Archive - March 2015
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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."
- 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.