New Prexy from FSU

Eric J. Barron
Eric J. Barron

There’s a new sheriff in town, and who can wait until Monday’s official announcement to blast out the news? Clearly, Onward State can’t, as they broke the story two days ago that was later picked up by the other scoop starved rags. Eric J. Barron, most recently president of Florida State University is to become Penn State’s new president, replacing the retiring Rod Erickson.

(I can think of three Penn State presidents who had “Eric” in their name: Eric Walker, who was president when I was there, Rod Erickson, and now Eric Barron. But I digress.)

Read some of the stories — some unremarkably derivative of the Onward State story:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Philadelphia Inquirer

Harrisburg Patriot-News


Tallahassee Democrat

Centre Daily Times

The hiring comes on the heels of the report that Penn State Athletics lost almost $6 million last year. Tough job to walk into for Barron. He’ll be working on emphasizing the de-emphasis of the football culture at Penn State.

I am not smart enough to outguess the selection committee, so I can’t speculate on how good a fit Barron will be, and precisely what he will bring to the table. I cannot say how the PS4RS people will react (he hasn’t yet stated a position on their most important issue: restoring the Paterno statue and record). I can’t predict how Barron will get along with Mark Emmert. I have no idea whether he’ll keep Dave Joyner around or find a better athletic director somewhere else. I don’t know anything.

But you all do know everything among you collectively! I know that you people out there who are smarter than I am will have something to say of benefit to your astute and highly intelligent readers of The Nittany Turkey. So, please give us your comments.

Comments from haters are welcome, too. I can see the whining now: Joe’s record will never be restored now that a Bowden lover is running the show! Can anything that comes from Florida be any good? This is not me speaking, as I have been a Floridian for the past 38 years plus my high school years. Barron has a Penn State connection, having been a dean and taught there, which some of you will regard as mitigating the serious issue of his most recently being president of the much hated Semenoles [sic]. 😀

Tell me what you think!


  1. BigAl says

    It doesn’t look like Eric #3 was at FSU long enough to be a Bowden lover, but I wonder whether might be an Ericson lover. I don’t know when Hot Rod started at Penn State, but Eric 3 might have been his boss at one time. If Eric 3 had anything to do with Gutless Rodney’s ascent to power, it would indicate Eric 3 is a poor judge of management ability and/or loves bootlickers.

    On the positive side, he has at least had training in a semi-scientific area. I was afraid they would pick someone from one of those touchy feely “lifestyle” majors like sociology or feminist studies.

    But, if Onward State is correct that the athletics program lost $6 million last year, perhaps they should have chosen a finance major to run State. On a side note, I wonder how Joiner could afford to pay Franklin $4 million a year. I suppose that kind of financial acumen is why his medical practice went bankrupt.

    • says

      Thanks for touching on some interesting points.

      I’m thinking that the connection with Erickson is worth exploring. In my brief fact-finding excursion, I think their paths might have crossed peripherally, but I’m feeling pretty good about Barron not having had a direct influence in Gutless Rod’s elevation. Barron was Dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, while Erickson was first a professor of geography and business administration, then became dean of the graduate school, and then vice president for research. This naive turkey is therefore not too worried about the former PSU connection between the two.

      I share your disdain for the pseudo-sciences (or “soft sciences” as they are called dismissively by faculty in the “real” sciences). Made-up, get-even disciplines such as feminist studies and African studies are political miasmas to be avoided as well. Barron is a research oriented guy, fortunately in hard sciences. That’s encouraging to me, too.

      I turned negative toward Joyner after reading Fourth and Long. I hope his replacement is a priority with Barron. No reason why it shouldn’t be, given that the athletic department seems to be bleeding financially. It will be an interesting test, given Joyner’s BoT connections.

      I watch with great interest as the political intrigue unfolds.


      • K. John says

        I personally like the hire. I will have to do some digging regarding their past history. Barron was a professor of Geosciences while Erickson was a professor of Geography. Both are in Earth and Mineral Sciences. They likely would have crossed paths as some point as peers. However, Erickson was the VP for research for a time while Barron was the head of the ESSC. This would have made Erickson his boss. Barron later became dean succeeding John Dutton while Erickson was the Provost. They would have likely had a lot of work interaction from the point Erickson became VP of research to when Barron left for Austin.

  2. Joe says

    Don’t know much about this esteemed individual other than he didn’t take the job for the money, but in his own words “the money is nice”.

    Here’s his compensation:

    “The five-year contract begins May 12, with the opportunity for Barron to start sooner, with an annual salary of $800,000. The contract also includes a one-time payment of $200,000 upon hire followed by a $200,000 retention payment at the end of the year for the last four years of the contract. Upon completion of the five-year contract, the university will pay Barron $1 million.”

    Don’t know how this compares to like state universities, So $6M for five years plus the keys to the Schreyer house-I guess that’s not too shabby for a guy that’s been a university president since 2010.

    So I guess I ask myself why it took so long. There was an executive search group hired that supposedly listed 400 possible candidates and there were solicitations from another 100 or so people for names, so after all of that this is who we got.

    Look in his position, it will be all about raising $$-lot’s of it and trying to get more $$ from Corbutt and the legislature. Yes he’ll have the Paterno fanatics to contend with as well as the crazies on the BoT and all the changes that need to be made to clean that mess up, but this will all be about the financial position of the university. He won’t stand toe to toe with the NCAA because that’s water under the bridge and that’s a discussion where he’ll just let the fire burn itself out.

    Whether he keeps Joyner or not will be a decision he’ll make when he’s ready, but I’m not convinced Joyner hasn’t done a good job and isn’t worth keeping. I read “Fourth and Long” and yes it was an indictment of him by a few members of the football team, but how much of that was perhaps exaggerated and amplified a tad because it sells copies. And to Big Al’s comment about Franklin’s salary, that was what they were going to have pay to get “the best available coach”. Anything less than that would have raised a shit storm. Besides the Texans are picking up the first couple of years of his salary anyway with OB’s buyout.

    So in the grand scheme of things, he’ll be measured by the university’s academic rankings, research dollars and the amount of $$ he squeezes from the alums and the commonwealth. Everything else is inconsequential.

    Only knowing what I’ve read about him, I just think after all of this “searching”, I’m kind of disappointed that this is who we got.

    • says

      You expected Lawrence Summers? Condoleeza Rice? Gordon Gee? Who would you have rather had?

      As long as he does what Franklin tells him to do, he should be fine. But he must do it in a way that camouflages the culture of football at Penn State.

      OK, so I’m in a facetious mood tonight.


      • Joe says

        I don’t know who I would have preferred. He seems like he did a great job at FSU and everyone appears to be disappointed he’s leaving, but it just seems to me that after all this time, there had to be a long list of candidates who were approached and said no. Maybe it was the $$, maybe it was the BoT, maybe it was the cloud of the PS4RS loonies hanging over the university that kept people away.

        I’m wondering if he’ll come to the games with a lion paw on his cheek like the garnet and gold Seminole stripes he was sporting at the NC game during the trophy presentation!

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