Column: New Women's Professional Hockey League to DebutMarch 30, 2015

In case you missed it, there’s another women’s professional sports league on the horizon. Thanks to the yeoman efforts of a former Division I hockey player, Dani Rylan, the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) is set to launch for the 2015-16 season. The league will debut with four teams - the Boston Pride, The Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale and New York Riveters. If that sounds like the league is northeast centric, it was by design. Rylan has spent countless hours putting together a business plan and strategically it makes sense to locate the teams in places where they would most likely be successful.

Read more

    Column: Rash of NFL Players Retire YoungMarch 23, 2015

    Father time is undefeated, and by all accounts will remain so forever. The calendar catches up to all of us, regardless of what we do in an attempt to forestall the inevitable. An athlete’s career ends sooner than it does for those of us in other professions. An accountant or a banker can ply their trade for decades. But the average length of an NFL career is little more than three years. That’s why it surprised many observers when five NFL players in their prime retired over the course of a two week period in early March. Why would they retire “early” and leave so much money – in some cases, tens of millions of dollars – on the table?

    Read more

    Column: Colleges Need to Rearrange Their PrioritiesMarch 15, 2015

    Readers of this space know that yours truly will never be elected president of the NCAA fan club. I have taken the NCAA to task on a number of occasions and anyone with a passing familiarity with how the governing body operates knows there is no shortage of things to criticize. I have railed against complex and inconsistent rules, exemplified by the incomprehensible distinction between a plain bagel and one smeared with cream cheese. Not too long ago providing the former to a student-athlete was considered acceptable but the latter was considered a violation of the Bylaw that prohibits additional benefits to student-athletes. Mercifully, that mind boggling and idiotic distinction has been eliminated. Another frequent complaint is that the NCAA has repeatedly chosen to maximize revenue in lieu of protecting the welfare of student-athletes. And don’t even get me started on such topics as a lack of transparency and due process.

    Read more

    Column: NCAA Sanctions Syracuse BasketballMarch 9, 2015

    “The Emperor has no clothes.” From Hans Christian Andersen’s 1837 fairy tale Although Andersen wrote his fairy tale in 1837, he could have been referring to Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim. Boeheim has acted the part of an emperor throughout his 37 years at the helm of Syracuse’s successful basketball program. But the Emperor has finally been unclothed. Last week the NCAA Committee on Infractions issued its long awaited report that chastised Syracuse for committing a number of major violations, including academic fraud, extra benefits, illegal booster activities, and ignoring its own drug policy so basketball players wouldn't miss games. Nor did the governing body spare Boeheim. From the report: “During the 10-year period of violations, the head basketball coach did not promote an atmosphere of compliance within his program and did not monitor the activities of those who reported to him as they related to academics and booster involvement."

    Read more

    Column: NFL Loses Again in Peterson CaseMarch 2, 2015

    If a contest was held to determine the most arrogant and incompetent sports organization in the country, there would be no dearth of worthy candidates, with the NCAA and the NFL topping the list. But the NFL’s recent handling of its Personal Conduct Policy stamps it as the prime contender to take home the trophy. The NCAA’s qualifications for the dubious honor have been well documented in this space. Their insistence on operating above the law that applies to most Americans knows no bounds. The governing body was formed in 1906 to adopt uniform rules for the protection of football players who were dying at unprecedented rates on the field of play. But fealty to the almighty dollar and insistence on absolute and abusive control of student-athletes has become the primary goals at NCAA headquarters.

    Read more

    Column: Spring Training BeginsFebruary 22, 2015

    If “Play Ball” is the most pleasant sounding phrase in the English language, these four words aren’t far behind: “Pitchers and catchers report.” Last week, pitchers and catchers reported to the 30 Major League spring training complexes in Florida and Arizona. In the midst of one of the coldest and snowiest winters on record, baseball fans have a welcome diversion. Instead of the consistently dreary and monotonous daily weather reports – more snow and cold on the way - we can now focus on cheery and optimistic reports emanating from the Grapefruit (FL) and Cactus (AZ) Leagues.

    Read more

    Column: Jeff Gordon Announces RetirementFebruary 16, 2015

    NASCAR is losing an icon. Jeff Gordon recently announced that 2015 will be his last season racing fulltime in the Sprint Cup Series. Every driver should utter a “Thank you” to the guy who ushered in stock car racing’s current era. Gordon has spent the past 23 seasons wheeling a stock car around tracks that span the country from east to west and north to south. When Gordon burst onto the scene in 1993 NASCAR was still a mostly southern sport – 13 of its 30 races were held in two states, North Carolina or Virginia. Drivers were mostly grizzled “good ‘ole boys,” descendants of moonshiners who ran illegal whiskey during the week and raced each other for bragging rights and odd change on weekends.

    Read more

    Column: College Athletes Unrealistic About Playing ProFebruary 9, 2015

    “You can do anything you want to do.” How many of us have heard those words spoken by parents, teachers, coaches and peers? But as I tell my students, those words should be taken with a healthy dose of reality. And that admonition is especially true for college athletes. Why? According to data compiled by the NCAA, far too many college athletes in every sport have an unrealistic view of their chances to play pro. Every four years, the NCAA conducts what it calls a GOALS Study (Growth, Opportunities, Aspirations and Learning of Students in college). The detailed study is a survey of student-athletes in a variety of sports - men’s and women’s - across all three divisions. Student-athletes are asked a broad range of questions about their college experiences including their future expectations to play sports professionally.

    Read more

    Column: A Merciful End to The NFL SeasonFebruary 2, 2015

    most popular and financially successful sports league. The popularity of the NFL is both a blessing and a curse. The league has experienced unprecedented financial success - approximately $10 billion a year in revenue, on track to the avowed goal of $25 billion a year within a decade. But there’s more to success than the bottom line on a financial statement. Along with that popularity comes the intense scrutiny of every move, including - and perhaps especially - every oversight and misstep. In that regard, Goodell may have had the most difficult and challenging job in sports during the past year. As the commissioner said during his annual Super Bowl confab with the media, "…it has been a tough year. It has been a tough year for me personally. It's been a year of I would say humility and learning…We obviously, as an organization, have gone through adversity. But more importantly, it's been adversity for me.” Boy was he right.

    Read more

    Column: Deflategate a Tempest in a TeapotJanuary 25, 2015

    According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a tempest in a teapot is “a great commotion over an unimportant matter.” So far, that’s the best way to describe Deflategate, which is perhaps the worst word ever created. The whole did-they-or-didn’t-they – Coach Bill Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady, or another member of the New England Patriots – intentionally let air out of the footballs used during the first half of the Patriots’ thrashing of the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game has already taken up more time and space than it warrants. And unfortunately, we haven’t seen the end of the soap opera yet.

    Read more
    Next Page