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Tags: NCAA

Notre Dame Football Players Mentor Boy with Autism



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A nice story to confirm that not everything is wrong with college sports. Via “Autsim Speaks”:

TheMighty.com recently featured a blog post by  about her 10-year-old son with autism and his experience at football camp. The post was originally posted to her personal blog here. Read an excerpt of the touching blog below. 

So often we hear about fallen athletes — football stars who fail to exhibit even the most basic skills of humanity, individuals who consistently put themselves before anyone else, role model, who were once held up on a pillar, fall in a fiery spectacle of disgrace. What we should be be hearing about are the athletes who put others before themselves — football players who think beyond the field and recognize the power that their position in life has on those that struggle. As a society we should be shining a light on teams and coaches who push their players to do good. Teams that provide their players an opportunity to reach out into their own communities to establish relationships with kids that look up to them.

This past week I had an opportunity to meet the angels of Notre Dame football. The men that play under the Golden Dome are more than just superb athletes. Football is a way of life in South Bend, Ind., and the players are idolized by many local kids. Notre Dame has shown their strength and abilities on the field time and again and have demonstrated that they have what it takes to be successful collegiately and professionally. But that is not what impresses me about this team and school.

My son is 10 years old. He loves history and can tell you even the most remote fact about Ancient Egypt, regardless if you want to know it. He struggles in school and has attended more schools in his short life than an adult does in their entire life. He has problems connecting with kids his age and often this leaves him shy and discouraged. His heart is the same color of the Notre Dame dome – Gold.

The rest here.

Tags: NCAA

FSU’s Jameis Winston Caught Shoplifting, Suspended from Baseball Team



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Via SB Nation:

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was issued a citation Tuesday for shoplifting crab legs from Publix, according to multiple sources. Winston, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, is a red-shirt sophomore for the Seminoles.

“He got an adult civil citation,” a trusted source inside Tallahassee Police told Tomahawk Nation. “If he completes the sanctions it will never show up on his record. They commonly give them to juveniles on first criminal offenses. They are now doing it for minor misdemeanors for adults to lower crime rate.”

Winston tossed the winning touchdown in the National Championship game over Auburn in the closing seconds. On the year, he was 257-384 for 4087 yards and 40 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.

Well, that’s one way to reduce the crime rate: make fewer things illegal.

SB Nation later added this update:

1:30 Update: A source inside Florida State’s program says that Winston will be fined $30, required to do community service, and will be suspended from the baseball team.

Updates to follow.

Tags: NCAA

Northwestern Football Players Voting Today on Unionization



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But nobody will know how they voted. AP:

Northwestern football players cast secret ballots Friday in an on-campus hall adjacent to their home stadium on whether to form the nation’s first union for college athletes.

Just don’t expect results any time soon.

After the vote, the ballot boxes will be sealed for weeks or months — perhaps even years — as an appeal by the Evanston-based university runs its course.

The full National Labor Relations Board agreed Thursday to hear the school’s appeal of a regional director’s March ruling that the players are employees and as such can unionize, triggering a rule that the ballots be impounded.

Last month’s decision by the Chicago-area head of the NLRB, Peter Ohr, sent shockwaves through the world of college sports, prompting sharp criticism from Northwestern and college athletic departments nationwide.

The major outstanding issue, to me, is if the scholarship money would be taxed. As that’s an unknown, I’m not sure how valid this vote will be either way. 

Tags: NCAA

Nebraska’s Bo Pelini Takes the Field - With His Cat



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First, some background. There’s a hilarious Twitter-parody account of Nebraska’s head football coach called @FauxPelini that has a photoshopped picture of the acerbic coach cuddling with a cat:

Pelini has been good-natured about the account in the past, and at one point asked the parody account for his cat back.

And to continue the gag, Pelini brought the cat with him to Nebraska’s spring game, much to the delight of the fans:

Click the link in the tweet above for the video.

According to ESPN’s write-up of the game, the Huskers have issues at QB. Can the cat help with that I wonder?

 

Tags: NCAA

NLRB: Northwestern’s Football Team Can Form a Union



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I can’t wait to see the union rules on when a coach can bench a starter. Via the Chicago Tribune:

Northwestern University football players are employees of the school and are therefore entitled to a union election, Peter Sung Ohr, the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board, said in a ruling released Wednesday afternoon.

The stunning decision has the potential to alter dramatically the world of big-time college sports in which the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the universities strike the deals and set the rules, exerting control over the activities of the players known as “student athletes.” 

But now they are employees, too, according to the NLRB decision, which will be appealed.      

In siding with the union, Ohr said the football players primarily have an economic relationship with the university, which controls and directs their daily activities and compensates them in the form of scholarships.

“The record makes clear that the Employer’s scholarship players are identified and recruited in the first instance because of their football prowess and not because of their academic achievement in high school,” Ohr wrote.

