Tag Archives: Sports

Bubba Watson Wins Masters

Bubba Watson signing autographs on the putting...

Bubba Watson signing autographs on the putting green of the Congressional Country Club during the Earl Woods Memorial Pro-Am before the 2007 AT&T National tournament. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bubba Watson won the Masters Tournament on Sunday in sudden death playoff against Louis Oosthuizen.

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The Atlantic Explores Whether Football Is Good for Colleges

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This year’s college football bowl games will finish a season defined by scandal. After the scandals (and crimes) at Ohio State, Miami, and Penn State, The Atlantic wondered if college football is really good for colleges. Here are some findings.

Does college football make schools richer or poorer? Answer: It enriches only the powerhouses.

The media focuses on powerhouses, but those teams are just of a larger picture. In August, the NCAA released a financial breakdown of college athletics. Half of the teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision generated a profit from football, with a median gain of $9.1 million. The median loss of programs stuck in the red was $2.9 million.

A dozen studies have probed the claim that alumni give more when football teams win, but the jury’s still out. A 2004 study by University of North Carolina at Charlotte professor Irvin Tucker found that better records and bowl appearances could boost alumni giving by 1% over six years. A 2001 paper, however, found no such relationship.

In 2003, Brad Humphreys looked at the relationship between gridiron glory and state appropriations. Winning teams received more generous treatment. “A successful football season might increase state appropriations by 5% to 8% in the following year, and a team with a respectable losing record might garner a 2% to 4% increase, other things equal,” he concluded.

Former Office of Management and Budget Peter Orszag was part of a team commissioned by the NCAA to analyze the impact of athletic spending on colleges. His study found that spending more on football didn’t lead to a more profitable team. It also didn’t lead to more alumni giving.

Is football good for a school’s reputation? Winning teams could lead to more applications and higher rankings.

Schools view their football programs as billboards. A big win on the field can even lead to a surge in applications. The phenomenon is called the Flutie Effect.

In a highly regarded study, a team from Virginia Tech looked at how winning affected applications at big time football and basketball schools. Football programs that finished in the AP Top 20 saw 2.5% more applications the next year. A national championship drove between 7-8% more.

In 2010, a group of researchers investigated the effect of football success on a school’s peer assessment score in U.S. News and World Report’s annual college rankings. Finishing strong in the year-end rankings could have the same effect as a forty-two point boost in SAT scores.

Is football bad for academics? Winning teams are bad for grades but good for graduation rates.

In terms of academics, football is a mixed blessing for universities. In a working paper released this month, professors from the University of Oregon tracked how (all) students’ grades were influenced by the school’s football success. The results weren’t pretty. When Oregon won more, men’s grades dropped relative to women’s. When they lost, men’s grades recovered.

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In 1992, University of North Carolina at Charlotte professor Irvin Tucker found that graduation rates were lower at schools with strong football traditions. His findings were challenged. In 2003, Patrick Rishe of Webster University published a paper finding no link between sports success and graduation rates. One year later, a pair from the University of Southern Mississippi found that a better football team improved freshman retention rates.

Via The Atlantic.

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Syracuse Fires Coach Facing Sexual Abuse Charges

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Syracuse University has fired Bernie Fine as an assistant men’s basketball coach, hours after new reports arose of his alleged sexual abuse of boys.

Mr. Fine was placed on administrative leave earlier this month, after former Syracuse ball boy Bobby Davis and his stepbrother, Mike Lang, accused him of molesting them.

Police opened an investigation on the matter on November 17, Syracuse police Sgt. Tom Connellan said.

The Syracuse Post-Standard and ESPN reported Sunday the existence of a recording of a 2002 phone conversation that Mr. Davis recorded between him and the coach’s wife.

Mr. Davis provided the recording to the Post-Standard. The newspaper did not report it because it couldn’t find “witnesses, enough corroborating evidence or a second accuser.”

In the tape, a woman whom ESPN claims was Laurie Fine said she knew “everything that went on” with her husband, adding that “he thinks he’s above the law.”

Bernie Fine’s attorneys, Donald Martin and Karl Sleight, released a statement Sunday declining to comment on the reports.

