NCAA

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NCAA opposes student-athlete unionization — no surprise there

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sixth in a series
 
College sports television contracts with ESPN/ABC, BTN, Fox and CBS College Sports among others range anywhere from eight to 25 years in length. This revenue stream reportedly is worth an estimated billion dollars for the top five conferences, including the Big Ten, with each of the 14 schools supposedly getting close to $21 million annually. This stream, however, quickly dries up when it comes to players, the main reason for these contracts, who in reality are the “hired hands” while their “bosses” get paid. Yet the NCAA acts like an old Supremes tune and keeps holding on to its antiquated “amateur” system, which the world over long abandoned years ago. That in part explains the organization’s reaction a couple of weeks ago after a group of Northwestern University football players filed a petition to unionize. Continue Reading →

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Talented Black female coaches await their chance

 

A new U of M Tucker Center report has found that about 75 percent of all collegiate women’s team coaching openings in the last two years has been filled by men. A male coach replaces a male coach in 34 of 66 women’s team vacancies, but in only 10 vacancies does a female replace a female. The report, titled “Head Coaches of Women’s Collegiate Teams,” shows a “historical decline in the percentage of women head coaches in the 40+ years following the passage of Title IX” in 1974, and graded 76 institutions. Only one, Cincinnati, got an A because 80 percent of the school’s women teams are coached by women. Eight schools got B’s, and 27 schools, including Minnesota, got C’s. Continue Reading →

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Would a Robinson Rule be just another ruse?

 

The only thing I like about a proposed “Eddie Robinson Rule” for college sports hiring is that it is being named for the late Grambling football coach. Otherwise, if the proposed law is modeled after the NFL’s Rooney Rule, I’m afraid it’s a recipe for deception, false hopes and tokenism. This week’s “Another View” published in the MSR sports section briefly discusses Richard Lapchick’s latest campus leadership report, where it notes again just how White (nearly 90 percent) of the campus leadership positions are.  

Here are the latest diversity report’s “lowlights”:

Coaches of color decreased by three, from 18 in 2012 to 15 in 2013. There was a two-percent drop in Black head football coaches (now 9.6 percent) from last year even though Black football players at the same time went up nearly three percent. Continue Reading →

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Large gaps in Black-White grad rates persist among college football bowl teams

Our own U of M remains among the worst
 
There are 34 NCAA-sanctioned college football bowls — a total of 70 schools, including Minnesota, who earlier this month accepted their second consecutive Texas Bowl invitation. All but two of the 34 bowls are corporately named, including five restaurants, two credit cards, two auto parts stores, two by the same U.S-based television brand, one hotel, one cruise line, one junk-food company, one insurance company, one mortgage company, one on-line tax-preparation software company and one athletic apparel company. Only a pear tree-bound partridge is missing. Meanwhile, what sports fanatics and their cosigning media lackeys don’t endlessly talk about is the poor academic records of most of the teams examined by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) in the University of Central

Florida’s annual academic progress report on the bowl-bound teams.

“The substantial gap between White and African-American football student-athletes remained large for the 70 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) eligible schools,” wrote TIDES Director Richard Lapchick in his December 9 “Keeping Score When It Counts” report. This includes our state’s only FBS school, the University of Minnesota, which is consistently among college football’s worst in graduating Black players. Continue Reading →

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One Black coach, a few Black players reach NCAA women’s volleyball playoffs

 

 

 

Each of the four teams that played in the NCAA first- and second-round volleyball matches hosted last weekend by the University of Minnesota had at least one player of color: Cheyanne James (Radford), Alexis Austin (Colorado), Victoria Hurtt and Erin Taylor (Iowa State), and two Puerto Rico-born players: Iowa State’s Neira Ortiz Ruiz and the Gophers’ Daly Santana. James was second on her squad in kills — one of a school-record five players receiving all-conference honors. Hurtt thrice led Iowa State with 20-plus kills. Colorado Coach Liz Kritza called the sophomore Austin “team-oriented.”

