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PSU: Fine not as impactful as it seems

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PSU: Fine not as impactful as it seems

By RACHEL COHEN & BRENT KALLESTAD
NEW YORK -- The 60 million fine levied on Penn State by the NCAA doesn't look so big next to the scale of the athletic department's finances.
Penn State plans to pay the fine, part of sanctions announced Monday over the child sexual abuse scandal, in five annual installments of 12 million.
The Penn State athletic department had more than 116 million in revenue to more than 84 million in expenses for the 2010-11 school year, according to data reported by the school to the U.S. Department of Education. The expenses don't include debt service or capital expenditures.
Penn State won't be able to save money by making cuts in other sports. The NCAA specifically prohibited that as part of the punishment.
Instead of simply cutting costs, the athletic department can make up for any shortfalls in another way: raising money.
Major college athletic departments receive significant financial support from booster clubs. The Nittany Lion Club took in more than 82 million for the 2011 fiscal year, according to its annual report. That includes 34 million in special gifts for facilities. Its annual fund brought in 17 million, and donations for suites and club seats at Beaver Stadium totaled 12 million.
There were 50 contributors who gave at least 20,000 each.
Bob Harrison, Class of 1962, has donated more than 250,000 to Penn State in his life. Frustrated that the NCAA based its sanctions on what he considers a deeply flawed Freeh report, Harrison's support for the school and the athletic department has not wavered. And he believes he's not the only booster who feels that way.
"I would say a high percentage supporting the athletic program will continue to," said Harrison, who worked for Goldman Sachs for 28 years.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett demanded assurances from the university that taxpayer money would not be used. Penn State said it would cover it with its athletics reserve fund and capital maintenance budget and, if necessary, borrow money.
The reduction in football scholarships handed down by the NCAA will save the athletic program some. The accompanying bowl ban could also reduce costs, because schools often lose money on lower-level bowls.
The NCAA said the 60 million represented the average annual gross revenue of the football program. The money will go toward outside programs devoted to preventing child sexual abuse or assisting victims.
The Big Ten also announced that Penn State would not be allowed to share in the conference's bowl revenue during the postseason ban, an estimated loss of about 13 million.
At Penn State, the men's basketball team had profits of nearly 5 million in 2010-11, according to the Department of Education report. Teams other than football and men's basketball had about 23 million in expenses, and the athletic department spent another 36.5 million on expenses not allocated to a particular sport. Football cost 19.5 million.
Of course, football revenue could lag if the team struggles badly on the field as a result of the sanctions, and ticket sales decrease.
The university said earlier this month that its fundraising was strong over the past year despite the scandal. Penn State received more than 208 million in donations for the fiscal year that just ended, the second-highest total in school history.

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MacLellan: Reirden will get the first crack at replacing Trotz

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USA TODAY Sports

MacLellan: Reirden will get the first crack at replacing Trotz

Will Todd Reirden replace Barry Trotz as head coach of the Washington Capitals?

Based on what GM Brian MacLellan said Monday, it certainly sounds like it’s Reirden’s job to lose.

“We’re going to start with Todd here,” MacLellan said. “I think we’ve been grooming him to be a head coach, whether for us or someone else.”

“We’ll see how the talk goes with him and we’ll make a decision based on that,” MacLellan added. “If it goes well, we’ll pursue Todd. And if it doesn’t, we’ll open it up a little bit.”

MacLellan said he isn’t sure exactly when the interview with Reirden will take place. The front office needs a few days to regroup. It’s also a busy stretch in hockey’s offseason. In the coming two weeks, MacLellan will direct the NHL draft in Dallas, monitor development camp in Arlington and then call the shots when free agency begins on July 1.  

“We need to take a breather here but I think Todd is a good candidate for it,” MacLellan said. “I’d like to sit down with Todd and have a normal interview, head coaching interview. I think most of our discussions are just casual. It’s about hockey in general. But I’d like to do a formal interview with him and just see if there’s differences or how we’re seeing things the same and if he’s a possibility for the head coach.”

Reirden, 46, spent the past four seasons on Trotz’s bench. He was elevated to associate coach prior to the 2016-17 season after coming up just short in his pursuit of the head coaching position in Calgary.

