- 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.”
So the University of South Carolina’s football coach gets criticized in a column and instead of shrugging it off, gets mad at all media and then get this, is now trying to get the columnist fired. Â As Yahoo! Sports sees it.
Morris and Spurrier are enemies, we get that, but why penalize the entire media contingent? And why over this? Yes, Morris questions whether Shaw should have played in that game, but I think a lot of people were doing the same. Shaw looked pretty miserable during the bulk of the Vanderbilt game. He sat out the East Carolina game and many thought he should sit out UAB to be ready for the grueling SEC season.
In the end, Shaw’s shoulder proved not to be a big deal against Missouri as he completed 20 consecutive passes in a dominating 31-10 win.
So, I guess it’s kind of a “See, I was right all along” kinda thing to Morris, but still just another example of childish behavior by a coach toward the media, which seems to be happening far more often this year than in the past.
Apparently the contents of the article can not be tolerated by Spurrier in the future.
â€œI told my wife after the last article, â€˜Iâ€™ve had it. Iâ€™ve had enough,â€™â€ Spurrier said. â€œâ€˜Iâ€™m not going to take it anymore. Iâ€™ve had enough.â€™ Almost all of the Gamecocks say, â€˜Coach, donâ€™t pay any attention to him, heâ€™s insignificant,â€™ which he is. He is not an important person. But theyâ€™re not having their name and reputation slandered. So, Iâ€™m the one. Itâ€™s not my mode of operation to not say anything about it. So, this is my voice here. He gets his voice in the newspaper, which he uses.â€
The highlight of the segment comes in what Spurrier says next, where he eludes to the idea that he is going to get Morris fired from his job.
â€œI think we need to make some changes. I think some positive changes are going to happen,â€ Spurrier said. â€œThey have a little problem over there that we know about, but theyâ€™re working on it. Our president and our athletic director, theyâ€™re all backing me in this.â€
Itâ€™s hard to imagine someone saying theyâ€™d have taken a job somewhere else while in their current position, but thatâ€™s exactly what Spurrier goes on to say.
â€œWhen I came here, I didnâ€™t know we had some enemies within our own city,â€ Spurrier said. â€œIf Mike McGee, when he hired me, had said, â€˜Steve, weâ€™re going to give you a chance to run the football program at South Carolina. You hire your coaches, you do your thing, but you have to put up with the local media trying to trash you and try to ruin your reputation and theyâ€™ll try to portray you as a mean, evil, self-serving person.â€™ I would have said, â€˜You give that job to somebody else. Iâ€™ll wait for the North Carolina [Tarheels] job to open,â€™ which opened the next year.â€
Spurrier closes with reiteration of the idea that getting rid or Morris will bring the community closer together.
â€œI believe our city is going to be better off because weâ€™re all going to get along better. Thatâ€™s what itâ€™s all about,â€ Spurrier said. â€œWeâ€™ve had some serious discussions about things. Basically, I said Iâ€™m not taking any more of this stuff thatâ€™s coming out of our local paper anymore. If thatâ€™s part of the job, Iâ€™ll head to the beach. Thatâ€™s not part of the job. So, weâ€™re going to get it straightened out.â€
Like the calm before a storm, thereâ€™s a feeling that something major is about to happen in South Carolina. What does this mean for the future of the media that covers Gamecocks football? Will anyone who is critical of the team or Spurrier be subject to discipline? Who will the fans ultimately side with? Whether you like Steve Spurrier or not, itâ€™s almost impossible to not look at what happens next.
I don’t know what the South Carolina media is like but I do follow the Notre Dame Fighting Irish media really closely and they criticize Brian Kelly, Charlie Weis, and even Lou Holtz when they are winning or losing. Â It’s part of the job. Â Ask Ken Miller how hard the media criticism can be and was one of the most successful Saskatchewan Roughrider coaches ever. Â Only in the United States is the “football coach” a title and not a job. Â
What’s sad is that this reverence for the “coach” is what leads to scandal like what happened at Penn State and like it or not, columnists like Ron Morris who question these guys are the counterbalance because the Athletic Director and university Presidents can or will not (notable exception was Arkansas in tossing Bobby Petrino). Â Steve Spurrier makesÂ $2.88 million a year and has one of the highest profile positions in the state. Â With that comes criticism, not coddling.
