All posts by Chris.Friedkin

Com 370

The reason why I took this class was to better understand the field I wanted to go into my whole life. The Sports Journalism class kind of served as a wakeup call for me. I always wanted to be a sports broadcaster and I was adamant that nothing was going to stop me in my journey to becoming that. Until I took this class, I was able to speak to professionals who told me that it is a tough business to get into. When I thought about it more, I figured out that where I am in my life, I don’t need competition. What I do need is a job to help paying off student debts. Since talking to some people, I have figured I will reconstruct my future to go into Athletic Communications instead of broadcasting because the jobs seem to be there more than broadcasting. It’s a bitter pill to swallow because I have been working to become a broadcaster for eight years and I would do almost anything to become a broadcaster after this winter is over. That is just one of the many things this class has taught me throughout the semester.

I came into the semester knowing it would be a class that I needed to work hard in because of how it was structured. I am someone who never did well in school and I really wanted to leave a lasting impression this semester. But, as the semester went on and I just couldn’t get my act together to fix silly little mistakes, my work ethic dropped significantly. I only have, myself to blame and it sucks that my best work to show for this semester was about an eight or nine. That was just one struggle I had through the class. The second struggle comes with keeping up with work. I feel like the pace of the class was fast and I sometimes am okay with that. But, as the semester went on I started getting worked up with how much work I had in this class on top of my three other courses. It turned into prioritizing which class meant the most to me and since I wasn’t taking this class for a grade my work fell down the ladder and didn’t get as much attention as it really deserved.

There is a lot of things I liked about the class though. For starters, I really enjoyed talking to some of the big names in the sports industry today. Especially Gerry Sandusky. I thought he was the best guest because he had such an interesting story. Not only his story, but his job is what enticed me the most about him. I also enjoyed the blogs when I had the time to think and write what I wanted. I would’ve really enjoyed taking this class when I was a younger student and when I had more time to dedicate to each class. Unfortunately, I was not able to show the best me and I really wish I could have.

Pay to Play: Should it Happen?

In 2015, the Northwestern University Football team decided it would attempt to change the history of collegiate athletics. It started when Kain Colter, the quarterback of the Northwestern Wildcats’ 2010-2013 football program, wanted to unionize the team and start collecting pay for playing for the Northwestern program. During the regular season in 2013, Colter, along with 10 teammates and some players from University of Georgia and Georgia Tech University wore black wristbands with the hashtag “#APU”, which stands for, “All Players United.”

In March 2014, the Chicago district of the National Labor Relations Board ruled that players on the Northwestern football team were considered employees and had the ability to unionize. Northwestern football coach, Pat Fitzgerald, who currently makes $2 million a year, urged his players to vote against unionizing. After Northwestern heard that the courts were going to allow the players to Unionize, it asked the NLRB to take another look at what they would be allowing. On August 17, 2015, the NLRB overturned its decision to allow the players to unionize.

This is the most recent occurrence where players tried to make a push for being paid to play. But, there have been outside discussions by scholars and analysts on the pros and cons of paying college athletes. Andrew Zimbalist, the author of the book, “The Bottom Line,” writes the cons of paying athletes and how paying them would affect all the sports in the NCAA. Malcom Lemmons, a contributor for the Huffington Post, wrote a post where he talks about the pros and the cons of paying these athletes to play.

One of the biggest arguments that Zimbalist makes so players won’t get paid is that if you pay players on the football team, how would sports like field hockey get any compensation? There is no argument that football, basketball, and soccer pull bigger crowds than field hockey, so those players wouldn’t be able to be paid because they simply don’t make as much money. He also makes the argument in his book, “The Bottom Line,” that if you pay a star athlete on the basketball team $30,000 for their playing time on the team he would be making significantly less money than if the player had their whole college tuition paid for them. That includes: room, board, books, and travel expenses. All those expenses would be covered under their full scholarship with the institution.

According to Wyatt Eaton, the Assistant Athletic Communications Director at Elizabethtown College, “I don’t think Division I athletes should be paid, because not all schools are on an equal playing field in terms of money generation. The bigger programs have a far better advantage than the smaller institutions, and while those student-athletes may be putting in the same types of hours between school and sports, essentially like a full-time job in and of itself, the smaller schools would not be able to pay nearly as well (or as much) as a bigger school would. In the age of equality, both in terms of size and gender in regard to college athletics, it’s not going to be fair, thus it should not be allowed.”

