Tag Archives: football

Leicester City: The Greatest Sports Story. Ever.

 

By Nate Flax

As the clock hit the 96th minute of the Tottenham – Chelsea match, the entire soccer world realized that the greatest underdog story in sport history had concluded. After trailing 2-0 at halftime, Chelsea came back to draw with the second place Tottenham Hotspur, thanks to a brilliant 80th minute equalizer by Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. As the final whistle blew to end the heated London Derby, Tottenham’s title hopes were dashed and for the second year in a row, a new Premier League champion was decided at Stamford Bridge. However, this time it wasn’t one of England’s heavyweight contenders, but instead a club that had been written off before the season even started.

Leicester City

Located right in the heart of England, world-famous clubs, always surrounded Leicester with Manchester just to the North and London to the South, but until this year, very few that did not follow the BPL closely even knew a soccer club existed there, even though the team was founded in 1884 (132 years ago). The Leicester City Foxes were simply insignificant, finishing at the bottom of the table the year before and had only received promotion into England’s top league the year before that. They entered the season 5000-1 odds to win the title this year and featured a team that had cost just £80 million to put together (to put in perspective Manchester City spent £80 million on one transfer alone earlier in the year). Billy Beane’s Moneyball scheme wouldn’t stand a chance against this. Other recent previous 5000-1 odds as explained by ESPN’s Paul Carr included 16-year-old Paul Chaplet’s chances at this year’s Masters (where he shot 21 over par and finished dead last) and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ chances to make the playoffs with a month left in the season and their record sitting at 14-35. The odds for Elvis Presley being found alive were also 5000-1.

Being written off before the season even started, Leicester really had no chance of failing any expectations given to them, quite frankly because there were no expectations to start with. But that’s when everything clicked. Led by Riyad Mahrez, Danny Drinkwater, Jamie Vardy, and seasoned manager Claudio Ranieri, the Foxes outdid themselves by continuing to be that pesky opponent that just wouldn’t give up even though they seemingly had no business competing with powerhouses like Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea. Yet somehow, with Chelsea holding Tottenham to a draw, Leicester City sat seven points clear on top of the table with just two games to play, making it impossible for anyone to catch them, and crowning them the kings of England. With the third smallest budget in the Premier League, the Foxes became the first team not named Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, or Chelsea in 21 years to win the title, and just the sixth to win out of 48 that have tried since 1992. After a season that proved that money can’t always guarantee a crown, Leicester City concluded the fairy tale of a season that underdogs could previously only dream of.

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.

The Fault in Our Fields

By Kaleb Page

For many playing football, lacrosse, soccer, or even field hockey it meant playing on a grass surface. With more advancements over the years synthetic turf started to take over as the better alternative to grass. For one the maintenance is relatively cheaper than a sod or natural grass field, and to the eye these fields look great. However, these fields could have a major fault in them that could have a massive impact.

Turf fields, as many would know that have played on them, have tons of small black pellets spread across the entire field.  These pellets are called “crumb rubber” because like the name states, are the leftovers from ground up tires and any other ground up rubber product that can be recycled. Seems like a good idea right? Grind up rubber and re-purpose it to have a second life instead of ending up in landfills compounding that problem we have even further in this country. It is definitely a good idea but at what price?

While it would be a mistake to automatically jump to the conclusion that synthetic turf is causing cancer; the signs are all pointing that direction. As the old adage would say “where there is smoke, there is fire.” The evidence billowing out like smoke all across the country is pointing directly to the fire, the fire so many children and professional athletes play on.

This issue is in the forefront now, but in actuality it has been a growing concern for years. In 2008 synthetic turf fields at Thomas Jefferson Park in Manhattan, NY were found to have high levels of lead in them (eventually those fields were removed). Soccer coach Amy Griffin in an interview with NBC, said that even in 2009 she had suspicions over the black dots when two goalkeepers she was coaching were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In the video below the interview with Amy, which aired earlier this October, chronicled what she experienced along with other startling points as more people are searching for answers now.

It is surprising to look at this topic because I never thought that the playing field put in my hometown could potential be somewhat of a ‘cancer field.’ It is estimated that there are over 4,500 synthetic turf fields across the country and nobody has even let it sink in what the cost could be of playing on this type of surface. The EPA even has a list which states the chemicals that are in tires and other rubber products. What are those chemicals you ask? Well a good part of those chemicals are carcinogens which are contributors to cancer. The EPA is hesitating to make a full judgement, and they stand behind their own studies saying the effect of turf pellets are proven to be insufficient. However, they do admit that there should be more testing done.

It will be interesting to see where this develops and what else can be done to fix this problem. It cannot be ignored anymore and for all the technology we have there should be a way to find a middle ground. One that allows those who are proponents of having turf to keep their turf, while at the same time giving parents, coaches, and players the peace of mind that they aren’t playing on something which could give them cancer someday.

Who knows what the future may hold and what we could see happen. One thing is that we could find ourselves looking back on doing synthetic turf and scratch our heads in amazement. Amazement at the major fault we let go for so long, letting countless players come down with cancer before we even took any action.

The Ray Rice Saga and Roger Goodell’s Authority

This is the first in an ongoing series of guest posts by those in academia and in the professional world of sport. Our first guest is Dr. Sungho Cho Ph.D/J.D., a Professor of Sport Law at Bowling Green State University. 

