sports

  How can the NCAA blithely wreck careers without regard to due process or common fairness? How can it act so ruthlessly to enforce rules that are so petty? Why won’t anybody stand up to these outrageous violations of American values and American justice?

In the four years since Joe Nocera asked those questions in a controversial New York Times column, the National Collegiate Athletic Association has come under fire. Fans have begun to realize that the athletes involved in the two biggest college sports, men’s basketball and football, are little more than indentured servants. Millions of teenagers accept scholarships to chase their dreams of fame and fortune—at the price of absolute submission to the whims of an organization that puts their interests dead last.

Nocera's new book is Indentured: The Inside Story of the Rebellion Against the NCAA.

Actor Tate Donovan played a key role as Bob Anders, one of the Americans caught up in the Iran hostage crisis in 2012’s Best Picture Argo. Now, Donovan has returned to the subject matter, directing the new NFL Network documentary American’s Game and the Iran Hostage Crisis. From Smokehouse Productions, the film tells the story of how bits and pieces of football news helped the American hostages stay connected to their home and families during their more than year-long captivity.

New York Times bestselling author Mark Bowden has had a prolific career as one of America’s leading journalists and nonfiction writers.

His new collection, The Three Battles of Wanat and Other True Stories, features the best of his long-form pieces on war, as well as notable profiles, sports reporting, and essays on culture.

EPIX presents the Road to the NHL Winter Classic.
EPIX

One of the best new traditions in sports is coming up again — the NHL Winter Classic, which marries the magic of the pond hockey with some of sports’ grandest stages. This year, Original Six rivals the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens are playing on New Year’s Day at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

John Feinstein is an award-winning columnist and one of the nation's most successful and prolific sports authors. He has written over two dozen books to date including the bestsellers A Good Walk Spoiled and A Season On The Brink.

In addition to hosting a radio show on CBS Sports Radio, he writes for the Washington Post, and is a regular commentator on the Golf Channel.

Keith Strudler: The New Stadium Reality

Nov 18, 2015

For anyone working for a sports team or league or college athletic department, last Friday in Paris wasn’t simply horrifying. It was an uncomfortable reality, one that would forever impact your daily work life long after the Parisian chaos subsided. See, if you ask someone in the sports world about their worst fear, it’s not a losing season, or a bad trade, or even a critical injury to a star athlete. These things happen all the time, and while burdensome, are simply the cost of doing business.

Even if you’re a sports fan, it’s been hard to keep track of all the steroid scandals in sports in recent years. From Alex Rodriguez to countless Olympians, the headlines and teary apologies — and the subsequent morality play over the meaning of tainted records — can be overwhelming.

  Endzone tells the story of how college football's most successful, richest and respected program almost lost all three in less than a decade - and entirely of its own doing. It is a story of hubris, greed, and betrayal - a tale more suited to Wall Street than the world's top public university.

Author John U. Bacon takes you inside the offices, the board rooms and the locker rooms of the University of Michigan to see what happened, and why - with countless eye-opening, head-shaking scenes of conflict and conquest.

  Recently the Washington Redskins have been synonymous with controversy but in the not-too-distant past, D.C.'s beloved team was considered a model franchise that put together one of the most unique and colorful dynasties in NFL history under the leadership of Coach Joe Gibbs.

Based on more than 90 original interviews with key sources, the new book Hail to the Redskins by sportswriter Adam Lazarus, gives readers access to the players and coaches who championed the extraordinary era from 1981 to 1992, charting the teams rise from mediocrity to its stretch of three Super Bowl titles in 10 years.

Listener Essay - When No Girls Were Allowed

Sep 10, 2015

  Jacqueline Sheehan is a New York Times bestselling author from Western Massachusetts. Her new novel, The Center of the World, will be published in January 2016.

  In his new book Billion-Dollar Ball: A Journey Through the Big-Money Culture of College Football, journalist Gilbert Gaul examines how – he says - college football has come to dominate some of our best, most prestigious universities—reframing campus values, distorting academic missions, and transforming athletic departments into astonishingly rich entertainment factories, even as many university presidents look the other way.

Gaul argues these abuses are mere symbols of something much larger and problematic: the business model that schools have created using football to brand their schools, monetizing every aspect of the game.

Gilbert Gaul twice won the Pulitzer Prize and has been shortlisted for the Pulitzer four other times. For more than thirty-five years, he worked as an investigative journalist for The Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer and other newspapers.

It has been quite a summer in sports. New York Jets QB Geno Smith had his jaw broken this week by a teammate....in the locker room.  As the NFL gets ready to start exhibition season, Tom Brady and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met in a court room over "Deflate-Gage."   The Red Sox are enduring a lousy season. The Yankees just lost first place to the Toronto Blue Jays.  And then there's the first place New York Mets. There is a great deal to talk about!  Good thing we'll be joined by Marist College's Keith Strudler and Daily Gazette Sports Editor, Mark McGuire. 

Keith Strudler: Fighter J-E-T-S

Aug 12, 2015

Jets fans, all five of you, here’s the good news. Gino Smith will not throw an interception for the next six to 10 weeks. That’s the good news. The bad news, and there’s plenty, is that the Jets starting quarterback won’t throw anything for six to 10 weeks, at least not wearing pads and a helmet. That’s because Smith broke his jaw this week in a locker room altercation with now former teammate IK Enemkpali. According to reports, Smith owed Enemkpali $600 for a plane ticket he never used, and Enemkpali let him know by way of a fist to the jaw. The result is one QB on injured reserve, one backup linebacker on waivers, and enough material to keep late night talk shows in business for a generation.

