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US Open To Be Aired on ESPN

May 13, 2008 1 comment

I knew that something bugged me when I heard that ESPN was to broadcast the entirety of the US Open (taking over from USA Network), starting in 2009. And it wasn’t just the annoyance of the :18 and :58 banners and breathless coverage of Clemens-gate on the bottom line banner.

Gabriela SabatiniBut access to all the games will be a worry. From a Connecticut Post editorial:

You know what else makes the USA coverage outstanding? It’s always on. The matches start at 11 a.m., and that’s the time the USA theme song begins, a great start to every weekday until CBS takes over late in the tournament. There’s only a two-hour break in coverage from the first serve until the final point, and that break is often blown off if the matches are interesting enough. One of the first things I noticed with ESPN2’s coverage is that it will start at 1 p.m. during the first week. That’s two hours of tennis uncovered. Sigh.

It turns out that tennis will be covered. It’ll air on The Tennis Channel, which generally costs extra. Perhaps I’ll order TTC during that time span, but perhaps not; I pay more than enough for cable television as it is. To add insult to injury, the middle weekend night sessions — which have featured such matchups as James Blake vs. Roger Federer in past years — will be on TTC. That means a whole bunch of regular viewers will miss those matches, and possibly lose interest in the tournament as a result.

And there are other issues. The USTA made it clear it wants ESPN and tennis to become synonymous. The network already handles the other three Grand Slam events, often ruining them by focusing way too much on Americans, even in blowouts, ignoring live matches to show the American routs on tape.

The worst thing a network can do in showing a sport where Americans are not entirely dominant is… showing mostly Americans. Makes the sport look boring. If you watch the World Cup and only see the Americans, you think soccer is a slovenly, boring sport that sucks 90 minutes out of your life.

And those midweek matches are the most fun – late evening, watching two players who can’t break that top-ten ceiling fighting and struggling to win a 3 (for the women) or 5 (for the men) set match on pure grit and sweat, on an 85 degree night in Flushing? That’s the joy of the US Open right there. Those are the tickets I used to get and enjoy. And the AM games? When I was in high school, I’d go to any of those games I could get tickets to (okay, they were free. I didn’t have that kind of loot in HS!) and watch minor players try to prove they belonged.

And I am NOT buying the tennis channel for a month.

I can see the finals and semis drawing a strong crowd to ESPN, but otherwise, they’re just burying the early round matches to tennis fanatics, and there aren’t many of those anymore.

Photo above is of the great Gabriela Sabatini (purr); below is video of her 1991 US Open win over Steffi Graf.

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Categories: Sports, tennis, tv

Rating Coaches

May 12, 2008 Comments off

Fox Sports columnist Jeff Goodman recently posted his list of top college basketball assistants, polling head coaches, assistants, and those close to assistants. His names are broken into BCS conferences and mid-major conferences (would Xavier and Gonzaga have landed in the mid-major area? We don’t know, none of their assistant coaches were on the list). There are a few former head coaches (Larry Shyatt (Florida), Joe Dooley (Kansas), Donnie Daniels (UCLA)), some up and comers, some people with pedigree/ former player resumes (but no major ex-pros), and some guys who started out on the high school level.

This list, however, focuses on recruiting achievements. For an assistant coach, that is a somewhat quantifiable metric – how well a coach can lock down a recruit who is interested in their school. That focus, of course, doesn’t necessarily tell us how that coach is on a comparative level – in a good situation with a good product (some combination of a competitive team, tv exposure, playing time, an attractive campus, big booty hoes, a well-regarded head coach), many people can recruit the names we come to know in college ball. When he was hired, St. John’s coach Norm Roberts was advertised as the man who brought Russell Robinson to Kansas and got a verbal from Charlie Villanueva.*

Being associated with great college basketball names will get an assistant coach a job. But should it? Those recruiting achievements are not the coach’s alone; they belong to the head coach, to the quality and style of play, and perhaps to the institution. Believing that these recruiting wins are the coach’s alone is questionable; and the game isn’t won on the number of 4 and 5 star Rivals or Scout.com recruits a coach gets. It certainly helps, but that’s not the end-all.

