Al Pacino will play Joe Paterno in a movie about the late Penn State football coach. Producer Edward R. Pressman confirms Brian De Palma will direct “Happy Valley,” the tentative title of the film, based on Joe Posnanski’s best-seller “Paterno.”
“‘Happy Valley’ reunites the `Scarface’ and `Carlito’s Way’ team of De Palma and Pacino for the third time and I can’t think of a better duo to tell this story of a complex, intensely righteous man who was brought down by his own tragic flaw,” Pressman said in a statement. No start or release dates were given for the film.
While Pressman said the plot remains “under wraps,” Posnanski’s book followed Paterno’s final years, as the winningest coach in college football history saw his career end in disgrace in 2011 with the sex abuse scandal involving assistant Jerry Sandusky.
The Big Ten Conference has been catching grief for its choice of division names since they were first introduced in 2010. Now, it appears something may be done about it.
ESPN.com is reporting that the league could ditch the names Leaders and Legends for different names. With Maryland and Rutgers scheduled to join the conference in 2014, the league must also decide which division the schools must be placed.
A decision could be made by June, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney said.
“We weren’t going to go with ‘Bo or Woody,’ ‘Black or Blue,’ or ‘Plains or Lakes,’ ” Delaney said. “Obviously we got some acceptance (with Legends and Leaders), but not as much as we would have liked.”
The Leaders Division has Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Illinois and Indiana. The Legends Division has Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern, Michigan State, Iowa and Minnesota.
Bill O’Brien was officially named Big Ten coach of the year. Next up for Penn State’s first-year coach, in all likelihood, are some national awards.
O’Brien led the Nittany Lions to an 8-4 record, going 6-2 in conference play. His eight wins are the most by a first-year Penn State coach. Six Penn State players obtained first-team All-Big Ten status under his coaching.
That’s impressive enough on its own, but even more so considering O’Brien replaced Hall of Fame head coach Joe Paterno, who was fired last year in the aftermath of child sex abuse charges against now-imprisoned assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
Penn State defensive end Deion Barnes was named the conference’s freshman player of the year.
Former Penn State legend Franco Harris has defended Joe Paterno to the point that he showed up for the teams first game with a cutout of his former coach in his luxury box. Paterno and Franco made their way around the stadium as they gladly posed for pictures with fans.
A Roman Catholic priest in New York expressed sympathy this week for some clergy who sexually abuse children, as well as for convicted child rapist Jerry Sandusky, saying that it is often the “youngster” who is the seducer.
The remarks by the Rev. Benedict Groeschel, 79, co-founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in Westchester County outside New York City, drew strong criticism from the Archdiocese of New York and the support group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
“Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer,” Groeschel said when asked by an interviewer from the National Catholic Register, the nation’s oldest Catholic newspaper, about his work with priests who abuse children.
Groeschel, who has published numerous books and hosted shows on the Eternal Word Television Network, suggested that children might seduce priests because they lacked a father figure, adding, “They won’t be planning to get into heavy-duty sex, but almost romantic, embracing, kissing, perhaps sleeping but not having intercourse or anything like that.”
The Catholic Church has been rocked in recent decades by accusations that it tried to cover up the sexual abuse of children by priests and has paid out billions in settlements to abuse victims, bankrupting several U.S. dioceses.
Similar scandals have shaken the lucrative world of college sports, most notably the conviction of Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant coach, for sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years, most of them in the campus football showers.
Groeschel referred to Sandusky as “this poor guy.” Pondering how Sandusky’s attacks could have gone on for so long, Groeschel added, “Well, you know, until recent years, people did not register in their minds that it was a crime.”
The interview was published on Monday but was removed from the National Catholic Register’s website by Thursday. It was replaced with a note from Jeanette De Melo, the Register’s editor in chief, apologizing for what she called an “editorial mistake,” saying the publication should have attempted to clarify or challenge his comments.
“Child sexual abuse is never excusable,” she wrote.
The Archdiocese of New York said Groeschel’s comments were “simply wrong” and could not go unchallenged, although it does not have direct authority over Groeschel, who retired from teaching in the archdiocese’s seminary last year.
