WBEZ | NCAA http://www.wbez.org/tags/ncaa Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Bracket Madness http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2014-03/bracket-madness-109893 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/kpcc bracket.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>March Madness is upon us.</p><p>Thursday 64 college basketball teams will begin their mad dash through the Sweet Sixteen, the Elite Eight, and the Final Four, to vy in the NCAA championship game on Sunday, April 6.</p><p>But bracket madness has been going on a lot longer. Many folks have sweated over their selections or watched office mates - or President Obama - mull, debate, and endlessly discuss their own bracket choices.</p><p>If you&rsquo;re like me though, the word brackets usually conjures something other than basketball. Like those handy crescent-moon shaped punctuation marks. Or supports for a shelf.</p><p>I know I&rsquo;m not alone here. But these days I do feel like an outlier. The President&rsquo;s annual interview with ESPN has helped turn brackets &ndash; or &ldquo;Barackatology&rdquo; -&nbsp; into the must-have spring accessory.</p><p>But used to be, if you weren&rsquo;t a sports fan, a college student or college grad, or someone subject to hard-core inter-office peer pressure, it was pretty easy to maintain your bracket blindness.</p><p>Not anymore.</p><p>Don&rsquo;t get me wrong. I haven&rsquo;t caved. I&rsquo;m not pondering shooting percentages or whether Coastal Carolina has the coolest name in the Big South conference. But these days everything seems to have a bracket. <a href="http://thisismadness.starwars.com/">Star War characters</a>, <a href="http://www.thewire.com/entertainment/2014/03/bracket-day-best-fictional-president/359085/">fictional presidents from television or film</a>, <a href="http://jezebel.com/5510811/pie-vs-cake-pie-is-champion">baked goods</a> - all have been entered into those tidy little slots.</p><p>More recently, bracket-mania has hit even closer to home. Yes, public radio shows (and hosts) have a bracket.</p><p>&ldquo;We went through shows that we like from around the country, shows that are interesting and new and that people may not know as well,&rdquo; said Mike Roe, a web producer and blogger with KPCC in Southern California. &ldquo;You know, trying to have a mix of those while also having people&rsquo;s favorites like Wait Wait Don&rsquo;t Tell Me and Radio Lab.</p><p>KPCC started their <a href="http://projects.scpr.org/static/marchmadness/">Public Radio Bracket Madness!</a> last year. The bracket was such a big hit they did it again this year. Next year Roe hopes to expand it to a full 64 shows, just like the NCAA.</p><p>When I asked him why KPCC went the brackets route, Roe gave me a very public radio answer. It&rsquo;s about starting a conversation.</p><p>&ldquo;I mean that&rsquo;s part of what makes it interesting is that it&rsquo;s a thing that you can debate,&rdquo; said Roe. &ldquo;That makes it a blast to be a part of.&rdquo;</p><p>Conversation, debate, passion &ndash; sure. But it&rsquo;s also about money. Roe says his bracket drives traffic to KPCC&rsquo;s website.</p><p>That&rsquo;s exactly what the NCAA figured out &ndash; that the people who fill out brackets far outnumber the sport&rsquo;s fan base. Dave Zirin, the sports editor at the Nation Magazine has done the math countless times.</p><p>&ldquo;Ninety percent of the NCAA&rsquo;s operating budget comes from the television contract for March Madness alone,&rdquo; said Zirin. &ldquo;So everything they do except for ten percent is tied to this tournament.&rdquo;</p><p>So I get why the NCAA loves brackets. But what about the rest of us?</p><p>Zirin chalks it up to our love for underdogs. A bracket &ndash; in sports or pop culture &ndash; is designed to produce lots of upsets. Even the lowliest team can pull a game out from under a top contender when all you have to do is play them once.</p><p>Plus anyone can participate and even win, whether they study records and stats or just pick teams based on their mascots or uniform colors. Take the same model, apply it to baked goods or TV characters, and you get all the pleasures of competition with none of the downsides - like reality.</p><p>Zirin says reality - or the lack thereof - is another big driver. Most of us won&rsquo;t ever be top athletes. But thanks to brackets, we can entertainment another fantasy - about playing basketball, like a boss.</p><p>&ldquo;When I was growing my dreams were about playing for the New York Mets or playing for the Knicks,&rdquo; said Zirin. &ldquo;Basically when they&rsquo;re playing fantasy sports people are dreaming about being owners, about being the executive who sits behind the desk and through their masterwork makes their own decision. It&rsquo;s like everyone is playing risk instead of playing sports.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Alison Cuddy is the Arts and Culture reporter at WBEZ. You can follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy">Twitter</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison">Facebook</a> and <a href="http://instagram.com/cuddyreport">Instagram</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 20 Mar 2014 08:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2014-03/bracket-madness-109893 Economist: College football like NFL but for pay http://www.wbez.org/news/economist-college-football-nfl-pay-109737 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP565441140271.