After a long winter, our “Only One” reporter finally got out and spent last weekend as the only Black media member in the Jane Sage Cowles Stadium press box at the NCAA Minneapolis Regional softball tournament at the University of Minnesota. Again I seemingly wore my invisible suit as the passing-out-stats people passed me by on a couple of occasions. Before last weekend’s four-team double elimination tournament, I promised Gophers’ Tyler Walker and Madie Eckstrom that I would attend. The two previously were featured a couple of weeks ago in our Gopher 100 series.
“We are going to see a whole lot of each other,” exclaimed Walker. Continue Reading →
By Charles Hallman
There are approximately 100 African American and other student-athletes of color this school year at the University of Minnesota. In an occasional series throughout the 2013-14 school and sports year, the MSR will highlight these players. This week: Gopher softball players Tyler Walker and Madie Eckstrom
Juniors Tyler Walker and Madie Eckstrom are two members of a combined two-year recruiting class that helped Minnesota string together three consecutive 30-plus softball win seasons. Before last weekend’s league tournament play, Walker told the MSR that despite losing two of three to the conference regular season co-champs Wolverines in a series at Ann Arbor, “We can play with the top teams. We are one of the top
The U of M went unbeaten and won the Big Ten softball tournament in Evanston, Ill. last weekend. Continue Reading →
It’s not often that two former metro area athletes with the same last name (no relation) accomplish great things during the same time period. Realizing this provided me the opportunity to acknowledge their accomplishments. These accomplishments are preceded by a question and answer followed by information detailing their contributions and a brief history of each athlete’s connection to the metro area high school scene. One athlete featured is developing into one of the top NCAA Division I sprinters in the nation, while the other is finding his way as a guard in the NBA.
The track phenom
Question: What former metro area girls’ basketball and track and field phenom was recently named Track Athlete of the Week at her Division I school? Continue Reading →
Marlene Stollings’ second hire on her Gopher women’s basketball coaching staff is Nikita (Niki) Dawkins. She is a 23-year coaching veteran who has been a VCU assistant coach the last two seasons and held similar positions at Old Dominion, Michigan and Ohio State, her alma mater. In a released statement, Stollings called Dawkins, whose duties include recruiting coordinator, “one of the top assistants in the country.” She joins Tiffanie Couts, who Stollings named director of basketball operations. Couts was a grad assistant last season at VCU. The women are the only two Blacks on the staff. Continue Reading →
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 →
The Northwestern (NW) football players’ possible unionization efforts have started a snowball rolling that, despite all their legal might, the NCAA may find themselves struggling like Bullwinkle to stop. Almost immediately after the National Labor Relations Board ruled earlier this month that the scholarship football players can hold an election whether or not to unionize, Northwestern officials stated they will appeal. But last week, NW former quarterback Kain Colter and Ramogi Huma, president of the College Athletes Players Association, met behind closed doors “with an undisclosed set of legislators” in Washington.
The MSR talked to Drexel Professor Ellen Staurowsky, who has worked with Huma, a former UCLA football player, since he started the National College Players Association in 2001 as an advocacy group for giving college athletes a voice. Colter “is carrying the banner” for so many others before him that have fought for fair compensation for their work over the years, noted the professor. Continue Reading →
Gophers miss 2014 NCAA Basketball Tournament
A year ago this month, the Minnesota Gophers Men’s Basketball team played in the NCAA Basketball tournament. The African American Head Coach, Tubby Smith, had retooled the team. It was on the move again. But even when 15-1, Star Tribune started a series of negative, anti-Tubby columns. To his credit, Sid Hartman didn’t agree (writing the day before Smith was fired that it would be a “big mistake by the Gophers”). Continue Reading →
While people’s busted tournament brackets dominate this year’s March Madness hoops chat rooms, once again little or nothing has been said about that proverbial 2,000-pound elephant in the room — the continued hypocrisy of college sports. The University of North Carolina was among the 68 men’s teams and 64 women’s teams in this year’s respective NCAA tournament fields. This despite a huge academic scandal that has hovered over Chapel Hill for at least two years now involving the school offering “bogus classes” since the 1990s for mostly basketball and football players. Ohio University Professor David Ridpath told CBSSports.com that the U of M academic scandal in the late 1990s, when class papers were ghostwritten for several basketball players, then considered the worst scandal in sports history, “pales in comparison” to the UNC situation. Remember Minnesota’s 1997 Final Four run and their Big Ten title that year as well? The Gophers’ NIT crown won in 1998? Continue Reading →
The National Invitational Tournament (NIT) has a rich storied history dating back to pre-World War II days. The Women’s NIT since 1998 has tradition as well — just not as long as the men’s. However, present-day hoops fans and snobbish media types give both the Rodney Dangerfield treatment:
No respect for either of them. While there are those who only see one tournament, and while the men’s NCAA annually gets marathon King Kong coverage and barely Timberbell-like coverage on the women’s side, this reporter gives four-fold attention to the two bigger tournaments, as well as the NIT and WNIT. Both men and women Gopher squads this week are in their respective NIT sweet 16 — the men play Southern Mississippi Tuesday at Williams Arena, and the women go to South Dakota State on Thursday. Continue Reading →
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 →