Why Are College Athletes Asking The NCAA To Pull Championships?

The question of whether or not trans athletes should be allowed to play on male or female sports teams that are in opposition of their biological sex has been ongoing for a while now. Advocates for inclusion argue that we live in a diverse society and that barring trans athletes from certain sports teams would do little more than inflame athletes for no reason. The opposition contends that including trans athletes would be too unfair. 

Many state legislatures have been working to pass laws that bar trans women from playing on women’s sports teams and trans men from playing on men’s sports. Two such bills are on the move in Mississippi and South Dakota, while another has already passed muster in Idaho.

Now, hundreds of college athletes have come forward, signing a letter drafted to the NCAA to request pulling championships from those states with anti-inclusivity laws on the books.

The letter begins, “We, the undersigned NCAA student-athletes, are extremely frustrated and disappointed by the lack of action taken by the NCAA to recognize the dangers of hosting events in states that create a hostile environment for student-athletes.”

The letters continues by addressing NCAA President Mark Emmert and the NCAA’s Board of Governors directly: “You have been silent in the face of hateful legislation in states that are slated to host championships, even though those states are close to passing anti-transgender legislation.”

The complaint found support from GLAAD and Athlete Ally, and was signed by athletes attending a diverse set of around 85 schools including Ivy League institutions.

The state laws barring trans players allow a sports team to force a player to undergo a genital exam, genetics test, or hormone test to determine biological sex if called into question. 

The letter continued, “It is imperative that we know we are safe and supported in the NCAA no matter where we travel to compete. The NCAA claims to prioritize the safety, excellence, and physical and emotional well being of its student athletes and asserts that all athletes deserve a fair shot.”

So far, they do not.

Some Analysts Contend That Colleges Were Already Failing Before Coronavirus Crisis

We recently published an article exploring the possibility that colleges might soon go bankrupt as a consequence of the coronavirus crisis — but many financial analysts were quick to remind us that this is a problem that has been brewing for years. Coronavirus might be the final nail in the coffin, but it certainly wasn’t the first. As of late 2019, one in five colleges were already on track to face bankruptcy in 10 to 25 years.

A traditional debt settlement law firm might help college personnel avoid bankruptcy, but won’t necessarily prevent a college from “going out of business” in the traditional sense. This is especially true when you consider the reasons for the financial stress: fewer students wish to continue onto higher education because of rapidly climbing costs, and others don’t feel like they have the financial capabilities to enroll in the first place.

Moody Investor Services Associate Managing Director Susan Fitzgerald commented on the financial pressure colleges are experiencing: “It’s here to stay. I think we see the higher education sector is in a period of real transformation in terms of how students learn and where they learn.”

Another reason that schools are shuttering their doors forever is based on demographics in certain geographic locations like the Northeast, where much of the population is aging and the younger generations simply don’t have as many kids. In 2019, Green Mountain College closed in Vermont. It had been offering higher education to students for 185 years when officials made the decision to close up shop. Newbury College in Massachusetts also closed in 2019. 

Former Newbury College President Joseph Chillo, “It is no secret that weighty financial challenges are pressing on liberal arts colleges throughout the country. Newbury College is no exception.”

Massachusetts Mount Ida College closed in 2018 without much lip service, which left around 1,500 students wondering how they would transfer credits or complete their education. This particular closure resulted in a new state law to force state education officials to make private college financial woes known to the public. 

Many of the most vulnerable liberal arts schools rely on sports programs to keep them afloat — and we, in turn, love covering those programs. But sports won’t be enough to repair the recent damage done by the COVID-19 crisis. That means many schools are rethinking how they approach revenue. What that means for sports programs in general is anyone’s guess. It could go either way: there might be unprecedented growth in the number of programs, or the school closures might result in the unprecedented decline of sports programs.

Hiram College President Lori Varlotta said, “We’ve added new majors to our conventional liberal arts programs; majors that we call market-driven; majors that pave a very concrete pathway to various types of 21st-century careers.”

