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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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Another View Extra — Coaching Gopher basketball a career killer

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

 

Only two coaches in Minnesota men’s basketball history have ever led teams to a national championship: Clem Haskins won two NIT crowns in the 1990s, and Tubby Smith won the 1998 NCAA title at Kentucky. Both Black men have the most 20-win seasons: seven for Haskins and five for Smith. However, both men also have the dubious honor to have been fired at Minnesota. Despite a 511-226 career record in 22 seasons, Smith unfortunately is a victim of college sports’ “What have you done for me lately?” philosophy. “When you let a guy go with the character and the skill of Tubby Smith, you better have an idea of somebody who can turn things around, and I don’t know of any of the elite coaches [seeking the Gophers job],” says Washington, D.C. radio host Mark Gray.  “I don’t know what direction they are going, but you are trading a sense of value when you disrespect a guy who’s a Hall of Fame-caliber coach.”

Minnesota AD Norwood Teague thinks that the next coach will have an easier time than Smith did selling the idea to blue-chippers that playing in a “classic” Williams Arena, a place that only looks good when it’s full of people, is an urban hoopster’s dream. Continue Reading →

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Norwood Teague fires Tubby Smith!

Gophers fire a great coach rather than build a great team
 
 

I understand why Tubby Smith was fired after six seasons, 121 wins, 81 losses and three NCAA appearances. After playing the toughest schedule in the nation, he fired up the Minnesota fan base for Gopher hoops. After a 15-1 start and reaching number eight in the polls, expectations went through the roof and became unrealistic. Tubby said this was his best team, and he was right, with wins over nationally ranked Michigan State, Illinois, Memphis and Wisconsin, the incredible court-rushing experience of beating number one Indiana at Williams Arena. His Gophers even beat one of the top five NCAA programs of all-time, UCLA, 83-63, the Pac 12 Champions in the NCAA tournament; and they finished 21-13 after a second-round loss to No.3 Florida. Continue Reading →

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‘Enormous’ graduation gap between Blacks and Whites in college hoops

 

In past years, I used to scrounge newsstands for any piece of needed information to fill out mimeographed bracket sheets, only to later lose my hard-earned money in the worksite pool. Don’t get me wrong — I still sequester myself watching the first two rounds through bloodshot eyes, with the mute button at full volume. However, I no longer act like Marvin Gaye, foolishly asking what’s going on, because I’m now like Johnny Nash and can see clearly now — my eyes are now wide open. While broadcasters and others call it the “Big Dance,” the annual NCAA men’s basketball tournament actually is like the players’ ball where the “pimps” — the television networks, the NCAA, advertisers and big-school officials — all get rich. An estimated $702 million in television revenues will be raked in, and with ticket sales, that amount is expected to balloon to around $797 million. Continue Reading →

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Why so little love for the NIT?

 

 

The National Invitational Tournament (NIT) and the Women’s National Invitation Tournament both offer “deserved opportunities” to men’s and women’s basketball programs that, for one reason or several others, don’t make the NCAAs. Yet, both by college basketball fans and snobbish media types, the two national tourneys that annually crown champions are treated like lepers. This is the 76th year for the men’s NIT. From 1938-1976, every tournament game was played at Madison Square Garden, which hosts both the tourney semifinals and finals. Its field has been as high as 40 teams but now stands at 32. Continue Reading →

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Finally, parity in men’s college hoops

 

 

 

Can we say with all surety that parity was finally achieved this year in men’s college basketball? KFAN’s Henry Lake (HL) and Robert Littal (RL) of BlackSportsOnline recently shared their thoughts on this and this year’s cliché-filled NCAA tournament already in progress. (Please note: Lake and Littal’s comments were made prior to Sunday’s tournament selections.)

View: Was there indeed parity this season? HL: There always will be premier schools, but what I think is different this year is that some of those teams that we always penciled in as top seeds in the tournament essentially have taken a step back, [and] other teams have taken a step forward. I am not surprised that there is parity. Continue Reading →

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Wild, wild NFL win and lose!

 

Give the NFL credit for being smart. Number one, all they do is win. Revenue-ratings, popularity, continued growth, and they do all this while assaulting the NFL Players Association. The recent flurry of activity in free agency is so deceiving. Like Mike Wallace leaves Pittsburgh and signs with Miami for $60 million, $30 million guaranteed. Continue Reading →

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Gophers WBB falls again

 

HOFFMAN ESTATES, ILL. — In a few days, Penn State and several other Big Ten women’s hoop squads will learn where their March playing schedule takes them next. But unlike the regular season champions, the Lady Lions, who are assured their spot, the Gophers aren’t sure of theirs. “We just let the basketball gods figure it out,” admitted U of M Coach Pam Borton last Thursday after her team’s nine-point loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten tourney’s first round as she referred to the NCAA selection committee. “It’s out of our hands,” added Ohio State senior guard Tayler Hill of her Buckeyes’ chances. Continue Reading →

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Latest report card on diversity in sports editing shows no improvement

 

 

Dr. Richard Lapchick called his first sports editors report card on racial hiring in 2006 “most discouraging.” His latest report, released March 1, hasn’t changed. The 2012 Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) Racial and Gender Report Card, published by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) gave an overall C+ grade for racial hiring practices at APSE member newspapers and websites. It was the same grade awarded two years ago. However, the report shows that actually the number of Black male and females at all four circulation-size (A, B, C, D) newspapers have barely changed since 2008. The biggest increases were in sports editors (from six to 11), columnists (from 44 to 48) and copy editors (from 26 in 2010 to 37 last year), but the biggest drop was among reporters (from 107 in 2010 to 48 in 2012). Continue Reading →

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Minnesota basketball not so good lately

 

No playoffs since 2004 for the Timberwolves. For the Gophers, there have been no NCAA post-season victories since Tubby Smith took over the men’s basketball program. After back-to-back years in 2009-2010 when they did make the tournament, it’s been tough sledding for basketb1all in this state. The only glimmer of hope came last year when the Gophers did go 5-1 in the NIT as runner-up to Stanford. The Timberwolves made headlines this season by turning back the clock, deliberately composing a virtually all-White team for 2012-13. Continue Reading →

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