College Basketball Nation: Penn State scandal

Video: Obama with Andy Katz

November, 11, 2011

President Obama addresses the game aboard the USS Carl Vinson and the scandal at Penn State.

3-point shot: MSU talks crisis management

November, 11, 2011
1. Michigan State coach Mark Hollis said Thursday that earlier this week he met with football coach Mark Dantonio and men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo about the proper protocol in dealing with a crisis, particularly if it’s a legal issue. Hollis said this is in direct response to the way Penn State handled the alleged sexual abuse scandal by a former assistant coach of young boys. “We had to go through discussing things that if something ever happens in negative in nature about how we’re supposed to handle it, react and respond,’’ Hollis said. “These are the challenges for all schools going forward. Something can happen every day and that’s why you hope everyone follows the protocol.’’

2. Akron upset Mississippi State in Starkville on Wednesday night in the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer. But it doesn’t affect the Bulldogs’ appearance in the event next week in New York. The Gazelle Group, organizers of the event, changed the format after Gardner-Webb upset Kentucky in the same event in 2007. Organizers couldn’t afford to see a team get to New York that wasn’t going to sell tickets or move the ratings meter. That means Mississippi State will be in New York with the other three hosts – St. John’s, Arizona and Texas A&M. A year ago, San Diego State won at Gonzaga in the CBE Classic. But the Aztecs knew the deal and weren’t heading to Kansas City for the CBE semifinals. If the Bulldogs are a factor in the SEC then Akron, a MAC favorite, will have a shelf-life win.

3. Jim Larranaga certainly has a challenge ahead at Miami. Losing Reggie Johnson for the first half of the season to a knee injury was a crushing blow. Taking away forward Julian Gamble with a season-ending ACL injury was another shot. Now DeQuan Jones is out for the season as the NCAA and the school investigate the allegation that there was a $10,000 payment made to get him to come to Miami, as reported by Yahoo! Sports. Miami kept saying there was no change in Jones’ status throughout the fall. But it was clear that this allegation was going to cause some pause to play Jones until he was cleared. The Hurricanes couldn’t afford to potentially play an ineligible player. Now the ‘Canes are down three players from a year ago, making it even more difficult to mount an at-large bid through the non-conference portion of the schedule.

PSU's Pat Chambers: 'It's somber here'

November, 8, 2011
Geno Thorpe, a Pittsburgh-area talent who was being recruited by the Panthers as well as Kansas State and Wisconsin, announced on Tuesday that he would attend Penn State.

It was a huge scoop for new coach Pat Chambers, one that typically would resonate loudly in basketball circles.

These, though, are not normal days at Penn State.

With the scandal swirling around the football program -- specifically the child molestation allegations against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky -- basketball and pretty much everything else on campus has taken a backseat.

“It’s somber here, somber for a lot of reasons,’’ Chambers said.

His work at building a basketball program certainly seems trivial in light of the allegations, and more, what the eight victims reportedly suffered. But basketball season is here and Chambers has a job to do. The Nittany Lions open their season on Saturday against Hartford.

The team opted to tip off at 4:30, hoping to capitalize on the overflow of fans pouring out of Beaver Stadium following the football team’s noon game against Nebraska.

“You have to try and go about your business,’’ Chambers said. “What else can we do? We need to stay together through this, try to keep a positive attitude and have a foxhole mentality.’’

Chambers has called his team together for group meetings, attempting to answer their questions and assuage their concerns.

But the answers, he admits, aren’t easy to come by.

“The allegations, all of it is in the legal system so there’s not much I can say," he said. “But I can say, I’m a father so this obviously hits home. If it’s true, it’s disturbing, despicable, but there’s not much more I can say than that."

None of this is going away anytime soon. There is the lengthy legal questions facing both Sandusky and the two athletic administrators charged with failing to alert authorities. There will be the questions dogging Joe Paterno and the stigma attached to the university.

Certainly it will come up when Chambers hits the recruiting trail.

Even Thorpe, a high school junior, was asked about the scandal during his news conference.

“It’s sad to see, but at the same time it didn’t stop my decision,’’ he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.