Sudden change of plans for former Penn football prospect

While recruits for the Class of 2017 begin the process of formally announcing their college decisions, one Florida high school senior will no longer be able to do so.

According to an article in the Tampa Bay Times, a few days before Plant High School quarterback Aaron Banks was going to orally commit to Penn, his offer was taken away.

Though at the moment Penn football coach Al Bagnoli and the athletics department have declined to comment on the issue, Plant coach Robert Weiner said he will never have his players go to Penn during Bagnoli's tenure.

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound senior played for a Plant team that went 10-2 on the season and is ranked No. 325 nationally and No. 21 in the state of Florida.  The quarterback completed 57 percent of his passes in a season that included 1,442 passing yards and 12 touchdown passes.

In the postseason, he was named most valuable offensive player in the Hillsborough County All-Star Game.

However, there is still much information missing about the reasoning behind such a situation, though Ivy League regulations and qualifications may be behind it.

However, Weiner — who said that nothing like this has ever happened to one of his players — believes the removal of the offer was made due to a decision to go with another quarterback for this recruiting class.

Kickin’ it with Megan Soisson

Think you can make a 20-yard field goal? It's tougher than it looks. Our very own Senior Sports Editor Megan Soisson gave it a shot and turned to freshman backup kicker Jimmy Gammill and senior punter Scott Lopano of Penn football to teach her how:

Cornell to cut funding to 11 varsity teams

Is Cornell going broke?

No doubt the Ithaca, N.Y., school has felt the brunt of the recent recession as has any other university, but according to the Cornell Daily Sun, the university if requiring 11 of its 36 varsity sports teams to be completely self-funded by 2015.

"There is a major ongoing effort to raise this money," Andy Noel, Cornell's director of athletics and physical education, told the newspaper. "We're visiting alumni all year and on the phone a lot as the fiscal year closes. ... It's a real challenge each year to generate the income that ... allows us to have competitive teams."

The 11 teams on the list: baseball, golf, lightweight rowing, sprint football, men's and women's polo, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's squash, and equestrian.

Cornell first started trimming its budgets in 2009, when a five-percent cut was implemented by the University across-the-board to every department. In each year since, the school has made additional cuts to Cornell Athletics.

Without funding from the University, the teams will have to stay afloat by means of operating income such as ticket sales (which are minimal for all programs but men's basketball, football and men's hockey), philanthropic gifts and endowments.

Game Six Liveblog — Penn football at Yale

I'm here with Karl Bagherzadeh enjoying a beautiful fall day in New Haven, Conn. We had a great drive up this morning and the weather could not be more perfect for some football. Penn (2-3, 2-0 Ivy) takes on Yale (1-4, 0-2)

Penn Sports Plus: Alan Schwarz

Last week I talked to New York Times sportswriter and Penn alum Alan Schwarz (C’ 90) about how he helped save the toast toss at Penn. In 1988, Schwarz and three of his friends smuggled 3,000 slices of toast into Franklin Field for a September football game. A column written by Schwarz ran in The Daily Pennsylvanian on the Thursday before the game encouraging students to join them in their smuggling spree. According to Schwarz, Penn Athletics not only didn’t provide toast for students but security guards confiscated any toast that students brought on their own.

Fortunately there’s plenty of fascinating excerpts left over from our conversation for this week’s edition of Penn Sports Plus.

On Penn Athletics’ policy on the toast toss in 1988:

 They told us it was a health hazard and it was not safe.  It would be disingenuous to say that throwing toast is not at its very core littering.  Of course it is.  I think the burden of proof is on the student to justify said littering.  I believe that that can be very easily done, but it’s not unreasonable for the athletic department to begin from the default setting that throwing things in the stands, up to and including food items, is not preferable.  In this case, it is.  But it was clearly not only benign but important to the community.  So the benefits outweighed the costs.

On the state of Penn Athletics at the time: Continue reading

Copeland and Ragone want YOU to come to the Penn-Villanova game

As much as I hate to admit it, Penn Athletics has been pouring out some GEMS this week in preparation for this Saturday's home football opener versus Villanova.

First, a message from seniors Brandon Copeland and Billy Ragone:

If Skimmer and more than a 100-year rivalry aren't enough to get you down to Franklin Field, fans will have the opportunity to pose with the Heisman and Outland trophies before the game. Just like the football, sprint football, basketball and cheer teams did (and also one DPOSTM football writer, David Greenbaum).

Courtesy Penn Athletics

Five Quakers receive senior student-athlete awards

At the senior student-athlete banquet Monday night at the Inn at Penn, five seniors were given awards for their time and talents both on off the field.

Zack Rosen (men's hoops) and Paige Madison (track) took home the biggest honors of the night, the Class of 1915 Award and the Association of Alumnae Fathers' Award, respectively. Alek Ferro (men's lacrosse) and Meg Krasne (softball) received the Norman J. Goldring Award for having the highest GPA as male and female varsity athletes. Finally, Grant Wilson (heavyweight rowing) received the George H. Frazier Award for having the highest GPA between the basketball, crew, track, soccer, baseball and football teams.