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Major colleges run their football teams just like those in the NFL, relying on players to generate millions of dollars in revenue, an economist testified Wednesday before a federal agency that will decide whether Northwestern football players may form the first union for college athletes in U.S. history.</p><p>&quot;The difference would be ... the NFL pays their players,&quot; Southern Utah University sports economist David Berri told the National Labor Relations Board on the second day of a hearing in Chicago that could stretch into Friday. That colleges don&#39;t pay their football players, he said, likely boosts their programs&#39; profitability further.</p><p>The NLRB is considering whether Wildcats&#39; football players can be categorized under U.S. law as employees, which would give them rights to unionize. The university, the Big Ten Conference and NCAA have all maintained college players are student-athletes, not employees.</p><p>Attorneys for Northwestern began presenting their case opposing unionization, endeavoring to show that the newly formed College Athletes Players Association would provide little tangible benefit to the Northwestern players.</p><p>Asked whether one of CAPA&#39;s stated goals &mdash; to improve football-player graduation rates &mdash; made any sense for Northwestern, the university&#39;s associate athletic director, Brian Baptiste, noted the school&#39;s rate was already No. 1 in the nation &mdash; at 97 percent.</p><p>&quot;I guess you can increase 97 percent,&quot; he said wryly.</p><p>Union supporters say they would be able to force schools to better protect football players from head injuries. Baptiste suggested that only the NCAA, with oversight power across the country, was in position to address that.</p><p>&quot;That has to be done on a national level,&quot; he said. &quot;Northwestern wouldn&#39;t have control over that.&quot;</p><p>Supporters argue a union would provide athletes a vehicle to lobby for greater financial security. They contend scholarships sometimes don&#39;t even cover livings expenses for a full year.</p><p>Baptiste said NCAA rules tie Northwestern&#39;s hands, and they would bar it from assenting to demands from an on-campus football union, including calls to increase the value of scholarships. He said the NCAA caps scholarship amounts.</p><p>Berri, the economist, was called to testify on behalf of the proposed union, which is pushing the unionization bid with support from the United Steelworkers. He sought to illustrate how the relationship between Northwestern and its football players was one of employer to employees.</p><p>Profit numbers attest to the program being a commercial enterprise, he told the hearing,</p><p>Northwestern&#39;s football program reported a total profit of $76 million from 2003 to 2012, with revenues of $235 million and costs of $159 million, Berri testified. The numbers were adjusted for inflation for the private school.</p><p>Berri conceded he didn&#39;t know that maintenance of the Wildcats&#39; stadium was not included in the expense numbers. And he said he also did not know if football profits made up for losses in other, less popular school sports.</p><p>Schools with revenue-generating football teams were in the business of entertainment, Berri said. Asked who provided those services, he responded, &quot;Players are the ones you are watching.&quot;</p><p>Northwestern attorney Alex Barbour pressed Berri about whether he was trying to say the school exploits its football players.</p><p>&quot;There is an economic definition of the word &#39;exploitation,&#39;&quot; he responded. &quot;A worker is exploited ... if their economic value is greater than their wages. ... By that definition, they are exploited.&quot;</p><p>Whether the economist should have been allowed to testify was a point of contention, with Barbour complaining that Berri&#39;s analysis was irrelevant to the central question: Are college football players are employees?</p><p>But after allow the side to debate the issue, the hearing officer overseeing the case, Joyce Hofstra, agreed to let Berri speak, saying the hearing was &quot;novel&quot; and she would err on the side of admitting evidence.</p><p>Barbour had said during his opening statement that allowing a college athletes&#39; union to collectively bargain would be &quot;a Rube Goldberg contraption that would not work in the real world&quot; and would fundamentally change college sports.</p><p>Berri, though, pointed to the NFL and its embrace of a union, saying unionization in its case &quot;did not cause the professional sport to collapse.&quot;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 19 Feb 2014 16:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/economist-college-football-nfl-pay-109737 Northwestern University football union hearings begin http://www.wbez.org/news/northwestern-university-football-union-hearings-begin-109693 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/nu.