are chosen to lead "great" programs.  Obviously, Paterno had some skeletons in his closet and "great" might not be an accurate description anymore, but to dismiss his accomplishments as "Eh, those kids would have been successful, anyway" is a little too simple-minded, in my opinion.

If we look at it that way, our only role models in coaching should be the guys who take dirt-poor criminals and turn them into solid citizens.  That's extremely respectable and all, and maybe they should get more publicity...but there aren't many miracle workers in the world.


July 13th, 2012 at 2:16 PM ^

I don't think that's the point is to dismiss Paterno's accomplishments as much as the arrogance that accompanied it. The whole Grand Experiment idea reeks of the belief that they were the only program to do this. Eliminating Penn State would've reduced the number of opportunities, but it wouldn't have eliminated all of them.


July 13th, 2012 at 5:04 PM ^

Check that--he's a pretty good writer, and he has a POV, and on some issues he's clarifying. But he's prone to flat out stupid comments (check out any of his comments that portray BCS execs and Bowl personnel as basically Simon Legree/Mr. Potter mustache twirling evildoers who laugh while they cheat players of their money). 

This passage Brian likes is more of the same. Really Dan? So it makes no difference who your coach is if you are an elite player? No top coach has any more influence for good or ill on a player than any other? So Lloyd Carr had exactly the same influence on his players as say Bobby Bowden? So no boss at a good company is any different and has any more or less influence on your career than any other? What about players that were not elite at first in college then became that way because of a good coach reaching them somehow? Guess what Dan--all coaches or leaders or people are not the sam, just as players aren't. Some players suceeded or didn't precisely because they had the right coach at the right time.

This comment on it's face is flat out stupid and insulting to good coaches and good people everywhere. I'm surprised Brian finds it credible and noteworthy.


July 13th, 2012 at 2:01 PM ^

I'm talked out in terms of what the NCAA should do. This is brilliant, it cuts right to the core of the tattered shards of the legacy.


July 13th, 2012 at 2:06 PM ^

you took kids from Catholic schools with solid families and didn't turn them into the Joker. Well done.

As a graduate of a Catholic school and knowing how many of my peers turned out, you shouldn't discount this accomplishment. "Solid families" and God-fearing-ness don't necessarily preclude a life of hilariously-sad crime.

Steve in PA

July 13th, 2012 at 2:11 PM ^

I'm very close to ground zero for this whole mess and the papers/radio shows are stil talking about all the great things he did and 'The  Paterno Way'.  The guy enabled a predator to f* little boys for at least a decade!  Nothing can outweigh that...period.

 If we're going to start that discussion one could make the case tha Hitler did a lot of good things for Germany if we just ignore the whole genocide thing.

I fully agree that when you are taking upperclass talent and upperclass character kids really all a coach has to do is not screw them up.

snarling wolverine

July 13th, 2012 at 2:15 PM ^

I can definitely believe that about the Detroit area.  People who have moved here from elsewhere are always amazed at how cheap real estate is here.   I guess having a central city with a terrible reputation has its benefits.


Everyone Murders

July 13th, 2012 at 2:51 PM ^

First of all, the Wetzel excerpt is great.  Unspoken in that excerpt is the amount of egotism baked into the "Great Experiment" concept.  It's Coach K-esque ("I don't just build players, I build men") in the vanity of it all.  And JoePa's vanity along with his excess power at PSU is perhaps the #1 source of this problem.

Wojo's column today in the Detroit News noted NCAA action is all but a certainty, but I just don't get it.  I understand the sentiment behind the desire for NCAA action, but this just does not seem like an "NCAA issue".  It's not like PSU football benefitted from this scandal and JoePa and the others at PSU's shameful handling of the situation.  I just don't see the NCAA violation here.  I'm open to being swayed, but it seems to me that any NCAA action here would be essentially equivalent to an ex post facto punishment.

At brass tacks, I think this a horrendous institutional failure, and PSU deserves all the condemnation, lawsuits, shame, etc. that comes out of this.*   PSU's reputation is forever tarnished, and will for years PSU will be synonymous with institutional complicity with child abuse.  Additional administrators will be prosecuted, and likely do time.  Reputations of folks like Paterno and McQueary will take a brutal hit. Careers will be ruined.  And I'm fine with all of that.