‘SAID SOMETHING LIKE GRANDPA WOULD SAY’
Colleagues of Groeschel suggested on Thursday that he was recovering from a fall and was mentally frail.
The Rev. Glenn Sudano, a spokesman for the Franciscan Friars, likened him to an elderly relative.
“He said something like grandpa would say and it’s like ‘Grandpa, why would you say that?’” Sudano told Reuters in a telephone interview.
“Obviously we don’t agree with what he said, obviously it’s terribly disappointing that people are hurt or upset,” Sudano said. “We feel very bad about it.”
Sudano said he did not know if Groeschel would face any consequences for his remarks.
Barbara Blaine, president of Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, called the remarks “callous.”
“A teenager does not have the power to seduce anyone. The adult is in the position of power and authority,” Blaine said. “He should be removed from speaking as a Catholic leader.”
Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling said, “The harm that was done by these remarks was compounded by the assertion that the victim of abuse is responsible for the abuse, or somehow caused the abuse to occur.
“This is not only terribly wrong,” he said in a statement, “it is also extremely painful for victims.”
A photo of an Ohio State fan T-shirt that reads “I’d rather shower at Penn State than cheer for the Wolverines” went viral Wednesday. The “shower at Penn State” line refers to a 2001 incident involving Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach. Then-graduate assistant coach Mike McQueary testified he saw Sandusky rape a boy in the showers of the PSU football building.
The company Smack Apparel has created the first Penn State Anti-NCAA t-shirt. The front of the t-shirt comes complete with the hammer and sickle logo of The Communist Party of China as the “C” in NCAA and the tagline, “National Communist Athletic Association”. And on the back is the tagline, “Overstepping Their Bounds And Punishing The Innocent Since 1906”.
Penn State football players showed up for their first morning workout of the preseason at 6:00 am Tuesday morning and they were not alone. An estimated 3,000 Penn State fans gathered outside the Lasch Building and cheered as player after player filed into the building for their workout.
In an event dubbed “Rise and Rally”, fans with signs lined the walkway from the Lasch Building to Holuba Hall and cheered as each player was greeted at the door by the wife of Joe Paterno, Sue.
“After all the things that have happened, it’s good to see the community coming together,” State College resident Gene Tyworth said amid cheers and band fight songs.
The university closed McKean Road to accommodate the event.
Police Chief Tyrone Parham said, “We expected a couple thousand people.”
State College resident Cindy Bittner said despite the early hour, “I wouldn’t miss it.”
She added: “I’m excited for the team.”
“This is Penn State,” said Lisa Benson of Boalsburg. “People don’t get that.”
Penn State coach Bill O’Brien has raised the possibility of changing the Nittany Lions’ classic blue and white uniforms. O’Brien has spoken with Nike about changing the uniforms, he told players’ parents in a conference call.
“It might be easier said than done (for this season),” O’Brien said, according to the Eagle. “I’m not sure we can get it done this year.”
He also is looking into adding player names to the back of the jerseys for the first time, according to the newspaper.
“I reserve the right to change my mind,” O’Brien said
Southern California backup quarterback Max Wittek made comments, published by The Los Angeles Times and others regarding talking to Penn State junior running back Silas Redd, could be against NCAA recruiting rules.
Wittek, who played youth football with Redd while growing up in Connecticut, is allowed to talk with his old teammate, but he and any other players or coaches out there are barred by NCAA rules from commenting publicly about a player they are recruiting.
It is likely, however, that the NCAA would view Wittek’s comments as a secondary violation and might not lead to any finding of penalties.
Any Penn State player who wants to transfer and still play this season cannot practice with or play for the Nittany Lions in 2012. Practice at Penn State and USC officially begins Aug. 6.
The NCAA also has said that any school on NCAA sanctions, which includes USC, would not be granted a waiver to exceed its scholarship total to take in a Penn State transfer. USC is at its limit of 75 scholarships already and would need a spot to open up to take in Redd.
Penn State football coach Bill O’Brien automatically received a four-year contract extension when the program was hit Monday with NCAA sanctions, according to a report by the Centre Daily Times.
