"MIT’s students, faculty, and alumni won 80 Nobel Prizes between 1944 and 2013. In that time, MIT football won a total of 80 games." Until this year. This season's MIT football team is undefeated, 8-0.
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.
Two years after former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was sentenced to prison for child sexual abuse (previously), the NCAA has lifted all remaining sanctions against Penn State and reinstated postseason eligilibity effective immediately, and a full roster of football scholarships starting in the 2015-2016 year. [more inside]
The NLRB has ruled that football players at Northwestern University are college employees and can form a union. [more inside]
Michael Sam blazes a trail. Michael Sam, University of Missouri star football player, Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year and prospective draft pick in this spring's 2014 NFL draft, may become the first publicly gay player in the NFL. [more inside]
Northwestern Football Players Are Trying To Unionize. More coverage from Deadspin, ThinkProgress, and Bleacher Report. The NCAA's predictable response.
Manifesto: People’s Union of American College Football: Make American Football Strong Like Bull, Smart Like Tractor. Under former capitalist system, American college football very unfair. Only few teams is climbing to top of heap, and is making all the money, especially more dollars on the television contract. Best, powerful teams is playing cupcake opponent, then flying across country to form conference alliance with faraway team, while also ignoring strong opponent right over next hill. People’s Union of American College Football is creating much better system. Each team is playing best quality opponents throughout season. Each team is being organized by geography, and must fight way out of home District to qualify for national playoff. Champion is last team standing, and is TRUE champion over all other teams in whole country.
Blue II, the beloved mascot for Butler University, died of Cushing's Syndrome on Saturday. After his show-stopping appearance on the court during March Madness 2008, Blue maintained a high profile on various social platforms. His webcam was one of the most popular sites visited at Butler. He is survived by his owners, the Kaltenmarks, and by his protege, Trip. Blue II's last words.
An unnamed West Coast Conference school has a golfer who received extra benefits. Washing her car with a hose not available to all students. And on Wednesday we learned from Portland basketball coach Eric Reveno that a WCC coach committed a violation by texting a recruit. The message? "Who is this?"
Which of these two cities is bigger? The Census bureau has a quiz to see how well you know the relative sizes of the 64 largest metropolitan areas in the US, March Madness style. [more inside]
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett filed a federal anti-trust lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association today. Announcing the suit at a press conference this morning, Corbett claimed that the NCAA "seized upon the opportunity for publicity on the backs of the citizens of the Commonwealth". The suit seeks vacation of all of the sanctions levied against Penn State University by the NCAA (previously) after the release of the Freeh Report (previously) on the University's improper handling of allegations of sexual abuse against Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky (previously). Responding to the lawsuit, the NCAA called the lawsuit "an affront to all of the victims in this tragedy". Corbett, who has faced criticism for his slow-moving but ultimately successful investigation of the abuse and his close ties to Sandusky's Second Mile charity, is pursuing the case on behalf of the citizens of the Commonwealth rather than the University, which has stated that it is "committed to full compliance" with the sanctions, and is not a party to the lawsuit.
Former college football powerhouse Notre Dame hasn't won a national title in a long time (1988, natch). They have a rabid fan-base (arguably the biggest in college sports) and the largest TV deal in the nation with NBC. This season they came from pretty much out of nowhere to land a spot in the national title game. The problem, however, is that the school and its fans are in fact horrible, no-good people. Presenting Drew Magary's A-Z Hater's Guide to Notre Dame! [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?
