Wednesday, November 23, 2011

MLS Expansion Draft, 2011


Mere days after David Beckham, Landon Donovan, and the rest of their LA Galaxy teammates hoisted the MLS Cup, the league is busy again as the MLS Expansion Draft will be held today at 3pm EST.

The league's 18 teams and players will be holding their breath as the newest team for the 2012 season, the Montreal Impact, will select 10 players during today's draft. In the past, expansion drafts have given new teams a basis for building upon for their first season in MLS. Today will be no different, as the Impact have a host of talented players to consider choosing.

Not all current MLS players are eligible for selection. Earlier in the week MLS teams submitted a list to the league of the 11 players they were allowed to protect from being taken by the Impact. A complete list of unprotected players can be found here.

Among the top players eligible for selection are Freddy Adu (Philadelphia Union), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Bobby Convey (San Jose Earthquakes), Omar Bravo (Sporting Kansas City), and Justin Mapp (Philadelphia Union).

While we're no experts, a detailed mock draft by some experts can be found here. Do you agree with the experts or disagree? Leave us a comment down below with your thoughts.

Monday, November 21, 2011

FIlling A Legend's Shadow

For a moment, ignore the huge shadow the Sandusky scandal has left over Happy Valley. Focus instead on the game that defines the school. Focus on the (no doubt less important currently) shadow the MAN who defined Penn State for decade: Joe Paterno. Come this offseason, whoever is in charge of the new regime at Penn State will have to replace this true legend. Here are a few names to watch (and reasons why):

Greg Schiano, Rutgers head coach: Over a year ago I pegged Schiano as a potential choice to take over when Rich Rodriquez was run out of Ann Arbor, and I cited an article speculating Schiano’s been waiting to replace Joe Paterno at Penn State. It’s impossible to say what PSU will be looking for (maybe they will look for candidates without any ties to the school), but Schiano is from the area, and had moderate success at Rutgers. He’s turned down chances to take over at Miami (FL) and Michigan—would he be willing to jump into a powder keg situation in Happy Valley? If he did, he has the devotion to character that the next head coach will need.

Al Golden, Miami head coach: Had a great amount of success at Temple, and may want to get out of the mess seen in Miami with the NCAA watching closely. Would he want to jump into another situation, albeit completely different? It’s hard to say, but he exudes class and character, two things Penn State needs, along with a track record of success. Oh did I forget to mention he played three years at Penn State under Joe Pa, and was the linebackers coach in 2000 (with the aforementioned Sandusky?) He’s devoted to defense, which will fit well into the Linebacker U culture.


Kirby Smart, Alabama defensive coordinator: Here is a career SEC man who is running one of the nation’s best defenses. Penn State's witnessed this first hand in back-to-back blowout losses to the Tide. He has no head coaching experience, but the Saban effect likely wears off on him, and he’s a leading name among many circles to be head coach soon. Also, he has no connections to Penn State, for better or worse.
 

Gary Patterson, TCU head coach: This is an interesting one. He’s in a solid position at TCU, where his teams are traditionally very strong defensively (his 4-2-5 is one of the more interesting defenses in college football). He also has no clear ties to Penn State. Would he be interested in stepping into the shadow of one of the legends of the last 50 years, though? I believe he could do it, and do it well. I don’t see what he gains, however.

 


Dan Mullen, Mississippi St head coach: Here is the one and only offensive-minded head coach I can see landing in Happy Valley, because he’s also shown an ability to have teams play tough defense (his Bulldog squad is ranked 17th in the nation for points against). Gut instinct the Drexel Hill native might want to return to more of his Midwest/Mid-Atlantic roots, as he sees he cannot be top dog in the hyper competitive SEC West (Need to beat Bama, LSU, AND Arkansas? Thanks for playing). At Penn State, he has a chance to build something back. He’s a hot coaching name—I expect him to be at a different school within two years. Whether or not Penn State is that school I don’t know.

Names to ignore: Rich Rodriquez, Mike Leach, Gus Malzhan, Chip Kelly, Kirk Ferentz, Brett Bielema, Pat Fitzgerald, Mark Dantonio, Chris Peterson—The first four are all offensive genius coaches (and Kelly is in a ve ry good place currently) all of which has some past controversy following them. The last group would be silly to leave strong positions at Big Ten rivals/Boise, and many have said repeatedly they aren’t interested in other jobs.

By Ryan Pratt

Sunday, November 20, 2011

SMTSU Meeting Press Release

PHILADELPHIA, PA- This semester's trio of SMTSU meetings concluded with a very productive conversation on developing yourself as a brand with one of Drexel's graduate students, Mike Goldstein.

Mike has a rather eclectic background, having worked at events like the Super Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium and for the Football Foundation of South Africa. His career search has led him in seemingly every which direction, so he had plenty to share about topics like developing meaningful relationships and using social media to your advantage rather than your detriment.