It has been one of the most tumultuous NFL seasons due to the TMZ video that made Ray Rice, at least momentarily, a jobless athlete in spite of his stellar performance statistics and a Super Bowl ring.

When Commissioner Roger Goodell initially imposed the two-game suspension on Rice for his personal misconduct in Atlantic City during the summer, various mass media pointed out that the level of punishment was not commensurate with the reprehensible conduct. For instance, an ESPN columnist, Jane McManus wrote that “[i]t’s a joke, and a bad one.” Fans wonder how Rice was suspended a couple of games while use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) or repeatedly smoking marijuana would result in much harsher penalties, i.e., automatic suspension for six-games and the entire season, respectively. After the TMZ video disclosed what really happened in the elevator, the Commissioner suspended Rice indefinitely. The case is now pending in the league grievance process. Recently, the Commissioner announced an enhanced penalty structure for personal conduct cases.

A plethora of legal questions are associated with this case. How was Rice initially suspended two games while other infractions that were seemingly not so serious (using PEDs) resulted in stiffer penalties? What about the Fifth Amendment Double Jeopardy rule? Can the Commissioner and the Ravens sanction Rice twice for the same misconduct? Since most mass media obscured such issues, this entry briefly explores them in the context of the legal aspects of the incident.

While the use of recreational and performance-enhancing drugs is strictly governed by the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the league and the players union, personal conduct cases are subject to the Commissioner’s broad authority. Thus, the initial two game suspension might not be inconsistent with any league regulations or rules of law even though it raised, without a doubt, a set of ethical and moral questions. The case is not covered by the Fifth Amendment Double Jeopardy rule because the current incident is not a criminal case. The rule only applies to a criminal case involved with state or federal government.

Although there is no double jeopardy issue here, Rice and the union’s on-going grievance claim might have regulatory grounds under Article 46 of the CBA. The provision states: “[o]ne Penalty: [t]he Commissioner and a Club will not both discipline a player for the same act or conduct. The Commissioner’s disciplinary action will preclude or supersede disciplinary action by any Club for the same act or conduct.” Rice was released by the Ravens and suspended by the league. Pursuant to the CBA, the grievance case will be heard and decided by an arbitrator. Recently, the league and union agreed to choose a neutral arbitrator for the case just like the famous New Orleans Saints bounty case. If the arbitrator construes “discipline” in the CBA provision broadly, Rice and the union’s challenge might have merits.

How about the legitimacy of the initial two-game suspension and additional (indefinite) suspension later imposed by the Commissioner? Since the CBA does not expressly prohibit double sanctions like the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution does, the Commissioner was in fact allowed to impose another sanction upon the newly discovered aggravating evidence that was arguably further “detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the National Football League,” i.e., the elevator video. Thus, there will be some factual disputes down the road whether the Commissioner had knowledge about the content of the elevator video when he decided the first sanction and whether Rice provided misleading information about the case when he met with the Commissioner during the summer to plead his case. It is also notable that the Commissioner’s discipline can be challenged in the court of law (pretty hard though) if Rice or the union can demonstrate that the Commissioner’s decision was “arbitrary or capricious.”

While media have extensively covered the factual background and sociocultural issues of the case, the above-mentioned legal aspects have mostly been ignored. At least, media should have sent some reporters who could cover and explicate such legal aspects of the case in depth since it was essentially an incident associated with criminal charges.

Two Sports, Two Wins, One Covered

By Ellen Chlumecky

The Bowling Green State University Falcons had an exciting Homecoming weekend with not only one, but two huge wins. The BGSU Football team won 36-35 while the BGSU Hockey team won 7-2. Both teams played exceptionally well through rocky starts and pushed through with a victory. However, the difference between the two is that football was aired by the media, but hockey was not.

The Bowling Green Football game was broadcasted on ESPN 3, and a myriad of the local TV stations such as ABC 13 in Toledo and local Bowling Green news channel. The Bowling Green hockey game was only broadcasted by the local Bowling Green news channel. Both were available on different local radio stations. One can listen to the football games on Eagle 99, WONW, WLQR, The Word 1220, K94, the Fox and the Bowling Green Radio Sports Organization which is available on 88.1 WBGU FM and WFAL Falcon Radio, while the hockey team is only broadcasted on 88.1 WBGU FM and WFAL Falcon Radio.

The football game and the hockey game were also written about in several different local newspapers like the Toledo Blade and the Sentinel Tribune. However, the Toledo Blade wrote four different stories about the football game in comparison to the one story about the hockey game. While the Sentinel Tribune had equal stories for each game, the top story for their sports page was from the Bowling Green football game.

The football team has a new head coach, solid and dedicated players, and a mass amount of opportunities ahead of them. The hockey team is planning on having an excellent season this year with ten new freshmen players, powerhouse forwards, and new captains in leadership roles. Unfortunately, they have really been shown no recognition for their dedication thus far. While both the football and hockey teams practice immensely hard for wins, their recognition by the media has not been equal. They are both excellent teams, so why aren’t they being shown the same amount of recognition?

Hockey has been pushed to the side in the sports media world for an exceedingly long time. With more and more top notch hockey players entering the college hockey ranks, there should be more attention placed on these hard working athletes. The Bowling Green football and hockey teams both work day in and day out to win and be the best in their respective conferences. Football players should not receive all the media recognition especially when they’re not the only ones succeeding. Bowling Green State University has so much to be proud of with so many winning sports teams and should spread the word out about all of them, not just a select few.