Sports Outside the Beltway

Denver Bronco WR Kenny McKinley dead at 23

It is believed he committed suicide. Very tragic and RIP.

For the third time in four years, the Denver Broncos are dealing with the death of a teammate.

Wide receiver Kenny McKinley was found dead in his home Monday in an apparent suicide.

Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said authorities were called to McKinley’s home in Centennial at 3:35 p.m. local time and found McKinley’s body in the second-floor master bedroom. He said detectives believe McKinley, 23, was killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Robinson said authorities were called by a female friend of McKinley’s who discovered the body after returning from an errand with his young son. The sheriff declined to say if authorities found a suicide note.

“It’s still part of our investigation and probably nothing we’ll talk about right now,” he said.

McKinley was on injured reserve after hurting his left knee in August for the second time in eight months. He was known for his infectious smile and good sense of humor.

McKinley’s agent, Andrew Bondarowicz, said family and friends are at a loss to explain the death of a young man “who had such a love for life.”

“Everybody has their explanations, their own theories. Whether it was injuries, no one’s going to know for sure,” Bondarowicz said. “It’s a tough situation all the way around.

“Some people speculate that it was his being injured, some said it was financial challenges. … It’s a tragic situation.”

Bondarowicz said funeral arrangements were pending. He also said he’s been in touch with team and the players’ association about setting up a trust fund for McKinley’s son.

McKinley’s death is the latest in a series of tragedies for the Broncos in recent years. Cornerback Darrent Williams was slain in a drive-by shooting on New Year’s Day 2007, and three months later backup running back Damien Nash collapsed and died after a charity basketball game in St. Louis.

McKinley was a fifth-round draft choice out of South Carolina in 2009. He remains South Carolina’s all-time leading receiver with 207 catches for 2,781 yards. He returned to the school earlier this month, watching the Gamecocks beat Georgia 17-6 and visiting with his college coach, Steve Spurrier.

“Had a wonderful smile just like he always did,” Spurrier remembered.

The news of McKinley’s death spread quickly at the end of South Carolina’s practice Monday. Players who normally sprint off the field upbeat walked slowly with their heads down.

“Kenny was certainly one of my all-time favorite players. It’s hard to figure out why it happened like this,” Spurrier said.

Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said in a statement: “Kenny had a promising future on the football field, but more importantly, he was a great teammate whose smile and personality could light up the room. This is a tragic loss for our football team, and his family is in all of our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”


Former U of South Carolina baseball star Hank Small dead at 56

He held the school’s career homerun mark for over three decades. Small also played very briefly in the major leagues with the Atlanta Braves. RIP.

Hank Small, whose 48 career home runs from 1972-75 stood as the USC record for more than three decades, was 56. David Small said his brother fell Tuesday night while moving into his new home in Griffin, Ga.Hank Small

Hank Small lost his balance on the steps in front of the house, fell backward and struck the back of his head on the pavement, according to his brother. He lost consciousness and never regained it due to massive trauma, David said.

Small was the first true home run hitter at USC. In the nine-year period leading to Small’s first season, USC hit 42 home runs. Small hit six more than that the next four years himself.


NCAA fines South Carolina for post game celebration

A Gamecock player urged students onto the court after South Carolina’s upset victory on Tuesday. From AP-

South Carolina’s first victory over a No. 1 team will cost $25,000.

The Southeastern Conference fined South Carolina that amount Wednesday for violating league rules against permitting fans on the playing area following a 68-62 victory over top-ranked Kentucky on Tuesday night.

As the game neared the end, security at the Colonial Life Arena held up a yellow rope to keep the people off the court. However, South Carolina guard Devan Downey urged students to join the players in celebration as time ran out. The Gamecocks had been 0-7 in the program’s history against No. 1 teams before the Wildcat win.

The scene was so crazy, Kentucky coach John Calipari headed straight for the locker room instead of walking to South Carolina’s bench for the traditional postgame handshake.

This was considered South Carolina’s second such violation, the first coming five years ago after another win over Kentucky.

The NCAA justifies the fine by saying it was done for safety purposes. As a person who remembers the wild celebrations that took place after the playoffs and World Series victories of the NY Mets in 1969, I really think this is another instance of the nanny state run wild. South Carolina’s upset was something to celebrate.

The policy went into effect on Dec. 1, 2004, less than two weeks after a brawl involving players and fans during a game between the NBA’s Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills, and one day after another fight among players in a Clemson-South Carolina football game.

What happened in 2004 was outrageous but a mostly isolated instance. Angry athletes charging into the stands just doesn’t happen all that often. I can think of an incident at a NY Ranger hockey game. Anyone know other such disturbances in North American sports?


