Big Ten

Replace or renovate? Penn State trying to figure out how to modernize Beaver Stadium

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Replace or renovate? Penn State trying to figure out how to modernize Beaver Stadium

Replacing Beaver Stadium?

It might sound like madness to some Penn State fans, particularly those who value the program's tradition above all else — see the names-on-jerseys fiasco of the past few seasons.

But according to an Associated Press report, the university is trying to figure out what to do to modernize the increasingly outdated stadium, and options include renovating or even replacing the venue, which has stood in its present location for more than 50 years.

Penn State athletics director Sandy Barbour is having an architecture firm survey athletes, coaches, alumni and fans over the next few months to figure out what the best option would be.

Many of the facility's facilities are lacking, including an old plumbing system, small elevators and concourses and bleachers instead of seats. But Barbour is hoping to just be able to renovate the stadium rather than need to construct a new one.

"That would absolutely be my preference, no doubt about it, for a variety of reasons," Barbour said in the AP report regarding renovations over replacement. "Not the least of which is history and tradition."

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The aforementioned issues with the stadium due to age mean it can only be used for football games right now, a gigantic, 106,572-seat stadium sitting on campus for just a few days of events each year. There are many reasons to modernize the stadium — better experiences for fans and student-athletes, of course — but a big one would be to use the stadium for different things, be it other sporting events (Barbour specifically mentioned hockey in the AP report) or concerts.

It is important to note that Barbour has been through this recently. Cal's football stadium was renovated while she was the Golden Bears' athletics director prior to coming to Penn State.

It sounds like the very beginning stages of any process that might possibly happen, so there's no reason for tradition-loving Penn State fans to freak out just yet. Certainly a modernized environment would provide a better experience, though, and it's something Penn State is thinking about at the moment.

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

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Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

Tough news out of Evanston this morning: Northwestern announced that running back Jeremy Larkin will retire immediately after being diagnosed with cervical stenosis.

Cervical stenois is the narrowing of the spinal canal in one's neck, according to Mayo Clinic. Larkin's condition is thankfully not life-threatening, though it does prevent him from continuing to participate in the game of football. 

"Football has been a lifelong passion and it has been a process to reconcile the fact I won't be on that field again, given I've played this game since I was five years old," Larkin said.

"I'm extremely appreciative of the Northwestern sports medicine and athletic training staffs for uncovering this condition, and for my coaches and the medical staff for always putting my health first.

"I came to this University to engage at the absolute highest level on the field and in the classroom, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue one of those while supporting my teammates from the sideline." 

Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald called the news "heartbreaking."

"This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "But this is the absolute best possible outcome for him.

"The discovery of this condition allowed Jeremy and his family to make an informed decision for his long-term health and well-being. For those of us who have known Jeremy Larkin since his high school days, his future is exceptionally bright. I can't wait to see the impact he makes in our world."

Larkin is a sophomore from Cincinnati. He finishes his Northwestern career with 156 carries for 849 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

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Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

Former University of Illinois tennis star Kevin Anderson completed a marathon upset against an all-time great on the highest stage of professional tennis.

Anderson came back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s quarterfinals 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11 on Wednesday morning. He will play in the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in his career.

As a native of South Africa, Anderson played three seasons with the Fighting Illini and won the NCAA doubles championship during the 2005-06 season as a sophomore. The 32-year-old was a three-time All-American in singles at Illinois.

Now, as the eighth ranked singles player on the ATP World Tour, Anderson is a force to be reckoned with at the professional level. He made it all the way to the US Open final in 2017.

The former Illini star will look to keep his recent success going when he represents Illinois in the semifinals of Wimbledon this Friday.