Archive for February, 2016

on campuses that is far more important than basketball...Sweeping sex assault suit filed against University of Tennessee

Six women filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday claiming the University of Tennessee has created a student culture that enables sexual assaults by student-athletes, especially football players, and then uses an unusual, legalistic adjudication process that is biased against victims who step forward.

The lawsuit, filed by plaintiffs identified only as “Jane Does,” accuses five Tennessee athletes of sexual assault. They are former basketball player Yemi Makanjuola, former football players A.J. Johnson, Michael Williams and Riyahd Jones and a current football player named as a “John Doe.”

From Sarah Spain: Taking Off The Kid Gloves To Address Peyton Manning’s Sexual Assault Allegations

Peyton Manning has likely played his final NFL game. Sure, there’s a chance he’ll try to run it back, but most agree he should send his starting defense some very nice thank-you gifts and call it a career on a high note.

If he’s on the fence, he might be getting a gentle push toward retirement from a handful of scandals that seem to be coming to a head all at once: first, the NFL’s investigation into allegations of HGH use; second, a renewed interest in a 1997 alleged sexual-assault settlement while he was at the University of Tennessee; and third, his inclusion in a recently filed lawsuit alleging that UT has violated Title IX regulations and created a “hostile sexual environment.”

Kate Fagan: Manning Accusations, Lawsuits Attack Tennessee Culture With All-Too-Familiar Stories

Peyton Manning. For the past two weeks, his name has been in the headlines — first for winning his second Super Bowl, then, over the weekend, as the subject of a New York Daily News story that details one account of the alleged sexual assault that happened in 1996, when Manning was the star quarterback at the University of Tennessee.

The “incident” has been covered in the media many times over the past 20 years. So, old news, right?

Not quite.

And about that weird “everything’s fine!” Tennessee press conference? Ridiculous Quotes From Tennessee’s Coaches Press Conference

But this is not an isolated case.

Tennessee joins list of colleges facing sexual assault lawsuits

When six former female students filed a sweeping lawsuit against the University of Tennessee last week, they joined a growing list of high profile legal actions against colleges over how sexual assault allegations are handled, particularly those involving male athletes.

Last month, Florida State University settled a lawsuit for $950,000 brought by a former student who said she was raped by star quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston in 2012, but was met with “deliberate indifference” by university officials after she came forward. Winston has denied the allegations.

In January, Baylor University entered into a confidential settlement with a female soccer player after she reported being sexually assaulted by former football defensive end Sam Ukwuachu. A jury found Ukwuachu guilty of the sexual assault in August 2015, months after a campus disciplinary review had cleared Ukwuachu.

The best place to learn about what’s going on? The Title IX Blog.

Disciplined Student May Continue to Litigate Title IX Claim Against Brown 

A federal district court in Rhode Island denied Brown University’s motion to dismiss a Title IX “erroneous outcome” claim filed by a male student who was found responsible for sexual assault of a female classmate and suspended for two and a half years.   (The court also permitted the student to continue to litigate some of his breach of contact claim, but did dismiss his Title IX “deliberate indifference” claim.)
Kent State faces lawsuit over assault cover-up and retaliation
We have seen emerge a pattern of sexual assault cover-ups by intercollegiate football teams recently. Kent State has interrupted that pattern–not in a good way.
Patterns emerge: Baylor
As I wrote last week, the University of Tennessee and Baylor University find themselves in similar situations: student athletes accused of sexual assault and subsequent indifference to these reports by administrators. More has come out about Tennessee, specifically Peyton Manning’s involvement when he was a student athlete. I am moving on to discuss the cases at Baylor though for now and may return to Manning later.  

As I noted in my original post, the two situations share characteristics but are different in key ways. First, the judicial system has already handled the cases of two of the accused. Two former Baylor student-athletes were convicted of sexual assault, but the school did nothing about either of them. They did not investigate when victims came forward. 

Sexual Harassment Roundup: K-12 Cases
Here are summaries of some recent judicial decisions involving Title IX claims against school districts for failing to adequately respond to reports of sexual harassment and abuse.

A federal court in Connecticut refused to grant summary judgment to a school district in a case stemming from a ninth-grader’s repeated sexual abuse of the sixth-grade plaintiff.  The abuse itself occurred outside of school, but the plaintiff alleges that the school district was deliberately indifferent to the fact that the abuse and her reporting of it subjected her to continued harm while at school.

