- Monday, October, 23, 2017
Athlete Ally's Hudson Taylor Discusses Athletic Equality Index
AB first spoke to Hudson Taylor in 2012, a year after the former collegiate wrestler had launched a nonprofit advocacy group for LGBT student-athletes called Athlete Ally. In the five years since, the group has gone from no staff members to eight (five full-time). There are now 32 Athlete Ally chapters on campuses across the country, and more than 150 professional athletes have signed on as organization ambassadors. The group has helped influence LGBT policies and practices within the NCAA and the IOC, and branched out to advocate for more women in FIFA governance and for the wearing of hijabs to be allowed in FIBA women's basketball competition. On Sept. 12, Athlete Ally released its first Athletic Equality Index, a scoring of LGBT polices within the 65 NCAA Division I athletic departments comprising the Power Five conferences. AB senior editor Paul Steinbach caught up with Taylor to talk progress.
- Friday, October, 13, 2017
NCAA Clears North Carolina in Academic Fraud Case
An NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions hearing panel has ruled that the University of North Carolina did not violate the association's academic rules when it offered so-called "paper courses" to students, a disproportionate number of them being student-athletes.
The courses, in UNC's African and Afro-American Studies tracks, required only the writing of one paper to determine a student's grade in the course. Between 1993 and 2011, 3,100 students opted for such courses. More than half of those students were student-athletes, leading to allegations that they had been steered into courses that would help preserve their athletic eligibility.
In 2015, the university was served a notice of allegations, which the NCAA revised twice since, and university officials were allowed to make their case last December. The main charge — that the university provided benefits to student-athletes that were not available to the student body at large — was determined by the panel to be unfounded.
"While student-athletes likely benefited from the so-called 'paper courses' offered by North Carolina, the information available in the record did not establish that the courses were solely created, offered and maintained as an orchestrated effort to benefit student-athletes," said Greg Sankey, the panel's chief hearing officer and commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, in an NCAA release. "The panel is troubled by the university's shifting positions about whether academic fraud occurred on its campus and the credibility of the Cadwalader report, which it distanced itself from after initially supporting the findings. However, NCAA policy is clear. The NCAA defers to its member schools to determine whether academic fraud occurred and, ultimately, the panel is bound to making decisions within the rules set by the membership."
As reported by SI.com, a former U.S. Justice Department official looked into the African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) department and found that independent study-style courses were misidentified as lecture courses and estimated more than 3,100 students were affected between 1993 and 2011, with athletes across several sports, including members of the football and men's basketball teams, accounted for half the enrollment.
While North Carolina faced five top-level charges, including a lack of institutional control, only one former employee faces any sanctions regarding the case. At least four people were fired — and one, the initial whistleblower, was demoted — as result of the scandal, according to SI.com.
- Wednesday, October, 11, 2017
Kentucky Boys' Basketball Champs Under Investigation
Did illegal recruiting help the Bowling Green High School boys' basketball program win its first Kentucky state championship last season? The Kentucky High School Athletic Association is currently looking into alleged recruiting violations by the school, which won its final 29 games during a 36-2 season, including in a 67-56 victory over Cooper in the title game.
- Tuesday, October, 10, 2017
Former Penn State AD Curley Released from Prison
With Tim Curley's release from prison Oct. 3, there currently are no former Penn State University officials behind bars over the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Curley — Penn State's athletic director in 2011 when it was discovered that Sandusky, a former assistant coach in the Nittany Lions football program, had sexually abused minors on the PSU campus — pleaded guilty in March to one count of child endangerment and had been serving a work-release sentence of seven to 23 months. He will now be on house arrest for four months and on probation for two years, according to a report on pennlive.com.
Last month, former Penn State vice president Gary Schultz was released from the Centre County Correctional Facility. Like Curley, Schultz had pleaded guilty to child endangerment after his inaction related to a 2001 report by assistant football coach Mike McQueary in which McQueary indicated he had witnessed Sandusky abusing a boy in a locker room shower. Ten years then passed before Sandusky's arrest.
Former university president Graham Spanier's four-year prison sentence (including two years of house arrest) has been stayed pending the results of his appeal. Curley had testified for the prosecution in Spanier's case.
While on work release, Curley, 63, was employed by a non-profit cancer foundation. Schultz, 67, worked as a part-time consultant for landscaping company while serving his sentence, which still includes four months of house arrest and two years probation.
- Thursday, October, 05, 2017
Nevada's Wiegand Fitness Center Features Stadium Stairs
Roughly a third of the fitness space within the University of Nevada, Reno's E.L. Wiegand Fitness Center is dedicated to functional training.
