Bulls

You won't believe Penn State's 2011 donations

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You won't believe Penn State's 2011 donations

From Comcast SportsNet
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Penn State received more than 208 million in donations for the fiscal year that just ended, the second-highest total in university history despite the upheaval after the arrest of Jerry Sandusky on child sex abuse charges. The school said Monday there was a slight uptick in the number of alumni who donated money or gifts in the fiscal year that ended June 30 to more than 75,500, reversing two years of slight declines. "We're very grateful -- humbled really -- to have this kind of response from Penn Staters, who I think have rallied to the cause ... by the side of the institution through a very difficult time," Rod Kirsch, senior vice president for development and alumni relations, said Monday in an interview. The number of donors overall -- which would include corporations and non-alumni -- also rose slightly to more than 191,000. Donations included gifts for scholarships; as well as increases in giving to the football booster club and the annual student-organized dance marathon to raise money for pediatric cancer patients and research. Only the 2010 fiscal year was more prolific for Penn State, when the school raised more than 274 million. What Kirsch described as a "bonanza year" for fundraising was due in large part to an 88 million gift by Terry Pegula, and founder and former president of an energy company involved in Pennsylvania's burgeoning natural gas industry. Pegula earmarked the gift, which is the largest private donation in Penn State history, to upgrade the school's club hockey team to Division I and build an arena. Pegula has since increased his commitment to 102 million. He said at a groundbreaking ceremony in April that he didn't waver even after the turmoil that embroiled the campus after retired defensive coordinator Sandusky was arrested in November. It led to the ouster of head coach Joe Paterno, a move criticized by some alumni and former players. Sandusky is awaiting sentencing after being convicted of 45 criminal counts last month. The findings from the school's internal investigation, led by former FBI director Louis Freeh, are also expected to be released soon. Those conclusions could weigh heavily on whether the university can settle any civil lawsuits out of court. The school has said that private donations, tuition dollars or state appropriations will not be used to pay for legal fees, consultants or any other costs associated with the Sandusky scandal, which has, through the end of April, totaled 11.9 million. The school isn't deviating from its overall goal of raising 2 billion in the current, seven-year fundraising campaign that began in 2007, Kirsch said. Including the most recent 208 million figure, about 1.6 billion has been raised for that campaign. "Keep in mind we are not only dealing with the crisis we're still going through, but we're dealing with a tough economic environment still," Kirsch said. "In that context, I'm not real surprised, but I'm very grateful for" the donations. Separately, Penn State reported 223 million in new donation commitments, down 37 percent from the previous year. Kirsch said that was expected given the size of Pegula's gift, and a big fundraising push by the school related to that donation. The latest fundraising figures were released against the backdrop of a decline in recent years in state funding, which is used to help offset tuition for in-state residents. Penn State trustees are expected to vote on a potential tuition increase at their next meeting Friday in Scranton. Kirsch said raising money for undergraduate scholarships remained a top priority to keep Penn State affordable. Last year, in-state freshmen and sophomores paid more than 15,000 a year in tuition to attend the main campus in State College, while out-of-state residents paid 27,000. The school is seeking to raise more money to support faculty. Penn State said it has also raised more than 46 million from current or former faculty and staff, or 3 million more than its initial goal. That total would include donations made by the Paterno family, such as the annual 100,000 gift in December, a month after Paterno was fired, for the library and an undergraduate fellow program that bears the family name. Paterno died in January of lung cancer at age 85.

Bulls crack the top-10 in ESPN's NBA League Pass Rankings

Bulls crack the top-10 in ESPN's NBA League Pass Rankings

The Bulls have struggled through the 2019-20 NBA preseason but have shown signs of a team on the rise in a drastically different Eastern Conference. ESPN's Zach Lowe released the second half of his NBA League Pass Rankings, with the Bulls making a surprising leap into the top 10 that supports the notion that they are a team set to be entertaining and much more effective in the 2019-20 NBA season.

While Lowe's League Pass Rankings are not power rankings, they go hand-in-hand with the idea that the Bulls are starting to become an interesting team on the national stage.

The highest score a team can get in Lowe's League Pass Rankings is a 50, based on a 1-10 ranking in five separate categories. The Bulls received a score of 34.5, finishing right behind the Utah Jazz.

Lowe credits the potential for Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. to develop into a "rare frontcourt pairing" as one of his main reasons for telling readers to look out for the Bulls this season.

While Markkanen has yet to shoot over 50% from 2-point range and Carter has yet to attempt more than 18 3-pointers in a season, the potential is there for both of these players to improve greatly in both of these areas, truly making them a "rare" and formidable offensive duo. 

Throughout Lowe's League Pass Ranking-breakdown of the Bulls, he had kind words for the Bulls' new pinstriped jerseys, the improvisational ability of the Bulls' veterans and LaVine's dunking ability.

LaVine is the best dunker since prime Vince Carter... 

-Zach Lowe on Zach LaVine 

And while Lowe hinted at Bulls head coach Jim Boylen playing a bit of a character, he had positive thoughts on him as well.

Lowe calls Boylen, "a smart coach," and states "there is even some logic in how he stripped the Bulls down to the basics of physicality and effort upon taking over."

The Bulls have lofty goals for the 2019-20 season, making the playoffs being the biggest one. At the same time, they are not pressuring the roster as Boylen himself has stated the most important goal is to "get better every day."

From what has been written about the Bulls this preseason—including Lowe's League Pass Rankings—it would appear most NBA writers expect the Bulls to be a more entertaining, effective, and cohesive unit over the course of the 2019-20 season. On October 23, when the games start to count, we will see if the Bulls can back up the hype.

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Rams' trade for Jalen Ramsey will have a direct impact on Bears' season

Rams' trade for Jalen Ramsey will have a direct impact on Bears' season

The Los Angeles Rams pulled off a blockbuster trade for Jacksonville Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey Tuesday night, sending two first-round picks (2020 and 2021) and a 2021 fourth-round pick for the superstar defender.

It's the second trade the Rams have accomplished in one day. Los Angeles shipped CB Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens for LB Kenny Young and a 2020 fifth-round pick earlier on Tuesday, completing a makeover in their secondary that will have a direct impact the Chicago Bears this season.

The Bears travel to Los Angeles to face the Rams in Week 11 as part of a brutal five-game stretch coming off of their bye week. Ramsey makes it even worse.

The Rams had little choice but to pull off a mega-deal like this. They're entering Week 7 with the 19th ranked pass defense and an underwhelming 3-3 record, a far cry from the expectations for last year's Super Bowl runner-up.

Mitch Trubisky and the Bears offense will have their hands full on November 17. The combination of Aaron Donald on the defensive line and Ramsey in the secondary is as intimidating as any defensive duo in the NFL and is capable of destroying even the smartest and most efficient passing attacks. And that's not exactly Chicago's pass offense so far.

Trubisky, who's expected to return from a left shoulder injury Sunday against the Saints, hasn't proven this season that he's capable of staring down the barrel of a Donald-Ramsey alliance. It will be a ridiculously difficult challenge for a quarterback who's still finding his way as a pro.

Ramsey has missed the last three games for a variety of reasons, most of which appear as tricks to remain healthy in anticipation of a trade.  He's a two-time Pro Bowler and has nine interceptions from 2016-2018.

Now, Ramsey is an opponent on Chicago's 2019 schedule.