Link – #DamWorthIt Campaign at Oregon State focuses on mental health

Good for them. This is an important message for everyone, but to see college athletes, especially college athletes in the Pacific Northwest after the apparent suicide of a football player at Washington State, speaking out, can only help.

Oregon State athletes are leading a campaign to propel mental health awareness in college athletics into a national discussion.

Titled #DamWorthIt, the purpose of the initiative is to boost sensibilities of mental health in sports and remove the stereotype that athletes are invincible. The campaign is being pioneered by former Oregon State gymnast Taylor Ricci and current men’s soccer team member Nathan Braaten.


Link – Gary Andersen vowed he’d walk if he couldn’t win at Oregon State — and he just walked

This doesn’t say much about the possibility of getting Oregon State football turned around.

Andersen also reiterated that if he didn’t believe he could win at Oregon State he would pull the unprecedented move of tearing up his contract and letting the Beavers go free. And that appears to be what happened today in Corvallis in an announcement that shocked the campus.

It’s a rough job, no doubt. It’s a football program with absolutely no pedigree, in a city where there is nothing but the university, far away from the bright lights. Corvallis doesn’t even have an airport. The closest one is in Eugene, the nearest major one is Portland, a good two-hour drive. It’s a stadium with less than 50,000 seats, that still rarely sells out.

I enjoyed the time we spent living in Corvallis, but if I was there on an official visit, and compared it to just about every other Power 5 conference school? Um, yeah. I don’t think so.

Still, good on Coach Anderson for not holding the school hostage, and good luck Oregon State. You’re going to need it.

Link – A bid to stay competitive

IMG_0290.JPG“The $42 million project is the latest piece in the athletics facilities equation for Oregon State University, which says it is determined to keep pace with its Pac-12 Conference opponents.

Since 2001 OSU has added a new Sports Performance Center, the Beth Ray Center for Academic Support, a new basketball practice facility, a track and field complex, the Samaritan Sports Medicine Center and other upgrades that have cost more than $200 million.

“It helps us stay competitive in football,” said Mark Massari, OSU deputy athletic director for capital projects and internal operations during a tour of the construction project with Gazette-Times reporters.

“Almost every program since the Pac-12 was formed (in 2011) has renovated their football stadium. Some, such as Cal and Washington, have redone the whole stadium. We have to keep up. And we can’t stop with the Valley Football Center. We have to get going on the west side, too.””

There’s a word for this much capital investment in infrastructure. That word is “business”. That is what College Football is, even at a place like Oregon State, which will never be confused with the “big-business” football programs like Alabama, Texas, Ohio State, or even, Oregon. Even schools like Oregon State find themselves spending $200 million just to “keep up”, and keep the football money flowing in.

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.

Link – Tiny Dancers: Yale makes the NCAAs for the first time since 1962

DSC_0264What a great story. Locally we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for the Oregon State Beavers to make the tournament after their own drought. But as long as it’s been for the Beavers, their 26 year wait to get back to the tourney pales in comparison to Yale.

Let’s hope they both end the drought and have a good showing in the NCAA tourney!

Tiny Dancers: Yale makes the NCAAs for the first time since 1962


More College Football Ridiculous Conclusions After Week 2

cropped-IMG_0290.jpgBecause nothing says sports fan like making judgements based on two games:

  • Ohio State’s offense was horrible against Hawaii, and they still won 38-0.
  • Do not let BYU hang around late in a game. Just don’t.
  • Auburn could just as realistically be 0-2 as they are 2-0.
  • Les Miles on the road might have a big lead, but it’s coming down to the last play and we all know it. Tune in late.
  • Notre Dame’s schedule + lost starting QB and RB is a lot to overcome, even for Touchdown Jesus.
  • Will Tennessee ever turn the corner?
  • Vernon Adams had a lot of hype when he transferred to Oregon, but he’s not Marcus Mariota.
  • Michigan State gets deserved credit for beating Oregon, but Oregon is not the same team they were last season.
  • Here in Corvallis, it’s going to be a very long year. Who would have thought there would be a PAC-12 team that can’t throw the ball?
  • Is Michigan back? They beat the worst team in the PAC-12 at home, let’s not get cocky Wolverine fans.
  • Syracuse beat Wake after I predicted without Terrell Hunt they’d go winless in the ACC. This is why I do not make predictions.
  • Bret Bielema deserves every bit of social media mocking he got this weekend. Take care of your own business before you start yapping Bret, why have you not learned this yet?

What caught your eye this week?

Reading – Inside College Hoops: Calipari is now on the ‘right side of the rope’

“One thing some don’t realize is that coaches are fathers first in the NCAA’s eyes, meaning any coach can provide his son with anything — the nicest televisions, gaming systems, furniture, groceries, etc., — and it’s not uncommon for players to live with other players. So one thing coaches often do is have their best players live with their sons, then they flood their sons’ dorms or apartments with the nicest things any college kid could ever want, and there’s not really anything the NCAA will, or even can, do about it. Pretty neat, right?”

It’s only a small part of the article, but that’s an interesting loophole. Wonder who Tres Tinkle is rooming with in Corvallis? Might want to hang with that kid. 😉

Inside College Hoops: Calipari is now on the ‘right side of the rope’

What I’m Reading – College athletes at major programs benefit from confluence of factors to sometimes avoid criminal charges

College athletes at major programs benefit from confluence of factors to sometimes avoid criminal charges

I think this is something that we all sort of suspected, but seeing the details and hearing the stories is still pretty stark.

Perhaps the worst part of this is how many “fans” are willing to harass and threaten people who are the victims of a crime in order to win games. If that’s you, you are a screwed up human being.