  So much about baseball is known: the distance between the bases (90 feet), the batting average of a good hitter (.300) and the velocity of a hard fastball (95 mph). Barry Svrluga’s new book, The Grind, shows us what we may not know. No sport is as unrelenting as Major League Baseball; enduring the 162 games squeezed into 185 days (plus spring training and postseason.)

In 2004, Svrluga was assigned to cover the return of baseball to Washington D.C. The nation’s capital had gone without a major league team since 1971. In 2014, Svrluga wrote a series for the Post about the personal toll that baseball takes, with each installment profiling a different character from the franchise.

The Grind grew directly from that series, including the original six longform pieces plus updates and additional chapters.

Keith Strudler: Russell Wilson And God

Jul 8, 2015

Perhaps Huey Lewis was right. Maybe it is hip to be square.

It’s probably unfair to deem Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson as square, not with one Super Bowl ring and another nearly so at the age of 26, not with a huge new contract coming his way in the next year or so, not as the young marketable face of the NFL as older generations of quarterbacks, like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, enter their twilight. That’s not square, for sure.

The Golden State Warriors took the NBA Championship, and the St. Louis Cardinals are accused of hacking the Houston Astros. Director of the Marist College Center for Sports Communication and WAMC sports commentator Keith Strudler is here, along with Times Union sports editor Pete Iorizzo.

Keith Strudler: Losing Hope

Jun 10, 2015

One of the most important lessons in sports, really in life, is that’s there’s no such thing as fair. So let’s just accept that it’s not fair that Hope Solo is still playing for the US National team in this year’s World Cup. Solo, the team’s star goalie and a big reason they’ve been title contenders for the past several international championships, will be a cornerstone of the team’s aspirations in this current cup, which led off with an American win over Australia. With her in the net, it’s reasonable that the US might find themselves in the semis or better. Without her, who knows?

Whiteface Mountain
Mwanner/Wikipedia Commons

The National Sports Academy in Lake Placid is closing at the end of May after graduation and won't re-open in the fall.

wikipedia.org


Keith Strudler: Pay The Men, Shirley

Apr 15, 2015

There’s no better feeling than putting your hands in your jeans or jacket pocket only to find a $20 bill you didn’t know what was there. I suppose finding a $100 bill, or maybe a winning lottery ticket would be better. But we’re talking in scope of reality. That $20, or even $5 is found money, an unexpected boost to your personal economy. It’s why I used to stash Monopoly money in my sock when I played as kid. I hoped I’d forget, which I never did, and find it serendipitously when I hoped to make a small hotel investment on Broadway.

This spring is proving to be an exciting one in the sports world, with Duke taking the NCAA basketball championship, a 21-year-old golf phenom winning the masters, and former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez convicted of murder. Here with us to talk it through is our very own sports commentator and Marist College Center for Sports Communication Director Keith Strudler.

Was golf better back in the day? In the new book Men in Green, acclaimed Sports Illustrated writer, Michael Bamberger, goes on a quest to find out.

The result is a candid, nostalgic, and intimate portrait of golf’s greatest generation then and now. Bamberger fell for the game of golf as a teenager in the 70s; he spent years caddying, playing, and writing about the sport. He joins The Roundtable to discuss living legends, secret legends, and the upcoming generation.

Ann Liguori

When you watch or listen to a sports broadcast nowadays, it’s not uncommon to hear a woman doing play-by-play, color commentary or especially sideline reports. But it wasn’t always that way, and even today, women make up only a small percentage of the sportscasting ranks.

Ian Pickus

The NCAA Tournament field was unveiled last night, and Capital Region fans rejoiced to see the University at Albany men’s basketball team in the bracket for a third straight year. But before they could enjoy Selection Sunday, the Great Danes barely survived Saturday.

Baseball is just around the corner, but the season is starting on a down note in Pawtucket on news that a new ownership group plans to move the Triple-A Red Sox affiliate to a waterfront park in Providence in 2017.

For anyone who has ever been more comfortable in the press box than on the sideline, Mitch Sloan is a familiar kid in Rookie Bookie, the new young adult book co-authored by our guest Jon Wertheim. An undersized and sometimes overshadowed thinker, Sloan always looks for the angle as he builds a middle school gambling business using ideas familiar from Wertheim’s landmark exploration of sports and behavioral economics, Scorecasting.

WAMC News

  Three-time National Champion, two-time Olympian and NBCSports commentator Johnny Weir was in Albany last weekend for a meet and greet with skaters and fans at the Empire State Plaza. WAMC's Jessica Bloustein Marshall caught up with him while he was there.

Even though she's not yet 25, in some ways, Nastia Liukin has already led several lives — and has done so on the world stage.

    In 1969, the 42-year history of biennial golf matches between the United States and Great Britain reached its climax. The U.S., led by Jack Nicklaus, had dominated competitive golf for years; Great Britain, led by Tony Jacklin, was the undisputed underdog. But in spite of having lost 14 of 17 Ryder Cups in the past, the British entered the 1969 Ryder Cup as determined as the Americans were dominant. What followed was the most compelling, controversial, and contentious Ryder Cup the sport had ever seen.

Author, writer and blogger, Neil Sagebiel writes about it in his new book, Draw in the Dunes: The 1969 Ryder Cup and the Finish That Shocked the World.

Keith Strudler: Ray Rice, Domestic Violence And The NFL

Sep 10, 2014

It’s a safe default to assume you’re always being watched. The notion of privacy is as antiquated as afternoon tea time and top hats. Particularly if you’re somebody, you live your life as if it’s on TV.

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