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May 22, 2016

I was trying to decide what I wanted to put up on a rainy Sunday afternoon (at least rainy here in MD) and saw a great Sports Illustrated article written in Oct 1962 by a previous Pitt Chancellor, Dr. Edward Litchfield, about the national debate if Grant-In Aids (athletic scholarships) were a good thing to have on college campuses.

This intro below is a personal bit about why this article strikes my fancy.  The article itself is the other audio bar.

Here is the body of the article – excuse the small mistakes if you will, I’m not a professional at this.  I especially like the contrasts between Litchfield’s descriptions of Pitt athletics then and today’s state of college football.  There are some great points made here – especially some timeless ones that hold true today.

Hope you enjoy it!

“Camel Driver” – try putting that on a kid today!  I also love that we stole almost a whole opposing team –

Far back in 1903, for example, out-university felt mortified to have been defeated two straight years by the football team of little Geneva College. Football in those days seldom made much money at the box office but many colleges recruited passionately, simply because they found defeat unbearable. In the wake of our losses to Geneva, corrective action was deemed imperative and there seemed only one surefire way of seeing to it that we beat Geneva the next year. We took it.

We lured to our campus most of the Geneva players and the following season, 1904, defeated Geneva 30-0. During the balance of the decade Pitt football teams lost only 13 of 71 games. Now what sort of boys were they, do you suppose, that could be proselyted so frivolously? Because many of them have passed on, we were able to trace only 17. Of that number, four were physicians, five dentists, two attorneys and one a Ph.D.

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June 20, 2015

With the commitment we just received from Safety Bricen Garner of local Central Catholic High School ( Garner is listed as a 3* on two sites and unranked on the other two) we now have a total of four recruits with most being 3* kids.

Looking at that verbal and thinking about the recruiting game in general made me recall that I’ve always thought of the makeup of a school’s successful football program, and its recruiting, as much like a human body.

The skeleton, the frame on which the whole thing depends to stay upright, is the university’s administration and the support system those it gives to the rest of the football body. That support is both financial and administrative and if the program is getting a strong frame from the University, one that is healthy with no cracks or injuries to it, then building on those bones is made that much easier.

I see the internal organs of the program to be the athletic department’s administrative and support systems for the program and the players. There are a lot of separate parts which have to work together as a whole to make and keeps the program’s body functioning. For instance our last AD Steve Pederson was the Urinary Bladder because each time he came to PITT he tried to piss all over the program. Think Torch-Cut and DinoCat for starters.

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June 1, 2015

PITT’S BOYD AND CONNER NAMED PHIL STEELE ALL-AMERICANS
Five Panthers named to Steele’s preseason All-ACC team.

PITTSBURGH—The Pitt offense will feature two dynamic All-Americans in 2015 according to national college football expert Phil Steele.

Steele released his preseason All-America squads today and Pitt receiver Tyler Boyd (first team) and running back James Conner (second team) were both honored. This is the first of what figures to be many preseason recognitions for the pair of Pitt juniors. Both players enjoyed prolific and decorated seasons in 2014.

Boyd compiled 78 catches for 1,261 yards (16.2 avg.) and eight touchdowns in earning first team All-ACC last season. He became the first player in ACC history to compile 1,000 receiving yards in both his freshman and sophomore years. Boyd also led the ACC in kickoff returns (27.6 avg.).

Conner was selected the ACC Player of the Year after rushing for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns last season. He broke three Pitt season records—rushing touchdowns, total touchdowns (26) and scoring (156 points)—set by the legendary Tony Dorsett during his 1976 Heisman Trophy campaign. Conner was named to seven postseason All-America squads as a sophomore, including first-team honors from the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).

In addition to its All-America selections, Pitt also had five players named to the Phil Steele All-ACC teams: Boyd (first team receiver and punt returner, fourth team kickoff returner), Conner (first team), junior offensive tackle Adam Bisnowaty (first team), junior offensive guard Dorian Johnson (second team) and junior placekicker Chris Blewitt (fourth team).

Season tickets and mini-plans for the 2015 Pitt football season are now on sale. The Panthers will be led by new head coach Pat Narduzzi, who joined Pitt in December after an accomplished tenure as defensive coordinator at Michigan State.

Fans have a new seating option at Heinz Field this fall with the debut of the South Plaza Champions Club. For more information, call the Panthers Ticket Office at (800) 643-PITT (7488) or log on to PittsburghPanthers.com. Click here for the Panthers’ 2015 schedule with announced kickoff times.

In sadder news PITT benefactor John A. Petersen died.  He is well known for his generous donations to the University of Pittsburgh general funds and to help build the Petersen Arena.  People of John and his wife, Gertrude’s, quality are few and far between.  John Petersen didn’t just drop money out of the sky on something but intently researched what areas of both PITT and CMU he wanted to enrich with his endowments toward where it would do the most good.