Students at the meeting surely took some valuable points away from the talk, particularly about how to use networking to your advantage.  Mike had several good stories about how simply maintaining a relationship with a phone call or a lunch can pay enormous dividends in the end.

For the students who are just beginning to search for co-op jobs, Mike and his advice will provide a valuable resource.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The NBA: Where Nothing Happens

image: cbssports.com


As the NFL, NHL, and college football play on, the National Basketball Association is spending it's time in conference rooms arguing over percentage points. Instead of watching insane dunks, last second shots, and another incredible playoffs, NBA fans are relegated to reading about Billy Hunter, David Stern, and a bunch of rich old guys who want more money.

CBA (collective bargaining agreement) negotiations between the players association and team owners continue, with mixed information surfacing as to how far along the talks actually are. It seems like reports are written every day that contradict what was thought to be true the day before. One day it looks like they're coming really close to agreeing on something, and then the next day everything falls apart.

 Just a few days ago, the players union decertified, which lead to the NBA cancelling games through December 15. WHAT IS HAPPENING?? I can't believe we might lose a season because of the selfishness and ineptitude of both sides. First of all, these negotiations started about a month ago. The lockout began on July 1st. What happened during those 3-4 months? Not much. There was no urgency on either side to get a deal done. Both parties are to blame.

Here are the sticking points: The owners want to salvage their shaky investments by taking all they can from the players, including taking their 7% of BRI (basketball-related income) down to 50% (now probably around 47% or 48%), having shorter contracts, and having an amnesty clause and non-guaranteed contracts so they can get out of their own stupid contract decisions. The players want to get paid. They want to make as much money as possible, even if they dramatically under perform the contract that's given to them (think Rashard Lewis, Gilbert Arenas, etc.) They also want to continue to have a soft cap, meaning teams aren't strictly limited to how much money they can spend on players. The hard cap the owners want would set that limit. 

Because the owners have all of the leverage, considering they own the teams and pay the players, they control the fate of an NBA season. The only leverage the players had to threaten the owners was to decertify and file for antitrust. Instead of doing that from the beginning, the players naively tried to reason with the owners and get a deal done in good faith. The players were uninterested up until the last minute, possibly not realizing the severity and urgency of what was happening, while owners never conceded one aspect of a deal that the players wanted. Where's the leadership on the player's side? There just never seemed to be a united stand against the owners, which probably hurt them during this entire process. Now we're back to square one, with the possibility of a season looking more and more dismal with each passing day.

From the perspective of a die hard NBA fan like myself, all of this is infuriating. The only solace I can find is fantasizing about ideas like this. Bye bye NBA. See you in January. Or next year....Damn.

Here are some more of my amusing/sad/long-winded spins on the NBA's popular ad campaign from a couple of years ago. Enjoy.

The NBA, where 50/50 isn't considered equal, happens.
The NBA, where billionaires and millionaires fight for every dime, happens.
The NBA, where David Stern and Billy Hunter should just get it over with and have a no holds barred cage match fight on pay-per-view, happens.
The NBA, where Derek Fisher's sullied reputation, happens.
The NBA, where countless numbers of casual fans give up on the league and walk away, happens.

Written By Josh Brackett

Josh Brackett is a sophomore sport management student at Drexel University. For any questions, comments, or suggestions, please feel free to email him at jjb322@drexel.edu

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dragons Win ESPN Opener, Head To Virgin Islands

The Drexel Men's Basketball team tipped their season off in the right direction, beating Rider in front of a national audience. They struggled at the start, but those Drexel faithful who got up to watch (or even attend) the game would not be disappointed in the end. They've got a few days to reflect and recoup before hopping on a plane to the Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam. Drexel is one of eight teams invited to the annual tournament, including Drake, Virginia, and Marquette. Their first game is against Norfolk State on Friday, November 18. You can view the entire bracket below. 


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Marketing at the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic


The USS Carl Vinson provided a gorgeous backdrop for a memorable tip-off to the UNC Tarheels and Michigan State Spartans' 2011 basketball season. The "Quicken Loans Carrier Classic" as it was branded, featured much more than great basketball and some entertainment for our Commander in Chief- it was a well-designed marketing opportunity. Quicken Loans, the title sponsor, was an obvious beneficiary of the game's marketing draw, but some other brands, particularly Nike and Jordan, also benefited from the exposure. Above is an image found at NiceKicks.com, which has a nice post with some jaw-dropping images about the shoes the players rocked at the Carrier Classic.

