Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

I normally have much more to add onto articles when i post them, but this guy says it all. Amateurism is dead in college athletics.  Next year we will begin to pay the players, and the academic students are getting screwed for it.

Article originally posted HERE

In June of 1970, Bill Veeck, a renegade baseball owner, took the stand for the plaintiff in the case of Flood v. Kuhn, in which St. Louis Cardinal outfielder Curt Flood essentially sued major league baseball to break the power of the “reserve system,” a pernicious practice that bound a player to one team for as long as that one team wanted to keep him. It was this system of, at best, involuntary servitude on which the business of baseball had remained a rigged game in favor of management for over a century.

Veeck thought the system doomed. Sooner or later, he believed, a judge, or somebody else in authority that didn’t give a damn about sitting in the owner’s box for Opening Day, was going to get a good look at the system. That person probably then would spend four or five minutes laughing so hard that they nearly fainted, and then that person would throw out the whole system for the fraud that it was. Better to eliminate the reserve system gradually, Veeck testified. (He recommended a system of seven-year contracts, much like the system that had prevailed at one time in Hollywood.) That way, he thought, the owners could control the transition between the reserve system and whatever came next. Veeck also pointed out that the reserve system, as it was practiced at the time, ran counter to some cherished American beliefs about the country’s values.

“I think it would certainly help the players and the game itself to no longer be one of the few places in which there is human bondage,” Veeck testified, according to the account in Brad Snyder’s A Well-Paid Slave, an exemplary book on the Flood case. “I think it would be to the benefit of the reputation of the game of baseball … At least, it would be fair.”

The owners didn’t listen. Veeck was not one of them. He had a predilection for putting midgets on the field. And black people. And, as far as the authoritarian exercise of whiteness went, baseball management made the Politburo look like the O’Jays. They ignored Veeck. They even beat theFlood case in the Supreme Court. Then, in 1975, an arbitrator named Peter Seitz threw out the reserve clause and free agency fell onto baseball all at once and everywhere. The system utterly collapsed and, just as Veeck had predicted, it was not a soft landing.

Something like that has happened over the last 20 or 30 years in regard to college athletics. Every few years, some angry, stick-waving prophet would come wandering into the cozy system of unpaid (or barely paid) labor and start bellowing about how the essential corruption in the system wasn’t that some players got money under the table, but that none of them were allowed to get any over it. Sooner or later, these people said, the system would collapse from its own internal contradictions — yes, some of these people summoned up enough Marx through the bong resin in their brains from their college days to make a point — and the people running college sports had best figure out how to control the chaos before it overwhelmed them. Nobody listened. Very little changed, except that college sports became bigger and more lucrative, an enterprise of sports spectacle balanced precariously on the fragile principle that everybody should get to make money except the people doing the actual work.

Now, though, the indications are that the reckoning is finally here. In its role as the protector of the lucrative status quo, the NCAA is under assault from a number of different directions, and the organization seems to be cracking from the pressure. Just in the past two years, we have seen the lawsuit brought by former UCLA star Ed O’Bannon in which O’Bannon and several other former NCAA athletes challenged the NCAA’s right to profit from their “likenesses” in perpetuity. Earlier this month, legendary center Bill Russell joined that suit. In the October issue of the Atlantic, historian Taylor Branch took a mighty whack at the entire system and made a case for paying college athletes on the grounds of simple fairness. Branch’s credentials as a chronicler of the civil rights movement gave his critique a profound resonance in places where nobody much cares if Alabama beats LSU this weekend. Yesterday, Congressman Bobby Rush of Illinois, a former Black Panther who once escaped being murdered by the Chicago Police Department through the expedient of not being at home to get shot, and still the only man to defeat Barack Obama head-to-head in an election, likened the NCAA to Al Capone, which is not a compliment, not even in Chicago. And, perhaps most significant of all, a petition is being circulated by current football and basketball players requesting (politely) a cut of the vast ancillary revenues that the colleges and the NCAA are raking in.

On October 27, undoubtedly in response to all of this, and in an obvious attempt to keep order within the help, the NCAA voted to allow its member conferences to decide whether to pay their athletes an annual stipend of $2,000 to cover the “incidental costs” of a college education. NCAA president Mark Emmert was firm in his denial that this constituted “pay for play.”

Nonsense.

Of course, it is.