The wife, Laurie Fine, then suggested to the Post-Standard that Mr. Davis taped her multiple times and edited the recordings to make them seem more inflammatory.

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NBA Lockout May End in Time for Christmas Games

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NBA players and owners have reached a “tentative understanding” to end the lockout, NBA Commissioner David Stern announced early today.

Mr. Stern says he hopes to have the NBA season start on December 25. The NBA had already canceled games through December 15.

The current lockout has lasted 149 days. A previous lockout in the NBA lasted 204 days from July 1998 to January 1999 before a new collective bargaining agreement was reached by both sides. That agreement expired in June, sparking the latest developments.

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Cards Win the World Series

Last night, the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series, defeating the Texas Rangers 6-2 in Game 7.

The championship is the Cardinals’ eleventh, the most of any National League franchise and second overall in the majors behind the New York Yankees, who have won twenty-seven.

The Rangers, the American League champions, lost their second straight World Series despite winning three of the first five games.

The Cardinals were the National League’s wild-card entry in the baseball postseason, winning that distinction on the last day of the regular season.

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NBA Cancels First Two Weeks of Season

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The National Basketball Association canceled the first two weeks of the regular season due to a labor dispute with players.

The NBA and the players’ union have not been able to reach a collective bargaining agreement. In a statement, the NBA said the cancellation includes all games originally scheduled to be played through November 14.

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Oakland Raiders Owner Dies at 82

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Al Davis, the owner of the Oakland Raiders, died today, the team said on its website. He was 82.

Davis was part of professional football for six decades. He joined the Raiders in 1963. Since then, the team has had twenty-eight winning seasons and won three Super Bowl championships.

Davis was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992.

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NHL Won’t Respond to Player Who Used Homophobic Slur on the Ice

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New York Rangers forward Sean Avery joined the campaign to fight for same-sex marriage in New York this spring, knowing full well he might get blowback from opponents in the NHL.

Two days ago, Philadelphia Flyers player Wayne Simmonds called Sean Avery a “f*cking f*ggot” during an exhibition game. Avery complained to NHL officials, but the officials say they won’t fine Simmonds because “there are conflicting accounts of what transpired on the ice,” despite the fact that Simmonds can clearly be seen mouthing the slur on video.

Other professional sports leagues have cracked down on homophobic slurs. When Kobe Bryant used the same slur as Simmonds, the National Basketball Association fined him $100,000. Nearly a third of all Major League Baseball teams have made “It Gets Better” videos to stand up against anti-gay bullying.

The NHL’s inaction is not only a step backward in the fight to end the culture of homophobia in professional sports. It’s also a betrayal of Sean Avery, who represents the very best of how professional athletes can help the fight for gay rights.

If the NHL ignores Simmonds’ slur, that sends a dangerous signal to other hockey players: Don’t bother supporting the LGBT community. Your league won’t have your back if you do.

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On 9/11 Anniversary, Horses 9-1-1 Win at NY Track

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In Elmont, New York, on Sunday, betters who honored the 9/11 anniversary with their picks were surprised with a win. The first thee winners of the day were the 9 horse, the 1 horse, and the 1 horse.

Jockey David Cohen rode the first two winners, Say Toba Sandy and Wishful Tomcat. Simon P. Husbands rode Haya’s Boy to victory in the third race. The $2 Pick 3 paid $18.60.

This feat was not accomplished at just any racetrack; this racetrack served as a staging area for emergency vehicles and personnel in the days after 9/11.

Via ThePostGame.

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Russian Plane Carrying Professional Hockey Team Crashes

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A Russian jet carrying the Lokomotiv ice hockey team crashed while taking off today in western Russia, killing at least forty-three people. The jet was carrying forty-five people, including eight crew. Everyone from the team’s main roster was on the plane, as were four players from the youth team.

The crash occurred after takeoff for a flight to Minsk, where Lokomotiv had a Kontinental Hockey League game scheduled against Dynamo Minsk Thursday.

The KHL’s opening day was today. After the crash, the game between Salavat Yulaev and Atlas was stopped and postponed for a moment of silence.

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