• Youth Baseball Coach Defends Raffle of AR-15 Rifle

    by Paul Steinbach February 2018

    The coach of a traveling 9-and-under youth baseball team in Neosho, Mo., is standing by his decision to raffle off an AR-15 rifle as a fundraiser.

    The gun, donated by a team member's parent who co-founded local gun purveyor Black Rain Ordnance Inc., has gained infamy as the weapon of choice in mass shootings, including the school shooting last week that killed 14 students and three employees in Parkland, Fla.

    Dan Patterson, the team's coach, told the Kansas City Star that he considered raffling off an alternative prize in the wake of Wednesday's tragedy but decided instead to "turn it into a positive thing" after "getting the hate." Most blowback came from social media users. 

    "I applaud them for standing up for what they believe in," Patterson told the Star, which ran his comments Saturday under the headline, "Third-graders are selling AR-15 raffle tickets in Missouri." "I just think they have feelings to this specific type of gun (that are) different than people around here do."

    As much of the country engaged in a gun-control debate online post-Parkland, Patterson likewise dug in regarding the raffle. One individual commented on Patterson's page, "Are you all tone deaf? AR15 kills seventeen so you raffle a gun for child sports? Lord, people wake the hell up. Justify all you want but you are wrong, period.” Patterson responded by writing that "gun raffles have been going on for years. Evil has and will always exist. Our hearts break for those involved, and we do not take that lightly.”

    The raffle is not affiliated with the Neosho School District, but mere hours after the Florida shooting, South Elementary School principal Lee Woodward took to her own Facebook page to encourage community support of "9u players, coaches, and parents " through raffle participation.

    That same day, Patterson addressed a "concerned group" online. "We appreciate your ‘concern’ but please understand, we are not, have not, and will not force one of our boys to sell raffle tickets for the Black Rain AR15 Spec 15, if they are uncomfortable doing so."

  • Group to Distribute $113K to Youth Baseball Programs

    by Len Hayward February 2018

    The Hooks announced Tuesday they plan to distribute $113,000 to Little League and youth baseball programs in Rockport, Port Aransas, Refugio, Ingleside and Aransas Pass.

  • Grant May Save Town's Softball Fields

    by Myron Madden February 2018

    Signal Mountain planners are exploring a grant opportunity that could help restore the town's baseball and softball fields to their former glory. The grant, offered through the state's Local Parks and Recreation Fund, would go toward renovations at Driver Field and Marion Field, both of which sit behind Signal Mountain Golf & Country Club. The fields have not seen any significant improvements since they were built in the 1950s, planners explained, and residents who support the grant say the touch-up is long overdue.

  • Southeastern Conference Announces Record Revenue

    by David Paschall February 2018

    Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey announced Thursday that $596.9 million of total revenue was divided among the league's 14 institutions for the 2016-17 fiscal year that ended Aug. 31.

  • USC Lands Richest-Ever Collegiate Naming Rights Deal

    by Paul Steinbach January 2018

    The first naming rights agreement in the 95-year history of Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will also represent the nation's richest collegiate deal ever.

    United Airlines and the University of Southern California announced this week that they had reached a 16-year, $69 million pact effective in August 2019, when the stadium will become known as United Airlines Memorial Coliseum. USC has leased the stadium as its home football venue under a 98-year agreement with the city, county and state, and has been searching for a naming rights partner since 2015 with an eye toward a $270 million stadium renovation. The naming rights deal with United, in the works since May, will help modernize the stadium interior (including replacement of every seat) while returning the venue exterior to something more closely resembling its original 1923 appearance.

    “The university has a time-honored commitment to the Coliseum, serving as its longest-enduring tenant," said USC President C. L. Max Nikias in a statement released by the school. “USC is honored to be the caretaker of this Los Angeles treasure. Together with United, we can ensure the Coliseum's future as a world-class venue and true community asset.”