And that’s the ballgame right there. As soon as you pay someone $2,000, you cannot make the argument that it is unethical to pay that person $5,000, or $10,000, or a million bucks a year, for all that. Amateurism is one of those rigid things that cannot bend, only shatter. Amateurism is an unsustainable concept. It could not last in golf. It could not last in tennis. It couldn’t even last in the Olympics, where it was supposed to have been ordained by Zeus or someone. It is the rancid legacy of a stultified British class system in which athletes were supposed to be “gentlemen” and not “tradesmen.” Which is to say that sports are supposed to be for Us and not Them, old sport.

It was particularly badly suited for transplantation to this country, where we — theoretically, anyway, and against a preponderance of available evidence today — believe that we are a classless society based on upward mobility and the essential fairness of our system.

(Yeah, yeah, I know, but play along for the moment, OK?)

Sports have always played an important role in the construction of that part of our national self-image. Sports as a “way out of poverty” is one of our more cherished national myths, and it always ran headlong into the British concept of amateurism, which was based on a class system that didn’t believe in ways out of poverty for the lower orders, or the Irish. But I repeat myself. Basically, amateurism offends against this country’s image of itself and, therefore, its support here always has been tenuous.

 

 

Which is part of the reason why every major “scandal” in college sports begins with the crash of a cymbal and ends with a stifled yawn. What we have in college sports at the moment is a perfect example of a functioning underground economy. People tolerate that economy because, fundamentally, we believe that, if you work a 40-hour-a-week job that requires travel all over the country, you ought to get paid for it. We also love the games. Hence, out of both selfishness and a kind of innate sense of fairness, most people are more satisfied with the sausage than they are horrified at how it’s made. Give Americans a chance to be greedy and noble at the same time, and the cultural momentum becomes unstoppable.

The counterargument, of course, is that athletes are “compensated” by the scholarships they are granted to the universities they attend. In a time in which the middle class is being squeezed, and a college education is pricing itself out of the reach of thousands of families, this argument gains a certain amount of power. However, let’s accept it on its face for the moment. You can say that the university is entitled to the gate receipts from its games based on the value of the scholarships it grants to its players, and I might even grant you that, at which point I will lie down until this feeling passes.

But the ancillary income — television revenues, the sale of jerseys and other gear, the use of a player’s “likeness” in video games, and on and on — completely overwhelms the equation and makes the relationship inequitable. The Southeastern Conference made over a billion dollars last year. The Big 10 made $905 million. These people may have a moral right to their ticket sales based on the scholarships they provide, but they don’t have a moral right to every last nickel they can squeeze out of their labor force. That’s absurd. It’s un-American. And it cannot last.

The NCAA is floundering now, proposing a cheap pay-for-play scheme while denying it is doing so, and hoping to buy a little more time against the looming inevitable. Eventually, one night, they’ll throw up the ball at an NCAA tournament game and none of the players will jump. Or, a judge will rule on one or another of the lawsuits. Let’s look at the history of one of the plaintiffs.

In 1963, Bill Russell went to Jackson, Mississippi, and, in the face of the worst America had to offer, conducted integrated basketball clinics. In his way he helped redeem the distance between this country’s promise and this country’s reality. Bill Russell’s been threatened by experts, boys, and now he’s suing you. If I were you, I wouldn’t screw with Bill Russell.

Charles P. Pierce is a staff writer for Grantland and the author of Idiot AmericaHe writes regularly for Esquire , is the lead writer for Esquire.com’s Politics blog and is a frequent guest on NPR.

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Freese had the game-tying triple in the 9th before hitting the walk-off homer in the 11th. He’s the first player in World Series history to have a pair of tying or go-ahead hits in the 9th inning or later of the same game. Only seven others have two such hits in their careers, and only three (Joe Morgan, Roger Peckinpaugh, Tris Speaker) did those within the same series (but in different games).

What Freese and Berkman did in the 9th and 10th innings had only been done two times before in World Series history. Only Otis Nixon in 1992 and Josh DeVoe in 1911 had a game-tying RBI in the 9th inning or later with his team one out from being eliminated. [+]

Game-tying RBI in 9th inning or later – 1 out from World Series Elimination

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Lance Berkman 2011 Cardinals David Freese 2011 Cardinals Otis Nixon 1992 Braves Josh DeVore 1911 Giants Close [X]

Coincidentally (not ironically), David Freese was traded to the Cardinals for Jim Edmonds. They are the only two players in franchise history with postseason walk-off home runs in extra innings. [+]

