PSU athletic director Dave Joyner opens up on issues

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CHICAGO -- Dave Joyner doesn't do this often. Penn State's athletic director, who has not always been popular among fans, rarely makes public appearances. When he does, he usually spends little time discussing substantial issues.

But in a crowded hotel Wednesday, he addressed topics ranging from the complications of the NCAA sanctions, to Beaver Stadium attendance, to his future.

"Well, I'm the AD right now," he said. "I'm certainly very comfortable running the department and doing what we've done. What happens and the reasons it happens in the future are beyond me. My job is to do the best I can and let the results on and off the field speak for themselves. ... I think that people have their own opinions about me, and they're welcome to them."

The results have been mostly positive for Penn State since he became athletic director. Despite NCAA sanctions, the football team went 8-4. The wrestling team won a national championship. Eleven teams won conference championships.

Complications abound, though. Last week, Penn State coach Bill O'Brien said he would like to see the NCAA "meet halfway" with the university on the NCAA sanctions.

Joyner was mum on that subject and maintained that stance Wednesday, saying he was focused on looking forward to and working with the NCAA's athletic integrity monitor and positioning Penn State for continued success.

Of the lawsuit against the NCAA filed by the Paterno family, former players and a few trustees, Joyner said individuals had the right to do as they pleased but added that the athletic department shouldn't be concerned with such strategies.

"I've said in the beginning: Life's simple," he said. "Just pay attention to the duties you've been given to do and do them as well as you can possibly do them and don't make more distractions for yourself. We need to be focused on aiming forward, and what other people do is what other people do."

Penn State announced Tuesday it would enact a ticket-bundling plan for the upcoming season in which fans who wanted tickets for the Michigan game would have to buy tickets for the Eastern Michigan game, and fans who wanted tickets for the Nebraska game would have to buy tickets for the Kent State game.

Joyner said this was part of a plan to increase revenue and attendance at Beaver Stadium, which has decreased since 2009, dropping from an average of 107,000 fans to 96,000-plus in 2012. He said Penn State and the Big Ten Conference have been working on ways to attract more fans, including offering enhanced Wi-Fi this fall. A new scoreboard is set for 2014.

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Mark Dent: mdent@post-gazette.com, 412-439-3791 and Twitter @mdent05.


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