Monthly Archives: February 2010

NCAA should allow endorsements

Due to recent allegations and accusations of unfair “financial aid” from boosters and negative publicity surrounding certain schools, cough USC and Michigan cough, it seems appropriate to address the long-standing debate of whether college athletes should be paid or receive endorsements.

The answer to receiving payments should be decisively and unequivocally no.

The word student in the phrase student-athlete should not be forgotten, even in the face of a multi-billion dollar collegiate athletics industry.

Paying student-athletes would be a waste of the moral fiber and joy of receiving an athletic scholarship.

If these athletes were to receive pay, they would be given such an advantage over their peers, it would likely cross the threshold of fairness.

After all, a lack of monetary assistance is one of the few things remaining that firmly separates college sports from the professional level.

As it stands currently, many athletes are able to attend prestigious schools they normally would not be able to, whether it be for a lack of financial resources, or the lack of grades and standardized test scores usually required to gain admittance to a school as a mortal — more commonly known as your ordinary student.

Receiving a college education for free and obtaining the academic and social benefits that go along with being a scholarship athlete prove to be more than enough to aid the average athlete.

However, when it comes to forbidding any sort of endorsement deals, the NCAA is wrong.

While receiving pay for simply playing a sport at the college level is morally unjust, cashing in on endorsement opportunities is not.

Many college athletes are larger than life individuals on and off their respective campuses and if given the chance would bring in loads of money from Nike, Under Armour and the like.

John Wall would already have a shoe, presumably with Nike, and would be on his way to making a fortune.

Then again, he already is on his way to making a fortune.

Waiting a year to cash in on these opportunities may prevent a kid like Wall from exploding onto the scene too early, but it’s wrong to not let him market his play, his face and his name.

It simply goes against the “American Dream” to prevent someone from cashing in on his or her fame.

You may be wondering, isn’t it a slippery slope to allow college athletes to make money for themselves, even though the college game is built around a team atmosphere?

I’m not questioning whether or not the college game emphasizes, maybe even mandates, team play better than the professional ranks. I am simply stating that college athletes deserve the opportunity to receive endorsements for the countless hours of practice, films and traveling they encounter.

The demand placed upon an athlete is much higher than is commonly thought.

One is required not only to maintain a proper image, but also to obtain good grades (sort of) while also practicing several days a week.

Student-athletes are held to a much higher standard than their peers.

Obtaining a shoe deal or representing a nearby restaurant would not endanger the innocence or purity of any sport on the collegiate level.

If anything, endorsements would enhance the collegiate game.

College stars would become more recognized nationally, and jersey sales would bring in loads of extra money to athletic departments.

And no, I’m not talking about those jerseys we always see for sale without last names.

I want to see a number three jersey with “Hughes” on the back, being repped by an adolescent Wisconsinite.

Video games also would be instantly enhanced, as the rights of names, and not only numbers, would become available to such games as EA Sports’ NCAA Basketball series.

Thoughts of dunking as Derrick Rose in college at Memphis bring shivers down my spine.

In a time of economic uncertainty, additional revenue being pumped into athletic departments certainly should not be turned away.

As we hear at nearly every Badger home game, the athletic department supports 23 varsity sports, including 20 non-revenue sports.

The sad truth is only three sports — football, men’s basketball and men’s hockey — actually produce a financial surplus.

These three sports do bring in a substantial amount of money to the athletic department, but it still is very difficult to obtain the funds to properly support the other 20 sports.

If a percentage of endorsement money cashed in by players from the big three sports were shared among the remaining sports, it would be one of the easiest ways to fundraise.

And c’mon, please tell me it doesn’t make sense for freshman forward Ryan Evans to represent Flat Top Grill at nearby Hilldale Mall.

Maybe some of the charm of the college game would be compromised from these supposed prima donna players, but ultimately the exposure and revenue the endorsement deals would bring in for the schools would be worth it.

Oh, and just for the record, if endorsements are ever actually put into place and jerseys with names are released; I will buy Badger Herald Sports Editor Jordan Schelling an audaciously awesome No. 50 Ian Markolf jersey.