Extra-Inning HR Cardinals Postseason History

Opponent 2011 David Freese Game 6 WS Rangers* 2004 Jim Edmonds Game 6 NLCS Astros* 1964 Tim McCarver Game 5 WS Yankees *Walk-off HR Close [X]

Now The B1G Even Agrees With Me… They B1G commissioner Jim Delany asked Michigan State To look into possible played code of conduct violations during the game against Michigan. Check out the ESPN article HERE

As a college football fan, and a huge B1G fan I was embarrassed for the Michigan State program today. Michigan State played one of the dirtiest football games I have ever seen even though they won. This was their chance to show themselves off on a national stage as a legitimate contender, and as a premiere member of the B1G conference.  They celebrated this occasion by having at least 5 penalties for cheap shots on Michigan players including 3 extremely late hits on Denard Robinson and a punch to the face to another Michigan offensive lineman. Line Backer William Gholston should have been eject from the game for his punch to the face of Taylor Lewan and if Mark D’Antonio had any class at all he would have pulled him from the game himself.

They had a total of 13 penalties for 124 yards, most coming from late hits and unnecessary roughness. Michigan State also got away with a taunt that was not called on the final touchdown they scored, in my opinion a terrible no call if they called back the touchdown that LSU had last week.  Michigan States performance today was a disgrace to the sportsmanship of the BIG TEN conference and Mark D’Antonio should be ashamed with how his players carried themselves on the field today. WATCH OUT FOR THIS RIVALRY GAME NEXT SEASON BECAUSE I CAN TELL YOU MICHIGAN WILL BE LOOKING FOR REVENGE.

For more information on the Unsportsmanlike conduct that took place during this game check HERE

This is this most electrifying and exciting football player I have ever seen.  Last Season he rushed for over 1700 yards and passed for almost 3000 yards.  So far this season he has had over 100 passing and 100 yards rushing each game and it is his first season in this new style of offense.  No one has this kind of speed. I mean NO ONE.  Not to mention he plays QB.  Check out the videos below which show case some of Shoe Laces extraordinary plays.

This week in college football there were a couple of very interesting games.  First the Win by Oklahoma State Over Texas A&M puts them in the title mix because of a very favorable schedule.  They may only be challenged again this season by Oklahoma which is the very last game of the year.  This however also holds true for Oklahoma which means the winner of the big in state rivalry could be going to the national championship.

Also the ACC got blown wide open this weekend by the big win by Clemson over Florida State.  Clemson has looked good in the first part of the season this year and is a legit contender for the ACC title.  All though any team trying to take the ACC title from Virginia Tech is fighting an uphill battle.

And Of course there were big wins in the B1G conference again.  Michigan lead by the man in all these highlights looked great against a strong SDSU squad winning by a large margin and entering Big 10 play 4-0 again. The Illini, the Corn Huskers, and the Badgers also had big wins this weekend. Which sets up an awesome welcome to the B1G league opening game for Nebraska, playing at Wisconsin in a battle of undefeated teams.

The SEC looks like it will be a two horse race again with LSU and Alabama leading by bunches over the rest.  Somehow the MadHatter and the NFL coach are it it again even in a rebuilding years for the SEC.

 

Should this most recent moves by the ACC and the PAC 12 force the hand of the B1G (new big ten logo) and the SEC I think the B1G needs to focus on picking up MIZZOU.  The article below shares most of my sentiment, but misses one key point. The University Of Missouri has the best journalism school in the country.  Many of the most famous reporters have graduated from their and having them all become B1G fans could be huge for TV coverage and sports writing coverage.

ORIGINALLY POST HERE

It feels like eons ago, but in May 2009, I wrote this:

If and when the Big Ten decides to expand, Missouri should be at the top of Delany’s list.

Keep in mind that back then, expansion wasn’t a front-burner issue for the Big Ten and its commissioner, Jim Delany. I reiterated in the post that Notre Dame remained the best realistic addition for the Big Ten (and still does to this day). Regarding Nebraska, the team that eventually joined the league, I expressed reservations about the Huskers’ ability to leave the Big 12.

[+] EnlargeJim Delany

AP Photo/Paul BeatyImportant decisions regarding expansion are on the horizon for Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany.

We all know what happened next. The landscape changed, and the Big Ten made the right call by adding Nebraska. Missouri remained in the Big 12 and came out looking bad after itsgovernor publicly advocated for the school to join the Big Ten. It wasn’t the right approach with the Big Ten, and Missouri took some heat.

