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Report Describes Increase in Female Athletes but Lack of Female Coaches

More women than ever before played NCAA sports this year, but high-profile coaching jobs for women continued to decline, a new report has found.

Opportunities for female head coaches in women’s basketball, the most prominent women’s sport, dropped sharply from 2012 to 2014. This year, just 75 big-time programs—or 60 percent—had a female head coach. Two years ago, 84 programs did, according to the report, “Women in Intercollegiate Sport: A Longitudinal National Study.”

“Even tiny movement makes…

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Want to Play in an NFL Stadium? That’ll Be $12-Million, Please.

Temple University has had a hard-enough time making a name for itself in football. Now the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles—whose field the Owls use—want to nearly double the university’s rent and charge it $12-million upfront as part of a new contract proposal.

Lincoln Financial Field, which seats nearly 70,000, is arguably not the best fit anyway for a program that went 2-10 last season and has a history of attendance problems. Even its marquee matchups this past season—like those against Louisvill…

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A Nervous Daughter Roots for Her Dad, the Coach

Arlington, Tex. — Of the more than 79,000 fans here tonight for the national-championship men’s basketball game, one appeared unusually nervous. She was bouncing up and down near a sushi stand on the lower level of A&T Stadium, looking like a misplaced Cameron Crazy, but without the face paint.

As the final minutes ticked away in the first half of the Kentucky-Connecticut game, I stood beside her eating my sushi while she was cheering for the Wildcats.

After the half ended, I asked her if she wa…

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A Concession Stand for Scholarships

Arlington, Tex. — The best-looking nachos at the Final Four are the Slam Dunk Vegetarian Nachos, one of several tasty creations of Orazio LaManna, the executive chef here at AT&T Stadium.

But the most popular nachos are the Ultimate Nachos, a $9 heap of jalapeños, melted cheese, and soupy nacho sauce that should not be consumed by one person (especially if you’re getting on an airplane tomorrow).

Fans here were expected to purchase 50 tons of Ultimate Nachos over the two-day event—and college…

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The Men Behind the Stripes

Arlington, Tex. — Of the thousands of referees to call games during the college-basketball season, only 100 get the chance to work the NCAA tournament. Of those, just 10 make it to the Final Four.

Among this year’s tournament officials are police officers and school administrators and retired members of the military. At least one owns a roofing company.

The most common occupation? “Let me tell you,” says Jamie Zaninovich, commissioner of the West Coast Conference and a member of the NCAA’s men…

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NCAA President Criticizes Players’ Movement

Arlington, Tex. — A powerful group of college leaders lined up here on Sunday to counter the perception that their institutions are not doing enough to look out for big-time athletes.

On a stage shared by star players at this year’s Final Four, the group touted the many benefits for scholarship athletes and said a recent unionization effort by Northwestern University football players had no place in big-time college sports.

“The notion of using a union-employee model to address the challenges …

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The Incomparable Bill Raftery

Raftery.photoArlington, Tex. — When I think of college basketball, I think of Bill Raftery, the excitable CBS analyst whose voice has brought the NCAA tournament to life for more than 20 seasons.

During a TV timeout late Saturday night, I tapped him on the shoulder as I walked by press row, hoping to tell him how much I appreciate his work.

“We’re on the air,” he whispered, smiling.

I looked down in his hand, where he was holding a laminated page of notes.

His smooth, entertaining delivery is what most peopl…

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A Tale of Two Seats

Arlington, Tex. — Steve and Tammy Beasley are sitting in the second row here tonight, a few steps away from where their beloved Kentucky Wildcats are playing.

Robert and Ann Fondren are in the top row of the stadium, about a football field away.

Both couples flew in for the event. The Beasleys came from Louisiana, the Fondrens from Virginia.

Steve and Tammy Beasley, in the second row.

Steve and Tammy won their tickets because Steve’s Nissan dealership sold a whole bunch of cars. Their tickets …

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‘Just Another Day in the Suit’

Nick as Jonathan, the UConn mascot.

Arlington, Tex. — There are four UConn Husky mascots, all named Jonathan, and two of them are in service this weekend, as the university’s men’s and women’s teams are both in the Final Four.

The guy wearing the suit here is named Nick, a junior at the university, and he has no idea why the dog’s named Jonathan. (Apparently it has something to do with George Washington.)

Last year Nike redesigned the UConn logo, changing it from a solid white Husky to a sort of…

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What Kind of Students Are One-and-Done Players?

Arlington, Tex. — Every year around this time, a handful of elite freshmen declare their eligibility for the NBA draft. Kentucky, which started five freshmen in its national semifinal game on Saturday against Wisconsin, could have four or five players leave early.

Over the past eight seasons, Kentucky has had 13 “one-and-done” players—more than twice as many as any other program, according to The Washington Post. The team has taken its share of criticism for the tally over the years, with many p…