Glad to be a Charlie Brown. Happy Birthday, Dad! -TOB
This is one of the funniest stories I’ve ever read. Durland and Darvin are twins. In 1995 they registered for the URL twins.com. In the 20 years since, all but 3 URLs for MLB baseball teams have been secured by the MLB. The holdouts: The Giants (football team got that one), the Rays (a restaurant in Seattle has that one), and the Twins. While the Giants and Rays situations make sense, the Twins URL makes for a great, absurd, hilarious story. I don’t want to spoil too many tidbits about these brothers – remember, their names are Durland and Darvin – but here are a couple teasers:
- Aside from living together, at one point they had complementary black and a white humvees.
- They were in a successful San Francisco band…a “copy” band of course, and nearly made the finals of a national Battle of the Bands in the early 80s against eventual winner…Bon Jovi.
I want a 30 for 30 doc on these brothers, and I want it now. – PAL
Source: “The Website MLB Couldn’t Buy”, Ben Lindburgh, Grantland (8/27/15)
TOB: I cannot recommend this story highly enough. It is completely absurd and I laughed out loud at least a half dozen times.
Under Armour & Maryland: The Next Oregon?
With Under Armour supplanting Adidas as the second largest sports apparel company, its founder and University of Maryland alumnus Kevin Plank is following in the footsteps of Nike’s Phil Knight. Like Knight has done for Oregon, Plank is putting big money into the University of Maryland. Under Armour recently signed a 10-year extension giving the university $33M in cash and gear. Additionally, Plank personally donated $25M for renovations to Cole Field House, which will house an entrepreneurship academy, the sports medicine department, and the Terrapin Performance Center. Money no doubt lifts athletic programs success, and billionaire alumni like Knight, T. Boone Pickens at Oklahoma State, and Plank serve as proof. It will be interesting how soon the investment will pay off at Maryland as a newcomer to a Big 10 Conference that includes the likes of financial giants Michigan and Ohio State, whose annual athletic departments’ budgets exceed $100M. – PAL
Source: “Under Armour Seeks to Do for Maryland What Nike Did for Oregon”, Marc Tracy, New York Times (8/25/15)
College Sports: Too Big to Fail?
It’s been a bad couple of weeks for college football, and it is clear that major college sports are completely broken. As this Newsweek points out, college football is under siege on at least three fronts: (1) the dangers of playing football; (2) whether football players are employees and whether they should be paid; and (3) the value of education to a football player. There are a number of stories over the last two weeks illustrating these points: To wit:
- After the NLRB rejected Northwestern players’ bid to unionize, Deadspin went in-depth on the negative ramifications for former Wildcats QB Cain Colter’s spearheading of the attempt. Unsurprisingly, Colter was ostracized by the Athletic Department and has suffered greatly.
- In the article Phil discussed above, it is noted that $25M of the funds for the renovations to Cole Field House are coming from the State. Former student leaders wrote an op-ed objecting to this use of State funds, but their complaints fell on deaf ears.
- Against near-unanimous consensus from the faculty, Auburn’s athletic department convinced the University administration to not eliminate the “Public Administration” major, a fluff major in which roughly half of the students were athletes. The athletic department saved the major by offering to directly pay Public Administration faculty and staff. That is insane. The chairman of Auburn’s economics department said that the athletic department at Auburn is so powerful that it operates like a “second university.” Auburn is not unique in this regard.
- While reading about the drunken speech that USC head coach Steve Sarkisian gave at a booster event over the weekend, I was reminded of former Michigan football coach Gary Moeller’s firing back in 1995. Out of curiosity, I found an old article from the time. The article noted that Moeller’s salary was $130,000. Adjusted for inflation, that is $203,000. In contrast, last December Michigan hired Jim Harbaugh at its new head coach, at a salary of $7 million. That is approximately 35x more than Moeller’s inflation-adjusted salary.
- This year, for the first time, college football players are being paid a small amount of money for “incidentals”. They receive a few thousand dollars for the year. What did some college coaches attempt to do? Institute a system to fine players of that cash for minor transgressions, of course. Look at this crap. $50 for a dirty dorm room. $50 for a dirty locker. $10 for missing breakfast. Virginia Tech wasted no time in implementing their fines, (when word got out the University quickly put a stop to it). Cincinnati wasted no time, either. These kids finally get a little pocket change (what amounts to less than $100/week), and millionaire coaches immediately start trying to take it away.
- Football players at Idaho were caught shoplifting. Their head coach, Paul Petrino, made it go away in the most shady way possible, actively interfering with a police investigation.
- Baylor football player Sam Ukwuachu was convicted of sexual assault. Ukwuachu had transferred from Boise State after he was dismissed from the team for beating up his girlfriend. After the conviction, Baylor head coach Art Briles said he had no idea about the violent incident that led Ukwuachu to transfer from Boise State. Washington head coach Chris Petersen, who was the Boise State coach at the time of Ukwuachu’s transfer to Baylor, released a statement directly contradicting Briles’ contention. Petersen said that he personally called Briles and told Briles exactly why Ukwuachu was dismissed. The two went back and forth in the media for a couple days.
Every single one of these stories is embarrassing for the NCAA, and this was not an unusual week in terms of the number of embarrassing stories. I don’t know how we fix college sports, but the amount of money involved seems to be the root of the problem. There is so much money at stake that corners are going to be cut. That’s not ok, but it seems as though college sports are “too big to fail” and major changes are not coming anytime soon. -TOB
Source: “College Football Under Fire From Three Sides”, Glenn Altschuler, Newsweek (08/22/2015)
When Keeping It Jeter Goes Wrong
Russell Wilson is a corporate shill, devoid of personality, only serving as a vessel to endorse products. He is Derek Jeter 2.0 (in the least surprising news of the week, Jeter is Wilson’s role model). But that harmless and boring vacantness took a turn for the irresponsible this week, when Wilson, on both Twitter and an article in Rolling Stone, touted “Recovery Water”, a product for which Wilson is an investor, as helping him to prevent a concussion in last year’s NFC Championship game.
Wilson is an investor in Reliant Recovery Water, a $3-per-bottle concoction with nanobubbles and electrolytes that purportedly helps people recover quickly from workouts and, according to Wilson, injury. He mentions a teammate whose knee healed miraculously, and then he shares his own testimonial. “I banged my head during the Packers game in the playoffs, and the next day I was fine,” says Wilson. “It was the water.” Rodgers offers a hasty interjection. “Well, we’re not saying we have real medical proof.” But Wilson shakes his head, energized by the subject. He speaks with an evangelist’s zeal. “I know it works.” His eyes brighten. “Soon you’re going to be able to order it straight from Amazon.”
Recovery Water is freaking sparkling water, not a miracle cure for anything. In this article, brain researchers and doctors take Wilson to task for his irresponsible claim. Wilson is the worst. -TOB
Source: “Russell Wilson Claims His New Water Heals Concussions. That’s Corny and Dangerous”, Adam Kilgore, Washington Post (08/27/2015)
Video of the Week
New life goal: Make one of these compilations.
PAL’s song of the week: Bahamas – “Lost In The Light”
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