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>The National Labor Relations Board in Chicago held the first in a series of hearings Wednesday to consider whether college football players qualify as employees. Players from Northwestern University filed a union election petition with the board last month. If approved--and later elected to represent the interests of the team&rsquo;s scholarship players--the College Athletes Players Association would be the first labor union of its kind.</p><p>Unlike their professional counterparts, college athletes don&rsquo;t have contracts--they can&rsquo;t negotiate the terms of their tenure. And athletic scholarships are regulated by the NCAA. Studies show that athletes often spend up to 40 hours a week on their sport; they travel for their sport. Oftentimes, players are told when and where to be and what to eat. But Northwestern says it&rsquo;s all part of the overall academic experience.</p><p>University officials contend that students who participate in NCAA Division I sports, including those who receive athletic scholarships, are students, first and foremost.</p><p>Bob, Rowley, director of media relations for the university, spoke to reporters after Wednesday&rsquo;s brief preliminary hearing. He said scholarships are intended to provide for a student&rsquo;s educational experience, even if they&rsquo;re athletic. CAPA attorneys saw things differently.</p><p>Revenue generated by Division I FBS and men&rsquo;s basketball is estimated to be in the billions. CAPA said it is focused on those players because they believe they can make the case that the scholarships are, in essence, compensation.</p><p>&rdquo;If they don&rsquo;t play football, they don&rsquo;t receive the aid...the idea that somehow this is a gift to them, is untrue...if you don&rsquo;t play football, you don&rsquo;t get the scholarship,&rdquo; CAPA attorney John Adam explained.</p><p>Northwestern maintained that the university does not regard, and has never regarded, its football program as a commercial enterprise.</p><p>The key question went unanswered--but it will no doubt be taken up, picked apart and rehashed over three days of testimony before the board next week.</p><p><em>Katie O&rsquo;Brien is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her<a href="http://twitter.com/katieobez"> @katieobez</a></em></p></p> Wed, 12 Feb 2014 18:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/northwestern-university-football-union-hearings-begin-109693 Morning Shift: The strange and silly Midwest on the big screen http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-10-04/morning-shift-strange-and-silly-midwest-big-screen <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Weird Midwest Flickr Joana Roja - work and migraines - coming back.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We unearth some Midwestern weirdness with Found Footage Festival creators Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett. Housing reporter Dennis Rodkin shares a new strategy for home buyers with bad credit. And, John U. Bacon tackles the question: should college athletes be paid?</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-strange-and-silly-midwest/embed?header=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-strange-and-silly-midwest.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-strange-and-silly-midwest" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: The strange and silly Midwest on the big screen" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 04 Oct 2013 08:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-10-04/morning-shift-strange-and-silly-midwest-big-screen Are you into the NCAA's Big Dance? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-03/are-you-ncaas-big-dance-106176 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_ncaa_david_duprey.jpg" style="float: right; height: 187px; width: 280px;" title="NCAA men's basketball has everyone talking brackets and pools. (AP Photo/David Duprey)" />There will be an untold number of electronic devices tuned into the NCAA men&#39;s basketball tournament and stealing from a productive work environment starting Thursday. The champion will be crowned April 8&nbsp;in Atlanta. Across the country people are investing time, labor or luck filling out their brackets for the The Big Dance. &nbsp;Some money will be won and a lot more will be lost. It is one of the most emotionally charged sports events of the year.</p><p>There seem to be three categories for doing the brackets:</p><p><strong>Who wants to buy one of the NCAA teams for a couple of bucks? (the popular one)</strong></p><p>Some offices have set up pools for co-workers to buy a random team instead of filling out a bracket.&nbsp;Your selection is for the tournament&rsquo;s duration and if you are lucky, the final outcome of the championship earns the cash. Of course, when you are doing a blind draw, pulling a Number 1 seed (Louisville, Kansas, Gonzaga, and Indiana) or Number 2 seed (Miami, Duke, Georgetown and Ohio State)&nbsp; makes you feel confident for a winner in the NCAA title game.&nbsp; If you get a 16th seed team, you can forget about it. People who participate in this type of pool know it is mostly a matter of luck. It is a way to participate without even having a clue about the game or the teams. You&#39;ll find college alumni of a school root for a team they wouldn&#39;t normally care about or may be a rival. It also gets you to watch a game that maybe you wouldn&rsquo;t bother viewing otherwise.