Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The NCAA must punish the Ohio State University football program

If you didn't think Ohio State football is a joke, you should now. Yahoo! Sports broke a story Monday revealing that Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel knew as early as April 2010 about violations reported by the school in December.

So when Ohio St. AD Gene Smith called a press conference Tuesday, I had to watch. When I turned to the press conference around 7:10 pm Tressel was already at the podium rambling about having a player die, having players arrested, etc. What this has to do with Tressel lying about violations I don't know, but I digress.

Ohio St. suspended Tressel for two games (OSU's first two games are vs Akron and Toledo, both at home) and fined him $250,000 (Tressel makes $3.5 million a year, so 7% of his salary). Say I make $3,500 a year, if Ohio State was fining me for breaking their rules I'd have to pay $245. Not a little bit of money but nothing that would set me back horribly.

Now lets ignore the part where Tressel knew about this issue in April and didn't report it and look at the fact that he didn't say anything when the US Attorney's office comes knocking on OSU's door in December. In other words he covered it up ( compiled this list of Tressel emails surrounding the incident).

Now this isn't the first time Tressel has had players involved in scandels.It's not the second or third time either. This cover-up, separate from the kids selling memorabilia will be Tressel's FIFTH time being involved in a major violation.

The ball is in your court, NCAA. Maybe in five years Ohio State will have to"vacate" their wins from the 2010 season, or the school will lose a few scholarships for a couple years, or maybe, just maybe the NCAA can actually do the right thing and actually do something and do it soon.

A self imposed punishment is not acceptable.

-Post by Marc Kravitz

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Handy Guide to Dealing with Non-Sports Fans

The most frustrating thing in the entire world is to be a sports fan trapped among non-sports fans.

Imagine this scenario: You happen to be with your guy friend, discussing the difficulties of beginning a courtship. You make a quick remark about making sure your friend doesn’t send the lucky lady a picture of himself in Crocs.

Aaaaannnnnddddd cue blank stare. 

You then begin to explain the whole Brett Favre sexting controversy, only to have your friend respond:
"Wait, is that the guy who plays for the Packers?"

You then hastily change the subject, trying to resist the urge to crawl into the nearest corner and weep.

Welcome to my life. 

Rarely does a day goes by without some sort of sports reference creating an awkward space in a conversation, or a blank stare at the latest news from the trade deadline. It's tough, because generally my friends are really fun intelligent people - they just happen to not like sports.

Using my vast experience dealing with the unenlightened, I've created a handy-dandy guide to dealing with the three most common types of the non-sports fan.

Type 1: Unaware - This type of person generally just doesn't know the rules of a sport. Maybe they're a massive baseball fan, but have never watched NASCAR in their life. Maybe they understand the basics, but don't understand what that trapezoid behind the goal is. Generally these people are willing to learn the rules of the game, and probably have the capacity to be a good sports fan. If you happen to come across one of these people - help them out! You weren't born from the womb knowing what a screen pass is - everyone has to learn sometime. And, come on, it gives you a chance to ramble about sports - what fan doesn't want that?

Type 2: Hopeless - They just don't get it. No matter how many times you explain what a quarterback is, and how many points a touchdown earns, they just don't understand. 

Maybe it's a refusal to learn. Maybe they don't actually care because they only came to watch because their boyfriend said there'd be food. Maybe their brain capacity is only slightly larger than a walnut. Regardless of the reason, if you encounter one of these people, try to restrain your inevitable anger after they ask for the twentieth time what a foul shot is. 

And stop trying to explain. It won't help. 

Just ignore them and devote your energy to something useful, like yelling at referees. They'll be more likely to listen.

Type 3: Aggressive - These guys don't like sports. 
They think sports are stupid, and therefore all people who find them even moderately entertaining are stupid as well. They will generally go out of their way to tell you about these views, commonly making comments like, "I'd much rather play the game than watch" or "I have better things to do with my life than watch something this stupid for three hours." 

There are two ways to deal with these types. One is to take the high road and ignore them, and remain confident in your love for sports. The other way is to engage them in an open discussion about the meaning of sports and sports media in this day and age, and the overall effects of sports on society.

Or you can always just throw a quick left hook when they start chirping you a la Brent Johnson. That's generally how I handle it.

There are many variations on these types of non-sports fans, but hopefully these tips will help the next time you encounter someone who has not been enlightened to the wonders of sports.

Friday, February 25, 2011

NBA Trade Deadline Winners and Losers

A wild NBA trade deadline has left plenty of winners and losers around the league. Here’s the breakdown:


Washington Wizards and Atlanta Hawks: 

This trade was a win-win. The Hawks add solid backcourt depth with Kirk Hinrich that Mike Bibby failed to provide and the Wizards continue to stock up on young talent with Jordan Crawford, a
shooting guard who has lots of upside, and a first round pick in this years draft.

