Sports

Ed O’Bannon Ruling Means Big Changes for the NCAA

Aug 11, 2014
United States Courts

U.S. District Judge Claudia Ann Wilken has dealt a major blow to the NCAA's ideal of amateurism in college sports in her ruling of the Ed O'Bannon trial.

In a 99 page ruling, Judge Wilken wrote that "the Court will enjoin the NCAA from enforcing any rules or bylaws that would prohibit its member schools and conferences from offering (Division I-A) football or Division I basketball recruits a limited share of the revenues generated from the use of their names, images or likenesses in addition to a full grant-in-aid (scholarship)."

Bad Behavior in Sports: What Can Be Done?

Jul 28, 2014
Keith Allison / Flickr

Bad behavior in sports might seem to be running rampant these days. With the two-game suspension given to Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for domestic violence, many believe the sentence should have been stiffer.

Also, considering some of the bad behavior carried out by Russia, are they fit to host the 2018 World Cup? John Affleck, Knight Chair in Sports Journalism at Penn State discussed recent bad behavior in sports.

In regards to backlash over only a two game suspension for Ray Rice’s domestic violence case, Affleck says it’s all about how the NFL approaches punishment.

“Roger Goodell has sort of divided things into sort of two frames of references. One is punishments for things that hurt the game, hurt competitiveness. The NFL is fairly consistent when it comes to things like that. It’s things like drug use,” Affleck explains.

AFL Quarterback Tommy Grady: A Real "Power" Player

Jul 25, 2014
Jeffrey Gamza / Pittsburgh Power

The Pittsburgh Power, the city’s professional arena football team, are having their best season, ever. They’re undefeated at home at Consol Energy Center and just clinched their first-ever playoff berth. While they don’t get as much recognition as the Steelers, what is life like for the men who play in the arena league?

Tommy Grady is the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Power and says the differences between the two leagues are vast.

“The game of arena football is a lot quicker, the field’s about half the size. We play on that hard turf, which is pretty hard on our bodies. The biggest thing is the speed and quickness of the game. A lot of guys have played in the NFL before, and it’s hard to adjust to the game.”

Is Social Media Hindering the Business of Golf?

Jun 3, 2014
Easy Being Greener / Blogger

Golf has been described as a “good walk spoiled.”

The rise of Tiger Woods brought an increased interest in the sport along with a new generation of fans in the early part of the century. However, recent stories from CNN and Bloomberg news report a declining interest in the game.

Business contributor Rebecca Harris, director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University, looks at the business of golf.

According to the National Golf Foundation, more than 400,000 players, mostly men, left the sport last year. This may be attributed to the wicked winter weather on the east coast delaying the start of the game.

Golf club and gear sales also declined due to the new technology being phased into the sport, which older players may be slower to pick up. But Harris believes that another form of technology has had a negative effect on the sport as well. 

SteelersGab

Last week saw the passing of a Pittsburgh sports legend. When Bill Nunn, Jr. first started writing for the Pittsburgh Courier in the 1960's, he was not allowed in the press box at Forbes Field. His annual selections for the black All-American football teams were ignored by the struggling Steelers.

Nunn overcame numerous racial barriers during his lifetime. He opened sports reporting for African-Americans and helped turn the perennially awful Steelers into a dynasty during the 1970’s.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Andrew Conte, is writing a book about Nunn and wrote his obituary for the Trib.

Conte said Nunn was a talented athlete who received an offer to try out for the New York Knicks and the Harlem Globetrotters. He decided to follow his father into newspaper reporting, with the hopes of more financial stability, but many barriers.

Responding to Bad Behavior in Professional Sports

May 5, 2014
Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

After racist remarks from L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling were published online, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life from the NBA and fined him $2.5 million.

Veteran AP sports editor and journalist John Affleck, a Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society at Penn State talked about how far sports leagues should go to clean up bad behavior, not only by owners, but coaches and players.

Heather McClain / 90.5WESA

Sewickley Academy is hosting an event titled "NFL to LGBTQ" featuring former NFL player Wade Davis. 

As a defensive back for the Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, and Seattle Seahawks as well as NFL Europe, Davis was constantly challenged physically and mentally. 

He said he grew up with limited understandings of what it meant to be gay and was constantly on his guard.

In 1988, a team of juvenile delinquents in Western Pennsylvania achieved the unexpected title of regional basketball champions. The story is told in the book All the Way Down: Changing Hearts and Minds by Robert Burnett.

Burnett was both coach and principal of at the Frew Mill School he talked about the team’s story and the impact it had on everyone around them.

The Pros and Cons of Unionizing College Athletics

Mar 28, 2014
AJ Guel / Flickr

The National Collegiate Athletic Association, commonly referred to as the NCAA, has argued for decades that giving student-athletes anything more than an education would be wrong.

