Women’s soccer, pro/rel, UConn hoops and taking things for granted

If there’s war between the sexes, then there’ll be no people left — Joe Jackson. (Tori Amos did a terrific cover version.) I’ve spent too much time on Twitter this week grabbing the third rail. I’ve been in conversations on promotion/relegation, women’s soccer equity, and UConn women’s basketball. Let’s dispense with the last one first. The “Connecticut is too dominant” issue has reached The Guardian this week, but it’s being fanned by ESPN. You know — the colossus based in Bristol, Conn., founded by people who wanted to watch Connecticut sports. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so quick to point to … Continue reading Women’s soccer, pro/rel, UConn hoops and taking things for granted

“Fantastic Lies” and the lessons of the Duke lacrosse case

Don’t stereotype. Don’t rush to judgment. Those are the lessons of the Duke lacrosse case from 10 years ago. Three men suffered the horror of being flung into the spotlight as wrongly accused rape defendants, and the collateral damage went far and wide. “The momentum of a country hungry for justice overtook any serious investigation of the alleged crime,” writes Christina Cauterucci in Slate. So when I heard ESPN’s excellent 30 for 30 series was releasing a documentary on the case called Fantastic Lies, I had a bit of trepidation. I had hoped the last word had come three years ago. Too many … Continue reading “Fantastic Lies” and the lessons of the Duke lacrosse case

War on College Sports: Maybe justified?

I love college sports. I’m not so thrilled with the prospect of other students paying for them. An investigation of the eight largest public universities in Ohio in the Football Bowl Subdivision found that with one exception, college administrators and trustees impose hidden fees and invisible taxes on thousands of students who pay tens of millions. Source: Robin Hood in Reverse Continue reading War on College Sports: Maybe justified?

Single-Digit Soccer: Do players specialize in high school?

At national champion Ohio State, the answer is apparently not. One sport specialization? Colleges prefer well-rounded, versatile athletes. Be involved-help your school & yourself. pic.twitter.com/cR4ObYlmVy — Tuscola HS Athletics (@TuscolaAD) January 17, 2015 And this is in high school. In soccer, we’re asking whether our players should be specializing at age 8. From my research so far, the answer is surely not. A high school sports blog has a good list of benefits from playing multiple sports and quotes on playing several sports from luminaries like Wayne Gretzky, Larry Fitzgerald and the ubiquitous Alex Morgan. I’m not sure how to verify the … Continue reading Single-Digit Soccer: Do players specialize in high school?

Single-Digit Soccer: Basketball feels the fear

One unique aspect of soccer development as opposed to football and baseball is that we in the USA are all worried that other countries are doing it better. Little League and Pop Warner coaches surely don’t spend quite as much time absorbing the lessons of Barcelona, Ajax and Tahuichi as those of us in soccer. In basketball, the USA is just starting to ease into that discussion, thanks in part to one U.S. star raised in Italy — Kobe Bryant, who shook up the basketball establishment a few days ago by saying European players are getting better skill development than … Continue reading Single-Digit Soccer: Basketball feels the fear

War on Nonrevenue Sports returns: USOC gearing up

USOC CEO Scott Blackmun isn’t going to give up on Olympic sports in colleges without a fight. He sees the threat of budget cuts and reallocations as athletics departments start paying more for its football and basketball players. There are so many things that we can do. What we need to do is get together and decide what is our top priority, what are our top three priorities. We have identified a donor who’s willing to support us, subject to us collectively — and by that I mean the athletic directors and the USOC — finding a program that we … Continue reading War on Nonrevenue Sports returns: USOC gearing up

College athlete unions, paying players and unasked questions

The last thing I want to do is pick an argument with my fellow Duke grad Jay Bilas. He’s a consummate pro when it comes to college basketball analysis, and he’s making an intelligent case for college sports reform. But I think the man who wrote Toughness is capable of answering tougher questions than Keith Olbermann fed him in the wake of the decision (pending appeals) to let Northwestern student-athletes organize as a union. Olbermann and Bilas quickly latched on the “pay college athletes” part of the union argument, and we’ll get back to whether that’s actually the central issue here. Then … Continue reading College athlete unions, paying players and unasked questions

College sports 2020: A plausible fantasy

Jan. 6, 2020 … Alabama defeated Montana 35-34 tonight to win its third straight NCAA football championship. The Crimson Tide’s experience in big games proved to be the difference against Montana, which made the NCAA playoffs for the first time after winning the Western Football League championship. But the Grizzlies earned plenty of respect for the second-year WFL with their performance. The WFL was founded in 2017 after the Pac-12 and Mountain West conferences stopped organizing football competition. The championship pairing showed how much has changed since Northwestern University football players won the right to organize as a labor group … Continue reading College sports 2020: A plausible fantasy