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>I should have been a player or a coach since I know the game so well. (the hard-core one)</strong></p><p>The NCAA basketball pools that people really sink their teeth into is the selection of teams through the rounds, right to the Final Four and the eventual Championship. This is where everyone believes they are a master of picking the winners. Some participants will pour over every team and delve into every stat and try to get their hands on every morsel of information. This is for the real college basketball junkie: What did the team do in the past ten games, who is hot, what region are they playing, what is the team&rsquo;s travel, are they from a strong conference, did the selection committee give them a proper seeding, does this team have a great x&rsquo;s and o&rsquo;s coach, are there NBA caliber players on the squad, is it an up-tempo team or is it a physical team?&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Hey the Internet has the bracket and I can ask my wife/husband who to pick (the casual one)</strong></p><p>This is a perfect vehicle to make selections when you work from home and can be wrong and no one will find out. The casual fan will get involved with this pool and sometimes the randomness of picking the winners pays off. You can be safe with your NCAA selections and choose the favorites throughout. Maybe it&rsquo;s your alma mater. It could be a parent picking where they send their kids (and money) to college.&nbsp;You probably won&#39;t win since there are always upsets that will implode your bracket (Hint: a #12&nbsp;seed usually trips up a #5 seed. Think Oregon.). If you don&#39;t have the knowledge you can find someone who will do it for you.</p><p>This is when there is a tap on my shoulder and a sheet put in my hand as my husband asks, &ldquo;Will you fill this out for me?&rdquo;</p><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter </em><a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout"><font color="#006896"><em>@CRayeStout</em></font></a><em> and Facebook </em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame"><font color="#006896"><em>Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame</em></font></a><em>.</em></p></p> Tue, 19 Mar 2013 20:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-03/are-you-ncaas-big-dance-106176 Local colleges need more Chicago prep talent http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-03/local-colleges-need-more-chicago-prep-talent-106092 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_depaul_bb_heather.jpg" style="float: right; height: 377px; width: 300px;" title="DePaul men's basketball teams in Chicago with problems. (AP/File)" />While colleges across the country celebrate getting into the NCAA men&rsquo;s basketball tournament, there is no madness in Chicago. It has been years since Chicago had a spotlight on it for its men&#39;s college basketball prowess. This is difficult to understand with the quality of the players who excel on the high school courts of Chicago. Particularly since the Big Ten Conference (arguably the best in the country) just held court at the United Center for its tournament. It&rsquo;s tough to see local teams in such a rut. It&rsquo;s hard to watch the best talent from Chicago not play here on the NCAA Division I level.</div><p>Fifty years ago, the Loyola Ramblers celebrated the last time a time from Chicago won a national title. DePaul during the 70s and 80s was a nationally renowned team under Head Coach Ray Meyer. During the Blue Demons hey day, they were <em>the</em> basketball team in Chicago (not the Bulls). This of course was pre-Michael Jordan and six NBA titles. There have been Chicago schools in the NCAA tournament in the past few decades, but none have been a premier team in the country.</p><p>There have been times when Bradley, Northern Illinois, Southern Illinois and Illinois have produced winning men&#39;s programs. Illinois has made numerous appearances in the NCAA tournament. It was just eight years ago when Bruce Weber took the Illini with Dee Brown and Deron Williams to the brink of a NCAA championship. They lost to North Carolina in the final.</p><p>Many give credit to former coach Bill Self for bringing in those players before he bolted to Kansas and won the NCAA championship there. After the loss to the Tar Heels, Illinois saw erosion of talent. Weber was fired and now Illinois is under the leadership of John Groce. In his first season, the Illini coach is guiding the team to post season play. The #7 seed Illinois will play #10 seed Colorado in first round NCAA action on Friday in Austin, Texas.</p><p>Simeon High School&rsquo;s Jabari Parker, the top national player and an excellent student, is headed to Duke. Why not? It is an elite program and has been consistently challenging for national titles. It is a huge shame that a team from this area, DePaul or Northwestern, was not even considered. Derrick Rose left here to play at Memphis for a year before leaping to the NBA.