On a personal note, I was introduced to the Petersens at a dinner party some years ago and was told by Mr. Petersen that he was taught by my father back in 1950 & ’51 before my father fleeted up to Assistant Dean of the Graduate School of Business Administration.  He also said that he and my Dad had maintained a friendship until my father passed away in 1969 when I was 13. That was a nice thing to be told and it was a somber day yesterday when I heard that he had died.

 

YSU – BoGo and Academics

Filed under: Academics,Coaches,Football,Players — Reed @ 10:03 am

PITT is pulling out all the stops to make sure there is an actual full house at Heinz Field… you know, where there are actual humans sitting in the seats… for the season opener against Youngstown State at 1:00 on September 5th.  Here is their flyer sent out to offer existing PITT fans, and those who want to become PITT fans, for buy one – get one tickets.  You can buy up to ten tickets. and get ten free.

YSU BOGO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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May 14, 2015

Admin in Amelia Island

Filed under: Academics,Admin,Athletic Department — Chas @ 11:41 am

The ACC Spring meetings are wrapping up. Nothing accomplished of real note. Lots of talk. Lots of coaches expressing opinions on rule changes. The administrative and conference stuff isn’t what fans and media want anyways. On that front, this is simply a chance to talk to masses of coaches and ADs.

Nothing concrete. Just opinions. The conferences and coaches may state their preferences for certain changes, but they will not actually do anything right now. They will have the NCAA enact the rules and changes. That gives them cover over unpopular things and items that have unintended consequences later.

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May 13, 2015

Once more, there is loud talk from coaches, administrator and conferences of eliminating the Graduate Transfer as we know it.

Start with the basics. Graduate Transfer Exception (or Waiver):

The graduate exception is a version of the one-time transfer exception. It is for student-athletes who cannot use the normal one-time transfer exception because they play one of the sports that are not permitted to use the exception.

The student-athlete must have graduated with at least a bachelor’s degree;
The student-athlete meets the other requirements of the one-time transfer exception;
The student-athlete must have at least one season of competition left; and
The student-athlete’s previous school did not renew his or her athletic scholarship or offer an athletic scholarship for the following academic year.

The requirement that the scholarship be cancelled or not renewed is generally not an issue. The scholarship does not need to be cancelled before the transfer or be the reason for the transfer. Because the one-time transfer exception requires you to get a release, what will happen with your scholarship is generally just an administrative detail.

The Graduate Transfer Waiver is often conflated with the exception because they are so similar. There is one key difference.

The graduate transfer waiver is now typically used by athletes who have previous transferred once before and so cannot use the one-time transfer exception (even as a graduate student).

A letter from the previous school saying it does not object to the student-athlete being eligible;

Documentation that the student-athlete has been accepted into a specific graduate degree program;

Documentation about whether that degree program is offered by the previous school;
A student-athlete statement including the reasons for the transfer; and

A statement from the previous institution about the student-athlete’s status on the team.

[Emphasis added.]

Unlike regular transfers, there is no requirement to sit out a year after transferring. The player is eligible to play right away. That is the big bonus for both the player and the school to where he transfers.

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May 2, 2015

Now that we are starting the “long desert march”, that dry spell we go through every summer until we get to the Fall Camp in the beginning of August, there are a few things on my desk I want to share with you all.

First addressing the question of QB Nathan Peterman’s role in transferring from Tennessee to PITT and why he’s doing it.  Everyone assumes it is just to provide a back up to Chad Voytik because somehow Voytik has a ‘lock’ on the starter’s job.

That isn’t true. There is no doubt that Narduzzi and OC Jim Chaney are bringing Peterman in to compete for the starting job right off the bat.  Chris Peak has written a very good piece with strong quotes about this subject in his April 23rd article.  That article is behind Rivals’ pay wall but here is a taste of what Narduzzi said…

“He’s going to come in here to compete,” Narduzzi said Wednesday. “Chad knows that. Chad’s embraced that, and Chad’s got to look at it as, ‘Hey, this guy is going to make me better.’ I think it’s always good when you can look in that rearview mirror and see that someone’s there on you. I don’t know that Chad had that throughout the spring, to be honest with you.

“So he’ll have that in fall camp, and they’ll learn together, and it will make us a better football team.”

Reading between the lines I think Narduzzi may well have meant that Voytik didn’t have that competition last season either and he wants to make that happen. I get the feeling,  just a feeling only, that Narduzzi isn’t 100% sold on Voytik’s skills at QB.

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May 28, 2014

No one has been arrested so far this offseason. And I’m not saying I want any players in trouble with the law. It’s just been real quiet the last couple weeks.

Nothing with recruiting. No police blotter. No conference insanity. Just ridiculously quiet.

So, what are still in my browser tabs that need to go?

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December 26, 2011

I read a poll the other day which showed that the Green Bay Packers were now “America’s Team” beating out the Steelers in popularity across the U.S.  I bah humbug that.  However, I can say without hesitation that the University of Wisconsin’s football team just picked up thousands of new fans prior to their bowl game.  As our AD said “On Wisconsin, baby

The reason for that is our hiring of Paul Chryst, ex- Wisconsin Offensive Coordinator.

