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.
Costs are high on the Division I level as well:
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.
For example, The money that Oregon has brings in great players who know that they might be on national billboards, who have access to top-flight facilities, and who get to wear experimental jerseys.
- 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.