Answering some of this is Yet Another Basketball Blog‘s Coach Ratings by Dan Hanner. Admittedly, I don’t know all of ratings’ methodology. For example, the recruiting ratings might be from the aforementioned basketball player rating sites or some other source. And does this model account for players who have transferred (probably not, since he does not penalize for players going pro early)? How does one measure expected wins? What if talent is overrated? Otherwise, this is a sharp look at what ingredients constitute what we think of as a good coach. The ratings for recruiting and coaching come from regression analysis of the impact on talent on wins. The main point is that the numbers give a comparative look at a coach’s recruiting and regular season performance at each school.

Some light numbers, and of course chatter about St. John’s, after the jump.
Read more…

Sports Links 05.12.08

May 12, 2008 Comments off

And a wholly unnecessary Emanuelle Chriqui photo.
Emmanuelle Chriqui

+ Lenny Dykstra’s high end mag for pro athletes is stuck in legal/ monetary disputes, as former Ram defensive back Ryan McNeil’s is. That “Nails never fails” article in the New Yorker is getting old already. Move it to the “fiction” section, people.

+ More of a peek into the private life of Marvin Harrison after the shooting near a bar that he owns.

+ Mike D’Antoni is the Knicks coach! Holy Crapcakes!

The beauty of NYC is such that the first article I read is “Bringing in Mike D’Antoni wrong move for the Knicks“. And it may be true, if only for the dead wood on the roster that needs to be dumped. This article is a little wrong though; the roster is missing a credible point guard, for certain, but the idea that the Suns put up good shots all the time because of their IQ is questionable. Their speed and spacing allowed them to get good looks early in the offense, and unlike other basketball coaches, D’Antoni has no problem with early shots. Jamal Crawford loves to take jumpers with 20 seconds left on the shot clock! He’ll be a freaking natural! (I’m not joking. I actually think that Nate Robinson and Crawford might be good in this system. Starbury, however, needs to be bought out.)

Though D’Antoni would have KILLED with the Bulls’ roster, no doubt. But they would never play defense, and GM Paxson wanted assurances that there would be defense played at the United Center.

+ Yesterday I glanced at the score of the Mets game and.. what the hot hell? It’s Oliver Perez’ good day! Which ended with a bad hiccup. From the Journal News:

The unsolved mystery that is Oliver Perez was back on display yesterday at Shea Stadium. There he was, sweeping breaking balls past the lefty bats of Adam Dunn and Joey Votto. There he was firing five innings of one-hit ball. Yet there he was giving up three runs in the sixth.

Suddenly, it was a Day at the Improv. He dropped his arm lower, trying to change speeds because he was tiring. It turned out to be a wild pitch, skipping past Brian Schneider to allow one of the runs to score. Perez also surprised the Reds with a bunt single. Before that, he walked and stole second.

“How crazy are you, Ollie?” manager Willie Randolph playfully asked, turning toward the 26-year-old lefty entering the interview room. “Do you have a full deck? They want to know. Inquiring minds want to know. I’ll take you anyway. I’ll tell you what, you can play on my team any day.”

Perez is good. Perez is bad. Sometimes in the same game. Good luck predicting the unpredictable. But after throwing three straight losing duds, the Mets will take the three-run, three-hit, eight-strikeout, four-walk, one-hit-batter work he gave them over six innings in beating Cincinnati 8-3 in the rubber game of the series.

+ Meanwhile, like me, Mets’ minor leaguer Fernando Martinez is allergic to lobster.

+ Uni Watch has lots of the Mother’s Day pink paraphernalia Cubs pink batthat MLB players and umps rocked.

+ Cablevision is buying Newsday? Isn’t there a limit to local media synergies? I guess not.

Will Long Island become one giant Cablevision bubble, where Jim Dolan is a cuddly teddy bear and the Knicks are everyone’s favorite? If I want to reach Long Island… will I have to go through Dolan? Will he manage Long Island’s media future?

+ The Devil Rays are winning baseball games? What is this world coming to?

