Archive for March, 2013

At 41-years-old, Ed O’Bannon is seen as a legend in the basketball world. Back in his collegiate days, he led UCLA to a national championship. He played two seasons for the New Jersey Nets(now Brooklyn Nets), before a nagging knee injury forced him to leave the NBA and play professionally overseas for many years.

Now, O’Bannon’s name has been in sports headlines for his lawsuit against the NCAA and bringing awareness to the corrupt nature of the collegiate sports powerhouse.

Ed O'Bannon. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Ed O’Bannon. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

in 2009, O’Bannon noticed his UCLA likeness being used in a college basketball video game without his consent. From there he thought about the profits the NCAA had been making on his behalf without giving any compensation for his talents.

The NCAA claims they maintain his likeness perpetually because of the clause, “forever and throughout the universe” stated in the contractual papers student-athletes sign when they enter college to play a sport. But O’Bannon claims that a 17 or 18 year old kid doesn’t know what he or she is doing by signing a contract of that magnitude with no legal representation.

If the lawsuit ends in favor of O’Bannon and collegiate athletes, the NCAA would be forced to pay billions of dollars in compensation and college sports would have to adopt a market-based model.

Two months ago, a judge ruled that the plaintiffs in O’Bannon’s suit could go for the broadcast revenues. The next court date is June 20 and it will be decided whether the case will go forward as a class action.

 

Fans of March Madness understand the point that anything can happen on any given night. I personally believe that the seed doesn’t matter, because teams have continuously proven to stun the sports world every year. When I was filling out my bracket after Selection Sunday, I thought I had it signed, sealed and delivered. I chose my few upsets for the tournament and had faith in the higher seeds to advance.

I was wrong.

Like most people in the run for March Madness, my bracket is in shambles! But I’ll accept it for the single fact that these games have been beyond entertaining. Let’s take a look at some of the upsets this year that shocked fans, coaches and even the teams themselves.

Marshall_Henderson_Wiki

No. 12 Oregon over No. 5 Oklahoma State – Arsalan Kazemi’s double-double led the Ducks past the Cowboys 68-55.

No. 12 California over No. 5 UNLV – California had four different players score in double-digits to win 64-61.

No. 12 Ole Miss over No. 5 Wisconsin – Ole Miss beat Wisconsin 57-46 after Marshall Henderson scored 17 points in the final 11.5 minutes alone.

No. 14 Harvard over No. 3 New Mexico – The Crimson stunned the sports world beating New Mexico 68-62, only playing 7 players the entire game.

No. 13 La Salle over No. 4 Kansas State – Jerrell Wright had 21 points and eight rebounds for La Salle as they beat Kansas State 63-61.

No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast over No. 2 Georgetown – In arguably the biggest upset of the tournament so far, FGCU beat the Hoyas 78-68, taking down a favorite for the Final Four.

No. 12 Oregon over No. 4 Saint Louis – Another upset for Oregon? Yup. They took down Saint Louis 74-57 in the second round of the tournament, taking a huge lead at halftime that couldn’t be cut down.

No. 9 Wichita State over No. 1 Gonzaga – Like many brackets, I had Gonzaga in the championship game. But Wichita State upset the No. 1 team in the country, beating them 76-70.

No. 13 La Salle over No. 12 Ole Miss – Yes, the seed difference was only by 1, but La Salle beating Ole Miss was surely an upset. A buzzer beater layup by Tyrone Garland gave La Salle the win, 76-74.

No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast over No. 7 San Diego State – FGCU marks the first 15 seed team to ever make it to the Sweet 16. Beating San Diego State 81-71, they are well on their way to another shocking performance.

The Sweet 16 games begin March 28th and I am more excited than ever. If the first part of this tournament has proved anything, it’s that it’s the year of the upset. Happy March everyone!

In recent weeks, we learned that the NCAA Division 1 Board of Directors will be reconsidering some proposals for rule changes in regards to recruiting regulations. This week, it was announced that the board will also reconsider three more proposals: eliminating the rule banning modes of communication, eliminating numerical limits on phone calls and prohibiting coaches from scouting future opponents in person.

Should coaches be allowed to have an unlimited amount of text messages to future prospects? This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Should coaches be allowed to have an unlimited amount of text messages to future prospects? This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Seventy-five schools have requested an override of the rules, resulting in the need for the board to reconsider. Some reasons behind the concern were a potential flaw in the work-life balance for coaches and the possibility that prospective student-athletes will be inundated with extensive communication with future coaches.

The Rules Working Group felt the original proposals would be beneficial to coaches, players and the NCAA. They felt by eliminating the rules regarding communication they would also eliminate the extensive compliance violations they are hit with each year.

But schools are not pleased with the thought process. In regards to prohibition on live scouting, many schools felt they would have a disadvantage due to a lack of quality video. According to an article on NCAA.org, it was stated that,

It is inconsistent with the NCAA deregulation theme and is biased against certain sports, particularly large field sports such as soccer, lacrosse and field hockey. Finally, it would call for added administrative oversight.

The Board of Directors will meet on May 2nd in Indianapolis to discuss further action.

Like the men, the women’s NCAA tournament is starting soon. Fill out your brackets and get ready to dance. Happy March everyone! For a printable bracket, click here.

2013 NCAA Women's Tournament, from Huffington Post.

2013 NCAA Women’s Tournament, from Huffington Post.

It’s that time of year again folks. March madness! There is nothing better than knowing on any given night there will be multiple games on television. We live for the upsets and sit on the edge of our seats like we’re actually at the game. As always, the 2013 bracket is the talk of the town. Whether you’re a sports fan or not, filling out a bracket and hoping for the best is all in good fun.