Penn State Fined $60 Million, Paterno Wins Vacated Since 1998: For its attempts to cover up a serial child molester in its coaching ranks, the NCAA has hit Penn State with a $60 million sanction, a four-year football postseason ban, four-year loss of 10 scholarships, and the removal of all wins dating to 1998, taking away the late coach Joe Paterno's status as the winningest coach in college football's highest level. hat tip to Sportsfilter
The historian Taylor Branch, who in October published a lengthy excoriation of the N.C.A.A. in The Atlantic, comparing it to “the plantation,” was only the most recent voice to call for players to be paid. Like most such would-be reformers, however, he didn’t offer a way to go about it. That’s what I’m setting out to do here. Over the last few months, in consultation with sports economists, antitrust lawyers and reformers, I put together the outlines of what I believe to be a realistic plan to pay those who play football and men’s basketball in college. Although the approach may appear radical at first glance, that’s mainly because we’ve been brainwashed into believing that there’s something fundamentally wrong with rewarding college athletes with cold, hard cash. There isn’t. Paying football and basketball players will not ruin college sports or cause them to become “subcontractors.” Indeed, given the way big-time college sports are going, paying the players may be the only way to save them. - Joe Nocera, Let's Start Paying College Athletes [more inside]
Are Big Time Sports a Threat to Student Achievement? A study by 3 University of Oregon economists suggests that male University of Oregon students’ grades drop during successful seasons for the UO football team, as students study less and drink and party more to celebrate Duck victories. [more inside]
Jim Valvano and 6th seeded North Carolina State completed one of the all time greatest Cinderella upsets in basketball history, winning the 1983 NCAA tournament title over the top ranked "Phi Slamma Jamma" out of Houston, featuring two future Hall of Fame and Top 50 all time NBA superstars Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon. On March 3, 1993, shortly before his death from bone cancer diagnosed the previous year, Jimmy V delivered an iconic speech at the inaugural ESPY awards announcing the creation of The Jimmy V Foundation, an organization dedicated to finding a cure for cancer. Jimmy V week is celebrated each year on ESPN and has since raised over $100 million for cancer research.
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.
An oldie but a goodie: Don Reese, then of the San Diego Chargers, talks about his own problems with cocaine and the widespread drug use in the NFL at the time. [more inside]
On Sunday, ESPN aired an acclaimed documentary about the University of Michigan's Fab Five. In one segment the members of the Fab Five discuss their hatred of the Duke University basketball program, and Jalen Rose goes so far as to say that at the time he felt like Duke players were "Uncle Toms". Link goes to clip of relevant segment (1:24), after a short ad. Grant Hill, who played for Duke against the Fab Five, responded in today's New York Times. [more inside]
Nate Siver of FiveThirtyEight.com (who prior to getting into political analysis invented the sabermetric analysis framework PECOTA) has published a detailed explanation of How We Made Our N.C.A.A. Picks. It goes well beyond the standard advice "don't just pick the favorites".
Third ranked NCAA basketball team Brigham Young University dismissed starting center Brandon Davies for violating the school's honor code by having premarital sex with his girlfriend. [more inside]
The Caltech men's basketball team beat Occidental College today 46-45, winning its first conference game in 26 years and snapping a 310-game losing streak. The court was subsequently stormed. More photos and videos from the Caltech athletics department. [more inside]
Today is National Signing Day, the first day a high school senior can sign a letter of intent and commit to a collegiate football program. Sports Illustrated is liveblogging announcements throughout the day. Get some background with a list of Players to Watch, or just enjoy the adorable friend accompanying Isaiah Crowell. But some say it has become too much of a circus to be good for the young players. And others want to recognize the real unsung heroes of the day.
Transgender Man Plays on Women's College Team. A guard for George Washington University's women's basketball team is a transgender man. Kye Allums, who was born female and has not undergone any hormone treatments, changed his name from Kay-Kay to Kye within the last year and was relieved not to lose his scholarship. "When people refer to me as 'girl' or 'she,' it doesn't sit well with me," Allums said. "That feeling you get when someone pisses you off, that feeling you get when your stomach gets hot and it aches, that's what it feels like. And that's how I know I'm not supposed to be a girl." On Nov. 13, he will be the first transgender person to compete in Division One college basketball, according to OutSports. Opposing fans used to taunt Allums about his masculine build, but it backfired. "I love it," he said. "It makes me feel better about myself to hear them call me a man."
