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Nitt Picks Cries a River

By now you all know about the seat license fees about to hit Penn State season ticket holders that is sure to flip the entire Beaver Stadium seating chart on its head starting in 2011. You can expect to hear a lot of sad stories like this one over the coming year.

For the 40th straight year, Ray Euler and his family will drive 185 miles from their home in Newtown Square on seven weekends this fall.

Like always, they will stay at the same bed and breakfast and shop at the same downtown stores. On Saturdays, they will head to Section EE, Rows 32 and 33 of Beaver Stadium, where they have 12 season tickets. They will watch the games and cheer on their Nittany Lions.

But this season, regardless of how many games are won or lost by the home team, will be a bittersweet experience for Euler, a retired life insurance salesman.

"I’ve resigned myself that 2010 will be my last year," Euler said.

I feel bad for people like Mr. Euler, but at the same time I suspect he's one of the crotchety old men with seats on the 50 yard line that sit under his wool blanket yelling "Down in front!" I'm willing to bet that people like Mr. Euler don't pay a dime to the NLC, or they make the minimum donation of a few hundred dollars and that is how they manage to afford 12 season tickets.

You will be sure to hear dozens of stories like Mr. Euler's in the months to come. The media loves a good story about the little guy getting pushed out by the big bad evil corporation. But you probably won't hear too much from the people that have been trying to buy good seats for decades, and have been willing to pay for them, but have been denied for years because people like Mr. Euler refuse to give them up.

Nitardy breaks down the reactions of season ticket holders he’s heard from into roughly three groups. A third of them, he says, were initially upset about the change and either cooled off when they had some things clarified for them or simply decided to discontinue their tickets. Another third simply wanted to know how the new plan would specifically affect them. The last third was excited about the chance to improve the location or number of their seats.

It's called supply and demand. There is a huge demand for tickets right now, and Penn State is stupid if they don't cash in on it. It's a shame to see a glorious game like college football lose its innocence and sell out to corporate interests, but at the same time, everybody wants to cheer for a winner. This is the price you pay.

Rutgers Really? Yes, Really.

I must admit that when I first heard about Rutgers joining the Big Ten I laughed it off. It's difficult to see any value they bring to the conference other than potential access to the New York market, and even that seems questionable in a town known for supporting primarily their professional sports. But the Wall Street Journal discusses the possibility of Rutgers joining the Big Ten and, I must admit, they make a pretty good case.

But Rutgers's present profile is perfectly in step with the Big Ten: The school has roughly 40,000 undergraduates (about the same as Penn State), it is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities (a group of 63 research universities, which includes all 11 Big Ten schools), and it ranks 66th in the latest U.S. News and World Report rankings, just behind Minnesota and ahead of Indiana. It has reached five straight bowl games under coach Greg Schiano.

So basically, right now at this moment Rutgers is a more attractive member to the Big Ten than Indiana. They may not guarantee access to the New York market, but I bet more people would tune into the Big Ten Network to watch Rutgers play Minnesota than would tune in to watch Indiana play Minnesota. Chew on that a bit.

And if there was any doubt as to whether Rutgers would jump the Big East sinking ship...

This actually isn't the first time that Rutgers-to-the-Big Ten has come up. A person with close ties to the university said Rutgers first approached the conference about membership possibilities in 2008 during Robert Mulcahy's final year as athletic director.

Seems like they've had their nose pressed up against the glass for some time.

In Scores of Other Games