|By attrition, white running backs are getting chances at Penn State|
Right after the Freeh Report [PDF] detailed how “a culture of reverence for the football program” permeated Penn State and enabled now-convicted child rapist/predator Jerry Sandusky, ultimately destroying the legacy of Coach Joe Paterno, I argued with a mix of hyperbole and disgust that “College football should be banned.”
The naive might have thought the university would indeed drop its football program. The NCAA, the governing body of collegiate athletics, imposed a $60 million fine on Penn State and banned the football team from playing in the post-season. In an Orwellian move, the school vacated football wins since the Sandusky cover-up began, meaning that Paterno lost his spot atop the list of all-time wins as a head coach in Division I (FBS) football, and also removed his statue from outside the football stadium.
But never underestimate the power of the Opiate of America. Forbes magazine valued Penn State’s football program at $100 million in 2011, with the program generating a $53 million profit. Dropping football was never an option at Penn State.
The NCAA was nice enough to offer every member of the team the chance to transfer to another program without sitting out the year normally required of all athletes who transfer. Prominent among those who fled Happy Valley: black running back Silas Redd, whose goal of landing an NFL contract probably supersedes that of attaining a college degree.
Additionally, the new coaches of Penn State can no longer recruit the top high school athletes with promises of playing for a Big Ten or national title, or an appearance in a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) game.
Ironically, however, this means an important opportunity has appeared to address what I have argued is the “inefficient market” in football recruiting: the systematic undervaluation of white athletes. (These inefficiencies do occur in sports: another one is documented in Michael Lewis’s book MoneyBall).
This anti-white discrimination from college recruiters has been documented anecdotally for years. Tom Lemming, the pioneer of high school evaluation has stressed that there are hundreds of capable white athletes being passed over because of the stigma attached to their abilities. [What college coaches don't talk about, by Taylor Bell, Chicago Sun-Times, October 1, 2009]
One example: Fred Bacco told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that recruiters informed him he was the “wrong color” to play running back. [Recruiting: Hopewell LB follows family tradition to BYU, January 27, 2004]
Another white high school running back sensation from the Pittsburgh area, Trent Wissner, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Mark Madden a similar story. [Plenty of talent, but too white, January 2, 1999]
A case from this summer: Rex Burkhead, the white Nebraska Cornhuskers running back:
[Nebraska coach Bo] Pelini can be very opinionated. He was in that type of mood Friday. He knows and we know why Burkhead gets tagged a "throwback player" and "overachiever," but we typically bite our tongue.Pelini let loose with the truth."Let's face it, people also say he's a white guy," the coach said. "People stereotype — that's what society does.In Pelini’s opinion, Burkhead gets overlooked nationally. He said it doesn’t bother him. It does surprise him, though.
[Bo leads Burkhead bandwagon, by Steven M. Sipple, July 27, 2012]
Now, Penn State is in a position where four or five star recruits, designated as such by online recruiting services like Rival or Scout.com, will pass on the school. It will have to rely on lower-rated players. White players.
Brennan Franklin, a linebacker with scholarship offers this past winter from the likes of Wofford College, Eastern Kentucky and Robert Morris, leaves home Friday for State College, Pa., a journey that casts him as a symbolic figure in the worst college football scandal ever.
For however great an impact Franklin makes at Penn State, history likely will remember him as the program's first new piece after the July 23 announcement of devastating sanctions that include the loss of 40 scholarships and a four-year postseason ban.
Less than three weeks ago, Franklin was just another kid from Peoria, Ariz., who slipped through the cracks in recruiting.
Today, he represents the near future at Penn State, built upon hope that coach Bill O'Brien can find enough overlooked but enthusiastic players to plow through difficult times and minimize the effects of NCAA-imposed probation.
"I just want to play," Franklin said. "People say they might be doing this for publicity. They're not. And I'm going out there to do everything I can to become a starter within the next year."
This addition of one more body to Penn State's class of incoming freshmen illustrates the creativity necessary for it to stay afloat between now and 2016. And the more prospects like Franklin it can uncover, the better for Penn State -- because an attitude like his might just turn contagious.Another example:
Brennan Franklin marks new era , by Mitch Sherman, ESPN, August 3, 2012
With his head down and shoulders square on his bruising 6-foot-1 frame, running back Michael Zordich can strike an imposing pose before he collides with a defender. The brown hair hanging out of his white helmet just adds to the look of intimidation.
Penn State's new-look passing game might get all the attention, but Zordich's emergence on the ground has added another threat to the rushing attack. His hard-nosed running style epitomizes the blue-collar mentality espoused by the team's senior leaders in the first year of coach Bill O'Brien's rebuilding project in Happy Valley.
"You know that every game you have something to play for. With no bowl game to play for or championship ... every Saturday is our time when we get out there," Zordich said after a 24-13 victory Saturday over Temple evened Penn State's record at 2-2.
The Nittany Lions travel to Illinois next weekend to open Big Ten play.
"At this point, we're just playing for the guys that four years from now will be able to compete" in the postseason, Zordich said….
Read the rest there and comment on it here.Next man up against the Owls? Another bruiser in the Zordich mold in 6-foot-1, 232-pound sophomore Zach Zwinak, who also had career highs of 18 carries for 94 yards against Temple's porous defense.Both Zwinak and Zordich are white. White running backs. But unlike Wissner and Bacco, they got their shot to run the ball for a major college football team.