Football players, he said, are subject to special rules and policies that do got govern the general student population. For example, he said, freshmen and sophomore students on scholarships are required to live on campus. Upperclassmen, he added, can live off campus but are required to submit their lease for approval to their coach, Pat Fitzgerald.

“Even the players’ academic lives are controlled as evidenced by the fact that they are required to attend study hall if they fail to maintain a certain grade point average (GPA) in their classes,” Ohr wrote.

The rest here.

Tags: NCAA

Better Bracketology



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The new FiveThirtyEight.com’s Carl Bialik reports on the attempt by a university research professor to give NCAA bracketology some needed flavor:

Mark Glickman, a statistician and research professor of health policy and management at Boston University, has created a very different kind of March Madness competition. Participants won’t merely predict which team will win each game; they’ll specify how sure they are. Entrants will offer a probability for every game that could happen: 2,278 possible matchups.

Glickman’s contest scores entrants by the product of the average probability they gave for each matchup’s winner. The setup is designed to push people to examine their assumptions and balance confidence with caution. If you ever thought you were 100 percent sure about a game — say, between a No. 1 seed and a No. 16 seed — think again: If you’re wrong and a team you gave no chance somehow wins, you will lose a lot of points. Call every game 50-50, and you’ll know your score before the tournament starts. But it won’t be a good one.

More here.

Tags: NCAA

Chuck Todd Analyzes President Obama’s NCAA Bracket



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Who cares? I hereby call for the resignation of any politician, from either party, that makes a big deal out of his or her “picks.”

 

Tags: NCAA

Our Guide to March Madness (And Your Office Bracket)



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One day left to turn in those brackets to the office manager, or your frat brother from college, or Warren Buffett, or whoever’s running your pool. You may have a general idea of how you’re going to make the tough decisions, but having a macro strategy for bracketology is more important. Right Field has the secret rulebook, honed by years and years of couch-surfing across every college basketball channel. These rules are guaranteed to win you your pool.

Or, you know, at least guaranteed that you’ll place higher than the guy who picks according to which mascot would win in a fight (answer: the championship arena loses when the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes meet the Iowa State Cyclones).

Here are the rules – some old, some new.

1. Don’t fall in love with the upset: This is where so many brackets go awry. It’s why Steve from accounting, who watches more college basketball than the rest of your pool combined, loses every year. Steve has watched every quarter of Sun Belt basketball and swears that Louisana-Lafayette is underrated by the so-called “experts” and that the 14-seed is primed to make a run to the Elite Eight.

Fill your bracket from the inside-out. Which top seed do you think is going to win it all? Who are the Final Four teams? Once you’ve figured the important questions out, you can pick a few double-digit seeds to make some early-round upsets. Don’t convince yourself that if Western Michigan (14) can just eke out a win against Syracuse (3), they’ve got smooth sailing for another round or two.

2. Famous coaches are famous for a reason: Maybe their teams underperformed in the regular season, but there’s a reason why Jim Boeheim, Mike Krzyzewski, Tom Izzo, and Rick Pitino (among others) are legends in their fields. They coach well, they prepare well, they recruit well. When undecided, check the coaching matchup.

3. Regions matter: The University of Florida plays its first two games in Orlando. Arizona plays its games in San Diego and then Anaheim. Proximity to school location can turn a 50/50 matchup into a 60/40 matchup if a school’s fanbase can make it a de facto home game. On the other hand, Michigan State’s first two rounds will be in Spokane, Wash., before needing to travel (if necessary) to New York City. Travel can take a toll on a team and add or subtract that marginal advantage in close matchups.

4. Super-freshmen are inconsistent: For every team like 2012 Kentucky that wins the title with young NBA-ready talent, there’s 2007 Texas, led by future NBA players Kevin Durant and D. J. Augustine, a 4-seed that flamed out in the second round. Kansas (2), featuring super-freshmen Andrew Wiggins and (possibly, because he’s injured) Joel Embiid, has been inconsistent all year. They’re scary when they put it all together, but tend to have lapses when their stars don’t play well. Duke (3), led by Jabari Parker, is susceptible here as well.

5. Live by the three, die by the three: Three-point shooting is a double-edged sword for bracketologists: Love the low seeds who can shoot the trey, shy away from the high seeds who rely on it. Because the three-pointer is a lower-percentage shot, a string of misses when a team is reliant upon it can put it in a big hole. Michigan (2), Duke (3), Michigan State (4) and Creighton (3) are all high seeds for whom a poor-shooting spell could spell upset.

But on the flip side, lower seeds who can get hot from deep have a good chance of catching a higher seed off guard. A few of these are seeds for whom getting hot from deep won’t matter – Mercer (14) and Eastern Kentucky (15) are both excellent but have unfavorable draws — but don’t sleep on Harvard (12), one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country and a team that pulled an upset last year.

