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Entries in NCAA (8)

Sunday
Sep302012

Washington State Wants Schools to Ban Native American Mascots

ABC News(OLYMPIA, Wash.) -- If the Washington State Board of Education has its way, high schools across the state will no longer count Warriors, Braves, and Redskins among their mascots.

The state board passed a resolution last Wednesday encouraging districts to stop using Native American mascots, according to ABC affiliate KOMO-TV, in Seattle.

The resolution, which is similar to a resolution passed by the board in 1993, cites research conducted by Dr. Stephanie Fryberg, a member of Tulalip Tribes in Washington State and an associate professor of Social and Cultural Psychology at the University of Arizona.

Fryberg and the American Psychological Association presented their research on the psychological consequences of using Native American mascots before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in May, 2011. Other findings include an increased achievement gap between Native American and other students and negative effects on race relations in the United States.

In the past decade, 10 Washington State high schools gave up their Indian-named mascots, including Eatonville Middle School, which went from the Warriors to the Eagles, and Eisenhower Middle School in Everett, which went from the Warriors to the Patriots.

But 50 more, including some tribal schools, haven’t given up their nicknames. And despite the resolution, the board doesn’t have the authority to require schools to comply with the change, board spokesman Aaron Wyatt told KOMO. However, he added, there will be no adverse consequences for schools that don’t voluntarily choose a new mascot.

The Native American mascot controversy — that is, whether to ban the names from school sports teams — has been hotly debated for decades.

In February, 2006, the National Collegiate Athletic Association began banning 18 colleges and universities that had Native American logos, mascots and nicknames from hosting post-season competitions.  Fourteen schools ended up removing all references to Native American culture. But other schools — among them Florida State University Seminoles, the University of Utah Utes, and Central Michigan University Chippewas — were allowed to continue using their nicknames because Native American groups endorsed them, ESPN reported.

The University of North Dakota, home of the Fighting Sioux, wanted to continue using its moniker and had received permission from the nearby Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe. But the neighboring Standing Rock Sioux Tribe never voted on the matter, and the NCAA insisted the school remove its mascots and logos.

The school refused, and the NCAA then banned UND from hosting post-season tournaments. A committee of tribal members brought on a federal lawsuit trying to save the moniker, but the suit was thrown out in May.

In early 2011, the North Dakota Legislature passed a bill requiring UND to use the Fighting Sioux nickname and Indian head logo.  But in June, North Dakota voters chose to dump it altogether.

Under a new agreement between the NCAA and the state’s attorney general, thousands of logos depicting an American Indian warrior will be allowed to stay in the school’s hockey and basketball arenas, although six signs saying “Home of the Fighting Sioux” must be removed.

In May, the Oregon State Board of Education voted to ban Native American mascots, nicknames and logos from eight of its high schools. The schools have five years to comply, or they will risk losing their state funding.

Other Washington communities have had vicious battles over removing the mascots. For example, in 1997, The Colville Indians  asked the Colville High School Indians  to use another name, but the school refused, saying the mascot was part of its legacy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul302012

Penn State May Loan Athletic Department Money to Pay Off NCAA Fines

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) -- Penn State University is considering a loan to its athletic department in an effort to pay the $60 million fine imposed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association for its role in ignoring past sexual abuse of young boys, according to Penn State President Rodney Erickson.

“And in all likelihood the university will have to extend the athletic department a long-term loan that they can pay back as they get on their feet, and as we adjust their budget going forward in the football program,” Erickson said Sunday on CBS’s Face the Nation.

He also said that the university would dip into the athletic department’s reserve fund along with a long term loan from the school itself.

In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, which has sent shockwaves through the State College, Pa., community over the past eight months, the NCAA hit the university with the unprecedented $60 million fine and capped scholarships for players.

The massive fine and harsh sanctions come in the aftermath of a damning report issued by former FBI director Louis Freeh, which harshly criticized the university and longtime football Coach Joe Paterno for failing to take action in the sex abuse case of Sandusky, his former assistant coach.

The university president promised the fines will be paid from athletic reserve funds.  Penn State makes $60 million on football alone every season.  The fines will not affect the education of the other 80,000 non-football playing students, Erickson said.

In addition to the fines, the university will likely face multiple lawsuits from abuse victims.  Erickson said Penn State is properly insured for liability but is not looking for a long drawn-out fight in court.

“We hope to be able to settle as many of these cases as quickly as possible.  We don’t want to, if at all possible, drag victims through another round of court cases and litigation,” he said.

Penn State faces significant financial challenges in the years to come.  The university already has about $1 billion in debt and risks a downgrade to its creditworthiness, according to a report put out by Moody’s Analytic last year.

Unrelated to the university’s money problem, Erickson also issued an on-screen apology for the school for the first time.

