Morning Five: 01.10.14 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on January 10th, 2014

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  1. With the decision by Colorado and Washington to legalize the use of marijuana the debate around drug testing student-athletes particularly for non-performance-enhancing drugs has come under increasing scrutiny. Troy appears to be going in the other direction, but not as the result of legal issues. The school has announced that it plans on drug testing all of its athletes in the next 30 days following the deaths of four students during the holiday break. We do not know the full details behind the deaths of these four individuals, but based on what we have read it does not seem like drug testing is the answer to what happened at the school. It will be interesting to see how the school handles these drug tests going forward as they say that a student’s first positive test will result in notification of a parent or guardian. Since nearly all college athletes are adults in the eyes of the law we are not sure how this will go over and also do not know how the NCAA will deal with these results.
  2. With the FBI reportedly investigating three UTEP basketball players for gambling, it seems like the ideal time for an update on Varez Ward, the former Auburn player accused of point-shaving. Ward, who was accused of trying to fix a February 2012 game against Arkansas, is awaiting a decision from prosecutors about whether they will let him enter a pre-trial diversion program (basically he would have to follow some predefined rules for a period of time then the charges would be dismissed). Now he will have to wait a little longer as prosecutors have asked for more time to decide whether to let him enter such a program although a decision could come as early as next week. Ward’s trial is scheduled to begin on February 10 so he has a month to come to an agreement before this goes to trial.
  3. It appears that the college basketball version of keeping up with the Joneses is keeping up with Calipari as Kansas announced that it plans on spending $17.5 million on housing for the men’s and women’s basketball teams as well as 34 lucky non-student-athletes. That figure more than doubles the figures that we have seen thrown around for Kentucky’s famed Wildcat Coal Lodge. The 34 non-student-athletes are basically being let in to comply with NCAA rules that any type of housing can be allowed as long as it is also available to non-student-athletes as well. We would be curious as to who these 34 individuals are (probably legacies or children of big donors). For comparison, Kansas is also building two other new residence halls for other students at an expected cost of $47.8 million, but at a cost of $68,000 per student compared to $265,000 per student for the basketball housing.
  4. One of the things that we love about college sports is the atmosphere. Whether it is the students or the bands, college games have an atmosphere that few professional arenas can come close to. It is also one of the reasons why we are so opposed to neutral-site games. Schools occasionally bring along the bands and a handful of diehard fans, but in some cases they have to improve. In the case of Duke they turn to a volunteer band to fill in at times. This is hardly unique to Duke as several other schools resort to similar methods, but it is something to watch for the next time the cameras pan to the band and you see somebody who looks like he or she is too old to be in college.
  5. One of the interesting areas of college sports that generally gets overlooked is the politics of shoe contracts. One of the best examples of this is Notre Dame, which made the surprising move of switching from adidas to Under Armour at the end of this season. Whatever you think of their basketball program, the Irish are one of the biggest name brands in college sports, but it appears that adidas may have ruffled some feathers in South Bend with their decision to reportedly offer Michigan more money than Notre Dame. Regardless of the politics, it is a huge coup for Under Armour as Notre Dame is by far the biggest program that they have landed.
nvr1983 (1305 Posts)


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