That was a move folks
Now if Joe Paterno and Penn State had acted as quickly and decisively against Jerry Sandusky as the NCAA did, there would be far less victims and no sanctions. Yahoo! Sports has the report.
Two sources with knowledge of the Penn State penalties said NCAA president Mark Emmert will announce Monday that he is personally sanctioning Penn State after receiving approval from the associationâ€™s Division I Board of directors, which is comprised of 22 college presidents and chancellors. One source told Yahoo! Sports Emmertâ€™s sanctions will include a â€œmultiple-yearâ€ bowl ban and â€œcripplingâ€ scholarship losses. Penn State will not receive the "death penalty."
The move will mark a first in NCAA history, in which the president will invoke a defense of the NCAAâ€™s constitution as part of his reasoning for taking the unprecedented steps. The moment is groundbreaking in that Emmert is circumventing typical NCAA process and moving forward without an investigation by his enforcement staff. However, Emmert is expected to detail that the action is backed by a special provision allowing such a step if he receives approval from the NCAAâ€™s board of directors. A source told Y! Sports the NCAA is prepared to defend the lack of an investigation by focusing on the Freeh Report, and Emmertâ€™s determination that the report provided actionable evidence.
The report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh found that former coach Joe Paterno, former president Graham Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz "concealed" facts tied to Sandusky’s abuse of children.
Pitinoâ€™s Cardinals had a new trick for every defensive possession, putting his team into position to get key stops and turnovers despite being clearly outmatched. The Cardinals switched between man-to-man and zone defenses in the halfcourt and showed an array of different full-court presses. On one possession, after a foul shot, Pitinoâ€™s guards denied the inbounds pass, forcing a Kentucky timeout. On another possession, they trapped in the halfcourt, surprising Kentucky into a quick shot. Over the course of the game, Pitino used his scrappy perimeter defenders, Peyton Siva, Russ Smith and Chris Smith, to spearhead pressure and force Kentucky into mistakes. It was a masterful, if ultimately doomed, effort that required both precision and coordination.
Calipariâ€™s approach was the opposite. Aside from token pressure after timeouts, his Wildcats stayed in the same man-to-man defense the entire game. The Wildcatsâ€™ offense consisted mostly of keeping good spacing and going one-on-one or setting ball screens; the type of offense a team might run in a pickup game, not the Final Four. He did not manufacture stops or attempt to play chess with Rick Pitino. Calipari recruited the best players on the court and let them play.
It would be simple to say that Pitino outcoached Calipari, but it wouldnâ€™t quite be correct. Calipari has the luxury of letting college basketballâ€™s best players take over the game; a luxury of which he took full advantage late in the game against Louisville. With a team of freshmen and sophomores, Calipari doesnâ€™t attempt complicated game plans. He doesnâ€™t need to. He keeps his Xs and Os simple, makes sure his guys play unselfishly and gives them the opportunity to show their overwhelming talent. Against Louisville, that was enough to win.
Some are even suggesting it be pulled off the air. I mean, come on. This was one of, if not the greatest moments in the history of college basketball. Do Kentucky fans simply want us to forget it ever happened? According to them, we must never speak of this again.
Relevant in Canada and the United States. Writing for Grantland, economists Tyler Cowen and Kevin Grier imagine how the NFL might end due to the increasing visibility of head injuries.
