The hip hop kids would say McCain was creepin' behind the back of his first wife; your packaged foods may be shrinking by both volume and weight; I have no idea what's on Kat Denning's (pictured right) face, and the US' two largest mortgage lenders might need a government bail out to keep the economy afloat...
...so let's talk sports.
- The Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy talks on how the new 3-point line (1 foot farther from the basket) should open up offenses. He hedges a lot, which at first I rolled my eyes at, but is miles better than the ESPN "Strong Statement Style".
- Lute Olson's bitter old man phase now includes no longer pursuing "one-and-done" players. Jim Boeheim actually says "are you crazy?" in the article when asked if he would do the same... Carmelo Anthony was obviously a good experience.
- Division III and youth sports are feeling the costs of a weaker economy; youth sports suffer as a side effect of lower tax income and transport/ gas prices; some seek private funding. Meanwhile, travel costs to far-flung Division III schools puts a strain on administration. The SI article suggests that other D-III schools follow the path of the University Athletic Association (home of the D-III men's basketball champion Washington University (St. Louis) Bears):
Men's and women's teams travel together, and each school has a travel partner. For example, Brandeis will travel to Chicago to play a Friday game, while NYU will travel to Washington University in St. Louis to play a game the same night. Instead of flying to the next stop, Brandeis will then bus from Chicago to St. Louis for a Sunday game, while NYU will head the opposite direction on Interstate 55 and face Chicago on Sunday.
In 2006 only 19 Division I FBS schools had greater revenues than expenses in their athletics departments. Additionally, only 16 of these schools had net positive cash flows over the three-year aggregate from 2005-07.
Financial matters in large part prompted the formation of an NCAA presidential task force two years ago to discuss a disturbing trend in which the rate of growth in Division I athletics spending was tripling the rate for university spending overall. While athletics budgets on average represent only about 5 percent of a university's budget, presidents agreed that current trends could not be sustained over time. Big-time athletics is not in a fiscal crisis, they said, but the growth in spending is adding pressure on institutions already strapped for cash.
- New Jersey Institute of Technology has a sports conference... the Great West conference, playing close rivals in the Dakotas. Those travel costs are high for basketball... what about for volleyball? Will NJIT get a hockey program to compete?
- Darren Rovell's blog has a short bit about the money that T Boone Pickens has poured into the Oklahoma State athletics program, including the question of whether the Cowboys (or Oregon, with Phil Knight's money) will win a championship in men's basketball or football in the next 15 years. That question kinda misses the point, for me; a sports team will bring in loot with a championship, but just being in the running for a championship, being top-level competitive, and having well-apportioned facilities will bring in revenue AND top players. It helps to hire, of course, the right coaches who can leverage that money into some sustainable level of success.
- Only 9,000 TVs are tuned in to the Nationals game in the DC area? DAMN. They'll be moving to Vegas in no time. Unless Beasley's curly W tattoo has some say about it (h/t to BallHype).
- The Nets locked up those hot free agents, Jarvis Hayes and Eduardo Najera. Whoo.
- David Wright, finally in the All-Star Game, even after losing the last minute fan poll.
- These guys bike to work like I do... except in much fancier bikes. Dang.
- Aww, the state of Illinois won't be buying Wrigley Field. Boo-hoo.