Category Archives: NCAA

Talks of Change Immediate in Wake of Zion Injury

By Drew Gallagher

February 23, 2019

Drew Gallagher is a first-year undergraduate student at Bowling Green State University. He is planning to major in Sport Management with a minor in General Business. Drew is a proud native of Aurora, Illinois and is interested in many sports, but focuses primarily on baseball and football at the professional and collegiate levels.

On Wednesday, February 20th, the greatest rivalry in college basketball resumed and there was a lot of promotion put into the game. Less than a half-minute into it though, all that excitement was changed to dread for most Duke and NBA fans. As you probably already know, Duke star Zion Williamson suffered a knee injury that could have very well ended his season and maybe even his seemingly locked position as the number one overall pick in the upcoming draft. Being that Williamson is arguably the most hyped basketball prospect since LeBron James, you can imagine the thoughts going through everyone from basketball fans to NBA executives’ heads after it happened. Luckily for Zion, the injury is now “being labeled as a mild knee sprain” (Walton, 2019, para 3).

If you’re like me – constantly watching sports talk shows and reading sports articles – you noticed a common theme the day after the injury. Analysts seemed to flip-flop between the implications of the injury for Duke and a potential rule change by the NBA. This would include the eligible age to declare for the NBA draft changing back to 18. This would eliminate the “one-and-done” rule given that prospects could declare directly out of high school. The rationale of most analysts was mainly about a player possibly losing out on money if they sustain a career ending/hurting injury in college when it could have been avoided by being in the NBA already.

This talk was of course to be expected after a player of Zion’s ability had a possible career ending injury. It felt like the national media was just waiting for something like this to happen so that they could criticize the NBA for making players go to school for just one year. I find it interesting that they would wait like that because if it was truly as urgent as they all claimed it to be on Thursday, then it would’ve been just as urgent before the injury ever occurred. And yet, talk about a possible rule change only happened occasionally before. Granted, one may argue that since Williamson is as good as he is, the injury finally woke these people up and cemented the idea in their minds.

The media’s continual coverage helped lead the NBA to propose lowering the eligible draft age only a day later. This would be the first step towards changing the rule back to what it once was in the early 2000s. According to Goldberg, “the timing is reportedly coincidental” coming the day after the injury (Goldberg, para 3). I do find it very hard to believe that the injury just happened to occur the day before they planned to report this. The NBA would need to most likely wait to change this rule for good until the new CBA is agreed upon sometime within the next five years.

I do find it very interesting that this sort of talk has been reserved to the basketball ranks and has yet to make it into college football yet. This is surprising when you think about the risk of injury being much more prevalent in the sport of football than basketball. I did hear the occasional discussion about it when Nick Bosa decided to sit out for the rest of his season at Ohio State after an injury, but this talk was nothing compared to the media storm caused by Williamson’s injury.

It was apparent to any sports fan this week that Williamson’s injury caused a huge stir within the sporting community. We will see if the national media keeps arguing for the case of a rule change in the coming months leading up to the draft. My guess is that this talk will not cool down much until then.

 

References

Goldberg, R. (2019, February 21). NBA proposes lowering eligible draft age to 18 after Zion Williamson knee injury. Bleacher Report. Retrieved from https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2821830-nba-proposes-lowering-eligible-draft-age-to-18-after-zion-williamson-knee-injury

Walton, M. (2019, February 21). Zion Williamson injury updated to Grade 1 right knee sprain. NBC Sports Chicago. Retrieved from https://www.nbcsports.com/chicago/bulls/zion-williamson-injury-updated-grade-1-right-knee-sprain

Maryland Football Coach DJ Durkin Fired Day After Reinstatement

Drew Gallagher is a first-year undergraduate student at Bowling Green State University. He is planning to major in Sport Management with a minor in General Business. Drew is a proud native of Aurora, Illinois and is interested in many sports, but focuses primarily on baseball and football at the professional and collegiate levels.

DJ Durkin, the head football coach at the University of Maryland, was fired from his job Wednesday after being reinstated just a day before by the University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents (Dotson & Almasy, 2018).