Because liberal arts colleges are experiencing this period of financial turmoil, many more are trying to make the transition to business or science to prop up the reduction in revenue.

Will Fans Return To Football This Autumn?

The recent depression of national interest in football is a common story after February’s dismal Super Bowl ratings. The expectations in the run-up to the big event were high, after all, in part because it was assumed that a year of being shut-up indoors for quarantine or social distancing would spur excitement — finally, something to be happy about! But that’s not the way it happened. 

Stadiums were obviously not filled to capacity because of general COVID-19 precautions and restrictions, but why on Earth were television ratings down? Fans of football had nothing to do but sit at home and watch the game!

This has the directors of college sports programs especially worried. Many universities were forced to cut spending on sports programs (others actually took the opposite approach, but they were the minority), and rely on crowded stadiums to generate sufficient revenue to justify a team’s existence. What happens to college sports if the fans don’t come back this fall?

Dynamic Pricing Partners recently conducted a survey that provided a promising result: 72 percent of colleges believe crowds this fall will lead to full stadiums.

Dr. Michael Lauzardo, the Florida Director of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at UF Health, said, “I want to be in a full stadium again. I want to be able to watch the game with people in the stadiums without cardboard cut-outs.” He added, “The more you’ve been in lockdown, the more you’re in lockdown. You’re just scared. You’re worried. It just messes with you.”

But others suggest stadiums might not fill up at all because the mob mentality regarding these public gatherings has already evolved. Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said, “There is a psychology of public assembly that will probably evolve. People are going to have to ask themselves if they want to sit cheek by jowl with people they don’t know and maybe people that don’t have masks. You don’t know if they’re vaccinated or not.”

Will American Universities — And Their Sports Programs — Go Bankrupt Because Of COVID?

To say that the coronavirus pandemic has been traumatic for most of us would be a massive understatement. The economy is in tatters. Many people have lost their jobs. The government has routinely spent too much time debating how the country would best be served during the pandemic, and too little time actually helping. And over a half-million people are dead — mostly our beloved grandparents.

But American institutions are under tremendous pressure because of the COVID-19 tragedy as well. Hundreds of thousands of small businesses have shuttered their doors forever. College sports programs have been shut down, many never to reopen — and the revenue they generate has vanished as well. Many are asking whether or not our colleges will go bankrupt as a result of this pandemic. And what will happen if they do?

While many fear the closure of colleges will escalate in the next ten to fifteen years, others aren’t nearly as worried. Professors Antony Davies and James Harrigan of the Duquesne University and the University of Arizona, respectively, argue that higher education will only become stronger as a result.

The pair wrote: “Just like any other venture, colleges will go out of business when they become insolvent. There is nothing special about a college in this respect. Since 2016, some 52 colleges and universities have closed their doors or merged with other institutions. With the new reality of COVID-19, this trend will accelerate. Big state schools and those in the Ivy League will come out the other side to be sure. But small liberal arts colleges will not be nearly so fortunate.” 

You can click on https://www.t-plaw.com/ for more information on individual or business-related bankruptcies, which are becoming more common lately — mostly because of the economical impact of COVID.

The professors argue, “But that’s only the beginning of the very bad news for at-risk institutions. The COVID-19 related downturn has caused any number of young people to ask themselves whether they want to go to college at all given the exorbitant costs. For the first time in decades they are asking the right sorts of questions about college. The most important question, of course, is whether college is a good investment.”

To be fair, these questions have been asked on a smaller scale for years as college tuition costs have skyrocketed. There’s no debate on whether or not America needs higher education for its economy to thrive, but not everyone wants to go if it puts them in a financial hole for the rest of their lives. What’s the end result of this quandary? We can expect the arguments on free college for all to become stronger in the coming years — because without skilled workers, America will fall behind the rest of the world. 