Here is the 2013 NCAA men’s basketball tournament bracket. To download the bracket, click here. Make wise decisions, it’s March, anything can happen!

NCAA 2013 Men's Basketball Bracket

NCAA 2013 Men’s Basketball Bracket

As a huge sports fan and an athlete myself, finding a beat for this blog was rather easy. With NCAA reform so magnified in the sports news industry, finding information and relaying it to the public has been more of a fun task than work. So when the final project for the semester was assigned, I wanted to somehow keep it related to my sports beat. In doing so, I thought of a topic that was close to my own heart—life after college athletics.

Any athlete knows that the second that buzzer goes off signaling the end of your final game your senior year, your body floods with emotions. Flashbacks of playing your respective sport as a child come racing through your mind and you are left with the question, “Now what?” For many athletes, this mark the end of their sports careers. But for some, the possibility of playing professionally, whether in the United States or oversees, is a lingering thought. So when is it the right time to stop playing and move on? Is there ever a right time?

For my final project, I would like to focus on the idea that many athletes must face—should I continue playing or should I move on and start a different life?

Photo retrieved from GoNU.com

Deanna Kerkhof #32. Photo retrieved from GoNU.com

Deanna Kerkhof sits as one of the best players in Northeastern University women’s basketball program history. Her senior season marked a ton of broken records and personal accolades. The interesting thing about Deanna is that she is also a a health science major on a pre-medical track with nearly a 4.0. Any athlete understands the difficulties of maintaining a 4.0 in college and adding her difficult major is a feat in itself. In many conversations with Deanna, she has expressed her uncertainties about life after college basketball. She is unsure whether she wants to play professionally oversees or to end her 21 years of life as a basketball player and start a new life as a medical student.

Her coaches all see Deanna continuing her basketball career for many more years. But when is it time to end? A sudden change in extreme exercising is often linked with depression, and many athletes experience this when their careers are over. I would like to focus on Deanna and her decision on whether to continue playing or to go to medical school. With that, I would like to speak with other athletes who have gone through the same thing, how their decisions affected their lives, and the mental issues former athletes go through that are often kept hidden.

In a great city like Boston, you can be sure to find your fair share of burger joints in the area. Filled with pubs and hidden restaurants, Boston is prime time real estate for delicious and creative meals. In an effort to combine the usefulness of mapping in journalism with our hunger for some grub, our class decided to map out some of the best burger joints in Boston.

My choice: The Yardhouse!

The Yardhouse, a California based chain, opened a restaurant last spring right near Fenway Park. The restaurant boasts 150 menu items, seating for 500 and 180 beers on tap. Yes, you read that right. One hundred and eighty beers on tap.

Photo taken by Daniella Iervolino at The Yardhouse, Boston

Photo taken by Daniella Iervolino at The Yardhouse, Boston

Located at 126 Brookline Ave., The Yardhouse has an outdoor patio that poses as the backyard to historic Fenway Park. On warm weather days, the retractable doors at the back of the restaurant completely open up for a great eating experience.

But since this winter seems like it doesn’t want to end, I ate inside. The ambiance was still just as great. The numerous flat screen televisions around the restaurant and bar had every sports game possible playing.

But more importantly, what did I eat? Well deciding on the perfect burger was tough. I had to choose between the Pepper Crusted Gorgonzola Burger, Avocado & Swiss Burger, Classic Cheese Burger, Five Ounce Grilled Burger, BBQ Bacon Burger, Hawaiin Burger, Pepper Jack Burger, Turkey Burger, Five Ounce Turkey Burger, Burnaise Burger, Surf & Turf Burger, Five Ounce Blackened Tuna Burger and then numerous sliders options.

If you’re sitting here thinking they all sound absolutely delicious and the decision seems impossible, you’re in the same boat as me.

After narrowing it down to the Hawaiin Burger, which has pineapple, pepper jack cheese, aloha sauce and garlic aioli, and the Turkey Burger, which has roasted roma tomatoes, mozzarella and garlic aioli, I went with the turkey burger. I was extremely happy with my decision as it was one of the best turkey burgers I’ve eaten.

Luckily, my dinner-mate ended up ordering the Hawaiin Burger which allowed me to sneak a bite in and get a taste for that as well.

“It’s absolutely delicious,” said Victoria Schmidt, math teacher at Marian High School in Framingham, Mass. “The pineapple makes it and these sweet potato fries are honestly the best I’ve ever had, I’m not even kidding.”

When asked about the ease of getting to the restaurant from her apartment in Brighton, Schmidt said, “It was super easy I just hopped on the bus to Kenmore Station and it was about a 5 minute walk after that. It’s not a bad ride at all.”

My waitress was also helpful in my decision making and steered me in the direction of the turkey burger after telling her my preferences. She also let me substitute regular french fries for sweet potato fries which, in my opinion, made the meal. To top it off, I had a “shorty” Sea Dog Bluepaw Wild Blueberry beer with fresh blueberries floating in it. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys trying something new.

Including tip, I paid $22.00. I felt it was a reasonable price for a great burger and beer and well worth the money. The only downfall to the extensive burger menu is the lack of a veggie burger option. Although it is not possible to get a standard veggie burger, customers can get varied seafood burger options, as mentioned above.

To check out the menu for yourself, go to http://www.yardhouse.com/MA/boston-restaurant/. The Yardhouse is open for food daily at 11:00am and closes 12:00am Sun-Thu and 1:00am Fri-Sat. Last call for alcohol is at 12:30am Sun-Thu and 1:20am Fri-Sat.

For reservations, call (617) 236-4083. If you’re not in walking distance, the nearest T stop is Brookline Ave at Yawkey Way and the restaurant is handicapped-accessible.