But as sad as the problem is, I don't want the NCAA (famous for being good at enforcing misdemeanors and awful at felonies) to try to punish this awful behavior.  (I'd have no problem with a public statement or something of that ilk.)  First of all, it doesn't seem their place (no competitive issue - no violation of NCAA rules so far as I can see), and second the NCAA is awful at enforcement of anything beyond excess stretching.  Like I said, I'm open to being swayed on the NCAA point, but I don't see it under current NCAA rules.

In the meantime, I think that - between the Grand Jury report, the Sandusky trial, and the Freeh report - ipecac sales have plummeted across the U.S. over the past eight months or so.  It's just so sordid and sad.

*Arguably most of the faculty, players, and student body don't deserve any of that, but rough justice here seems better than no justice.

snarling wolverine

July 13th, 2012 at 2:55 PM ^

It's not like PSU football benefitted from this scandal

Sure it did. The squeaky-clean reputation of the program was a major part of PSU's recruiting pitch.  It helped them land a lot of good all-around student-athletes.  If Sandusky had been turned in in 2001, that would have hurt the program's reputation and possibly caused Paterno to retire. If not, he'd have been fielding some difficult questions from recruits' parents (e.g., "How could you keep that guy around your program for so long?") PSU hoped to sweep it under the rug and keep its phony image going.

I'd imagine that athletic fundraising probably would have gotten more difficult if Sandusky's crimes had come to light, too.  That, in turn, could have hampered efforts to upgrade facilities.


July 13th, 2012 at 3:18 PM ^

The thought that I keep coming back to, though, is that the NCAA should let the big-boy police handle this.  Punishing PSU through the sort of sanctions that the NCAA has at its disposal will almost be vulgar.  Banning them from a bowl for three years, for example, is sort of insulting when you think about it as punishment for letting kids be molested.  Bowl bans are what happens when you let agents and/or Luther Campbell hang out at your practices.   It would be questionable at best to impose the same sanction for something that is morally so much worse.  I think the NCAA would best honor the victims by staying out of this, though I admit a certain paradoxical quality to this position. 


July 13th, 2012 at 6:04 PM ^

Couldn't the NCAA come down hard on them for issues like their Cleary Act procedures within the AD, their HR reporting structure within the AD, and maybe for the lack of control Paterno exhibited over facilities use?

I'm also wary of NCAA involvement, but I would be comfortable with the Big Ten hammering them for these institutional failures, especially since it's the processes at play, not Sandusky's actions.

Steve in PA

July 13th, 2012 at 10:59 PM ^

NCAA membership is voluntary if I am understanding correctly.  In theory, PSU could also go NAIA.  What if the NCAA threatened to pull PSU's membership unless they self impose?  One would only harm the football team, the other would be the death knell of all PSU Sports.

Just thinking outloud.


Burn it Down!

Everyone Murders

July 13th, 2012 at 3:31 PM ^

I understand where you're coming from, but it's a bit more nuanced in my mind.

Had JoePa and PSU done the right thing and pursued this aggressively from the outset, my strong suspicion is people would say "that's a terrible situation, but this could have happened anywhere" and not pointed a hard finger at PSU or JoePa.  I suspect that's how I'd react.  If I'm right, this would be a very minor issue with respect to competitive advantage.  As a recruit's parent or alum, I'd view it as serious, but not as a smear on PSU's integrity. And I would not have a lot of trepidation about sending my son to a school that properly addressed a tragic situation, and did so swiftly and surely.  I'm not saying I'm right (it's a counterfactual after all), but that's how I think things would shake out. 

Bottom line is that  I just don't see the NCAA violation.  If someone can point me to an NCAA rule that PSU violated here, that would settle the issue in my mind. ( I'm not pretending to be versed in NCAA rules.)

Either way, thanks for the counterpoint.


July 13th, 2012 at 3:34 PM ^

One of the craziest things about all of this, to me, is what you said:  PSU, IMO, could have escaped the vast majority of what they're mired in now if they'd only done something to begin with.  Sandusky would just be an ugly footnote in PSU history if they'd reported him and cut ties with him right away. 

snarling wolverine

July 13th, 2012 at 5:39 PM ^

They still would have been criticized for possibly harboring a sexual predator in their midst for all that time, especially given that there was a giant red flag after the 1998 episode.  The myth that Paterno was doing it all "the right way" would have be shattered.  It could have weakened Paterno's standing enough that maybe the president/AD would have had the guts to fire him in 2004, when they wanted to.  

