An oral history of the 2009-10 Kentucky basketball season. Before those guys, the narrative on "one-and-done" basketball players was almost always the same. The kids were selfish and egotistical, using college only as a place to pad their stats before inevitably departing for the NBA. They didn't care about their team or their school, or class at all; heck, the commonly held belief was that most kids stopped attending classes after the first semester (if they went at all). As it turned out, one-and-done players could come to a school, play hard, work as a team, go to class and win big.
Over a period of 18 years, 3100 students at The University of North Carolina were afforded the opportunity to pad their GPA by taking classes that had no actual requirements, and never even met. Over 1/2 the students were athletes, who without the help presumably would not have stayed eligible to
compete make money for the University.
The NYT, following up previous maps examining the relationship between geography and baseball and basketball fandom, has released a college football fandom map. Like the previous maps, it's based on Facebook Likes and zip code data, so its accuracy may be a little suspect. But it's still fun, especially when it supports your preconceived opinion of a rival school! We discussed the baseball map previously.
The NLRB has ruled that football players at Northwestern University are college employees and can form a union. [more inside]
T. Boone Pickens and other wealthy, elderly Oklahoma State alums decided to participate in a scheme named "Call of a Lifetime", where they would allow the university to take out $10 million life insurance policies on them. What could go wrong?
For all the outrage, the real scandal is not that students are getting illegally paid or recruited, it’s that two of the noble principles on which the NCAA justifies its existence—“amateurism” and the “student-athlete”—are cynical hoaxes, legalistic confections propagated by the universities so they can exploit the skills and fame of young athletes. The tragedy at the heart of college sports is not that some college athletes are getting paid, but that more of them are not.
"Do you hear that, Marcus? Do you hear it?" I yell. "You know what that is? That's Hollywood, baby. Hollywood's calling. You gonna answer the call?"
"I will never forget the first time I paid a player." Former sports agent Josh Luchs confesses to paying 30 college football players early in his career.
"It's a storm only a game theorist could love..." In the next few weeks, the NCAA College Football landscape may change completely. Or not. Either way there's a massive power struggle unfolding among college football conferences for big TV money, and an increasing gulf between the haves and have nots. [more inside]
As national signing day approached, a small town in Nevada got excited that one of its football stars would go to a big time college program. Finally on the fated day town notables and media gathered for a ceremony where, Kevin Hart, made his choice known. Then it all unraveled, he was never recruited at all.
March Madness: 11th seeded George Mason upset UConn in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament this afternoon, continuing their unexpected streak of upsets. Their wins validate not only their inclusion in the tournament, but the rising status of mid-major conferences. The most prominent critic of the inclusion of these smaller schools has been CBS analyst Billy Packer, who verbally assaulted the head of the selection committee on live TV just two weeks ago, and has yet to apologize for his obvious error.
My eensy-beensy alma mater in eastern Wisconsin currently has the only undefeated men's basketball team in the nation. This is not just in the NCAA, but in the NAIA as well. It's a Division III team, and its only loss this season didn't count--it was to Division I UW-Madison in an exhibition game. Like most Division III schools, Lawrence offers no athletic scholarships whatsoever. Its immediate past president, Richard Warch, in a 1987 speech at the NCAA national convention, controversially called for abolishment of all athletic scholarships.
Not surprisingly, police were needed to break up celebrating students at UM last night, though it wasn't as bad as what happened over the weekend. (I guess the Saturday riot really wore them out.) As Bobcat Goldthwait used to say: "If your team wins a major sporting event, you can legeally do anything within the next 24 hours." And this is the school I should be proud to call my Alma Mater?