There Is No Reason “Amateur” Athletes Shouldn’t Be Paid

Kentucky's Marcus Lee, left, and Michigan's Jordan Morgan go after a rebound during the first half of an NCAA Midwest Regional final college basketball tournament game Sunday, March 30, 2014, in Indianapolis. Photo | Michael Conroy, Associated Press

Kentucky’s Marcus Lee, left, and Michigan’s Jordan Morgan go after a rebound during the first half of an NCAA Midwest Regional final college basketball tournament game Sunday, March 30, 2014, in Indianapolis. Photo | Michael Conroy, Associated Press

Like Kurtis Blow, basketball is my favorite sport. I, too, like the way they dribble up and down the court.

Basketball’s a sport I enjoy at every level. I love the NFL, but I don’t care much for college football. Minor league baseball is even more boring than major league baseball. But I could watch pretty much every level of basketball: High-level NBA games on TV. Big 5 games at the Palestra. High school games in crumbling Philly gyms. Pick-up games on 10th Street. Little kid games at halftime of the Sixers. Everything is great!

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Fixing Academia: 5 Ways To Save St. Joe’s (and Every University Like It)

Nov 28, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Saint Joseph's Hawks mascot. The Hawk, during the second half against the LSU Tigers at ESPN Wide World of Sports. LSU Tigers defeated the Saint Joseph's Hawks 82-65. Photo | Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 28, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Saint Joseph’s Hawks mascot. The Hawk, during the second half against the LSU Tigers at ESPN Wide World of Sports. LSU Tigers defeated the Saint Joseph’s Hawks 82-65. Photo | Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

St. Joseph’s University is facing financial problems. Revenue is not as high as projected. Expenses continue to rise. So they’re implementing budgetary cutbacks. Last year the university ran a $4.4 million deficit. Wow, what a huge surprise, right?

I don’t mean to pick on St. Joe’s. It is an excellent college. I have a St. Joe’s grad working for me and I often meet the school’s alumni in the business world and find them to be smart and successful.  Also, I live near the campus (my kids often play soccer on their turf field) and I think their outreach to the community is great. I want them to succeed. But the university is facing a problem that many other excellent colleges in the area and around the country are facing: the problem of potential extinction.

People just can’t afford to pay $50-60K a year for a college education, even if it’s at a good school like St. Joe’s. The payback just isn’t there. The numbers don’t make sense. St. Joe’s has to make some hard and unpopular adjustments if they want to survive. Adjustments that won’t compromise their standards or reputation. And I’ve got a few tough ones to recommend.

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THE PLAYER: The NFL’s (Almost) First Out Player

dorien bryant purdue football

Dorien at the Undine Barge Club, Boathouse Row. Photo by Chris Crisman.

It’s two months before Gaybowl XIII, when the seven-on-seven National Gay Flag Football League champion will be crowned in Phoenix, and the Philadelphia Revolution is bereft of its star. In the middle of an overgrown Little League field in East Passyunk, where a mucky dune marks the 50-yard line, a bespectacled, double-knee-brace-wearing team captain drills the squad on route-running. Then, 30 minutes into the two-hour practice, he arrives: arms muscled, pecs protruding from a pink-sleeved t-shirt. He moseys toward the bleachers wearing a camo-green hat and Versace Eros cologne. He has just left Voyeur three hours ago. “I know nothing right now,” he mumbles, pulling on his cleats, grabbing his receiver’s gloves, and jumping in line for some 10-yard hitch routes.

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Rutgers May Have A New Abuse Scandal On Its Hands

A few weeks after firing Mike Rice from his job as head basketball coach, Rutgers is facing another potential scandal, after it announced it was suspending its head lacrosse coach as it investigates verbal abuse accusations. Brian Brecht has led his team to a 2-11 record this season. Meanwhile, after initially being denied severance pay, it turns out Rice will be granted $475,000 to settle the remaining two years on his contract. [ESPN]

 

 

Rutgers’ Mike Rice Still Coaching…12-Year-Old Girls

Since being fired from Rutgers for verbally and physically abusing his players, Mike Rice has kept busy coaching his daughter’s AAU team of 12-year-old girls. Brian Geltzeiler, a basketball blogger, had the report:

SNY TV confirmed that Rice was indeed coaching the team, and has been doing so in the three years he’s been at Rutgers. An unnamed source “close to the team” said the “report is a gross misrepresentation of the facts,” and that “the team’s parents are fully behind Coach Rice and his instruction of their daughters.”

