Archive - January 2016
- Column: Tennis Hit With Allegations of Match FixingJanuary 28, 2016
On the eve of the Australian Open, tennis was reeling under the most serious allegations that can be levied against any sport: match-fixing. According to a report leaked to the BBC and BuzzFeed, an investigation of betting lines and match results in 2008 determined that 28 players took part in what was described as “suspicious games.” A core group of about 10 players were identified as the most common perpetrators. Despite that evidence, none of the players identified by investigators were ever disciplined or charged and all of them continued to compete at tennis’ highest levels. A number of those players have since retired but others are still competing at tennis’ top tournaments.
- Column: Tanking in Sports - Is It Ethical?January 21, 2016
The “T” word is reviled in sports. But although its existence is universally denied, “tanking” is an ugly reality in professional sports. In baseball, the Astros and the Cubs spent several years tanking, or “rebuilding” as teams prefer to call it. They stripped their major league roster by trading for future “assets,” younger, controllable players. Neither team was competitive for a number of years, which lead to last place finishes, which begot high draft picks. That allowed each team to acquire the best amateur players in the country. The results of those efforts could be seen on the field last year. Both teams made the playoffs for the first time in years and with all their young talent, are poised to have a sustained run of success. That model has not gone unnoticed in the sport. Other teams, including Philadelphia, Atlanta, Cincinnati and the Brewers, have adopted a similar strategy. While none of those teams will admit to tanking, by any definition the bottom line is the same: They aren’t trying to win in the short run.
- Column: Salary Cap For College AthletesJanuary 14, 2016
In a recent piece in The New York Times, Joe Nocera proposed a salary cap for college teams along with individual player salaries, specifically for those that play Division I football and men’s basketball. It’s not the first time Nocera has advanced the concept. Four years ago he recommended paying college athletes and then, as if his idea was a fait accompli, went on to suggest a salary cap. In his latest column, Nocera elaborates on his salary proposal and ends with the statement, “That’s my idea for paying college athletes. If you’ve got a better one, I’d love to hear it. We can argue about it on Twitter.” Unlike Joe, I’m not a tweeter so here’s my response: I don’t believe we should pay college athletes so there’s no need to debate the specifics of a salary cap.
- Column: Should You Believe Peyton Manning?January 7, 2016
The end of 2015 brought another doping scandal in sports. Raise your hand if you were surprised. The bigger question should be, do you care, or is this just another ho-hum moment in the ever-evolving intersection of PEDs and sports? On Christmas weekend Al Jazeera America aired a documentary ominously titled “The Dark Side.” The report claimed that a number of professional athletes in the NFL and MLB purchased human-growth-hormone (HGH) from the Guyer Institute, an Indianapolis anti-aging clinic. The information was based in part on the word of the apply-named Charlie Sly, a former intern at the clinic.