2010 NFL Draft to include record tying 53 non-seniors

The 2008 NFL Draft also saw the same amount of under classmen. In 2009 the total was 46. From AP-

The expected heavy influx of non-seniors applying for this year’s NFL draft did not happen despite looming labor unrest in the league.

Although a record-tying 53 players declared for early entry, that number released Tuesday by the NFL was short of most projections.

“I think that the colleges have really done a good job of telling these young men how it is to their advantage to stay in school,” said NFL draft consultant Gil Brandt, who helped build the Dallas Cowboys in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. “I thought there would be more and I was surprised.”

Six All-Americans did apply for the draft: defensive backs Eric Berry of Tennessee and Joe Haden of Florida; defensive end Derrick Morgan of Georgia Tech; tight end Aaron Hernandez of Florida; linebacker Rolando McClain of Alabama; and wide receiver Golden Tate of Notre Dame.

Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner, also declared for April’s draft, along with Mississippi quarterback Jevan Snead; Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen; Southern California running back Joe McKnight; Cal running back Jahvid Best; Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap; and Penn State linebacker Navorro Bowman.

Fresno State tailback Ryan Mathews, the nation’s leading rusher, applied. So did tackles Bryan Bulaga of Iowa and Anthony Davis of Rutgers, who are projected to go high in the draft.

I remember when Herschel Walker came out of school(U of Georgia) early and all the controversy it caused. A Herschel Walker today wouldn’t risk a potential big payday in the NFL either.

What I don’t get is how some experts expected the total of non-seniors to be around 100 or a 100% increase from last year. Maybe I’ll find an article that list the college players who stuck it out. A free college education should be valued. One day your sports playing days will end and what will you do for money then? Look at Bernie Kosar who left the University of Miami early for the NFL. Right now he is bankruptcy court.

The entire list of college underclassman declaring for this year’s NFL draft is below the fold.


Are you ready for some bowling? II

No I’m not talking about some middle aged man propelling a ball at some objects at the end of a lane, but the games that climax every college football season. Bowl season officially starts this afternoon, here are the matchups for all the college football fanatics out there.

Note- I gave the shortened name version of all the upcoming games. Also I listed what broadcast network would be televising the game and what time they would be coming on the air. All times are Eastern Standard.

Dec 19

New Mexico- Fresno State vs. Wyoming 4:30 p.m. ESPN
St. Petersburg- Central Florida vs. Rutgers 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 20

R+L Carriers New Orleans- Southern Miss vs. Middle Tennessee 8:30 p.m. ESPN

Dec 22

MAACO Las Vegas- Oregon State vs. BYU 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 23

Poinsettia- Utah vs. Cal 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 24

Sheraton Hawaii- Nevada vs. SMU 8 p.m. ESPN
Dec 26

Little Caesars- Marshall vs. Ohio 1 p.m. ESPN
Meineke- Pitt vs. North Carolina 4:30 p.m. ESPN
Emerald- Boston College vs. USC 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 27

Music City- Kentucky vs. Clemson 8:30 p.m. ESPN

Dec 28

Independence- Texas A&M vs. Georgia 5 p.m. ESPN2

Dec 29

EagleBank- UCLA vs. Temple 4:30 p.m. ESPN
Champs Sports- Miami vs. Wisconsin 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 30

Humanitarian- Bowling Green vs. Idaho 4:30 p.m. ESPN
Holiday- Arizona vs. Nebraska 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 31

Armed Forces- Houston vs. Air Force Noon ESPN
Sun- Oklahoma vs. Stanford 2 p.m. CBS
Texas- Navy vs. Missouri 3:30 p.m. ESPN
Minnesota vs. Iowa State 6 p.m. NFL Network
Chick-fil-A- Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee 7:30 p.m. ESPN

Jan 1

Outback- Northwestern vs. Auburn 11 a.m. ESPN
Capital One- Penn State vs. LSU 1 p.m. ABC
Gator- West Virginia vs. Florida State 1 p.m. CBS
Rose Bowl- Ohio State vs. Oregon 4:30 p.m. ABC
Sugar- Cincinnati vs. Florida 8:30 p.m. FOX

Jan 2

International- South Florida vs. Northern Illinois Noon ESPN2 South Carolina vs. UConn 2 p.m. ESPN
Cotton- Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss 2 p.m. FOX
Liberty- Arkansas vs. East Carolina 5:30 p.m. ESPN
Valero Alamo- Michigan State vs. Texas Tech 9 p.m. ESPN

Jan 4

Fiesta- Boise State vs. TCU 8 p.m. FOX

Jan 5

FedEx Orange- Iowa vs. Georgia Tech 8 p.m. FOX

Jan 6th

GMAC- Central Michigan vs. Troy 7 p.m. ESPN

Jan 7th

BCS National Championship Game- Texas vs. Alabama Jan. 7 8 p.m.