For those who may not be aware of the incident for which Durkin was being investigated , it was his involvement in the June death of former Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair. McNair was a redshirt freshman who collapsed at the team’s first organized workout of the summer on May 29th, 2018. This was due to apparent heat exhaustion. He went to the hospital and was reported as being in “critical but stable condition” (Connors, 2018). McNair died two weeks later on June 13th and an investigation into his death was started almost immediately.

Durkin was later found to be present during the incident and was eventually placed on leave along with two medical staffers. The report later found that Maryland’s training staff failed to properly recognize McNair’s signs of heat exhaustion (Connors, 2018). The USM Board then began to conduct their own investigation. Much later on Tuesday, October 29th, after multiple meetings about the investigation, the Board announced that Durkin would be able to keep his job. The day after the reinstatement, he was fired from his position.

This timeline of events is very strange regardless of how anybody may feel about the incident itself. Those close to the incident such as McNair’s family member or teammates were surprised that Durkin was even reinstated in the first place. This was because of the very negative-leaning findings of how he and the training staff had handled McNair’s condition. Durkin’s firing coming the day after his reinstatement makes the situation even stranger.

The fact that this happened raises many different questions on the part of sports fans. Had the University planned to fire Durkin no matter what the Board of Regents decided? Did they only decide to do this during the short period of time between his reinstatement and firing? One could argue that the huge backlash from the media and it’s followers could have had a lot to do with the firing. It appeared that most people were opposed to the Board’s decision and this opposition may have forced the University to make a decision for the sake of their public relations.

The fact remains that at the end of the day, a young man is dead. Whether this was due to the carelessness of his coaches or because of some sort of freak accident is still up in the air. While this may never be known for certain, some may say that Durkin’s firing needed to happen for the sake of justice.

References

Connors, R. (2018, October 31). A timeline of Maryland football, from DJ Durkin’s hiring until now. SB Nation. Retrieved from https://www.testudotimes.com/maryland-terps-football/2018/10/30/17921896/maryland-football-dj-durkin-jordan-mcnair-wallace-loh

Dotson, K., & Almasy, S. (2018, November 1). Maryland football coach DJ Durkin fired a day after being reinstated. CNN.com. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/31/us/maryland-football-coach-durkin-fired/index.html

“DAD. WALK IT BACK.”

By Dr. Nancy E. Spencer, Associate Professor, BGSU Sport Management Program

During a press conference at the NCAA Final Four, UConn Coach Geno Auriemma was asked about the declining number of women coaches.[1] He responded by saying, “not as many women want to coach” (Jones, 2017, para. 3). Research confirms that his response is a common refrain. In a study by Acosta and Carpenter (1994), men and women athletic administrators were asked to provide reasons for the decline of women in coaching and administration of intercollegiate athletics. The responses revealed pronounced gender differences. Women perceived that there were systemic issues (e.g., a successful ‘old-boys’ network; lack of support for women; and unconscious discrimination), while men pointed to problems with individual women (i.e., failure of women to apply; lack of qualified women coaches and administrators; and time constraints due to family responsibilities) (Acosta & Carpenter, 1994). In a more recent NCAA study by Rachel Stark, the following reasons were given: increasing demands of coaching; constraints on working mothers; homophobia; lack of mentors and/or networking opportunities; and gender bias (Longman, 2017).

Two Final Four women coaches also gave their thoughts about why there are fewer women coaches. Stanford Coach Tara Van Derveer said that “women aren’t recycled in the way that men are” (Jenkins, 2017, para. 12). A unique example occurred with former Vanderbilt Coach, Melanie Balcomb, who was fired in 2016. Three months after not being hired elsewhere, South Carolina’s NCAA winning Coach Dawn Staley, hired Balcomb to serve as an “analytics consultant” (Jenkins, 2017, para. 15).

When Geno’s comments were discussed on “Around-the-Horn,” Prof. Kevin Blackistone confirmed research findings. Blackistone pointed out that before Title IX was enacted in 1972, more than 90% of coaches and administrators of women’s teams were women, while the average percentage of all women collegiate coaches is now around 43%. (see: Acosta & Carpenter, 2014). According to Nicole LaVoi, Co-Director of the Tucker Center, her biggest concern is that young women are missing “the opportunity to have a female coaching role model” (Longman, 2017, para. 25).

