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Megan Gibbs
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The Penn State Scandal

It's no secret that the biggest story in college athletics right now (maybe even the decade) is revolving around the Pennsylvania State University and its famous football program.

On Monday, the NCAA put the final nail in Penn State's coffin, ultimately changing the tone of PSU football and culture for many years to come.

An overview of the scandal
This past November, Penn State was rocked with news that former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky would be charged on multiple child abuse counts over many years within the PSU system—both during his tenure at the school and outside as an individual “who was given emeritus status which allowed him into the football facility.”

The story would ultimately unravel, with blame being put on many groups and individuals, but at the highest level: the athletic director Tim Curley, president Graham Spanier, and one of the most iconic figures of Penn State football, head coach Joe Paterno.

After all was said and done, Sandusky was found guilty on 45 counts of child abuse and the entire Penn State system was shaken to the core. Both president Graham Spanier and beloved coach Paterno were fired and the Freeh Report that was most recently published established that Sandusky's acts had been covered up “because school officials did not report what they knew.”

Consequences for actions
On Monday, Penn State stood in awe as the NCAA issued immense penalties that will change the school system forever. According to the NCAA site and their official press release of the sanctions, the following actions will be taken against PSU:
$60 million fine

-Four-year ban on any bowl games
-Scholarship ban; limiting the number of new recruits the school may bring in for four years. USA Today said in a recent article that over the four-year ban, PSU will lose 40 scholarships.
-Any games the football team won between 1998 and 2011 under Joe Paterno will be removed from the books; Joe Paterno loses 111 games and no longer is the “most winning coach in college football history.”
-Any current football players can transfer to a new school immediately, without question
-Five-year probation

Penn State either had to agree to these terms or possibly face having its football program completely removed—and they agreed to move on with the consequences the NCAA laid out for them.

The fallout
While it's true the administration of the school completely dropped the ball and essentially broke the law, student athletes (especially football players), the general school population, and the State College community lose out in the end.

Everything students took pride in about their college is now tainted and the whole world is watching and judging them for something they had nothing to do with. 

Alumni have to defend their degrees and the school they loved and current students are faced with outside ridicule and now question if a Penn State education is worth the long-term criticism.

The new PSU
Since everything started falling apart in November, Penn State has had to make drastic changes to its administration and athletic program. The president, athletic director, and head football positions were all filled and just recently, any traces of the legacy of Joe Paterno were removed to help victim’s families and the PSU community move on.

The $60 million fine, which is the typical amount the football program normally makes in a year, “will be donated to establish charitable organizations in the Big Ten communities dedicated to the protection of children.”

It’s been said that PSU was too football-oriented and for so many years was not putting the proper emphasis on education. I think it is safe to say that Penn State will be focusing much more on academics and pushing the qualities of a PSU education over the once heralded football culture.

It could take more than a decade for PSU to fully recover and move on from this scandal. During that time, a lot of money will be lost from the system and student athletes will have to decide if this is the place they want to be. 

It will be extremely interesting to see where all of this goes as the community licks its wounds and carries on.

While what Sandusky, Paterno, and the past administration did will never be erased, I think Penn State will find a way to fix what was broken within their system and use the next four years to rebuild to become stronger and top institution once again.

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The Olympics, The Decathlon, and Bruce Jenner

If you’re a track and field enthusiast and a closeted Keeping Up with the Kardashians fan, this week’s blog is for you.

With the London Olympics just a few weeks away and the U.S. decathlon team recently being announced, I thought it would be a great time to pay a little homage to this lesser-known sport and to a reality television star who was once deemed the “World’s Greatest Athlete.”

What is the decathlon?
The decathlon is a sport that is exceptionally grueling. To be a decathlete, you have to be in superior condition, both mentally and physically, for the following 10 track & field events over the course of two days:

100-meter run
Long jump
Shot put
High jump
400-meter run
110-meter hurdles
Discus throw
Pole vault
Javelin throw
1,500-meter run

Decathletes are scored “according to time or distance, not placement” on a set number scale for each event. The 10 scores are added together for an overall score, which determines the winner of the decathlon. The gold medal winner is then given the well-deserved (unofficial) distinction of being called the “World's Greatest Athlete.”