The pair of professors believe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, because colleges that survive the financial crisis will have to focus their efforts on delivering the best education for a lower cost rather than delivering a desired college experience at a higher cost. College sports programs should experience a grace period as a result.

Some Schools Have A Different Strategy For Fixing COVID-19 Financial Woes

The coronavirus pandemic has left us with a changed world — and some are wondering if we’ll ever get back to normal even after the population is immunized and the threat of COVID-19 dies down. With over half a million people dead in the United States alone, it’s a fair question. One of the consequences for schools around the country were deep budget cuts, many of which were applied to sports programs.

After all, isn’t entertainment frivolous spending?

New Jersey Fairleigh Dickinson University officials don’t believe it is. Instead of cutting sports programs, the school’s board has decided to add new ones across the board. There will be a new men’s volleyball team and a women’s lacrosse team. Both of these programs require new leadership positions to be filled. 

The reason is simple: the cancellation of school sports programs resulted in millions of dollars of revenue loss. People pay to watch entertainment, and those dollars are invested into education.

FDU Director of Athletics Brad Hurlbut said, “We were looking at our financials, and like it was for everybody, it was bleak. We needed to come up with a plan to ease those fears that the university had and we had as an athletic department.”

But filled stadiums aren’t the only source of revenue generated by college sports programs. Without those programs, many students won’t have any interest in attending at all — and certainly the scholarship dollars they might bring with them won’t be acquired by the college.

Athletic Director Jason Young paired with an economist to determine the overall benefit of the news sports teams. 

Young said, “I presented back in June to the leadership group of the university. That got some different looks, but it allowed us to peel back the curtain of the financial structure of our athletic department and really start diving in. That was the opening crack for us.”

Remembering One Of The Biggest Scandals In College Football

Way back in 2011 one such scandal emerged, evoking shocked groans from every corner of the football universe. Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky of the Penn State Nittany Lions football team was indicted suddenly for a whopping 52 counts of child molestation, all of which occurred between 1994 and 2009 — only two years before the charges were made. He was convicted on 45 of those counts only one year later. He is currently serving a 30-year-sentence.

While these allegations of abuse were nothing compared to scandals like those that emerged from the catholic church or boy scout abuse by scout leaders, it still helped raise awareness about who we place trust in — especially when it comes to children and young adults, who may not know what to do or who to turn to in such cases.

What was worse than the abuse itself was the fact that at least three other people were eventually charged with trying to cover it up. School President Graham Spanier, Vice President Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley were all charged with failure to report the abuse, obstruction of justice, and perjury for lying under oath. Another investigation into these counts of wrongdoing was commissioned by former FBI Director Louis Freeh.

 

It was this investigation that helped uncover the fact that the aforementioned individuals — along with head coach Joe Paterno — had already been made aware of several allegations leveled against Sandusky as far back as 1998. According to the report, all of these individuals had completely ignored the allegations and failed to disclose any related information to the public. All related contracts with these men were terminated by the Board of Trustees.

 

The conduct resulted in sanctions imposed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The school was fined $60 million, all of its football victories from the years during which the abuse occurred were vacated, and the postseason was banned for 4 years. In addition, scholarships awarded to the school were reduced.

 

NCAA President Mark Emmert commented at the time that the sanctions were “not…just punitive, but to make sure the university establishes an athletic culture and daily mindset in which football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people.”

 

The allegations against Sandusky only came to light after then Freshman Aaron Fisher (“Victim 1” reported molestation that had been occurring for several years. Then graduate assistance and assistant coach at Penn State Mike McQueary testified during the trial that he had caught Sandusky with a boy in the showers in an obviously sexual position on approximately February 9, 2001, and that he had reported this event to school officials (who would go on to deny that they heard those exact details).

 

One man, a former Penn State janitor, was not able to testify about a separate incident that he witnessed because he was diagnosed with dementia before the trial began. Other boys testified about many incidents, varying in sexual nature — but all illegal. 

