March Madness

Recent Articles

March madness indeed!

 

I just read that University of Florida coach Billy Donovan, as a result of taking his team to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA basketball tourney we know as March Madness, got a contract extension and a large raise. The university is paying him in real cash, not in hamburgers or tattoos or trips on the company’s private jet or promises to help him secure his Ph. D, but $3.6 million in racks and racks of stacks. There is money in them there balls: CBS’s and Turner Broadcasting’s 14-year $10.8 billion contract, NCAA president (plantation director/slave driver) Matt Emmert’s $2 million salary, top NCAA officers’ six-figures salaries, and the new NCAA headquarters is $35 million. Last year’s winning coach Rick Pitino’s salary is $42 million through 2022. Continue Reading →

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March graduation rate madness

 

 

A quick prediction for this year’s NCAAs — Black male basketball players’ graduation rates will remain virtually unchanged. While nearly everyone is filling out their brackets, the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) released on Monday its annual study on the academic performance of the players in the NCAA Division I tournament teams. The study’s primary author, TIDES Director Dr. Richard Lapchick, compares the graduation rate data of Black and White male basketball student-athletes.  

“There is not much good news to report as almost every category examined remained the same or got worse,” wrote Lapchick. The women teams’ report was released Tuesday. A more detailed analysis will be in next week’s “Another View” in the MSR print edition. Continue Reading →

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NCAA shot still pending for Gophers women (updated)

 

INDIANAPOLIS — The waiting game is now underway. Minnesota (20-12) is .500 (1-1) thus far this post season. The women’s basketball team will know this Monday whether or not their proverbial “body of work” has earned them their first NCAA at-large berth since 2009. Nearly everyone who the MSR talked to here in Indianapolis last week thinks they have:

“I think Minnesota deserves to be in the NCAA Tournament,” says Nebraska Coach Connie Yori, whose league tourney champion Huskers twice defeated the Gophers this season, including a 13-point win in the Big Ten quarterfinals March 7. “With the strength of our league and their RPI (38), I think they need to be in the NCAA Tournament.”

The Gophers are 7-3 in their last 10 games, including a first-round overtime win after being down 16 points in the second half over Wisconsin. Continue Reading →

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March Madness begins

 

 

Let’s be perfectly clear from the start — this and all subsequent columns are March Madness cliché-free. We won’t be talking about dancing or getting tickets punched here. The Gophers women basketball team plays Thursday in the 2014 Big Ten women’s tournament in Indianapolis — they face 11th-seeded Wisconsin at approximately 8 pm local time. Minnesota (19-11, 8-8 Big Ten) as the sixth seed goes into Indy on a modest two-game winning streak, but more importantly, especially for further post-season considerations, the Gophers have won seven of their last 11 contests. Although the team finished with a positive conference record for the first time since 2009, from now on U of M’s “second season” record must stay above .500. Continue Reading →

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Occupy March madness

 

 

“We are protesting because we believe that institutions of higher learning like FAU have the responsibility to stand up to the systemic racism, corruption and human rights violations that define the prison-for-profit system, and advocate instead for equality and human rights,” wrote a group at Florida Atlantic University. When students at Florida Atlantic University recently penned the letter containing the quote listed above in an effort to stand up to their administration and demand that the university reconsider naming their stadium after the private for-profit prison corporation GEO Group, it gave me an idea. Why not protest the NCAA and its rip off of so-called student athletes? I couldn’t help but see the similarity in the private prison industry and the NCAA. Failed sports stars often run afoul of the law and many of them wind up on prison plantations after having spent their time on another plantation — college sports. Continue Reading →

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Gopher senior leaves the team like she played: with a big smile

 

 

 

Her coach and this reporter both watched Leah Cotton’s growth over her four years at Minnesota from a happy-go-lucky freshman to a fully confident young woman in her senior year. “It’s fun to watch her grow as a person, and it’s been really rewarding to see where she’s come from,” noted Gopher Coach Pam Borton last week. It wasn’t always pretty watching Cotton, however — she had a penchant for making silly fouls. She sometimes got her foot stuck on her energy accelerator. Yet you never saw the 5-8 senior guard from Kansas City, Kansas back down from her challenges. Continue Reading →

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Recognition of early ‘Black Fives’ players long overdue

The NCAA this year is celebrating 75 years of March Madness. Before it became an overhyped trademark, and before it became a behemoth cash cow for everyone but the players, the annual tourney for decades was a White-only affair. The celebrating hoopla shouldn’t overlook this fact. Claude Johnson founded the Greenwich, Conn.-based Black Fives Foundation in 2001. It is named for the number of Black players on the court and the basketball league of the same name that ran for nearly 50 years (1904-1950), at least three decades before the Negro Leagues. It also was a clear affront to the racially segregated unwritten rule that limited the number of players of color allowed on the court  (two at home, one on the road), a rule that existed in the NBA, its forerunner the National Basketball League, and in college hoops well into the 1960s. Continue Reading →

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Scarce Black commentary on March Madness

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Whether cable, regular television or satellite radio, it doesn’t matter when it comes to March Madness hoops coverage — it’s nothing but a media Whiteout. Call it March Monotony if you will. For every Tom, Dick (Vitale) and Mary, we get token appearances from Greg Anthony and Len Elmore, both of whom offer excellent insights but too often seem to be working on a word restriction edict from their employers. The same goes for Carolyn Peck and Vera Jones, who gives us “fit-in” analysis, which leaves us sadly exposed to mumbling others who sound like inexperienced Specs Howard Broadcasting School grads. And of course I’ll miss announcer Gus Johnson, now with Fox, and his genuine enthusiasm, leaving us instead with bad Mel Allen copycats. Continue Reading →

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