+ Florida State player plans to play all 9 positions in today’s game. If the game goes extra innings, he should offer to umpire the game, just to add another layer of gimmick.

+ The 4 armed robbers accused of killing safety Sean Taylor will not face the death penalty.

+ One Droo Hill makes edits to the United Countries of Baseball region map, which was perhaps influenced by this unscientific but interesting attempt from 2007. The map does not reflect certain sports teams that roll deep in every city they go to like the Yank-These and Mets.

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Willie Randolph In Trouble?

May 9, 2008 Comments off

The team is 71-71 since last June 1st and the management plans to sit down and evaluate Randolph’s performance at the end of the month. I am sure other teams do that, but ownership might just have a quibble. From Dan Graziano’s article at the Star-Ledger:


Where Randolph comes up short is in his failure to recognize what kind of team he has and manage accordingly. Randolph is a decent man who cares deeply about his team and his job and believes strongly in himself. But he’s also stubborn, and that’s what has him in trouble.

Randolph came from the Yankees, where the championship teams of the late ’70s and the late ’90s were packed with hard-nosed winners. He believes he shouldn’t need to motivate or fire up big-league players, because his teams never needed that.

In principle, he’s right. He shouldn’t need to remind major-league players that it’s important to raise their games in big spots, or not to take games or at-bats off.

But unfortunately for Randolph, his players are soft. His players are the types who don’t raise their games in big spots, who do take at-bats off. His players coast through long stretches of the season, assuming their talent will carry them through without any extra effort or emotion on their part. His players are not self-motivators, and they are a group that might respond well to being scared every now and then.

That’s not to say they need a Larry Bowa/Lou Piniella type of screamer. “Scaring” players like this would be as simple as letting them know their playing time isn’t guaranteed — that a long, languid slump by the $17 million-a-year center fielder isn’t going to be tolerated when there’s a hungry, energetic Angel Pagan around to man the position while Carlos Beltran gets his head together on the bench.

Randolph doesn’t do that. He does what Joe Torre used to do when his veteran players slumped. He tells them he believes in them and will stick by them until they come out of it.

But in the case of these particular Mets, it doesn’t work. These Mets get too comfortable. They can keep mailing it in at no threat to themselves or their lifestyle. You went 0-for-5 again, Carlos? No problem. You’ll be back in there tomorrow, have no fear. We’ll never embarrass you.

By now — after the playoff flop of 2006, the historic meltdown of ’07 and the sleepy start to ’08 — Randolph should understand this, and he should be doing something about it. He is not.

But does scaring players with the threat of losing playing time work? Or does it alienate the player? I hate watching Carlos Beltran’s at bats as much as anyone, but playing time is a blunt instrument to effect change. I think Beltran might be served by taking fewer stinking pitches, myself. How does one build the desire to get pissed off at each failed at bat like Paul O’Neill? And do the Mets want players that tightly wound?

Don’t get me wrong, I think Willie needs to do something more than sitting back in the cut. or the dugout, as it were.

This weekend: The Cincinnati Reds. Analysis here from Amazin’ Avenue.

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Is Richard Jefferson Gonna Have to Choke a Bitch?

May 9, 2008 1 comment

Apparently not. The New Jersey Nets star disputes the account of the man who accuses Jefferson of assault at a Minnesota nightclub:

Speaking on Sirius satellite radio late Wednesday, Jefferson said he was attending a birthday party for teammate Vince Carter when he was approached in the hotel bar by an individual he described as “very rude and very disrespectful.”

Jefferson said “an altercation broke out” but no punches were thrown.

“They were saying there was choking. It was more of a getting your space,” he said. “This individual doesn’t have a scratch on him. There was no mark. There was no blood. There was no anything.”…

The documents say Jefferson entered the area and got angry when he was asked to leave. He is accused of grabbing the victim, shoving him to a bench and choking him with both hands.

“You know, it is unfortunate,” Jefferson said. “I’ve never been involved in an incident in my life. I don’t even think I’ve ever been thrown out of a basketball game. But some drunk individual wants to come up and, you know, then, of course, when they start telling their side of the story we’re the big bad athletes that think they can get away with everything and then they’re some innocent individual that has never made a mistake in their life.”

