Sports Shorts: Court Orders Release of Paterno Pay, Fla. State and North Dakota Challenge NCAA Mascot Ruling

August 15, 2005

Paterno's Pay: A Pennsylvania appeals court ruled Friday that the state's retirement board was obligated to make public the pay of Pennsylvania State University's football coach and three other top officials. A divided Commonwealth Court panel said that the State Employees' Retirement Board had correctly concluded that it must fulfill a 2002 request by a reporter for The Patriot-News of Harrisburg for historical salary information for Paterno, two senior vice presidents and a budget officer, despite Penn State's arguments that it uses no public funds to pay those officials and that releasing the information would violate Paterno's

Penn State has long shielded the salary information of its officials from public view because it is (along with Lincoln and Temple Universities and the University of Pittsburgh) formally a "state related" institution rather than a wholly public one. But the court ruled that because the reporter's request was to the state retirement board, a clearly public agency, the information must be released.

Officials at the university said Friday that they would appeal the decision.


Mascot Mess (contd.): The presidents of Florida State University and the University of North Dakota sent long, impassioned and occasionally angry letters to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Friday challenging the group's new policy on its members' use of Native American imagery.

In his letter to Myles Brand, the NCAA's president, T.K. Wetherell, Florida State's president, formally appealed the NCAA's inclusion of the university on its list of 18 institutions that the association deemed to use "hostile and abusive" National American nicknames, mascots or other icons for their sports teams.

In arguing the university's case, Wetherell said that the NCAA had erred in justifying its decision about Florida State on the fact that the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, one of two major Seminole tribes, opposed the university's use of the name. "This past July, the Seminole Nation General Council, the legislative body for the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, resoundingly defeated a motion to denounce the use of Native American nicknames and images in sportsand other events," Wetherell wrote. "The vote was 18-2."

In his open letter to Brand, Charles E. Kupchella, North Dakota's president, did not announce a formal appeal, but slammed the NCAA for the process it used to assess the institutions' use of the Native American imagery. He also suggested that the NCAA focus on more important problems facing college sports -- like ending corruption and diminishing commercialism.

"If the NCAA has all this power, why not useit to restore intercollegiate athletics to theideal of sportsmanship by decoupling intercollegiateathletics from its corruption by big budgets? " Kupchella wrote. "Why not use the power to put a halt to the out-of-control financial arms race that threatens to corrupt even higher education itself?"

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