While many coaches, journalists and broadcasters have responded to Coach Auriemma’s statements, perhaps the best response was the one his daughter wrote on Twitter: “DAD, WALK IT BACK.” She added: “I’m pretty sure what dad was trying to say, in a limited, male perspective, is that a lot of avenues are open to women now that weren’t” (Jenkins, 2017, para. 8). Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with Coach Auriemma or his daughter, the door has been opened to an important dialogue that journalists and broadcasters have made more visible.

[1] According to NCAA statistics, the percentage of women coaches of Division I women’s basketball teams has declined from 63% in 2007-2008 to 56% in 2015-2016

Reflections on Laremy Tunsil’s Historic Draft Slide

by Brendan Ripley-Barasch

The 2016 NFL Draft was held this past Thursday night in Chicago and there were some surprises to say the least. A couple of things that may have shocked some fans included linebacker Myles Jack falling out of the first-round, CB Eli Apple being drafted at No. 10 by the New York Giants, and the mind-boggling amount of former Ohio State Buckeyes taken in the first-round. But one thing that took everyone by surprise was how far offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil fell.

                                                                                    Image via http://www.clarionledger.com

A dramatic series of events led to Tunsil falling all the way to the Miami Dolphins at No. 13. This player, who was once seen as the number one overall prospect in the draft, saw his downfall begin moments before the draft. Exactly thirteen minutes before the start of the draft, a video was posted to Laremy’s verified Twitter account that showed the former Ole Miss Rebel smoking what is assumed to be weed from a gas-mask bong. After a couple of minutes the video was taken down and the account was then deactivated. The video may have only been up for a few minutes but the damage was done and once again the power of social media was demonstrated.

Even after Tunsil had been selected by the Dolphins the mayhem continued. After the pick, an image was uploaded to Laremy’s Instagram account that showed text messages supposedly between Ole Miss Assistant Athletic Director John Miller and Tunsil. The conversation consisted of Tunsil seeking money from Miller to pay his mother’s rent and electric bills. Last season at Ole Miss, Laremy served a seven-game suspension stemming from similar accusations where he was found guilty of accepting improper benefits.

When it was all over, Laremy was still drafted in the top twenty but his fall cost him millions of dollars. In an article from ESPN titled Video kept Ravens from drafting Laremy Tunsil with No. 6 overall pick, writer Jamison Hensley discusses how the video impacted the Baltimore Ravens evaluation of Tunsil. The author writes, “The Baltimore Ravens would have taken Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil with the No. 6 overall pick were it not for the gas mask video that surfaced.” Even though he only talks about one team, it is probably fair to say the twelve other teams that passed on the prospect were thinking similarly. In the same article, Hensley writes something that ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported, “According to Schefter, Tunsil lost $7 million by falling seven spots in the draft.” Not only did this social media blunder tarnish the player’s image, but it also caused him to lose a lot of money.

It was very hard to watch this young man’s life just unravel right in front of us on one of the biggest stages in professional sports. But this is just the latest case of athletes suffering at the hands of social media. Recently it has been reported that the Dolphins believe Tunsil’s former financial adviser is who hacked into these accounts and posted the image and video. During the draft, ESPN analyst Jon Gruden gave his opinion on the issue, “We live in a glass house these days. … There’s a lot of money and people’s futures at stake. I hope this doesn’t come back to haunt Tunsil. Hopefully it’s a learning experience for him. He’s gotta clean this up if he wants to play in this league.” With this statement, Gruden echoes mine and surely many others opinions.

Following the draft, Laremy Tunsil admitted to the media that he had in fact taken money from an Ole Miss coach and that the screenshots were real. It is unclear whether the NCAA had already been aware of these actions since they had already suspended the player last season for the same reason. Now that Tunsil had admitted such a thing to an audience of millions, the NCAA will surely continue their investigation with the university.