But many former athletes and the National Labor Relations Board say that scholarship football players are employees with the right to unionize.

United Steel Workers Union President Leo Gerard says he understands why the players want to form a union.

Bracketology and the Rise of March Madness

Mar 20, 2014
Matthew D. Britt / flickr

Workforce production will fall this month as employees around the U.S.become distracted by NCAA basketball. From filling out brackets to entering office pools, March Madness draws an audience more than any other sports tournament.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette Sports Writer Emeritus Bob Dvorchak says the event appeals to people that would not normally pay attention to basketball, or even sports in general.

Photo courtesy of the Heinz History Center Library and Archives

Sports teams enjoy an intense amount of popularity in Pittsburgh.

The Steelers hold more Super Bowl victories than any other franchise, the Penguins enjoy the highest TV ratings for any NHL team since 2000 and the Pirates are experiencing a surge in popularity following their first winning season in 21 years.

Even college teams like the Pitt Panthers or the Duquesne Dukes hold strong followings.

So why doesn’t Pittsburgh, with its avid sports fans, have a major league basketball team? And will we ever get one?

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Getting into the excitement of March Madness, Carlow University has announced that starting in the fall of 2014, the once-all-girl’s school’s first men’s basketball team will take the court. The Carlow University Celtics will compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

“This has been a few years in the making,” said Carlow University President Suzanne Mellon. “The original recommendation for a men’s basketball team originated from an athletics task force, a group comprised of students, faculty and staff that began meeting four years ago.”

5 Reasons Why People Should Go to MLB Spring Training

Mar 6, 2014
Jamesb01 / Wikipedia Commons

This month the call of “play ball” will be heard in ballparks around the country.

Fans of the game who want an early look at the boys of summer may want to venture to Florida to participate in the annual spring training games for Major League Baseball.

Correspondent Elaine Labalme discussed the five benefits of traveling to these games.

Former Atlanta Falcon Tim Green Weighs in on New NFL Penalty

Mar 5, 2014
Laura Lilly

Former star linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons Tim Green discussed his latest baseball novel New Kid.

He also weighed in on the NFL's proposal to institute a 15-yard penalty for using racial slurs on the field, and how Missouri defensive end Michael Sam will be accepted after announcing he is gay.  

Ryan Loew / 90.5WESA

Curling is growing to be one of the most watched sports at the Winter Olympics. Although it may be a little while before Team USA wins a medal, Pittsburgh has a growing curling culture.

How Michael Sam Became Bigger than the Olympics

Feb 10, 2014
Marcus Qwertyus / Wikipedia Commons

This weekend was a very exciting weekend in the sports world, with the opening of the Olympics. But, something off the field and closer to home was the story that stole all the headlines.

Michael Sam, a graduating defensive end from the University of Missouri publicly announced Sunday that he is gay.

Sam was the Co-SEC Defensive Player of the Year this past season and played a key part to a surprisingly successful Missouri football team. With this announcement two weeks before the 2014 NFL Draft, Sam is on the fringe of making history by becoming the first openly gay NFL player.

Broken Sphere / Wikipedia

This Sunday, Super Bowl XLVIII pairs the AFC champion, the Denver Broncos with the NFC champion, the Seattle Seahawks.

For the first time, the big game is being played in the cold weather of a northern city, outdoors. This means there may be some snow, and temperatures are likely hover around freezing. How is the weather likely to change the game?

Penn State University / College of Communications

In a recent op-ed for the Associated Press, sports journalist  John Affleck, examines modern sports culture and language. As evident from the title of the article, in 2013 Words Matter, Even in Sports.

“Really, I think it was the Incognito/Martin mess down in Miami that really drove it home for me that what we were really seeing this year was a set of stories where the behavior of sports figures was just completely beyond the bounds of anything you would think of as acceptable in a professional environment.”

When Clubhouse Culture Goes Too Far

Nov 7, 2013

While “boys will be boys” may seem a likely excuse for some, in the wake of hazing allegations against Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito, many fans believe the teasing of Jonathan Martin crossed the line into inappropriate bullying.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sports Writer Emeritus Bob Dvorchak says the NFL does exist in a “culture of hazing,” but usually the tasks forced on rookie players are not so cruel.

Buccos and Game 5 - The Legacy of Buctober

Oct 9, 2013
Carmen Gentile / Facebook

Carmen Gentile, a seasoned war reporter for USA Today, usually finds himself spending summers in Afghanistan and reporting from embattled parts of the Middle East. But the Pittsburgh native now finds himself on the front lines of another national sensation: The Pirates Post-Season.

“I have gotten more reaction to this story, positive and negative, than any other piece I have written on Afghanistan,” says Gentile.

Bob Dvorchak / Sports n'at

When a blockbuster films appears on television, the actors receive royalties for their appearances, the same goes for TV show reruns.

