The DOE complains about graduation rates in College Basketball

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This week US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan suggested that the NCAA should ban teams from the NCAA Tournament that do not maintain a minimum graduation rate for their players. WHAT?????

Don’t forget that this pinhead is the guy that was so effective as the CEO of the Chicago Public School System he was named to his current post by Obama. Forget the fact that the Chicago public schools are at the very bottom of the heap nationwide in graduation rates and standardized test scores. What it does rank at the top of the nation in is in-school violence, teen age pregnancy and dropouts. I guess he is just another “do as I say not as I do” guy in Washington.

But beyond the fact that the speaker is totally incompetent to say anything about graduation rates, there are other factors over which the NCAA and individual colleges have little or no control.

Prior to the NBA requiring that a player be 1 year out of school before applying for the NBA draft, those players (often between 20 and 40 a year) would go from high school directly into the pros. Now, those players go to college for 1 year and then on to the pros. They have little or no interest in college. It is a means to an end–to get a pro contract. We all know that the vast majority of these players will go to a basketball factory like Kentucky, Louisville, Kansas, etc. The result is that the best programs have the worst graduation rates. DAH!!!!

In college football 5 guys that leave early have very little impact. There are 80+ on the team. However, if you have 2 guys that leave early out of a basketball roster, statistically it has much more impact.

I do not believe that players should have to play 1 year in college before getting a chance to go pro. No one would complain about a brilliant chemist that leaves Podunk U for a multimillion dollar contract. Why put legal restraints on basketball players most of whom come from very poor backgrounds and are minority. I hope someone will challenge the rule.

Is a year of college bad for a kid? Not necessarily. In a single year, the far left professors can give a non-political kid enough liberal babble that it should last him for a lifetime. But the people that are looking for intelligent life on other planets should try to find some in Washington DC first. Based on what I have seen coming out of there lately, there is very little intelligence and no common sense.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio Monday afternoons at 1 Eastern. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: US Secretary of Education,Arne Duncan,ncaa basketball,minimum graduation rate,NBA,NBA Draft,NBA Prospect

The retired NFL players are pawns in the CBA negotiations.

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Media loves to turn everything that happens into a crisis and to point out victims of our free enterprise system. If there was an asteroid headed toward Earth the headline of the New York Times would read “Earth to end tomorrow. Women and children to suffer most.” Retired players have become a hot topic in the media because most NFL fans remember the men fondly that built the league to what it has become today. But in this case, there are real victims and they are the retired players.

The salaries have come up dramatically in just the last few years. Players that were active in the 60’s through the 90’s were paid next to nothing compared to the salaries today. In the 1960’s a star might get 10K a season. By the 80’s a star might get 75K per season. To give you a feel for how much salaries have increased in recent years, here is a statistical comparison. In 2000, the average of team’s median salaries was $497,782.26 for the 31 teams in the league. By 2009 that number was $909,235.72 for the 32 teams. In just 9 seasons the average team median salaries nearly doubled. It increased 83% in just 10 seasons!

The only reason that the fate of retired players is a topic of discussion now is the NFL and NFLPA trying to get public support during their negotiations. Both NFLPA Ex. Dir. DeMaurice Smith and NFL Commissioner Goodell are working hard to build public support for their organizations. Public support will be critical if the 2 sides can not come to an agreement because the Congress and the courts will undoubtedly become involved.

In response to an inquiry from the Congress Comm. Goodell sent a letter to Congresswoman Sanchez that said in part “I have said publicly that there will be no agreement without improvements for retired players. On the contrary, when the union last week informed us that it was willing to make a new deal under certain conditions, there was no mention by them of increased benefits for retirees. The union leadership was willing to make a deal without any improvements for retired players.”

Goodell added “In the meantime, I restate the commitment that I have made on numerous occasions – no matter what course collective bargaining takes in the near term, we will not reduce in any way the benefits paid to retired players, will continue to accept new retirees into our benefit programs, and will continue to look for ways to improve services to retirees while simultaneously negotiating a new agreement with the NFLPA.”

Don’t let this magnanimity fool you. The NFL is simply looking for a PR bump and consider all money that goes to active or retired players as part of the “player pool.” They are willing do anything that would reduce the risk of giving huge amounts of cash to players that have never played a down in the league.