The newspaper said it had obtained a copy of the addendum to O’Brien’s contract and said the agreement was reached in January, when the coach was first hired, to allow for reaction to potential sanctions by the NCAA.
The document, dated Jan. 6, 2012, and signed by interim athletics director David Joyner, reads:
“Any sanction by the NCAA of a) loss of scholarships or b) bowl eligibility due to the actions of the previous staff or lack of institutional control prior to 2012 will immediately result in an automatic extension of coach’s contract at 2016 total compensation and bonus package in years equal to the number of years of the sanctions.”
O’Brien’s original deal was for five years with a base annual salary of $950,000 and built-in annual raises of 5%.
What can we say, Penn State alum Tom Price believes the sanctions levied against Penn State by the NCAA it’s on the level of 2,996 people losing their lives on 9/11.
“I just can’t put my arms around it, it’s, to me, it was our 9/11 today. I just saw planes crashing into towers,” said Price, who told WNEP that he has gone to almost every home PSU football game, with his wife, since 1986.
Joe Paterno’s statue was removed Sunday morning and shortly after the NCAA announced it would hold a press conference Monday morning where sanctions would be issued against Penn State.
The 7-foot, 900-pound statue erected in 2001 to honor Paterno, was taken down with a forklift outside of Beaver Stadium in State College, Pa., with more than 100 Penn State students watching.
On Friday, Paterno’s widow, Sue, and two of their children visited the statue. In a statement Sunday after the statue’s removal, the family said, “Tearing down the statue of Joe Paterno does not serve the victims of Jerry Sandusky’s horrible crimes or help heal the Penn State Community. We believe the only way to help the victims is to uncover the full truth. The Freeh report, though it has been accepted by the media as the definitive conclusion on the Sandusky scandal, is the equivalent of an indictment—a charging document written by a prosecutor—and an incomplete and unofficial one at that.”
NCAA president Mark Emmert will make the announcement Monday morning regarding the sanctions against Penn State. In its announcement Sunday, the NCAA said it will hand out “corrective and punitive measures” against Penn State.
The city attorney and mayor of Grambling, La., sent a letter to the NCAA asking it to vacate some of Joe Paterno’s wins so Grambling State’s Eddie Robinson could again hold the record for the most Division I football victories, the Shreveport Times reported.
Robinson had 408 wins at Grambling State, and Paterno had 409 while at Penn State. Current Grambling State head coach Doug Williams also chimed in on the “interesting” timing of Paterno’s firing.
“Right after (Paterno) broke the record, they let him go,” said Grambling State football coach Doug Williams, who both played for Robinson and replaced him as the Tigers’ coach in 1998. “That’s interesting. A lot of people have reservations about the timing. The NCAA definitely has to review it and look at it. I’m a little biased toward coach Robinson, but the timing (of Paterno’s firing), if it had happened at the end of the year, it would have been something different.”
Sports cartoonist Rob Tornoe, who does sports cartoon work for the Philadelphia Inquirer, drew the above cartoon shortly after Joe Paterno’s death in January which features legendary Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant welcoming him into heaven. But since the Freeh Report’s release Tornoe has updated his original cartoon.
Even in the middle of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, Penn State University reports that over 3,400 new season ticket packages have been sold for the 2012 season. According to the release, roughly 94 percent of 2011 Nittany Lion season ticket holders have renewed their seats for the coming season. The 3,400 new season ticket purchases more than doubles the number from the year before.
The 2012 season marks the first for new head coach Bill O’Brien and his staff, which will return 34 letterwinners and nine starters as they open their season against Ohio on Sept. 1.
Nick Saban said one option to address the Penn State tragedy might be a ticket tax on athletic events and giving the proceeds to child abuse funds.
“This is a very, very criminal situation that probably reflects poorly on a lot of folks,” Saban told a small group of reporters before speaking at Southeastern Conference media days. “It’s probably too almost raw to really have a feeling that I can express. I think that what we all should probably be thinking a little bit more about is what do we want to be the outcome of this? Something that’s a win-win type thing, for kids in the future, the people that are there now, the players that are there now.