Some random notes on the above 34 games

*- 19 of the 34 games are not scheduled till Dec. 31st or later. I guess college football fanatics are expected to flip channels very quickly on those 3 days(Dec 31-Jan 2) when 15 games are being aired.
*- What a downer must it be for Oregon State players and fans. A few weeks ago they were one win from a Rose Bowl trip. Instead they lost to Oregon and are playing in a minor bowl before Christmas.
*- The NFL network televises a college football game. I guess that’s the cable sports equivalent of the Sci-Fi channel showing wrestling….
*- The bowls are now set where now certain conference finishers are locked into the same bowl games every year. I understand why the current system is done, but I prefer the day when bowl games would have greater variance from year to year. The Peach bowl would usually invite a ACC or SEC school but they could be creative, like when they invited Army and Illinois. Wouldn’t a SEC team against BYU or Wyoming be nice for a change?
*- Bobby Bowden’s farewell game is against the same school(West Virginia) that he left before coming to Florida State. I do know FSU and WV have played at least twice previously in bowls during the Bowden-Florida State era.


Are you ready for some bowling?

No I’m not talking about some middle aged man propelling a ball at some objects at the end of a lane, but the games that climax every college football season. Bowl season officially starts this Saturday, here are the matchups for all the college football fanatics out there.

Dec 20
Eaglebank Bowl- Wake Forest vs Navy
New Mexico Bowl- Colorado State vs Fresno St
MAGICJACK ST. PETERSBURG BOWL- Memphis vs. South Florida
PIONEER LAS VEGAS BOWL- Brigham Young vs Arizona
Dec 21
Dec 23
Dec 24
SHERATON HAWAII BOWL- Hawaii vs Notre Dame
Dec 26
MOTOR CITY BOWL- Florida Atlantic vs. Central Michigan
Saturday, December 27
MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL- West Virginia vs. North Carolina
Champs Sports Bowl- Wisconsin vs. Florida State
Emerald Bowl- Miami (FL) vs. California
December 28
Independence Bowl- Northern Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech
PAPAJOHNS.COM BOWL- North Carolina State vs. Rutgers
Valero Alamo Bowl- Missouri vs. No. 23 Northwestern
Tuesday, December 30
PACIFIC LIFE HOLIDAY BOWL- Oklahoma State vs. No. 17 Oregon
Texas Bowl- Western Michigan vs. Rice
Wednesday, December 31
Sun Bowl- Oregon State vs. Pittsburgh
GAYLORD HOTELS MUSIC CITY BOWL- Boston College vs. Vanderbilt
Insight Bowl- Kansas vs. Minnesota
CHICK-FIL-A BOWL- LSU vs. Georgia Tech
Thursday, January 1
OUTBACK BOWL- South Carolina vs. Iowa
CAPITAL ONE BOWL- Georgia vs. Michigan State
Gator Bowl- Nebraska vs. Clemson
Rose Bowl- Penn State vs. USC
Fedex Orange Bowl- Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech
Friday, January 2
Cotton Bowl- Mississippi vs. Texas Tech
AUTOZONE LIBERTY BOWL- Kentucky vs. East Carolina
January 3
INTERNATIONAL BOWL- Buffalo vs. Connecticut
January 5
TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL- Ohio State vs. Texas
January 6
GMAC Bowl- Ball State vs. Tulsa*
January 8

That’s 34 games, 68 schools spread over a period of 20 days for those of you keeping score at home. An ample supply of college football for any fanatics out there.

A few notes

*- There are a few bowl games remaining without corporate names in their title. Gator, Sun, Texas, Independence. Were these games unable to find sponsors?
*- Will Oklahoma St. and Oregon combine for 70 pts or more in the Holiday Bowl? This annually has been of the most high scoring affairs.
*- Oh how has the Orange Bowl dropped. A game that featured early triumphs of Joe Paterno led Penn State, Nebraska and Oklahoma in their glory days, the first major bowl appearance of Florida State, and the all time classic 84 battle between Nebraska and Miami, has Cincinnati and Virginia Tech playing this year. I’m sure they are talented football teams, but how many people are drooling to see them play in a prime-time network slot?
*- Arizona and BYU meet in a bowl 30 years after the former left the WAC conference for the higher profile Pac Eight(Now Ten, Arizona State joined also)
*- Vanderbilt makes a rare bowl appearance. Congratulations to Commodore fans, but this is a sign of how bowls are grown way out of proportion. 6-6 college teams get bids. When I was growing up I could remember Florida State going without a bowl in 1978 even though they finished the season 8-3.