The PR factor is critical going into negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFLPA. The league has some options that do not require the union’s agreement to continue football in 2011 and beyond. I will outline those on Monday on NFL News, Notes, and Rumors at But all those options require public support. They also require actions that will keep the NFL owners under the radar of the federal courts.

The union has a love-hate relationship with the retired players. When the retired players represented by Coach Ditka and others complain about the league not doing enough, the union agrees. However, the goals of those groups are not always similar.

In February 09, a federal court ordered the NFLPA to pay 28.1M into the retired player fund. The union filed an appeal. The suit concerned the retired players percentage of money from EA Sports games. In June of 09, the two sides settled for a 26.25M payment.

The problem between active and retired players is simple. The NFLPA represents the active players in negotiations with the owners for a new CBA. The active players are more concerned about maintaining their percentage of NFL revenue than about the retired players.

The retired players have been forced to take the crumbs from the tables of both the owners and players. The quality health care and concern for injury now are much better for the players than it was even 5 years ago. Retired players are suffering from injuries and physical deterioration due to years of having even major injuries ignored by the coaching and training staffs. The retired players were often forced to play with injuries because they would lose their jobs if they refused to go back on the field.

Hopefully, the new CBA will produce a fund that will better serve those that have build the game.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio Monday afternoons at 1 Eastern. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Football,Collective Barganing Agreement,CBA,DeMaurice Smith,Goodell,Congress,NFLPA,Ditka,,NFL Salaries
  • Author:
  • Published: Jan 21st, 2010
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on The NBA: First half season review

The NBA: First half season review

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Game of the week–LA 87 @ Cleveland 93

The Cavs trailed for 3 quarters but the 4th quarter is LeBron time. LeBron scored 37 with 12 in the last period to make the difference. Bryant had 31It was an outstanding game. Varejao adds so much energy and rebounding and that was critical in this game. He hit 2 free throws with 20 seconds to go after forcing a fowl going after a miss on a free throw by LeBron. This is the kind of game that the Cavs would have lost a couple of years ago. They have now swept the Lakers in their 2 games.

Top NBA teams are struggling with injuries.

The top teams from last year are all struggling with injuries.

Cleveland (33-11) leads the Eastern Conference but will not have G Mo Williams for up to a month. They traded for Shaq but Coach Brown has not figured out yet how to make a square peg fit into a round hole. He is not playing enough minutes to have the impact the Cavs expected. The Cavs need to find a way to stay in front of Boston and Orlando to keep the home floor advantage in the East. There are problems on both ends of the court. On O the team is depending too much on LeBron and the others are going to have to make up for the loss of the scoring of Williams. They will particularly miss Mo’s 3 pointers. The D has allowed twice as many 100 point games as they did last year at this point in the season.

Boston (27-13) has been playing without Garnett for too long. They hope to have him back this week. That is going to help them get back in the run for the top spot in the East. Boston has lost games they should have been able to win like recent losses to Detroit, Chicago and Dallas.

Atlanta (27-14) has crept up on the big three by winning most of the games they should be able to and pulling off a few upsets. But after a really nice win over Phoenix, they lost at home to Oklahoma City. Just like last year, their problem has been consistency of intensity.

Orlando (27-15) has had a tough January so far. They are only 3-6 since the first of the year. That included a couple of tough road trips and a costly loss at home to Toronto. Despite a win over Atlanta in that run, they fell behind the Hawks due to the losses on the road. Road trips tend to even out over the season. Orlando has more talent that the Hawks and should overtake them.

Charlotte (21-19) has been one of the hottest teams in January. They have gone 9-1 including wins at Cleveland and Miami. They have moved up to 5th place in the East. Their only loss was a bad game at New York. If the Bobcats can stay hot, they have a chance to move higher in the final rankings. Don’t bet on that though. Starting on the 25th they have a 6 game west coast road trip that will bring them back to reality.

Miami (21-20) went 3-3 in a January west coast trip and is 5-5 in January. They took a bad loss on Wednesday to the Bobcats 104-65. The team has been very inconsistent. They are also playing Wade 37 minutes a game which may be too much. They need his scoring as well as his assists.

