UConn men's coach Hurley back at work after spinal surgery

UConn men's basketball coach Dan Hurley is back at work full time, less than two weeks after having surgery for a degenerative spinal condition that required replacing two disks in his neck with artificial ones. On Wednesday, Hurley described the fear he felt when doctors told him in August that he needed surgery and that any hard fall or bump could have left him paralyzed. Hurley, who had the surgery on Sept. 6, says he feels good, but still has some restrictions for the next month, such as being prohibited from flying or lifting anything heavier than 10 pounds. He says players gave him a warm welcome back, but says that didn't stop him from getting on them Wednesday about a lack of effort on defense, joking that "all that love is gone."
September 18, 2019

New bowl game at Fenway Park to match teams from ACC, AAC

Add another bowl game to the mix, this one at Fenway Park. The century-old baseball park will host a matchup between teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference and the American Athletic Conference, starting in 2020. The date for the Fenway Bowl is expected to be announced on Tuesday. It will be the first college bowl game at the home of the Boston Red Sox. The ballpark has hosted other football dating back to 1912, including the American Football League's Boston Patriots in the 1960s and The Game last year between Harvard and Yale. There are 40 postseason games scheduled for this season in the Football Championship Subdivision, including the national championship game. Three more are expected for the 2020 season.
September 16, 2019

Virginia raises banner, celebrates hoops championship

More than five months after Virginia won its first basketball national championship, the school hosted a celebration Friday night, raising a banner to the rafters of John Paul Jones Arena as thousands of boosters and fans showered the players and coaches that made it happen with cheers and adoration. Coach Tony Bennett said the event was timed so that former members of the program and coaches could enjoy it. A more traditional celebration at the beginning of the next season, he said, would have prevented any former players still competing from attending, and made it difficult for coaches still coaching to enjoy. Among the players in attendance were De'Andre Hunter, Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy, all of whom left with eligibility remaining for the NBA. Jerome and Guy met with the media before the celebration and agreed that the reality of their accomplishment has still not set in, with Jerome surmising "I don't think it ever will." Bennett, though, hoped the celebration, filled with video highlights and the presentation of championship rings, would help. The Cavaliers won their final three games after trailing in the final seconds, and Bennett said when he finally watched the telecasts of the games, he realized that while his mind was racing with strategic thoughts in the moments as they unfolded, watching from his couch highlighted how difficult it was for spectators. "I was like, `Oh, this is close,'" he said, sitting upright in his seat for effect. "`What's going to happen? Did we win?'" Guy, the last of the three drafted this year, said his goal when he came to Virginia was to accomplish everything he could. "I'm very excited to be here," he added before the celebration, "and celebrate this one last time."
September 13, 2019

NCAA to California: no pay or no play

The NCAA Board of Governors wants California Gov. Gavin Newsom to reject a new attempt to pay college athletes. And it is prepared to take the fight to court if necessary. In a six-paragraph letter released Wednesday, the board urged Newsom not to sign the legislation known as the Fair Pay to Play Act, which would allow college athletes to be paid for the use of their names, likenesses and images. The move comes two days after approval of the measure by the California Assembly, with the state Senate expected to consider the measure later this week. The board warned that California schools may be declared ineligible for NCAA competition if the bill becomes law because they would have an unfair recruiting advantage. "We've explored how it might impact the association and what it might do. We believe it would inappropriately affect interstate commerce," Donald Remy, the NCAA's chief operating officer and chief legal officer, told The Associated Press. "It is not intended to be a threat at all. It's a reflection about the way California is going about this. "I'm not saying there will never be a day we would consider that (legal action), but it is not meant to be a threat," Remy said. The NCAA said the measure would affect more than 24,000 athletes in the nation's most populous state. Should the bill pass, Newsom would have 30 days to sign or veto it. If he does nothing, the bill would become law. It would be the first measure of its kind and the outcome is being closely watched as one of the biggest challenges in years to the NCAA's longstanding and far-reaching model of amateur sports. Over the past decade, that model has come under increasing pressure - and attacks in court - as critics push for big-time college athletics to clear the way for the athletes themselves to benefit financially. NCAA rules prohibit athletes from profiting off their athletic skills. The organization, however, has recently begun considering rules changes to loosen those restrictions, though NCAA President Mark Emmert - and the board again on Wednesday - insist that players cannot be paid or become the equivalent of a university employee. Formal recommendations are expected to be made at the board's October meeting. It appears there is an appetite for significant changes. Board members met with the working group studying these issues in August but neither Remy nor board member Denis McDonough would discuss specific proposals. "The rules that we operate under, many of which date to 1975, may not be suitable for us in 2021 with the challenges and opportunities student-athletes face," said McDonough, the White House chief of staff under President Barack Obama. "So we are and have been taking a very close look at how we can modernize those rules. We're hoping the state of California would recognize that modernizing those rules for student-athletes across the country is the best way to do that." Supporters think those changes are already overdue and believe California's elected officials should act now. "The NCAA's assertions are purposefully misleading," said Ramogi Huma, executive director of the National College Players Association. "The 9th Circuit upheld a ruling concluding that the NCAA's ban on player name, image, and likeness compensation does not bring forth a level playing field. The Big 12 commissioner stated competitive equity is `largely an illusion.' "NCAA amateurism is a fraud. It's a $14 billion a year industry with millionaire coaches. An NCAA ban on California colleges would amount to an illegal group boycott that would violate federal and California antitrust laws." The NCAA believes the California measure would violate the federal Commerce Clause and may not withstand a legal challenge; Remy cited a previous case in California in which the state tried to inhibit the NCAA from enforcing its rules. The NCAA won that case. Should the measure pass, Remy said, the NCAA would penalize the schools, not individual athletes. "There are two parts to this and part of this is the membership and that includes the California schools," Remy said. "Schools and universities agree to comply with the rules of (NCAA) membership and there are a set of eligibility criteria that go along with being member institution. The California schools have consented to that criterion. So in that context it would be the schools that would directly impacted."
September 11, 2019

New Mexico coach Bob Davie said he will be back eventually

New Mexico coach Bob Davie, who will miss the Lobos' trip to South Bend to face No. 7 Notre Dame because of an undisclosed health issue, said Tuesday he will eventually be back on the sidelines for the team, though it's not clear when. Davie has turned the reins of the team over to offensive line coach Saga Tuitele and he said he will leave the game planning for Saturday's matchup in the hands of his coaching staff. He said he'll be back when he's ready. "I'm smart enough to know when I'm right and when I'm not," Davie said. "So I'm not going to go charging back down that hill right away until I'm 100%. I'm going to take this slow and I'm going to do this right." Davie was taken to the hospital after having what he described as a "serious medical situation" that came on unexpectedly during New Mexico's season-opening win over Sam Houston State on Aug. 31. "I'm not being too dramatic by saying they saved my life and my family will forever be appreciative," he said. While he wouldn't elaborate on the health issue, Davie said he expects to make a full recovery. "There was no permanent damage," he said. "The immediate situation was very serious but, hopefully, as I said, there's no permanent damage and I will be able to go on to live a nice, healthy life." Davie said he was disappointed to be missing the trip to Notre Dame, where he was the head coach from 1997 to 2001. Still, he is glad the players are getting a chance to face the Irish. "Four years ago, whenever we kind of entertained the idea with this game with Notre Dame, obviously, this isn't the script we envisioned," he said. "This isn't about me, this is about the players and the coaches. To have the chance to watch the game on television, to watch our guys play, I'm excited to see it." Davie is in his eighth season leading New Mexico, where he is 34-54. He compiled a 35-25 record during his time at Notre Dame.
September 10, 2019

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