- Wednesday, October, 04, 2017
Author Charles Duhigg Explains the Power of Habit
Investigative reporter Charles Duhigg slipped into a daily afternoon indulgence of leaving his desk at The New York Times and heading to the 14th-floor cafeteria to sample its cookie selection. Once the habit had resulted in 8.7 pounds of weight gain, Duhigg began to wonder why it was so easy to ignore the note he had placed on his monitor that read: "Do not eat the cookie." Two years of fulltime research into the neurology of habit formation led to his best-selling 2012 book "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business." It's a topic Duhigg will cover during his keynote address at AB Show 2017, Nov. 10, in Orlando. AB senior editor Paul Steinbach asked the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for a preview.
- Monday, October, 02, 2017
High School Student Falls to Death from Stadium
Though rare, falls from seating areas in stadiums have most often involved professional venues with upper decks, escalators or railed-off areas safeguarding some other drop-off of significant distance. On Saturday, Broken Arrow (Okla.) High School confirmed the death of junior Jaymeson West, who fell from the top of the school’s football stadium after a game Friday night.
According to the Tulsa World, West fell immediately after the game as many fans were exiting the stadium. As of Friday night, with detectives and crime scene investigators present, police said they believed the fall was an accident. West, a saxophone player in the Pride of Broken Arrow band, was transported from the scene by emergency responders to a local hospital.
It is unclear as of this writing exactly how far West fell, but the home stands at Broken Arrow Memorial Stadium stretch 40 seating rows high. The grandstand is topped by a railing system that appears in stadium photos to be several feet high and screened.
The high school media center was open Sunday afternoon for students seeking counseling, and counselors will be available all day Monday.
“As a mother of two students, one of whom is a Pride member, I am absolutely heartbroken,” Broken Arrow Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Janet Dunlop said in a statement. “We are a family in Broken Arrow and are working together to make sure Jaymeson’s family and all of our students have everything they need during this devastating time.”
- Wednesday, September, 27, 2017
Louisville Fires Pitino, AD Jurich Amid Bribe Probe
The first casualties of the FBI’s investigation into bribery among college basketball assistant coaches appear to be University of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich.
Though not mentioned in Tuesday’s initial reports of a scandal involving payments to recruits to steer them toward schools under shoe-and-apparel contracts with Adidas, Louisville took action Wednesday. A news conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. Eastern, according to si.com.
Evidence suggests that a Louisville assistant coach planned to send $100,000 to the father of freshman forward Brian Bowen, who committed to the Cardinals in June.
It’s the latest in a long string of scandals for Pitino, who holds a career record of 416-141, with two NCAA championships. He led Louisville to the title in 2013, his 12th year with the program. In 2009, he was part of an extortion battle with a woman he admitted to having sex with 2003, and who claimed was paid by Pintino to have an abortion.
At the time of his firing, Pitino was facing a five-game ACC suspension resulting from a 2016 recruiting scandal centered on the Louisville basketball program paying an escort service to have sex with recruits and their family members.
Jurich had been Louisville’s vice president and athletic director since Oct. 21, 1997. He was under contract through July 26, 2023.
- Tuesday, September, 26, 2017
Surfacing the Modern Track and Field Facility
It’s not uncommon for the history of decades-old stadiums to include a renovation that removed their running track in the interest of increased seating and better sightlines for the venue’s primary purpose — football. The result has been an uptick in the design of self-contained track-and-field facilities. When football (and/or soccer) is out of the picture, a track’s interior is free to host field events in a manner both operationally efficient and optimal for athlete performance.
- Monday, September, 25, 2017
Anthem Protests Nothing New, But Little Guidance Exists
The inescapable story in sports is how athletes — particularly NFL players — are treating the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner” before games. Ever since the 2016 NFL preseason, when Colin Kaeperknick, then a member of the San Francisco 49ers, did not stand for the national anthem as a protest against the treatment of people of color in the United States, the act of sitting or kneeling during the anthem has stirred debate among players and fans, and between professional leagues and politicians.
The inevitable trickle-down effect has been evidenced at virtually every level of competition. A Cahokia, Ill., youth football team of seven- and eight-year-olds knelt for the anthem at a game Sept. 17. A high school football team in Seattle, Wash., likewise took a knee for the anthem before a game Friday night.
No matter where administrators place themselves on the political spectrum, at least some are facing decisions regarding an appropriate response to such “social injustice” protests.
