Category Archives: Athletics

The business of college sports.


In O’Bannon Case, Appeals Court Says NCAA Rules Violate Antitrust Laws

[Updated (9/30/2015, 12:04 p.m.) with more detail and analysis of the ruling.]

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Wednesday upheld the main thrust of a judge’s landmark decision last year declaring that NCAA rules violate federal antitrust law by restricting players’ ability to trade on their images. The decision also struck down part of  last year’s ruling, by Judge Claudia Wilken of the U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif., which would have allowed foot…


NCAA Finds Academic Fraud in Southern Methodist U.’s Basketball Program

[Last updated (9/29/2015, 4:28 p.m.) with details from the university's statement.]

Southern Methodist University’s basketball program committed academic fraud, according to the results of an NCAA investigation announced on Tuesday.

According to the association, a former assistant men’s basketball coach told a prospective player to enroll in an online high-school course, at which point a former administrative assistant in the program logged in with the prospect’s credentials to complete all of t…


To Block New Nickname for U. of North Dakota, Former Mayor Tries Trademark Tactic

A former mayor of Bismarck, N.D., wants the University of North Dakota to keep its nickname.

The university, formerly known as the “Fighting Sioux,” came up with a list of replacement nicknames over the summer. The ex-mayor, Marlan (Hawk) Haakenson, is trying to block the change by trademarking the replacement options himself, The Bismarck Tribune reports.

The university officially retired the old nickname back in 2012, under pressure from the NCAA, which viewed it as offensive to Native America…


Rutgers Football Coach Tried to Get a Player’s Grade Changed. He Got Caught.

Rutgers University’s embattled football coach, Kyle J. Flood, will be suspended three games and fined $50,000, the university’s president, Robert L. Barchi, announced on Wednesday.

The basis for that punishment? The results of a long-awaited investigative report into Mr. Flood’s contact with a professor about a player’s academic standing. So stupefying is much of the report that it might as well bear the subtitle “All the Impulses a College Coach Might Have but Should Never Act On.”

Here are thr…


5 Rutgers Football Players Are Charged With Assault as Coach Is Investigated

Controversy continues to build at Rutgers University, where five players on the football team were charged on Thursday with assault. The Star-Ledger reports that one of the students charged, the cornerback Nadir Barnwell, is also at the center of turmoil surrounding the coach, Kyle Flood, who reportedly contacted a professor about Mr. Barnwell’s grades in defiance of members of the academic-support staff.

The New Jersey university is investigating the claims against Mr. Flood, who said before th…


U. of Illinois Football Coach Is Fired Over Allegations He Mistreated Players

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s head football coach has been fired after an investigation found he encouraged injured players to stay in the game. According to a statement issued by the university, external reviewers found Tim Beckman had made “efforts to deter injury reporting and influence medical decisions that pressured players to avoid or postpone medical treatment and continue playing despite injuries.”

“The preliminary information external reviewers shared with me does no…


Are College Football Coaches About to Start Fining Players?

Earlier this year, the NCAA voted to allow colleges in the five biggest athletic conferences to increase athletes’ scholarship money so that it would cover the total cost of attendance — not just tuition, fees, room and board, and books.

In the ensuing months, colleges have moved to define exactly how much extra they’ll begin offering players, with some deciding to spring for more than $4,000 extra per athlete.

But for some athletes, that money might come with strings attached.

The defensive coo…


Auburn Reversed Course on Cutting a Major Favored by Athletes

Auburn University was on the verge of scuttling a low-enrollment, unpopular academic major in 2013, but changed course after the athletics department weighed in, The Wall Street Journal reports.

According to documents and emails reviewed by the newspaper, the provost had recommended suspending the program, called public administration, in 2012. The political-science faculty, which oversaw the program, agreed that it contributed little to the academic mission of the university and voted 13-to-0 t…


Investigation Skewers Baylor U.’s Handling of Rape Case Involving Football Player

(Last updated 8/23/2015, 10:30 p.m., with sentencing information.)

An investigative report by the magazine Texas Monthly raises troubling questions about Baylor University’s handling of a sexual-assault case involving a football player. According to the article, although Baylor knew Sam Ukwuachu, a defensive end, had been indicted on charges of raping a Baylor soccer player, the only public word it issued was that he was expected to return to the team this fall.

Mr. Ukwuachu was convicted on Thu…


Colleges Paying Out Millions More to Players in Response to NCAA Rule Change

The biggest sports programs in the country will be paying their players millions of dollars more this year in response to a rule change allowing athletic scholarships at major-conference colleges to cover the full cost of attendance. As part of an analysis of 92 Division I colleges, USA Today reports that Auburn University will increase its spending, in the aggregate, the most — by $2.1 million total.

A Chronicle analysis of the 65 wealthiest NCAA institutions showed in April that at least 15 pr…