Posts for ncaa

No-Brainer: NCAA Should Grant Extra Year of Eligibility to Athletes Losing Seasons

Bob Wankel - March 13, 2020

In a rare display of foresight and doing what is right, the NCAA on Thursday scrapped the entirety of its remaining winter and spring sports championships.

The most immediate, obvious, and self-interested consequences of the unprecedented decision are that we won’t be filling out brackets, hammering parlays, and gathering at bars and friends’ houses to consume the unrivaled madness typically associated with the month of March.

This is a difficult to decision to digest, indeed, but it’s also the right one. Sports leagues around the globe have shuttered this week as a protective measure for societies that lack the information needed to make educated decisions about how to best curb the spread of COVID-19.

But as we adjust to life without sports, including the absence of what is arguably America’s greatest sporting event, we must also be cognizant of the unjust consequences produced by what was an ethically and morally correct decision. Student-athletes across the country this morning are dealing with the harsh reality that their athletic careers are over—or are very likely about to be over.

Much of the focus will be on players who won’t get an opportunity to participate in the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Basketball Tournament. Beyond the social and entertainment void created by the cancellation, several student-athletes will be denied an opportunity to cement legacies and capture the imaginations of millions.

There will be no Cinderella stories this year, no buzzer-beaters, no epic comebacks. As a result, these athletes will miss out on an amazing experience, while fewer will miss an opportunity improve draft stocks and/or become household names.

It’s a damn shame, but this injustice extends beyond winter athletes. Far beyond.

As the NCAA kills spring sports championships and several of its conferences across various levels cancel entire schedules, many spring sport athletes will be denied the opportunity to play the vast majority of their seasons. They, too, will miss chances to make impressions on scouts. They, too, will miss the bus rides and camaraderie with teammates and coaches that build lasting memories. They, too, will miss the opportunity to see the results of their hard work.

That just doesn’t seem right, and it’s an especially cruel reality for senior athletes in the final year of their eligibility.

Whether we are talking about high-end D1 programs or lesser-known D2 or D3 programs, there are thousands of athletes who are currently coming to grips with the fact that their grind—the 5 a.m. runs, team lifting sessions, and countless hours spent refining their skills could be for nothing.

Many of them are feeling like this:

And this:

And that leads us to the point.

Some are upset with the NCAA and individual leagues and conferences for what they believe to be hasty overreactions to a virus that hasn’t produced a large number of confirmed cases (yet). Time will tell if that anger is just, but I personally can’t bring myself to fault the NCAA or any professional sports league doing its part to protect the greater good.

That being said, I presume many will agree on this next part—the NCAA should take the correct steps to grant additional eligibility to student-athletes who lost virtually entire seasons due to this pandemic.

Yes, there are scholarship limits, and, yes, there are roster and recruiting considerations to take into account. Both are factors that under normal circumstances would prevent such a widespread and drastic measure—but this isn’t even a remotely normal circumstance. Temporary roster and scholarship exemptions as well as transfer exemptions should be among the options in play for any spring student-athlete who just watched the better part of a season get flushed away.

As for seniors, many of them have finalized post-graduation plans that do not involve athletics, and plenty will move on. But others will adjust those plans for an opportunity to cash in on one more shot, one more chance to validate the social and physical sacrifices made to achieve individual and team success. At the very least, those sacrifices should be rewarded with an opportunity for these athletes to make decisions about what comes next.

It’s not often that the NCAA does what’s logical and does so while bolstering its image, but its leaders have before them a rare opportunity to do what is right and make this right.

Now, let’s see if they take advantage of it.




The “Other Side” of Sports Gambling Has Always Existed

Kevin Kinkead - May 14, 2018

Match fixing, bribery, extortion! Corruption! Has the Supreme Court opened Pandora’s Box of illicit activity with Monday’s historic ruling?

In case you’re living under a rock, SCOTUS decided that the 1992 federal anti-sports gambling law is unconstitutional, which now gives individual states the right to allow sports betting. That’s a win for the 10th Amendment type who wants the independence to spend his or her own money as they see fit, while the federal government focuses on more important things, like governing the country. I think we call those people Libertarians. Or are they moderate Republicans? Actually, I’ve been told by the comments section to stick to sports, so let’s stick to sports before we anger the “Paul Jolovitz Fan Club President.”

