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Penn State preemptively issues statement on upcoming SI piece

Bill O'Brien AP

The Penn State football program is still under a media microscope, it would appear. In preemptive response to a Sports Illustrated article about the football program’s medical care program that will reportedly be released Wednesday, Penn State has issued a statement.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports the piece will be titled “Do Athletics Still Have Too Much Power at Penn State?” It was not available online Tuesday night, but, as one would imagine, it apparently doesn’t paint a particularly fond picture. Details of what’s in the article are scarce at this time.

Anyway, here’s the statement from PSU:

“To characterize the medical care Penn State provides our student-athletes as anything other than the highest quality is erroneous. Access to urgent and quality are for our athletes is no less than where it was at any point in the past 20 years.

“We provided Sports Illustrated with facts and data that demonstrate our commitment to our student athletes and how we compare to other peer institutions. Instead, the article sensationalizes in order to insinuate lower standards and largely ignores statements from the dean of the College of Medicine.”

Additionally, PSU athletic director Dave Joyner called some statements in the SI story “baseless accusations.”

Penn State recently made changes to its medical staff that included longtime team orthopedic surgeon and physician Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli stepping down from those positions.

“From a coverage standpoint, we have exactly the same level of medical care as we had previously,” Nittany Lions coach Bill O’Brien said in a statement to SI, which was obtained by the Centre Daily Times. “The same surgeons as last year are available to players who would need that level of attention. Nothing about our level or quality of athlete care has changed.”

Hard to tell what all this means right now, but it sounds as though we’ll find out soon enough.

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15 Responses to “Penn State preemptively issues statement on upcoming SI piece”
  1. tommy57 says: May 14, 2013 11:52 PM

    I agree, Ben – it’s hard to tell what all this means right now. However, I do recall SI used the PSU situation to issue a doomsday cover issue with “We Were Penn State” as the headline, then presented only a one-page story within the issue that presented nothing new. I was disappointed that SI would use the terrible PSU circumstances to, as it seemed to me, sell magazines.

  2. bigd88 says: May 15, 2013 12:10 AM

    I agree, Ben – it’s hard to tell what all this means right now. However, I do recall SI used the PSU situation to issue a doomsday cover issue with “We Were Penn State” as the headline, then presented only a one-page story within the issue that presented nothing new. I was disappointed that SI would use the terrible PSU circumstances to, as it seemed to me, sell magazines.

    ———————————————-

    Why would that surprise you? That’s SI’s MO. Remember their “damning” piece on Ohio State football during the tattoogate scandal? Where they named players that didn’t even have tattoos!?
    Also, if you look up Mr. Epstein’s previous work, he has a serious vendetta against PSU AD Dave Joyner dating back to his days on the Olympic Committee. And as someone who is somewhat familiar with Dr. Joyner I will say that I am not very fond of him at all. But this newest “article” seems like no more than another opportunity for Mr. Epstein to take shots at Dave Joyner; while slapping the “Penn State athletics is too powerful” narrative alongside it to gain traction.
    It’s sad really. Just about every coaching change results in turnover from the med-staff on down, leaving disgruntled former employees along the way. But since it’s happening at Penn State and this guy has a beef with Joyner, it’s a big story.

    Again, I say this all as someone who, quite frankly, can not stand Dr. Joyner. But this seems to be a little ridiculous on the surface. I highly doubt adding another physician to the staff, and the head athletic trainer from the Chicago Bears, results in worse treatment and care for the players.

  3. Slim Charles says: May 15, 2013 12:25 AM

    Yeah, like this guy has a beef with a two-bit AD from the big ten who has been on the job less than a year.

  4. 11thstreetmafia says: May 15, 2013 1:47 AM

    PSU is laughable.

  5. barnesaintnoble says: May 15, 2013 3:43 AM

    Haha I hope Penn State wins a national championship ASAP so we can see SI offer a free Penn State DVD, football, and duffel bag with a subscription. SI: “We’ll try to destroy you with no ethics or integrity in our reporting and also exploit your brand and fans to sell subscriptions to our magazine.” SI will be gone in a few years, this garbage story is just another example of their desperation.

  6. sportsguy88 says: May 15, 2013 7:18 AM

    @11thstreetmafia- you’re clueless, aren’t you? In what way is PSU laughable?

  7. overratedgators says: May 15, 2013 8:13 AM

    “Haha I hope Penn State wins a national championship ASAP so we can see SI offer a free Penn State DVD, football, and duffel bag with a subscription.'”

    ————-

    PSU will not be winning any national championships for at least four more years given their postseason ban for that long. And with the recruiting restrictions increasingly taking a toll during that time, it will probably be even longer than that. O’Brien did a great job with bad circumstances last year, but it’s going to keep getting harder from here as he spends the next four years with limited scholarships, and a hard sell to top recruits who know – with 100% certainty – that if they go to PSU, they’ll never see a bowl game, playoff game or national championship.