This event is one of the most publicized examples of an athlete being punished for things that had been posted to their social media accounts. Obviously it is unfortunate for Tunsil to fall all the way to No. 13, but he is saying all the right things starting with accepting full responsibility for his actions. The player has a bright future ahead of him in the NFL but this will follow him for many years to come. It cannot be emphasized enough how big of a role social media plays in forming a person’s image and it is crucial for athletes as well as regular people to realize how to properly use these platforms. It is my hope that other athletes learn from this and don’t make the same mistake Tunsil did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hopefully Luck is on Your Side This March

by Brendan Ripley-Barasch

It’s that time of year again. Millions of people nationwide are trying to piece together what they hope is the perfect bracket. No one has ever been able to predict every single game correctly, not the president, not any celebrity, and not even a professional college basketball analyst, it’s called March Madness for a reason.

Image via southfloridareporter.com

It is near impossible to guess what upsets there will be and when they will occur, in the past there have been many “Cinderella Stories” and “Bracket Busters” in the tournament. Arguably the most notable Cinderella story came in 1983 when the North Carolina State Wolfpack led by coaching legend Jimmy Valvano entered the tournament as a 6 seed. They tore through the tournament, upsetting multiple teams, staging historic comebacks, and eventually advancing to the national championship where they were pitted against college basketball juggernaut Houston, led by such elite players as Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. The end of that game is one of the most famous endings in sport history. Viewer’s saw NC State’s Dereck Whittenburg throw up a prayer that air balled only to be caught by Lorenzo Charles and slammed home just before the buzzer sounded which gave NC State the win and the title. There is no telling who that Cinderella team will be this year, we will just have to wait and see.

This year’s tournament is especially interesting for one reason in particular. Throughout most of the regular season there was no clear number one team, it felt like every week the #1 team was being upset and multiple top ten teams continued to get knocked off as well. The parity of college basketball this year is unreal, it is hard to think of another season where it seemed that every team was so evenly matched against one another. In an article on ESPN.com titled The Floor Is Yours: Is this parity or bad basketball? Author Myron Medcalf gives an interesting statistic, “Through Jan. 22, The Associated Press poll’s top five teams had suffered 19 losses, a record for that stretch.” This fact is mind-boggling, just a short year ago it was clear to everyone who the best two teams were, with Kentucky finishing the regular season 31-0 and Duke going 35-4 and eventually winning the National Championship. Later in the same article, Texas Head Coach Shaka Smart is quoted saying, “There’s less of a difference between the top 25 and next 25 in a given week.” A question everyone has probably asked themselves at some point this year is if this is good or bad for college basketball?

The fact that every team seems so evenly matched just makes it that much harder to try to make that perfect bracket. One way to try to gain the upper-hand when putting together your bracket would be to seek advice online. There are thousands of websites out there that offer a multitude of different strategies, so you have to choose wisely. One of these articles giving advice is by Jon Solomon of cbssports.com and is titled 2016 March Madness bracket: 8 fast facts to help you win your tournament. Solomon provides his  opinion which is put together with facts, statistics, and recent occurrences. Solomon’s number one fact is “National champs play offense and defense.” He backs this claim by saying, “Twelve of the past 13 National Champions finished in the top 20 of Ken Pomeroy’s offensive and defensive efficiency ratings.” Who knows if he is right or even if he will be of any help to you while you make your bracket, but you won’t know unless you try it.

It is highly unlikely anyone fills out a perfect bracket this year and even making a respectable one will be difficult. This year in college basketball has been a roller coaster and that in itself poses a problem. All we can do is hope luck is on our side this March, and even if your bracket doesn’t do that hot, you still get to sit back and watch some great basketball.

 

DFS vs. NCAA

by Brandon Busuttil

For the past 2 years Daily Fantasy Sports has risen through the ranks and is now one of the most exciting ways for people to play fantasy sports. Out of all the people that do play these daily fantasy sports leagues, heavy restrictions have been put on NCAA athletes. In the United States, all but 5 states consider daily fantasy sports leagues to be legal and games of skill rather than games of luck.

Therefore the start of the debate was, if sites such as Fanduel and Draft Kings are considered games of skill rather than games of luck, it is not technically considered to be gambling. Overall, participation by athletes in DFS leagues was allowed.

