NCAA

Penn State scandal fallout could extend to donors

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Penn State scandal fallout could extend to donors

By Mark Scolforo
Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- One major Penn State donor says he might write the university out of his will, while others say neither the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal nor recent unpopular actions by the university's leadership are making them rethink their financial support for the school.

But how those issues resonate with alumni and other financial supporters -- groups whose philanthropy has sparked a building boom on campus in recent years -- could have repercussions for decades to come.

The university says it's too soon to gauge the effect on fundraising of the recent decisions to tear down Joe Paterno's statue and acquiesce to severe NCAA penalties, but there are signs of discontent.

"I happen to believe that giving money to this particular board of trustees and this particular president is flushing it down the toilet," said Chicago venture capitalist George Middlemas, a 10 million-plus donor and Joe Paterno loyalist since they met in the 1960s. "The university says, Well, our contributions are up.' That's because people are fulfilling their pledges, but they're not going to offer any new pledges, as far as I can tell."

Middlemas said this week he had plans to donate 50 percent of his residual net worth to Penn State after he died, but was reconsidering that decision.

"The longer these bozos stay in their position, the easier it's going to be for me to sign the paperwork that's in process right now," he said.

Super donor Lloyd Huck, a retired Merck & Co. chairman and former president of the school's trustees, called the scandal "a terrible situation," but he sees it as confined to several people and not something that will cause him to halt his contributions, which at last count totaled more than 40 million.

"It has not changed my attitude towards the university itself," Huck said. "It's still a great institution."

Bob Capretto, an Oakmont, Pa., real estate investor and donor who played defensive back on Paterno's first team, isn't satisfied with a recent report conducted by former FBI Director Louis Freeh but said that won't stop him from giving in the future. He said Paterno wouldn't want that.

"I think that would be knee-jerk and I think it would be temporary," Capretto said.

State College developer Galen Dreibelbis, listed among Penn State's 5 million-plus donors, said he hasn't decided if his philanthropy will continue, but either way, he does not want any of his money being used to pay a 60 million fine imposed by the NCAA.

"I'm going to do what the NCAA didn't do," Dreibelbis said. "I'm going to wait to see all the things that happened, and see what the clear effect of this (is), and then I'll evaluate for myself."

Penn State announced earlier this month that its 2 billion For the Future campaign, set to conclude in 2014, has reached 1.6 billion ahead of schedule, and that it had received 209 million over the previous year, the second-highest total in its history.

Ira Stolzer, a retired Hallmark Cards Inc. marketing executive and a member of the university's national championship gymnastics team in the 1970s, has been active in fundraising among former Penn State athletes as part of the campaign.

"I can tell you I've been on the phone nonstop for a week, and the single theme is: how can we help?" said Stolzer, who lives in Kansas City, Kan.

Some alumni are considering a court challenge to the NCAA sanctions, although their legal standing isn't clear. Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, a group critical of the trustees formed in the wake of Sandusky's scandal, is pursuing what it calls an "exploration of legal recourse."

On Friday, the Penn State Alumni Association's executive board sent an email addressing the scandal that asked its members to act to "shore up our university and restore our reputation" by volunteering with and donating to child abuse prevention and Penn State-related organizations, by becoming more active on campus, and to "communicate and tell our story."

The experience at some other schools suggests the steady drip of bad news may not translate into a significant drop in support.

Last year, after allegations arose that a University of Miami booster had for years treated football players and recruits to nightclub outings, dinners and trips to strip clubs, the school continued to raise money aggressively, and was well on the way to reaching a 1.6 billion goal.

After the University of Alabama was penalized by the NCAA in 2002 for recruiting violations, it received 24 million for athletic department facility upgrades.

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AP writers John Zenor in Montgomery, Ala., Michael Rubinkam and Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.

Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

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USA TODAY Sports

Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

The pieces are starting to come together for Patrick Ewing.

On Monday the Georgetown Hoyas picked up perhaps the biggest (literally and figuratively) target of the transfer market, Omer Yurtseven.

From North Carolina State, the transfer from Istanbul Turkey will have two years remaining of eligibility. Due to NCAA transfer rules, he is not allowed to play for the 2018-19 season.

