Maryland

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Lynx draft four ‘solid players’

Unlike last year’s top-heavy, star-studded draft, the 2014 WNBA Draft was instead more workwoman-like. Filling specific team needs took precedence over obtaining star players. The MSR, during the April 10 pre-draft media conference call, asked ESPN Analysts Carolyn Peck and LaChina Robinson if they foresee “a publicity let-down” from last year’s “3 to See” draft that featured Britney Griner, Skylar Diggins and Elena Della Donne. “I don’t think necessarily we have an Elena Della Donne or Britney Griner in this class,” explained Robinson. “We do have a lot of impact players: Chiney Ogwumike (Stanford), Odyssey Sims (Baylor), Kayla McBride (Notre Dame), Alyssa Thomas (Maryland). Continue Reading →

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Stollings makes all the right promises

Marlene Stollings last week became the 11th women’s basketball coach in Gopher history and the sixth head coach for the longest running beat reporter of U of M women’s hoops — yours truly. “Thank you for covering [us] for so long,” Stollings said before our one-on-one interview last Tuesday on the Williams Arena floor. Asked about recruiting more Black players, Stollings said, “The best answer I can give you is I’m looking for people that can play and perform at a high level. We will recruit the best, whoever that might be. We will go after them.”

Asked if she will reach out more to local Black high school coaches, the new coach said, “I don’t mind you telling me if there is someone we have not connected with. Continue Reading →

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Greater diversity unlikely in post-Borton Gopher women’s basketball

 

 

Thus far, Gopher AD Norwood Teague is two-for-two in firing coaches in consecutive years. He fired Pam Borton as the school’s women’s basketball coach, seemingly less than 24 hours after her last game last week. She got the ziggy in less time than Tubby Smith got axed around this same time nearly a year ago. Borton was my fifth coach I covered as the longest tenured Gopher women hoops beat writer, She had her faults — no coach is perfect, and for whatever reason, she couldn’t convince too many local Black females to play for her.  

Former Gopher Leah Cotton, who played for Borton (2010-13), recently spoke to the MSR while in town for the team’s Senior Night March 2. Continue Reading →

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Nielsen report reveals racial divide in sports media viewership

Blacks, Latinos and Asians on average spent more time visiting sports sites on the computer and watching sports videos on the computer last year than the U.S. average, says a new Nielsen report. Nielsen’s 2013 Year in Sports Media Report found that “television is not the only medium where sports consumption is on the rise. The average amount of time spent visiting sports sites and accessing sports content on mobile phones in April 2013 increased by double digits compared to 2012.”

It also showed a 10-year growth in sports programming from 35 billion available hours in 2003 to over 116 billion in 2013. Sports consumption by Blacks, Latinos and Asians, however, fluctuated last year in the following three categories examined last year, according to the Nielsen report.  

Visiting sports sites on a computer (hours:minutes)

• April 2013: U.S. (1:25); Blacks (2:12); Asians (1:47); Whites (1:19); Latinos (1:02)

• September 2013: U.S. (1:45); Asians (1:56); Whites (1:47); Blacks (1:45); Latinos (1:17)

 

Watching video on a sports site on a computer

• April 2013: U.S. (35 mins.); Blacks (46 mins.); Asians (43 mins.); Latinos (36 mins.)

• September 2013: U.S. (36 mins.); Asians (1:05); Blacks (47 mins.); Whites (33 mins.); Latinos (30 mins.)

 

Accessing sports content on a smart phone

April 2013: U.S. (1:08); Latinos (1:31); Whites (1:10); Asians (1:00); Blacks (44 mins.)

September 2013: U.S. (1:32); Latinos (1:45); Asians (1:42); Whites (1:35); Blacks (1:15)

 

Watching sports on TV

The Nielsen report also broke down fan viewing demographics by race/ethnicity. Continue Reading →

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College football games aren’t cheap, either

Last week we looked at the high cost of attending a Vikings game, but is attending college football games significantly cheaper than pro football games? To quote Les McCann and Eddie Harris — compared to what? Using again Team Marketing Report’s Fan Cost Index (FCI), the average cost of a Gopher football game for tickets, food, parking and game souvenirs is around $400, nearly $50 cheaper than a Minnesota Vikings game. “I think we’re one of the lowest ticket prices in the Big Ten,” U of M Deputy Athletics Director David Benedict told the MSR last week. “Based on where we are in relation to our conference peers, we are very affordable because we are on the low end of the scale.”

We examined football single-game ticket prices at all 12 conference schools, as well as Maryland and Rutgers, who both are expected to join the Big Ten in 2014. Continue Reading →

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Spielberg’s Lincoln begs the question: Where is Fred?

 

 

By Marc Morial

Guest Commentator

 

“If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning.” — Frederick Douglass. No doubt many of you will take the opportunity during the holiday break to see the movie Lincoln, Steven Spielberg’s much-acclaimed dramatization of Abraham Lincoln’s determined and ultimately successful 1865 fight for the passage of the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery. I came away from the movie impressed with its gripping depiction of the legislative maneuvering and horse-trading that Lincoln employed to win passage of the amendment. However, I am concerned that the movie leaves the false impression that the fight to end slavery was waged solely by White men in Washington and White (as well as a few Black) soldiers on the battlefield. Continue Reading →

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Walter Bond credits Clem Haskins with making men of boys

 

Before he became a big-time motivational speaker, Walter Bond played big-time hoops at Minnesota (1988-91) and played three NBA seasons. After an appearance last week at the North Community YMCA as the featured speaker at its business speaker series (Bond’s remarks are featured on the Metro page of this week’s edition), he told the MSR, “Clem Haskins was a phenomenal leader — he was the one who told me to be a motivational speaker. The one thing that I respect and love him for is [that] at age 18 he had an amazing impact on me not only as an athlete but also as a person. He turned me from a little boy to a man. He could do things that probably my dad couldn’t do because he had a different role.”

After he retired from basketball, Bond said he tried entering the business world but was routinely turned away. Continue Reading →

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