The Badger Herald Thursday, February 25, 2010 12:10 a.m

EA Sports To Discontinue NCAA Basketball Series

EA Sports today confirmed the discontinuation of the NCAA Basketball franchise, citing poor sales as the main reason, and making next year the first in 12 years without a college-flavored basketball title.

No more of this

The news came in an statement to GameInformer today from EA Sports’ David Tinson. He said it was a tough decision to make, but something that had to be done.

“We do not have an NCAA Basketball game in development at this time, and we’re currently reviewing the future of our NCAA Basketball business,” Tinson said to Game Informer. “This was a difficult decision, but we remain a committed partner to the NCAA and its member institutions.”

2K sports pulled its college basketball game in 2008 leaving only EA remaining. But that’s all over now, as this year’s installment will be the very last.

Blast Magazine 16, 2010

EA Sports Canceling NCAA Basketball Series

EA Sports director of communications, David Tinson, confirmed today that NCAA Basketball is being canceled. The series was recently left off of EA’s fiscal 2011 calendar, fueling speculation that the title wouldn’t be reappearing next fall.

In a statement to Game Informer, Tinson said, “We do not have an NCAA Basketball game in development at this time, and we’re currently reviewing the future of our NCAA Basketball business. This was a difficult decision, but we remain a committed partner to the NCAA and its member institutions.”

EA Sports NCAA Basketball was the only college basketball game on the market after 2K Sports ended their college basketball series in 2008, but being the only game on the market could not keep NCAA Basketball from the tepid sales that most likely doomed the franchise. In addition to poor sales, the game was consistently a mediocre offering and in the current economic crisis, EA can no longer afford to maintain a franchise that isn’t able to gain critical or commercial success.

Tinson also told Game Informer that the NCAA Basketball team would not be laid off but would instead be redirected to other EA Sports development teams including NBA Live and NBA Jam.

EA Sports Cancelling NCAA Basketball Series Calver Feb 10, 2010

Villanova living up to high expectations

VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP)—Standing at a podium and delivering a Hall of Famespeech, former Temple coach John Chaney stopped mid-story and veered into someadvice he wished he had given Jay Wright last April.

Chaney wanted to call Wright and tell him to make Villanova practice at anNFL stadium before playing in the one in Detroit at the Final Four. Chaneyexplained that those cavernous domes skew depth perception even for topshooters.

There was a reason Chaney mentioned the tip again.

“I want you to remember that because you’re going back again this year!”Chaney said to big applause.

Chaney, the wise old Owl, might be on to something.

The Wildcats went 24 years between Final Four appearances, spanning their1985 national championship team to last year’s bunch that lost to North Carolinain the national semifinal. This year’s team has no intention of making theprogram wait another quarter century before playing the last weekend of theseason. Villanova is as deep, loaded and motivated as it’s ever been underWright—and this year’s team may give him his best shot yet at winning anational championship.

“We can’t think about that,” Wright said. “But I don’t mind if everybodyelse does. We wouldn’t talk about it anyway because there’s a lot of ball toplay.”

Villanova has already lived up to the hype of opening the season as the BigEast favorite. The Wildcats are ranked No. 2 for only the third time in teamhistory, their 20-1 start is the best for a program that began play in 1920, andthey are the only Big East team unbeaten in conference play (9-0 enteringSaturday’s game at No. 7 Georgetown).

Those are the kinds of benchmarks that earn teams No. 1 seeds in the NCAAtournament.

“What I really like is that they see we can get better,” Wright said. “Wecome out of these games, they don’t look at it like, this is easy. They look atit like, I made a mistake here, I didn’t do this, I need to learn this better.”

That attitude starts at the top with Big East player of the year favoriteScottie Reynolds and stretches all the way down the bench to the 11th man. Ithas to, because they’re all playing.

