One of those “records that would never be broken” was broken this week, highlighting news for Dec. 19-22:
Hail to the Huskies: The Connecticut women’s basketball team won its 89th consecutive game Tuesday, breaking the major-college win streak set by the UCLA men’s team in the 1970s. The UConn accomplishment clearly ranks among the greatest achievements in college sports history, but the moment took an awkward turn when it morphed into a debate about whether women’s sports accomplishments can be appropriately compared to men’s.
Can we no longer simply enjoy something for what it is?
UConn women own the longest streak (New York Times)
Celebrate milestones based on accomplishment, not gender (The Huffington Post)
UConn streak is telling, and not in a good way (Gregg Doyel, CBSSports.com)
Women’s basketball gets more coverage − and funding − than market warrants [David Jones, The Patriot-News (central Pennsylvania)]
Legends, Leaders … or maybe something else. After a prominent announcement that the divisions in the revamped Big Ten Conference would be known as the Legends and the Leaders, Commissioner Jim Delany acknowledged a public relations challenge and said he would revisit the choice in a few months.
Names of Big Ten’s new football divisions are criticized (New York Times)
FanHouse study: Institutional drug policies vary widely. FanHouse conducted a thorough study of the variances in institutional drug-testing policies at major college athletics programs. It also followed up on what lessons might be learned from a recent drug scandal at the University of Waterloo in Canada.
This point is treated in the stories, but NCAA drug testing differs from institutional drug testing. The penalties for failing NCAA in-season and championships tests are uniform. However, each school is free to determine how to deal with an athlete who fails an institutional test.
Crime and punishment in college ball (ESPN, Bruce Feldman)
Calipari courts the courts. Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari went several steps beyond hinting that Enes Kanter should consider suing the NCAA over its November eligibility finding. The next night, Calipari distanced himself (a bit) from his own remarks.
Cal distances himself from talk of Kanter suing NCAA (Lexington Herald-Leader)
The $15 million kick: The New York Times is producing a lot of quality sportswriting these days. This week, writer John Branch provided excellent insight in to the economics of postseason football – and the huge ramifications of one missed 26-yard field goal.
With $8 million on the line, it is more than just a game (New York Times)
Secondary violation, primary concern. The NCAA’s one-game suspension of Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo was big news.
First things first: Izzo himself didn’t like the decision.
Frustrated Izzo returns from suspension (The Associated Press)
While writers generally defended Izzo and seemed to believe the NCAA made an example out of him, some of them held a broader sentiment that the tool of suspension might be a good idea, even if the application needs to be refined.
NCAA makes example out of Izzo (Seth Davis, Sports Illustrated)
Solomon: NCAA hopes suspending coaches will curb secondary violations (Jon Solomon, Birmingham News)
Izzo ban might be harsh, but such is life these days (Kyle Nagel, Dayton Daily News)
Pay for play? The answer is still no. Here’s one last interview from last week’s meeting between NCAA President Mark Emmert and several invited reporters.
Although Emmert has been peppered repeatedly with questions about compensating student-athletes in the wake of the Cam Newton matter, he has consistently stated that pay-for-play is not on his agenda. Here’s what he told Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Burwell: “Considering college sports has turned into a multi-billion-dollar industry, do you ever see a time where the student-athletes will receive some sort of legal pay for their services?”
Emmert: “We can never move to a place where we are paying players to play sports for us. … There are 14 schools in the U.S. that broke even in their athletic programs last year. Every other one of them put significant to dramatic amounts of money into their sports programs to support their student-athletes. That young man or woman you’re talking about was able to gain benefit from the best coaching staff, the best facilities, the best trainers, the best educational environment anybody can get anywhere in the world. OK, so the university generates some revenue to help support that effort. I don’t have a problem with that.”
NCAA president finds himself in boiling pot (Bryan Burwell, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Mandi Schwartz: My last item for 2010 is not happy news. Mandi Schwartz, the Yale ice hockey player who has been waging a heroic fight against cancer, recently received news that her condition has relapsed. She was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia two years ago and received a stem-cell transplant about three months ago in an effort to rebuild her immune system.
Schwartz is now undergoing chemotherapy at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle in an attempt to send the cancer back into remission. Later this month, she will return home to continue treatment at the Allan Blair Cancer Centre in Pasqua Hospital in Regina, Saskatchewan.
For Mandi and others who find themselves in life-threatening battles, here are a few holiday gift-of-life suggestions:
All the best to all of you for a happy and healthy 2011. See you next year.