October 6, 2012; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Michael Mauti (42) celebrates during the game against the Northwestern Wildcats at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

Was Lombardi Rotary Award’s Snub of Michael Mauti Politically Driven?


On Monday, news came out that Michael Mauti had been left off the list of Quarter-finalists for the Lombardi Award- given annually to the nations best linebacker or linemen (offensive OR defensive). Consider me one of the naive people out there who assume people will do the right thing in most cases and not hold pointless, ineffective grudges against the wrong people. That’s why it caught me off guard when I read a comment about the Lombardi Award passing on Michael Mauti being a political decision.

At first, I didn’t give the comment too much thought, but as I thought more about the list and the oddity of Mauti’s exclusion, I started to wonder about the motive myself.

Could it be that the Rotary Club, when deciding their finalists for the Lombardi Award, came to Michael Mauti’s name and gave each other a glance, deciding to pass on him due to the colors that he wears? Due to the horrific acts committed (and not committed) by leaders at Penn State University? Is the club so afraid of having their name mentioned with Penn State that they would purposefully overlook a player who is arguably the best defensive player in the conference and one of the best three or four linebackers in the country?

It’s worth noting that the Rotary club does great work for the American Cancer society as well as raising money for public education and providing services directly to cancer patients. The organization is bigger than football in almost every way. Still, their Lombardi Award is a nationally recognized prize and is coveted by college football players in a very serious manner. It should be treated with such seriousness.

For all of the latest on the Penn State Nittany Lions, follow VBR Lead Editor Tim Tolley on Twitter.

Tags: Football Penn State Nittany Lions

  • PSUfan

    @ Tim

    PSU is bigger than football…what with all the money that students raise through THON for cancer each year…..while strictly only football merit should have been considered and Mauti should have been included in that list, even the greater than football nature of the lombardi award cannot be a reason for excluding Penn State players.
    That said, I can think of two things that must have been extremely politicized (my guess is NCAA and Emmert must have been heavily involved) behind the scenes to eliminate Mauti are: (a) he delivered an eulogy as the current student representative at Joe Paterno’s funeral and (b) his public expression of anger against Emmert after the sanctions were handed down (‘lack of respect for authority’ – lol)…

    • AP

      I honestly don’t think Emmert had anything to do with it. I think the association probably wanted to avoid the controversy that would come along with a Penn State player being on the list.

  • Science Guy

    Another example of the political fallout from a failed University leadership that voluntarily signed the infamous NCAA Concent Decree and left it up to the loyal football squad to defend the University’s reputation. The Rotary proves itself to be just another weak-kneed fair weather friend of Penn State.

  • Willie Green

    The Rotary Club of Houston is no different than any other organization that is preoccupied with Public Image. They will avoid any association with scandal like the plague, regardless of the injustice it may inflict upon any individual.
    There really isn’t any empiracle formula to determine “The Best” player to select anyway. You can compare stats, but as we all know, stats are meaningless unless you also allow for any differences in the difficulty of their scheduled opponents. Is a QB “great” just because he racks up stats against much weaker opposition? Or do you pick a player with somewhat lesser stats, but accomplished against much more difficult opposition.
    In the end, the Lombardi Award and similar honors are often subjective popularity contests anyway. And the Houston Rotary Club wants to pretend that Jerry Sandusky never existed.

    • AP

      I think, in the end, they may end up causing the exact opposite of what they were hoping to accomplish. Mauti (and other Penn Staters) are on numerous other national award lists and nobody has even thought twice about it. By intentionally leaving him off, they seem to be creating an association that otherwise wouldn’t have been there and now have people questioning their integrity. Irony at its best.

  • RationallyThinking

    If these organizations are afraid of being linked to controversy to save the prestige of their organization, is it that different from what Penn State is ‘accused’ of doing (Penn State – not Sandusky)?

  • Central PA Prooud

    Let them all do their thing. They (NCAA, pollsters, award committees) are all making complete fools of themselves and the organizations/awards that they supposedly represent. We don’t need no stinkin awards. Let the actions on the playing field speak for themselves. Not sure they realize this or not but they have lit a fire in Happy Valley that they will not be able to put out. They hoped they would bring the program down and all they did was motivate and awaken a sleeping giant. We ARE!