A quick Penn State diversion:
In sixth grade in 1987, I did a report on NCAA investigations and penalties. You know, those silly little things sixth-grade teachers did to get you to practice research, become familiar with bibliographies, all that nonsense. The longest part of the report was about SMU’s death penalty, and how it probably would never happen again.
It didn’t happen today. But if I did that same report right now, there would be a new section called “The Quasi Death Penalty.” Because that’s what Penn State got.
Whether the sanctions are fair or unfair, that’s not for me to decide. Yeah, it’s penalizing football players that never even met Sandusky or Tim Curley or whoever. But those kids have the choice to transfer. My problem is that no one is talking about the tertiary people who are going to suffer, and suffer hard.
Mark the time and date. On Monday, July 23, 2012, Centre County has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 5.5 percent. The population has increased almost 50 percent since 1970. Now the school is losing $60 million. The football program will be meaningless for a decade. Quality enrollment will drop. School hiring will slow. Because of these NCAA violations, in 15 years, Centre County’s unemployment rate could double. These sanctions will directly and indirectly put people out of work and cause small business owners to go bankrupt.
The entire town is based around Penn State football. Hotels will get hit first. How could a town of 42,000 people support 8 trillion hotels, or however many they have? Because for eight fall weekends a year, from Friday to Sunday, they’re sold out, no questions asked. Without those eight weekends, State College hotels and the people they employ are in trouble. You know what is built next to every hotel in State College? A restaurant. Bye-bye, restaurants. Without the quality hotels and ample space, the fancy conferences the college hosts every day will start to dwindle, bringing less people into the downtown. So long, bars and shops on College Avenue.
That’s going to lower the tax base in State College, jack up the tax rate and make business owners, even ones that are thriving, think about whether State College is where they want to be in business.
And no, I’m not exaggerating. Not at all. The NCAA didn’t just kill Penn State football. It severely hampered the ability of thousands of people who may have never stepped foot on campus to find work and support their families.
OK, that’s enough. Just something to keep in the back of your head.
I didn’t bother with any Emmy blogging when the nominations came down on Thursday because they’re boring and vanilla. I almost fell asleep reading them. The Emmys are such a ridiculous old boy and girl club, it’s almost a waste of time to even think anything is going to get shaken up at any time. Girls was a surprise, but not a huge one. Downton Abbey is a change of pace, but a pretty predictable one. Then we get the stalwarts that don’t belong anywhere near a nomination, but still end up getting one. I’m a 30 Rock watcher, I make sure I see it every week. But cheese and rice, c’mon! To give it the nod over Parks and Recreation seems like borderline insanity. FX’s marketing people keep on proving to be the most brilliant marketing people in TV, placing American Horror Story in the miniseries category to get it some extra juice for its premiere a couple weeks after the Emmys. I don’t think it would have received a nomination in any drama category. The only other thing worth noting is that I will not, in fact, be throwing a garbage can through the front window of any Stroudsburg pizza places, Mookie-style. Giancarlo Esposito got his nomination for drama supporting actor, so all is right with the world.
Also didn’t blog on Thursday because I was out and about covering the Dark Knight Rises premiere. I managed to hit every theater in Monroe County to get some pictures, which I have up in a gallery on the PopRox Facebook site. I’m going to try and do more of those kinds of galleries in the coming weeks, too. Go ahead and tag anyone on there you might know, or if it’s you.
And now comes the question, how much did DKR make? We won’t know until later today because the studios delayed releasing their box office report a day out of respect for the victims in the Colorado shooting. Has there ever been a more hollow show of respect ever? “It’s terrible what happened there, our hearts bleed for you, so to show you how much we care, we’ll take an extra day to release our silly box office numbers that directly affect about 100 people and that most people make a game out of. Hey, one day is a lot, you know. It’s, like, 24 hours, I’m told.” My favorite thing will be the first person who comes out and publicly says “We left a lot of money on the table because people were scared to go to the theater.” Everyone — and I mean everyone, even the guy who parks cars — at Warner Bros. is thinking that today. Someone is going to slip up and say it, and they’ll be crucified. Literally. Like, the people of Aurora might go to Hollywood, grab him, bring him back to Colorado and put him on a cross. Rightfully so, by the way. No one loves playing the box office numbers game more than me. But if you’re going to cut off the numbers, cut them off completely. No one in the public is going to lose sleep over how much money DKR made last weekend. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense because we’d all know how much it made when next weekend’s figures are released and we see DKR’s total gross, but whatever. Just seems completely hollow and disrespectful.
Say whatever you want about the WWE. Call it silly, stupid, mysogenistic, violent, hillbilly (it’s all of those things), but one thing you can’t call it is a failure. Raw is celebrating its 1000th weekly episode tonight, an incredible achievement no other TV show has ever done. It’s kind of a weird distinction, because it’s one of the few things on TV that is broadcast live 52 weeks a year, without fail. The only thing that compares is Monday Night Football, which has been on the air for 42 years but only broadcasts 17 weeks a year, or about 20 weeks a year counting the preseason. Even if it did broadcast 20 weeks a year for those 42 years, it’s still only 840 episodes. Whatever asterisk you feel like putting in front of that record, Vince McMahon could give two shats. Raw has been the highest-rated show on cable for the last 15 years or so, and that’s all that matters to him and the company. And for the first time in at least 10 years, I’ll be taping Raw tonight.