“We’re deeply sorry and sad, regretful that this happened at our university.  We want to do the right thing.  We want to help them in their healing process,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul262012

Thirty Penn State Football Players Staying Nittany Lions

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) -- Even with the football program seemingly crashing around them, a group of 30 Penn State University players said on Wednesday that they're not going anywhere.

Earlier this week, the NCCA imposed stiff penalties against the program in response to officials covering up the crimes of convicted sex offender Jerry Sandusky, once the late Joe Paterno's trusted defensive coordinator.

Knowing how the punishment might affect current players, the NCCA gave them the option to immediately transfer out of Penn State so they could play football for another school this fall.

However, fifth-year senior linebacker Michael Mauti issued a statement on behalf of himself and other players, saying they would remain at Penn State, using it "this as an opportunity to build our own legacy."

In a dramatic pronouncement of their loyalty to the university, Mauti said, "This program was not built by one man, and this program sure as hell is not going to get torn down by one man," a reference pehaps to Paterno and Sandusky.

He went on to say, "No sanction, no politician is ever going to take away what we’ve got here. None of that is ever going to tear us apart. Right now, all we can do, we can put our heads down and we’re just going to work."

On Tuesday, Matt McGloin, a fifth-year senior quarterback, declared, "Even though these penalties are extremely harsh, I am a Nittany Lion and will remain one."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul242012

Penn State Sanctions: Outrage Grows Over Vacated Victories

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) -- Outrage over the sanctions against Penn State's football program is high with some fans of the Nittany Lions football team, mostly stemming from the National Collegiate Athletic Association's decision to vacate 112 of the team's wins over the past 14 years.

In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, which has sent shockwaves through the State College, Pa., community over the past eight months, the NCAA hit the university with a $60 million fine and capped scholarships for players.  While the legacy of once-beloved former coach Joe Paterno has been tarnished after he was accused of participating in the sex abuse cover-up, the stripping of the team's wins stings the most for fans.

"People are thrown under the bus, institutions are thrown under the bus everyday for the bottom line.  This is no different," Penn State alum Eric Bernier told ABC News.

Every hard-fought victory earned since 1998 by the Nittany Lions, who were coached by Paterno for a total of 45 years, has now been removed -- just like the statue of Paterno on the university's campus.

"The wins … we didn't cheat in football, that's unnecessary," Penn State student Alex Gibson said Monday.

The massive fine and harsh sanctions come in the aftermath of a damning report issued by former FBI director Louis Freeh, which harshly criticized the university and Paterno for failing to take action in the sex abuse case of Sandusky, Paterno's former assistant coach.  Students in State College are dismayed as they watch their once-proud university being humiliated again.

"It just keeps piling on and on," student Maddy Proy told ABC News.  "We are a huge family and this is just a huge blow to our family."

The university president promised the fines will be paid from athletic reserve funds.  Penn State makes $60 million on football alone every season.  The fines will not affect the education of the other 80,000 non-football playing students.

"We will not use any taxpayer dollars to fund that fine. Period," President Rodney A. Erickson said.

Perhaps paying the highest price and feeling most victimized are former players, who no longer have any victories in the record books -- all of them wiped out by the Sandusky scandal, which they presumably knew nothing about.

Michael Robinson played for the Nittany Lions from 2002-2005 and went on to play for the San Francisco 49ers.

"Jerry was a sick man," Robinson said.  "I just don't think that our program is defined by the actions of one sick individual."

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Speaking on Good Morning America Tuesday, Jeremy Schaap from ESPN, a sister network to ABC, said that the school may now lose some of its top football players.

"The immediate impact is that the NCAA is allowing student athletes to transfer without penalty," Schaap said.  "That means there might be a mass exodus … with no hope of playing at a bowl game, no hope to play in a championship, you would expect to see most of Penn State's top players to move out of there."

Schaap also says that he believes the NCAA is trying to send a message to the rest of the college athletic community that athletic programs cannot take precedence over the academic missions of universities.

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Monday
Jul232012

Penn State Football Hit with $60 Million Fine, Avoids Death Penalty

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) -- Penn State's legendary football team was spared the death penalty on Monday, but the university was fined $60 million and the school's legendary former coach, Joe Paterno, was stripped of 13 years of wins and the title of winningest coach in history, the NCAA announced on Monday.

"The historically unprecedented actions by the NCAA are warranted by the conspiracy of silence maintained at highest level of the university with reckless and callous disregard for children," Ed Ray, the chair of the NCAA's executive committee, said at the announcement Monday.

The football program will also be excluded from playing in bowl games and post-season games for four years, as well as having its scholarships reduced and having to pay a $60 million fine -- the equivalent of one year's revenue from the football program.  The money will go to creating child sex abuse awareness programs around the country.

NCAA President Mark Emmert announced that the university would vacate its wins from 1998 through 2011, the timespan starting with the first allegation of abuse by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky through his arrest in November of last year.

The announcement came just over a week after an internal investigation commissioned by the university found that Paterno, athletic director Tim Curley and university president Graham Spanier all "concealed" the child sex abuse allegations against Sandusky.

