- After the Saskatoon Transit lockout is done, I canâ€™t see Ann Iwanchuk winning a second full term. Â Especially with Mike San Miguel quietly running again. Â Her campaign was largely financed by labour and with the city attacking the ATU like it did, her slim margin of victory, her constituents relying on Transit heavily, and a lack of a signature issue so far, it could be really tough to win re-election.
- It could hurt Clark and Loewen with their base and could mobilize the non voting parts of Ward 2 to really hurt Lorje. Â I am not saying councillors will lose their seats but rather could face much tougher re-election races than they would have. Â The right opponents will capitalize on this.
- Despite what people think, this wonâ€™t hurt the mayor at all. Â That is what the attack ads are targeted to protect (at the expense of councillors). Â In many ways he could come out of this the winner, especially if this weakens rivals and empowers his base which to be honest, never rides a bus.
- Of course the city being the city, coincided the lockout with the Mayorâ€™s Cultural Gala. Â You had some city councillors tweeting pictures of the cityâ€™s elite having a fun time while lower class people were being kicked off buses and having to walk home. Â
- Why would the city run attack ads against the very union it needs to negotiate with on the first day. Â Saskatoon already has laughable communications and that didnâ€™t exactly make the city look good. Â Of course the political nature of the ads was bizarre. Â Several city councillors swore to me that they never had any foreknowledge of the ads until they ran but both city staff and some others on council say that council saw and approved the ads in an in-camera session of executive committee. Â Itâ€™s not exactly breaking news that council members lie to me on issues. Â
- Speaking of executive committees, it would be a lot easier for them to lie to me if council and staff stopped leaking what happened in there. Â If only they had a way to investigate the leaksâ€¦
- I have had several discouraging conversations with people who are utterly dependent on the bus for work, to provide care for a spouse who is in a nursing home, to get to school. Â In Saskatoon we call those people collateral damage.
- It is weird to hear councillors go all out in defence of their real fiduciary duty but ignore their responsibility to those who rely on a public service. Â Empathy for those who have been hurt by this strike has not been something that has been communicated well.
- I donâ€™t really miss the NFL. Â You would think I would after watching it every week since 1987 but I havenâ€™t. Â I glance at some scores but other than that, I havenâ€™t really missed it. Â I still have some college football, the Huskies, and the CFL but I have never cared about them like the NFL.
- Brady Hoke needs to be fired from the University of Michigan. Â He sent back out a quarterback with a concussion back onto the field. Â That should be a fireable offence in any league (including when the Calgary Stampeders did it a couple of years ago in a playoff game against the Riders). Â You send out a player with a brain injury, you are fired or suspended, especially in the NCAA.
- What could Stephen Harper be thinking? Â $300,000 courtesy ride for a couple of European diplomats because he wanted to have them at a reception? Â Does he just not care anymore? Â That does not look like a move by a politician who is planning on re-election. Â Not only that but there is still widespread opposition to the deal in Germany.
- The NFL is talking with Texas head coach Charlie Strong who has taken some strong steps in dealing with player misconduct.Â â€œWe can’t compromise and sometimes that means getting rid of the best player.”
- If you are a big company and you want to associate your brand with a strong event, Iâ€™d talk to the people behind Nuit Blanche right now. Â Over 5000 people were on 20th Street last night for the inaugural event and it was a big time success. Â People were partying, shopping, and hanging out all over the place. Â What a great event. Â Someone needs to step up and get behind it in 2015 monetarily so it can get bigger.
- After reading this piece by Cathal Kelly, you will realize that the Blue Jays will never get any better than they are now. Â So yeah, that kind of sucks.
By the way, firingÂ Rob Chudzinski is a joke move by the Cleveland Browns. Â The entire season was supposed to be about the future (trading Trent Richardson) and he had the worst quarterback situation in the league. Â No one can win in that situation. Â Their franchise player, Joe Thomas was right when he said, â€œsuccessful franchises donâ€™t fire their coach after one seasonâ€. Â Well no one is confusing the Cleveland Browns with a successful franchise.