    City Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, a member of the Coliseum Commission, called the Coliseum one of the world's greatest sports venues and an architectural icon in Los Angeles. “Through this restoration project, USC continues to demonstrate its responsible stewardship of the stadium," he said. "With support from United Airlines, USC is ushering in a modern era for this historic landmark and preserving its legacy for generations to come.”

    An already world-class facility will achieve better-than-ever status, according to USC athletic director Lynn Swann. “When construction is complete, our home field will be the best it's ever been, for our players, our students and our Trojan fans," Swann said, "and that's thanks to the contributions from founders and alumni, and partners like United Airlines."

  • Sponsored Video: Using a ScoreVision Multimedia Jumbotron Scoreboard to Increase Athletic Revenue in 2018

    by AB Editors January 2018

    This sponsored content was paid for by ScoreVision. What is sponsored content?

    Athletic budgets can be stretched pretty thin between equipment, facility rentals, coaching staff, and all the other expenses that go into making an amazing athletic program for student-athletes. ScoreVision is working with schools across the country to alleviate these budget issues and generate continuous revenue through their integrated digital ad sequencing technology.

  • Donors Target Longhorn Student-Athlete Mental Health

    by Paul Steinbach January 2018

    Julia Hickman and Cecil Reynolds are long-time University of Texas women's basketball season-ticket holders and Longhorn Foundation donors. They are also both mental health professionals who have taught at the collegiate level, a fact that makes their latest pledge to UT athletics all the more meaningful.

    Representing the largest one-time donation in UT athletics history, the couple's $20 million gift will fund the future Cecil Reynolds and Julia Hickman Center for Student-Athlete Brain & Behavioral Health.

    "Both of us being in the mental health field, we've gravitated to brain and behavioral health, and we observe that student-athletes have the same mental health issues," Reynolds states on the Longhorns website. "It's compounded because of the stress dumped on them. It's a whole different level of stress, because of the schedules, expectations and demands."

    According to the site, "The center will provide administrative oversight, structure and support to implement an integrated, athlete-centered model of student-athlete mental/behavioral health services that emphasizes education, prevention, assessment, treatment and self-care for current and future Texas student-athletes. Additionally, the center will work to integrate clinical services and prioritize participation in research initiatives that focus on athlete brain and behavioral health interventions and outcomes."

    "We continue to learn that having a healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body," said UT vice president and athletics director Chris Del Conte. "This generous commitment will help our student-athletes for generations to come."

    It was a generation ago that Hickman attended a women's basketball fantasy camp at Texas. "I was totally hooked," she said. "It was the most fun I'd ever had in my whole life. I started buying season tickets, and I sort of dragged Cecil, my son and my mom to basketball games. Cecil fell in love with it too."

    Reynolds added that the new center will empower student-athletes to take care of themselves in ways beyond the physical. "We want to make it an expectation to ask for help. It should be no different than treating a sprained ankle," he said. "If you're having an issue that's emotional or behavioral, the expectation should be that you step forward and do something about it."

  • Communities Receive Grants for Parks and Recreation

    by Telegram & Gazette January 2018

    Worcester, Southbridge, Leominster and Gardner were awarded portions of more than $6.3 million in grants administered to 22 communities through the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to develop or renovate land for parks and outdoor recreation, the Baker-Polito administration said Friday.

  • Council Seeks Donation for 'Smart Park'

    by Marie Wilson December 2017

    Naperville City Council members who don't want some club leaders' names on a plaque at a potential "Smart Park" almost held up acceptance of a $200,000 donation to fund the park. But after much discussion Tuesday, council members put their critiques into the open and accepted the money, pending negotiation to address the issue of the plaque with names and other concerns. Naperville Jaycees have offered to donate $200,000 during the next 10 years to fund an outdoor area with seating, shade, power and Wi-Fi where people can plug in and check email.

  • YMCA Awarded $275K Investment Grant

    by Charleston Gazette-Mail December 2017

    The Upper Kanawha Valley YMCA has been given a $275,000 ARC grant help in bringing full time operations to its Montgomery facility.