One would think the same goes for former football players who appear in NFL films. Video clips of the “Immaculate Reception,” have run countless times on television, yet Franco Harris and John Fuqua have never seen payment for the replays.

Night Football Returns To Its Place of Origin

Sep 13, 2013
Mansfield University Blog

One hundred and twenty-one years ago the first night football game was played in Mansfield, Pennsylvania. The game was between Mansfield University formerly known as Mansfield State and Wyoming Seminary.

The teams played with the help of a new promotional lighting device from General Electric, the light bulb. The setup involved a string of lights wrapped around a wooden pole placed in the middle of the field.

Steve McCloskey, Director of Athletic Operations and Sports Information, says the lighting post “proved to be a detriment” to the game, as multiple “players ran face first into the pole because they had trouble seeing it, or it just kind of snuck up on them.”

Reducing the Impact of Concussions

Sep 9, 2013
Jim Danvers / Flickr

Americans have become increasingly concerned about contact sports and whether they should be played by children.

Dr. Anthony Kontos, UPMC Concussion Program Assistant Director of Research, says this may be a knee jerk reaction to increased awareness of injuries and recent NFL lawsuits.

His latest research focuses on concussions in youth football for players under the age of 12. The studies confirm that concussions primarily occur during games. One finding that Kontos says may surprise people is the fact that 8, 9 and 10-year-olds who’ve played tackle football incur fewer concussions than previously thought.

Unequal Technologies

According to Rob Vito CEO of Unequal Technologies, his company mission is to protect soldiers and athletes from severe blunt force trauma. The idea began ten years ago when, as a professor at Penn State, a student asked Vito, “What if you could make a kevlar vest lighter, thinner and more flexible?”

Since then, Vito and his company have designed Unequal gear for high profile celebrities such as Sidney Crosby, Troy Polamalu, Michael Vick, Tony Romo and even Tom Cruise. When their material is placed inside a helmet or layered into protective apparel, Vito says it may reduce the severity index of impact by 50 percent.

Sports N'at with Bob Dvorchack

Sep 9, 2013
Ben Beard / Flickr

Sports contributor, Bob Dvorchak jokes that Pittsburgh Pirate fans seem to have no idea how to live in a world where the Bucs are a winning ball club.  For the first time in 20 years the Pirates do not have a losing record.  

Dvorchak also comments on the NFL's $756 million settlement with former players who suffered head trauma on the field.  

While the money an immediate help to the former players, Dvorchak says, “It [the settlement] doesn’t make everyone whole. It's a payment to get it off the books.” 

Flickr user jwalter522

The year 1992 was an exceptional time to be a sports fan in Pittsburgh.

The Steelers finished first in their division, the Penguins won the Stanley Cup and the Pirates made it to the playoffs. Little did baseball fans know then that it would be two decades before the Pirates would have another winning season.

Now the Pirates are a handful of games away from ending the skid.

What Makes a Good Sports Song Stick?

Aug 26, 2013
Jwalter522 / Flickr

The Pittsburgh Pirates are in a record winning season, and the Bucs euphoria can be felt and heard all over town. 

Songs like "Beat 'em Bucs" are gaining new popularity on drive-time radio and YouTube.

Batter walk up songs such as  "Apache" from the Sugarhill Gang, can be purchased on iTunes for Garrett Jones fans.

When a Pittsburgh team starts doing well, we can’t help but sing.

Bob Dvorchak

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sportswriter emeritus Bob Dvorchak talks about the University of Pittsburgh opening a new chapter in Panthers athletic history, inaugurating the school's entry into the Atlantic Coast Conference by taking on Florida State on Labor Day night at Heinz Field.

Say Nice Things About Detroit

Aug 1, 2013
Flickr

It might be troubled, but the Motor City still has a sort of beauty all its own, reports travel contributor Elaine Labalme. Citing the amazing parks, sports teams and art galleries, Labalme tells us that the Big D has some serious offerings for Pittsburghers interested in taking a short trip.

While the Detroit Tigers’ Comerica Park is “an absolutely fantastic facility” to see a game, one of the most impressive locations in the city, says Labalme, is “The Joe,” or the Joe Louis Arena, where the Red Wings currently play. It’s a historic arena with stories in every wall and seat. And if you’re looking to grab a bite after the game, try Cliff Bells, where, according to Labalme, “You’re always made to feel welcome.”

Sports Talk with Bob Dvorchak

Jun 7, 2013
Bob Dvorchak / Sports n'at

Sports Illustrated's inaugural Male College Athlete of the Year award has gone to a wrestler at Cornell University, just as the International Olympic Committee announced that the sport of wrestling is still in the running for inclusion in the 2020 games.

Guest: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sportswriter Emeritus, Bob Dvorchak discusses a possible reinstatement of wrestling in the Olympics and the ongoing story of performance enhancing drugs in baseball.

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