Link – The true story of the NFL draft and the competition it really affects

NFL“This parceling out of exclusive negotiating rights to exiting college players has always been presented, even from its low-key inception in a Philadelphia hotel 80 years ago, as a way to ensure competitive balance by giving bad teams first crack at better incoming players.

An added benefit for NFL owners, however — arguably the greatest benefit — is that the draft denies college stars the windfall of potential bidding wars among multiple teams, keeping salaries lower than they might otherwise have been.”

These are both true. All we have to do is look to leagues like European football leagues and see that it is absolutely possible for the richest teams to simply buy the biggest names and dominate the competition. On the other hand, those players are also free to negotiate a contract anywhere, for any amount, which is, unarguably getting them more money than a draft system would.

So, which is better?

The true story of the NFL draft and the competition it really affects

Link – Pending NHL free agents rise, fall during playoffs

“RW Kyle Okposo, New York Islanders: He’s produced five points in five games while averaging four shots per game. The 217-pound Okposo is leading the Islanders with 13 hits. With so many teams looking for scoring and size, Okposo is helping himself with a strong overall game.

C Frans Nielsen, New York Islanders: Nielsen will be looking for a significant raise this summer over the $3.5 million he’s earning. He may get it. He often appears on underrated lists. A versatile player who can check and score, Nielsen has three goals and four points in this first round. His three goals tie him with John Tavares for the team lead. He’s playing 23 minutes per game.”

These two guys are going to get offered a lot of money, and a lot of years, somewhere this Summer. I’m not sold that the Islanders can, or should match that. It’s going to be very difficult for both of these guys to be back in Brooklyn next season and the Islanders are going to have to hope that some of the young kids are ready for the next step, and that Ryan Strome and Anders Lee bounce back. Otherwise, this is going to be a very thin team offensively.

Pending NHL free agents rise, fall during playoffs

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Link – The NCAA’s new March Madness TV deal will make them a billion dollars a year

“The NCAA’s best argument for why it gets to make $1 billion every year to put on a basketball tournament starring unpaid basketball players is that it only keeps $100 million for itself. That’s a freakin’ awful argument.”

The pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it? There’s a billion dollars being paid for the rights to broadcast the NCAA basketball tournament, and this article shows how most of it doesn’t ever make it back to the benefit of all student athletes, let alone the ones out there putting on the show that brings in the money.

The NCAA’s new March Madness TV deal will make them a billion dollars a year – SBNation.com

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Islander Fans Got The Opponent They Wanted

Yes, it seemed everywhere I looked on Twitter, there were Islander fans rooting really hard against their own team over the weekend, hoping to “fall” into a first round series with the Florida Panthers and avoid the Penguins.

I get it, the Pens have been playing great, the Panthers won what was clearly the weaker division in the East, it makes some sense. It sill made me uneasy. I hate the idea of rooting to lose, and I hate the idea that we all know which team you’d rather face. The truth is, you never know.

Think about it, the Pens have a question mark in Mark-Andre Fleury right now because of injury, the Panthers bring in Roberto Luongo to possibly stir the echos of Mike Milbury trades gone bad. Are we sure we want the Panthers?

Personally, I don’t think it matters. The Isles come in banged up, not playing very well, and still not having won a playoff series in 23 years. This is still the team that couldn’t generate any offense in the playoffs last season, and has been inconsistent on that front all year.

I think it’s going to be 24 years without a series win. I hope not, but I’m predicting the Panthers in 6.

Let’s at least hope the Isles don’t get swept. I’m going to be out of the country until the 21st. If the series only goes 4, I’ll miss the entire thing. If it’s because the Isles won, I’ll take it though! I want to see some Islander playoff hockey!

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Link – We Do Not Dream

“I remember my first meeting with the chairman when I arrived at Leicester City this summer. He sat down with me and said, “Claudio, this is a very important year for the club. It is very important for us to stay in the Premier League. We have to stay safe.”

My reply was, “Okay, sure. We’ll work hard on the training ground and try to achieve this.”

Forty points. That was the goal. That was the total we needed to stay in the first division, to give our fans another season of Premier League football.

Back then, I did not dream that I would open the paper on April 4 and see Leicester City at the top of the table with 69 points. Last year on this same day, the club was at the bottom of the table.

Unbelievable.”

This is unbelievable, and honestly, unless you happen to be a fan of one of the teams directly behind them in the standings, how could you not be pulling for Leicester City to take home the trophy?