</p><p>Why is it hard to keep the best Chicago high school players? The factors are numerous: campus life, coaches, consistency of excellence, putting a distance from the streets of Chicago (and for some, the weather). Whatever the reasons, the local college teams see players leave&nbsp;and&nbsp;not become hometown heroes.</p><p>Here is a look at what the Chicago college teams did&nbsp;this season:</p><p><strong>DePaul 11-21 (overall) 2-16 (Big East conference) </strong></p><p>The Blue Demons been spinning their wheels for years. They have been the doormat in the conference and now they will be joining the new league of the Catholic schools. Playing in Rosemont is a huge negative for the school. Their last NCAA appearance was 2004.</p><p><strong>Northwestern 13-19 (overall) 4-15 (Big Ten Conference) </strong></p><p>They started the season 7-0. Numerous injuries and a suspension depleted the team&rsquo;s roster. With the loss to Iowa in the first round on Thursday, Northwestern fired head coach Bill Carmody on Saturday after 13 years guiding the team. One of the names highlighted for this job is Duke assistant Chris Collins. He is from the area and his father Doug is a former Chicago Bulls coach. NU has never been to the NCAA tournament.</p><p><strong>University of Illinois Chicago 17-15 (overall) 7-9 (Horizon Conference) </strong></p><p>The Flames will go to the Collegeinsider.com tournament. It&#39;s a rather new event that gives some teams a chance to experience post season play. UIC has had four post season appearances, three NCAA, one NIT and no wins.</p><p><strong>Loyola 15-16 (overall) 5-11(Horizon Conference) </strong></p><p>Head coach Porter Moser has had the job for two years. The Ramblers have not been to the NCAA since their &quot;Sweet 16&quot; appearance in 1985.</p><p><strong>Chicago State 11-21 (overall) 5-5 (Great West Conference) </strong></p><p>They won the Great West Conference tournament, which they also hosted on Saturday. The win gave them a berth in the Collegeinsider.com tournament. It is the school&rsquo;s first post-season appearance. The Cougars will join the WAC next year. Head coach Tracey Dilby is finishing his third season. He was a former DePaul and UIC assistant.</p><p>According to former players, it doesn&rsquo;t take much to turn a basketball program. If a school can recruit one or two top notch players, it can catapult a college team. The challenge is convincing Chicago student athletes to stay here and make a difference.</p><p>Looking at what John Groce did in his first recruiting year may mean Illinois is moving in the right direction. He will have two players from Simeon high school playing for him next season: Kendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate. Groce got some help from an Illinois alumni and former star Kendall Gill. The new coach asked him to recruit and it worked. Gill&rsquo;s pitch is something his parents told him: stay in your home state and it will be beneficial when the playing career is completed. He believes the alumni base in Illinois helped him when his playing days in the NBA were over.</p><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout">@CRayeStout</a> and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 18 Mar 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-03/local-colleges-need-more-chicago-prep-talent-106092 Northwestern coach Kelly Amonte Hiller knows a thing, or 7, about winning http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/northwestern-coach-kelly-amonte-hiller-knows-thing-or-7-about-winning-99743 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/NU%20lax.jpg" title="(Stephen J. Carrera)" /></div><p>Full disclosure: I am a former Wildcat. But that&rsquo;s not usually something to boast about amongst sports fans&mdash;unless you happen upon a group of Keyshawn Johnson fans. Or, in a slightly less dated scenario, you find yourself surrounded by &quot;lax heads.&quot; That&rsquo;s the endearing term used to describe the sizable group of loyal fans who turn up at Northwestern University women&rsquo;s lacrosse games. Of course, it&rsquo;s a lot easier to remain faithful to a team when they&rsquo;re winning&mdash;and this team wins a lot.</p><p>Last Sunday, the Wildcats out-laxed Syracuse in the NCAA championships. Playing in the title game has become something of a routine for the Wildcats&mdash;this was their eighth consecutive appearance and seventh win in the final. Lucky number seven sealed the team&rsquo;s dynasty and head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller&rsquo;s rightful reign as its adored queen.</p><p>When Amonte Hiller first inherited the team, it was far from a kingdom; in fact, when she arrived in 2001, women&rsquo;s lacrosse was a club program. She was tasked with reviving the team&rsquo;s varsity status and luring talent to the Midwest. That was no small feat considering that for more than five decades, the East Coast dominated college lacrosse. According to <a href="http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1136005/3/index.htm" target="_blank"><em>Sports Illustrated</em></a>, when the Wildcats first won the title in 2005, it was the first time a program&mdash;male or female&mdash;from outside the Eastern time zone won a national championship.