OKC Thunder:

Is Sam Presti the best GM in basketball? Probably. He traded Nenad Krstic
and Jeff Green's expiring contract (who they most likely wouldn't have been
able to resign in the offseason) for Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson
adding the front court depth that they really needed.

Presti also sent Mo Peterson and DJ White to the Charlotte Bobcats for Nazr Mohammed to
make up for the size loss in Kristic.

NJ Nets:

Some call this trade a plan B...but anytime you pick up an Deron Williams it's
a win. They did have to give up a lot of potential in Derrick Favors, Devin
Harris, and two future first round picks, but a point guard of William's
talent is to hard to pass on. The Nets hope they can do what the Jazz failed
to do an build a contender around him.

Denver Nuggets:

The Nuggets straight robbed the Knicks. Melo said he wanted to go to NY. He
wouldn't go to LA or NJ or Chicago. The leverage was 100% on the side of the
Knicks, but somehow they managed to give up Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Timofey Mozgov, and picks for Anthony, Chauncy Billiups, Shelden Williams, and Renaldo Balkman. Don't get me wrong the Knicks are still now a better team, but when the Knicks make a move they tend to give up too much.


Baron Davis:

I really feel for Baron, as much as you can for someone who is going to make
$28 million over the next two seasons, but he does have to go to Cleveland.


Not really sure what the Celtics were doing trading every single one of
their big men not named O'Neal. Maybe Danny Ainge knows what he's doing but
trading for an undersized 4-3 tweener who struggles with his jump shot (as
much as I love Jeff it's true) an OK center and a future second round pick,
seems like someone got hosed.


The Grizzlies lose for not dealing OJ Mayo in a trade that fell apart 3 times then was
submitted to late to the league. Not really much to say about a trade that
didn't happen but OJ Mayo continues to suck (12 ppg in 28 mpg) and be a
problem in the locker room (or plane).

Mark Cuban:

The Dallas Maverick's owner isn't happy that the NBA-owned New Orleans Hornets, a
team already in severe debt, is taking on another $2.25 million in salary. I guess he's gonna have to deal with paying that extra $78,000.

-Post by Marc Kravitz

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Previewing the NHL All-Star Game

Hockey fans already know that the NHL All-Star Game is scheduled to be next weekend. The game is always a fun event to watch, but this year will prove to have a bit more intrigue than previous years due to its new format.

For those who are unfamiliar with the changes, the game this year is no longer divided into the Eastern Conference All-Stars against the Western Conference All-Stars. Instead the teams will be picked by two captains, Eric Staal and Nicklas Lidstrom, much like a fantasy draft or even a throwback to the middle school gym.

This new format leads to some interesting questions that I think will make the game much more fun for everyone watching. For example, will the captains favor current team allegiances, or, in the case of Staal and his brother Marc, kinship? Will each of the captains pick a Sedin twin to keep the potent scoring duo off of the opponent’s team? Most of these players have never been picked anything other than first – who will end up being the Mr. Irrelevant of the NHL All-Stars?

And, of course, the best part about any All-Star Game, is seeing the best of the best play against each other – there are no team or Conference allegiances here, only the desire to win. I think the fantasy draft manages to make the game interesting, without forcing the game to “matter” like the MLB has done with its All-Star Game.

So who would I choose for my first ten players? I would probably begin by picking forwards close to the league leaders in points, because of the high goal totals that generally come with an All-Star game. Stamkos has looked absolutely amazing, finally beginning to come into his own in Tampa. Sidney Crosby is, well, Sidney Crosby and the Sedin twins both manage to be in the top five in points and create a potent scoring tandem.

1) Steven Stamkos, F, Tampa Bay
2) Sidney Crosby, F, Pittsburgh

(editor's note: Sidney Crosby was ruled out of the All-Star game Monday)

3) Daniel Sedin, F, Vancouver
4) Henrik Sedin, F, Vancouver
By the fifth pick I would switch it up and pick a goaltender - Tim Thomas leads the league in almost all of the goaltending categories.
5) Tim Thomas, G, Boston
For the first defensive pair, I'd choose Dustin Byfuglien and Zdeno Chara. Byfuglien has been a dominant force on the blueline for Atlanta this season, and Chara, always a solid defenseman, would give the team a bonus in the Skills Competition, being the current hardest shot record holder.
6) Dustin Byfuglien, D, Atlanta
7) Zdeno Chara, D, Boston
Despite a poor year I would choose Alex Ovechkin just for the mere entertainment value - like him or not, he is one of the league's most interesting personalities.
8) Alexander Ovechkin, F, Washington
Because All-Star goalies generally only play one period, I would also allot another top ten pick to a goaltender. Cam Ward has had a very solid year, and has kept his team in many a game with excellent goaltending.
9) Cam Ward, G, Carolina
Finally, to round out my top ten, I'd choose Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks, who has been having a great offensive year, with 25 goals so far.
10) Corey Perry, F, Anaheim

We’ll have to wait until after next weekend to see how the official fantasy draft pans out, but I think the NHL has stumbled upon a winning recipe with its new All-Star format.

