Sports Outside the Beltway

Cornell wraps up Ivy League title and NCAA tournament bid with 95-76 win over Brown

Only 63 more teams to go. From AP-

Cornell became the first team this season to earn an NCAA tournament bid, clinching its third straight Ivy League championship by beating Brown 95-76 on Friday night with a record-tying display of 3-point shooting.

The Big Red (26-4, 12-1) made 20 of 30 attempts from 3-point range and held Brown to 30 percent shooting in the second half while cruising to their 24th victory in 26 games.

Cornell tied an Ivy League record for 3s in a game and increased its season total to 292, also a conference mark. In doing so, the Big Red wrapped up their fourth Ivy League title — securing the fifth NCAA tournament berth in school history.

Cornell will be making their 5th tournament appearance. They lost in the first round as a #14 seed the last two years. Coming off a near upset of #1 Kansas, the Big Red look to have a much better chance of advancing this year.


Penn hires Mike McLaughlin to coach women’s basketball

He replaces the recently fired Patrick Knapp. From AP-

Mike McLaughlin is the new women’s basketball coach at the University of Pennsylvania, joining the Ivy League school after winning more than 400 games at Division II Holy Family University.

Penn athletic director Steve Bilsky announced the hiring Friday. McLaughlin replaces Patrick Knapp, who was fired last month after going 48-90 overall and 28-42 in the Ivy in five seasons with the Quakers.

McLaughlin went 407-61 in 14 seasons at Holy Family and won his 400th game faster than any women’s coach in NCAA history. He reached the milestone in 459 games, beating former Louisiana Tech coach Leon Barmore, who needed 463.

That’s an incredible record. That said, it will take more than few miracles for McLaughlin to do the same at Penn.


Stampeding fans lead to scoring error

Some Ivy Leaguers have basketball fever. From AP-

A jubilant throng of Cornell fans surging onto the court led to a scoring mistake when the Big Red clinched the Ivy League title by beating Penn on Friday night.

Cornell won the game 83-58 — or so everyone thought.

A Cornell spokesman said Saturday there were several changes from the final minute that weren’t noted until hours later because the courtside scorekeepers’ computer was demolished by several thousand stampeding fans.

The final score should have been 83-59.

No harm done at least.


Yale head football Coach Jack Siedlecki retires

His tenure in New Haven lasted 12 years and resulted in two Ivy League championships. From AP-

Yale football coach Jack Siedlecki announced he is retiring after 12 years and two Ivy League championships, but he’ll be staying at the university to become assistant athletic director.

Siedlecki was 70-47 and 47-37 in the conference during his tenure in New Haven, which included sharing league championships with Brown in 1999 and Princeton in 2006.

The Bulldogs were 9-0 heading into last year’s final game and looking for their first perfect season since 1960, but lost to Harvard. Yale finished this season 6-4, including 4-3 in the conference and a 10-0 loss to Harvard in the 125th edition of “The Game.”

Siedlecki took the helm after Hall of Fame coach Carm Cozza retired in 1996 after 32 seasons. Only Cozza was head coach at Yale longer.

“I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished over 12 years,” Siedlecki said in a statement Wednesday. “I have been given an opportunity to stay affiliated with Yale Athletics for the balance of my career, and I deeply appreciate that.”

It wasn’t immediately clear Wednesday why Siedlecki was retiring.

So he can be assistant athletic director? Where did I read that before?

Happy trails coach.


Harvard men’s basketball team to be investigated for recruiting violations

Say it ain’t so.

The Ivy League and Harvard will review whether recruiting violations were made by the Crimson men’s basketball program.

A story in The New York Times on Sunday chronicled, among other issues, recruiting efforts by a man who is now an assistant coach at Harvard, and how those efforts might have been in violation of NCAA rules.

“We’re going to do what needs to be done, and it’s going to be done in a timely way,” Jeff Orleans, the Ivy League executive director, told The Times for Wednesday’s editions.

Kenny Blakeney, the top assistant on coach Tommy Amaker’s staff, reportedly visited two recruits — Max Kenyi, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard from Washington, D.C., and Keith Wright, a 6-7 forward from Norfolk, Va., when in-person contact is not allowed.

Kenyi told The Times that Blakeney had played basketball with him in June or July 2007. Wright told The Times that Blakeney had visited him at one of his summer basketball team practices in Norfolk, saying, “He actually got to play with us, because he wasn’t actually on Harvard’s staff … He didn’t sign anything yet, so he got to play with us, and we talked and exchanged numbers.”

Harvard announced Blakeney’s hiring on July 2, 2007. In addition, visits such as Blakeney’s may still be a violation, according to NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson, because the rules state, “Should a coach recruit on behalf of a school but not be employed there, he or she is then considered a booster and that recruiting activity is not allowed.”

Should a school be punished for the actions of a coach before he worked for the school? Some NCAA rules seem silly to me.

A Ivy league school being investigated is not unheard of. A google search found this article on Brown. Learn something new every day.


No more fencing at Yale University?

The latest overreaction in the wake of the Virginia Tech slayings.

In the wake of Monday’s massacre at Virginia Tech in which a student killed 32 people, Dean of Student Affairs Betty Trachtenberg has limited the use of stage weapons in theatrical productions.