It is my humble opinion that bowl season has gotten out of hand. Someone may say what’s the big deal? If someone wants to start a bowl game and there are two schools willing to play in it, does their records matter. A good football isn’t only a contest between stars at big name schools.

All true, but how much public money is spent on these affairs? Many of the teams are state universities who get funded by taxpayers. Then there is the game itself where police have to be taken from other tasks to work the day or night of the game or paid over-time.

With the economic downturn right now, you have to wonder if there will be less bowls in the near future. That would depend on how long a deal a corporate sponsor signed on for. I wonder how many fans of some schools plan to make a bowl trip. Are there 1,000 or more FAU Owls willing to journey from Florida to Michigan in December to watch the team play? Even if I were a Owl fan and had money, I’d stay home.

Enjoy the games.


South Carolina Gamecock QB Garcia suspended

The 19-year-old has broken the law twice in the last month.

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia, arrested twice in recent weeks, will not participate in the Gamecocks’ upcoming spring practice.

Garcia was arrested Saturday and accused of damaging a professor’s car with a key. Last month, the 19-year-old was arrested and charged with drunkenness and failing to stop for a police officer.

“Stephen Garcia will be suspended from all football team activities through the end of this semester,” Spurrier said in a statement Tuesday. “He will be expected to go to class and study hall but will not participate in any spring practices or team football meetings.”

Spurrier said he hoped Garcia would make “an all-out effort to get his personal life in line with our other Carolina football players and eventually reach his full potential as a student-athlete.”

He’s going to miss spring practice? That may be a reward instead of a punishment.

Note- I fixed this post from what I originally wrote. The Yahoo headline was deceptive and I fell for it. No oee to blame but myself.


Spurrier Signs Extension with South Carolina

Steve Spurrier, who has denied interest in but nonetheless heavily touted for the openings at Miami and Alabama, has signed a lucrative extension with South Carolina.

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier has almost a half-million more reasons to stay with the Gamecocks. The university’s board of trustees on Saturday approved a reworked contract that increases Spurrier’s yearly salary to $1.75 million, up from his current package of about $1.25 million. The first coach to lead South Carolina to a bowl in his first two seasons also had his contract extended through the 2012 season.

Spurrier said he hoped the new deal would end speculation he would be anywhere else than South Carolina next season and beyond. He wanted prospects to know “if you come to South Carolina, you’re going to play for coach Spurrier and his coaches.”

The agreement also increases the buyout Spurrier or the school would pay to terminate the contract from $250,000 per remaining year to $500,000.

Athletic director Eric Hyman had approached Spurrier about putting his deal more in line with other coaches in the Southeastern Conference. The two hoped to handle that in the spring, but rumors of Miami and Alabama showing interest in Spurrier sped up the process, Hyman said.

A good move by USC and one that makes sense for Spurrier at this stage. He’s built a solid program there and Alabama, especially, would be a serious rebuilding effort. He’s put the Gamecocks in a position to win the SEC. The only real draw to one of the other programs would be money, which he doesn’t need, and a somewhat easier path to another national championship.


NFL Draft 2006 – Round 1 #24 – Cincinnati Bengals – DB Johnathan Joseph

It has been nearly twenty years since the Cincinnati Bengals were this far down in the draft. Jason Allen, the player projected here, was taken by the Dolphins at #16.

Pick: They went for another DB, Johnathan Joseph of South Carolina.


Senator Questions Gamecocks’ Mascot

In a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing yesterday, S.C. State Senator Darrell Jackson brought up the mascot and logo of South Carolina’s athletic teams during a discussion on strengthening the state’s laws against illegal cockfighting. Jackson said the school needed to reconsider its mascot if pending legislation becomes law and asked “how can we as lawmakers and other leaders of this state justify a major institution in our state running ads and logos on billboards with a fighting gamecock with spurs on the feet?”

Jackson pointed out that he didn’t want the Gamecock dropped as the school’s mascot totally but wants the spurs removed from the chicken’s feet on the logo. Some giving levels in the Gamecock Club are Spur levels and the mascot prior to Cocky was Big Spur.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has called on the school to drop the mascot completely in the past and then changed their position to the same one Jackson took yesterday (removal of the spurs.) A school spokesman say, “”We don’t glorify the cockfighting aspect.”

Cross-posted from


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