Categories: Nets, player issues, Sports

Your Atlantic Yards Update

May 9, 2008 Comments off

Less ambitious than previous designs, and missing that Green Roof and public space Craneso lovingly touted in the initial brochures (pdf), Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards development seems to be hitting some… snags, like every other large scale development in the sputtering economy.

…concerted efforts [to stop Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards development] proved largely unsuccessful, key components of the development are now on hold — not because of public outrage, but rather due to increasing construction costs, a slowing economy sliding toward recession and a tightening credit market.

To different degrees, the very same economic challenges facing Atlantic Yards confront real estate projects both big and small throughout the five boroughs.

As the economy turns toward recession, developers, community groups and city officials alike are questioning whether these projects will go through at all — or at least in the way many had previously imagined.

While much of Atlantic Yards project is sliding to the back burner, the $950 million arena is moving forward and slated for completion in 2010 for one main reason: The financing for it is already in place. Unlike the private financing needed for the commercial and residential buildings, Forest City Ratner already has secured $670 million in tax-free bonds to cover the costs of the arena’s construction beyond the $200 million in subsidies already in place ($100 million from both the Empire State Development Corporation and the city).

Additionally, unlike the commercial tower centerpiece known as Miss Brooklyn, the stadium already has its anchor tenant lined up (the Nets) and Barclays has ponied up a reported $400 million specifically for the stadium’s naming rights.

Miss Brooklyn has been redone and renamed “B1″; it now looks like lego blocks, all twisted:
Atlantic Yards
Furthermore, investors are generally wary of mixed-use projects as the Atlantic Yards was designed to be – arena, high and middle-income (“affordable”) housing, and commercial space. Sole use properties are easier to get loan funding for; the easy money, fast-development days are over.

B1 aka Miss BrooklynWhere are the tenants for these buildings going to come from? The athletic part of the equation is easier to figure out; the funding is pretty much in place. But is the stadium a viable project for the developer without the money-making residential and commercial space? Let alone new Governor David Patterson’s opposition stance on eminent domain when he was a state senator.

For his part, Bruce Ratner will not speak of how the project might be scaled down. Instead, in this editorial in last week’s Daily News, he chooses to speak of difficulties and obstacles:

In recent weeks, some have rushed to write the obituary of Atlantic Yards, the multi-billion dollar, 22-acre development my company is building near downtown Brooklyn.

But rumors of Atlantic Yards’ demise, stirred by opponents, have been greatly exaggerated. The project is moving forward in its entirety, and in the coming years it will bring jobs, housing and an improved quality of life to Brooklyn.

…the delays have pushed us into a time when the economy has slowed, and both financing and tenant commitments are more challenging to obtain. But contrary to rumors, large deals are still getting done, and in the past year alone we have closed on the two largest construction financings in our company’s history, totaling over $1.3 billion. Atlantic Yards will be no different.

The stakes are high. As other major developments around the city face challenges, Atlantic Yards has become even more important to our economy than when we first announced it. That’s why we have tried so hard to work through each obstacle we’ve confronted. If more unforeseen hurdles appear, we will tackle them with the same resolve. Working with our public sector partners, I am confident we will continue to overcome all obstacles to complete this project.

So, what’s next?

Our first goal is to break ground on the Barclays Center later this year. Shortly after that, we will break ground on the first residential building, which includes a significant amount of affordable housing.

An aside on rhetoric: I like how he uses “rumors… stirred by opponents.” You’re either with us, or with the economic terrorists (who live in Brooklyn and have issues with the project).

As for the project; breaking ground doesn’t mean “finished” by 2010? The infrastructure – covering the existing train yards – hasn’t even been done yet! Opponents call his time estimates “not credible.” And let’s talk about the costs of the Barclays Center:

…the estimated cost of their proposed new building — the Barclays Center in Brooklyn — has soared to $950 million, or more than twice the price of any pro basketball or hockey arena ever built in the United States.

And where in the world would they find much of the money to build that arena?

