We hope you’ll start your day with us here at the Landof10.com as we work to prepare you for everything that you need to know – Monday through Friday – around the world of Penn State sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, wrestling, hockey, baseball or just a wild story we hope you’ll find interesting, we’re here to share it all with you.
This is your Penn State Wake-Up Call for Friday, Sept. 16. Let’s get started.
Lettermen to honor Paterno, too
In addition to Penn State’s plans to honor Joe Paterno during Saturday’s game against Temple — plans detailed in a statement released by athletic director Sandy Barbour on Thursday — several hundred lettermen will gather at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park to honor Paterno on Friday.
Former running back Tom Donchez discussed the gathering with Jourdan Rodrigue of the Centre Daily Times, noting that the lettermen are doing this while fully aware of the cloud that still hangs over Paterno because of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual-abuse scandal:
“We would do this for Joe whether or not anything happened,” said Donchez. “He’s our coach. We are a part of this program. ‘The Grand Experiment’ really did exist and it lasted for a long time, and it still exists. We are proud to have been a part of it and we’re celebrating it. It’s really as simple as that.”
The school’s decision to honor the 50th anniversary of Paterno’s first game – a 15-7 victory over Maryland on Sept. 17, 1966 – has been widely criticized, with USA Today columnist Christine Brennan the latest to weigh in:
Letting go of this repugnant and appalling chapter in the history of a proud and respected university should be the easiest decision Penn State officials have ever made. Yet, for some inexplicable reason, those officials just don’t have it in them to stop bringing up Paterno, which brings up Sandusky, which brings up all those young boys and what Sandusky did to them while he was coaching defense at Penn State.
Bigger role awaits Cam Brown
Bob Flounders of Pennlive.com listed his X-factors for the game against the Owls, and not surprisingly, there is a defensive drift to his choices.
Specifically, Flounders notes the growing role of freshman outside linebacker Cam Brown. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Brown made his collegiate debut against Pitt after injuries to Jason Cabinda and Brandon Bell left the linebacker corps threadbare.
It is not clear whether Cabinda, who has been seen with a cast on his left hand, will be available this week. Ditto for Bell, who has an unspecified injury. That means more action for sophomores Manny Bowen and Jake Cooper, and likely Brown. Coach James Franklin confirmed as much when asked about the freshman during his news conference Tuesday.
Brown, from Bullis School in Maryland, was the only linebacker in Penn State’s 2016 recruiting class, having opted for the Lions over the likes of Notre Dame, Pitt, North Carolina and USC.
One question, though: Why is Brown’s Twitter handle @FreakyyCinco? Since PSU does not make freshmen available for interviews, we won’t find out until at least next spring.
PSU athletics in the black
Penn State had a $2.8 million gross operating surplus for athletics in the fiscal year ending June 30, according to a report to the Board of Trustees committee on finance, business and capital planning on Thursday by athletic director Sandy Barbour and senior associate AD for finance and business operations Rick Kaluza.
As noted on psu.edu, approximately 800 athletes compete in 31 sports at the school — 16 men’s sports and 15 women’s sports — with 66 percent of those competitors receiving some type of grant-in-aid/ scholarship support.
The report also noted the effect of the NCAA sanctions handed down in 2012, in the wake of the Sandusky scandal:
At the conclusion of fiscal year 2011, ICA had a reserve balance of approximately $20 million. Following the impact of the sanctions and loss of Big Ten bowl revenues, the reserve balance was approximately $150,000 at the end of FY 2013. Through a combination of expense reduction initiatives and the return of conference and bowl revenues and the external loans, Penn State Athletics has built a reserve balance each of the past three years to $8.4 million as fiscal year 2016 concluded.
Milestone for Steve Jones
Penn State radio play-by-play man Steve Jones called his 200th football game when the Lions beat Kent State in their season opener two weeks ago. And on Thursday, coach James Franklin presented him with framed photos from that game, as seen below.
Jones, a 1980 PSU graduate, has been calling Lions games since 2000. He has also done over 1,000 men’s basketball games, dating back to 1982.
— Kris Petersen (@GoPSUKris) September 15, 2016