January 16, 2013, 3:25 pm
Grapevine, Tex. — “Before we get started, I’d like to confess something,” said Shaquille O’Neal, the former NBA star and global icon.
“See, this makes me very nervous,” said Mark Emmert, the NCAA’s president. “Please don’t say it has anything to do with eligibility.”
The two met years ago, when Mr. Emmert was chancellor of Louisiana State University and Mr. O’Neal returned to Baton Rouge to complete his undergraduate degree. Since then, Mr. O’Neal has completed an M.B.A. at the University of Phoenix and a doctorate in education at Barry University, in Florida.
On Wednesday, Mr. O’Neal shared a few secrets from his college playing days with Mr. Emmert in front of a couple of thousand attendees on the opening day of the NCAA’s annual convention here. Their 35-minute conversation did not disappoint.
Mr. O’Neal recalled spending his first $1-million paycheck in about 30 minutes…
December 3, 2012, 4:56 am
If you’ve watched any major-college football or basketball games this year, you’ve probably seen the NCAA commercial touting the success of Division I black male athletes, who graduate at higher rates than African-American students over all.
In fact, more than 70 percent of big-time football and basketball players completed their degrees within six years of enrolling, according to the NCAA’s latest Graduation Success Rates.
But barely 50 percent of black male athletes in the six most powerful conferences graduate in that time, according to a newly released analysis of federal graduation-rate data by the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania.
The situation is even more bleak at certain Bowl Championship Series programs. Fewer than one in three black male athletes at Iowa State, South Florida, Arizona, and Arkansas graduate in six…
September 10, 2012, 1:01 pm
“I want to believe in somebody who doesn’t run from his mistakes,” writes Tommy Tomlinson, referring to Tyrann Mathieu, the LSU football star who was kicked off the team last month after reportedly failing multiple drug tests.
Mathieu—known as the Honey Badger, for his furious, headlong style of play—returned to the campus this month as a normal student, resisting the temptation to transfer and suit up elsewhere.
After he was dismissed from the Tigers’ team, he completed a drug-rehabilitation program, then returned to Baton Rouge for the fall semester. ”I’m just focusing on academics right now and really myself,” Mathieu told The Daily Reveille, LSU’s student paper. “I’m not worried too much about football.”
In his Sports on Earth column, Tomlinson gives Mathieu props for trying to make something positive out of his negative situation:
Mathieu has drawn up his own play….
April 25, 2012, 5:00 am
As college football’s power brokers meet this week to consider the fate of the Bowl Championship Series, new evidence of extravagant revenues in the biggest bowls could help squeeze those bowls out of the most lucrative part of future postseason play.
According to a Yahoo! Sports report, the Sugar Bowl charged LSU more than $500,000 for ticket requests to this season’s national championship game. Game officials demanded $350 a seat from everyone from the president ($700 for two tickets) to players’ family members ($254,800) to every member of the band ($182,830 for 529 seats, including one just to hold the tuba).
It’s all part of what Yahoo! describes as a “cutthroat capitalism that has made these games and the people that run them rich.” And as athletic directors and conference commissioners decide what role bowls should play in a reconfigured postseason, there appears to be an in…