Pitt fans seem to have feelings ranging from “like but will withhold judgment” to being ecstatic that PITT hired him as the Panther’s new head coach.  I haven’t read or heard one negative thought about him since his initial press conference when he was introduced as the HC.  On paper it looks like a good hire and Paul Chryst himself looks to be the type of guy we want leading the football program.  He’s got some real work ahead of him though.

First off, he must reassure his returning players that he is both sincere about his wanting to be their coach and secondly he must allay their worries about the effects of what has hit them like a runaway freight train over the last 12 months.

Any change in a coaching staff is tough to deal with but these players are experiencing a string of events which may be unprecedented in college football.  The current roster members, less true freshman, have had, in essence, six head coaches in the last 384 days.  Unfreakinbelivable!

Wannstedt, Bennett, Haywood, Graham, Patterson and now Chryst.  I’d call in a Murder’s Row but the first five couldn’t shoot straight and the jury is out on the sixth.

Chryst has to be able to convince the players that things are going to be different going forward.  He has to be honest with them and with himself in acknowledging that it isn’t going to be either smooth or easy.  We PITT fans need to acknowledge that also else we set ourselves up for a big disappointment.

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July 19, 2011

After a couple less than positive stories, let’s end with something really good.

Travon Woodall hasn’t been seen much at Greentree this summer. While some haven’t noticed because of the shiny new baubles of Johnson, Johnson, Birch and Gilbert. To say nothing of all the other guys who have been there playing. Apparently he got some grief about it. Turns out there’s a really good reason:

For everyone who doesn’t know, I have a STAT class that I am taking in order for me to graduate in December.

These are still college students, and part of the the reason they are staying in the ‘Burgh in the summer is to take the summer classes. Sometimes they conflict with other activities, but they still take precedence.

That’ is fantastic that Woodall will be graduating a semester early. He is heading into his redshirt junior year, but has tracked academically a bit ahead of schedule. Anyone who has seen “The Street Stops Here” or knows Woodall’s back story has to be excited for the young man.

 

August 11, 2010

The open browser tabs keep piling up, and it is getting out of hand.

The post on seniors graduating spurred some more good comments and discussion. There was also a Trib article on Coach Wannstedt keeping a close eye on the players and their academic performance. The anecdote is on Ray Graham being consistently late for a class and Coach Wannstedt dealing with it. But here’s the stuff on how the senior class is doing.

This year, several key players have graduated before the first snap of 2010 season and are taking post-graduate credits. They include fifth-year seniors Greg Romeus, an All-American candidate at defensive end; kicker Dan Hutchins; cornerback Ricky Gary; nose tackle Tyler Tkach; and senior wide receiver Greg Cross, a junior-college transfer. In addition, seniors Dom DeCicco, Nate Nix, Jason Pinkston and Jabaal Sheard are close to graduating.

“It would be neat to go nine-for-nine,” Wannstedt said.

Meanwhile, redshirt junior quarterback Pat Bostick earned a bachelor’s degree in communication in three years and is working toward a second degree in media and professional communication.

The dismissal of Elijah Fields certainly increased the odds that all seniors will graduate.

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August 9, 2010

Award Watches and Class

Filed under: Academics,Football,Honors — Chas @ 11:03 am

One of the really good things announced by Coach Wannstedt at the start of camp was this.

The final grades from summer school are beginning to come in.

I do have great news. We have nine scholarship seniors: Dan Hutchins and Tyler Tkach have already graduated. Greg Romeus, Greg Cross and Ricky Gary will all be graduating this week as well, so five of our nine scholarship seniors on the entire team will have their degrees going into their senior year. Jabaal Sheard and Dom DeCicco were not redshirted, so they’re progressing and will need the full four years to finish up.

That’s outstanding that some seniors have or will already have graduated before the season has started. It’s so easy to gloss over the educational part of this. No, that isn’t why they were recruited, and most of the time it has little to do with what school they chose. But to make it to their senior year and be on track or already with enough credits to graduate, that is a credit to them for taking the student aspect serious enough.

Then there are the top players at Pitt with their own websites and attention, getting some more.

Three Pitt football players have been selected preseason candidates for the Maxwell Football Club’s most prestigious awards, it was announced today.

Pitt junior receiver Jon Baldwin (JonBaldwin82.com) and sophomore running back Dion Lewis (DionLewis28.com) have been named to the watch list for the Maxwell Award, annually presented to the “outstanding collegiate football player in America,” while senior defensive end Greg Romeus (GregRomeus91.com) has been named a candidate for the Chuck Bednarik Award, which honors the nation’s top defensive player.

The Maxwell Award has been presented since 1937 and is named in honor of sportswriter Robert W. “Tiny” Maxwell. The Chuck Bednarik Award, named after the College and Pro Football Hall of Famer, has been presented since 1995.

Not surprising that they are on the lists.

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