It would  be nice if the WBCA would make a statement about this… but I wouldn’t hold my breath…

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Well, crap: Knee injury ends season, collge career for Jillian Alleyne, Oregon Ducks star forward

Remember when IUPUI was really awful. Thursday, they took down the Wabbits. They get to play the Coyotes today….

For the first time in 25 games, Siena beat Marist.

SNICK. The C-USA got tight as Western Kentucky took care of Middle Tennessee, 62-51.

The WCC continues to be interesting: San Diego over Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s over Santa Clara.

#13 Stanford knocked the teeth outta the #7 Beavers, 76-54.

Princeton is licking their Ivy League championships chops: Cornell pulled off the stunner, topping Penn, 51-46.

Looking ahead to Saturday: 

#5 Ohio State v. #20 Michigan State. Can the Buckeyes recover their moxie? Can the Spartans get folks to believe in them?

Temple v. #21 USF. An Owl win could make the the NCAAs a realistic goal – which makes this news intriguing: Two players exit women’s basketball program

2nd place in the Horizon: Wright State v. Milwaukee

Always pay attention to the WCC: San Francisco will battle Saint Mary’s, BYU v. Gonzaga.

Big Sky is up for grabs: Idaho (12-3) v. Eastern Washington (12-3).

#22 Oklahoma State v. West Virginia. The Mountaineers have made enough noise to get the attention of the Selection Committee. Both teams are 10-6 in the Big 12. An upset would really seal the deal.

It’s a home game, so I don’t thing UTEP will be looking a head… ’cause the 49ers sure deserve their attention.

Senior Day at UConn prompts ESPN’s MC Barrett to ask: Is Breanna Stewart the best UConn player in history?

Harvey is back! (And writing long form) Breanna Stewart, UConn’s Wow Factor, Always Had a Sweep in Mind

With Auriemma’s standard roster of multipositional excellence beside her, Stewart has, in her time at Connecticut, indisputably qualified as one of those rare raise-the-bar talents. She has occasionally been heralded by pundits as potentially the best female player ever.

“And if you want to be considered that good, you’ve got to have those wow moments — in games, in practices,” Auriemma said. “Every day, Michael Jordan did something that made you say, What?”

That is what Auriemma believes Stewart is capable of on the women’s scale of athletic enhancement. And while he does not deal in ranking individuals across playing eras, given Connecticut’s parade of elite alumnae, he did offer contextual elaboration by recounting another of Stewart’s wow moments, from this season, one with a better result, if not a perfect one.


Georgia Tennessee. A battle of unranked SEC teams will garner a lot of attention.

An interesting A-10 battle: Duquesne (13-2) v. St. Bonaventure (11-4)

Equally interesting battle between two 16-3 teams in MAAC: Quinnipiac v. Iona.

Duke v. UNC: Two blue teams – literally and psychically.

Minnesota v. #6 Maryland. Obviously, the Gophers have to play a better out-of-conference schedule… but Rachel they are sure are doing their best to get noticed. Will the Terps have gotten the message?

From Salt Lake: Alta product Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher exceeding expectations at BYU

About that great Dane: Albany’s Caribbean-born Shereesha Richards an aspiring pro

About that Grand Bahamian: Despite Injury, Jonquel On Pace To Be Wnba Draft Lottery Pick

Speaking of the draft: Countdown to the 2016 WNBA Draft: No. 8 South Florida’s Courtney Williams

Looking ahead: Diana Taurasi refreshed for Phoenix Mercury return, 4th Olympics

Interesting: Her Love Of Basketball Knows No Boundaries, But U.S. Law Says Otherwise

Jo had 26 points and 10 rebounds that March night in 2009 in San Antonio, and those numbers don’t begin to tell half of her story. The New England prep school player of the year in 2005, she would go on to be a two-time Division II player of the year and the all-time D-II leading scorer. Drafted by the Connecticut Sun in 2010, Jo played for Great Britain in the 2012 Olympics and tied Erika de Souza of Brazil as leading scorer. Jo Leedham, who played in a few exhibition games in 2013 with the Sun, plays for Bourges in France. She scored 28 points Thursday for Great Britain in a stirring comeback over Montenegro in a Eurobasket qualifier.

Kirsty, meanwhile, starred at Cheshire Academy and at Caldwell (N.J.) College before becoming a graduate assistant while getting her MBA in sports management at New Haven. She returned to coach Cheshire Academy for two years before becoming coordinator of player development at Binghamton this season.

No family has given any more to New England small college basketball, to New England basketball, in the past decade. That’s worth remembering today as Jen Leedham fights to remain in this country.

