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LIONS IN NEED OF BRAINS
WELL KISS MY NITTANY AND CALL ME JOPA.

Thursday, October 20, 1994     Page: 3A

Lions in need of brains
    Well kiss my Nittany and call me JopaPenn State's Number One.
    With the university's legendary football team all but Rose Bowl bound, people far and wide now have a chance to investigate just how well the state school handles the accolades, acclaim and responsibility attached to the top spot.
    Apparently not so well.
    Even before the official No. 1 announcement, wild Penn State pigskinners were on the loose.
    Within minutes of Saturday's gridiron victory over Michigan, thousands of students swarmed the campus like hungry lice on a mountain lion. Then they marched on Beaver Stadium where they vandalized the field by tearing up clods of dirt for souvenirs.
    How apt.
    Clods for the clods.
    Then they tried to tear down the goal posts.
    Duh.
    Double duh.
    University officials had erected indestructible posts. The Penn State brain trust was momentarily muddled, stopped by a crisp autumn confusion for which none of their academic "studies" had prepared them.
    Undaunted, however, their persistence alarmed officials enough to haul out an old goal post which the fanatics then split and carried all over town.
    Drunk, screaming and making faces, a baseball-capped army of students with little common sense beneath the brim punched fingers into the air.
    "We're number one," they screamed.
    I'm talking about an estimated 10,000 so-called fans, most of them students, according to the Associated Press. They scaled the barbed wire fence around the stadium, banged on the gates and otherwise created a dangerously volatile scene.
    University police director Tom Harmon said Tuesday that about 25 to 30 citations will be forthcoming in the next few days -- summary offenses for criminal trespass into the stadium or criminal mischief for vandalism.
    Go State.
    The news prompted me to call my alma mater -- Class of '74, although I should have been Class of '73 but got sidetracked -- and inquire about the alumni association.
    With the eruption of such cretinous behavior, the school needs all the help it can get. Besides, attending association parties to start arguments about why coach Joe Paterno should have been fired for endorsing George Bush for President sounds like fun.
    Actually, the alumnumbs have been plaguing me to join for years. I figured they'd be thrilled to hear from me.
    Go right to the top, I told myself.
    So I called university President Joab Thomas to turn myself in.
    I also wanted to make sure he hadn't been charged with tearing up or associating with clods on the football field. Even when it comes to university presidents, good help is hard to find.
    Thomas' assistant, Caroline Dolbin, told me that the president was in North Carolina. But since I had somebody in an Old Main office on the phone, I figured I'd get a few things off my chest.
    "They did away with my major after I graduated," I complained. "No more Community Development."
    Judging from Dolbin's response, she had never even heard of my field of study.
    "Hey, I hear Thomas' job is open," I said.
    "Yes, a search committee is planning for Dr. Thomas' departure in 1996," she said.
    "Did any members of the search committee get arrested after the big game?" I asked.
    "No," she said.
    "Good, tell them I'm sending up my resume." I said. "I'll be a great Penn State president."
    "What about joining the alumni association?" she asked.
    "They're not in my league, anymore. Not now that I'm going to be appointed president. I'm number one."
    "If you get the job, I'm leaving," said assistant to the president Dolbin.
    Thank heavens.
    At least somebody's brain up at dear old State seems to be running on high test.
    Steve Corbett's column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
   
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