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Penn State Football Fans Get Nittany Lion Clubbed

by on November 30, 2009 8:00 AM

During a time of economic difficulty, sports – especially college sports – can be the perfect distraction.

The athletes are not receiving mega-bucks to play a game (at least not yet), so there is no financial jealousy (yet).

Since students continue to attend college, new athletes keep the sport fresh. New fans each year help as well.

Tickets generally don’t cost too much, and the fans will turn backs on professional sports to see student-athletes.

Such was the case at Penn State.

Until Tuesday.

Penn State released some new details last week about seating changes for Beaver Stadium in 2011. And the changes have both students and alumni up in arms.

POLL: Beaver Stadium Changes

Did Penn State Football make a good decision with the seating changes?

Yes -- give people a chance to get better seats
No -- those who have seats shouldn't have to pay to keep them

Changes to the student section include adding up to 800 seats and shifting it to the lower level of the south end zone.

Some future seniors don’t like the idea of never moving closer to the 50-yard line, but students have been complaining since 2006 that there are not enough student seats. All in all, not that big of a deal.

The real concern comes from the Nittany Lion Club – the “alumni section,” as students see it. These parents, alumni and friends of Penn State have for years donated time, money and loyalty to this football program, even in its dark ages.

But it’s not enough.

Now they have to donate more money – quite a bit more – to maintain seats.

Some seats will cost the seated $2,000 each in donations to stay where they are.

It’s being sold as the opportunity to upgrade seating, but it’s more of a tax on those with better seating.

Some supporters have said this is simply asking those with better seats – and therefore more money – to pay a little extra. But some of those seats have been in families for decades. Joe Nittany Jr. shouldn’t be asked for fork over an extra $1,900 to keep Joe Nittany Sr.’s seat.

Also, most season ticket-holders have more than one seat. When $2,000 begins to be multiplied two, three, four times, Joe Nittany Jr. is looking at some serious cash loss.

Will Penn State fans turn their back on the program and stop selling out games? Absolutely not. Not yet.

If Joe Nittany Jr. turns his back after giving up family seats, no big loss for the program. He’ll be replaced quickly.

But changes like this, made without warning, are the kind of things people expect from a program that doesn’t care about its fans, not Penn State.

Just one scorned Joe Nittany Jr. hurts the image of Penn State.

We are… a business first?

Terry Casey is a former managing editor of He can be reached at
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