University of Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier is playing tonight in the NCAA championship against the University of Kentucky, a game that brings the NCAA millions of dollars.
According to PolicyMic.com, the NCAA signed a $771 million per year deal with CBS in 2010 for March Madness coverage that goes for 14 years. Forbes reports that a trip to the Final Four makes $9.5 million for that school's conference.
However, Napier won't share in any of these riches, in fact, he recently revealed there are nights when he goes to bed hungry.
“We as student athletes get utilized for what we do so well," Napier told The Connecticut Mirror. "We are definitely blessed to get a scholarship to our universities, but at the end of the day, that doesn't cover everything. We do have hungry nights that we don't have enough money to get food and sometimes money is needed."
“To some credit, you feel like you want something in return,” Napier added. “Like I said, there are hungry nights that I go to bed and I am starving. So something can change, something should change.”
In response, UConn spokesman Phil Chardis said in an emailed statement to The Connecticut Mirror, "Shabazz Napier, like all our scholarship athletes, is provided the maximum meal plan that is allowable under NCAA rules. UConn does not have a cafeteria devoted specifically to student-athletes, but they have access to the same cafeterias which are available to all our students.”
The New York Times reported in 2012 that the Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association asked the NCAA to get rid of its one-meal-per-day limit and “instead permit unlimited interval feedings as needed throughout the day to fully restore athletes and make them whole again.”
Tucson police shot pepper spray at hundreds of fans after the University of Arizona NCAA game Saturday, when the rowdy crowd took the streets throwing firecrackers and beer bottles over the team’s overtime loss to Wisconsin.
Crowds left bars and restaurants near the UA campus, spilling onto University Boulevard and refusing to leave, according to Sgt. Pete Dugan.
Police arrived with helmets, batons and facemasks urging the crowd over a PA system to disperse, calling it unlawful assembly.
Fans began tossing beer cans, bottles, and even firecrackers at police officers and vehicles.
Those who advanced on officers were arrested.
No injuries were reported. The crowd was cleared by late Saturday night.
Fifteen people were arrested for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and unlawful assembly. Fourteen of them were released, and one was sent to Pima County Jail, The Associated Press reported.
David Kitaeff, a witness, said the crowd was jolly initially, taking photographs. Then the atmosphere changed and “people got in cops’ faces.”
Wisconsin won the West Region final in Anaheim, Calif., Saturday 64-63.
A campaign ad for Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., meant to celebrate the Kentucky Wildcats' 2012 NCAA Tournament win but instead confused Louisville’s blue and white with a different team.
When the McConnell campaign replaced it with a corrected video, it created new problems for the Senate Minority Leader.
At the 1:09 mark in the video below, there is a shot of the Duke Blue Devils winning the national championship in 2010.
"We will debate our ideas openly," McConnell says in the ad. "We will vote without fear. And we will govern with the understanding that the future of this country depends on our success ... And if we win the majority in November, I will work every day to change that. This is our time to get it right."
Then, a picture of two Duke players celebrating flashes on the screen. Visible only for a moment in the ad titled “Rebuild,” the detail didn’t escape Kentucky’s Big Blue Nation. It was first noticed by Joe Sonka, an editor for Louisville’s “LEO Weekly.”
"Obviously we were horrified by the error and quickly changed it," said McConnell spokeswoman Allison Moore.
The video was then replaced with an ad that prominently featured popular Kentucky player Julius Randle, opening up the campaign to accusations that it used the player’s image for commercial purposes, which is against NCAA rules.
The University of Kentucky sent a cease-and-desist to McConnell. That’s when McConnell pulled the ad altogether.
"The University of Kentucky consulted with the NCAA earlier today regarding footage of Julius Randle in a Mitch McConnell advertisement," the school said in a statement. "Although the use of the student-athlete's image in the advertisement is not permissible, because it was done without the knowledge or permission of the university or the student-athlete, it is not an NCAA violation. The University of Kentucky has sent a cease and desist letter and will continue to take appropriate measures to ensure improper usage of a student-athlete's name, image or likeness is prevented."
ESPN Sportscaster Brent Musburger, 74, expressed his pleasure when a cameraman shot a young woman taking a picture of herself during a Big 12 tournament basketball game between the Iowa State Cyclones and Kansas Jayhawks on Friday night.