  8. billobrienschindimple says: May 15, 2013 8:18 AM

    @Gators

    and yet, knowing that, we are still getting one of the best QBs and the top TE this year. And it is only 3 more years of post season ban. Hackenberg to Brenneman in the NC game their senior season.

  9. dhlions says: May 15, 2013 9:31 AM

    This seems like…

    1. SI grasping at straws because they have nothing else to write about in the off-season
    2. A surprising amount of conversation surrounding an article no one has read yet

  10. manchestermiracle says: May 15, 2013 10:47 AM

    dh: More irony than you can shake a stick at. It is, after all, the time of the season for manufactured drama.

  11. dhlions says: May 15, 2013 11:33 AM

    Here is the SI.com overview…

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/news/20130515/penn-state-athletics-power/?sct=uk_t2_a3

    TLDR, two guys have beef with eachother.

  12. barnesaintnoble says: May 15, 2013 12:59 PM

    We’ll see if those post-season bans hold up. BOB is recruiting like there are no violations or restrictions and also planning neutral site games overseas. Sure, depth might be an issue no matter how many highly ranked recruits he gets. Whatever you might think about the Big Ten, it has a ton of power and sway with the NCAA and I see those penalties being reduced somewhere down the line. It will be a very quiet move, no doubt, but I am pretty sure it happens.

  13. mogogo1 says: May 15, 2013 2:45 PM

    Hard to form an opinion when the article isn’t even out. But why would Penn State want to shortchange their athletes by having inadequate medical care? Yes, they’re on probation, but they still make truckloads of money thanks to being in the Big 10. If anything, you’d think the story would be about athletes having access to medical care and coverage that regular students could only dream about.

  14. ninerfan81 says: May 16, 2013 8:58 AM

    Lets focus on facts not some idiot journalist who’s trying to make a name for himself, you people are so stupid sometimes. I can tell you its Easter Sunday and you’ll all go but a pink tie.

    The schedules looks pretty similiar to me.

    Penn State has released information comparing its in-season medical coverage to several schools across the nation. The comparisons can be seen below edited only for formatting.

    Football Physician In-Season Coverage

    Penn State

    – Primary care physician attends all practices and games. On Sunday, examines every player who played in the game previous day and any others in need of attention.

    – Orthopedic physician attends at least one practice each week (Wed.) and all games. Available post-practice Monday, Tuesday and Thursday if necessary. On Sunday, is available to examine all players.

    Iowa

    – Primary care physician is available to attend practice and see players post-practice Monday-Friday. On Sunday, is available to examine all players.

    – Orthopedic physician is available post-practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Sunday, is available to examine all players.

    LSU

    – Primary care physician available post-practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Sunday, is available to examine all players.

    – Orthopedic physician available post-practice Tuesday and Wednesday. On Sunday, is available to examine all players.

    Michigan State

    – Primary care physician is available to attend practice and see players post-practice Monday-Friday. On Sunday, is available to examine all players.

    – Orthopedic physician is available post-practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Sunday, is available to examine all players.

    Northwestern

    – Primary care physician is available to attend practice and see players post-practice Monday-Friday. On Sunday, is available to examine all players.

    – Orthopedic physician is available post-practice once or twice a week. On Sunday, is available to examine all players.

    Nebraska

    – Primary care physician is available to attend practice and see players post-practice Monday-Friday. On Sunday, is available to examine all players.

    – Orthopedic physician is available post-practice Tuesday and Wednesday. On Sunday, is available to examine all players.

    Ohio State

    – A primary care physician is available to see players early a.m. Monday-Friday and post-practice on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Sunday, the physician is available to examine all players. Attends all games.

    – An Orthopedic physician is available to see players post-practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Sunday, is available to examine all players. Attends all games. At least one of the three team physicians attends practice or a part of practice every day and sees players at the conclusion of each practice as needed for new injuries or follow-up care.

  15. ninerfan81 says: May 16, 2013 9:00 AM

    Idiot…Epstein, whats his name again?

    PL: Bill O’Brien said PSU officials looked for “benchmarks” for medical treatment at major college football programs. Did you research this, as well? Is Penn State’s current or previous system closer to what other programs are doing?

    DE: Yes we did. With respect to the presence of an orthopedic surgeon at practice, only one other Big 10 institution that responded to us said that it has an orthopedic surgeon present just weekly. That is not to say that system in itself is a problem, but it is less than some other Big 10 institutions.

    If the delta between our school and the others is virtually 0, whats the argument? Stop feeding into the idiocy.

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