Archive for July, 2010

From Mechelle’s blog: The cheerleading thing

As you’re probably aware, a federal judge ruled last week that Quinnipiac University in Connecticut could not count competitive cheerleading as a varsity sport, and thus had to reinstate volleyball at least for another year. After that, the school might still eliminate volleyball if it finds a satisfactory way, according to the judge, to comply with Title IX.

I was asked on an ESPN.com chat last week what I thought of the ruling, and said I was still sorting my way through it. And here’s why. It’s not because I disagree with the judge’s decision. I think it was absolutely the right one.

If you want additional information, check out what Nancy Hogshead-Makar said on CNN:

HOGSHEAD-MAKAR: The NCAA does not recognize competitive cheer as even an emerging sport. It’s not even on that list yet.

There are a number of steps. In order to have any varsity sport the heart of sports, the OCR, the Office of Civil Rights has said that the heart of sports is competition. And so, you have to have people to compete against.

VELSHI: Right.

HOGSHEAD-MAKAR: So, if you haven’t yet developed the sport enough, then there is no competition. There is no real place for them to be able to grow.

VELSHI: You were pointing out a few different things that went on. One of them was the that manipulating of the roster. What’s the bigger deal here? Is it that cheer is not a competitive sport or is this other stuff that Quinnipiac was doing?

HOGSHEAD-MAKAR: Well, as I was just saying there are very few schools that actually have competitive cheer on their books as sort of offsetting if you will from boys experiences.

But certainly this roster management is a very common practice. Something that I see a lot of where they tell the women’s coach they say you have to keep this very large number of women on their team and tell the men you have to keep the men undersized.

What that does is keeps the school from having to start a new sport for girls. That is sex discrimination when you treat those two very differently. If a team is very, very large, you can imagine they don’t have as much coaching time. There aren’t as much one-on-one time.

Many times they will have as Quinnipiac did, they had a very large, I think it was 30 women who were on the track and field team, but only I believe it was 16 of them actually traveled to different competitions. So you can have these numbers, but they don’t get to do very much. They don’t have opportunity to actually be able to participate.

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I mean it. Don’t.

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From Richard Cohen at SportsPageMagazine:

Told Ya So!

Unless something is brewing right this minute, the final week prior to today’s WNBA trade deadline was as uneventful as expected, producing just one transaction. As predicted in last week’s column, the only meaningful player involved was Kara Braxton (I contemplated changing the name in the byline to Nostradamus, but that seemed a little over the top). Phoenix picked up the 6-6 center from Tulsa for Nicole Ohlde and their 2011 first-round draft pick, a price which initially looks excessive, but will be considered more than worth it if she helps them past Seattle and back into the WNBA Finals.

As with nearly every trade in US professional sports, properly understanding this move requires a knowledge of the contract status of both players.

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USA Women Capture Inaugural FIBA U17 World Championship Gold Medal With 92-62 Win Over Host France – USA Leads 12-Team Tournament In 13 of 19 Team Statistical Categories

From Chris Hansen at HoopGurlz: Gold Standard

It seemed like a recipe for disaster. France was bombing away from 3-point range with its sixth man, 2,000-plus fans, pushing the team on. Key American inside player Breanna Stewart picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter and at the midway point of the second quarter the lead for the USA was just four points.

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From Dylan Butler: Ray of hope: Bronx native leads New York City women to hoops gold

Whatever’s gotten in to the NY Post with their “not just box score coverage of women’s bball”, click on the link to show you like it!

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From Mel

January In July Heat Keeps Indy In First

Second-year pro Briann January was considered a steal a year ago when the Indiana Fever made her the sixth overall pick of the WNBA draft out of Arizona State and went on to win the East and extend the Phoenix Mercury to the fifth and deciding game of the championship series in the playoffs.

January continued to make good on her pick Saturday night, celebrating her return to the starting lineup after an injury by scoring 19 points and helping the Fever to a 78-73 win over the Washington Mystics.

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From Ben York

5 Things I Think I Know… After 2/3 of the 2010 WNBA season

A friend of mine, who doesn’t follow the league as closely but still has a vested interest, asked me to give him a quick summary of the 2010 WNBA season so far. Amazingly, two-thirds of the season has passed and just 10-12 games remain for every team before the playoffs begin. Everything in me wanted to give him an articulate response…

Instead, this happened.