While seeing a low single-digit number of players of color at a volleyball match, even a post-season match, wasn’t that surprising, discovering that one of the schools was coached by a Black female was a surprise, especially since, unlike the other three schools, her photo was not included in her school’s pre-game notes. Marci Jenkins last weekend completed her sixth season at Radford (Va.) University, which won the Big South conference this year. Continue Reading →

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Lynx win again, but dynasty talk still premature

It again occurred literally seconds after the Minnesota Lynx last week won its second WNBA title in three years — the “d” word was vainly uttered. After reading a local newspaper’s Sunday Lynx dynasty story, the team’s longest tenured beat reporter looked up “sports dynasty,” which is subjectively too often overused by uneducated sportswriters. The term “sports dynasty” applies to a team that dominates its sport or league for multiple seasons. Examples are UCLA’s 10-straight national championships in 12 years; or eight straight for the Boston Celtics or the Houston Comets, winners of the first four WNBA titles in as many tries (1997-2000); or Concordia University’s six Division II volleyball titles. Or there’s the University of Minnesota women’s hockey team, two-times-straight national champions, who I watched last Friday win their 52nd straight game. Continue Reading →

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Concussions: a knock-out blow to football?

 

Head injuries or concussions — it’s been called “getting your bell rung” — have been around since Fred Flintstone strapped it up for old Bedrock U. Too bad that in recent years it took pending lawsuits against the NCAA and the NFL to finally get the issue the rightful attention it deserves, including any long-term and short-term effects from head injuries. Some even have suggested doing away with such sports as football among youngsters, which frankly is a knee-jerk reaction, since anyone is susceptible to concussions by simply falling down while walking. Instead, what’s probably needed is better teaching at the youth level. Mike Pettis, a longtime North Commons youth football coach, strongly disagrees with those critics who advocate the end of youth football, calling them members of “a scared society.”

“I’ve been coaching [youth] football for about 35 years,” continues Pettis. “The first time I’ve heard of a concussion with one of our kids was last year. Continue Reading →

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Big changes called for in women’s college hoops

 

 

 

It isn’t yet “broken,” but according to new Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman, she has learned through 100-plus interviews that “There is a desire for change” in women’s college basketball. “Now is the time for people to really come to grip with that,” believes the WNBA’s founding president and USA Basketball’s first female president, who last month released her “white paper” that specifically focused on five areas: vision, post-season, the game itself, the business side, and how the sport currently is governed and managed. “I spoke with a horde of people” including her former league, NBA, USA Basketball and marketing types, explains Anderson. “I [also] had my own thoughts and observations.”

The entire report is on the NCAA website, but several of Ackerman’s “specific recommendations” I wholeheartedly agree with include: changing the current Women’s Final Four format back to Friday-Sunday; holding it at the same site for multiple years; and adopting a more aggressive promotional strategy. She also strongly suggests that the sport must look at making some changes in the next six to 10 years, especially in finding successful ways to generate revenues as too many college programs are losing money. Continue Reading →

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Wiggins and Diggins: Tulsa’s new backcourt

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The Tulsa Shock reconstituted its starting backcourt over the recent off-season. Like a musical duo, a guard tandem must develop a rhythm, an on-court synergy that the rest of the team can successfully follow. Over a course of a month or so, the Shock first acquired Candice Wiggins in a three-team trade in March, and then picked Skylar Diggins with the third overall pick in April’s draft. To date the two guards have started all but one game together this season. Each is averaging an identical 10.2 points and 1.4 steals per game, along with a combined seven assists per contest. Continue Reading →

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Being ‘the Only One’ can render one invisible

 

 

 

The little boy in the 1974 movie Claudine told James Earl Jones’ character that he wanted to be invisible. When asked why, the frustrated youngest son of Diahann Carroll’s character simply replied that since his older siblings regularly ignore him, he might just as well be invisible. This reporter can easily relate to that boy, because I too am invisible — but not because I want to be. When I became a reporter in the mid-1970s, I reluctantly accepted the experience of being snubbed as some so-called rite of passage, of paying my media dues. However, five decades-plus later, I am still getting cold shoulders too often from persons who aren’t half my age or experience and who couldn’t spell “journalist” without help from a computerized spell check. Continue Reading →

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