Archive - August 2015
- Column: A New Day for College CoachesAugust 31, 2015
“The Times They Are a-Changin’” by Bob Dylan. For college coaches, Bob Dylan’s title track to his 1964 album could just as easily apply today. Examples of the changing tide in collegiate athletics abound, the most recent being the termination of Illinois football coach Tim Beckman on the eve of the 2015 season. At first glance, Beckman’s firing could be attributed to his 12-25 record over three non-descript seasons at Illinois. But the decision to fire Beckman had nothing to do with wins and losses. Earlier this year the University commissioned an investigation after allegations surfaced that Beckman and his staff had influenced medical decisions and mistreated players. The coach was let go even before a final report was issued.
- Column: Track & Field Athlete Takes a Stand on PrincipleAugust 24, 2015
“A principle is not a principle until it costs you money.” Bill Bernbach, the Founder of ad agency Doyle Dane and Bernbach . Nick Symmonds can relate to Bernbach’s statement. A two-time Olympian, Symmonds won the 800 meters at the U.S. Trials earlier this month which automatically qualified him for a spot on this country’s World Championship team. But while the team is currently competing in Beijing, Nick is home watching the competition from his couch. Symmonds’ predicament is a direct consequence of his principles. As a condition of participation in the Worlds, USA Track & Field (USATF), this country’s governing body for track and field athletes, required all participants to sign a “Statement of Conditions.” The statement requires all athletes to wear "designated team uniforms at official team functions," which on its face isn’t an unreasonable requirement. But to USATF, team functions apparently include every waking hour from the time athletes boarded the plane to China until they return to the States. Their definition covers not only training sessions, press conferences, competitions, and award ceremonies but sightseeing jaunts and lounging around the hotel. And – get this - photos on Facebook.
- Column: Video Gaming Goes CollegiateAugust 17, 2015
Given a choice, most parents would probably prefer that their children spend more time playing sports and less time playing computer games in the hopes that the former may lead to a college scholarship. Now, the latter may also lead to a free education. Robert Morris University (RMU) in Chicago and the University of Pikeville (UPike) in Kentucky are the first institutions of higher learning to offer scholarships for what is commonly known as eSports, what laymen refer to as playing computer games. Competitive gaming on the professional level has been around for decades but the collegiate version dates to 2009 when students at Princeton challenged their counterparts at MIT to a match of StarCraft. Around the same time a student at the University of California San Diego started his own team and the two groups decided to form a league which they named the Collegiate Starleague (CSL).
- Column: Ray Rice Deserves a Second ChanceAugust 10, 2015
Most NFL players who violate the league’s personal conduct policy get a second chance – or more. New York Jets backup quarterback Michael Vick got a second chance after serving 18 months in federal prison for running a dog-fighting ring and abusing his dogs. Vick made his way back to the NFL by proving he was truly sorry for his actions. Former Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend. He was slapped with a 10-game suspension, reduced by an arbitrator to four games and will suit up for the Dallas Cowboys in week five of the season.
- Column: NFL Overreacts to DeflateGateAugust 3, 2015
If you want to see how much incompetence $10 billion can buy, you need only look to the new rules the NFL has adopted in response to the DeflateGate scandal. The NFL created a mountain from a molehill by escalating a simple rules violation that carried a $25,000 fine into a loss of draft picks against the New England Patriots and a four game suspension of quarterback Tom Brady. And the controversy seemingly without end now resides in federal court.