Europe, it turns out.

Nets Chief Executive Officer Brett Yormark has just returned from London and Turin, Italy, where he has begun attempts to entice foreign companies into becoming major contributing sponsors for the new Brooklyn arena.

Yormark already stunned the sports business world last year, when he persuaded British-based Barclays Bank to pay an unprecedented $20 million annually for naming rights to the Nets’ planned new home. That’s four times the amount that Prudential is paying for naming rights at the $380 million home of the Devils hockey team in Newark.

Renowned architect Frank Gehry — who is designing the Barclays Center — is revered in Europe, Yormark said. Gehry’s creations include the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, and the “Dancing House” in Prague, the Czech Republic.

“We’ve never pitched this as an arena — we’ve pitched it as a landmark,” Yormark said.

That sounds like some wishin’ and hopin’ to me. What would entice foreign sponsors to invest? Because the dollar is weak? The “landmark” building? Outside of Barclay, where will their names be seen and spoken? As far as landmarks go, they are nice to have – and if there is an arena, it would be interesting to have an architecturally interesting one – but that landmark isn’t going to pay anyone’s bills, is it?

Inside Barclays Arena

And in fact, the Nets might move a little closer to their Meadowlands home

Nets are currently losing an estimated $40 million a year playing in the Meadowlands, and are stuck there at least another two seasons before a Brooklyn arena could be ready. And they’re facing an increasingly tougher financial road there as well, despite heavy public subsidies. As George Zoffinger, former head of Jersey’s sports authority, told the Star-Ledger: “When you start to spend north of $500 million for an arena, you can’t generate the cash flow necessary to generate a decent return on the investment. If the number is $900 million, it’s absolutely, positively not viable from an economic standpoint.”

The NJ Sports and Exposition Authority might waive the penalty in the Nets’ contract that previously did not allow them to move within the Garden State. But a NY arena might bring in more fans (more central location than Newark’s Prudential Center, where the Nets would move if they stayed in Jersey), and more importantly, might attract more investors and luxury box purchases by simply being in NY and close to the financial district.

By the way, about that architect Frank Gehry… the incoming head of the Port Authority has some misgivings about sticking with him.

Chris Ward, due to take over the Port Authority this month, suggests to us that he thinks Bruce Ratner should consider recruiting architects other than Frank Gehry for the Atlantic Yards. “Flatbush and Atlantic is a totally underused area and a major transportation hub, and I hope we don’t lock ourselves into a design that does not allow other architecture or public space,” says Ward. That design is entirely Gehry’s; even after Ratner admitted his multi-tower vision might not attract financing, public officials have kept the architect front and center…. this warning should hearten the project’s opponents: Ward will have a lot of influence over state spending if the developer needs a cash influx.

I highly doubt that this scale of project will come in under budget. And the aspects of the plan that are not being talked about – dealing with traffic and congestions, water provision and electric load issues, will probably be costly as well… and those will come out of the state’s pocket in one way or another; Forest City Ratner is already asking for more subsidies.

AY Renderings from the New York Daily News

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Mets 11, Dodgers In Hiding

May 7, 2008 2 comments

The Mets are out in LA taking out some frustrations on Brad Penny, Joe Torre and their mediocre record. David Wright is the only regular who hasn’t crossed the plate, including starting pitcher John Maine, who knocked in 2 runs and is working on a 1 2 hitter in the 5th.

Categories: baseball, Mets, Sports

Your Team Needs Zach Feinstein

May 7, 2008 Comments off

I Feinstein with the spinthink Washington University’s Zachary Feinstein should be a late second round pick. Prediction: he will dominate in China before returning as a defensive specialist and some team’s resident 5’8″ engineer. Teams out there – you want his rights. Kudos to you, man, for continuing to put my alma mater, the WU, on the map.

But Zach, you should show them your athleticism. Dunk more. And why weren’t you on the D-III national championship squad this year?

