If the whole world knew that a “secret” is never really a “secret”, the world would be a better place. But seriously. Individuals never get away with cheating in a relationship, the spouse always finds out eventually. The big shots in a financial corporation will undoubtedly get caught embezzling money. And finally, the NCAA will always uncover a violation and strip a team of any awards or accolades given.

So why do teams continuously do it?

The newest of new scandals comes to us out of Auburn University and a usual powerhouse in SEC football. According to an article published by Bleacher Report, former Sports Illustrated and New York Times reporter Selena Roberts published a timeline-like article highlighting numerous NCAA rules that were violated by the program over the past few years. Some of these rules include changing grades and bribery.

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

In the article Roberts spoke with some of the former players who claimed that as many as nine players had grades changed before the 2011 BCS championship game. They also claimed that Darvin Adams was offered money to stay at Auburn for his senior year rather than entering the NFL draft.

Gene Chizik was fired after the 2011-12 season when Auburn won just 3 games the entire season and failed to win any SEC games. But all of the allegations stem from the time he was coaching and he will be expected to come forth with statements and information.

Former defensive back, Neiko Thorpe, claimed in Roberts’ article that the coaching staff exceeded the amount of per diem money allotted for entertaining recruits. The NCAA limits expenses to less than $50 per day, and Thorpe claims the coaches gave players with recruits $500 for the visit.

More information on this scandal as well as statements from appropriate figures will be sure to surface in the news within the next few days.

There’s nothing like finishing up my workout this morning to look at my phone and see a breaking news update that Mike Rice was fired. The Rutgers men’s basketball coach was terminated this morning after an ESPN broadcast showing him physically and verbally abusing players on the team.

The video features excerpts from practice sessions between the 2010 and 2012 seasons, and initially resulted in Rice obtaining a three-game suspension, $75,000 fine and he had to go to anger management classes. But Athletic Director Tim Pernetti received much pressure and backlash from state officials and decided to ultimately fire Rice.

 

According to a CNN article, Pernetti said in a written statement,

I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice. Dismissal and corrective action were debated in December and I thought it was in the best interests of everyone to rehabilitate, but I was wrong. Moving forward, I will work to regain the trust of the Rutgers community.

The video was originally obtained by ESPN through former NBA player Eric Murdock, Rutgers former player development director. Murdock told ESPN the school fired him for releasing the information on Rice, but Rutgers maintains that he was let go for “insubordinate conduct” unrelated to the abusive video.

In the video, Rice is seen physically abusing players by pushing, shoving, kicking and throwing basketballs at their knees and heads. He also yelled extreme slanders at the players, calling them inappropriate names including homophobic slurs.

Rice had just ended his third year as head basketball coach with an overall record of 44-51. He was contracted to continue coaching the 2014-2015 season before being fired. Under his time as head coach, he led the team to the NCAA basketball tournament two times.

Last week we were able to gather a deeper understanding for data visualization. I, personally, am a visual learner. So data visualization allows me to see the broader picture of multiple sets of data and really understand it.

The overall idea of it might seem complicated. We are taking multiple sets of data and merging them to find common ground and any sort of correlation that would link the sets of data together. Then we form it into some sort of cool map, chart, graph etc. and are able to display tens, hundreds even thousands of numbers in one graphic.

Here are some examples of types of data visualization I found compelling and informative. I also like types of data visualization that I will find entertaining because it engages my thought process and makes me actually think about the data more.

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This first data visualization graphic shows an analysis of the top 50 earners in world football. It has a map of the world and color codes the different countries and nationalities in terms of how much money is earned. I like it because it is appealing to the eye and it has other graphics that show different statistical information based on the data merged.

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This second data visualization graphic shows different statistical information regarding money. I like this graphic because of the particularly large numbers used. I guess you can say I’m a journalist because big numbers and I don’t mix. This graphic allows me to actually understand the depth of these large numbers and puts it into a better perspective.

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I found this last graphic interesting because of the information provided. The graphic is what has changed in the decade from 1999-2009. I also like this graphic because it lets me see how things have changed from 2009 until now.

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.