USC Football Player Has Coronavirus

The University of Southern California (USC) might have to put its football season on hold after a player on its team tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, November 23. Certainly, the remaining players will be tested before any final decisions are made. This infection is the team’s first. The Trojans only recently returned from Salt Lake City after overcoming the Utah Utes this past Saturday night. Their season stats are now at 3-0.

The infected player has symptoms but has been placed in quarantine away from other members of the team.

USC football tweeted a statement this morning: 

“We were informed last night that a single football player tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, Nov. 23. That individual had traveled with us to Utah for Saturday’s football game, and he had tested negative three times within 36 hours of travel and again on game day. All other test results on Monday were negative, and the individual was not present in the facilities or at practice on Sunday or Monday. The individual is symptomatic and has been quarantined. USC Student Health, Utah Athletics and the Pac-12 have been notified; the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will be notified today. When more information is available, including  additional test results, contact tracing and public health guidance, we will provide it.”

The player was not present for practice yesterday or today. He will be asked to quarantine for at least two weeks, test negative, and then may return to the roster.

Players must test negative for COVID-19 on game days. They are also tested several times before travel to ensure that no tests provide false negative results.

Health officials expect coronavirus cases to multiply rapidly over the next few months due to the holiday season. Teams anticipate a heightened probability of new infections during this time.

High School Sports Seasons Delayed Or Canceled Because Of Coronavirus

Sports seasons around the world have been delayed or cancelled — or, in some cases, completely transformed — thanks to the coronavirus pandemic still raging. The number of COVID-19 cases is on the rise in many countries around the world, but life goes on. Here in the United States, this is apparent in the way high schools have approached programs beloved by the majority of their student bodies. 

For example, in North Olmsted, Ohio, the North Olmsted City School District recently decided to cancel their high school football season after a player tested positive for coronavirus. Contact tracing protocols were immediately put into place, and another nine students were found to be infected. Two staff members tested positive as well.

Quarantines in Alaska have resulted after many patrons of a hockey game tested positive for COVID-19. The outbreak occurred in part because Anchorage is experiencing a surge in cases. In only a three-day period, at least 300 students and staff tested positive in the areas surrounding Anchorage, Chugiak, Eagle River, Fairbanks, Kenai, Juneau, Palmer, Soldotna, and Wasilla.

College football hasn’t faired much better. Dozens of games were canceled or postponed by the end of October, not even ten weeks into the football season. Daily testing will be conducted by the Big Ten, Big 12, and Pac-12 in order to dutifully set new dates for postponed seasons while they decide whether or not additional cancellations are recommended. Postponements have already occurred at Houston, Baylor, Memphis, Virginia Tech, and more.

Schools and colleges around the country have transitioned to online learning for many classes, and some have canceled or postponed on-site residency — which makes it all the more difficult to implement popular sports programs. Many students — and college officials — have failed to take coronavirus seriously, resulting in additional obstacles. What members of faculty will decide to do in the future is anyone’s guess.

Will Alabama’s Crimson Tide Finally Miss The Top Four In College Football Playoffs?

For six consecutive seasons, Alabama’s Crimson Tide has seemed unstoppable. The team held a spot in the final four of the college football playoffs for those years. Could this year possibly go any differently? It seems so. Even though the high-profile team has continued to play competitively with the help of a great coach, you can’t expect them to win year after year without taking a big hit once in a while.

Rob Mullens, chair of the selection committee, said, “The committee’s job is to enter the room with a blank sheet of paper, meaning we start with an open mind as we consider the strengths and weaknesses of every team, from opening day through this past Saturday. Nothing else matters.”

But the opinions that are subsequently formed in that room are beginning to tell a tale: and that tale is about Alabama’s fall from the top.

Coach Nick Saban said, “We don’t really control our own destiny, but if we finish the season the right way, we can see where it takes us. We’ve been in this situation before…We don’t want to waste a failure. There’s a lot of lessons to be learned from things that we did and didn’t do today. I think that everybody has got to make a commitment to finish the season the right way.”