There may be little guidance to go by. The NCAA has no policy regarding national anthem protocol, and in fact doesn’t even require that the anthem be played. Most college football teams opt to remain in their locker rooms as marching bands play the anthem several minutes before kickoff.
In April, the National Federation of State High School Associations released an article by legal expert Lee Green, which concluded, “With regard to student-athlete national anthem protests, school and athletics administrators might be best served by using such demonstrations as a teachable moment to discuss the underlying issues and encourage lifelong political advocacy by students. And even those school officials who disagree with the protests might take note of the following quote. Commenting on his advocacy of freedom of speech and promoting the ‘marketplace of ideas” concept he first posited in the Supreme Court’s decision in Abrams v. United States (1919), Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. once stated to a newspaper reporter that “every American believes in free speech unless it’s speech he doesn’t agree with.’ ”
One antidote to sky-is-falling reactions regarding the nexus of sports and politics is the fact that anthem protests predate Kaepernick by decades. Prior to his Hall of Fame NBA career as Kareen Abdul-Jabbar, Lew Alcindor refused to stand for the anthem during a UCLA career that saw him lead the Bruins to three national championships in the 1960s. In response, legendary UCLA John Wooden kept the entire team in the locker room as the anthem played — an approach witnessed this weekend in more than one NFL stadium. The anthem — and the games — played on.
- Wednesday, November, 30, 2016
AB Show 2016: The Magic of Orlando
There’s something about Orlando, Fla., that stirs the nostalgia in this AB Show-goer. It’s where the conference and expo (as it used to be known) was held my first eight years at Athletic Business, and it has been there another four times since. In all, Orlando has served as the annual home away from home for AB roughly half the time in our show’s 35-year history.
- Monday, November, 10, 2014
Get to Know Your Peers When Attending ABC
This is a story about a conversation Lou Holtz and I never had.
- Tuesday, August, 12, 2014
Robin Williams Drew Attention to Inaugural Augie’s BASH
Robin Williams possessed the kind of frenetic magnetism that dared you to look away. For me, it wasn’t possible. The actor/comedian’s larger-than-life persona was tailor-made for a movie screen.
- Thursday, January, 17, 2013
Blog: The Tangled Webs of Lance Armstrong, Manti Te'o
The twisted tales of Lance Armstrong and Manti Te'o are now intertwined. Heroes to many, these athletes have lived lies before our eyes, and now those lies are unraveling within the same week.
- Monday, December, 03, 2012
Blog: The Life and Death of Rick Majerus
The first time I saw Rick Majerus in person, he was sitting in seldom-used end-court bleachers that had been wheeled into position for a Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Class C basketball sectional at my high school alma mater's field house. I was there to cover a game for my hometown newspaper, The West Bend News. Majerus, an assistant coach at Marquette at the time (this was the mid-'80s), was there to scout Kohler, Wis., phenom Joe Wolf, who would eventually attend North Carolina.
- Friday, August, 17, 2012
Blog: Cheer These Pro Athletes for Giving Back
Assuming your membership in the Latrell "I have a family to feed" Sprewell Fan Club has expired, may we suggest a couple of options.
- Sunday, January, 17, 2010
Blog: Still Believing, 34 Years (and Counting) Later
Editor's Note: AB Senior Editor Paul Steinbach authored this piece in January 2010, but with February 22nd marking the 34th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice and the U.S. men's hockey team facing off against Canada on Friday, the message still rings true.
For nearly 30 years now, the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team has been an off-and-on obsession of mine.
- Thursday, December, 10, 2009
A Choice to Make
There's precedent for a Catholic institution sticking with a coach despite his pro-choice stance on abortion. Rick Majerus is in his third season heading the St. Louis University men's basketball program after admitting during a TV interview at a January 2008 Hillary Clinton campaign rally that he is "pro-choice, personally." But will a Catholic institution hire a pro-choice coach? Somehow, during speculation that University of Cincinnati head football coach Brian Kelly is next in line to bear the Notre Dame football cross, the rumor spread that Kelly, an Irish Catholic who decades ago campaigned for Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart, is pro-choice. But no one seems to know for sure. "I searched online media archives all day today trying to find one reputable media reference to Kelly's stance on abortion," read a Tuesday post by Brooks at sportsbybrooks.com. "I found none."
- Wednesday, November, 11, 2009
Hit 'Em Straight
When the AB editors dedicated our July issue to best environmental practices in the athletics, fitness and recreation industries, we managed to overlook one egregious hazard to our planet's health: golf balls.