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Nitt Picks Doesn't Want Your Two Cents

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One of Joe Paterno's most famous quotes is "I want your money, but I don't want your two cents" in regards to booster involvement in his program. Apparently, Connecticut athletic director Jeff Hathaway lives by the same credo, and now it would appear the Huskies are in a spot'a trouble

Hell hath no fury like a booster scorned.

Robert Burton donated $3 million to UConn to fund The Burton Family Football Complex in Storrs. Burton is a printing industry executive who has lived in Greenwich for over 30 years, and has donated over $7 million to the football program in that time. Well, now he wants that $3 million for the football complex back, and he'd like his name taken off of it as well. It seems that Mr. Burton is pretty upset with UConn AD Jeff Hathaway not seeking his input when it came to hiring Paul Pasqualoni to replace Randy Edsall.

It gets better. In addition for wanting his big donation back, Burton won't be renewing the lease at his $50,000 luxury suite, either. And there's this.

Burton didn't stop there, either. He no longer plans on purchasing an $8,000 ad inside the football program, he's moving all the money he donated for football scholarships to the business school, and Burton will stop an annual $20,000 donation for the school's summer coaching clinic. Oh, and speaking of the UConn business school, any time Burton's business needs to train any of its managers, it'll no longer be sending them to UConn's business school. It'll send them to Syracuse instead.

And that, my friends, is why Joe Paterno tells meddling boosters like this guy to buzz off before they even write the checks.

I say, good for Jeff Hathaway. Unlike the folks at Oregon, he must have a spine and won't let dollar signs get in the way of making what he sees as sound football decisions. I can't speak to the true motives behind Burton's petty moves here, but it looks like he thinks he was buying a controlling stake in Connecticut football. It looks like the donation wasn't about giving the athletes a nice football complex, it was about power, and if that's the reason he made the donation, he did it for all the wrong reasons. UCONN made the right call here. Hopefully, more programs follow their lead.

Iowa Incident

Many details are still unclear about the strenuous workouts that led to 12 Iowa football players' hospitalization earlier this week, but CBS' Gregg Doyel wasted no time in jumping on the situation.

Barta also noted that coach Kirk Ferentz was on the road recruiting and "is aware of the situation and being kept abreast of the progress being made." I'm going to give Ferentz the benefit of the doubt and assume that he returned to Iowa the second he learned that 12 of the young men under his care were in the hospital. If he stayed on the road to recruit rather than returning to Iowa, mothers and fathers should pull their sons out of his program -- and Ferentz should be fired.

Maybe Ferentz should be fired either way. Unless this entire episode can be chalked up to a tainted supplement -- the life raft Iowa fans seem to be clinging to -- someone has to be fired. Trainer, assistant coach, head coach. Someone. Maybe all of them. What happened at Iowa on Monday crossed the line that separates unforeseen from unforeseeable.

This was no fluke. This was grotesque. And this was negligence.

This morning, Spencer Hall of EDSBS decided to use the occasion to take a shot at Penn State.

Like most football programs Iowa works out often and hard, and does a lot of diverse things to condition their athletes. Their offseason workouts have been brutal, including a sled drill and squat routine that had observers marveling at the seas of puke, but to say this couldn't happen at your program is insane--unless we're talking about Penn State, aka "The House of Cybex." Pretty sure this is not happening at PSU.

Now, I don't frequent the message boards for fear of a cyborg jumping through my computer screen to shake me in panic when a high school freshman says he thinks Ohio State has a nice campus after going to a game with his dad, but I am aware of the whispers there that say Penn State has a subpar strength and conditioning program, so seeing Hall take a crack like that is no surprise.

If this is what Penn State is supposed to be aspiring to, though, I say "pass" every single time. We already know Michigan under Rich Rodriguez overworked players and now the same type of thing appears to be happening at Iowa. I'd rather see Penn State lose football games to schools like that than send kids to the hospital with workouts like these. I don't know whether Penn State could be doing more in strength and conditioning, but I do know that if  "do more" means keep up with Michigan and Iowa, I want absolutely nothing to do with it. What happened at Iowa is unacceptable and what happened at Michigan is against NCAA rules for a reason. Joe could have the guys doing yoga for all I care. Anything is better than this.

State Patty's Day

It's getting to be that time of year again when students from across the Commonwealth drunkenly converge on State College to celebrate St. Patrick's day weeks early by trashing the town and getting arrested and local officials think they have an idea to push back.

The State College Police Department could be getting some extra help in monitoring rowdy students on State Patty’s Day, thanks to a "community policing" initiative spearheaded by State College Police Chief Tom King.

This State Patty’s Day, the borough is asking community and campus volunteers to establish a presence downtown to promote safety and community pride — and notify police if they see any violations of the law occurring.

This is all well and good, but drunk people aren't going to start acting responsibly through osmosis. They're also not going to be deterred by a few local grannies standing on the corner of College and Atherton with a mega phone telling them not to drink. The crime statistics say a large percentage of the trouble this holiday stirs up comes from non-students. Throw the book at them. Make it clear that if they create problems on that weekend in this town, they're going to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Take away the incentive to come to Happy Valley and act like goons and suddenly, it's just Penn State students going about their normal weekend plans with green shirts on. That's not to say crime will disappear, but it'll be much closer to the average Penn State party weekend than the crap storm that ensues when you bring in a bunch of kids from other schools for no other purpose than to drink themselves into a stupor and do dumb stuff. 

In Scores Of Other Games

  • The wrestling team is officially No. 1 [GoPSUSports.com]
  • Andy Katz talks about the curb stomping Purdue took in Columbus on Monday night. [ESPN.com]
  • The athletic conferences pulled in record profits from the bowls this season. [AP]