Archive for February, 2013

Three minutes and thirty-eight seconds may seem like a short amount of time for most people, but for Orlando Sanchez, it has created a barrier.

Sanchez, a 24-year-old basketball superstar from the Dominican Republic, is currently battling with the NCAA to let him play collegiate basketball at St. John’s University, despite what some may define as “flaws” in the system. According to NCAA rule 14.2.3.5, that has since been rescinded,  every time an athlete older than 21 participates in an organized sports competition, a full year of eligibility is accounted for. Unfortunately for Sanchez, the change went into effect a year too late in relation to him.

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

In accordance with the rule, Sanchez is seen as losing a year of eligibility when he played eight games with a local club team in the Dominican Republic, one year when he played 3:38 in a game for the Dominican Republic national team, and two years of eligibility when he attended and played at Monroe Community College in New Rochelle, N.Y.

But the reasons behind Sanchez not heading to a full-time college sooner isn’t because of inappropriate behavior or something in his control. Sanchez had been trying to help his family out financially by working.

So why should he suffer and not be able to play?

St. John’s University, Sanchez and his attorney, are now fighting the NCAA to grant Sanchez eligibility on the grounds of legitimate hardship. This past Monday, St. John’s submitted another round of paperwork to the NCAA, in the hopes that they will look one more time at potentially granting a waiver.

According to an article on ESPN.com, Sanchez does not want to throw his name directly into the draft and bypass all of the convoluted rules. He wants to go to college. So why should the NCAA deny an athlete the rights to BE a student-athlete when the NCAA has been fighting for so long to have players stay  in college and not leave for the draft?

Maybe it’s just hypocrisy at its finest…

Test Takers, Test Re-Takers

Posted: February 23, 2013 in NCAA reform
Tags: , , , ,

The SAT and ACT are arguably the most stressful tests any high school student will take. The results will either make or break a college dream, and can potentially alter the outcome of an aspiring student.

When it comes to the NCAA eligibility standards, potential student-athletes must earn certain standardized test scores based on their GPA and other deciding factors, in order to be eligible to play. Recently, the NCAA issued a statement on how to handle situations where an athlete is required to retake the SAT or ACT for the validity of his or her score.

The academic and membership affairs staff confirmed that if a student-athlete is required to retake the SAT or ACT following initial, full-time collegiate enrollment because the validity of the student-athlete’s qualifying test score achieved prior to enrollment is challenged, the student-athlete would be considered to have satisfied the test-score time limitation if the retest score is high enough to validate the pre-enrollment score. However, if the student-athlete’s score on the postenrollment retest is high enough to be considered a qualifying score but is not high enough to validate the pre-enrollment score, the student-athlete would not be considered to have satisfied the test-score time limitation.

At first glance, and maybe second or third, the interpretation is just a blur of words that don’t make much sense. So let’s break it down.

300px-NCAA_logo.svg

The NCAA has a rule in place which states that any test score used for initial eligibility must be from a test taken before an athlete starts school. In some cases, where the scores are not high enough or two testing scores show a dramatic difference, the testing agency will ask a student to retake the exam to validate the higher score.

What this NCAA statement is saying is that the student must get a high enough score to authenticate the higher score if the test is taken after the student-athlete starts college, not just a high enough score to qualify to play.

John Infante, proprietor ofThe Bylaw Blog and NCAA expert for athleticscholarships.net, gave the following example to explain the situation:

A prospect needs an 800 on the SAT to qualify given his GPA. He takes the test twice and gets a 500 and a 1000. His 1000 is flagged and he is ordered to retake the test to validate his score, which he takes after he starts school. If he needs 900 to validate his score of 1000, but only gets an 850, he still does not qualify, even though the 850 meets the requirement on the sliding scale.

The reason goes back to the test-score time limitation. Because the score he uses has to come before he starts college, the athlete has to validate the 1000, which he earned within the time limitation. The 850 he earns on the validation test is not usable, because he earned that score after college.

So, is this policy fair? Or should student-athletes be given the “okay” after proving a solid test score just once?

The University of Miami has been a hot topic in the news in regards to the NCAA. It started two years ago, when the NCAA began investigating allegations made by Nevin Shapiro, a booster who is serving a 20-year sentence for running a $930 million Ponzi scheme. According to news reports, Shapiro violated NCAA rules for over eight years, allegedly providing money, goods, prostitutes and other “extra benefits” to football players on the University of Miami.

Now, however, news is breaking that the NCAA handled some situations throughout this case improperly. And they are actually admitting it?

Here are several links to great articles about the most up to date information regarding this case:

Miami’s NCAA defense has sudden change of tone – USA Today

Miami fires back at NCAA investigation – Yahoo Sports

Mayhem In Miami: NCAA Investigation Update – WBUR

N.C.A.A. Admits Mishandling Miami Inquiry – The New York Times

NCAA investigating enforcement after misconduct in Miami case – CBSSports

Enjoy reading!

Olympic Shock

Posted: February 15, 2013 in Sports News
Tags: , ,

A story has unfolded over the past two days that has left many confused and in shock. Oscar Pistorius’ name circled the globe after being the first Olympic track athlete to compete with—yes—no legs. Yesterday, his name was in the news again, only for less glorifying reasons.

Oscar Pistorius was charged with murder after his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, was shot and killed in his home in South Africa early Thursday morning.

The author of this image is Elvar Pálsson. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

The author of this image is Elvar Pálsson. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Although many details still remain unclear, police in South Africa said they would oppose bail when Pistorius makes his court appearance. Also, South African police do not name suspects in crimes until they have appeared in court, but according to USA Today, police spokesperson Brigadier Denise Beukes stated that Pistorius was at his home after Reeva’s death and there were no other potential suspects involved.

