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Michael Phelps Attended the University of Michigan While Training for the Olympics

Sports enthusiasts know that when it comes to Olympic greatness, Michael Phelps holds the crown. In London alone Phelps dominated his opponents to bring home four gold and two silver medals, which made the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 total medals. If that isn’t bragging rights, I’m not sure what is.

But before Olympic fame and glory there was education, which is an important thing to remember for young athletes aspiring to walk in Phelps’ footsteps. And even though Phelps never pursued a formal degree, he did still see value in taking classes and coupling athletics with academics as an intentional career move.

Phelps, who was born and raised in Towson, Maryland, attended Towson High School where he graduated in 2003. While he started swimming at the ripe age of seven, it wasn’t until later that he realized his true talent. A series of swim clubs and competitions led to his qualifying for the 2000 Summer Olympics at age 15, at which point he became the youngest male athlete to make a US Olympic team in 68 years. And even though he didn’t win any medals, his next three Olympic appearances would more than make up for it. Read the rest of this entry »



LSU Leads Preseason College Football Rankings for 2012

In the world of college sports, back-to-school time truly only means one thing… college football season is on its way. USA Today has released their annual coaches poll for the top 25 teams for preseason college football rankings.

In the Southeastern Conference, seven of their teams made the top 25, and five of those are in the top ten. In the last six consecutive years, the Southeastern Conference has managed to take every BCS title. Leading the preseason rankings in the number spot is last year’s SEC champion LSU, followed by Alabama who beat out LSU for the BCS title.

This year is the first time since USA Today Sports started their coaches poll in 1991 that the team seated in the number one spot had fewer votes than the team placed in the second spot. Another record in this year’s preseason rankings is the tightest spread of 15 points among the top three teams in the poll.

The number one team, LSU, will be returning 15 of last year’s starters as well as 41 team members who lettered last year. Coach Les Miles was quoted as saying the team is fortunate to be in a place that allows them to compete for such a spot. “We recognize that it is more of a reflection of a body of work and understand that right now, it’s a spot that we hold and not one that has been earned. It’s a position that we enjoy. Now we have to go out and play in order to keep it,” he said.

There are six teams in the top 25 rankings that come from the Big 12 Conference, including the conference’s newcomers. Among those are last year’s preseason number one Oklahoma and newcomers TCU and West Virginia. After losing two key players to the NFL draft, Oklahoma State University has dropped to number 19, even after finishing last year’s season as the number three team in the country. Read the rest of this entry »



Title IX Empowered U.S. Swimmer Dana Vollmer to Grab Olympic Gold

Before 1972, female athletes practically didn’t exist beyond high school. Not only were women unable to participate in college sports because of their gender, there simply weren’t teams and programs in place for them to sign up for. But that all changed with Title IX.

The Title IX legislation was a portion of the Education Amendments of 1972, which stated in part that: “No Person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

The initial Title IX draft prepared in 1970, mentioned little of women’s athletics and its focus was instead on the hiring and employment practices of federally financed institutions. After two years of legislation, Title IX became law on July 23, 1972. However, it wasn’t until later – even 1988 – that it was ever fully carried out as the law had to be restored after essentially being ignored by college institutions for years. Read the rest of this entry »



10 College Athletes to Watch at the Olympics

Classes begin in just a few weeks for college students. For those who are returning from a summer break, the tricky transition of balancing classes, homework, a job, and a social life begins once more.

Imagine if you had to add “catching up” to the list because you’ll be missing the first few days of class due to the Olympics. Not from watching the games or even attending, but because you’ll be competing in the international event. Many of Team USA’s athletes will be missing class this semester while they go for the gold in London. In fact, 5/8 of the US men’s Olympic gymnasts are University of Oklahoma students!

USA Today recently compiled a list of 10 college Olympians to keep your eye on during these summer games. Read the rest of this entry »



Penn State Slammed with $60 Million Fine and 4-Year Bowl Ban after Sandusky Cover Up

By Dana Shultz

Pennsylvania State was dealt a heavy blow on Monday for its involvement in the child sexual abuse scandal that was centered around former football coach Jerry Sandusky. The NCAA handed Penn State a $60 million fine, banned the football team from competing in bowl games for four years, and vacated all of the team’s wins from 1998 to 2011. As well, legendary former coach Joe Paterno’s statue on campus will soon be removed.

After news of the scandal broke late last year, a grand jury investigation led to Sandusky being indicted on 52 counts of child molestation. Sandusky had founded the charity Second Mile in 1977, which aimed to help young boys in State College, Pennsylvania. The first investigation of sexual abuse took place in 1998, but no formal charges were filed. It wasn’t until 2008 that the mother of the first victim came forward and accused Sandusky of inappropriately touching her son when he was 11 or 12 years old.

