Because the boundaries between fact, opinion and rumor have become so porous that nobody noticed rumor crossing the border with a fake passport?

The ESPN Ombudsman on the over-emphasis of opinion in sports media today. Nice metaphor.

That’s where the line is—the line between the grammar of speculation and the grammar of implied fact—and he crossed it.

Another well-articulated point on the power of precise language.

The NCAA should publish football and basketball graduation rates adjusted to eliminate those people who left early for the draft and have played at least two or three years in the NBA or NFL, as well as overall rates. Graduation rates should be about how well the college serves the student, and the fact is, to develop an athlete who joins the sports elite and makes lot of money is a very good service to someone who enrolled in college.

Without publishing these rates, there’s a big hole people can use to discredit the numbers, and coaches can easily misrepresent their programs as “successful” in the way that means most to recruits. But you know what might encourage the higher profile athletes to stay and get their degrees? Knowing exactly how many people leave early and don’t hit the bigtime. Get those numbers out in public.

University Diaries takes on a big question–what makes a university a university? why can a student major in dance but not football?

Universities are overwhelmingly about reflection, not action.

The scholarly outcome of that reflection should, like all scholarship, promote the public’s interest in understanding the nature of the world.

I found the whole NBA referees have unconscious racial bias! thing totally uninteresting until Dan Shanoff’s blog alerted me to a fascinating aspect:

Mr. Wolfers said that he and Mr. Price classified each N.B.A. player and referee as either black or not black by assessing photographs and speaking with an anonymous former referee, and then using that information to predict how an official would view the player. About a dozen players could reasonably be placed in either category, but Mr. Wolfers said the classification of those players did not materially change the study’s findings.

Oddly enough, I think this might be one moment when “race” does actually correlate fairly clearly to skin color. I would imagine (from a point of complete ignorance) that a referee, acting quickly and immediately, has little time to consciously identify a player before blowing the whistle. It would be the color of the limbs doing the action that plays the key role here, I expect.

For some reason, this strikes me as hilarious:

Howard missed the last two games of January to attend the birth of a child that later proved, he says, not to be his.

Interview with Josh Howard at TrueHoop. It’s worth reading. Another salient quotation:

At Wake Forest, they always try to put athletes in sociology and communications because they are not hard.

(Howard majored in religion. And graduated.)

Some one at a message board I’m on posted a link to this article, about the military trying to develop an “enhanced” or “augmented” human. I’m a little worried we are already coming close:

Watching the NCAA basketball tournament the last few weeks:

Daniel Hackett of USC—father played college basketball and then in Italy.
Darren Collinson of UCLA—both parents were Olympic track and field athletes for Guyana.
Bryce Taylor of Oregon—father played at Princeton (okay, I’m not so sure playing at Princeton a generation ago qualifies as supremely athletic)

At Florida:
Al Horford—son of Tito Horford, 2nd round NBA draft pick in 1988
Taurean Green—son of Sidney Green, played college basketball for UNLV
Joakim Noah—son of Yannick Noah, won French Open at some point

and, of course:
Lee Humphrey—son of a middle school teacher (I find that contrast hilarious)

A google search for “athletic super caste” turned up some interesting links (and some scary white supremacist links):

Theodore Roosevelt against the professionalization of sports.

Ann Althouse has some interesting commenters.

A real article about the title.

I went to a football game between two big state schools once. Loved it. Great time. Yelled my head off. I absolutely began to understand why there are people who spend tons of money and all their vacation days following their college football team.

I also began to understand pogroms and lynch mobs.

There are over 380 thousand student-athletes in the NCAA
and just about all of them will be going pro
in something other than sports

…except for the 10 you are watching on the screen right now.

If you are a college basketball player with the skills to play in the NBA right now, go. Leave college, take the money, and protect yourself. And yes, this is a professor speaking.

Antoine Wright: “To be honest with you, I think I had more of an education in high school.”

Greg Oden said (in a Sports Illustrated story a while back that I can’t find online) that he entered Ohio State all gung-ho for college. Signed up for four classes, working towards a finance major. The academic “support” sector of the athletic department, however, suggested he scale back, to two classes.

These students aren’t learning. Go. Take the money. Set aside enough that you can go back, when your career is over, and actually get some value out of a college education. But there’s just no point in spending longer in a major college basketball program than you have to in order to develop your court skills.

It’s nice to be Big Man on Campus, I’m sure. I’m guessing that’s part of what drew Joakim Noah back to Florida. But down the line, those years of being pampered, petted, and spoiled will ruin you. A rookie in a club of professionals is going to grow up a hell of a lot faster, be a hell of a lot richer, a lot smarter, and in the end, much better educated.

Soccer: where a draw can be a triumph.  Well beyond a moral victory, even.

5 Good Boys, by Leo Rutman. Actually, I read this when I was a child, and I’m scared to re-read it in case it disappoints me. Only available used, which isn’t the best sign. But I think this book is responsible for me liking basketball.

It’s either this book, or tagging after my popular big sister when she dated the basketball player in high school. I watched an entire season of a team I had no real connection to, plus summer league for a community college. When I look back now, I wonder whether my sister was as much of a social butterfly as she seemed, if the only person she could get to accompany her was her nerdy little sister. On the other hand, she was probably doing me a favor. I sure didn’t have anything better to do.

…the ads you see when watching the NBA. I mean, people were talking about the “Man Law” ads, but I hadn’t seen any. Watching the playoffs? I’ve now seen six different ones. And apparently the NBA demographic is also the same group planning to go see The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Sometimes I feel like I must be watching the wrong shows.

However, “Man Law” beats the overactive bladder ads from when I used to watch JAG with my roommate.

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