Monday, May 31, 2010

The Halo Effect of Coach Joe Paterno: Respect

I hung up the phone stunned. I had just asked the Rev. Charles MacEachern (Charlie) to officiate at our wedding. He was the retired pastor of my family church in Massachusetts, a friend. The year was 1987.

Charlie asked about Terry. I started with, “Terry is an avid Penn State football fan.” His response was, “Carolyn, that’s all I need to know. Anybody who’s a fan of Joe Paterno will make a great husband.” He immediately agreed to marry us.

“Joe Paterno is my hero,” Charlie explained. “He doesn’t compromise academics to win. He does college football the right way.”

Marketers would call this reaction the “halo effect.” Because Paterno had this halo surrounding him, the halo was transferred to Terry. I could describe Terry in a lot of ways, but “angel” wasn’t exactly on the tip of my tongue.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Loyalty at Penn State is Very Clear Cut: Money Talks

If you read the Centre Daily Times online and follow Penn State football religiously, you know that there has been a rather heated discussion about the Beaver Stadium Seat Transfer and Equity Plan. This plan, scheduled to be implemented in 2011, essentially will re-assign seats based on the seats’ “worth”. That is, chair-back seats on the 50-yard line will require an annual donation of $2000 per seat (there are very few of these). Seats between the 25-yard lines will require $600 per seat. Seats between the 10-25 yard lines will require $400 per seat. All other seats – other than the student section, the visitor section, and the club seats – will require a $100 donation per seat. That's just for the right to buy tickets.

Part of the plan also is the relocation of the student section. Right now the student section starts in the middle of the end zone and extends to the 40-yard line in the East stands. Students work their way up – freshmen sit in the end zone, sophomores in the corner of the end zone, juniors between the 0-20 yard lines, and seniors have the best seats. In the new configuration, students will be in the entire bottom level of the south end zone, and have some sections between the goal line and the 10-yard line in both the east and west stands. 

The visitors will be moved from the northeast end zone corner of the stadium to the very last rows in the Lion’s Den in the end zone – up in the “nose bleed” section. People sitting in those last rows will have to be relocated.

Okay, that’s hard to visualize, so look at the picture to the left. It’s a bit small, but it’s the best I can do. The blue seats are $100 seats. The red seats are $400 seats. Black are $600 seats. Green are $2000 seats. White are student section, and pink are visitors. The purple first tier in the south end zone are club seats, under separate contract, so not subject to this plan.

Does this plan make sense? According to most of the comments posted on the Centre Daily Times website, Penn State is being accused of all sorts of greed and other nasty intentions. People are claiming that they are not being recognized for their years of loyalty.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Decent Travel Schedule For A Change

Spent the day today making reservations for fall away games. It's nice to think that we will connect through Detroit Airport only four times: twice for the Iowa game and twice again for Minnesota. For Alabama, we will be on a charter out of Harrisburg. The rest of the games - Ohio State and Indiana (at FedEx field near Washington D.C.) will be road trips. I didn't even get a call from the credit card company! Usually when I book all our trips for the fall in one day I get a notice asking me to confirm if the charges are legitimate. But I guess just two round-trip flights are under their radar for illegitimate purchases.

Makes me even more excited about the possibility of Big Ten Expansion. The more games within driving distance, the happier we will be. There's nothing fun about airline travel these days.

Speaking of Big Ten expansion, Pete Fiutak of ( makes the following predictions for Big Ten expansion:

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Casting a Vote on Big Ten Expansion Teams

Bring it on! That was my initial reaction to the news that the Big Ten Conference is seeking expansion. And it’s still my reaction as I learn that the Big 12 and Pac-10 conferences are also seeking to collaborate in perhaps an alliance or merger.

Talk about expansion to 14 or 16 teams is welcome news. It gives the Big Ten an opportunity to have two divisions, and likely a Big Ten championship game, that would close the gap with the SEC and the Big 12 on rankings and competitiveness in bowl games. As the landscape of college football changes and conferences get bigger, there may also be opportunities to play more competitive non-conference teams, although I think it’s too soon to know that for sure. It depends on how the landscape gets reshaped. So which teams do I think are realistic invitations for the conference? Here’s my list, and some research and thoughts about each: