Highest Paid Public Employees in the U.S. are College Coaches

“Find something you love to do, and then convince people to pay you for it. As long as it’s something legal.”

That was the advice from my high school band director to a group of upperclassmen as we faced college and career decisions. We thought it was fairly original, but a look at this map from WTHR-TV shows that at least one group of professionals heard similar advice and ran with it.

highest paid employees

That’s the only way I can wrap my head around the fact that 39 of the 50 states have a sports coach as the highest paid public employee.

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Ralph Nader Wants to Eliminate Sports Scholarships

Former presidential candidate Ralph Nader plans to “de-professionalize” college athletics by getting rid of sports scholarships. Nader released his plan to cut them on Thursday. Unsurprisingly, he displays his contention for the scholarships at a time when March Madness creates a Super-Bowl-like hype for fans across the country.

“As we near the exciting conclusion of ‘March Madness’ — which would more accurately be described as the 2011 NCAA Professional Basketball Championships — it’s time we step back and finally address the myth of amateurism surrounding big-time college football and basketball in this country,” Nader said.

Nader, along with his League of Fans, hope to replace the scholarships with need-based financial aid, and he said that by eliminating them, student athletes would be less likely to have a “win-at-all-costs” attitude in high school.

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Benefit Held for James Vollmer, Paralyzed Jamestown College Athlete

James Vollmer, an outstanding Jamestown College athlete, was paralyzed in a pole-vaulting accident on December 1st. He missed the mat and severed his spinal cord, leaving him with “just a 5 percent chance of walking again.” He’s currently in a 12 week program at The Craig Institute in Denver, which is known for its specialization in brain and spinal cord injuries.

Although Vollmer’s doctors report only a slim chance of full recovery, some people are still holding on to hope. One of his coaches, Bud Etzold said, “James is one of those guys that someday I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see him in the Boston Marathon in one of those wheelchair deals. Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him beat the odds and be on his feet one day, either. James Vollmer is one of those kids you wouldn’t ever bet against.” Either way, it sounds like no one expects to see Vollmer give up. As it is, he’s scheduled to finish his 12-week program in Denver two weeks early. Coach Ed Crawford describes Vollmer as driven, committed, positive and confident. Although he may face some serious obstacles, nothing will stop this multiple-sport athlete from moving forward.

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Nastasia Liukin’s Education Background

Anastasia (Nastia) Liukin was born in 1989 in Moscow to a family of gymnasts. Although she says education is very important to her, gymnastics is her passion. She became involved in the sport while in elementary school and continued through high school, where she attended Spring Creek Academy in Plano, Texas.

In 2008 she was accepted to the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, but her busy schedule made her drop out until January of 2010. She is now back in school where she is majoring in international business and will focus on school until she graduates.

Nastia has been winning awards all her life. She is an Senior International Elite gymnast, the 2008 Olympic All-Around Champion, five time Olympic medalist, four time World Champion, nine time World medalist, four time U.S. National Champion and has won two American Cup titles and both a Senior and Junior Pacific Rim Championship.

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College Athletes Don’t Really Get a “Full Ride”

footballAthletes give us something to get excited about while we are in college. Whether they are shooting baskets, scoring touchdowns, or crossing the finish line first, college athletes are an integral group of students at every school. It makes sense that these athletes – who are almost seen as heroes at some schools – should receive some sort of compensation for their efforts, which is why most people think athletes receive full scholarships to the school they attend. However, a new report shows this isn’t true.

Researchers at Ithaca College recently reported that the “average ‘full scholarship’ Division I athlete winds up having to pay $2,951 annually on school-related expenses.” These expenses include everything from campus parking permits to school supplies.

“It’s really deceptive to use the words ‘full scholarship,'” said Ramogi Huma, head of the National College Players Association. “There’s never an explanation for recruited athletes that the price for attending school falls short of the scholarship amount.” Read the rest of this entry »

Cycling Scholarships Draw Attention During Tour de France

woman cyclingThe Tour de France is an annual bicycle race that is the most well-known and prestigious of the cycling tournaments known as the “Grand Tours.” The other two Grand Tours are the Giro d’Italia, held annually in May, and the Vuelta a Espana, held in August and September annually in Spain.

The Tour de France lasts three weeks and covers approximately 2,200 miles (3,600 kilometers) throughout France and some bordering countries.

The race is divided into day-long stages and the individual finish times from each stage are totaled to determine the overall winner at the conclusion of the race. The last leg of the race, since 1975, has been along the Champs-Élysées in Paris. Read the rest of this entry »

Title IX Helps Keep Schools Equal

Image via:

Image via:

Title IX is often referred to when speaking about high school or college athletics. It’s part of the Education Amendments of 1972 and ironically, when it was originally written there was no mention of sports in the statute.

Title IX was renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act in 2002 to honor the principal author of the act, Congresswoman Patsy Mink.

The official language of Title IX says “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.”

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NFL Draft 2010 Top 10 Includes Number One Sam Bradford

sam bradford nfl draft

Number one draft choice Sam Bradford selected by the St. Louis Rams. (photo via New York Times)

Last night Twitter had #NFLdraft as a trending topic as football fans across the country tuned in to see who the teams would select during the first round of the 75th annual NFL Draft. Selected players repeatedly said how special and monumental this day was for them and the football coaches all expressed their hope and enthusiasm for the upcoming football season.

The NFL Draft event continues through the weekend and allows teams in the National Football League to choose new players for their franchises. This event is always an exciting day for the sport of football as the American pastime continues to grow, and while they players and coaches recognize the importance of game innovation, they honor the traditions set forth by strong foundations.

The top ten draft choices for the 2010 Draft were as follows. The number one pick, Sam Bradford, was no real surprise to anyone. What was surprising was seeing three of top four draft choices hail from Oklahoma. In addition, not seeing Tim Tebow go in the first round (went 25th to the Denver Broncos). Read the rest of this entry »

Should NCAA Teams Be Disqualified Based on Graduation Rates?

ncaaThe U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, has high expectations for college basketball players. Duncan recently stated his opinion that if at least 40 percent of a college’s players do not graduate, that team should be banned from any NCAA tournament. Duncan’s statement was based off the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport’s annual report of graduation rates for NCAA basketball teams. This report showed several of the top teams in the nation as being at the bottom of the list.

However, does graduation rate really matter when you are talking about college basketball players? The University of Maryland coach Gary Williams doesn’t think so:

“Obviously, those years we had players leave early and they’re millionaires now, and they’re coming back to get their degrees, just like other guys have come back and gotten their degrees,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

Northern Iowa Upsets Kansas in NCAA Tournament

Facebook statuses took on a shocked tone on Saturday night. Some were devastated; others were elated. What caused this uproar? Three words: Sweet 16 Upset.kansas upset

Nobody saw it coming, but No. 9 Northern Iowa beat No. 1 Kansas in a 69-67 win.

“This team has done such a great job of turning the page to what’s next, and this would be the biggest challenge of the year,” Ben Jacobson, the Northern Iowa coach, said. “A lot of positive things have happened because of the way these guys played.”

With only 34 seconds left in the game, Ali Farokhmanesh took a three-point shot and sunk the basket. Kansas could have still saved the game, but Tyrel Reed had an offensive foul, and Farokhmanesh sealed the deal with two free throws. This will be Northern Iowa’s first time to make it to the Sweet 16. Read the rest of this entry »


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