Students involved in this weekend’s production of “Red Noses” said they first learned of the new rules on Thursday morning, the same day the show was slated to open. They were subsequently forced to alter many of the scenes by swapping more realistic-looking stage swords for wooden ones, a change that many students said was neither a necessary nor a useful response to the tragedy at Virginia Tech.

According to students involved in the production, Trachtenberg has banned the use of some stage weapons in all of the University’s theatrical productions. While shows will be permitted to use obviously fake plastic weapons, students said, those that hoped to stage more realistic scenes of stage violence have had to make changes to their props.

Trachtenberg could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

If theatrical swords are considered offensive to someone’s sensibilities, a commenter at The Volokh Conspiracy said- “I wonder if Dean Trachtenberg realizes that elsewhere, the university encourages sword-wielding psychos to practice their craft.”


Yes we mustn’t have this either. Go Dean Betty Trachtenberg!(Cue the sarcastic laughter)


Reggie Williams for NFL Commish?

Richard Lapchick hopes the NFL gives serious consideration to former Cincinnati Bengals lineman Reggie Williams to replace Paul Tagliabue as its next commissioner.

Reggie Williams is being considered for the commissioner’s position in the NFL. While I know that he is an out-of-the-box choice, I have known Reggie since the 1980s and hope that he is chosen to succeed Paul Tagliabue. I consider him to be an out-of-the-box candidate because he is not currently an NFL insider, and there has never been an African-American commissioner in any major pro sport. Reggie has been an out-of-the-box person his entire life, battling and overcoming any obstacles in his path. I have no doubt that he can tackle the challenge of taking on the top job in the NFL with the same success.

Right now, he’s battling his damaged knees. All that time as a player on the football field led him to his ninth knee surgery on July 3, and recovery from that is not the way he wanted to celebrate the Fourth of July. But nothing seems to be able to stop this man. I know he will be slower, physically, for a while, but the surgery won’t slow down his brain or his guts. If the NFL calls him for a second interview, Williams’ determination and confidence will be apparent to the people in the room, even if he’s on crutches.

For more than two decades, I have watched other people be dazzled by that determination and that confidence. Reggie Williams knows he can do the job. He has always faced skeptics. The kids in Flint, Mich., where he grew up, were tough on him. As kids often do, they teased him unmercifully for a profound loss of hearing, suffered at birth, which made communication difficult for him. He withdrew into his studies and developed his athletic gifts, while he worked on his ability to speak through therapy at The Michigan School for the Deaf in Flint. Bo Schembechler, then the football coach at Michigan, was a skeptic, too. Schembechler didn’t think he was good enough to play in Ann Arbor, and ended Reggie’s dream of playing for the Wolverines. He went on to star in the Ivy League; but near the end of his career at Dartmouth College, some NFL scouts were skeptical he could play pro ball. Chosen in the third round by Cincinnati, Williams played in Super Bowls XVI and XXIII. His 23 fumble recoveries are among the most in NFL history, and his 62.5 sacks are well up on the Bengals’ career list.

Until Williams pushed aside the next set of skeptics and became a member of the Cincinnati City Council, no athlete I know of had ever held public office while he was still an active player.

I first met Williams when we both testified before a Senate sub-committee. Sen. Bill Bradley was attempting to get colleges and universities to publish graduation rates. They do it now as a matter of routine; but in the 1980s, grad rates were a murky — and often scandalous — secret. Most athletes were afraid to speak out about social issues. Arthur Ashe and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were among the very few famous African-American athletes willing to be heard on the subject of academics and athletics, but Williams stood tall in his push for increased academic standards for student-athletes.

It was not a fashionable position to take, but Reggie wanted all young people to be able to reach their full potential. He told the sub-committee that day that if a kid had athletic gifts, he or she needed to be a student first. You could see the admiration in which he was held by the Senators in the chamber. He was an orator, leading people. I thought that day that he could be a Senator himself. Or perhaps a minister leading his flock.


Before he stopped playing, Williams won the Byron “Whizzer” White Award for humanitarian services from the NFL in 1985 and was named the NFL Man of the Year in 1986 and Sports Illustrated’s Co-Sportsman of the Year in 1987. After his playing career, he joined the World League of American Football as the vice president and general manager of the New Jersey Knights — making him, I believe, the first African-American to serve as GM of a professional football team.

He later became part of the NFL’s executive staff and developed the first Youth Education Town (YET) in south central Los Angeles and Compton in connection with the Super Bowl, which became a prototype for future NFL contributions of educational and recreational facilities to Super Bowl host cities.

Currently, Williams is the vice president of Walt Disney Sports Attractions. (Full disclosure: ESPN is also owned by Disney.) When he took that job, Disney brass introduced him as one of only two African-Americans at the vice president level in the entire Disney company. Now, he directs more than 2,000 employees who run an incredible — and inclusive — series of events from one end of the calendar year to the other.


Imagine what he could do if he could take over an enormously successful sports business enterprise such as the NFL. Williams has the world view that could help the NFL positively affect the lives of so many children who face some form of crisis on a daily basis. At its very best, sport can deliver dreams to those children.

I don’t know much about the man but he certainly has an impressive resume. And, certainly, putting a highly qualified black man in that post would send a powerful signal.


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