Drexel Men's BBall- Preseason CAA Favorites


Most college hoops experts are picking the Dragons to finish first in the CAA this year, and with good reason. Drexel's returning most of its important players from last year's gritty team and look to be the most complete squad heading into the season. Then again, the season has yet to start so all these predictions should be taken for what they are. Here's what ESPN's Andy Katz had to say:
Drexel was picked to win the Colonial Athletic Association, a surprise to head coach Bruiser Flint and probably most everyone who follows the league. George Mason, even with a coaching change, was a fringe Top 25 team and yet the Patriots were selected second. Could Drexel come from America East and become the first team not from the state of Virginia or UNC Wilmington to win the CAA? Yes. Flint said the Dragons are more competitive in practice then he’s seen recently. But the Dragons will start the season without leading scorer, guard Chris Fouch, recovering from offseason knee surgery. Flint said he’s hopeful Fouch will be back by December. That puts pressure on the Dragons to avoid stumbling in the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas so as not to hurt a possible at-large berth.
Some fair points, and really encouraging stuff for Drexel fans. Get your coffee ready, because the Dragons kick off the season this coming Tuesday at 6 AM against Rider on ESPN.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veteran's Day

Here's a short video of US Marines handing out soccer balls to Iraqi children, a friendly reminder that sport is truly everywhere. Thanks to all those who have served and continue to serve our country!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Why Joe Paterno Is Not Solely To Blame


When the pass that is the scandal was in the air, spiraling downfield towards multiple wide open Penn State employees, the pass was dropped.  The situation has been mishandled by not one but multiple men in positions of higher authority at the school.  As we live through the horrifying scandal unfolding at Penn State University, we all try to point fingers at who is to blame.  Sometimes in situations such as this one, it is impossible to blame one person.  But what if you could blame just one person; who would it be?

Jerry Sandusky

Can we all just take a step back from the blame game for one second?  Let’s forget who did not speak up and let’s remember the essence of the charges against Penn State.  The Grand Jury Report against Jerry Sandusky does much more than raise questions about the Penn State authority figures.  The Grand Jury Report against Sandusky is graphic, disturbing, and repulsive making even ones with the strongest stomachs a bit queasy.  Sandusky violated at least eight young boys between the ages of about 7 and 15 years old.  Too much time is being spent talking about who didn’t do anything when the reason there is even a scandal right now is because of Sandusky.  Although the name Sandusky is now synonymous with the heinous actions alleged by this man, I plead that the name also bring thoughts and prayers for the well-being of the lives of the children that this man forever tarnished.

Mike McQueary

Mike McQueary is the graduate assistant who reported the most recent deviate act performed by Sandusky in 2002.  Upon discovering Sandusky with a young boy, McQueary, who was visually disturbed by what he had seen, called his father.  Eventually, McQueary told Coach Joe Paterno who then passed the information of the incident along to athletic director Tim Curley.  Great.  McQueary passed along the information to the people in charge of him.  However, the entire reason that Joe Paterno is standing trial in the court of public opinion is because he did not notify the police.  McQueary not only failed to notify the police, but he also walked away from the scene of the crime without stopping the actions of Sandusky.  We aren’t talking about an 18 year old graduate assistant here.  McQueary was at least 26 at the time of the incident.  Think about it, what would you have done in his situation?

Tim Curley and Gary Shultz

I will group both of these men together because they are in similar situations.  Curley was the athletic director and Schultz was a senior vice president for Penn State.  Both heard about the incident from either Paterno or McQueary.  It is claimed that one of these men passed along information of the incident to University Police.  As we all know nothing ever happened with that.  You can argue that Paterno had more power at the university than both of these men, however you must remember that in their job descriptions these men have a duty to fulfill and both dropped the ball.  Not only are Curley and Schultz in hot water for not passing along the information of the incident, they are also charged with perjury in continuing their cover up attempts in the Grand Jury Report.

Graham Spanier

Spanier is/was the president of Penn State University.  News of the incident did make it all the way up him.  Again, inaction on his part makes him guilty along with the rest.  Spanier is perhaps a bigger player than we expect.  In keeping the fa├žade of a moral football powerhouse, Spanier ultimately gave the “ok” to sweep this mess under the rug.  The actions of Schultz and Spanier bother me the most because they are the ones that are supposed to be neutral in not having athletics ahead of education. 

University Police

There were incidents reported on Sandusky in 1999 and 2002.  Both times the incidents did fall into the hands of the University Police.  As we clearly know, both times no legal action came of it.  In 1999, Sandusky simply got a slap on the wrist for his actions.  I think that there is a lot more information to come out and I think that the University Police will have a much bigger part in the cover up than everybody initially thought.

Dottie Sandusky

Dottie Sandusky is Jerry’s wife.  I’ve never been married before so I am just speculating here.  If my partner was constantly having little boys over and leaving to go “check on them” in the middle of the night, I think I would be a bit suspicious.  After reading the Grand Jury Report, I do not believe there is any possible way that Dottie Sandusky did not know the actions of her husband.  With that said, she is obviously as guilty as anybody here.