As for NCAA violations, this could be a loss of institutional control.  Here you had a university president and AD effectively answering to the head coach.


"Once you start hearing that the athletic department isn't responding to the chain of authority properly, that's an institutional control problem, and the NCAA is built around protecting that institutional control," University of Toledo sports law professor Geoffrey Rapp told the The Patriot-News. "The problem is if Paterno was able to tell the school what to do and the school doesn't have in place the right kind of hierarchy from the NCAA's perspective."



July 13th, 2012 at 5:55 PM ^

The possible violations would be:

  1. NCAA Bylaw 10.1: "Unethical conduct"
  2. NCAA Bylaw "Responsibility of Head Coach" to promote an atmosphere of compliance.
  3. NCAA Bylaw 19.1.2: "Exemplary Conduct", which states that "individuals employed by or associated with member institutions... are, in the final analysis, teachers of young people. Their responsibility is an affirmative one, and they must do more than avoid improper conduct or questionable acts.... Much more is expected of them than of the less critically placed citizen."

I gathered the possible violations from the letter Emmert wrote to the President of PSU. The actual rules can be best seen here.


Mr Miggle

July 14th, 2012 at 7:14 PM ^

Had JoePa and PSU done the right thing and pursued this aggressively from the outset, my strong suspicion is people would say "that's a terrible situation, but this could have happened anywhere" and not pointed a hard finger at PSU or JoePa.

I would agree with this if they had acted in 1998. But what if they had acted in 2001 after the incident McQueary witnessed? The football program and the school would have been hurt. They would have had to explain why Sandusky was given that kind of access after the 1998 accusations. Why he was given special privileges and a very generous retirement package.

What if they had finally acted in 2005? You're trying to look at the situation as a whole. But as time passed and they continued to cover up and not do the right thing, they were continually avoiding the serious harm that would have come from their previous misconduct. All the while, they absolutely knew that more children were being endangered.


July 15th, 2012 at 10:18 AM ^

of the existence of this program, with 50 years of lack of even rumors about the cleanliness of the program. It's pretty hard to exist in today's world, particularly the last 25 years or so, without even whispers and rumors of dirtiness occurring. Beyond that, my point (and I agree it's debateable) is that this awful situation was not about football, not about the strength of the team, had nothing to do with current or future players, and nothing to do with how the football program was run. Therefore I say that this was not about football--it was about avoiding bad publicity, just like every cover-up in history. And covering up bad publicity is not the same as running a dirty program.


July 13th, 2012 at 2:55 PM ^

I was actually just glancing another Yahoo! Sports article that touched upon whether the NCAA should get involved with the punishment and their take (or rather, the take of "sports law expert" Alan Milstein) was this: 

"Others believe that because this is a criminal issue and not a sports concern, the NCAA will avoid interfering. Milstein vehemently disagrees. "This is all about sports," he said. "All about protecting your sports empire."

On one hand, it makes sense for the NCAA not to get involved. A crime was commited and the main people responsible are either dead or going to prison for life while whatever is left of Penn State must spend the next few decades cleaning up the biggest PR mess in history. It's not fair to punish the current players for crimes that they themselves did not commit.

On the other hand, to cover up a crime of this magnitude took the efforts of the enitre institution, from the University President to the janitors, involving many key personnel from the football programs including the Head Coach and Athletic Director, all to protect the program from the crimes of a former longtime Defensive Coordinator, who used his position of power within the program to molest young boys. This wasn't just four guys protecting a child molester. McQueary, the janitors, the employees who witness "horrifying things" and still kept silent... This was an institutional inaction, all in the name of protecting the program and their own jobs, and as such, I would find it very hard to oppose the NCAA for getting involved and hammering down some serious sanctions on PSU.

French West Indian

July 13th, 2012 at 3:52 PM ^

Which I guess makes me indifferent with regard to NCAA sanctions.  But frankly, if the NCAA investigates and finds a rule brokent then I don't see why they shouldn't punish Penn State too.  Simply saying that it's a legal issue, the cops will take care of it and all the bad guys are gone feels like a cop-out...and probably sets a bad precedence of some kind too.