6. Read the matchups: Certain teams play a style so distinctive it’s almost patented. Syracuse runs a team-oriented 2-3 defense that is smothering when it clicks on all cylinders. Wisconsin slows down the pace and milks the clock, hoping to wear down opponents physically and psychologically. Virginia Commonwealth has a name for its chaotic full-court press: HAVOC. These teams are run with brutal efficiency, but this makes them vulnerable to upsets from the right team. Wisconsin has trouble scoring on good defenses, for example, and Syracuse’s zone gets stretched thin by teams with good three-point shooters. Overthinking will doom your bracket — see item #1 above — but picking all chalk is both no fun and won’t win you anything.

7. Beware of West Coast teams: We used this fact last year, and it held true: Only two teams from the Mountain or West time zones in the last 15 years have made the Final Four — Arizona in 2001 and UCLA for a three-year period from 2006–2008. Arizona has a nice draw on its way to the Final Four, but they’re working against history.

8. Everything is wrong: Perfect brackets are impossible. Don’t panic when half your picks go down in the first day. Have fun. We all know the story of that one IT guy who made picks based on which schools had the best computer science programs who won the office pool. But if your objectives are not to embarrass yourself and have a little fun, well . . . most of these rules might work out for you.

— Kevin Glass is the managing editor of Townhall.com.

Tags: March Madness

It’s GW, Not Georgetown: NCAA Puts Wrong Team on its March Madness Shirt



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Oops:

Take a quick glance at the newly released March Madness NCAA bracket t-shirt and you probably won’t notice anything strange. But take a closer look, preferebely in the East section.

Notice anything that shouldn’t be there? Say like a logo for Georgetown University?

The Hoyas of course aren’t participating in the NCAA Tournament after a down season which has them partaking in the NIT, but George Washington University is. So where is their logo? It’s missing.

It seems as if somebody made a pretty hefty mistake and swapped out the George Washington logo with the Georgetown logo which multiple fans spotted and sent the accidental printing to ESPN business reporter Darren Rovell who tweeted out the mistake shirt.

And here’s the shirt:

Tags: NCAA

Floriduh State Sells Championship Shirt with an Error



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Florida State beat Auburn last night to win the BCS championship by a score of 34-31, but here’s the shirt that went on sale this morning on the FSU bookstore website:

Oops. Congratulations to Auburn, I guess.

 

Tags: NCAA

Congratulations to George O’Leary and UCF



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It was a big win for coach George O’Leary last night as his UCF Knights beat the Baylor Bears 52-42 in the BCS Fiesta Bowl

For O’Leary, this is a well-deserved exclamation point to his second chance at coaching.

Remember that in 2001, O’Leary left Georgia Tech for his dream job as head coach at Notre Dame. A few days after his hire, however, discrepancies and lies in his published biography came to light and O’Leary was forced to resign. After a few years in the NFL, O’Leary started coaching at UCF in 2004, and now he has a BCS victory to add to his new, unpadded resume.

Of note, George O’Leary has a better record in BCS games, 1-0, than Notre Dame, 0-4.

Now, resume padding is bad and all, but so is letting your team practice in a windstorm that leads to the death of your team’s videographer. Why was Notre Dame harder on O’Leary than Brian Kelly?

 

Tags: NCAA

Alabama Fans Name Baby ‘Krimson Tyde’



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Well, I guess going to college at Auburn is now out of the question

Tags: NCAA

The Most Valuable College Football Teams



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Forbes has put together an interesting multimedia piece that places a value on the top NCAA football teams.

Some highlights . . .

Texas is No. 1 on the list in terms of both total value and profit:

Team value: $139 million
Revenue: $109 million
Profit: $82 million
Conference: Big 12
Head coach: Mack Brown*

The Longhorns generated $34.5 million from ticket sales alone last year. The majority of the remaining revenue came from contributions ($30 million), royalties and sponsorships ($26 million) and distributions from the NCAA and Big 12 ($15 million). This is the second straight year that Texas has broken $100 million in football revenue; no other team in college football history has ever crossed the $100 million mark.

Notre Dame is No. 2:

Team value: $117 million
Revenue: $78 million
Profit: $46 million
Conference: Independent
Head coach: Brian Kelly

Last year’s undefeated trip the BCS National Championship netted Notre Dame a direct BCS payout of more than $6 million. The Irish also hosted a seventh home game last year, up from six in 2011.