It was reported that since the year 2004 NCAA athletes have been taking part in DFS leagues and the percentage of NCAA athletes putting money forth and receiving money awards for winning leagues has increased throughout each year.

It is at the point now that not just professional sports are involved, but so are college sports. College football and college basketball DFS leagues are played daily by individuals. Although the use of likenesses is another topic up for debate, athletes are getting in trouble for the use of DFS leagues.

Scott Stricklin, the Athletic Director at Mississippi State made it clear on September 22, 2015 that he was going to reiterate Oliver Luck’s words (NCAA Vice-President) that any college athlete gambling on sports (including DFS such as Fanduel and Draft Kings) will be subject to losing one year of eligibility. This was the beginning of the issue of DFS leagues.

This instance has had a large rippling affect on many aspects of the sporting world. To start, both the SEC Network and PAC-12 Network will no longer air any ads that have to do with Fanduel or Draft Kings, to show they do not support the use of DFS for college athletes. This was a huge decision because both networks lost some of its funding, as both Fanduel and Draft Kings were paying the networks a lot of money for advertising time.

ESPN is the largest network provider of college sports in America. Shortly after Scott Stricklin and Oliver Luck made sure NCAA athletes knew how serious it was to not gamble on any NCAA sanctioned sport, ESPN decided to disband their “cover alert” feature. The “cover alert” feature ESPN had on their apps and sites gave users an update on the broadcast that gives those who are betting a heads up on the score of a game in relation to its point spread. Disabling this feature for users shows that ESPN is trying to do their job by doing what they can to keep athletes safe by trying to keep them away from being tempted to bet. Although it is just a small move by ESPN, it is a move that in a way shows they care.

Overall, should NCAA athletes be allowed to play DFS such as Fanduel and Draft Kings? That is something that is up for a debate, and one that I am pretty sure would be a very long debate. Is it a game of skill or a game of luck? Again another debate that could take a long while to decide. For now the rule is stated that NCAA athletes cannot participate in DFS. However, with such a blurred line of what DFS is really considered, look for NCAA gambling rules to be clarified for athletes as time goes on and in the near future. More than likely the new rules will look to put even greater restrictions on NCAA athletes, as this seems to be a trend for the NCAA.

Johnson Continues To Fly Under Radar

by Nicholas Muhl

Averaging over 400 yards passing a game, top 5 in touchdowns thrown, only three interceptions in two wins against major non-conference opponents; Matt Johnson is flying under the radar.

According to Scott Swegan (@ScottSwegan), Assistant Director of Athletic Communications for Bowling Green State University and ESPN Statistics , BGSU Falcons quarterback Matt Johnson has accumulated some impressive numbers and accolades in his 2015 campaign, including:

  • 5-time MAC East Offensive Player of the Week
  • In the last two weeks he has thrown almost as many TD’s (10) as he has incompletions (11).
  • Has led the Falcons on opening drive score 6/7 games.
  • Through 7 weeks, the nations leading passer in yards (2891), 3rd in Touchdowns (24)
  • 2-time Manning Award Star of the Week, Manning Award Midseason Watch List
  • 70.5% completion percentage, 5th best passer rating (174.1)
  • Led the Falcons to two wins over Big Ten opponents for the first time in school history
  • http://heisman.com/roster.aspx?path=aspirants_&roster=2
  • http://espn.go.com/college-football/player/_/id/513573/matt-johnson

Some are going to accuse me of being a homer, because I do attend Bowling Green State University. However, I believe Johnson’s numbers and the game film truly speak for themselves. Here in northern Ohio, just off I-75, we are aware of the incredible talent throwing the football for our BGSU Flacons. It’s time the rest of the country is aware of him too – so let me introduce you to Matt Johnson who is a serious Heisman candidate, and one of the best quarterback prospects in the NCAA.

http://heisman.com/roster.aspx?path=aspirants_&roster=2

The “it” factor – Dino Babers coached Garoppolo (Bruce Feldman, Fox Sports)

Drew Brees College Highlights