A little audio: Swin Cash On Internet Trolls, Life After Basketball

Even though it’s 2016, Cash has still dealt with the less-than-desirable underbelly of the internet. You know, the ones who are dumbfounded that a black woman would be able to talk about professional sports from merit and experience. No mind that the WNBA star is one of the most decorated athletes with her pair of NCAA National Titles, treble of WNBA Championships as well as two Olympic gold medals, of course.

Cash brushes off the ignorant, baseless criticism.

“You have to have a sharp mind to have discernment of what’s coming in and what you’re actually putting out,” said Cash.

Have you listened to the new audio source: ‘Around the Rim’: Talking Women’s College Hoops

Speakin’ of audio: Dishin & Swishin 2/25/16 Podcast: Moriah Jefferson ready to join the Huskies of Honor, but what comes next?

Lady Swish asks: Is your team going to the NCAA tournament?

In theory, each of the state’s 13 teams could qualify for the NCAAs by winning their conference tournaments. Barring that, we feel that only four Virginia schools have even an outside chance of nabbing an at-large bid. Virginia schools have gone five years without receiving an at-large bid. Based on what our teams have done so far, that streak is likely to continue in 2016.

Here’s our thinking on what’s going to happen as we approach postseason:

Mike Siroky’s SEC Notebook: The Upperclasswomen Lead the Way

The Ben-Gals won their third SEC game this season by one. The Orange lightning is crashing over the once-proud UT program that hit its bottom. Doesn’t matter how they lost. 
It’s that they lost.
The Lady Vols proved once again they have no clue this season. This should be the death knell for the assistant coaches because that’s the only way an embattled coach makes a perception she is willing to accept blame and make changes.
The urban legend that former Pat Head Summitt players make good coaches is dead. D-E-A-D dead. 
Not Holly Warlick, not anyone else. 
The campus is embroiled in too many other coming lawsuits and other distractions in the important campus sports to make a direct move on Warlick.
It is over. As in so many other things.

A little history: 40 years later: Judi Warren stole the show at first girls basketball state finals

“Judi Warren,” Brown said. “Anybody who was  there would tell you they were impressed with Judi Warren. She pretty much dominated play and she was such an exciting personality. If it was just ho-hum, who knows how it would have gone. But she was so fun to watch.”

The girls basketball finals will be played on Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 40 years after Warsaw’s 5-1 Warren captured the hearts of Hoosiers. She played with the exuberance of a first-grader allowed 20 minutes extra at recess. For Warren and her Warsaw teammates, the 1976 state finals marked the culmination of four years of playing mostly in front of family and close friends.

If Warren had graduated one year earlier, she would have never had the opportunity.

USA Basketball: Geno Auriemma pleased with camp, but questions linger for Team USA and Geno Auriemma, USA Basketball Face Tough Decisions With A Luxury Of Riches

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Army’s Kelsey Minato becomes first active cadet to have jersey retired

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(Becomes Monday! Monday! Monday! – and I’m home again Finnegan…)

But it was Saturday that saw some surprises.

Just as I say something nice about #17 Oklahoma State, they get upset by TCU, 79-65.

Just as I say something nice about Central Michigan, they meet challenger Toledo and lose, 81-79.

Penguins forget how to score and get upset by Cleveland State, 53-43.

Hampton got upset by Coppin State , which hurts their MEAC regular season championship prospects.

Crusin’ Mercer got crushed by Chattanooga, 67-43.

Southern squeaks by SWAC title challenger Alabama State, 57-55.

Costal Carolina (5-11, Big South) snuffed the Flames, 58-61. First time since February 19, 1996.

In the battle of South Dakota, it was a wild fourth quarter by both teams. Coyotes take down the Jackrabbits, 80-71, and have their eye on the regular season prize.

In the battle of Montana, the Griz upset the Bobcats, 70-66.

Who misses Ms. Jones? George Washington. They fall to VCU, 79-68.

(Now ranked) Colorado State needed a big fourth quarter to overcome Wyoming, and stay perfect in the Mountain West, 62-57.

Always keepin’ it interesting in the WCC: Pacific surprises Gonzaga in OT, 84-83. And BYU women’s basketball wins its first WCC regular-season championship

Tennessee-Martin makes a statement about who rules the OVC, stifling SIU-Edwardsville, 86-50.

Charlotte built a nice lead and held on to upset the Hilltoppers, 81-72.

They went back and forth by quarters, but it was UC Riverside that ended up with the win over UC Davis. The Highlanders are now 12-0 in the Big West.

If UC Riverside’s women’s basketball Highlanders pull this off, it’s going to be quite the narrative. Not sure if you could sell it as a movie script, although it certainly seemed to work in “Hoosiers.”