Western Conference

Los Angles (32-10) has the best record in the league but the team has been up and down in intensity. Bryant has been playing hurt because the team isn’t close to the same without him. He looks healthy now and playing again at a high level. However, his accuracy on 3 point shots has suffered due to a finger injury. The Lakers have a 2 games in the loss column advantage over the Cavs going into the game last night between the two conference leaders. They are 7-3 in January but lost to the Clippers 102-91. Including last night, they are on a 7 game road trip to the east cost. That will be key to their ability to stay on top.

Dallas (28-14) is 5-3 so far in 2010. They had a nice win at Boston and are in a 5 game east road trip. They have to find a way to beat the Lakers. They have already lost to LA twice this month. Despite the team trying to build to beat LA, they don’t match up well. They have missed Howard. He has only played 21 game so far. He is critical to the team’s success.

Denver (27-14) is hot. They are 7-3 in 2010 including a nice win at home against the Cavs 99-97. The key is that the Nuggets are winning the close games which is something they had trouble doing last year. They have 10 players averaging 10 or more minutes a game. That helps. Billips is averaging 18.8 points per game. That helps too. He has been the best addition this team has had in a long time.

San Antonio (25-16) has gone 6-5 in 2010. They are currently 4th in the West but because they have so much talent and experience in the playoffs, they are always a threat to get to the finals. When you have a player the quality of Ginobili coming off the bench, you are really good. Despite the age of the roster the team has been pretty healthy this year. That could be trouble for the rest of the league in the playoffs.

Portland (26-17) has suffered the loss of C Oden. He was the first pick in the 07 draft but seems very brittle. His entire career is threatened by his injuries. Even so they have been one of the pleasant surprises in the league this year. They have gone 5-4 in January. Roy and Aldridge have picked up the slack. Roy is scoring 23 a game with 5 assists and Aldridge is pulling down over 8 rebounds a game. They are too inexperienced to know they shouldn’t be doing this well. That makes them dangerous.

Phoenix (25-18) has been a surprise. They failed to make the playoffs last year but are 1 win up in the standings for the 6th spot. There was a lot of trade talk involving Stoudemire last off season but he is back and playing well putting up 21 points a game. The key is that he has been able to play nearly 35 minutes a game. Nash, Richardson, Frye and Grant have all been contributing and have been healthy so far.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio Monday morning at 11. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NBA,NBA Playoffs,Cavilers,Celtics,Hawks,Magic,Bobcats,Heat,Lakers,Maverics,Nuggets,Spurs,Suns,Trail Blazers,LeBron James,Bryant

What did we learn from this week in college football?

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Goodbye Notre Dame? Not so fast my friend.

The fans are ready to move on to a new coach. It even looks like the team is ready for a new leader but neither of them matter. The only people that matter are in the administration of the school.

Far too often pinhead administrators want to prove to the fans who is the boss. The Ohio State Athletic Director was hearing demands for Coach John Cooper to be fired in part because he was beaten like a nail by hammer Michigan. Instead, he gave Cooper a significant extension. The following year both the AD and Cooper were history. But the Buckeyes still had to pay off the contract. It was the gift that keeps on giving.

Don’t bet the house that coach Weis is gone. ND doesn’t like paying ex-coaches. There is no question that the team needs a new direction and that needs to be more than just a change in the coaching staff.

The two previous ND coaches won 58% of their games. Prior to the loss Saturday, Weiss had a winning percentage of 58. That can not be a coincidence. Based on the Sporting News top 25 recruits ND has a commitment from 1 and shot at 3 others. That will help but not much. ND is not going to be a BcS candidate for the big game any time soon.

The problem is a fan base that has the expectation of a national championship run every year for a team that will at best be moderately reliant a couple of times a decade. There are other teams in the north that are now in the second tier of college powers. Unless Global Warming makes the deep south unbearable, colleges north of the Mason-Dixon line will be second class citizens for the foreseeable future.

Michigan not Rodriguez friendly. Rodriguez is not very Michigan friendly either.

Coach Rich Rodriguez has not made many friends at Michigan. He got off on the wrong foot by not committing the Blue history to memory. He further irritated Blue fans by turning his back on Michigan stars of the past. He also brought a new system that 2007 QB of the future Ryan Mallett wanted no part of. As a result, Mallett left the team for new digs in Arkansas.