“Maybe they ought to tax all the tickets that they sell on athletics and give the proceeds to some child abuse organization. Or something like that, rather than worrying about some punishment that is really going to have no positive affect on anything.”
The Alabama coach didn’t go into details of how a tax would be implemented. He stressed his comments had to do more with philosophy than a real recommendation.
He also said he has faith that Alabama tries to promote the moral obligation that we all have to protect other folks.
“Everybody has a responsibility and obligation to represent their institution that way, and I believe in that.”
Another day, another new development at the Joe Paterno statue. Turns out now that security at the statue has since stopped even with a plane flying over the campus declaring it would take care of it if the school didn’t.
A few students have decided to strap on their Paul Blart skills on and take it upon themselves to provide security for the statue. So students decided to spend the night camping out at the security to ensure that no one does any harm to it.
Penn State security had ordered guards to monitor the Joe Paterno statue late last week 24 hours a day. Now Penn State might have to intensify their security efforts after yesterday a plane flew over the campus today with a banner that read, “Take down the statue or we will”.
The Penn State student group that manages the area outside Beaver Stadium where students camp out for prime football tickets has changed the name of the tent city that spouts up the week before home games in Happy Valley.
The also-renamed Nittanyville Coordination Committee said Monday that student officers decided the name change would “return the focus to the overall team and the thousands of students who support it.”
On its website, the student organization that runs makeshift campgrounds said that “since it was unlikely another coach would stay as long as Coach Paterno had, changing the name for each new coach would be impractical.”
“Now, it’s a new era of Nittany Lion football,” committee President Troy Weller said in a statement released Monday. “And by changing the name to Nittanyville we want to return the focus to the overall team and the thousands of students who support it. We thank the Paterno family for their gracious assistance and support over the last several years.”
Students at this year’s encampment plan to donate some fundraising proceeds to a child abuse prevention and treatment center.
The tent city was dubbed Paternoville in 2005, and the student organizing group became an official university organization, recognized by the office of student affairs, the following year.
Michael Pilato, an artist has removed a halo from a mural of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno amid the school’s child sex-abuse scandal. Pilato had put a halo over Paterno’s image after the beloved coach’s death in January, but said he felt he had to remove it Saturday after a report that Paterno, former university president Graham Spanier and others buried allegations of child sex-abuse against ex-assistant Jerry Sandusky. Paterno’s family denies the claim.
Pilato added a large blue ribbon, instead, on Paterno’s lapel symbolizing support for child abuse victims, a cause the artist said Paterno had endorsed. Pilato earlier removed Sandusky from the downtown mural. He said he hasn’t made a decision on Spanier’s image. Spanier has not been charged. Sandusky has been convicted and is awaiting sentencing.
Penn State received more than $208 million in donations for the fiscal year that just ended, the second-highest total in university history despite the upheaval after the arrest of Jerry Sandusky on child sex abuse charges.
The school said Monday there was a raise in the number of alumni who donated money or gifts in the fiscal year that ended June 30 to more than 75,500, reversing two years of declines.
The number of donors overall which would include corporations and non-alumni also rose slightly to more than 191,000. Donations included gifts for scholarships; as well as increases in giving to the football booster club and the annual student-organized dance marathon to raise money for pediatric cancer patients and research. Only the 2010 fiscal year was more prolific for Penn State, when the school raised more than $274 million.
University vice president Rod Kirsch says the school is grateful for the contributions amid “incredibly difficult circumstances.
Sandusky, a retired assistant football coach, was arrested in November. It led to ouster of head coach Joe Paterno, a move criticized by some alumni and former players. Sandusky is awaiting sentencing after being convicted of 45 criminal counts last month.
Every Thursday Sports Grind Entertainment will present you with the Mama Margie’s Major Meltdown. The recipient of this honor goes to former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. He was found guilty of 45 counts of child sex abuse, closing the first chapter in a scandal that tarnished a university and led to the ouster of four of its top administrators. He now faces the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison after his sentencing hearing, which will be in about 90 days.
LSU fans really hate the University of Alabama that they think it would be a whole lot cooler to stoop down to the level of Jerry Sandusky and shower at Penn State humor then support the Crimson Tide.