Penn State President-designate Barron seeks refocus
Penn State's next president is ready for the spotlight to shift away from the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal and on to the many things Pennsylvania's largest university has to offer.
In a phone interview from Florida, President-designate Eric Barron found several ways to deflect questions about divisions among alumni and others in the university community over the NCAA penalties against the football program, the treatment of Joe Paterno and the structure and role of the board of trustees.
“There's more for me to learn,” Barron said when asked if he thinks the NCAA's four-year postseason ban, $60 million fine and other sanctions are appropriate. “I'm not sure my personal opinion as a Penn State fan from afar has value there.”
He said the presidents of all major institutions have to think about the relationship between big-time sports and the wider university — a balance that was criticized by the NCAA when it announced the penalties against Penn State in 2012.
Barron, who is wrapping up his duties as Florida State's president, said he made a point to meet with tutors and advisers for the athletics program there because their role had been a problem in the past. He said he did not want those tutors to feel as if the fate of the team was on their shoulders.
Major college sports, he said, represent a front door to the public, and football is the main reason why alumni return to campus.
“We want to make sure that door is welcoming and projects a great image,” Barron said. “On the other hand, you've got an incredible marketplace out there that is driving the value of coaches' salaries, is driving revenues for athletics and that if you step back, it's hard to imagine that we got to the place we're at.”
Barron said his goals include increasing student engagement, as there is evidence that students perform better, are happier and get better jobs if they participate in worthwhile activities outside the classroom.
He aims to improve their career success and to do more to capitalize on the intellectual property the university produces.
College affordability is in his crosshairs.
“You're serving the state of Pennsylvania, and the university is expensive,” Barron said. “Are we doing all the things that we can and want to do to make sure that no one decides against Penn State because they can't afford it?”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Bigger version of Dutch artist’s giant rubber duck coming to Philadelphia
- Pa. Gov. Wolf proposes to add $28M a year for human services
- Man claiming 1988 abuse by Sandusky seeks way into court
- Pope to join gallery of murals in Philadelphia
- Pa. business sector tells GOP committee of worries about minimum wage, taxes, pensions
- Greene County woman found dead in burning home
- Penn State fraternity suspended for 3 years
- Philadelphia’s SEPTA board expected to ban controversial ads on buses