</p><p>Amonte Hiller is, herself, a product of the East Coast machine. She was a four-time All-American and a two-time Player of the Year at the University of Maryland. She was in her hometown, working as an assistant in at Boston University, when Northwestern approached her for help. She was skeptical about leaving the seaboard but her older brother, Tony, just happened to be the captain of the Chicago Blackhawks at the time&mdash;so at least she had a place to crash. Soon she embraced the role of the underdog and got to work. She famously promised her first freshman class that she would lead them to a championship&mdash;and sure enough, that class won the school&rsquo;s first title their senior year.</p><p>The success of the team during Coach Amonte Hiller&rsquo;s tenure has been credited with increasing the visibility of Northwestern&rsquo;s entire athletic program and fan base; a fan base that includes Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and Eddie Vedder, all of whom called to wish the team luck before last Sunday&rsquo;s game (please take a moment to image those three watching a game together&mdash;grooming each other&rsquo;s odd facial hair while kicking around ideas for a <em>Vitology</em>-flavored Gatorade).</p><p>Coach Amonte Hiller is quickly becoming a celebrity in her own right: In October, she will be inducted into the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame for her performance as a player at Maryland, the Big Ten Network recently named her a Big Ten Coaching Icon and after last Sunday&rsquo;s big win, she&rsquo;s just one title shy of tying her former Maryland coach, Cindy Timchal, for the most NCAA championships.</p><p>She&rsquo;s not just pushing her peers, she&rsquo;s propelling the sport. In a <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/college/ct-spt-0531-haugh-northwestern-lacrosse--20120531,0,537962.column" target="_blank">recent column</a> for the <em>Chicago Tribune</em>, David Haugh wrote that he does not &ldquo;consider it a coincidence that the number of Illinois high schools offering girls lacrosse has increased from 21 to 41 since Northwestern won its first title.&rdquo;</p><p>And it was no coincidence that <em>Afternoon Shift</em> was interested in learning more about the highly-decorated queen of lacrosse. Fresh off her team&rsquo;s most recent title win, Coach Amonte Hiller joined Steve Edwards for an extended chat.</p></p> Fri, 01 Jun 2012 13:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/northwestern-coach-kelly-amonte-hiller-knows-thing-or-7-about-winning-99743 Unpacking Penn State fallout http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-11/unpacking-penn-state-fallout-93963 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-November/2011-11-11/20111108__joe-paterno-110811y~p1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>College football is no stranger to scandal but the situation at Penn State University involving allegations related to the sexual abuse of minors has criminal implications.</p><p>Former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was charged on Nov. 5 with 40 counts related to the sexual abuse of minors.</p><p><em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> discussed the evolving claims with regular sports contributor Cheryl Raye-Stout and espn.com senior writer Lester Munson.</p><p>Raye-Stout spoke with Penn State alums and current Chicago Bears players Anthony Adams and Robbie Gould about the allegations and about playing for coach Paterno.</p><p>“I think the biggest part is it made you become a better man,” Bears kicker Robbie Gould began. “Obviously being on time for things, making sure that you’re responsible for doing whatever homework or assignments or projects or helping your teammates out; being held accountable for things that you do, obviously is something that we all learned from him. Obviously we became better people and better athletes by attending Penn State and that’s why you go there,” Gould added.</p><p>Gould’s teammate Adams’ expressed shock by the details in the grand jury’s report.</p><p>“You can’t make sense out of this stuff. I mean, 23-page, you know, that report… it’s hard to read that,” Adams tried to explain.</p><p>Raye-Stout told <em>Eight Forty-Eight's</em> Alison Cuddy that players’ reactions changed throughout the week—at first, she said, Adams thought it was just “allegations and innuendos” but after he read the indictment, the allegations took on a new shape and he became quite distraught.</p><p>The Big Ten powerhouse continued to crumble throughout the week. Head coach Joe Paterno was fired Wednesday for failing to do more to stop Sandusky.</p><p>Munson reported that there were three investigations underway: One by Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, Linda Kelly, who filed the criminal charges against Sandusky; a second by the Department of Education, which is led by Secretary Arne Duncan, who Munson said was “outraged” by what he had learned about Penn State and the coaching staff; and a third investigation by the University’s Board of Trustees.</p><p>The Trustees have been under considerable pressure from the Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Corbett, who began the investigation more than two years ago while serving as the state’s attorney general.