Fast-forward to today, where Realignment Round 2 is upon us, and everyone in these parts wants to know what the Big Ten will do. While leagues like the Big Ten and SEC aren’t under the same pressure to react as, say, the Pac-12 and ACC, if the seismic shift is upon us, Delany will have to act.

The commish says he isn’t being proactive at the moment, reiterating that the Big Ten doesn’t need to be reactive to what others are doing.

Yet, if and when Delany does act, Notre Dame should be his top priority. And if the Big Ten adds multiple schools, Missouri should be part of the mix.

I’ve gone back and forth on Missouri, which certainly has some pluses but doesn’t move the needle nationally like some of its former and current Big 12 brethren. The Tigers wouldn’t be a home-run addition like Nebraska or Penn State, but they might be a ground-rule double.

If the Big Ten has to go to 16 teams — and trust me, this would be a reluctant expansion — Missouri brings more value than some other options being discussed.

A few reasons why:

Member of the American Association of Universities

Success in two major sports programs (football and men’s basketball)

Would have natural rivalries with Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska

Has upgraded its facilities, which are some of the best in the Big 12

Has presence both in the St. Louis and Kansas City markets. Should the Big Ten also add Kansas, also an AAU member, it would dominate both markets.
The Big Ten’s East Coast options seem limited after the ACC’s actions both to add teams and to protect itself by raising the exit fee for members. But none of the East Coast options are home runs. A Big Ten that includes both Notre Dame and Penn State is very relevant in New York City and other Eastern markets.

Missouri could be an SEC expansion target as well, but the school seems to be a better cultural fit in the Big Ten. Kansas might not be a bad option, either, as its AAU status and national powerhouse men’s basketball program are two big pluses. If the Big Ten adds both schools, it adds a terrific rivalry.

Again, Notre Dame should be the Big Ten’s top expansion priority if all the complex details of adding the Irish can be worked out. But if a multi-school expansion is on the horizon, and indications are it could be, Missouri should be part of the mix.

***********************************UPDATE*************************************

Nate Silver, a statistician known for his work on baseball and politics, took on a new challenge in The New York Times this week: figuring out which college football teams are the most popular in the country.

In this article, Silver extrapolates data from Google searches, TV markets and census information to come up with an estimate for the number of fans by team.

Interestingly enough, Silver’s study concludes that the three most popular teams in America all play in the Big Ten. Ohio State is No. 1 with more than 3.1 million fans, followed by Michigan with more than 2.9 million and Penn State at more than 2.6 million. Notre Dame is fourth and Texas is fifth. (Surprisingly, Texas A&M ranks sixth, ahead of every SEC team, which may help explain that conference’s interest in the Aggies).

Silver also lists the popularity of teams by conference. Here is his breakdown of the Big Ten (numbers on the left represent national ranking):

1. Ohio State: 3,167,263
2. Michigan: 2,921,066
3. Penn State: 2,642,275
12. Wisconsin: 1,441,955
15. Iowa: 1,273,954
18. Nebraska: 1,230,558
20. Michigan State: 1,145,819
27. Illinois: 965,087
28. Minnesota: 963,581
44. Indiana: 636,954
46. Purdue: 624,944
54. Northwestern: 514,540

“The Big Ten can afford to be picky,” Silver writes. “Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State are the three most popular college football teams in the country, according to our study. Seven Big Ten teams, including new addition Nebraska, rank in the top 20 nationally. And all but one Big Ten school is in the top 50, the lone exception being Northwestern, which has the Chicago market and strong academics going for it.

“The only plausible additions that would allow the Big Ten to improve upon its average of about 1.5 million fans per team are Notre Dame (2.3 million fans) and Texas (also 2.3 million). But good luck adding those schools.”

And here are some numbers for oft-mentioned Big Ten expansion candidates:

23. Missouri: 1,084,889
32. Rutgers: 937,874
40. Kansas: 768,002
47. Connecticut: 618,724

Silver acknowledges that these numbers are only estimates, but it gives you an idea of where teams stand — and which ones would bring the most attention and eyeballs in an expansion scenario.

PUJOLS — Dropping In Value?

Posted: June 15, 2011 in Sports
Tags:

Albert Pujols negotiations go. Since his five-homers-in-four-games binge last week, Pujols has stagnated with an OPS at .823. Considering where he was a few weeks ago, it’s a great recovery. Considering where he has been the past 10 years, it’s more on the LeBron side of the Dirk-LeBron Continuum.