If you are winning Big 10 titles and BcS bowl games you can get away with more than a little arrogance. When you struggling to win enough games to get an invitation to the Tidy Bowl in Michawalka Minnesota you had better be sucking up to the power brokers.

Rodriguez faced an extra challenge bringing his wide open O and 3-3-5 D to the ultra conservative Michigan program. He needed a run and shoot type QB similar to White that he had in WV. He also needed lighter more athletic O and D linemen. The cupboard was bare when he got there and there wasn’t any of the things that fit his system. But again due to arrogance, he refused to change his system and implemented it with what he had. When the Michigan HC is advertising for walk-ons it is not going to be a good year.

After a 3-9 result in 2008 a 5-7 2009 is not good enough. The fans are screaming for his firing. But for the fans there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that the AD has said that Rodriguez will be back next year. The good news is that the AD will not be around then because he is retiring.

I doubt that he will be fired this off season. But with a new AD coming in, it is not out of the question. He has tried to smooth things over with the key donors to the program but kissing up to contributors is not his style. He may last another year but will be gone for sure after that and may not be part of a trip to OSU next November.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: Notre Dame,NCAA Football,BCS,BCS CHAmpionship,BCS Bowl,Weis,Rodriguez,Michigan,Ohio State,Cooper

Niblets for September 2009

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Best comment of the month: The Browns lack of offense rests primarily on a defective O line.


So Will,let me get this straight once again Cleveland sports fans have coaches/gm’s, scouts, that can’t scout and review talent? WHAT is it going to take to get more then one sports team to play well in this city? The 90’s we finally had a good baseball team. The Browns had one playoff game with a not so great team. Now the Cavs are the talk of the NBA,( For being good not for having the league stop them from making trades because they were making a mockery of the league..good ole Ted Stepien),anyway back to the Browns and the Indians two “PRO “teams that can’t seem to be a good judge of talent to save themselves or the sanity of Cleveland sports teams.

Thankfully the Cavs start playing soon…C’Mon LBJ AND SHAQ!

P.S. Keep guns away from the rest of the team…for more info look up Delonte West. Thankfully we have Mo and other guards.

One of the things I have never been able to figure out is why a new regime insists on cutting every player they did not pick. The Browns who are desperate for TE help just cut the Browns 2nd pick in the 08 draft Martin Rucker (4th round pick 111). He was a great prospect that never got a chance. I would bet that if he had played for Mangenous at NY, he would be a starter. I will have more on this issue below.

Updates on previous columns:

What does the Williams’ case mean for the NFL’s drug policy?

Not only the NFL is concerned about the ruling by the federal court. Both the NBA and MLB are studying the impact on their drug programs. In addition look for Congress to become involved again should another case invalidate the drug policy of baseball.

Another issue is the concept of a league and the union agreeing to the ability to suspend players for other issues. DeMaurice Smith, Ex. Dir. of the NFLPA, said again last week that he wants to include the issue of discipline in the negotiations for the Collective Bargaining Agreement. He has said he wants an independent arbiter to decide those issues.

What to look for this weekend (yesterday)

Florida has several players including QB Tebow that have been sick this week. Don’t expect that to have much to do with the game. They still should win easily.

The Jets have some explaining to do.

Mangini was fined a reported $25K for not reporting the Favre injury. The team was also fined.

Niblets fresh from the cob:

The 49ers still have not signed their #1 choice WR Crabtree (Texas Tech).

They have started to take money off the table equal to 2 of the game checks that would have been earned. The reality is that Crabtree is hurting himself more than the team. If he goes back into the draft, he will be at best a 2nd round pick because teams will not want to risk using a 1st round pick on a head case. He has branded himself that due to his stupidity.

The Browns are exposed as the fraud they are.

Mangini stuck with St. Clair at RT and no one by yours truly seemed to have a problem with it until last week. Now everybody has seen “the statue” watch DEs and OBs go around him like a traffic circle on their way to the QB. I feel sorry for both Quinn and the D because they are not getting any help from the O.

Mangini could have had a couple of NFL starters as UFAs but chose to go with his guys. I hope that Quinn has his health insurance paid up. He’s going to need it.

I called SEIU to ask them to unionize the Big 10 football officials.