What the hell happened here? Seven floors above the iced-over Dallas North Tollway, Raghib (Rocket) Ismail is revisiting the question. It’s December, and Ismail is sitting in the boardroom of Chapwood Investments, a wealth management firm, his white Notre Dame snow hat pulled down to his furrowed brow.
In 1991 Ismail, a junior wide receiver for the Fighting Irish, was the presumptive No. 1 pick in the NFL draft. Instead he signed with the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts for a guaranteed $18.2 million over four years, then the richest contract in football history. But today, at a private session on financial planning attended by eight other current or onetime pro athletes, Ismail, 39, indulges in a luxury he didn’t enjoy as a young VIP: hindsight.
“I once had a meeting with J.P. Morgan,” he tells the group, “and it was literally like listening to Charlie Brown’s teacher.” The men surrounding Ismail at the conference table include Angels outfielder Torii Hunter, Cowboys wideout Isaiah Stanback and six former pros: NFL cornerback Ray Mickens and fullback Jerald Sowell (both of whom retired in 2006), major league outfielder Ben Grieve and NBA guard Erick Strickland (’05), and linebackers Winfred Tubbs (’00) and Eugene Lockhart (’92). Ismail (’02) cackles ruefully. “I was so busy focusing on football that the first year was suddenly over,” he says. “I’d started with this $4 million base salary, but then I looked at my bank statement, and I just went, What the…?”
Before Ismail can elaborate on his bewildermentâ€”over the complexity of that statement and the amount of money he had already lostâ€”eight heads are nodding, eight faces smiling in sympathy. Hunter chimes in, “Once you get into the financial stuff, and it sounds like Japanese, guys are just like, ‘I ain’t going back.’ They’re lost.”
At the front of the room Ed Butowsky also does a bobblehead nod. Stout, besuited and silver-haired, Butowsky, 47, is a managing partner at Chapwood and a former senior vice president at Morgan Stanley. His bailiwick as a money manager has long been billionaires, hundred-millionaires and CEOsâ€”a club that, the Steinbrenners’ pen be damned, still doesn’t include many athletes. But one afternoon six years ago Butowsky was chatting with Tubbs, his neighbor in the Dallas suburb of Plano, and the onetime Pro Bowl player casually described how money spills through athletes’ fingers. Tubbs explained how and when they begin earning income (often in school, through illicit payments from agents); how their pro salaries are invested (blindly); and when the millions evaporate (before they know it).
“The details were mind-boggling,” recalls Butowsky, who would later hire Tubbs to work in business development at Chapwood. “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.”
What happens to many athletes and their money is indeed hard to believe. In this month alone Saints alltime leading rusher Deuce McAllister filed for bankruptcy protection for the Jackson, Miss., car dealership he owns; Panthers receiver Muhsin Muhammad put his mansion in Charlotte up for sale on eBay a month after news broke that his entertainment company was being sued by Wachovia Bank for overdue credit-card payments; and penniless former NFL running back Travis Henry was jailed for nonpayment of child support.
In a less public way, other athletes from the nation’s three biggest and most profitable leaguesâ€”the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseballâ€”are suffering from a financial pandemic. Although salaries have risen steadily during the last three decades, reports from a host of sources (athletes, players’ associations, agents and financial advisers) indicate that:
â€¢ By the time they have been retired for two years, 78% of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress because of joblessness or divorce.
â€¢ Within five years of retirement, an estimated 60% of former NBA players are broke.
Cutting football was the best move this college ever made
Six years ago, Michael Sorrell made a decision that threatened his reputation and maybe his job.
His tenure as president of Paul Quinn College started in 2007 and, shortly thereafter, he opted to cut football in an effort to save money.
The response on campus was not pleasant.
“Predictably, we had folks who were, I guess, the reaction was loud,” Sorrell says.
This was in football-nuts Dallas, only seven miles from the heart of the city. Sorrell was not anti-sports, either. He played basketball and loved football. He just felt the sport was “something economically we could not justify.”
Sorrell made an offer to the angry defenders of the sport: Raise $2 million to save football, and he would match it.
