Friday, January, 04, 2019
Texas Defends Handling of Mascot Bevo After Incident
The University of Texas athletic department says standard procedure was used in handling Bevo XV, the team's on-field mascot since 2016, when the 1,700-pound longhorn steer briefly acted up before Tuesday's Sugar Bowl.
Bevo was standing within a makeshift corral when Georgia's live bulldog mascot Uga approached on a handler's leash. The two animals had been introduced earlier that day without incident, but this time Bevo lunged through the corral, clipping two photographers and sending other onlookers scrambling.
"He got me in the back," said Nick Wagner, an Austin American-Statesman photographer who had been taking photos of Uga. "I don't know whether it was his horn or his snout, but I think it was his horn. His right horn came around and clocked me in the face along the cheekbone."
Bruised and sore, Wagner added, "I'll just keep my head on a better swivel and pay him more respect in the future."
A photographer from The Daily Texan student newspaper likewise felt grazed by a horn.
Despite the scare, no changes are expected regarding how Bevo, a four-year-old longhorn owned by ranchers in Liberty, Texas, is cared for during live appearances. Members of the Silver Spurs, a student group, serve as Bevo’s handlers and caretakers. The Spurs’ website describes Bevo XV as "one of the friendliest and manageable" Bevos in UT’s history.
"All of the established safety measures for Bevo at home and away football games were in place at the Sugar Bowl last night," John Bianco, a spokesman for UT's athletics department, told the American-Statesman in an emailed statement. "The handlers that are with him at all times are well-educated, trained and did their job."
As the numerals after his name would indicate, Bevo is the latest in a long line of live mascot longhorns at Texas. Live animal mascots have long been part of the gameday atmosphere at many schools, and not without controversy, as AB reported in 2008. Following Tuesday's incident, PETA officials called on both schools to end their live mascot traditions.
Thursday, January, 03, 2019
Plaintiffs Make Case that Abuser Was District Employee
Plaintiffs in the case of a Miles City, Mont., "athletic trainer" accused of systematically abusing student-athletes have presented new evidence that James "Doc" Jensen was indeed an employee of the local school district — a disputed point in ongoing court filings.
According to the Billings Gazette, since the civil suit was filed, the school district has denied that it knew about Jensen's abuse, while plaintiffs have argued that the district knew and failed to take actions — with both sides often citing the same evidence. Jensen is accused of operating a systematic sexual abuse scheme known as "The Program" in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. The civil suit targets both Jensen and the Custer County High School District, which 31 alleged victims argue should have stopped Jensen's abuse.
The plaintiffs' latest filling includes a "notice of employment" for school years from 1994-95 to 1997-98 that shows that Jensen was slated to earn $1,548 in the first year and $1,638 in his last year as an "athletic trainer." He was also issued tax forms from the district from two of those years.
Wednesday's filings by the plaintiffs target an argument in a document filed by the school district Dec. 28 that Jensen was "not a regular employee" and "essentially a volunteer." That characterization "grossly misconstrues the facts," the plaintiffs argued Wednesday.
As the abuse story broke in September, the National Athletic Trainers Association issued a release stating that Jensen was never certified by the national certifying body for athletic trainers.
Thursday, January, 03, 2019
Bland Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Bribery
Former University of Southern California assistant men's basketball coach Tony Bland pleaded guilty Wednesday in Manhattan federal court to a single count of conspiracy to commit bribery.
Among four assistant coaches charged in the September 2017 crackdown on college basketball recruiting corruption, Bland is the first to have accepted a plea deal. He was scheduled to go to trial in April.
As reported by the Associated Press, prosecutors say the coaches teamed up with a top Adidas executive and others to trade hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to influence star athletes' choice of schools, shoe sponsors, agents and even tailors.
Wednesday, January, 02, 2019
Rec Center Adjusts Age Restriction in Anti-Obesity Effort
The Bowling Green (Ohio) Parks and Recreation Department is changing its admission policy at the BG Community Center with the hope that allowing younger children to use the facility unattended by a guardian will encourage activity and help fight obesity.
Wednesday, December, 26, 2018
LSU Indoor Track Accents UREC Exterior
The north elevation of Louisiana State University's UREC is almost entirely glass, affording the type of transparency and visual communication of activity often desired in recreation center design.
Friday, December, 21, 2018
Ex-USC Coach Bland Accepts Plea Deal in FBI Probe
The Los Angeles Times confirmed Thursday that former University of Southern California associate head basketball coach Tony Bland has agreed to a plea bargain as part of the federal investigation into corruption in college basketball.
Thursday, December, 20, 2018
Delbrook Centre’s Circulation Spine Emulates Forest
Many facilities seek to blur the lines between interior and exterior, and Delbrook Community Recreation Centre in North Vancouver, B.C., manages to accomplish the task despite its challenging site.