(photo from http://www.draftfeinstein.com/)

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Understanding the NCAA Academic Progress Reports

May 7, 2008 5 comments

The NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate report is the organization’s attempt to hold sports teams – especially in the revenue generating sports of football and basketball – accountable for the graduation rate/ good academic standing of their teams. Myles Brand has been a crusader for academic reform in schools, and as president of the NCAA, has been working to penalize teams for their problems in providing 4 years of schooling for their scholarship players. The numbers put out by the NCAA are an average of a 4 year period. The press release:

The most recent multi-year Academic Progress Rates indicate nearly all 6,272 Division I teams are achieving or exceeding the standards for academic performance based on four years of data, said NCAA President Myles Brand.

Every Division I sports team calculates its APR each academic year, based on the eligibility, retention and graduation of each scholarship student-athlete. An APR of 925 projects to an NCAA Graduation Success Rate of approximately 60 percent.

Teams that score below 925 and have a student leave school academically ineligible can lose up to 10 percent of their scholarships. Known as immediate penalties, these scholarships can be lost each year and not awarded until the following year. Teams can also be subject to historical penalties for poor academic performance over time.

Those harsher penalties can go up to being booted from Division I (in that sport or in all sports, I did not find out). From Sports Illustrated:

The scores were based on academic performance from 2003-07. Athletes earn one point for remaining academically eligible each semester and another point each semester they remain at the school, accumulating a maximum of four points each year. The scoring is altered slightly for schools on a quarters-based calendar.

Teams are not penalized if a player transfers but leaves in good standing. And scores are generally up. From the USA Today:

Nick Nolte in Blue Chips

There were 507 teams that posted APRs beneath 925 but didn’t draw sanctions because they had no athletes who left school while academically ineligible or their schools sought and received waivers — granted by the NCAA when there are mitigating circumstances and the institution has an acceptable academic improvement plan.

Among the sub-925 programs not hit: six in men’s basketball that have made the Final Four since 2002 (Indiana, Maryland, Ohio State, LSU, Oklahoma and Florida); 16 in major college football, including Arizona, Purdue, Oregon and South Carolina; and 54 in baseball, including No. 8-ranked Oklahoma State, No. 18 Coastal Carolina and five-time College World Series champion Arizona State.

“That raises the question: How can so many schools avoid sanctions?” said Nathan Tublitz, a neuroscience professor at Oregon who co-chairs the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics, an alliance of faculty senates at Division I universities. “One can understand a few exceptions. One can understand that some schools have good reasons. But for so many schools to have so many good reasons raises the question of whether there’s really any bite to this academic performance package and the sanctions that are supposed to be issued.”

Tublitz is a “very strong supporter” of the overall package, he said. “It’s just that if you’re going to set up a program that has a cutoff score, you have to stick to that cutoff score and not continue to give schools a free ride. If they don’t make it after four years, what’s going to happen after five? What’s going to happen after six? How many times does a school get an exception?”

Omar Epps in the ProgramYour list of NCAA penalized schools.

And an earlier published report from the University of Central Florida on Graduation Rates for NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Sweet Sixteen teams (pdf)

Nearly a quarter of the penalized teams were in men’s basketball, and most of those schools were the non-Bowl Championship Conference schools. HMM. Pat Forde delves a little deeper into the rich mouse- poor mouse issue:

On the football list, the schools are either members of the Mid-American Conference (Western Michigan, Toledo, Buffalo, Northern Illinois and, starting next year, Temple), the Western Athletic Conference (New Mexico State, Hawaii), or the Sun Belt (Middle Tennessee State). Those happen to be the bottom three leagues in the Sagarin Ratings for 2005.

On the basketball side we have schools from the Big West, Mid-Continent, Conference USA, Mid-Eastern Atlantic, Big East, Atlantic Sun, MAC, WAC, Southland, SWAC and Sun Belt. Most of those leagues rank among the bottom half of America according to the current conference RPI, and many rank among the bottom third. The Big East is the only league among the top eight.

Toledo: $8 million in the hole.

Kent State: $7.9 million.

Western Michigan: $7.2 million

Northern Illinois: $6.2 million.

Texas State: $4.1 million.

New Mexico State: $4 million.