"Take a look at our sixth man of the game, brought to you by Motel 6 and I am pleased with this selection, oh yeah," Musburger said, noted AwfulAnnouncing.com. "Why not a selfie? The fans of Iowa state, the sixth man in the game."
Musberger's fans can look forward to more ogling next year when the terminally-aroused announcer and Jesse Palmer are the lead announcers for the new SEC network.
According to Sporting News, ESPN executive VP John Wildhack said in a press release, "Brent Musburger is a cultural icon who has been guiding fans through many of sport’s most spectacular moments for decades. His big-game performance and unmistakable style will elevate our football coverage on the SEC Network.”
Musburger has ogled former Florida State University student Jenn Sterger in 2005 and Katherine Webb, a former Miss Alabama in 2013.
ESPN apologized for Musburger's comments about Webb.
University of California, Santa Barbara was playing the University of Hawaii last night when a fan confronted one of the college basketball coaches.
Hypervocal.com reports that University of Hawaii coach Gib Arnold disputed a foul call, prompting an unidentified man to come out of the bleachers and onto the court (video below).
The fan got in Coach Arnold's face until University of Hawaii players Christian Standhardinger and Garrett Nevels pushed him away.
The fan motioned for the players to fight him but then quickly ran off the court.
The fan, who turned out to be a Santa Barbara student, was taken out of the basketball arena by security guards.
“The student will obviously face legal action,” Santa Barbara athletic department spokesman Bill Mahoney told the Associated Press. “He will also be subject to action from a judicial review board through UCSB student affairs ... I can’t speculate on the penalties.”
Utah Valley defeated New Mexico State in a 66-61 overtime win last night, but the real action began after the basketball game was over.
New Mexico's K.C. Ross-Miller reportedly threw a basketball at Utah's Holton Hunsaker, which sparked a shoving match and caused fans to storm the court in Orem, Utah, reports NBC Sports (video below).
UVU students attacked NMSU players in a melee that may end the practice of court-storming in college basketball, noted The Bleacher Report.
Eventually, the stadium staff restored order.
"I hated to see the game end that way," Utah Valley center Ben Aird told the Daily Herald. "When you are out there, at first you are like, 'What's happening?' The faculty got out there, and although you want to help break it up, they told us that we had to get out of that situation and let them handle it."
According to ESPN, Ross-Miller has been suspended.
"No matter what provoked K.C., what he did was inexcusable and hence the suspension," New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies said today. "It is an honor and a privilege to wear an Aggie uniform, and a responsibility comes with that privilege."
University of Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam recently announced that he is gay, which will likely make him the first openly gay player in the NFL next season.
Sam's sexual orientation has caused controversy inside and outside of the sports world.
Pouring fuel on the fire is a recently-surfaced video (below) of Sam dancing without a shirt at gay club in a Columbia, Mo. The video was shot at the The SoCo Club back in October 2013, notes TMZ.
According to the Daily Mail, Sam danced with women to Michael Jackson's tune "Rock With You."
Also making the rounds on the Internet are pictures of Sam with a man who is allegedly his boyfriend, reports MediaTakeOut.com.
The issue of college athlete compensation has received a lot of attention lately. Though it’s long been common knowledge that universities make billions of dollars off of their athletic programs, the question of whether college athletes should receive a piece of this cash mountain is starting to be taken more seriously.
This week, the National College Players Association (NCPA) took a major step on the pay-for-play front. The association filed a petition on behalf of the football players at Northwestern University seeking to grant college athletes employee rights with the NCAA. The petition was submitted to the National Labor Relations Board and included union cards signed by a number of Northwestern players.
"This is about finally giving college athletes a seat at the table," said NCPA President Ramogi Huma. “Athletes deserve an equal voice when it comes to their physical, academic and financial protections."
The standard retort to the idea of paying college athletes is that they are compensated through scholarships. Though this idea does deserve to be taken seriously, there are a few issues with it.
For starters, most college athletes do not receive full scholarships. Many do not receive scholarships at all. Factor in the estimated 40 hours a week required to play most college sports – and the fact that the NCAA makes nearly a billion dollars annually off of these sports – and a case starts to form.