It has also been noted that there had been “previous incidents” reported involving domestic nature at his home.

The shocking news comes after Pistorius inspired many during his run in the 2012 London Olympic games. Known as the Blade Runner, he was the first ever double amputee to participate in the Olympics.

What could have possibly provoked him to commit this crime?

Some media reports have stated that the victim was mistaken as a burglar, but the question still remains until forensic experts determine exactly what happened.

Pistorius is viewed as a legend and his many star moments during the Olympics will become memorable flashbacks for those who watched. But will this current report change the world’s perception of him?

Today in class, we had the pleasure of listening to Mary Knox Merrill as our guest speaker. Merrill has worked her way up in the visual storytelling world of journalism and is a distinguished journalist in the way she portrays events and stories through photographs and video. In a mere 40 minutes I was able to learn a lot about the art of visual storytelling.

Oh, a fun fact: her first name is actually Mary Knox. She said it’s a southern thing.

Merrill went to graduate school at Boston University and always knew she wanted to tell stories and take pictures. After persistently pushing for an internship at the Christian Science Monitor, she finally landed a spot at the organization and jump started her career. She liked the way the Christian Science Monitor approached storytelling.

After graduation, she received an internship in New York, before ultimately returning to the Christian Science Monitor in a full-time editing position, and eventually worked her way up to photographer. Although it continued to be an amazing experience, Merrill knew she wanted a family and felt the travel demands for the job were too intense, so she left the Christian Science Monitor and made her way to Northeastern University where she is the Director of Multimedia within the marketing and communications office.

Merrill told us that video is essential for any type of communication or storytelling moving forward. The “picture” is becoming more powerful and having the ability to tell a story through these visual elements is key. She also explained how networking is huge because you never know who may potentially open a door for you.

In discussing different tips and tools for creating video, Merrill showed us one of her own videos she filmed and edited. It was about Cyclocross racing, an intense cycling sport that combines mountain biking with cycling for a rugged race. She said she specifically chose a race that lasted two days so she would have enough material to shoot. Merrill emphasized that the more material you have to cover, the easier it will be to edit in the long run.

One thing Merrill felt was critical for aspiring journalists is the ability to have more than one specialty. She said that journalists are much more marketable if they can write, speak, produce video and take photographs, rather than being an expert in just one facet.

Merrill ended her discussion with us by giving us tips on photography, video and interviewing. In terms of photography, she said to get a variety of images, change your perspective, take environmental portraits, be comfortable with yours subject, edit on the computer not the camera and most importantly, pay attention to detail.

For video, Merrill said the key to a successful video is to let the action unfold within the frame instead of responding or reacting to the action. Anticipation is the number 1 rule. We must watch and observe what is happening and let it unfold in front of the camera. Lastly, storyboarding is important when making a video because having the idea in your head beforehand will allow you to get better shots.

Finally, the most important tip she gave us for interviewing is to ask open-ended questions. It is better to let your subject speak to you rather than answering the generic “yes” and “no” type questions.

February 11th 2013 marked the 61st annual Beanpot Tournament championship. This year, The Boston College Eagles took on the Northeastern University Huskies in what ultimately ended in the Eagle’s 4th consecutive win. The energy at the Boston Garden was high and the fans were into what was a highly anticipated match between the #4 team in the country, Boston College, and the last place team in Hockey East, Northeastern University. It seemed that almost everyone in the arena was ready for an upset and a change in the name on the banner. Except for Boston College students that is. Click on the photo below to check out a stream of photographs I took at the game.

DSC_0117

The battle to pay collegiate student-athletes is continuing to progress as the days of NCAA reform slowly tick away. College sports as we know it is, in fact, a business. All businesses pay their employees, right? So why is it so difficult to override the rule that states that athletes can’t get paid?

They do work just as hard, or arguably harder, than the “employees” that do get paid.

Well, there may be some great news ahead for collegiate players. A few weeks ago, a judge ruled that NCAA athletes can legally pursue a chunk of the money college sports makes through television deals.

NBC_Sports_logo_2012Judge Claudia Wilken dismissed a motion by the NCAA to prevent football and men’s basketball players from legally obtaining live broadcast revenues. She set the hearing for June 20 and ordered the NCAA to collectively make its arguments against class certification on merits rather than “procedural objections”.

If the plaintiffs—which in this case would be representatives of collegiate athletes—prevail, a mechanism for players would be set up to collect licensing revenues. The FCAA, or Former College Athletes Association, would negotiate licenses with the NCAA, member colleges and video game and media companies to receive compensation.

Dave Berri, a sports economist with Southern Utah University and the author of The Wages of Win, discussed with The Atlantic his thoughts on why student athletes should be paid. In his mind, the players are the workers who are inevitably generating the money being made.

He also states that the reason student-athletes would go after money produced from television deals rather than money being made from the games themselves is that broadcast revenue is the biggest source of money. In order to have a case where players would receive a cut of “gate revenue”, they would have to sue every single team individually. But to receive a portion of the broadcast revenue, Berri states, you would have to bring a class action lawsuit against just the NCAA as a whole since it is the NCAA that negotiates the broadcast contracts.

Complicated, yes, but a smart tactic nonetheless.

The entire process will take an extended period of time and will most likely be fuddled and bogged down with numerous legal details and loopholes yet to be determined. But it will definitely be worth it for student-athletes. The money generated through collegiate athletics is due largely to the student-athletes themselves.

So why shouldn’t they receive a cut of the money?