I was hoping that they would go on strike so we could get some guys that know the rules and aren’t 100 years old and 50 lbs overweight. The Big 10 officials are the worst in college football. I told a semi-pro official once that if he moved the ball again before he took the 1st down measurement, … you will have to wait for the rest of the Almost Pro to see what happened.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL Football,NFL Draft,Florida,Tebow,Williams,court case,NFLPA,Collective bargaining agreement,DeMaurice Smith,Mangini,Browns,Jets,Favre,SEIU,Big 10,Crabtree,49ers,UFA
  • Author:
  • Published: Aug 29th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Niblets for August 2009

Niblets for August 2009

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Best comment of the month: on Tuesday morning QB. Analysis: Sanchez has all the tools except experience in the NFL

from Crime Scene Cleanup

I am very interested to see where Sanchez is in 5 years. Looks like he is a great guy, but I’m still not sold on him being a franchise QB or anywhere close to it…Time will tell

Crime: That is the beauty of Pro Football, time will definitely tell.

Updates on previous articles:

The Bengals will go as far as their O takes them. Carson Palmer is hurt already with a high ankle sprain. The team says that he will be fine for game 1. Don’t believe it. The dreaded HAS is the kind of injury that will linger all year.

Major League Baseball gets “BALCOed” right between the eyes The Federal court has ordered that the samples and test results be destroyed. Now that is a decision that would have meant a lot more to MLB 3 years ago!

Bronco Owner Bowlen shoots his team in the leg. Now the 2nd best player on the team, WR Brandon Marshall, has been suspended until Sept. 6th. He is not happy and wants to be traded like QB Jay Cutler. The QB that they got for pro bowl Cutler looks like a gun shy rookie and the Bears are coming to Denver to play. Nice job Bowlen. Stay away from Marshall as a top 4 rounds list in your Fantasy Draft. WR Eddie Royal’s value is now higher.

Dallas needs a new head coach to get to the next level WR Roy Williams was hurt on Thursday when he collided with a DB in a no pads half speed practice. X rays were negative on his shoulder. Nice job Coach Phillips. The yellow pages to find a Realtor are holding up the leg of your desk.

Tampa Bay—Pick a quarterback; any quarterback Friday night the Bucs announced that Byron Leftwich would be the starter game 1. In my opinion this is the right pick but Tampa is a long way from being competitive. Stay tuned because this is likely to change any time.

Fresh pickings off the cob:

The next challenge for the America’s Cup is to be held in the Persian Gulf (???) All kinds of law suits are grinding through the courts. Was the water off Somalia not available? How stupid can they be to put yachts in the middle of the Gulf wars? Hopefully the yachts won’t get run over by an aircraft carrier or Iranian war ship.

Jerry Jones and his JumboTron vs. the NFL The NFL has backed off of forcing JJ to move the world’s largest HDTV. The only thing bigger than the Tron is Jerry’s ego. Jer, next time hire an engineer.

What do preseason games mean? Not much except PS Week 3. We will take a long look at week 3 results of the 1s vs 1s and what those games mean after we finish the NFC West.

Two 1st round picks are not yet signed. Guess who? Andre Smith (OT Alabama) has yet to sign with the Bengals. Nothing surprising here because Mike Brown (the cheapskate of the league) always struggles to sign early picks. The other is WR Michael Crabtree (Texas Tech) is the other with the 49ers. Crabtree believes he was the best WR in the draft but the Raiders didn’t think so and drafted Darrius Heyward-Bey before Crabtree. Don’t look for either to be a factor this year. The critical aspect of the preseason and training camp is to get the O line working together as a unit. Smith will be too far behind. Besides, Smith was not known for his work ethic. He was the one that walked out of the Combine because he wasn’t ready despite knowing when it would be held for 2 years. He isn’t a bust yet but might already be a “bu.”

Crabtree faces 4 problems. First, it usually takes WRs 2 or 3 seasons to blossom. Second, very seldom is a college junior at all successful in their rookie season. Third WRs coming from the run and shoot type O like the one at TT struggle more than those from a more pro style program. And 4th, he has really pissed head coach Mike Singletary off and that is not likely to get him on the field any time soon.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: MLB,NFL,NFL Draft,Fantasy Football
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