If each player was paid how much the scholarship was worth than some of the players wouldn’t receive anything and the star players would be paid a little bit over the actual scholarship. To the players, it isn’t a big deal; they only attend college for one or two years until they move on to future careers in their respective leagues. So why make such a big deal about being paid to play? The school already pays for the players food, education, and living so the players will attract more players to their school.

Some positives of paying student athletes are presented by Lemmons. The players could contribute to their families, they might stay in school longer, and paying them what they should be getting. When players come to college, they sometimes leave a whole different life behind. Some come from a life where they didn’t get everything growing up and their parents would have to work a couple jobs just to support their kids. A lot of players come from urban, low-income families. The players want to be able to pay their families back for all the sacrifice and work their family has gone through to put them through school. Also, if schools decided they were going to pay their athletes, they may get the athlete to stay in school longer and make a better image for the institution. The last reason is that paying the student athletes would mean they are receiving the money they deserve because they put countless hours in the gym and practicing with the team. They also give a lot of publicity to the institution. A lot of people unfortunately pick schools based on athletics and they base it solely off that fact that that school has a good athletics department.

Zimbalist mentions a couple fixes to the problem of paying athletes to allow them to feel like they are making something. Allow the athletes to compete and get paid in the summer months when they are not competing for the institution, another reform could be that they could be allowed to be able to enter in the professional drafts and still be able to be a student of the college. Or let them take out an insurance with the NCAA incase they get injured and it ends their career. There are so many fixes to competing at such an elevated level like some basketball and football players compete at and they aren’t compensated for their time and performance in their opinions. As of right now, there isn’t any talk about adding anything to compensate the NCAA players for their work and dedication to their programs. While Zimbalist makes the argument that players should never be paid unless certain things happen, Lemmon makes a very good argument on why players should be paid. Players try to support their families and make extra revenue for their institution.  Northwestern made a serious push to unionize and make money for playing football, it looks like this discussion will be continuing a lot longer than anyone hopes, and it doesn’t look like there will be a change anytime soon.

A Golf Legend Makes His Return

Tiger Woods has been one of the most infamous names in the Professional Golfers’ Association. Adultery, injuries, family tragedies, poor performances, all played a key role in Woods’ career and today, he took another shot at the sport for the ninth time in his career. Before I talk about Woods returning to play in 2017, I should mention how Woods played coming back from a break the other nine times.

In 2006, Woods returned to the course after taking a two month break after his father passed away. Woods missed the Masters and participated in the Winged Foot for the U.S. Open. Woods did well in the practice round but once he got to the real tournament, he shot two 76’s and missed the cut for the first time in a major. In 2008, Woods had surgery on his knee just two days after the Masters. When the doctors found two stress fractures in his left tibia, Woods was told not to play until he had some rest. Woods didn’t listen and instead participated in the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines and won in a playoff. In 2009, Woods finally fully recovered from his knee surgery after nine months and he competed at the Match Play Championship and won in the first round. In the second round, Woods lost.

In 2010, the news of the affairs Woods had come out to the public and he disappeared for two months. After five months, Woods decided to play in the Masters and finished tied for fourth. In 2011, Woods withdrew from play at The Players Championship with leg injuries. He came back to compete at the Bridgestone Invitational and tied for 37th. He then missed the cut for the PGA Championship.

June, 2014, marked Woods’ first back surgery and this made him miss the Masters. He returned and missed the cut in the Quicken Loans National at Congressional. In 2014, Woods pulled out of Firestone in the final round with back pain. He later decided he would take the rest of the year off. When he came back he competed in the Hero World Challenge at Isleworth. Woods tied for 17th out of 18 golfers.

In 2015, when things weren’t going right for Woods, he took time off to fix it and when he came back he competed in the Masters where he tied for 17th. Woods stopped competing after the Wyndham Championship that same year. In 2017, Woods announced he was getting his fourth back surgery and would be golfing for the first time in a PGA Tournament on November 30th in the Bahamas for the Hero World Challenge

After a 10-month break,  Woods finished 3 Under and tied for eighth in the four-day tournament with no cuts. Another major factor about why this return is so special for Woods is the fact that the host of the tournament is Woods himself. So the homecoming has started out on a good note for the future PGA Hall of Famer and it looks like he is back for awhile saying, “Last year, I got tired.You could see I was 3- or 4-under par and then make a couple of doubs (double bogeys), a couple of bogeys here and there and lost the round. This year, obviously with my back better, my training sessions have been much better, my strength is up, and I didn’t feel tired at all, which is great.”