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Standing at 7-0, the center helped power the Wolfpack to an NCAA tournament bid this past season. Averaging 13.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks a contest, Yurstseven earned All-ACC Third Team honors in the 2017-18 season. He also touted a 58.3 shooting percentage and was not afraid to pull it up from deep either (22 made three-pointers).

NC State lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to No. 8 Seton Hall, but he was limited due to foul trouble with only two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes of play.

Initially, he is the option to fill the void that Jessie Govan will leave, whether that is during this offseason or next. Already the team has lost power forward Marcus Derrickson

Yurtseven will just be another frontcourt talent for Ewing with the Hoyas.

It was widely reported that he was considering playing options, both in the United States and abroad before this announcement. Easily he has the talent to go in first round of the NBA Draft whichever year he declares.

On the same day, the Hoyas also announced the signing of four-star guard James Akinjo.

After historic season, Virginia's Tony Bennett named AP Coach of the Year

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USA TODAY Sports

After historic season, Virginia's Tony Bennett named AP Coach of the Year

SAN ANTONIO -- Virginia coach Tony Bennett isn't going to waver from his foundation, whether it's the philosophy that built the Cavaliers into a contender or the big-picture perspective that helps him handle the sting of a historically improbable loss.

Both ends of that approach are fully on display now as he is named The Associated Press men's college basketball coach of the year.

Bennett won the honor Thursday after his Cavaliers set a program single-season record for wins, dominated the Atlantic Coast Conference and reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since the Ralph Sampson era. Yet that wildly successful season ended abruptly in the most unexpected way: with the Cavaliers falling to UMBC to become the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16-seed in NCAA Tournament history.

"They experienced things a lot of guys don't," Bennett said in an interview with the AP. "That kind of success? Oh my gosh. And then that kind of loss? ... But again, their body of work deserves to be celebrated.

"And then so much of what society looks at -- it begs the question -- is it just about how you do in March? Or is it about the whole thing? It's a fair debate (on) what matters. But I told them: I wouldn't trade this team for anything. Even the experiences, as hard as they are, this is part of the process."

Bennett was the runaway winner for the award, which is being presented at the Final Four. He earned 50 of 65 votes from AP Top 25 writers with ballots submitted before the start of the NCAA Tournament.

Tennessee's Rick Barnes was second with five votes after leading the Volunteers to 26 wins and an NCAA bid despite being picked to finish 13th in the 14-team Southeastern Conference. First-year Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann was third with four votes.

This marks the second time Bennett has won the award, the other coming in 2007 when he was at Washington State.

In Bennett's ninth season, the Cavaliers (31-3) went from being picked to finish sixth in the ACC to winning the regular-season race by four games -- the first to win the ACC by that wide a margin since 2000. It then won the ACC Tournament to complete a 20-1 run against league opponents.

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Virginia also reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since December 1982 and stayed there the final five weeks of the regular season, the last two unanimously.

And yet, the 48-year-old coach knows much of the focus will be on how things ended: that 74-54 loss to the Retrievers while playing without ACC sixth man of the year De'Andre Hunter.

Dealing with a roster of players in pained disbelief, Bennett said he has told them that they have "an unbelievable captive audience" waiting to see how they would handle it.

"I said how you respond to this will matter to your mom and dads, to your brothers, your sisters, your friends," Bennett said. "If they see that you're not fake about it, that yeah, of course you're going to be discouraged and down after a loss like that, but that you're OK. You can live with it.

"I said: you don't know the power that that's going to have in their life and in your life."

Bennett said he appreciated other coaches offering support, which included Syracuse Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim noting: "If I could hire a coach in this country and I could get Tony Bennett, there would be nobody in second place."

He said he's still reviewing what worked and what didn't, but "certainly you don't overreact" by changing everything that had brought the Cavaliers to this point.

This is, after all, a program that has been a 1-seed three times in the past five seasons with three ACC regular-season titles.

And Bennett won't be deterred from chasing more, even if it means stumbling a few more times on the way to reaching his goals.

"You better have something beyond the opinion of man or just how you feel, because this stuff is fleeting," Bennett said.

"So that's where obviously my faith is everything to me. You hear people talk about their faith in the lord and the relationship with the people that they care about, their family and their trusted friends. Those things stand the test of time. And that's what you have to draw from. And then you move on."