The instances of abuse took place between 1994 and 2009, and some suspect even as early as the 1970s. Perhaps even more concerning was that Sandusky performed these acts either on or near Penn State campus. Read the rest of this entry »



Baseball as a Road to God: This NYU Class Isn’t as Crazy as It Sounds

What do Joe DiMaggio, Lord Krishna, Ernest Hemingway, and a sacred tree in South America have in common? No, the answer is not a bad joke like your dad might tell. Instead, these four things are all part of the subject material for a course that is currently being taught at New York University called “Baseball as a Road to God.”

Dr. John Sexton is teaching this class to 18 undergraduates at NYU. Some of them are serious baseball fans, while others don’t really know or care what Babe Ruth’s curse is. However, they all are in process of “touching the ineffable,” as Sexton describes what students are learning in the course.

“The real idea of the course,” Sexton said, is to develop heightened sensitivity and a noticing capacity. So baseball’s not ‘the’ road to God. For most of us, it isn’t ‘a’ road to God. But it’s a way to notice, to cause us to live more slowly and to watch more keenly and thereby to discover the specialness of our life and our being, and for some of us, something more than our being.” Read the rest of this entry »



Shaquille O’Neal Earns Doctorate Degree, Shares Views on Education

This spring Shaquille O’Neal earned his doctorate degree in Organizational Learning and Leadership from Barry University the old fashioned way: by spending his days in a library instead of on a basketball court. No honorary degree for this guy!

“I’m as proud of this as anything I have accomplished in my life,” O’Neal wrote in an article for USA Today.

Wait, wait, wait. Is he really saying that earning a little piece of paper is as important to him as his career in the NBA? What would make someone think that way?

“I was fortunate to have a mother who understood the value of education, even as she saw me join the NBA,” he continued. “…My mom knew that education not only would help me down the road, it also would make me a better person.”

O’Neal was studying for his bachelor’s degree at Louisiana State University when he was drafted into the NBA. He was in his junior year and only had a few more classes to take before he would have his bachelor’s degree. Instead of giving up on his education and focusing only on his career in the NBA, he took correspondence classes in order to earn his degree. Read the rest of this entry »



Penn State Pays Joe Paterno’s Estate Millions to Avoid Lawsuit

In a move that could be seen as being overtly sympathetic, Penn State announced that it plans on giving the late Joe Paterno‘s estate and family millions of dollars worth of payments and benefits as part of his employment contract. So far, the school has given the family four checks, which totaled more than $3 million. These payments were for bonuses that Paterno would have gotten for his work during the season, bowl game, and his entire career. The school has also promised the family the use of a suite in Beaver Stadium for the next 25 years.

Sadly, the family’s lawyer says that they still have the right to sue the school. The lawyer, Wick Sollers, says that there hasn’t been any sort of settlement reached between the school and Paterno’s estate.

“However, there has been a straightforward payment of moneys indisputably owed to the Paterno estate,” he said. “The university had requested that the family agree to a full release in return for the payments under the contract. That request was declined and no release was signed.” Read the rest of this entry »



High School Chant Gets Blown Out of Proportion

Since when does a group of high school students chanting “USA! USA!” during a school sporting event earn national media coverage? The answer seems to be “since now.”

During a recent high school basketball state playoff game in San Antonio, TX, a group of high school students who attend Alamo Heights High School began chanting the symbolic letters after their school’s team beat their rival, Edison High.

The seemingly-innocent chant has gained a lot of attention from news sources such as MSNBC, USA Today, and The Huffington Post, because it supposedly intersects race, sports, and politics. You see, the students at Alamo Heights are mostly white, but the students who attend Edison High are mostly Hispanic. Does it make a little more sense now?

When the students started chanting, Andrew Brewer, the head coach of the basketball team, quickly silenced them; the chanting only lasted about five seconds. The school superintendent, Kevin Brown, apologized for the students’ behavior and said that they would not be allowed to attend the state semifinal games as a punishment. However, these actions were not enough to please Gil Garza. Garza made a complaint to the governing body of Texas public schools three days after the event.

Read the rest of this entry »



Kendall Marshall’s Wrist Injury Fractures His Hopes of Playing in Sweet 16

By Lacy J. Hansen

It was a bitter-sweet win and advancement to the Sweet 16 for the North Carolina Tar Heels last night. The team’s star player, Kendall Marshall, fractured his wrist during the game.

Marshall is referred to as North Carolina’s most indispensable player. He’s had an incredible season serving as the team’s starting point guard. In the NCAA tournament game against Creighton last night, Marshall fractured his right wrist as he was driving to the rim. It happened late in the game and Marshall actually continued playing with the injury.

There’s a reason Marshall is one of the nation’s top point guard – the sophomore scored 18 more points and earned 36 assists as he played another 36 minutes with a broken wrist.

After the Tar Heels claimed victory over Creighton and officially advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament, Marshall showed his first signs of injury. He shook the other team’s hands with his left hand to protect his right. He was immediately taken for evaluation and discussion with his doctor and family. Read the rest of this entry »





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