According to its website:
The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation provides an IMPACT award to individuals who demonstrate excellence in the field of athletics. The IMPACT award recognizes college football's Defensive Player of the Year who best exemplifies Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.
Today, the organization based in Newport Beach, California released its list (below) of 20 of the premier defensive players in college football, who they deemed as quarterfinalists for the award named after former two-time USC All-American and College Football Hall of Fame inductee Ronnie Lott.
2012 Lott IMPACT Trophy Quarterfinalists:
- Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
- Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA
- Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin
- Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
- Max Bullough, LB, Michigan State
- Travis Johnson, DE, San Jose State
- Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
- Jake Knott, LB, Iowa State
- Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
- Brandon Magee, LB, Arizona State
- T.J. McDonald, S, USC
- Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
- J.C. Percy, LB, Boise State
- Eric Reid, S, LSU
- John Simon, DT, Ohio State
- Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin
- Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
- Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford
- Bjoern Werner, DT, Florida State
- Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
And incredibly, as you can see, Penn State senior captain and linebacker Michael Mauti was not among them, thus discrediting the organization, its award and what it is supposed to stand for.
With a long list of who's who from the sports world serving on the organization's Board of Directors and Advisors, including former Pittsburgh Steelers great and Pennsylvania Republican Gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann, it is puzzling how Mauti's name could possibly be omitted.
With the invention of the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, better known as ESPN, it is impossible to imagine that these folks on the West Coast have not been able to see a Penn State game this season, as the restrictions placed on them this summer did not prohibit them from television broadcasts.
Mauti, who was recently named a Phil Steele Midseason All-American (Second Team), leads the Nittany Lions in tackles (65), interceptions (three) and forced fumbles (two) through the first seven games of the season. Those outstanding numbers would place him fifth, second and second in the respective statistical categories among the linebackers chosen for the postseason honor first awarded in 2004.
And in all honesty, those are just numbers. Numbers generated on a manicured battlefield every Saturday afternoon, immediately tabulated and dispatched for everyone to see and discuss at the water cooler on Monday morning.
What the senior from Mandeville, Louisiana provides the Nittany Lions off the battlefield is immeasurable.
"Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity," the words forming the acronym IMPACT, which the award is to exemplify, could each have Mauti's photo next to them definition in a dictionary.
Mauti, already a graduate (December 2011) with a degree in Criminal Justice & Law, is the inspirational leader and the glue that has held this Nittany Lions program together since the sanctions were levied by the NCAA back in July.
A fighter, refusing to lay on the canvas after three painful knockdowns, Mauiti has risen each time following two major knee injuries (a torn right ACL in the spring of 2009 and a torn left ACL in PSU's fourth game last season) and a shoulder injury.
Of course the statistics will place him among the best to ever play the position at Linebacker U, but it will be his character and leadership that he will be most remembered for by the Blue and White Nation.
In July, there were several restrictions placed on the Penn State football program, but I am quite sure there was none on postseason awards.
Could it be that The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation got the sanctions confused following the announcement made by NCAA President Mark Emmert, or is it that they lack the very thing that they honor with their bogus award?
Joe Rogers is a college football writer and operates the website The College Football Bowl Report.