Reirden’s primary responsibility on Trotz’s staff was overseeing the defense and Washington’s perennially potent power play.

Prior to joining the Capitals in 2014, he was an assistant coach for four seasons with the Penguins. And before that, he spent a couple of seasons as the head coach of AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Penguins’ top minor league affiliate.

A native of Deerfield, Ill., Reirden also had a lengthy professional career that included 183 NHL games with the Oilers, Blues, Thrashers and Coyotes.

Asked what he’s looking for in the Caps’ next head coach, MacLellan said he’s looking for a forward-thinker, a strong communicator and a players’ coach.

Reirden is all of those things.

“Someone that's up to date on the modern game,” MacLellan said. “Someone that's progressive, looking to try different things. Someone that has a good relationship with players. They communicate, can teach, make players better. It's becoming a developmental league where guys are coming in not fully developed products and we need a guy that can bring young players along because more and more we're going to use young players as the higher end guys make more money.”

One of the side benefits of elevating Reirden is the fact he already has a strong relationship with many of the current players, meaning there won’t be much upheaval as the Caps look to defend their championship.

“It could be a natural transition,” MacLellan said. “But once we sit down and talk face to face about all the little small details in the team, I'll have a better feel for it.”

MacLellan said a decision on the other assistant coaches—Lane Lambert, Blaine Forsythe, Scott Murray, Brett Leonhardt and Tim Ohashi—will be made after the next head coach is named.

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Brian MacLellan explains the reasoning behind not extending Trotz before the 2017-18 season

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Brian MacLellan explains the reasoning behind not extending Trotz before the 2017-18 season

As shocking as the news of Barry Trotz’s resignation on Monday felt, it probably shouldn’t have given that whether or not he would return to Washington after the 2017-18 season was a storyline all year long.

Trotz entered the 2017-18 season on the last year of his initial four-year deal leading to speculation over whether the team was dissatisfied with his results and ready to move on from the head coach when his contract expired. Teams typically do not allow a head coach to enter the final year of a contract so that they do not appear to the players to be a lame duck coach.

Ultimately, that turned out to not be a problem as Trotz led the organization to its first Stanley Cup in his contract year. While there was interest from both sides in an extension in the wake of winning the Cup, ultimately a new deal could not be agreed upon and now the defending champs are without a head coach.

This begs the question, could things have been different had the team worked out a new contract with Trotz before the 2017-18 season? The answer is almost certainly yes, so how did things get to the point where Trotz was allowed to go into 2017-18 without an extension?

During a press conference with the media on Monday, general manager Brian MacLellan explained the team’s reasoning in not extending Trotz in the summer of 2017.

“We were struggling at the time to get over the hump,” MacLellan said. “We couldn't get over the second round and Barry hadn't been able to coach out of the second round yet either.”

In 15 seasons with the Nashville Predators, Trotz was not able to coach his team past the second round in the playoffs. In his three seasons with Washington leading up to the 2017-18 campaign, he had led the Caps to two division titles and two Presidents’ Trophies, but again could not get past the second-round hump that had plagued both him and the team.

Based on MacLellan’s comments, another early playoff exit would have likely led to the team choosing to allow Trotz's contract to expire.

“I think from the organization's perspective, some changes would've had to be made if we lost in the second round again,” MacLellan said.

But what if instead the unthinkable happened? What if the Caps forced Trotz into a “prove it” contract year and he was able to lead the team to the Stanley Cup? Didn’t they risk losing him all along?

Yes and no.

MacLellan confirmed reports on Monday that Trotz’s contract included an automatic two-year extension “at an increased rate” if he won the Cup. So while both sides were negotiating an extension, technically Trotz was already under contract through the 2019-20 season.

In the summer of 2017, MacLellan had a choice to make. At the end of the two-year championship window, he could choose to extend a head coach who had not brought the team the type of postseason success he was hoping for, he could fire a coach who had just won two consecutive division titles, two Presidents’ Trophies and whose team was eliminated in the playoffs by the eventual Stanley Cup champions, or he could ride out the final year of Trotz’s deal and, in the off chance the team won the Stanley Cup, still rest easy in the notion that Trotz would automatically remain under contract.

MacLellan went with option C. It almost worked.

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