Few teams can boast the depth of talent that Wright has recruited to theMain Line. The Wildcats have five McDonald’s high school All-Americans and nonehas grumbled about playing time to the media or on social networking sites.Villanova has 10 players averaging at least 11 minutes and one just a tick under10 minutes. They wear teams down with their fresh bench players, have nary aworry about foul trouble and have run over team after team with an inevitablesecond-half run.

Ten players both scored and grabbed a rebound in Tuesday’s 81-71 win overSeton Hall. In nine Big East games, Villanova’s bench has 254 points, an averageof 28.2 per game.

“This is the first time since we’ve been here where we have 10, 11 guysready to play,” Wright said.

Corey Fisher, Antonio Pena, Reggie Redding & Crew have all played invaluableroles in Villanova’s 11-game winning streak. But the Wildcats might be chasingthe Big East lead instead of holding it without their Top ‘Cat—Reynolds.

The 6-foot-2 guard is making his senior season one to remember. His valuegoes beyond his 18.5 scoring average, 41 percent 3-point shooting (up 6 percentfrom last year) or his 71 assists.

It’s his knack for making a key play just when the Wildcats need one. He’llforever be a legend at Villanova for his end-to-end layup over Pittsburgh in theNCAA regional final that thrust the Wildcats into the Final Four. But pick outalmost every win this season, and there’s a moment when Reynolds made thedifference.

Take a look at Villanova’s season sweep over Marquette. In the Jan. 2 win,Reynolds scored the go-ahead basket with 18.1 seconds left. In the Jan. 9 win,it was Reynolds coming up with a game-saving steal after making a costlyturnover.

“He doesn’t fear failure,” Wright said. “He has won so many games for us.There’s a few where he has not come through. That’s what makes you great. Itnever prevents him from not wanting the ball the next time. Every time he doessomething big the next time.”

Reynolds reached the 2,000-point milestone (2,008) in Tuesday’s win againstSeton Hall. Reynolds has a shot at setting the Villanova record for points, heldby Kerry Kittles (2,243). Reynolds and Kittles are the only Wildcats with atleast 2,000 career points and 400 assists.

Reynolds never would have dreamed about the scoring record had he kept hisname in the NBA draft last summer instead of returning for his senior season.

Wright said there were times early in Reynolds’ career when he fretted overhow a poor game might affect his NBA stock. Now, Reynolds is purely focused onwinning games and championships.

“Coach always tells us, just be here now,” Reynolds said. “That’s whatI’m trying to do.”

Here, for now, is atop the Big East standings.

Staying there might require some more indelible moments from Reynolds. TheWildcats hit the road for games Saturday at No. 7 Georgetown and Monday at No. 6West Virginia. There’s never a breather in the brutal conference schedule, butthe title could come down to Feb. 27 at Syracuse—a game that has already solda Carrier Dome record 34,616 tickets.

“We know we can go on this road trip and be second or third or fourth inthe Big East,” Wright said. “We have a lot of ‘ats.’ We know what we haveahead of us.”

Louisville coach Rick Pitino said he didn’t expect any team to duplicate theCardinals’ 16-2 conference mark from a year ago—not even the Wildcats.

“Villanova is obviously a very good basketball team, but I do think they’restill going to take three, four losses,” he said.

Wright knows success in the tournament is found on the road. The Wildcatshope their last at is at Indianapolis—site of the Final Four and home of theIndianapolis Colts. It’s the kind of place where Chaney’s advice might come inhandy.

NCAA Daily Villinova Living up to High Expectations, Chris Feb 04 2010

NIT Might Be Casualty of 96-Team NCAA Tournament

If (or should we say when) the NCAA expands is currently perfect basketball tournament to include 96 teams, it could spell the end of the NIT, a Madison Square Garden institution since 1938. Sources tell the Post that the postseason NIT could be phased out — the NCAA has owned the NIT since 2005 — and the preseason NIT would become something called the First Four, to be played in the same venue as that season’s Final Four. The NIT could be eliminated as early as this year, following the finals in April. [NYP]

NYMAG NIT Might be Casualty of 96-Team NCAA Tournament, Joe DeLessio 2/3/10 at 3:30 PM