“The best way I can describe it so far is…umm…” I eloquently replied. “…interesting.”

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on the men’s side.

From ESPN’s Dana O’Neil: What’s wrong with college basketball? In a survey of 20 high-profile coaches, the shadiness of the recruiting trail is exposed

The image of college basketball has taken a beating in recent years, with rumors, murmurs and innuendo about cheating spreading like wildfire. Cynics believe no one is trying to follow the NCAA rulebook and that the game has fallen victim to the begging hands of agents, runners and hangers-on looking to collect on the next NBA star.

Is it that bad? What are the real problems? And is the NCAA doing enough to fix those problems?

To get the answers, ESPN.com went to the sources. During the EYBL Peach Jam last week, we interviewed 20 high-profile head coaches, representing each of the six power conferences. With the promise of full anonymity, we asked them to tell the truth about their sport.

And they did.

What are the concerns on the women’s side? CIVIL WARS: Keeping the Recruiting Battles Clean –

But asking coaches about the severity of recruiting violations or the prevalence of negative recruiting in women’s basketball can be a bit like trying to pin down a ghost: there are feelings, but not a lot of concrete evidence.

“A lot of things that we hear are either told to us by a scholastic or summer league coach,” explained Tulane head coach Lisa Stockton. “It’s basically hearsay, so it’s difficult to prove.”

“It’s a shame, but I think there are a lot of violations,” admitted Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw. “A lot of people are concerned about the ethics in women’s basketball, but it seems like more and more people are cheating. I think the common perception is that they’re cheating because you can get away with it. And they’re getting away with it because nobody’s turning them in.”

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Phoenix rising?

And Taurasi pausing?

Mechelle writes:

I’ve long known my arithmetic skills were lacking, but I was still embarrassed when I glanced at the Phoenix Mercury’s scores the past two games, added them in my head, and came up with 250.

Ha! Two hundred and fifty points? For two games? How could even my math be that bad? I guess I need a calculator just to add two lousy numbers.


OK, you might not believe this, but … the calculator says the Mercury really did score 250 points in their past two games. And 753 in their last seven. That’s right, the average Mercury point total in July, 107.6, tops even Phoenix’s average daily high temperature for this month, which historically has been about 105.

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Someone had to lose…

Lynx: Historic game. Painful loss.

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U-17 FIBA Finals: LIVE streaming or LIVE stats.

11:30am EST.

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Kaye Cower

Kaye Cowher dies of skin cancer

Basketball, charities inspired Kaye Cower

A North Carolina native, Mrs. Cowher was a star basketball player at North Carolina State University in the 1970s, and played for three seasons in the Women’s Professional Basketball League before it disbanded in 1981. She and Bill Cowher, who grew up in Crafton, married that year.

While Mrs. Cowher’s face was recognized by many Steelers fans, her presence in Pittsburgh was low key and limited to coaching middle-school basketball and charitable work

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Good news

WNBA Up on ESPN2, Tops MLS

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Sue wonders about

Corporations and schools? Now there’s an idea

Ben the technician was just at my house, and we were talking about how little high school coaches get paid. He said he’s always thought schools should get corporate sponsorship for athletics.

This allows me to requote one of my favorite high school coach quotes:

When Ron Moyer coached Amherst (Mass.) High School to the state title in 1993, he earned $2,400 for 15 weeks of work. “We just got a huge pay increase,” Moyer boasts dryly. “Because I’m a staff member and have been a teacher for over 20 years, I reached the $4,000 mark for the first time in my career.”

“I tell people coaching is a get-quick-rich scheme,” Moyer adds. “It’s just not a very good one.”

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11:30am: USA U-17 v. China stats or streaming.

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Mother files Title IX lawsuit

Tammy Hurley filed a Title IX lawsuit in federal district court in Indianapolis on Monday on behalf of her daughter against Franklin County High School, its girls basketball opponents and the Indiana High School Athletic Association, Hurley’s lawyer, William R. Groth said.

Title IX is the 1972 federal statute that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender by institutions that receive federal money. The suit challenges the scheduling differences between boys and girls basketball teams, with boys playing more games Friday and Saturday nights and girls more weekday evening games.

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says Mel.