Eye Of The Storm

Coaches always make an impact on their players. For Pat Summitt, she revolutionized the world of Women’s College Basketball. Through her dedication to her team, she was able make Women’s basketball so popular, people started filling out tournament brackets and predicting winners. Eyes of The Storm features Pat Summitt as she goes to recruit Michelle Marciniak who was considered one of the best players in the country when comparing point guards.
When Summitt went to Marciniak’s house to recruit her she was pregnant and on the verge of labor. In the middle of the spiel she gives to recruits, Summitt went into labor and had to leave. Marciniak knew she wanted to play for Summitt. One day when Marciniak was going to an AAU game a coach told her that her rival recruit had committed to Tennessee University when she was going to announce that same day. Marciniak then decided she was going to destroy Summitt in competition when the season came by going to Norte Dame University. After a lot of back and forth between Marciniak and Summitt, the two were able to settle differences and win a national championship. This piece brings people to think about their coaches when they were growing up and how much they have effected their lives.
When I was in high school I played baseball for our Varsity team for all four of my four years. My final record when I was finished was 19-52. This was because in my freshman and sophomore years of playing, the team went 0-18, and 0-17. That was under one coach. After my sophomore season, that coach quit and we hired Coach Clark. Someone we had taken a risk in hiring because he didn’t have much experience but had a good personality. Coach Clark came in and started working us hard. Improving our record to 6-12 this was a lot better than we had expected and we started playing like a team. My senior year was completely different. Our final record was 13-5 and we were one game short from making it to the state tournament and winning the schools first conference title in baseball since 1976. Coach Clark changed a lot of people’s lives. He took a team that was fighting everyday to a team made up of best friends and actually playing the sport. He has changed my life like Pat Summitt has to so many people. I don’t think the two should be on the same level because Summitt has touched thousands of players, kids, women nationwide through her perseverance to become the best in the country in what she does. She has won more than five national championships and she is easily one of the best women’s basketball coaches, if not the best coach, in sports history.

Another Player Lost

Over the past couple years, we, as fans of baseball, have had some of the most successful and the players who had a whole career still in front of them taken from this world and moved into “The Field of Dreams”. Most recently, Major League Baseball lost one of the most historic pitchers in recent memory. Roy Halladay passed away last week and left the country in shock. Jose Fernandez died in 2016 when he was involved with a boat crash and Yordano Ventura was another player who passed away within the last year. While these are only three names, there are many young players and veterans of the game who have been dying too young.

Every fan of baseball will remember where they were when they heard that “Doc” Roy Halladay, 40 years old, crashed off the coast of Florida and has passed away. The ace of the 2010 Philadelphia Phillies and one of the few pitchers who has thrown two no-hitters in the same season. One of those no-hitters came in the NLDS where the Phillies were playing the San Francisco Giants. It was reported that Halladay was attempting to do barrel rolls and he had lost control of the plane. Halladay leaves behind his wife of 19 years and two children.

Yordano Ventura was another pitcher who died on January 22, 2017. He was 25 years old and had a very bad car accident in the Dominican Republic, where he called home. While going around a turn in his custom-built Jeep. It overturned, and he was presumed dead on the site. He was found not under the influence. This comes very upsetting because Ventura was coming off his best season and a World Series win for the Kansas City Royals.

For Jose Fernandez, this is a player just starting his career and showing a lot of promise for the Miami Marlins. He was 24 years old and died on September 25, 2016, Fernandez crashed his boat off the coast of Miami Beach and was killed along with a couple of friends who were on the boat. After the toxicology report came out, it was found that he was highly intoxicated and had cocaine in his system. Although Fernandez wasn’t driving the boat but unfortunately, he should be held responsible. It is very sad that this had happened to him because he had many more years going for him.

Players die every year. But, some die way too soon, and it makes fans of the sport wonder, what is it that is leading some of these players to death. I feel that it might be the amount of money each player gets paid. Let’s talk about Jose Fernandez first. Since he wasn’t off arbitration from the Marlins, he was being paid 2.8 million dollars. That is a lot of money for a 24-year-old to handle. It almost seems like it would make some players feel like they are invincible. It is a shame that we lose so many young players year after year. Let’s hope this is not a trend and the amount of players dying each year starts to dwindle.