This slow death march could easily take 10 to 15 years. Imagine the timeline. A couple more college players — or worse, high schoolers — commit suicide with autopsies showing CTE. A jury makes a huge award of $20 million to a family. A class-action suit shapes up with real legs, the NFL keeps changing its rules, but it turns out that less than concussion levels of constant head contact still produce CTE. Technological solutions (new helmets, pads) are tried and they fail to solve the problem. Soon high schools decide it isn’t worth it. The Ivy League quits football, then California shuts down its participation, busting up the Pac-12. Then the Big Ten calls it quits, followed by the East Coast schools. Now it’s mainly a regional sport in the southeast and Texas/Oklahoma. The socioeconomic picture of a football player becomes more homogeneous: poor, weak home life, poorly educated. Ford and Chevy pull their advertising, as does IBM and eventually the beer companies.
What would the impact be?
Outside of sports, American human capital and productivity probably rise. No football Saturdays on college campuses means less binge drinking, more studying, better grades, smarter future adults. Losing thousands of college players and hundreds of pro players might produce a few more doctors or engineers. Plus, talented coaches and general managers would gravitate toward management positions in American industry. Heck, just getting rid of fantasy football probably saves American companies hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
Other losers include anything that depends heavily on football to be financially viable, including the highly subsidized non-revenue collegiate sports. No more air travel for the field hockey teams or golf squads. Furthermore, many prominent universities would lose their main claim to fame. Alabama and LSU produce a large amount of revenue and notoriety from football without much in the way of first-rate academics to back it up. Schools would have to compete more on academics to be nationally prominent, which would again boost American education.
One of the biggest winners would be basketball. To the extent that fans replace football with another sport (instead of meth or oxy), high-octane basketball is the natural substitute. On the pro level, the season can stretch out leisurely, ticket prices rise, ratings rise, maybe the league expands (more great athletes in the pool now), and some of the centers and power forwards will have more bulk. At the college level, March Madness becomes the only game in town.
This is probably my last post on Penn State and Joe Paterno for a while as he was fired last night by the Penn State Board of Trustees.
Joe Paterno, a man who until last week could make a claim to being the greatest coaching institution in the history of college athletics, was terminated Wednesday night with a phone call. Forty-six years as head football coach at Penn State ended when he was informed by university trustees John Surma and Steve Garban that his services were no longer needed. Effective immediately.
Itâ€™s the way some employers would treat a middle manager, not a legend. But in the end, maybe thatâ€™s heartlessly fitting â€“ after all, Paterno abdicated his powerful role and played the part of a mid-level employee in passing the buck up the ladder when informed in 2002 that an alleged pedophile had raped a boy in the showers of his football complex. The crucial lack of leadership in a moment of dire crisis led to the end of his leadership at Penn State.
Joe Paternoâ€™s tenure as coach of the Penn State football team will soon be over, perhaps within days or weeks, in the wake of a sex-abuse scandal that has implicated university officials, according to two people briefed on conversations among the universityâ€™s top officials.
It was one horrible misjudgement from a coach that until now has always been known for his good judgement.
Paterno has not been charged in the matter, but his failure to report to authorities what he knew about the 2002 incident, in which Sandusky allegedly sexually assaulted a young boy at Penn Stateâ€™s football complex, has become a flashpoint, stirring anger among the board members and an outpouring of public criticism about his handling of the matter.
In recent days Paterno has lost the support of many board members, and their conversations illustrate a decisive shift in the power structure at the university. In 2004, for instance, Paterno brushed off a request by the university president that he step down.
Paterno came to Penn State in 1950 as a 23-year-old assistant coach making $3,600 a year. He planned to stay for two seasons, to pay off his student loans from Brown University, where he earned a degree in English literature.
He became the head coach in 1966, and he has been widely credited with helping spearhead the Penn State football program and the rest of the university from a local enterprise into a national brand. Along the way, Beaver Stadium grew to 108,000 seats from 29,000 and Penn Stateâ€™s endowment grew from virtually nothing to more than $1 billion.
What separated Paterno from many of his coaching peers until this week was that he did this with few questions about how he grew the program. Penn Stateâ€™s lofty graduation rates and education-first ideals, known as Paternoâ€™s Grand Experiment, became as synonymous with the program as its plain uniforms and dominating defenses.