On the eve of the WHITE HOUSE, Happy Valley is beginning to fill up with fans all around downtown, buying white gear. I know tomorrow will be one of the best games I will ever see. Our Nittany Lions will take the field and play against the team that many argue is our biggest rival. This game is of truly epic proportions; Beaver Stadium is completely sold out and the WHITE HOUSE will cover the entire stadium.
I wanted to take a minute to comment on this “culture” at Penn State, which Mark Emmert seems to believe puts the success of the football team before academics. Why don’t we just take a look at the recently released graduation rates for both our football program and all student athletes at Penn State.
Go to the link: http://www.gopsusports.com/genrel/102512aab.html
Notice anything? Oh yeah…it seems Penn State has an incredible 91% graduation rate for football players which is well above the NCAA’s average. That’s right…Penn State has the second highest graduation rate for football players in the Big Ten, surpassed only by Northwestern. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this proves Penn State takes the academics of student athletes very seriously, more seriously than winning a game. Hey Mark Emmert…does it still look like we put football before academics? I don’t think so.
With tomorrow’s game against the Buckeyes, let’s compare these two “cultures.” Both are huge football schools with extremely talented teams and coaches. Both have diehard fans and energetic crowds. Both have had legendary coaches and have won bowls and championships. Both, however, do not appear to have student athletes that care about their education, and I’m not talking about the Nittany Lions. About two weeks ago, one of the backup Ohio State quarterbacks, Cardale Jones, tweeted: “Why should we have to go to class if we came here to play FOOTBALL, we ain’t come to play SCHOOL, classes are POINTLESS.” Looking past the painfully obvious grammar problems in this tweet, I think it’s clear this young man does in fact put football before his academics. Now, isn’t that the reason Penn State was given such harsh penalties? Yep. Did a Penn State player tweet about his complete disregard of his education? Nope. I’m thinking the NCAA should reevaluate its idea of “fundamental culture problems.”
Let’s get to the real Penn State culture. The real culture here in Happy Valley is one where thousands of alumni fly, drive, and bus their way back to State College for a weekend to stand up with their school, to cheer in support or our student athletes, the Nittany Lions. It’s a culture where we celebrate more than the team winning a game; we celebrate the players succeeding in the classroom. It’s a culture where an entire stadium of 106,000 people paint the stands white with Penn State clothing and shakers to be a part of a truly spectacular sight. It’s a culture where no matter what happens to the university, the community, the student body, or the team, we can all come together and BEAT THE BUCKEYES.