Record Eclipsed with 188 Student-Athletes Graduating in 2018-19

University Park, PA – Penn State student-athletes continued their success in the classroom with 19 Nittany Lions approved to graduate following the conclusion of the summer semester. The Penn State student-athletes, who represented 15 teams, participated in ceremonies on the University Park campus on Saturday, Aug. 10. The 19 student-athletes approved to receive their diplomas...

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Saturday Night’s Penn State Football Programming on BTN

University Park, PA – On Saturday night at 7 p.m. ET, BTN will air an enhanced episode of Penn State Football Classic featuring Penn State’s win against 18th ranked Michigan on October 12, 2013. The longest game in Big Ten Football history, this contest went to four overtime periods before the Nittany Lions came out...

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Penn State Announces 2019-20 Single-Game Ticket Sale Date and Promotional Schedule

University Park, PA – Penn State has announced single-game sale dates and game promotions for men’s hockey tickets as well as information regarding the student ticket sale and international game. SINGLE-GAME TICKET SALE A limited number of single-game tickets will go on sale during the exclusive Nittany Lion Club and men’s hockey season ticket holder...

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Penn State University and Ticketmaster to Expand Digital Ticketing Technology to Major Athletic Facilities with Extended Official Partnership

Los Angeles, CA – Ticketmaster, the global leader in ticketing, and Penn State University today announced the extension of their official ticketing partnership. With this renewal, Ticketmaster will continue to serve as the official ticketing partner and expand Penn State Athletics’ implementation of Ticketmaster Presence™, its next-generation venue access control and fan engagement platform. Following...

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United Soccer Coaches Announces Preseason Rankings

Rosemont, IL – Ten Big Ten schools, five men’s and five women’s, were ranked in the top 25 or received votes in the United Soccer Coaches preseason poll. After winning the NCAA men’s national title in 2018, Maryland comes into the season ranked No. 1. The Penn State women’s team leads Big Ten competitors, ranking...

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Now What?

Being a Pittsburgh Pirates fan is a difficult proposition.

Put aside the 40 year World Series drought.

Put aside the 27 year division winning drought.

Put aside the 20 straight losing seasons from 1993-2013.

Focus on the here and now.

Last week, after a rather docile trade deadline, Pirates GM Neal Huntington gave his justification for not making more moves with this one liner.

“Technically, we are still in it.”

Well, sure. Technically. Technically the Miami Marlins are “still in it”, in as much as they haven’t been mathematically eliminated yet.

Last week I called for the Pirates to finally crack that egg on a rebuild. I also stated that the owner is just fine with status quo.

Well, status quo it is.

Now what?

The Pirates do have some solid pieces. Josh Bell, Kevin Newman, and Bryan Reynolds are all young players you can build around.

Starling Marte is arguably having his best season, and has two more club option years on his contract.

Maybe Gregory Polanco comes back healthy next year and finds his swing from the summer of 2018.

Maybe Jameson Taillon is fully healthy by June of next year, and ready to be that dominant starter he has shown flashes of being.

Trevor Williams and Joe Musgrove are okay, but just okay.

Felipe Vasquez gives them an elite closer through 2023.

At AAA Indianapolis, the Pirates have Ke’Bryan Hayes, Cole Tucker, Kevin Kramer, Will Craig, Jason Martin and Mitch Keller. Some, or maybe even all, of these players may have productive major league careers. None of these players project to be “impact” players, and as a matter of fact, none of them are having the type of season that has them beating down the door to Pittsburgh.

Keller is ready for another shot in Pittsburgh, but GM Neal Huntington is concerned with who you pull out of the rotation and send down. The team has lost 14 of 18 games, and the pitching has been atrocious. I’ll start a list when I’m done with my column. Hopefully I have enough paper.

A lot of impact players skip right past AAA, so maybe AA Altoona has that next impact player waiting around the curve.

There is one player, just promoted to Altoona, that makes the Pirates top ten prospects list. 6’6” shortstop O’Neil Cruz, a player acquired from the Dodgers, could potentially be an impact player. He is on a fast track to the major leagues, playing AA at 20 years of age.

There are exceptions to every rule, of course, but generally to vault your team into a contender you need impact players. The Pirates have none, with maybe the exception of one in AA. There are solid players on the roster, and some potentially solid players at AAA. With a void at the top end of the starting pitching rotation, that equates to a “ho-hum” type of team.

I bet all, or at least most, of the teams that make the playoffs this year have impact players. Acuna, Bellinger, Bregman, Judge, Soto, Bryant, Lindor, the list goes on. Just think of great Pirates teams of the past who made the playoffs. Clemente and Stargell in ‘71. Stargell and Parker in ‘79. Bonds, Bonilla, and Van Slyke in the early ‘90’s. McCutchen in 2013-2015.

Minus a foolish overpay in trading for Chris Archer last year, and maybe you would have two impact players on your roster in Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow.

This is the elephant in the room if you’re the Pittsburgh Pirates. You don’t develop impact players. You don’t pay for impact players.

It is the very reason why I suggested a rebuild involving trades of Marte and Vazquez. Getting two or three impact players for those two guys was very intriguing to me, and in my opinion, the right direction to go. As I said last week I had many fears about this GM succeeding at making these moves, but still thought they should be made.

In fairness, Huntington couldn’t be expected to give those guys away, much like he did Corey Dickerson. It seems as though major league GM’s are not nearly as quick to part with prospects as they used to be.

Still, keeping status quo, though predictable, was still disappointing.

This tweet includes comments given to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, in reference to the Pirates lack of interest in making impact trades.

The last comment from the unnamed executive is pretty damning. It’s exactly what I’ve talked about ad nauseam since I started writing this column—incompetent ownership and management.

So Bucco fans, don’t turn away from the season just yet. Ignore that the Pirates are 4-18 since the All Star break. Ignore that 13-2 debacle versus the Mets yesterday.

Josh Bell is bound to hit another home run. Keona Kela may get to pitch against the Reds again. Erik Gonzalez and Pablo Reyes might…wait, they called these two guys up instead of guys who will be part of the future? Okay, maybe you should turn away.

Judging by the loud “Let’s Go Mets” chants late Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at PNC Park, most fans have already headed for the hills, leaving plenty of seats for the opponents fans.

Just give up on this season at your own peril because as Neal Huntington, aka Shemp, puts it…they’re still in it.

Technically.

Forty-Three Former Nittany Lions on NFL Training Camp Rosters

University Park, PA – A total of 43 Penn State football alumni – the most since 2012 – are populating the training camp rosters of 24 National Football League teams. The Nittany Lions annually are among the top 20 programs nationally in producing players in the NFL. In addition, seven former Nittany Lions are members...

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Penn State’s Freiermuth and Menet Selected to Preseason Watch Lists

University Park, PA – Sophomore tight end Pat Freiermuth (Merrimac, Mass.) and junior center Michal Menet (Birdsboro, Pa.) were selected to preseason watch lists Friday. Freiermuth was named to the Mackey Award watch list for the outstanding collegiate tight end, while Menet earned a spot on the Rimington Trophy watch list for the nation’s best...

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