We Do Not Dream

UCONN is Boring But So Be It

DSC_0264First off, let me just get this out of the way. I don’t generally follow women’s basketball. It’s not because I’m sexist either, it’s because I really only have so much time to dedicate to following sports, and I don’t follow any basketball very much. Oh sure, I pay attention to the NCAA tournament, and I have a vague idea of what is happening in the NBA, but basketball just isn’t a sport I’m going to to sit and watch more than a couple of times a year.

That being said, like any good fan of the NCAA tournament, I was paying attention to college basketball in March, and thanks to a couple of programs that I specifically have interest in, I was aware of what was happening in that tourney.

I grew up a Syracuse fan, rooting for guys like Pearl Washington, Derrick Coleman, etc. That rooting interest, of course, included wishing the other sports well also.

My wife works for, and we live just down the road from, Oregon State. Corvallis is Oregon State. This is the quintessential college town. It would barely exist if not for the university being located here.

With both of those programs advancing to the Women’s Final Four, of course I paid some attention, even if that didn’t include watching much of the games. And while I could make some excuses about being on the road and not having an easy time watching the games, the reality is I didn’t watch because there was zero doubt as to what was going to happen. Both schools got creamed by the Huskies. No one doubted that would happen, and sure enough, it did. As I said after they bet Syracuse on Twitter, this is the state of women’s college basketball.

So look, all the credit in the world to Connecticut. They’re amazing, but it doesn’t make for a compelling sport right now.

That being said, both Oregon State and Syracuse had historic seasons and they should be celebrated. They both made the Final Four for the first time ever, and are really good basketball teams. They just aren’t UCONN. Maybe for right now the best you can hope for is to know your season went as long as it could, before you had to play the Huskies. That’s success. I fear, however, that as well as those ladies played, and as much history as they made, no one will remember anything from the last 4 years aside from UCONN, and that’s a shame.

Let’s hope someone can build a team that might challenge them eventually and make this more interesting. Right now, it’s not even that they win all the time, it’s that the games aren’t even close. If you want to watch one truly great team, UCONN can give that to you. If you want to see compelling stories and competition, not so much.

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Link – Michigan mental wellness program Athletes Connected aims to help student-athletes

“”If you had a torn ACL, you wouldn’t hide it from people,” said Trish Meyer, outreach coordinator for Michigan’s Depression Center. “You’d be forced to get treatment for it. It should be the same with your mental health. That culture of toughness, in a way, is especially challenging for student-athletes.””

geralt / Pixabay

I’m glad Michigan is doing this. It’s easy for us to look at student athletes and only really ever see them as players. We judge them based on what they do on the field without thinking about the kid that is behind that. Those kids are no different than other kids, and the rates of depression and mental health issues are going to be the same as well. They deserve the same treatment and understanding as physical injuries.

Michigan mental wellness program Athletes Connected aims to help student-athletes

Link – Blue Jays went from a 4-3 lead to a 3-2 loss because of new MLB slide rule reversal

The season is three days old and this rule change is already creating havoc. This is what happens when you let owners come up with a plan to “do something” about a couple of injuries, without taking some serious time to evaluate the impact on the game. For what it’s worth, it was probably the correct call under the new rule, but they have totally taken away the possibility of doing much to break up double-plays.

I’m not sure more double-plays is going to make baseball more interesting.

Blue Jays went from a 4-3 lead to a 3-2 loss because of new MLB slide rule reversal

Link – Height of hypocrisy: Michigan limiting Spike Albrecht’s transfer options

““Having a kid sit out a year is not like going to jail,” he said. “It’s a slippery slope. I want what’s best for Spike but also what’s best for our program. You train a guy and develop him for four years and suddenly he’s the starting point guard at Michigan State?””

I take issue with this statement by Michigan’s coach. You’re not offering him the possibility of staying at Michigan. He’s been told his talent isn’t worth you keeping him on scholarship, but you’re concerned about how well you developed him and how it might hurt you in the future?

Too bad. As pointed out in the article, do you think Iowa loved having Jake Rudock starting at QB for Michigan last year? Probably not, but he had graduated, and wanted to transfer and they let him, because he wasn’t going to start at Iowa. This kid isn’t even going to have a spot on Michigan’s team next year, but they still want to limit the possibility of him playing somewhere else without sitting out another year. Screw that. He’s a free agent once he graduates as far as I’m concerned, and having to sit a year is is just silly.

Student athletes being forced to sit out a year should file a class action lawsuit against the NCAA based on their freedom being limited. It would be fun to watch

Height of hypocrisy: Michigan limiting Spike Albrecht’s transfer options – Yahoo Sports