“To date,” Sorrell says, “no one has raised a dollar.”
College football is dealing with an emerging financial crisis. It’s plaguing programs as large as the University of Tennessee, which was a reported $200 million in debt over the summer, and as small as Grambling, which is begging alums for donations after poor facilities led to a player mutiny earlier this month. Escalating coaches’ salaries and declining attendance have led to real concern that the entire college football complex will become insolvent, leaving only a few schools with thriving programs.
“We are standing on the precipice of an economic day of reckoning in higher education,” Sorrell says. “I think there will be more schools to do this. I think we’re just early.”
Football was eating $600,000 of Sorrell’s budget, and Paul Quinn is a tiny school of only 250 students. How could he continue to educate when so much funding was going to something that wasn’t building an academic reputation?
He simply couldn’t. So the field sat vacant.
Sorrell moved on to a much bigger issue: his school is located in a food desert with neither a restaurant nor a grocery store nearby, and many of the students at the oldest historically black college west of the Mississippi are poor. Eighty percent of the students at Paul Quinn are Pell Grant-eligible. (There’s a “clothes closet” on campus where students can get business casualwear for free, and money had to be raised so students could afford eyeglasses to read.)
A year after the end of football, Sorrell was meeting with a real estate investor named Trammell Crow. They bandied about the idea of devoting a tract of land to producing food for the community. But where?
Sorrell joked that they should just build a farm on the football field.
The jest quickly turned into a reality, and the school’s future was changed for the better.
Some of the produce grown in full view of the scoreboard would go to local food banks and the surrounding community. Some of it, eventually, could be sold.
Utah industrialist Jon Huntsman, the coach’s longtime friend, confirmed in a statement released through The Salt Lake Tribune that Majerus died of heart failure in a Los Angeles hospital. The coach had been hospitalized there for several months.
Players remembered Majerus, who got his start as an assistant under Al McGuire at Marquette, as a coach who was exacting and perhaps a bit unorthodox at times, but always fair. Majerus was known for assembling rosters with an international flair, and his final team at Saint Louis had players from Australia and New Zealand.
”It was a unique experience, I’ll tell you that, and I loved every minute of it,” said Saint Louis guard Kyle Cassity, who was mostly a backup on last season’s 26-win team after starting for Majerus earlier in his college career. ”A lot of people questioned the way he did things, but I loved it. He’d be hard as hell on you, but he really cared.”
At the postgame news conference following Saint Louis’ four-point loss to top seed Michigan State in the NCAA West Regional, Majerus and his players wept.
”Coach has done so much,” Brian Conklin said back then. ”Being his first recruiting class, he told me that we were going to help him build something special here. He’s a great coach. I couldn’t imagine playing for a better coach, a better person. He doesn’t just teach you about basketball, it’s about life.”
Saint Louis athletic director Chris May said in a statement that what he would remember most about Majerus ”was his enduring passion to see his players excel both on and off the court.”
”He truly embraced the term ‘student-athlete,’ and I think that will be his lasting legacy,” May added.
The school announced Nov. 19 that Majerus wouldn’t return to Saint Louis because of the heart condition. He ended the school’s 12-year NCAA tournament drought last season, and bounced back from his only losing season, with a team that won its opening game and took top regional seed Michigan State to the wire. The Billikens were ranked for the first time since 1994-95.
Majerus was undergoing evaluation and treatment in California for the ongoing heart trouble and the school announced he was on leave in late August.
”That’s a tough one for me,” Boston coach Doc Rivers, a former Marquette star, said after the Celtics’ loss in Milwaukee. ”He’s the one that gave me my nickname. I knew before (the game) that he wasn’t going to make it through the night. I don’t want to talk much about it.”
San Diego State coach Steve Fisher first met Majerus at a camp when Majerus was a graduate assistant at Marquette and Fisher was coaching at the high school level in Chicago.
”Rick would hold court at night with a case of beer in the basement,” Fisher said. ”Phenomenal coach, a better person, cared about family, cared about people. He will be missed by everyone.”