• Opinion: FIFA Suspensions Won't Solve the Problem

    by Nate Scott December 2015

    FIFA's ethics committee handed down a harsh punishment Monday on the international soccer governing body's president, Sepp Blatter, and the European federation's president, Michel Platini, banning each man for eight years because of a $2million payment by FIFA to Platini. For people who follow soccer, it could be seen as the exclamation point to Blatter's ousting, a final move that gets him out of soccer and makes it easier to clean up the game.

  • Sepp Blatter Gets 8-Year Ban, Blames U.S.

    by A.J. Perez December 2015

    Sepp Blatter blamed the United States for his eight-year ban handed down Monday by FIFA over ethics violations, a jab at a federal investigation responsible for several indictments of officials from soccer's international governing body.

  • Controversial Officiating Leaves NFL Refs Under Siege

    by Jay Skurski / News Sports Reporter December 2015

    With complaints about officiating having reached a fever pitch recently, Dean Blandino, the league's vice president of officiating, did the equivalent of sticking his fingers in his ears and singing "la la la."

  • MLB Commissioner: Rose Still Banned

    by Bob Nightengale December 2015

    All-time MLB hits king Pete Rose has been banned from baseball since 1989 for gambling. This is it for Pete Rose. His fate, after 26 years of waiting for baseball to change its mind, finally is decided. He's dead to the game of baseball. Oh, you might still see him on TV as a baseball analyst. You'll certainly still see him hawking memorabilia at a Las Vegas casino and showing up on Main Street in Cooperstown, N.Y., selling autographs in July during the Hall of Fame weekend.

  • Opinion: MLB's Rejection of Rose Vindictive, Hypocritical

    by Paul Daugherty December 2015

    Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, above, won't welcome back Pete Rose. Rob Manfred isn't allowing Pete Rose back into Major League Baseball, and you have to figure that's the end of the road for the Hit King. He is 74 and has been banned from the game for the last 26 years. A chapter in his bittersweet life has come to an unhappy end. Don't believe this makes baseball look noble, though. Don't ponder for a minute that baseball has preserved its "integrity," a word used loosely in pro sports these days. Rose's continued banishment isn't baseball's purity, renewed. It is baseball's petty vindictiveness, trying to keep pace with its unapologetic hypocrisy.

  • Opinion: Assault on Sports' Fun Elements Is Nonsense

    by JR Radcliffe December 2015

    Alarm bells went off Monday when popular ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas tweeted that the NCAA was "currently discussing rewriting bench decorum rules to curtail celebrations of Monmouth bench." The NCAA basically denied the severity of what that implied, saying it had merely discussed a rule clarification with an inquiring school. The Monmouth men's basketball team, which has gained national attention for their hilariously choreographed bench responses to big moments, was absolved as simply having good fun. For now. But despite the eternal insistence that sports are supposed to be fun at all levels, there remains this tidal wave of sentiment toward rooting out celebration in pro and college sports, and it leaves me confused.

  • IOC to Audit Funding in Wake of Corruption Scandals

    by Worcester Telegram & Gazette December 2015

    The IOC will launch an independent auditing of the money it gives to sports organizations in a bid to prevent the type of corruption scandals that have engulfed the governing bodies of soccer and track and field. Noting that many sports bodies are concerned their “reputation is being tarnished” by the FIFA and IAAF scandals, the IOC executive board on Thursday adopted a “declaration on good governance in sport and the protection of clean athletes.”

  • Coaches File Suits Against NCAA to Restore Reputations

    by Brent Schrotenboer December 2015

    Jackie Sherrill is still pretty angry at the NCAA. Eleven years after he sued the organization for defamation, his case remains pending in a Mississippi state court. And he's not giving up. The former college football coach states in his lawsuit that the governing body of college sports "twisted, fabricated, orchestrated and falsified the statements of the witnesses" in order to bring charges against him and destroy his career. "The NCAA does not want to admit that they're wrong," Sherrill told USA TODAY Sports.

  • Vote Favors Separating Private, Public School Athletes

    by Phil Anastasia December 2015

    The future format of high school sports in New Jersey was cast in doubt by two historic votes Monday by the general membership of the state's governing body. By convincing margins, members of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association approved proposals that will separate athletes who represent non-public schools from athletes who represent public schools. The most significant vote came on the proposal to create a statewide, non-public football conference, which will remove all non-public schools that play football from their existing league or conference.

  • NFL Officials Draw Flag from Commissioner Goodell

    by Jarrett Bell, December 2015

    It would have been totally appropriate to equip NFL owners with red challenge flags as they conducted a one-day league meeting Wednesday. With so many high-profile officiating mishaps this season, it is clearly time for further review. "There have been some glaring mistakes this season that you haven't seen in the past," Green Bay Packers President Mark Murphy told USA TODAY Sports during a break in the meetings.