Confession: I Hate Spring in Philadelphia

Photo illustration | Alyse Moyer. Photos | background, M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia; Peep, PhotosJC / Shutterstock.com, person in jacket, leedsn/ Shutterstock.com

Photo illustration | Alyse Moyer. Photos | background, M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia; Peep, PhotosJC / Shutterstock.com, person in jacket, leedsn/ Shutterstock.com

I woke up on Friday morning with a distinct, creeping sense of dread. The kind of dread that makes you afraid to open your eyes, that brings you to the bargaining table with gods long forgotten.

Some of this could be attributed to the dog sleeping on my head. It was the smelly dog, and I had to decide whether to wash my hair or Febreze it like a dodgy futon before heading into work. I knew what I would choose, and it wasn’t a choice that inspired much hope for the day or the decade.

But, smelly dogs aside, it was also the first day of spring.

I know how I’m supposed to feel about spring.  Read more »

Who Cares About Student Athletes’ Grades?

As the NCAA’s three-week run of March Madness begins, it’s time to talk about basketball student-athlete … academic fraud?

Syracuse University has not been included in this year’s NCAA tournament. Several weeks ago, the basketball program self-imposed a postseason ban on this year’s team — to which the NCAA then added sanctions and the vacating of 108 wins under head coach Jim Boeheim.

Boeheim countered with a press conference Thursday morning, just hours before the official first round of the tournament would begin, claiming his innocence and his intention to appeal sanctions that he claims are “unduly harsh.” Read more »

3 Thoughts From the Mini-Riot at the Policing Town Hall

A Philadelphia Police officer shoves a protester toward the exit, Thursday night at Lawncrest Recreation Center.

A Philadelphia Police officer shoves a protester toward the exit, Thursday night at Lawncrest Recreation Center.

Three thoughts following Thursday night’s mini-riot at the policing town hall at Lawncrest Recreation Center.

1. Brandon Tate-Brown’s family said on Thursday they didn’t want to see any violence erupt as a result of D.A. Seth Williams’ decision to not charge the officers in Tate-Brown’s death. I wish the protesters who showed up at Lawncrest had listened to them. Read more »

No, It’s Not Time to Abolish Fraternities

It was a bright spring day in New York City. And the doorman was just minding his own business, watching the traffic go by on Park Avenue. My mission was to steal his hat.

John was my accomplice. We had a plan. I hid around the corner of the building while John casually strode toward the doorman, purposely looking lost. John had a map in his hand. He stopped the doorman and asked for directions.  And when the doorman looked at the map with John … I sprang into action. I ran down the block and before he knew what was happening I snatched his hat off his head and galloped away. John took off in the other direction. 10 minutes later and 10 blocks away, John and I re-grouped to gleefully inspect our treasure.  We got the hat.

Yes, we were pledging a fraternity. And, like today’s fraternity and sorority members, we were college-aged idiots. Read more »

5 Reasons You Should Root for Villanova in the NCAA Tournament

Villanova Wildcats guard Darrun Hilliard II (4) and guard Josh Hart (3) celebrate after defeating the Marquette Golden Eagles 70-52 during the second half at Wells Fargo Center.

Villanova Wildcats guard Darrun Hilliard II (4) and guard Josh Hart (3) celebrate after defeating the Marquette Golden Eagles 70-52 during the second half at Wells Fargo Center.

I like Villanova’s basketball team.

I realize this is not a popular opinion for all basketball fans in Philly. Villanova is the Duke of the local basketball scene: It’s an obnoxious private school with smart kids, plus it seems to win all the time. It’s in the suburbs. Its two big local rivals (Temple and St. Joe’s) hated Villanova a ton even before the Wildcats’ recent dominance of the Big 5.

But I like the Wildcats. They’ve played good, entertaining basketball since Jay Wright became coach in 2001. He’s been rumored to be taking better jobs — sometimes, even with the Sixers – but has stayed with the Wildcats. They’ve been a tournament team all but one year since the 2004-05 season. For the last decade, Villanova has been the class of Philadelphia basketball — even if they are in the suburbs.

Even the program’s scandals are benign now. Twelve years ago, Villanova suspended 12 players for using a Villanova phone code to make unauthorized calls. Can you even imagine this type of scandal today, with cell phones and Skype?

With this in mind, here are five reasons to root for Villanova this tournament. Read more »

Should We Ban Fraternities? Or Just Watch Them Destroy Themselves?

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At this point, we probably shouldn’t bother pretending that we’re shocked by the news coming out of Penn State. (Which is unfortunate, as shock makes great fuel for Internet opinion pieces. Outrage, thankfully, is still on the table.)

It’s not as if fraternities have much of a reputation to uphold lately. Just two weeks ago, we got a peek behind the scenes of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma, which apparently has absurdly racist and violent sing-alongs when they think no one is looking. Now, police are investigating Penn State’s Kappa Delta Rho for allegedly operating two private Facebook accounts that included nude pictures of unconscious women.

And yet, there is a part of me that’s surprised, if not shocked. Read more »

A Lesson for Seth Williams in Kathleen Kane’s Abandoned Sting

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Let’s give Seth Williams a round of applause.

I’m not being facetious here. Williams’ decision to take Kathleen Kane’s “double-dog dare” last year and pursue charges against Philly Democrats caught on tape accepting cash and gifts has been a triumph on several counts: Politically, he’s come across as a stalwart prosecutor and made Kane look feckless by comparison. His decision has also been a small-but needed-victory over the everyday corruption most of us assume pervades this city’s politics.

But the experience offers a lesson Williams almost certainly doesn’t want to learn.  Read more »

5 Reasons Temple Got Snubbed by NCAA Tournament Selection Committee

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Temple basketball fans got an early Christmas gift last year when the Owls routed Kansas by 25. “I think we played about as well as we possibly could have,” Dunphy said after the game. Things were looking up for the Temple Owls, who had started the season 6-4.

Kansas finished 26-8, and received a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. But yesterday, the selection committee played the Grinch for Temple. They were left out of the NCAA tournament, and will play instead in the NIT.

Many this morning are feeling Temple was hosed. Sports Illustrated listed Temple as its No. 1 snub in the field. The Owls finished 23-10, ending the season on a 16-5 clip, and placed third in its conference. What happened? Read more »

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