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.

Georgetown gets a boost with Jessie Govan returning to school

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USA Today Sports Images

Georgetown gets a boost with Jessie Govan returning to school

After testing the NBA Draft waters, Georgetown center Jessie Govan decided to return to the Hoyas for his senior season.

Govan announced his intention to return on Instagram a week before the final commitment deadline.

Returning to the Hoyas is definitely a boost to the program that will be in their second year under head coach Patrick Ewing.  At 6-10, Govan was the team’s leading scorer (17.9 ppg) and rebounder (10.0 rpg) averaging a double-double last season.

Paired alongside power forward Marcus Derrickson, the Hoyas were nearly unstoppable in the paint. Derrickson though decided to forgo his senior year and signed with an agent after the season.

Had Govan decided to leave that would have meant over 56 percent of the team’s scoring and rebounding would have departed (to graduation or professional pursuits) in a handful of months. Not the best outlook for a 15-win team that went 5-13 in the Big East.

Instead Ewing gets back his leading scorer that many believe he can mold as a young protégée. While in the draft process without an agent Govan had workouts with the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks. Both are valuable experiences that he will bring to a relatively young Georgetown squad.

Having Govan for one more year will bridge Ewing’s second season to transfer big-man, Omer Yurtseven to his first year of eligibility in 2019. They were set up to having a walk-on and two sophomores being the only returning Hoyas over 6-6 for the upcoming season.

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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.

MORE NCAA: TOP BUZZER BEATERS IN NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY

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.