You’ll see states begin to roll out programs immediately while leagues like the NBA look to monetize the ruling. It makes sense for every organization to embrace this and find ways to turn the inevitability into a positive, but the NFL seems committed to being a bit hard-headed, at least for now:

My first thought is that legalized sports betting will bring new audiences to the game, much like fantasy football did for the NFL. People who otherwise did not give a shit about the Jaguars vs. the Titans would at least tune in to see whether Blake Bortles would throw three touchdowns or three interceptions. Likewise, people who don’t care about the WNBA or MLS might explore a lower-level league in an effort to unearth a money-making strategy. Maybe the degenerate who frequents SugarHouse Casino might put their money into sports instead of Craps once Pennsylvania rolls out a program.

The flip side is that some people think this opens the door for more scandal from within. More Pete Rose types. Think about the NWSL player who only makes $55,000 a year who might be enticed by the ability to bet against herself and then half-ass the on-field effort. Think about the referees who could exhibit a tight whistle or just not blow it at all in the dying seconds of a close game.

The short answer to all of that is that corruption already exists in sports and always has. I mentioned Rose. How about Havertown’s very own Tim Donaghy?

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In what World is Penn a 16 Seed?

Kevin Kinkead - March 12, 2018

Not a great Sunday for the NCAA selection committee or anyone associated with the selection show. Both found a way to take simple things and make them complicated instead.

Where to start?

How about the fact that a a 20-13 Syracuse team was given a play-in game as a #11 seed, but not the 20-14 Notre Dame team that won in the Carrier Dome minus two key players?

Or you could look at the 23-11 USC team that finished second to Arizona in the PAC-12 this year and lost in the conference tournament final. They didn’t get in, but UCLA (20-11) and Arizona State (21-11) are going dancing despite finishing multiple spots below the Trojans in the conference.

Think about Oklahoma, who lost 8 of 10 to finish the year. The 18-13 Sooners were 9th in the Big 12 but got in over Oklahoma State, who finished 19-14 with wins against Kansas (2x), WVU, Texas Tech, Florida State, and split with their Bedlam rivals.

Sure, Davidson’s A-10 tournament upset kept a more deserving team out of the tournament, but this year’s bracket is rife with questionable selections and seedings.

That includes your Penn Quakers, a 24-8 team that won its (brief) conference tournament and finished 12-2 in the Ivy League to split the regular season title with Harvard.

They were rewarded with a 16 seed and a trip to Wichita to face Kansas, a team that gets yet another post-season home game. Kansas shoots the three-pointer as good as anyone in the country, while Penn has the second best three-point defense in college basketball, so I think we’re actually looking at an intriguing matchup here. My gut tells me that Penn doesn’t stand a chance, especially with repulsive and entitled Jawhawk fans filling the arena, but maybe they make it interesting.

My gut also says that Penn got screwed in the seeding, so let’s take a look at their resume and compare it to the 15 seeds. I used schedule strength and RPI data from CBS SportsContinue Reading

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The Bu$ine$$ of College Football

Tim Reilly - December 13, 2017

Last week, the college football world experienced another iteration of what has become an annual scandal.

No, I’m not talking about the announcement of the four schools that were selected to compete in the College Football Playoff (CFP), or the various other bowl berths that were assigned. Undoubtedly, charting the four best teams makes for compelling television. Absent a truly objective way to assess teams that do not always play each other, there is always enough uncertainty built into the process to generate debate. But the dispute that arises at the conclusion of each regular season over the CFP participants pales in comparison to the year-end spending frenzy that takes place among the Power 5 conferences and the chaos that ensues throughout the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

Universities that fell short of their boosters’ expectations scour the coaching landscape in search of a savior to lead their football programs back to prominence. Yesterday’s wunderkinds are discarded in favor of today’s geniuses. The outgoing head coach accepts his lucrative buyout package while the ink dries on his successor’s multimillion-dollar deal. When the game of mercenary musical chairs ends, everyone seems to find a seat. Everyone, that is, except for the players who provide the labor and risk their physical welfare for our entertainment.