&nbsp;</p><p>Both Munson and Raye-Stout said that they had never seen anything like this in years of covering sports. In his 22 years reporting on scandals and legal issues in sports, Munson said there have been times when, as a journalist, there was some satisfaction and happiness in covering a scandal—but that this was no such an occasion and referred to the reports of the alleged abuse thus far as, “disgusting, repulsive and abhorrent.”</p><p>Unfortunately, Munson added, he was afraid there could be more abuse allegations to come.</p><p>As to whether the NCAA might pursue the matter, Munson said it has no jurisdiction. But, he expected that Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany would exercise his authority in some way. In a statement, Delany offered sympathy for the alleged victims and their families and added that there would be no comment or conclusions drawn until the grand jury and the university’s Board of Trustees’ Special Committee finished their respective investigations of the circumstances that gave rise to the grand jury report.</p><p>The elephant in the room, Raye-Stout explained, was the fact that college sports remained a multi-billion dollar industry which creates power and desire to cover up any malfeasance so sports can continue to profit.</p><p>Munson wrote a column Friday in response to the fallout wherein he suggested that for Penn State to recover, it should cancel football for the next two years and start over. He echoed Raye-Stout’s point and said that the money involved in college sports skews everything, adding that it distorts the balance between academics and sports and is the root cause for the many bizarre things that happen in college sports. Munson noted that his employer, ESPN, pays billions of dollars for college sports making the media giant a part of the problem as well.</p><p>As additional alleged victims come forward, they will be debriefed by Pennsylvania authorities.</p><p>“We must also watch,” Munson said, “as Sandusky prepares his defense—is he going to dig in and defend this or is he going to plead guilty and take his punishment and make a bargain with the prosecutors? All of this, we have, on the horizon,” Munson finished.</p></p> Fri, 11 Nov 2011 16:09:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-11/unpacking-penn-state-fallout-93963 Cheryl Raye-Stout talks latest action from March Madness http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-21/cheryl-raye-stout-talks-latest-action-march-madness-84012 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-March/2011-03-21/Illini Getty Ronald Martinez.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>This year&rsquo;s NCAA tournament included a stop at the United Center. The Bulls hit the road while college basketball&rsquo;s top teams vied for a place in the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.ncaa.com/finalfour">Final Four</a> &ndash; or at least the Sweet Sixteen.<br /><br />Meanwhile out in the desert, the boys of summer are battling for their spot on the roster. To find out more<span style="font-style: italic;"> </span><em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> turned to Cheryl Raye-Stout.</p><p><em>Music Button: Nick Faber, &quot;Hot Knife Blues&quot;, from the CD Dope On Plastic Vol. 8, (React Music)</em></p></p> Mon, 21 Mar 2011 12:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-21/cheryl-raye-stout-talks-latest-action-march-madness-84012 Illinois' odds not so good in NCAA tournament http://www.wbez.org/story/news/sports/illinois-odds-not-so-good-ncaa-tournament <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-14/109981266.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>There's some statistical help in filling out those NCAA basketball tournament brackets.&nbsp;But University of Illinois fans might not like the odds.</p><p>The Illini are a No. 9 seed in the Southwest region. Later this week, they'll face off against the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, a No. 8 seed.</p><p>U of I computer science Professor Sheldon Jacobson says the Illini are favorites to win that game.&nbsp;That's based purely on statistics that 9 seeds have historically faired better than No. 8s in the second round of the tournament.</p><p>Jacobson put together a mathematical model that helps determine who will make it to the Final Four.</p><p>&quot;If you look at the seeds there are very consistent patterns that have evolved over the past 26 tournaments. So you can actually determine how likely they are to occur,&quot; Jacobson said.</p><p>Jacobson said the best bet for the Final Four is two No. 1s, No. 2 and a No. 3.</p><p>As for Illinois, Jacobson said the odds aren't so good for the team to advance past the third round, much less win the championship.</p><p>&quot;In fact it's so low that you'd be better off buying a lottery ticket than you'd be betting on Illinois,&quot; he said.</p><p>The Illini are the only team from Illinois to make the tournament. The team came close to winning the championship in 2005, but lost out to the University of North Carolina. That year, Illinois was a No. 1 seed.</p><p>Jacobson and two undergraduate students created a website for people to check the odds of their <a href="http://bracketodds.cs.illinois.edu/">brackets</a>.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 14 Mar 2011 20:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/news/sports/illinois-odds-not-so-good-ncaa-tournament