The actions and inactions of Penn State are despicable.  This scandal involves a lot of important people and I believe that more information will come out showing that many more important people knew.  What is getting lost in all this is that the scandal is not all Joe Paterno’s fault.  Do not confuse this with me saying that Paterno is innocent.  I believe he is far from that.  You could argue that he had a moral obligation but again that is not the law.  Paterno has simply become the face of the scandal because of his status at the school.  As much as I want to remember him for his efforts in coaching and philanthropy, his reputation is tarnished by this.  We should not take this to the extreme and praise him as an innocent godly power and we should also not say that he single-handedly ruined the school completely.  There are a lot of people to blame in this, not just JoePa.  All of the people in question here should be removed from their positions, but not until a thorough investigation is done.  They should all be put on administrative leave in the meantime.  Regardless of who you blame for this, remember to keep the victims of one man’s vicious actions in your thoughts.

Who do you blame?

-Written by Kevin Rossi

Kevin Rossi is a sophomore Sport Management major at Drexel University.  Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevin_rossi.  Comments or suggestions? Send Kevin an email at ktr36@drexel.edu.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Penn State's New Recruiting Challenge

image: sports illustrated
It's long been said that the legendary Joe Paterno has become a bit of a burden on his football team's recruiting capabilities of recent years. But nothing that Paterno has ever said or done could impact the school's recruiting more than the recent news. We see schools go through scandals of all sorts all the time, usually to make it through unscathed after maybe a few down years. But is this one different from the rest? Could this scandal irreparably damage the Nittany Lions?

Friday, November 4, 2011

U Diligence - A Necessary Precaution?

A screengrab from U Diligence's website
My professor for a class on Sport and Technology recently showed our class the website for an organization called U Diligence. In essence, athletic departments can contract U Diligence to protect their athletes and themselves. Many student athletes fail to see the ramifications of their actions online, as do many other teenagers and young adults in our country. However, for student athletes, especially those in high-profile programs, those ramifications can be exponentiated. Have a look at the disturbing images on U Diligence's website if you'd like to see what I'm talking about. The class had a very interesting discussion on whether or not what U Diligence does is right, and whether or not it's necessary. It's a thought-provoking topic, so think about it and let us know your thoughts if you'd like.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

MLB 2012 Free Agency

image via newsday.com

As we approach the start of MLB's free agency period fans around the nation can't help but think which city this year's free agents will call their home. The 2011-2012 offseason will contain some of the game's biggest stars such as Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes, Prince Fielder, and C.J. Wilson.

My biggest issue with singing these Type A free agents is deciding on how much money to give them. Take Jose Reyes for example. Reyes is already 29 years of age and as Mets fans know, has a history of some serious injuries. Despite his flaws however you could argue that Reyes is the #1 shortstop in the game. However, what has he really brought to the Mets except for one NL East title and one NL Batting Title? It bothers me how the Mets are having trouble deciding whether to bring Reyes back or not. With their current financial struggles the Mets will have a very hard time providing Reyes with the 5 or 6 year $100 mil+ contract that he is looking for. Reyes does provide that excitement that the Mets need at the top of their line-up however since 2006 the team has experienced 5 consecutive losing seasons. My answer for the Mets…DO NOT RE-SIGN JOSE REYES.

Now let's look at Albert Pujols of the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Pujols is arguably the greatest player to ever play the game. This past season at age 32 he put up a .299 BA along with 37 HR and 99 RBI. Although Pujols' numbers may be impressive it is the intangibles that matter with him. He has led the Cardinals to two World Series within the past 6 years and also led them to multiple NL Central titles. Although he is already above 30 I believe that Pujols is worth signing to a small 3 or 4 year deal. My advice to the Cardinals…RE-SIGN PUJOLS

The final free agent I want to look at is Prince Fielder. At age 31 Fielder finished 2011 with a .299 BA, 38 HR, and 120 RBI, leading the Brewers to an NL Central championship. Although the Brewers took an exit from the 2011 playoffs in the NLCS Fielder arguably led to the team to one of its most successful year. The main goal of the Brewers this offseason is to bring back Fielder. With a line-up of Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder and a rotation of Zack Greinke, Shaum Marcum, and Yovanni Gallardo the Brewers have a chance to lead the NL Central for years to come. My advice to the Brewers…RE-SIGN FIELDER.


Now I understand that not everyone may agree with my advice however from my observations of each player and team this is what I could conclude. My lifelong dream is to become a general manager of a professional baseball team and that could have possibly served as the inspiration for this piece. I hope you enjoyed reading.

-Written by Mike Scott

Please follow me on twitter at @mikeandrewscott.
For any further comments/suggestion contact Mike at mas579@drexel.edu