Big East Gets Horrible New Name

AAC! Yes, that’s exactly what I said when I found out what the Big East would be called next year: AAC! The conference formerly known as the Big East, stripped of its Catholic basketball-first schools, will be adopt the boring, meaningless and awkwardly acronymed name, the American Athletic Conference. The league will feature (for the time being) Rutgers, Louisville, Connecticut, South Florida, Cincinnati, Central Florida, Memphis, Houston, SMU and Temple. AAC! To clear up any confusion: there will be another conference called the “Big East” next year, but it’ll only consist of those aforementioned Catholic basketball schools.

Said new AAC! Commissioner Mike Aresco on the decision:  “American Athletic Conference represents a strong,durable and aspirational name for our re-invented Conference.” Aspirational? What, are these schools still applying for U.S. citizenship?  [CBS 3]

Don’t Look Now, But Drexel Women’s Hoops Playing for NIT Championship

While consumed with Kevin Ware’s horrific injury and Mike Rice’s abusive behavior, I suspect many of us missed the local NCAA angle: Drexel women’s basketball is on the verge on winning the NIT championship. (The NIT is the tourney for teams that barely missed the NCAA tournament cut-off.) Last night at the DAC, the Dragons dispatched with the University of Florida, and on Saturday will face the winner of the other Final Four semifinal, between Utah and Kansas State. Those schools are bigger and richer than Drexel. But they don’t breathe fire. Or have goofy billboards up on I-95. [Inquirer]

Watch La Salle Beat Ole Miss on Last-Second Game-Winner

Weeks after literally getting lost in the wilderness, the 13th seeded La Salle Explorers seem to have found their path (!) to the Sweet 16, thanks to this last-second game-winner from guard Tyrone Garland. The last time the team made it this far in a tournament, in 1955, it was so small the round of 16 didn’t exist yet. La Salle is the last Philly team left in the tourney, after Temple lost a heartbreaker earlier in the evening to #1-seeded Indiana. Warning: Turn down the volume, as this video was shot right from the scorer’s table, and the crowd noise is deafening.

The Money Bracket: Which Schools Spend the Most on College Hoops

There a million ways to fill out an NCAA bracket. Mascot. Underdogs. Overdogs. Nate Silver. Or this way, courtesy of The New Yorker: Which teams spend and generate the most money through their college hoops programs. Here’s a sample of what the bracket would look like, if the biggest spender won this year. (Duke, duh.)

How do Philly’s schools stack up? Villanova leads the way, as the 20th-biggest spender in this year’s field, at $6,398,678. Next is Temple, in 39th place. Finally, little old LaSalle clocks in at 51. For the record, #14 seed Harvard spends four times less than #3 seed New Mexico, over which it scored a monumental upset last night. [New Yorker]

5 Tips to Make Losing Your NCAA Tournament Pool More Fun

It was going to be my crowning achievement of college.

I didn’t go to class all that often during my four years, preferring to spend my time in bed at the school newspaper instead. Because I spent a lot of time covering basketball in college instead of going to class, I liked to think I knew the sport better than most of my peers. I didn’t, but what I did in March of 2004 almost made me think I did.

Going into the Final Four, I’d missed just six winners in the NCAA tournament. I was in line to win both my mom’s and dad’s work pools and five pools at my college. I was going to clear so much money from my NCAA tournament pools that going into journalism didn’t seem like such a bad idea after all, even as job rejection letters started to pour in. So what if it took a while to find a gig? I could live on the interest from the 2004 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship indefinitely. Read more »

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