This time of year, the coaching market moves at warp speed. It can be incredibly disorienting. Take Willie Taggart, for example. One minute, the coach is flashing the “O” during a recruiting trip on behalf of the University of Oregon:

Nine days later, Coach Taggart has abandoned Eugene and the “O” for Tallahassee and the Tomahawk Chop: Continue Reading

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Joe Paterno Was Just a Creature of College Football’s Toxic Culture

Tim Reilly - September 21, 2017

The latest Joe Paterno story slipped into the news cycle two Saturdays ago, nestling itself between the ongoing revelry of a new college football season and the impending calamity of Hurricane Irma.

Given the distractions that presented themselves that weekend, you would be forgiven if you missed it, or, more likely, quickly digested the lede before moving on to the next article.

After all, the Penn State scandal is yesterday’s news. Jerry Sandusky is in prison. Two former PSU administrators and the school’s ex-president received jail sentences for their roles in the cover-up. Paterno is dead, his legacy in tatters outside the Happy Valley bubble. The university has paid millions of dollars in settlements to Sandusky victims.

There are fresh tragedies for the public to consume. Frankly, some of us have even become so inured to atrocity that we’ve lost our capacity for outrage.

However, the primary revelation contained within Sara Ganim’s recent CNN offering should require us all to read past the headline and pause – not for anger – but for introspection.

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Jim Adair - March 16, 2015

Or, “John Oliver [insert violent action here] the [insert terrible organization here]”

In case you forgot, or you just want to burn 21-minutes at work on a Monday, here’s John Oliver from last night’s Last Week Tonight going through the multitude of ways that the NCAA is a a corrupt sham. Happy March Madness, everyone.

Villanova is Projected as a Top Seed in March Madness and Kyle Needs a Minute

Jim Adair - March 2, 2015

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Villanova’s men’s basketball team is having a hell of a year. After defeating Providence and Xavier (and watching Gonzaga lose to BYU), they now occupy the #4 spot in the top 25 and may be set to land at the top of a bracket in the March Madness tournament as a #1 seed.

With a 27-2 record, NBCSports’ Bracketology has projected Nova to take the #1 seed in the West. They also put Temple on the wrong side of the bubble. It would be the Wildcats’ first number one seed since 2006, when they played their first two rounds in Philadelphia and made it to the Elite Eight. And yes, this post would have a lot more hype and hyperbole if Kyle wrote this, but he passed out upon hearing this news because all of his blood rushed … somewhere.

Roundup: NCAA Regionals in Philly, More Mo’ne, the (Fake) Death of Mr. Met

Jim Adair - November 17, 2014



After becoming the first female pitcher to ever win a game in the Little League World Series — and racking up all of the acclaim (and media coverage) that came with that — Mo’Ne Davis will release her memoirs next year. How a teen has memoirs, I do not know, but HarperCollins will publish Mo’ne Davis: Remember My Name under their children’s books umbrella, and the book will be co-written with (or “as told to”) Hilary Beard.

NCAA Tournament

Two great pieces of news on the March Madness front:

1. We get to start calling the round of 64 the “first round” again after the NCAA pretended those play-in games were anything other than a way for them to make more money.
2. The 2016 men’s basketball tournament’s East Regional games will be played at the Wells Fargo Center.

LaSalle will play the role of “host institution” and the other sites for the regional round are Chicago, Louisville, and Anaheim. The 2016 Final Four will be played at NRG Stadium, where they have some experience with basketball court-style floors.


Twitter-hero FanSince09 has released a new conspiracy-driven (and mocking) sports podcast, which should put you in the right mindset for whatever the Phils are going to do this offseason.

And on a slow and dreary day, you can take solace in the fact that Mr. Met is dead. The Onion’s newest spinoff site, Clickhole, reported the death of the “baseball-headed demon” today, at the age of 10,000. In mourning his passing, Clickhole gave us this amazing image:

The world loved Mr. Met’s boisterous performances during Mets games and the way he would walk calmly to the stadium’s boiler room after games and stand motionless, facing the wall, all night long until the next game began.

This could have all happened years ago of course, because of the Phanatic.