The 2011 NHL All-Star Weekend begins Friday with the Fantasy Draft at 8 p.m., followed by the Skills Competition Saturday at 7 p.m., finished off by the All-Star Game Sunday at 4 p.m.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Watching old people fight will not save boxing

The success of the movie The Fighter and the release of EA Sports’ next installment of Fight Night in March left me contemplating the sad state that boxing has become in the real world.

The most recent example happened just last night as former five-time Heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield had his fight with Sherman Williams stopped in the third round and ruled a no contest. The way the fight ended is not the sad part of the story, but instead the fact that as a 48-year-old Holyfield is still trying to take part in a sport dominated by men in their 20s.

Holyfield has stated a variety of reasons for wanting to fight, but it seems the real reason he’s fighting is the same reason why so many boxers don’t know when to hang their gloves up….he’s broke.
Mike Tyson and Holyfield are famous for their fight in 1996 but they are also connected financially in that both men have somehow lost a combined 500 million dollars earned during their respective careers.  

While the sport is certainly not dead by any means, Holyfield’s fight shows how boxing is fading from public view and interest. Competition from MMA could be a factor, but so many of those fighters have expertise in other areas besides boxing.Manny Pacquiao and a few others are keeping the sport going but the competition that boxing once had across all weight classes has disappeared.

Boxing has always been a brutal sport filled with human drama both inside and outside of the ring. It is a sport that has been an important part of our society for decades and given us some of our most famous and culturally important athletes (see Muhammad Ali).

The sport is at a crossroads with no easy answers as to how regain the widespread public interest of past years. One thing however is certain, having its once dominant fighters get pulverized by men half their age is not the answer. 

Post by Jacob Pillis

Thursday, November 4, 2010

WUVT Sports Supports Radiothon

WUVT 90.7 FM Blacksburg is having its Radiothon promotion this week, make sure you give your support today.

Check out or call (540) 231-9888 today!

A college football playoff would be fun

The system is broken. Fans know this. Colleges know this. 

I was inspired to write this column with today’s release of Death to the BCS by Dan Wetzel, Josh Peter and Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. The book outlines a 16-team playoff that would become the new postseason. While not the first to look at a playoff system (
), it is a very coherent look at the current bowl failures and how a new system would be implemented.

In this system, 11 conference champions would be admitted, with 5 at-large teams rounding out the line up. Games would be hosted at the home stadium of higher seeded teams until the
Let’s plug in current conference leaders (selective choices made for conferences with two divisions and for wild cards):

ACC: Virginia Tech
Big East: Syracuse
Big Ten: Ohio State
Big Twelve: Nebraska
Conference USA: Southern Methodist
MAC: Northern Illinois
Mountain West: TCU
Pacific-10: Oregon
Southeastern: LSU
Sun Belt: Troy
Western Athletic: Boise State
Wild cards
-Michigan State
-South Carolina
-Oklahoma State
There are a lot of good teams in this mix, and I guarantee each of those above games are terrific. While there would be complaints from teams on the edge, I feel much less sympathy for a 3 or 4-loss squad cut from the playoff than an undefeated team with no shot for the title.
There is no reason D-IA football cannot adopt this type of structure. D-IAA, D-II, and D-III football each host these type of competitions. If athletes from small schools can handle these schedules, it can be brought to the big level.

The Virginia Tech benefit
It would be silly to think of a playoff without looking at the prospect of the impact of Virginia Tech. Long story short, I think we would still be in good shape to make a playoff run.
Noting Tech is one of only two teams currently holding streaks of 10 win seasons (with Texas), it would appear Blacksburg would be a playoff spot.

Where we might struggle is our seeding. Given our ability to lose in must-win (or should-win games) like our recent defeat to James Madison University, there’s a good chance we would drop seed if we entered a tournament on a low note, and make it difficult to enter on a wild card basis.

Tech would also have to deal with an overall weaker ACC impacting the overall conference scales. I’m sure frustration will be high when a strong playing Hokie (or Hurricane or Yellow Jacket) squad qualifies but is seeded low with lousy play from their conference rivals.

Even if Tech did not get into the playoff, the positive news is with the playoff system, the current lower end bowls would still have a place in the system. Even if we were not selected for the big dance, our fan base would still travel in number necessary to make a bowl run viable. The Chick-fil-a and Gator Bowls would still be there for us.
The move from the BCS to a playoff is the right move.