"The motivation [was] to avoid the consequences of bad publicity," said former FBI chief Louis Freeh, who led the independent investigation.  "Bad publicity has consequences for the brand of Penn State University, the reputation of coaches, the ability to do fundraising.  It's got huge implications."

The NCAA announcement also comes on the heels of another blow to the football program's legacy.  The statue of Paterno outside of Beaver Stadium was permanently removed on Sunday by the university's new president, Rodney Erickson.

Following Sandusky's arrest in November 2011, the NCAA sent a letter to university officials accusing the university of what seemed to be a lack of "ethical conduct" by coaches and "institutional control" by the school president, two main tenets of the NCAA's rule book. The organization's code of conduct notes, however, that the most egregious punishment is reserved for offenses that give teams a significant recruiting or competitive edge over opposing teams.

Only handed down five times in the NCAA's history, the so-called death penalty effectively dismantles the offending sports program for at least one academic year.  Coaches cannot recruit or spend any time planning for the following season during the ban, and the program cannot collect any revenues.

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Wednesday
Jul182012

Obama Honors Baylor’s Record-Setting Basketball Team

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama honored the Baylor Bears, the NCAA women’s champion basketball team, at the White House Wednesday, highlighting their achievements on and off the court.

“I want to thank all the outstanding young women who are behind me, and the coach, for making my bracket look good -- at least on the women’s side,” said the president, who boasted that he chose Baylor over Notre Dame.

“If there’s one thing to describe this team, it was dominant,” the president told the audience gathered in the East Room. “Last season, the Lady Bears scored more points than any team in women’s college basketball history. They became the first team ever -- men’s or women’s -- to win 40 games in a season.”

The president, an avid basketball player, joked about the team’s impressive abilities. “I have to say that there have been times in the past where I shot around a little bit with the visiting team, but this time I don’t think I can get my shot off, so -- I’m not doing that this year,” he said.

Obama also called out several players individually, including female athlete of the year Brittney Griner, whom he called “the new face of women’s basketball.”

The president congratulated the team for their many accomplishments off the court. “When practice is over, [the team] worked just as hard.  Some made the Big 12 Honor Roll with perfect GPAs,” he said. “They read with students at elementary schools in Waco and served meals to the homeless.  They traveled around the world, caring for infants at an AIDS orphanage and building houses in Kenya.”

The president, who coaches his daughter’s basketball team, praised the team for setting “a terrific example for girls everywhere -- as athletes, as scholars, as leaders in their community.”

“I could not be prouder of this team,” he said. ”As the father of two daughters who are tall and beautiful just like them, it is great to have role models who can show that women can be strong and athletic and competitive, but also play as a team.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr032012

Arrests, Gunfire in Kentucky as Fans Celebrate NCAA Title

Jeff Gross/Getty Images(LEXINGTON, Ky.) -- A shooting broke out in Lexington, Ky., early Tuesday morning as thousands of University of Kentucky fans were out in the streets celebrating their team's eighth NCAA basketball championship.

According to police, the shooting happened just after 2 a.m. and left one person wounded.  The victim, who has not been identified, was transported to a nearby hospital with undetermined injuries.  No other details are known at this time.

The gunfire came hours after the Kentucky Wildcats defeated the Kansas Jayhawks, 67-59, Monday night to take the title. 

An estimated crowd of 15,000 took to the streets to cheer on the Wildcats and about 300 police officers, equipped with riot gear, were put in place to keep fans under control.

Several dozen arrests were made as the celebrations got a bit out of hand, according to police, and at least 40 small fires had to be put out.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
May162011

Obama Congratulates UConn Huskies for Winning NCAA Tournament

MIKE THEILER/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama offered his congratulations to the University of Connecticut men's basketball team, winners of the NCAA Tournament this year -- and spoilers of many brackets, including Obama's.

"This is a bittersweet day for me. On the one hand I get to congratulate a great team and a great coach on winning the national championship. On the other hand I'm reminded once again that my bracket was a bust," Obama said to laughter in the East Room. "I didn't pick UConn to win it all. That was a big mistake."

"I was not alone," Obama said, trying to justify his picks. "This was a tough year for a lot of brackets because teams like this one shocked the world," he said.

The UConn Huskies finished the regular season tied for 9th in the Big East conference. But they went on an 11-game win streak, culminating in winning the title. That feat made it an "inspiring season," Obama said.

Obama singled out several star players including Kemba Walker, who Obama said was "never afraid to take a last shot" and "would go down in history as one of the greatest ever to wear the Huskies uniform."

UConn coach Jim Calhoun thanked Obama and stole a line from candidate Obama, by saying, "Yes we can...Yes we did" of their victory. Obama pointed out that Calhoun is now one of only five coaches to ever win three national championships.

The team presented Obama with the obligatory team jersey and Obama promised to play against Kemba Walker only if he wore his street shoes and a suit.

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