The Class of 1915 Award, in existence since 1931, is given to a graduating male "who best exemplifies the spirit and tradition of University of Pennsylvania Athletics." The recipient must have at least a 3.0 GPA, and is voted on by men's head coaches and select athletic department administrators. Rosen is the first men's hoops recipient since Steve Danley in 2007.

Track and field captain Madison was given the Fathers' Award for her "contribution to Women's Athletics" and her "outstanding athletic, academic, and leadership qualities." Again, recipients must have a 3.0 GPA and the award is voted on by women's varsity coaches and select athletic department officials. Madison currently holds three Penn records on the track (sprint medley relay, 400-meter hurdles, outdoor 4x100m relay) and has top-10 times in four other individual events and as a part of five relays. She was the first woman in Penn history to go under 1 minute in the 400m hurdles.


Split-P Soup: Volume I

The Mid-Monday Mix is back. Except this time, I have a little help from Cal with the title, Split P Soup. Punny, huh?

As usual with DP Mondays, we have way more content than space in the paper. And given the crazy basketball weekend and the beginning of spring sports, a lot didn't make it in.

Quick Hits:

  • I'm not sure if you've heard, but Penn beat Dartmouth. And Harvard. Check ESPN's highlights here.
  • Sports Editor Sushaan Modi recaps the entire weekend — from the close win over Dartmouth to their struggles to get from Hanover to Boston to the crazy win that made the trip all worth it. Definitely worth a read.
  • Former senior sports editor Cal Silcox writes about Penn's senior leadership Saturday night, and Harvard's lack thereof.
  • The women's hoops team fell to Harvard on Saturday's senior night after beating Dartmouth the night before.
  • Men's lacrosse went down to Durham to take on the No. 10 Blue Devils in the season opener, but fell, 12-8.
  • Apparently women's lacrosse is happy to be free of last season's expectations. In their season opener, the Quakers took down Drexel, 18-8. Nine players scored for Penn, including six points from Erin Brennan and four from Maddie Poplawski. Sophomore Brittany Swanson scored on her first career shot, as well. Not too shabby.
  • The fencing teams competed at the second-annual U.S. Collegiate Weapon Squad Championships this weekend. While both teams won the tournament last year, only the men repeated their success. The women finished fourth.
  • The women's swim team also spent the weekend in Boston, for Ivy Championships. The Quakers finished sixth, and Shelby Fortin finished second in the 1650, Penn's best finish.
  • While both tennis teams started their matches up, 2-0, against Buffalo, only the men finished with a win. They were victorious, 4-3, while the women fell, 5-2.
  • The gymnastics team is Ivy Champs! And Dana Bonincontri is an all-star.
  • Maalik Reynolds is also an all-star, so is Gabrielle Piper. They both won at Heps this weekend (Reynolds high jump and Piper 60m hurdles), and Piper broke her own school record.

Weekend win: Really don't know if I can give just one. How about all the Penn basketball seniors, Penn gymnastics, Maalik Reynolds and Gabrielle Piper. Sorry I'm not sorry for being PC.

Phew! I promise I'll spruce up Split-P Soup for next week (From Clearwater, Florida!).



Penn Athletics is stepping up its social media promotions in anticipation of Monday night's showdown with Princeton at the Palestra.

Those who follow @PennAthletics on Twitter may have noticed a series of tweets today that provided clues as to where tickets for the game are hidden on campus. Penn Athletics tweeted photos like the one below to tell students where they could find the tickets.

They will tweet more clues about hidden tickets tomorrow.

Penn Athletics is also encouraging Penn fans to use the hashtag #BeatPrinceton in all tweets about the game.

Students can also pick up #BeatPrinceton stickers from the Red and Blue Crew on Locust Walk. If they are seen wearing the sticker by a member of the Penn Athletics marketing staff tomorrow, they can win free tickets to the game. Students can also buy tickets on the Walk for $5.

Palestra ‘white out’ planned for final Big 5 game of the season

Penn Athletics is working hard to get students to come out to Penn's final Big 5 game of the year Saturday against St. Joseph's at the Palestra, planning a 'White Out' event for Penn fans.

The first 400 students to arrive to the game will get a free white Penn t-shirt. Seniors Zack Rosen and Tyler Bernardini will be roaming around campus starting at 12:15 Thursday afternoon to pump students up, holding contests and giving out prizes.

The Quakers are 0-3 in the Big 5 this season. They got their first Big 5 win in nearly four years last season against the Hawks, 73-61.

Penn is also bringing back the Drums of Thunder group for some halftime entertainment. The fourth and fifth grade musicians from Hillside Elementary School in Montclair, N.J., performed at the Palestra last season. Here is a video of the group, who has been featured at NFL and NBA halftimes.

Both the Red and Blue Crew and Penn Athletics are working hard to get the students involved in Penn basketball. Do you think their efforts will pay off?