And it’s the truth: Alabama was last in a similar standing back in 2015. The team hovered in position number two, but only after losing out to Ole Miss. They still managed to push forward until they came out near enough on top, but for a while there it looked like fans were losing hope (and for good reason).

What can Alabama do to turn things around this time? It won’t be easy. First, we need to keep an open mind about what the team can achieve with fans behind them. Baylor and Minnesota need to start losing games. If they do, then Alabama’s future wins will mean a lot more.

But this is college football, not professional football. Crazy things happen every week — and that’s why we love the sport and the influence of its players so very much. You never really know what to expect from the next game. 

Coach Saban seems to know that it won’t do any good looking too far ahead into the future. He takes the team’s losses to heart, and tries to learn how not to make the same mistakes the next time around. And what else can they do right now but hope they improve? The end of this season is already in sight!

Best College Coaches Of All Time

What is it that marks greatness?  What factors into a decision that someone is the best?  In sports, it’s relatively easy from year to year to determine who the best is based solely on who is left standing in a championship match. In the NFL, the best team is determined by the team who wins the Super Bowl. In golf, the best is generally regarded as the one who wins the most events. But, how do you gauge someone as the best by legacy? For example, how would you grade the best coaches in college sports?  No single team has won every championship during their existence in any given sport. Many teams have had years of outstanding success followed by incredible failure, many have also had this the other way around. So, how is it that one can measure a college coach on greatness when there are so many different factors to consider? Well, as mentioned earlier, one can consider championships. As good a place to start as any, the number of championships a college coach holds is a telling marker of their greatness in their given sport.

Since the inception of the NCAA, no college coach has won more football championships than Alabama’s Paul William “Bear” Bryant. Once a player on the Alabama team, Bryant eventually went on to coach the Crimson Tide to six national titles between the years of 1961 and 1979. Before coaching Alabama to six national titles, Bryant also coached at the University of Maryland, University of Kentucky and Texas A&M University before returning to his alma mater where he ended his career in 1982. Bear Bryant retired with a career record of 323-85-17. His 323 career wins rank third all-time in NCAA football history.

The most wins is awarded to Joe Paterno, who claims 409 career wins – all with the Penn State Nittany Lions. In the span of coaching from 1966 to 2011, “JoePa” led Penn State to 37 collegiate Bowl appearances – the most in NCAA history – and won 18 of them (his Bowl record was 24-12-1 before NCAA sanctions took place). He also won 2 national championships with the Nittany Lions in 1982 and 1986. He also coached Penn State to five separate undefeated and untied seasons during his career. For his efforts and continued dedication to Penn State, Joe Paterno was also awarded a hefty paycheck of a shade over $1 million before his contract was terminated during the 2011 season.

As impressive a resume as that may be, especially with 409 wins in 45 seasons, there are several head basketball coaches who make that number look rather paltry. And the most impressive is likely a name you have not heard before: Harry Statham. There are Division I greats such as Mike Krzyzewski, Bob Knight, Pat Summitt, and Jim Boeheim, and the argument could be made that their involvement in Division I outweighs the accomplishments of Harry Statham, the head coach of McKendree University, a Division II private liberal arts college in Lebanon, Illinois. While the previously mentioned coaches all sport 900+ wins and various points of national championship contention, Statham is the only active college coach (having coached now for 50 seasons) to garner over 1,100 career wins. And just the same as Joe Paterno at Penn State, Statham has earned all of his wins with McKendree, posting an impressive .691 winning percentage with a career record of 1,110-497 with the Bearcats.

All things considered, it is difficult to pin down greatness to one category. While these are a few of the more prominent names in collegiate sports, there are a number of others to whom we could give heavy consideration. Greatness isn’t built solely by championships, or by an overall career record, or even by the amount of money a coach has earned. But, considering the metrics we have to work with, they are certainly a good start for picking a few standouts.