Running back Michael Zordich embodies Penn State football's desired blue-collar attitude, AP, September 23, 2012
One of the primary reasons I wrote this piece was because this past Sunday night, hundreds of people found SBPDL by searching on Google, Bing, and other search engines this phrase: "New England Patriots White"; "New England Patriots all-white offense"; New England Patriots racist"; "New England Patriots short white players"; "New England best white players in NFL".
The reason for these searches? New England was playing Baltimore on NBC, the lone game on Sunday evening. At one point in the contest, 10 of the 11 players on offense for the Patriots were white. Because fans have been conditioned to believe that only a team of black players is legitimate, the sight of an almost all-white offense was creating cognitive dissonance.
The piece for VDare was a little long, so this portion had to be edited out for space. We share it now to show why so many college coaches refuse recruit white players to play positions that black athletes artificially dominate. Just ask Iowa's Mark Weisman, a big white running back who is producing consecutive 100-yard games on the ground for the Hawkeyes. Not bad for a walk-on that started on scholarship for the Air Force Academy:
As I noted in Joe Paterno And The Penn State Rape Scandal: Discrediting The Opiate Of America and Alabama’s Iron Bowl And Integration—Was Football Victory Worth It?, college football is America’s opiate; alumni of not just Penn State, but Auburn and Alabama derive their identity, and more problematic, their emotional health on the success of the football program. Thus the reason Predominately White Institutions (PWI) field football teams that are majority black; an artificial construct has been created whereby black athletic supremacy is a given – human biodiversity must never be discussed: that a 16-to-18-year-old black high school student has reached a greater state of maturity than his white counterpart isn’t up for discussion - and an inefficient market has been created whereby white high school athletes are undervalued.A paradox seemingly exists; near all-white crowds watch football games where a cast of near all-black teams compete against each other. One of the reasons this exists was discussed in Michael Oriard Slate article (College Football's Season of Discontent, 9-3-2009): the counter-culture revolution of the left, who enjoyed a coalition with the Black power movement frightened old-line, white coaches from disciplining their black players. If this happened, the black athletes could rely on the leftists on campus and a sympathetic administration to pressure the coach to placate their demands.This was addressed in the 1971 book Joe Paterno: Football My Way by Mervin Hyman (p. 41):Many other coaches have become deeply involved with racial problems. Jim Owens at the University of Washington, Ray Willsey at the University of California at Berkeley, Lloyd Eaton at Wyoming, Johnny Pont at Indiana, Ray Nagle at Iowa, Ed Cavannaugh at Idaho State and Ben Schwartzwalder at Syracuse all were hit with revolts by their black athletes. After a similar uprising; Minnesota Coach Murray Warmath was ordered by his administration to take a course in a sensitivity program.Joe Paterno and Penn State would be spared much of the problems that other programs faced; though Joe Paterno would – admirably – fight for higher admission standards for college athletes (obviously, the easiest way to ensure to integrity of collegiate athletics), he would loosen academic requirements to combat a “fight a lily white look” at Penn State in the late 1970s, granting “special admit” status to black athletes:
In truth, Joe Paterno cares about learning—book learning, not just Xs and Os. But, like all coaches, he must grapple with a developing crisis that has resulted in scandal at some schools and the potential for trouble at all. Many athletes aren't making it academically. Many of these never really figured to. Yet the pressures to win are such that coaches and academic administrators take risks with superior athletes who have inadequate educational backgrounds. Too many of them, of course, do a lot more.
McCoy, one of the three starters in the Penn State defensive backfield who were declared academically ineligible, was one of five black football players admitted in 1977 who did not meet Penn State's entrance requirements. However, they easily met the NCAA standard, a 2.0 high school average. McCoy failed, the other four are doing fine. "We are fighting a lily-white look here," says Paterno. "And among that group of five that I asked to have specially admitted, only one was a super high school athlete. As for the other four, we easily could have gotten white players as good or better who were fully qualified." To get them in, Joe went to University President John Oswald and said, "Let's take a chance on some kids who are good bets."
Paterno does concede that "other students don't have somebody going to bat for them to get them admitted, so that's a break for the football player."
The coach that dares exploit the inefficient market in recruiting will, of course, be vilified. But they will cultivate a winner - on the field and in the classroom.No matter. It would be that “lily white look” Paterno fought that won him a national title in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl, when Penn State beat heavily favored Miami in the most watched college game of all time. In Pride of the Lions: The Biography of Joe Paterno (p. 202-203), we learn the interesting dynamics that ruled the game:Because Miami’s starts were predominately black and Penn State’s team was overwhelmingly white, race entered into the pregame discussion adding spice to an already intriguing matchup. The media’s portrayals only tended to bolster prevailing stereotypes.Bowl week began with controversy, and the tone seldom eased. Not long after the Nittany Lions arrived in sunny Phoenix wearing jackets and ties, at least a dozen Miami players deplaned in camouflage fatigues. Immediately the message was imparted that they were renegades, and this was war.Penn State would win the game; Miami would win the war. College football coaches, remembering what happened when they tried to discipline black players in the late 1960s/early 1970s decided to recruit the same flashy, swaggering black athletes Miami fielded.The type of white athlete that collectively won Penn State the 1987 national title? Left in the past. Any major college football that dared recruit white athletes to play certain positions like running back, receiver or safety was putting a liability on the field, when a black athlete would obviously be bigger, faster, and stronger.But let’s get back to that “inefficient market” that exists in high school recruiting, what I’ve dubbed a Meat-Market Failure.