Remember, Pujols entered the season in search of $300 million. OnlyAlex Rodriguez(notes) has received a contract for more than $189 million, and both his $250 million and current $275 million deals were so ill-advised and ill-fated that the Beastie Boys could’ve licensed them.

One by one, his potential suitors have picked themselves off. The Chicago Cubs’ debt issues likely prevent them from dropping a Godfather offer on Pujols. The Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner prefers to spend his money on a septuagenarian Russian healer. TheNew York Yankees and Boston Red Sox already locked first basemen into long-term deals and wouldn’t dare lavish a DH with nine figures. All that’s left are the Washington Nationals (linked to Fielder because Boras’ psychic sway over owner Ted Lerner) and the Los Angeles Angels (whose owner, Arte Moreno, no matter how desperate, knows not to break the bank for a 31-year-old first baseman).

This is great news for Cardinals Nation becuase it looks like he might be easier to sign this year than last.

If you think the punishment that USC received for what they allowed Reggie Bush to do while he was in school was harsh, you might want to look away when they drop the bomb in OSU.

This may be one of the worst hammer drops on a program in the history of college football, even surpassing the SMU pay for play scandal.  [Why the OSU case is worse than that of USC ] A recent discovered paper trail of funds from a signature sales men making their way into Pryor’s bank account via CHECK (I mean come on you couldn’t think of a better way to pay him).

If any of this report is true OSU may not even be a factor in college football for years, I am betting a NCAA ban from post season for at least 5 years.  Also I would assume the same offers made to USC players will be available to the current player being allowed to transfer.

This could be a sad day for the BIG10.  Not because everyone likes the F*ckeyes, but because it will seriously hurt the reputation of the conference as a whole.  Also I wonder which Ohio team will pick up the slack on these recruits.

Last years BCs Championship game was #1 vs. #2 but they weren’t just the highest ranked teams for their performance they were also #1 Auburn and #2 Oregon for major violation in NCAA that year.  Does this mean College football has lost its conscience !

“Doesn’t get more “top of the sport” than No. 1 vs. No. 2. The BCS championship game essentially symbolized the season it capped, pitting Auburn — whose Heisman-winning quarterback, Cam Newton, claimed not to know that his father, Cecil, asked Mississippi State for $180,000 for his signature on a letter of intent — against Oregon –which paid $25,000 to a recruiting “consultant” who allegedly had been shopping high-profile recruits among top programs.”

Other Excerpts of cheating from last year:

Reggie Bush returned the Heisman Trophy he won in 2005 after evidence was corroborated that USC boosters were providing his family with cash and even a house.

• A North Carolina assistant resigned and seven Tar Heels players were suspended after admitting illegal contact with an agent. Players at Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina were also suspended for similar violations, usually involving selling tickets or memorabilia or accepting gifts.

• Four former Auburn players revealed during an investigation by cable network HBO that they were provided with several thousand dollars in cash while playing for the Tigers.

• A Sports Illustrated investigation found 56 players with criminal records for violent crimes on the rosters of preseason Top 25 teams, and few schools interested in doing background checks.

• Fiesta Bowl executive director John Junker resigned after directing bowl employees to donate to political candidates and reimbursing them for the donations, a violation of federal campaign law. Junker is now under federal investigation.

• And then there’s Ohio State, where, last December, five players were suspended for five games of the 2011 season — yet were somehow declared eligible for the Sugar Bowl — after federal agents investigating a drug ring discovered they had been selling Buckeyes memorabilia in exchange for tattoos, a breach of NCAA rules. Tressel was warned about the violation via e-mail, but rather than reporting it as he was required to, he denied any knowledge to the school and NCAA investigators. His resignation Monday was the result.

This article does a great job of explaining the real trouble OSU is in.

“All the steady trickle of information that’s come out since has done is confirm what Michigan fans knew in the deepest, most deranged bits of their conspiratorial hearts. ”

Thank MgoBlog

After looking farther into the past of Jim Tressel one would wonder how no one saw the red flags in the first place.  However even I never thought it would come to this.  I hope the 10 winning season was worth destroying an entire program.  The NCAA infractions committee is going to bring down the hammer on this school when all is said and done.  Over 50 car purchases under investigation, 22 scholarship players who sold memorabilia for either cash or weed, and a new investigation into Terrell Pryor, by both the NCAA and the FBI for possible Drug Trafficking and other in proper benefits.

If OSU even becomes bowl eligible this year they should consider it a victory. This after many would have picked them to be #1 over all had they not had any violations.

Compounding mistakes cost Tressel his job