Wednesday, December, 19, 2018
Ex-UConn Coach Fights for Right to Claim Discrimination
Former University of Connecticut men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie claims his March 10 firing was racially motivated and is fighting the university for the right to make that claim.
According to the New Haven Register, Ollie and his attorneys have for several months been seeking to file a complaint of race discrimination with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or in the courts. His attorneys want to preserve the right to do so after his current arbitration process with UConn is over. However, Ollie's attorneys contend that UConn is preventing their client from doing so, based on a provision in the collective bargaining agreement between Ollie’s union and the school that would allow UConn to end its current arbitration proceedings with Ollie if he took that route.
"It's unfortunate that the University of Connecticut has forced us to seek federal court intervention to protect Kevin’s right to file a claim of discrimination after we go to arbitration," said Ollie attorney Jacques Parenteau. "There is no good reason for the University of Connecticut to refuse to cooperate with us on this.
"I can't understand why they would not agree. It does them no harm whatsoever to say, 'If you have this right, we’ll just waive it until after the arbitration.' It's just to be punitive, or, as we allege, retaliatory."
The statute-of-limitations deadline for filing a discrimination case with the CHRO was Monday, so Ollie is seeking an emergency injunction in U.S. District Court.
According to the injunction request dated Dec. 17, Ollie is claiming "disparate treatment" against him compared to white coaches at UConn, including Jim Calhoun. The document notes that Calhoun was found to have violated NCAA rules after investigations in 2011 and 2012 that were more severe than what Ollie was accused of doing. Instead of being fired, the document states, Calhoun was paid more than $1.9 million between 2012 (when he retired) and September 2018.
Ollie contends that this proves he has been discriminated against on the basis of race and color, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act.
UConn claims Ollie violated several NCAA rules during his six seasons as UConn’s head coach, from shooting baskets with a prospective recruit to allowing illicit workouts between his players and trainers and setting up a phone call between a recruit and Hall of Famer Ray Allen, a former UConn star.
Ollie is seeking to recoup the nearly $11 million that was remaining on his contract at the time he was fired. Along with the allegations of racial discrimination, Ollie continues to contend that he was fired without "just cause."
Tuesday, December, 18, 2018
'Innovative' Deal: Texas to Get Use of $300M Arena
The University of Texas may soon get use of a $300 million arena with little if any financial input from boosters or taxpayers.
"This is an innovative deal that will be good for the city and the university," UT President Gregory L. Fenves told the Austin American-Statesman. "UT is a strategic partner with our community, and I’m looking forward to discussing the details, subject to the regents’ approval, later this week."
As it stands, the plan involves leasing 6.64 acres of campus to Los Angeles-based venue-management firm Oak View Group LLC, which will build and manage the arena while providing UT with approximately 60 dates per year to host basketball games, graduations and other university functions. To be located just south of the Longhorns' football stadium, the proposed arena would accommodate up to 17,000 people, but seat 10,000 spectators in its basketball configuration.
The university will own the building upon completion, while a OVG will recoup all revenue for 10 years. After that period, UT will get a percentage of annual revenue.
The UT athletic department has at least $14 million in annual debt service payments scheduled through 2044, according to audited figures obtained by the American-Statesman. With principal and interest payments, Texas athletics is still on the hook for $306.7 million for previous construction. With the new facility, Texas will at most have to pay for some incidentals, possibly concerning traffic and utilities.
One shortcoming has already emerged, however. The arena will not include attached practice space, something men's and women's basketball coaches were initially told it would, thus potentially putting Texas at a recruiting disadvantage compared to schools such as Kansas, which offers one-stop convenience for its student-athletes.
Friday, December, 14, 2018
Can Do: Bears Nix Beer Plastic Cups at Soldier Field
For the first time since the 2002 renovation of Soldier Field, the stadium vendors are selling beer to Chicago Bears fans in cans as opposed to pouring the beer in plastic cups.
The trend toward cans has been slowed by concerns that full cans of beer can be hurled from the stands and cause injury, as has been the case in isolated incidents in the NFL and MLB.
But the Bears' adoption of cans has a more positive spin, according to one vendor. "We wanted to bring cans to Soldier Field because they are more environmentally friendly," said Marty Malone, spokesman for supplier MillerCoors. "The cans provide a ready-to-consume and recyclable container, eliminating the need for cups and cutting down significantly on waste."
Industry insiders told the Chicago Sun-Times that a>bout 20,000 cases of beer are sold at the 61,500-seat stadium every year, including at the Bears' 10 preseason and regular season games and at a few concerts. At 24 cans per case, that's 480,000 cans of beer.
Friday, January, 05, 2018
AB Today 2017: Our Top 10 Stories of the Past Year
Deregulation and legal action. Out-of-control training and recruiting practices. These were topics that drew much of our readers’ attention in 2017. AB Today has compiled a list of the top stories that broke in this space over the past year. Here are the 10 that garnered the most page views, in ascending order:
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.