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Lawson questionable as battered Sun prepare to play on

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can be fun

When the great patriot Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death,” he had no way of visualizing a women’s pro basketball team named Liberty, or the death they would inflict on another women’s hoop team, the Chicago Sky, but in the WNBA there are a couple of teams Chicago just can’t master and the New York Liberty is one.

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Charles set to break WNBA’s double-double record.

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How can reality find its place in college sports?
There are those times when you read about the way something used to be and think, “How could it have gone on like that for so long?”

I wonder if that will someday be the case in regard to the desperately clung-to concept of “amateurism” in the two college sports that produce revenue in the larger conferences: football and men’s basketball. There is really nothing “amateur” about either one, yet the facade is fiercely defended _ by those who benefit enormously from it, and by those who wish to live in a dream world devoid of practical sense and economic reality.

Programs are punished and athletes’ reputations are tarnished because of this, and every story of the latest program “exposed” just irritates me more. Not because of the athlete who “gave into temptation” and took money from an agent. But because of the system that profits off that athlete’s talent while condemning him for wanting to do the same.

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for Amber Gray.

Background info.

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Trade news…

One less (Detroit) Shock.

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No commentary.
And no, I will not tell you who won. You’ll just have to click to find out!

Mike Flynn of BlueStar blogged from France.

Chris Hansen of HoopGurlz writes about the USA/Spain game.

You can get USA Basketball’s take on the game here.

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I’m sorry Milton — I bet you hate that nickname. My only excuse is 11 hours of escorting UAE students around Coney Island in 100 degree temperature.

Mmmmmmm…. Funnel cake!

Oh. And now there’s someone playing the saxophone in the park across the street. Could this get any more “Summer in the City?”

Anyhoo, back to Milton Kent’s article over at Fanhouse:

The grin on Nakia Sanford’s face was awfully broad Wednesday considering she had spent two hours listening to the ear-piercing screams of 14,000 fans, not to mention having to battle rush hour traffic in the nation’s capital as well as another day of near 100-degree heat.

But the Washington Mystics, of which the 6-foot-4 center has been a key cog for seven seasons, got an 82-72 win over the Atlanta Dream and moved into first place in the WNBA’s Eastern Conference.

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Survey says!

What’s your take on Live Access?

As the Rebkellians point out, they need to ask better shaped questions.

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Title IX blog news:

Quinnipiac Volleyball Players win Title IX Decision

Today Judge Stefan Underhill granted Quinnipiac University volleyball players an injunction that will allow the team to exist through the 2010-11 season. In reaching this decision, the judge determined that Quinnipiac’s decision to terminate the volleyball team violated Title IX because it resulted in inequitable number of athletic opportunities for women. Quinnipiac argued in its defense that it satisfied the proportionality test (offering the same percentage of athletic opportunities to women as matches their representation in the student body) even after cutting volleyball, in part because of Quinnipiac’s addition of 30 additional athletic opportunities in the sport of competitive cheer, brought the school into proportionality.

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Mechelle on Camille

Little does a lot for Storm

Camille Little refers to herself as having been “a mean girl” in college. She says this with a half smile, but she isn’t really joking. This is a player almost disarmingly self-aware and candid. Little tells it like it is because she has no interest wasting time telling it any other way.

But … a mean girl? That’s perhaps too harsh a self-assessment for the former North Carolina forward, who’s now with the WNBA-leading Seattle Storm. However, even when she was at UNC, Little was as business-like as if she were already a professional.

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Nate Parham at Swish Appeal writes:

As hard as it is to fathom, the Seattle Storm could end up getting better as they finish the season, even though they sit atop the league at 19-2 and are currently in the middle of a 10-game win streak.

The reason? In addition to the standard process of a team coming together over the course of the season, the quiet improvement of Czech rookie forward Jana Vesela could end up paying huge dividends for the Storm.

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Kathy Goodman writes

Getting closer

At the end of the third quarter in Tuesday’s Sparks game against the Tulsa Shock, I was on my way to visit one of the suites at Staples Center.  I walked past the press section, and one of the reporters asked me, “So, is this the complete game you were looking for?”  We were up by 10 points at the end of the third, having led the whole quarter. I admit I was feeling pretty good about our chances but said, “Ask me again in 10 minutes. We’ll see what happens in the fourth quarter, but so far, so good!”

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