And so forth. There are some among the these two-dozen schools who say they’re breaking even or turning a small profit, but you wonder how they balance their books. Is it really possible that Temple took in $17.9 million in revenues in 2003-04, while spending that exact same amount?

Thornton CenterNow compare those figures with, say, Tennessee. The Volunteers’ operating budget for ’03-04 shows $62 million in revenue (more than 20 times what Western Michigan pulled in) and $31 million in expenses.

Do you think it’s any coincidence that Tennessee put out a release Wednesday afternoon trumpeting its success in the APR?

Above is a picture of Tennessee’s Thornton Athletics Student Life Center.

The money of the bigger conference schools allows for the hiring of counselors to hand-hold athletes and make sure they go to class, for funding of housing, classes, and tutoring through summer school, to perhaps establish a few more easy-A classes, and hire tutors who “help” with the completion of work and the writing of papers (even if that help includes doing the typing and the research). These progress reports, of course, do not go into the school and measure available resources or the quality of that schooling, though Brand made a statement that schools should make sure their priorities are on education and less on new facilities.

The Big East’s penalized school was Seton Hall. Note that St. John’s APR was 918, slightly below the cutoff (pdf) …; schools can apply for waivers if there are extenuating circumstances. I bet those transfers over the past 4 years extenuate as well as any other circumstance… I can’t imagine that every one of those guys was all that motivated to bust their tails in the classrooms after they were asked to not return or chose to move on.

In basketball, below St. John’s and Seton Hall are South Florida and Cincinnati. Those high first semester grades that Norm Roberts alluded to before conference season better stay high, or else the team is going be docked a scholarship.

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Links – A Slow St John’s News Day

May 2, 2008 Comments off

We must be close to summer. Not so much to blog about.

* Did Paul Pierce throw up an LA gang sign or a Boston hood sign?

“Those of us from L.A. know that Paul Pierce went to Inglewood High, and we also know that means that B probably didn’t stand for Boston,” writes the Fourth Quarter blog.

Bostonians have another answer, whether it be accurate information or convenient homerism defending the Celtics star. “Paul was simply throwin his ‘3’s up’ – i.e. reppin Boston,” writes Sons of Sam Horn poster “Brookliner.” “Not reppin the bloods, not Ingelwood, not calling Horford names. I know most of us are ‘from Boston’, but nobody living in the ‘burbs will be familiar with the practice. The whole ‘3’s up’ thing is used by kids from the hood to rep Boston – simple as that.”

Indeed, an entry in Urban Dictionary defines “Throw them threes up,” as “a hand symbol representing Boston,” likely derived from the song, “3’s Up,” by local rap artist Stein. Ironically enough, another local artist, Benzino, lays claim to the song, “Throw Them 3’s.” It was Benzino bodyguard Trevor Watson who was convicted of stabbing Pierce in 2000.

* Karl Malone… you knocked up a 13 year old back in the day? Whoo-eee, Louisiana rolls dirty. The resulting child is Demetrius Bell, a draft pick of the Buffalo Bills. Even at age 20 and in college… that’s some ill sh*t.

* Speaking of drafts, here is an early peek at what the New York Jets will look like next year as the offensive line spending spree is designed to afford the skill position players more opportunities.

* As a fantasy owner, Yovani Gallardo-NOOOOOO! Not the ACL!

“Gallardo is probably out for the season, meaning you can drop him in all seasonal leagues. No chance he comes back and is effective this year after that type of injury, especially when you consider that he will likely have two surgeries — one on each knee — within the course of two months.”

* Dwyane Wade gets roasted for hanging out with Star Jones.

“Are y’all close friends?” [TNT's Kenny] Smith asked.

“We’re good friends,” Wade responded.

“Are you the kind of friends that drink out of one cup with two straws?” Smith persisted.

Even if Wade is doing some dirt behind his wife’s back… I think he can get someone less cougar-esque.

* Eli Holman – way to counteract talk that you’re a headcase (or “volatile” or “emotional” or any of those other euphemisms for “we don’t know wtf he might do”) with a temper tantrum as you announce your transfer from the Indiana basketball program. I smell junior college for you.

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