Bruce Jenner
We all know Bruce Jenner as the submissive, boring husband to Kris Jenner and stepfather to the famous Kardashian girls. What most of the younger generations don’t know—something they have barely touched upon in the television show—is that Bruce is an incredibly important figure in both sports and Olympic history. He is easily the most talented member of his family and no one seems to pay much attention to his accomplishments and abilities as an athlete.

In the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada, Bruce Jenner won the gold medal, setting a world record of 8,634 points in the decathlon.

Jenner’s dedication to the sport was undeniable, working out eight to nine hours every day and even keeping a track hurdle in his home so he could work on techniques in his free time. Even further, he sought out the world’s greatest athletes in each individual decathlon sport to practice with. From learning from the best, he would be the best—and he was.

The future of the decathlon
Recently, the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials were held in Eugene, Oregon, and just like Bruce Jenner, 24-year-old Ashton Eaton is making a name for himself as a decathlete.

After his scores were tallied, Eaton recorded 9,039 points, a world record. It goes to show how far athletes have come since Jenner's days—405 points higher than his 1976 Olympics gold medal score.

There is no doubt that Eaton will be closely watched as the Olympic decathlon begins in a few weeks, and hopefully he'll bring another gold medal back to the United States.

Becoming a decathlete
First and foremost, you really need to have a love for track & field. CollegeXpress has fantastic lists of schools that have strength in track & field at all division and conference levels. Do your research, contact coaches, and put your feelers out there for the best program that will get you where you need to go.

Ashton Eaton graduated from the University of Oregon in 2010, broke records while he was there, and then rigorously trained for two years, which brought him to his most current—and incredible—U.S. Trials win.

After you graduate from school, there is no doubt that somewhere in your four years at school, you will have met some incredible people associated with the decathlon. Use the contacts you met to find the perfect coach that will bring you to the next level, which will hopefully lead you to representing the United States at future Olympic games.

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Behind the Scenes - Apollo Mission Control At +NASA
where we celebrated walking on the Moon

Imagine walking into one of the most monumental rooms in the entire world. It's empty now, but this is a room where hundreds of people celebrated walking on the Moon for the Apollo 11 Mission. The same top secret room where we as a country held our breath as the fate of the Apollo 13 crew hung in the balance. You can't help but be carried away by the magnitude of the decisions made here, as well as the joys shared launch-after-successful launch (it was used for many Space Shuttle launches). Again, thanks to astronaut +Ron Garan for being an incredible host and guide as we time travelled through history.

#sciencerules #NASA #spacetravel
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Historic Apollo Mission Control Room (39 photos)
39 Photos - View album

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Love March Madness? So do we. We looked at which colleges produced the most NBA players

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London calling: we looked out of a window at our office - and saw a big set of Olympic rings. They're 11 metres high by 25 metres wide and Charlie Bibby, our chief photographer, went out this morning to snap them. There are 150 days to go until London 2012. Are you excited about the games?
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Check out this awesome Social TV #infographic about the #oscars from +ExactTarget.

For more analysis, check out our post on +Mashable: http://on.mash.to/xjRAkR
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Step-by-Step Guide to your Social Media Success - fantastic FLOWCHART!!

If you are more of a visual learner, you'll love this diagram - it's beautiful and simple, yet comprehensive!

See the full flowchart at: http://www.simplybusiness.co.uk/microsites/guide-to-social-media-success/

And, for the companion blog post, go to http://www.simplybusiness.co.uk/knowledge/articles/2012/02/2012-02-16-social-media-success (it's linked at the foot of the flowchart too).

What do you think? Will you use this in your business? Share with clients?

Huge heart hug to +Beth Kanter for this gem of a find!
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