UCR remains undefeated in the Big West, running its record to 11-0 in conference and 18-7 overall following an 83-58 thumping of Long Beach State Thursday evening at the Rec Center.

The Highlanders did so with seven available players.

While I was working my way home, Sunday happened. All the ranked teams pretty much held serve, except

…for that pesky Florida. Nice win for Joni Taylor and Georgia, but what is up with the Gators?

..and #24 Tennessee. The Vols have a habit of snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory. This time, LSU was the beneficiary. The loss meant Tennessee dropped out of the polls for the first time in forever. Mechelle says Tennessee must focus on present, and future

The juxtaposition of so much going right for the Huskies and the difficulties facing the Lady Vols is an unpleasant thing for Tennessee fans. There is no other way to put it. There was a time not so long ago when UConn and Tennessee were both ahead of the rest of women’s basketball.

Since Tennessee ended the series after the 2007 season, the two programs haven’t met. Tennessee won its eighth title in 2008, but hasn’t been back to the Women’s Final Four since. UConn hasn’t missed a Final Four since 2007.

Alas, what Tennessee has to do now, though, is focus on trying to play as well as possible for the two games left in the regular season, the SEC tournament, and the NCAA tournament, which they still are projected to make.

Rachel B proves it wasn’t a fluke, going for 52  (and Kobe liked it) but, unfortunately, in a losing cause. Likely we won’t see her in the NCAA tournament… unless the Gophers can pull off the huge Big 10 Conference Championship upset.

It’s a tough year to be a Tar Heel fan…

Speaking of which, it’s been a tough year to be a Blue Devil fan…

Ouch. Butler upsets St. John’s, 62-58.

Double ouch. That was a disappointing Pac-12 season for Cal.

Squeak! Abilene Christian escaped Southeastern Louisiana (4-21, 3-11), 72-70.

In other news:


Salt Lake: Utah women’s basketball: Dani Rodriguez always willing to assist

A story leaps to mind for Cynthia Rodriguez of her daughter, Dani, finding $30 on the ground at a market near their Downey, Calif., home.

To a third-grader, that’s a fortune, so she kept the cash close. But the next day at the same market, a woman was begging for money.

Dani, in her youthful wisdom, gave her fortune away.

“I asked her why she gave the money to that woman, and she said, ‘I found it it, and I didn’t need it,’ ” Cynthia recalled of their conversation afterward. ” ‘She needed it more than I did.’ “

As a senior point guard, Danielle Rodriguez’s capacity to give to others is tallied up: She’s dished out 429 assists in her career, the fifth-most in school history. But many of her good works off the court are being brought to light as she’s one of 10 women’s basketball players named to the AllState WBCA Good Works Team, which highlights the community service of student-athletes.

Columbus: Ohio State seniors face final home game

The instant that Cait Craft cut to the basket on Thursday night in Value City Arena, Ameryst Alston delivered a bounce pass in traffic so seamlessly that the two Ohio State senior guards appeared connected by some second sense.

The assist and the layup became a sentence within a paragraph of a story four seasons in the writing, and explained why each would describe her feelings as “bittersweet” heading into the pair’s final home game with the Buckeyes today against Illinois.

“It went by so fast,” Alston said. “I tell the young ones, enjoy the moment because it goes by so fast.”

Norman: OU women’s basketball: Sherri Coale talks about the consistency problem

Tallahassee: Brothers’ deaths helped shape Florida State’s Adut Bulgak

Adut Bulgak has the name of her late brothers — Deng Atem and Bul Atem — on each shoe.

The 6-foot-4 center for No. 10 Florida State is one of the top seniors in women’s college basketball, averaging 13.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. She will graduate in May with a degree in sociology, likely be selected in the WNBA Draft and try out for a spot on the Canadian Olympic team.

For some, that much going on could be overwhelming, but not for the 23-year-old.

“I built a tougher mentality because I had some terrible things happen to me just like other people have,” she said.

Were you wondering What To Expect When USA Basketball Trains This Week In Storrs? How about Sights and Sounds from Day 1 of #USABWNT Training Camp

Or the 20th season of the W: Refreshed, stronger Diana Taurasi still at the peak of her profession

The shorthand way of describing why Diana Taurasi did not play the 2015 WNBA season for Phoenix was that she took off the summer to rest.

Except that’s not exactly what happened.

“I did three months of heavy working out in the summer, Monday through Friday, just weekends off,” Taurasi said Sunday at the first day of USA Basketball’s national team training camp. “I didn’t necessarily take any basketball time off. But I got to work on things I needed to work on, strength-wise, stability-wise.”