Tennessee is at the bottom of the list at No. 20:

Team value: $63 million
Revenue: $55 million
Profit: $28 million
Conference: SEC
Head coach: Butch Jones

The Volunteers suffered the biggest drop on our list, down 25% from a value of $63 million last year. The dip in value has a lot to do with the team buying out former head coach Derek Dooley and his staff, which could cost more than $9 million over four years. The athletic department has also greatly restricted its academic contributions while it stabilizes its finances. Tennessee’s athletic department, formerly one of the biggest funders of academic programming with annual contributions over $6 million, gave just $1.3 million back to its university last year.

The entire list here.

Tags: NCAA

Bush 43 Sends a Personal Letter to Alamaba’s Kicker, No. 43 Cade Foster



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Wow. President Bush sent a handwritten note to Alabama’s kicker after his miserable kicking-performance in the Iron Bowl, which Foster then posted to this Twitter account:

 
 
 

 

Tags: NCAA

Congratulations to the Michigan State Spartans



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As NRO’s resident Ohio State fan, let me say congratulations to the Michigan State Spartans and their victory last night in the Big 10 championship game (I’m a purist a refuse to use B1G). 

But Michigan State’s victory shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody. Just four days ago, Mark Dantonio was named the Big 10 coach of the year. I even predicted a Ohio State loss earlier this week (I’m an honest fan.)

Michigan State’s only loss of the year was a heartbreaker to Notre Dame. A game in which the Spartan defense committed five drive-sustaining penalties that let Notre Dame stay in the game. If not for that sloppy play in September, it would be the Spartans in the title game vs. FSU and not the Auburn Tigers.

As for Michigan State’s coach, Mark Dantonio, he was a fan favorite when he was with Ohio State during the Tressel era as the defensive coordinator and he left a huge hole to fill when he became head coach at Cincinnati in 2003:

Dantonio admits leaving Tressel’s staff wasn’t easy. He left behind a defense that was the nation’s second stingiest against the run last season, allowing 62.3 yards per game. The year before, Dantoni’s defense lifted OSU to a 14-0 record and its first national championship in 34 years.

“Losing him was a big loss,” OSU senior cornerback Dustin Fox said. “Any time you lose a great leader like him, it’s going to be a loss. It will be fun to play against him, but it will be weird. We still talk on the phone a lot. And I tell him, ‘I’ll be on the sidelines harassing you.’ He said, ‘Yeah, I’ll have my eyes on you if the play comes my way.”

And of note, Dantonio’s record at Michigan State (starting in 2007) vs. Ohio State is 2 – 5. Michigan’s record vs. Ohio State during that same period of time is 1 — 6

Again, congratulations to Michigan State and I look forward to the rematch on November 8, 2014.

 

 

Tags: NCAA

Florida State Fan Attacks Florida Fan with a Machete



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One Florida State fan seems to have taken the school’s “scalp ‘em” lyrics just a little bit too seriously. Via the Gainesville Sun:

A Florida State fan who police say tried to come to the aid of a woman involved in an altercation inside a Gainesville bar Saturday was arrested after police say he began threatening people with a machete.

The incident was quelled by an out-of-town police officer in FSU garb who managed to calm the man.

Brant W. Brown, 37, identified by Gainesville Police as an intoxicated FSU fan, went up to a man and woman arguing inside the EndZone Bar and Grill, 1209 W University Ave.,

and invited the man outside to fight, according to a report.

Several Gator fan bystanders stopped Brown, who invited all of the Gator fans to meet him outside in the parking lot, the report said.

Brown went outside, followed by the manager, who was calling 911 and giving police Brown’s description. Brown got a machete from his truck then threatened and charged at the manager, who retreated.

Tags: NCAA

Auburn Football Field, Cemetery — No Real Difference



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After Auburn’s amazing win against rival Alabama on Saturday, a fan decided that Auburn’s field would be the perfect final resting place for somebody’s cremated remains. Via a report from CBS Sports:  

Tags: NCAA

Report: U.S.C. Hires Steve Sarkisian as Head Football Coach



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Details here.

Tags: NCAA

Ohio State Marching Band Honors Gettysburg



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They don’t call it TBDBITL for nothing. Video here.

Tags: NCAA

Remember the Woman in the Duke Lacrosse Rape Story?



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She was just convicted of second-degree murder. AP:

DURHAM, N.C. — The woman who falsely accused three Duke lacrosse players of rape was convicted of second-degree murder Friday in the stabbing death of her boyfriend.

The jury deliberated for about six hours over two days before reaching its verdict in the trial of 34-year-old Crystal Mangum, who was sentenced to 14 to 18 years in prison.

Killed was 46-year-old Reginald Daye, who was stabbed on April 3, 2011. He died of complications 10 days later.

Mangum claimed the stabbing was a case of self-defense, saying Daye was beating her in a jealous rage when she grabbed a knife and “poked him in the side.”

Assistant District Attorney Charlene Franks told the jurors during closing arguments that the evidence did not back up Mangum’s story.

The rest here.

Tags: NCAA

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