Brown Bear

July 13th, 2012 at 5:22 PM ^

That's my feeling as well. The university continued to rake in millions of dollars year after year while knowing this was going on. Are the principle players out of the picture? Yes. Are their fringe players who benefited from the silence still out there who will not be punished and continue to benefit. Yes.
Happy Valley needs to realize there are more important things in this world then their precious football team. They will survive without football and the "trauma" they will suffer by losing football is nothing compared to the trauma of all the victims, those who have come forward and those who have not, will ensure the rest of their lives. The thought of seeing the band marching out on the field with 100's of thousands of fans screaming in delight this fall sickens me.

The cult needs to be toppled and by removing the football team or at the least dropping the hammer on them is what is necessary then it must be done. This is an academic institution and are not deserved of a football program due to the blindness of that program(beyond Joe Paterno others had to have known). There are many fine schools out there that do not have a football program and penn state should join them.

My two cents.


July 13th, 2012 at 2:58 PM ^

As a passionate follower of both "footballs", I think the Euro coverage was generally excellent compared with the college football coverage-- I usually am watching the 10:00AM BPL match during College Game Day, so I don't know much about all of that, but the Mark May/ Lou Holtz/ Reece Davis stuff is god awful. There are so many tropes of pre-game American football coverage I hate: the "technique analysis" of retired players on the 10 yard "field" jam blocking each other on the "snap", the Lou Holtz vs Mark May "courtroom" skits are atrocious, etc. If they did a solid studio show with real analysis and then had annoucners get out of the way of the game and pre-game, it would be amazing. Would love to see the entrances, edited well. I'd also love to see more shots of individual fans emotions instead of pans of the crowd going wild, etc-- or at least finding the right mix. 

That said, oooof on Euro studio show. Twellman/Lalas/Ballack (Ballack was just horrible) and Bob Ley with Roberto Martinez on satellite was ugly. Bob Ley knows nothing about soccer. For all of the quality of the British/Scottish play by play announcers of the matches, Twellman and Keller on color were not good... although they grew on me. Still, American announcers talk over EVERYTHING-- it is not just ESPN, the BTN is also just horrible, etc. Good soccer announcers know they are not on the radio and that the game speaks for itself. Sports broadcasting could use more of that in general.



French West Indian

July 13th, 2012 at 4:10 PM ^

Frankly I don't watch much televised coverage but I honestly suspect that the modern sportscaster could literally say half as much as he does right now and it would be a huge improvement.  Ideally, I wonder if the games would be fine without anything broadcasters.  Most of us can gather any info we want via the internet now and frankly just having the sounds of the game/stadium piped into the TV might be a more visceral viewing experience.

The other great thing about soccer is the lack of TV timeouts/commercial breaks.  I know I'm an old fogey but I used to love going to the games that weren't on TV in part because they moved much more quickly.  Soccer, with it's 45 minutes straight of play is really a breath of fresh air compared to most American sports.

Ed Shuttlesworth

July 13th, 2012 at 3:12 PM ^

I guess technically the NCAA bylaws may not apply, but someone has to cleanse the cult before it can be allowed to re-enter legitimate society.  The cultists, pace Brian, have barely been shaken, much less deterred.  If Penn State won't do it themselves and the B1G won't do it, the NCAA has to do it.

Penn State should not be playing football in 2012.   It's simply grotesque to think of those people expressing pride in such a profoundly sick institution.  Paterno engaged in his heinous acts to ensure the undisturbed continuity of the football program; how can we possibly validate his actions by permitting its undisturbed continuity?


July 13th, 2012 at 3:09 PM ^

Changing topics completely from comments thus far, that effective income study is definitely interesting, but I would like to see them take it a step further. They're numbers are based on "pay per job", which is great and all for people who actually have a job, but the unemployment rate is so high in Detroit that I think it would negate a lot of the benefits. For example, I live in Arlington County just outside of DC and although everything is pretty pricey, the unemployment rate is only 3.5%. So maybe a per capita measurement would be a better fit?


