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PSU lacks background checks

April 20, 2008
The Altoona Mirror
Looking at the college football teams — not just Big Ten — I can’t help but feel recruiters are not digging deep enough into prospective player’s backgrounds.

Penn State, as a rule, enlists excellent and intelligent players with high moral character from top high school football programs. However, I am unable to understand how Joe Paterno and staff can be taking players from troubled metro schools where gangs, drugs and trouble is a daily activity and not expect problems in Happy Valley.

A recent possible recruit from the western sector of the state decided not to come to Penn State because it was ‘‘too rural.’’ Fine. If that’s what the kid wants, that’s his decision. However, I believe a college athlete needs to be focused on his or her education, graduation, and being the best team player they can possibly be, not how many parties they can squeeze in during four years — or until they are tossed off the team and out of school.

If a player keeps their nose clean and all the pegs fall into the right holes, perhaps the NFL will come knocking.

However, the NFL has had numerous embarrassments by players who liked the big-city party life. Some have gone beyond that and have shown their true character, like Michael Vick, for instance. The NFL doesn’t want this type of player. Why should PSU?

If gang fights and knifings are happening at PSU, what is occurring the police and coaches haven’t caught up with yet? I just don’t think JoePa can keep track of the players anymore. But the district attorney is.

William Snyder Jr.


Make Pirates accountable

It’s starting to get pretty clear that nobody knows what to do about the woeful Pittsburgh Pirates, as it seems they are headed down the same well worn path they’ve taken for the past 15 years.

Their newly hired upper management needs to send out a statement to the world that ‘‘we have had it, enough is enough.’’

What do you do? Here’s my suggestion: The Pirates upper echelon should tell all the players that on Wednesday, April 30 your individual performance will be graded by standards that we shall be setting.

Bring each and every player to the carpet. If he does not meet these standards, ship him to the minors (it doesn’t matter who who he is or how much money he makes) and somebody from the minors that shows a good attitude and meets performance standards will immediately be brought up.

Then on Saturday, May 31, they should do the process all over again, and continue this process on the last day of every month to the end of the season. Then in October, when the season is over, each individual player should be reviewed on his past six months. If he doesn’t meet the standards, then his contract will be ripped up and he will be shown the door. Real simple.

The rest of the real world does something like this every day. Why not the Pirates?

Michael Nazaruk


Schools should offer bowling

On the weekend of March 15, I stopped at the Pleasant Valley Bowling Center and was surprised to see approximately 150 young athletes from seventh grade to 12th grade competing in the state championship bowling tournament.

What an honor to our community; too bad it was such a well-kept secret.

I spent the better part of two days watching these young adults bowl, amazed at how well behaved and professional these kids were along with the coaches and chaperones. These young people not only showed tremendous sportsmanship, they seemed to be making lasting relationships between themselves.

I was fortunate enough to be able to speak with one of the organizers, Mike DiSanto.

I believe people east and west of Blair, Bedford, Huntingdon, Center, Mifflin and Clearfield counties are missing the boat by not promoting the sport of bowling.

I think it’s time all school districts as well as athletic directors check into this sport and give our kids in central Pennsylvania a chance to participate in a good, clean sport that anyone can learn.

Although I was greatly impressed with the entire weekend tournament at Pleasant Valley Bowl, I was disappointed that the young adults in our area were not part of it. We have some athletes, both boys and girls, in our town in the sport of bowling that could be put up against the professionals and most likely win. Let’s give them a chance!

I would ask that all of our school districts take time to contact secretary DiSanto at for information on how we can be a part of this popular sport.

We do have the young adult bowlers available that would make our districts proud, and it seems the wholesome sport of bowling brings out the best in everybody.

David M. Hoover


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