College players work like employees for the NCAA. Their work is the product the NCAA sells. This is the same employee-employer dynamic seen in the professional world. NCAA officials maintain that athletes are primarily students, and that college sports are a part of their educational experience. Accordingly, they say, athletes should not be professionalized (see: paid).
But if this is true, why are NCAA executives aloud to treat college sports as a business? If college sports are about education – not money – why is the NCAA allowed to sell tickets, advertising, and apparel like a professional league? Universities made an estimated $6.4 billion in 2012 from athletic programs. For reference, the NBA and MLB posted $5 and $8 billion in revenues respectively during the same year.
I certainly don’t have all the answers to these questions, but I do think they’re worth considering. Here’s what Northwestern University quarterback Kain Colter had to say about the petition filed by his team this week.
"The action we're taking isn't because of any mistreatment by Northwestern," Colter said. "We love Northwestern. The school is just playing by the rules of their governing body, the NCAA. We're interested in trying to help all players -- at USC, Stanford, Oklahoma State, everywhere. It's about protecting them and future generations to come.
"Right now the NCAA is like a dictatorship. No one represents us in negotiations. The only way things are going to change is if players have a union."
This is likely just the tip of the iceberg of this movement by players. They’re not just seeking financial compensation, either. The NCAA currently absolves itself of any legal or medical responsibility for injuries suffered in NCAA sporting events or practice. I don’t know what the solution is to the flawed dynamic between the NCAA and its players, but I do know this: something is not right here.
University of Connecticut (UConn) president Susan Herbst publicly condemned recent comments made by Ernest Jones, an assistant coach for the UConn football team.
Jones (pictured) said on Jan. 11 that he encouraged his players to put Jesus “in the center of our huddle.”
In an interview with The Courant, Jones stated: "We're going to make sure they understand that Jesus Christ should be in the center of our huddle, that that's something that is important. If you want to be successful and you want to win, get championships then you better understand that this didn't happen because of you."
"This happened because of our Lord and Savior. That's going to be something said by [UConn Head Coach] Bob Diaco. That's something that's going to be said by Ernest Jones. That's who we are," added Jones.
UConn Athletics spokesperson Mike Enright told NBC Connecticut that Coach Diaco received several emails from fans about Jones' comment. Coach Diaco assured the public that organized religion does not have a role in the football program.
Additionally, Herbst wrote on Jan. 14 in The Courant:
It should go without saying that our employees cannot appear to endorse or advocate for a particular religion or spiritual philosophy as part of their work at the university, or in their interactions with our students. This applies to work-related activity anywhere on or off campus, including on the football field.
This applies to work-related activity anywhere on or off campus, including on the football field. Our athletic director and coach Bob Diaco agree wholeheartedly with me, and have made this clear to their staff.
Arkansas State came from behind to win the GoDaddy Bowl against Ball State last night, 23-20.
An unusual play by Arkansas State happened in the second quarter when wide receiver R.J. Fleming crouched behind the offensive line, reports CBS Sports.
The 5'9" Fleming took the ball, but waited until Arkansas State quarterback Fredi Knighten did a fake hand off before running around the left side of Ball State's confused defense.
This unusual misdirection play is called "Hide The Midget," according to ESPN's Carter Blackburn (video below).
Fleming gained 27 yards on the play in a drive that resulted in a touchdown to tie the game up at halftime.
The play was reportedly invented by former Arkansas State coach and current Auburn coach Gus Malzahn.
This time the play was called by Arkansas State's interim head coach John Thompson, who was hired by Malzahn in 2012 and coached the team to a 17-13 victory in last season's GoDaddy Bowl.
According to AL.com, Arkansas State's new head coach Blake Anderson is not keeping Thompson or any other current coaches, but Thompson had kind words for his former team after the game.
"I am blessed that I was able to stay here and spend two years here and come back home for two years and enjoy the people back here,'' said Thompson. "It was a great two years. You're going to win a lot of games with these young men, no matter what's going on. I am grateful that I had that opportunity. It was a fun way to go out tonight. I love those players, I just love those players. God was good and answered a lot of blessings."
In a bittersweet moment after winning his second bowl game, Thompson added that his job search "will probably start tonight."