July 13th, 2012 at 3:31 PM ^

Ya, but I guess my point is, if you're measuring welfare for everyone together, if you're living in Detroit and the cost of living is low but you're unemployed, well then you're not really doing well at all then. So is it better to have a 90% chance at an effective income of $57,000 or whatever or a 96.5% chance at an effective income of $52,000? It's all situational really.

French West Indian

July 13th, 2012 at 4:07 PM ^

"...if you're living in Detroit and the cost of living is low but you're unemployed, well then you're not really doing well at all then"

But you are still doing much better than being unemployed in a place with a high cost of living.  And, let's not forget, being "employed" and making more money is not a universal goal.  There are many people (running the gamut from rich to poor) who don't have a job and are quite content with that.  With a modest bit of cash in hand, you could set yourself up in Detroit with a roof over your head and no need for employment for years.

magnus_caerulus (not verified)

July 13th, 2012 at 7:31 PM ^

Unemployment benefits shouldnt be a factor. You are unnecessarily widening the scope to a great extent.

Simple: who has more buying power, cost of living ability, if you make 100k in NoVa/DMV or detroit metro? Detroit metro obviously. I lived in A2, Nova and now in SW MI. I barley survived in nova, now live quite comfortably. A2, Plymouth, Livonia,etc. are a bit more expensive than sw mi but I could live comfortably there as well. Nova, even with improved earnings since I left nova, would be a huge struggle. Housing costs are horribly high.


July 13th, 2012 at 3:14 PM ^

That said, if the NCAA were to vacate Paterno's victories after the 2001 incident* and instate Bobby Bowden as the all-time victories leader I would clap like a seal.

I wouldn't. Bowden has the same hangup about his legacy as Paterno did.  And it causes him to behave the same way, only about different crimes.  Had the two coaches switched schools, it'd be the exact same.  In fact, I'll take what's sure to be an unpopular devils-advocate-esque stance here: Paterno went to his grave trying to protect the reputation of the school and the participants of the football program.  Beyond the bounds of propriety, in fact - he went way too far.  Bowden, when appealing the NCAA's decision that would ensure he finished second to Paterno, transparently made it entirely about him.  In other words, Paterno didn't act appropriately, but I'm just as convinced Bowden wouldn't have either.

Everyone Murders

July 13th, 2012 at 4:01 PM ^

I mostly agree with your post, and wholly endorse the sentiment behind it.  In addition to what you've eloquently posted, it seems to me that Bowden has been very vocal about Paterno's failures here.  I don't recall him previously being looked to as a credible arbiter of ethics outside of Tallahassee.  And I start to suspect if his recent condemnations of Paterno are driven in part by a desire to see wins vacated or otherwise polish Bowden's legacy by disparaging Paterno's (already plenty-tarnished) legacy. 

I disagree with your post in one respect, however:  I'm not so sure it's fair to assume Bowden would have acted inappropriately in light of the facts of the PSU case.   It's one thing to be a hypocrite about integrity and then letting recently-convicted players play, foster academic fraud, and similar behavior.  It's quite another to aid and abet child abuse.

In any event, it seems to me that Bowden's criticisms of Paterno in the past few days  have really been much more about Bobby and much less about protecting children.


matty blue

July 13th, 2012 at 3:26 PM ^

first, i'm COMPLETELY on board with the idea that the "grand experiment" was a load of hooey.  i was tired of the "building men" b.s. way, WAY before this particular shit hit the fan.

i will say this, however:  you can make a case that the "success" (and i use that term advisedly, now) of the football program benefitted other penn state students that had no interest in football whatsoever.  the saint paterno image built a library and, it must be noted, was probably the main reason that many penn state alumni contributed to the school at large:  great undergrad experiences (like football saturdays) ==> future donations to the general fund ==> better educational facilities for the entire community.  for whatever that's worth.  obviously, gigantic caveats apply in retrospect.

and second:  what's zack novak doing posing with those freshmen basketball players?


July 13th, 2012 at 3:36 PM ^

Over the past couple of decades, it seems like the UM schedule tends to miss the conference foes when they're down, and pick up the conference teams on the rise. Have any of you observed this? Is it really paranoia if they're out to get me?

Anywhay, assuming the 2003 PSU and 1997 Illi are among the worst conference teams of the past 15 years, (which still requires some digging), then it comes as no surprise to me that neither team played our wolverines.