"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]
"He was so high," says Lucille Gathers Cheeseboro, two decades later. "And then when he came down, he was so low." Hank Gathers, remembered twenty years later. [more inside]
Last Thursday, USF & UCONN's baseball teams were stuck in a 5 & 1/2 hour rain delay during the Big East semifinals. What to do. What to do. BASEBALL DANCE-OFF! (12:16 video) [more inside]
March Madness is less than a month away, and sports fans are snapping up tickets to watch men’s and women’s NCAA basketball teams battle their way to the Final Four. Projected brackets are going online, with speculation about likely picks and the prospects of finding a Cinderella team in the field this year. Cheerleaders get their moment on screen before commercial breaks, but should these student athletes be considered members of a sports team, too? On court fashion generates debate, and mascots range from the obvious to the really odd. PETA continues its crusade against the use of live animals, but one overriding question remains: “What the hell is a Saluki?”
First QB in NCAA history to win four bowl games. Patrick White has been a record setting quarterback during his four years at West Virginia University. An early season Heisman trophy candidate, White is the all-time rushing QB in history, and apparently, an unassuming ladies man.
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.
Serfs of the Turf. Michael Lewis on the racket that is college football and the myth of the "student-athlete" football player.
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.
March Madness? Try March Gladness, at least if you're Villanova star Allen Ray, who nearly had his eye poked out last Friday vs Pittsburgh. This gruesome YouTube video shows just how lucky Ray is. Not only is Ray and his eye ready to play, but 'Nova also locked up a #1 seed, which means they're among the favorites to win it all.
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.
War May Postpone NCAA Tourney. Yes, it's true. College basketball's most anticipated event may be delayed, due to the impending war. Maybe that's a good thing. I would be absolutely screaming at the television if with 30 seconds left in regulation, a "breaking news" story overtook the screen.
Who's this years favorite? Anyone want to guess who will win it all? Got that someone in the office that does better than the sports "know it all"? Let the bracket analysis, predictions, and of course trash talk commence for MADNESS!
This is the story of what happens when a naïve 15-year-old prodigy collides with an upward-reaching football program, some of whose players feel like they own the campus.
This is the story of what happens when a naïve 15-year-old prodigy collides with an upward-reaching football program, some of whose players feel like they own the campus. Brittany Benefield started college at age 15 with the dream of finishing law school before she turned 21. Didn't quite work out that way, and hers is an amazing story. Take the time to read this, and think about it. Would you fault her parents, for letting her get into something she wasn't ready for; the university, for letting this get out of control; the football program, for running roughshod over the school; or Brittany, for her own decisions?
Rioters complain about tear gas. [Bloominton Hearald-Times, link expires after a week] After Indiana University lost to Maryland in the NCAA finals, drunken fans rioted in the streets forcing police to use tear gas. It was stupid enough to start a riot, but rioters complained that the police offered no warning before deploying tear gas after rioters pelted the police with beer bottles and prevented the fire department from putting out fires in the middle of the street. "They could have easily done that," Raggs said. "If they would have said, 'You have 10 minutes, then we are going to use the tear gas,' people would have gone away." Personally, I think the police showed an amazing level of restraint considering that about half of the state troopers on the scene got hit by flying glass.
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?
"IU WINS! IU WINS! For the first time in years, IU is proceeding to the Elite 8, knocking down the number one team in the country. The last time Indiana beat Duke in the tournament in 1987, they went all the way. Could it happen again?" [thanks to SportsFilter for this one. Aw yeah. Ol' Dickie Vitale must be rollin' over in his grave right about now. Oh, wait. He's not dead yet. Or is that just a matter of opinion...baby?]
Ready for a little MARCH MADNESS!? My school, Marquette, has finally made the NCAA! tourney. I say, let the Madness begin. See where else the top 64/5 are going to play and make your predictions now.
Sometimes my faith in the world is restored. Not that a girl playing NCAA Division I football is going to change the world, but at least life's not all bad. Check out her teammates in the photo, they look genuinely psyched.
Duke kickers testify in gender case. Asked to rank her leg strength, Sims Lenhardt told jurors: "It was inferior to other guys out there. I would say 35 yards was probably the most she could kick."
Knight to be fired? I know some can find the news at other links, and the story is still developing, however, I at least thought he would last one more year, and retire on his own. Zero tolerence is enforced and the University warned him. I just wonder if he will be hired anywhere else.