In other words, last summer wasn’t about just taking a breather and texting snarky comments to motivate Mercury teammate Brittney Griner (although she did both).

Good news: Being an athlete helps Chameka Scott, Tiffany Jackson-Jones in their battles with cancer


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Almost on the way home…

so one last game of spot the critter…


Pretty coral



Super shy


Black Lobster


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Still doin’ the SCUBA thang, but

keeping one eye on the goings on as we near the end of the regular season.

America East: Unless there’s a surprise upset, Albany and Maine will share the top spot in regular season play. It would be nice for them to face off for the Conference championship.

American: Yah, Connecticut… but the Owls are “workin’ overtime” and trying to make some noise about going to the Big Dance.

A-10: Duquesne, George Washington, St. Bonaventure and Saint Louis are all finding for the top spot. Much depends on Jones’ health… but the emergence of the Billikens is my top story.

ACC: My two Coach of the Year candidates (’cause it usually goes to a “big name program”) Muffet and Jeff are in the top two spots, with an inconsistent Florida State lurking behind.

A-10: Florida Gulf Coast rebuffed all comers so far… kinda looks like it’s the same old, same old.

Big 12: Baylor and Texas seem to be the consistent cream at the top. The more mature team ought to win.

Big East: DePaul’s had some head scratchers, but they’re still sittin’ pretty atop the Big East.

Big Sky: Montana State’s only conference loss is to the number two team: Eastern Washington. They won’t play again unless they meet in the conference tournament.

Big South: We’ve been tracking UNC-Asheville‘s rise. They’re in first place, having earned a “revenge” win over Liberty. Gardner-Webb looms next.

Big 10: Two teams that like to score, Ohio State and Maryland, are leading the conference. Doesn’t feel like other teams have the firepower to take either down.

Big West: UC Riverside’s conference record is unblemished so far. Let’s see if that holds through their rematch with Hawai’i on the 27th.

CAA: It seemed like there might be cracks in James Madison’s armor early on… but nope.

Conference USA: UTEP seems to have the regular season crown sewn up. Western Kentucky will have to face down the surprisingly resilient Blue Raiders if they want to hold on to the second seed in the conference tournament.

Horizon: Like the Dukes, Green Bay has repelled all challengers. Still thing Wright State is a team to keep an eye on.

Ivy: All eyes are on the 3/8 game in New Jersey when Princeton faces off against Penn.

MAAC: It’s a tight little clump at the top with Quinnipiac, Iona and Marist vying for supremacy.

Mid-American: Ohio and Central Michigan. The first time they met, it was a two-point win for the Bobcats. The next time? Maybe the conference tourney.

MEAC: It’s anyone’s title….

Missouri Valley: It’s anyone’s title.

Mountain West: Colorado State is 13-0 in the conference. They play the #2 team, Fresno State, March 1st.

Northeast: Bryant’s stumbles have opened the way for Sacred Heart. The two teams will meet on the 22nd.

Ohio Valley: The usual top dog, Tennessee-Martin, is number one, but SIU-Edwardsville is knocking on the door.

Pac-12: The pecking order in the 12 seems to have been set: Oregon State, Arizona State, UCLA.

Patriot: No surprise, it looks to be Bucknell v. Army for a tournament berth…. unless someone else gets feisty.

SEC: It’s South Carolina for the third year in a row. Will any of their offensively challenged conference-mates test them for the championship?

Southern: It’s a bit of a surprise to see Mercer in the top spot. They’ll face off against Chattanooga one more time... but I believe even a loss will keep the Teddy Bears as regular season champs.

Southland: Abilene Christian is still rollin’, but perennial conference power Central Arkansas is nippin’ at their heels.

SWAC: Three teams want it: Texas Southern, Alabama State and Southern.

Summit: It’s all about the (South) Dakotas.

Sun Belt: Arkansas State seems to have this well in hand.

West Coast: Sure, BYU is sittin’ pretty – but this is the WCC. Saint Mary’s, Santa Clara and San Diego all have a shot at the conference championship.

WAC: It looked like UT Rio Grande Valley was going to challenge New Mexico State for the conference title… but maybe not this year.

As for SCUBA, let’s play “Spot the Critter.”


This one’s easier…


This one is just tiny…


Fish sunning…


Big Trigger Fish


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Underwater break…


Black Grouper




Scrawled File Fish


Mountain Climbing Hawksbill Turtle


Hungry Hawksbill Turtle


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