*Dee Brown, the speedy defensive guard for the Fighting Illini, broke his foot in the pre-draft camps and most likely will head back to Illinois. That is if he feels like it [he does]. Word is that Brown is a tad bit miffed at Illini coach Bruce Weber for shrugging off Brown’s decision to test the draft waters by referring to it as "a thing". The Big Ten Player Of The Year didn’t think Weber fully supported his draft status and there could be some hard feelings when Brown returns. Now, that looks to be a certainty.
*Hey, the NHL and the NHLPA agreed to a salary cap. Congrats. Compromise can be a lovely thing. However, that is just the largest of the hurdles to jump over...as there are many down the line [free agency, contract issues, etc]. The cap will be tied to revenue projections...and they figure the cap should be about $34M next season [when there is one]. What this does do is finally display a sliver of hope that there could be NHL hockey heading to arenas this fall...and the end of the ugliest labor dispute in American sports could be in sight.
*North Carolina will continue to be the face of college basketball. Raymond Felton, the quick point guard of the National Champion UNC Tar Heels, will be the cover boy for EA Sports March Madness 2006. The last Heels to make the cover was Antawn Jamison for March Madness ‘99. Madden '06 will feature Eagles QB Donovan McNabb as their cover-man....and NCAA Football '06 will have former Michigan receiver Braylon Edwards.
*You gotta love the NCAA. They’ve put the smack down on media guides....saying they cannot be more than 208 pages thick. Some schools [ahem, Notre Dame] hover in the 500 page range. What’s the deal?? Well, the NCAA looks at it as an extra recruiting tool....which it is. School’s media guides are available to anyone who goes to the website and orders one [or downloads in on adobe and prints it out] and it is assumed that the extra embellishment of the history and statistical superiority of a school will be limited. To me, personally, this is just overkill. I agree, somewhat, with the thinking...but I like reading thru the media guides and drawing info from each school. I’ll order the UNC Tar Heels guide and have a reference book with every game that the program has ever played. Now, I assume that the schools will focus less on stats and more on history. And all of this over recruiting?? When was the last time you heard a guy say "I only went here because of the great media guide."???
*Speaking of the NCAA...they are going back on their promise of having 11-game seasons. With the advent of more mega-conferences....the NCAA has approved a 12 game football season in 2006. The old way only allowed for 12 games if there were...uh...15 weeks between Labor Day and Thanksgiving when the moon was full and Joe Paterno saw his shadow with the Super Bowl in a state that ends with a vowel....or something. All this means is more football!! Well, more Nebraska-Arkansas State matchups.
*Speaking of NCAA pigskin and North Carolina [earlier]....it was announced that the Tar Heels boast the toughest schedule in the nation this fall. Great. And we already were gonna suck!
*I’m a hypocrite. I love NFL-Europe but rarely watch it. I think the NFL should keep it around....but the fact that I, like many people, don’t really check it out means that it could go on the back burner. For several years now, the NFLE has been on shaky ground when owners talk of extending the developmental league. The league has been around since the early 1990s....when the London Monarchs were the team to beat. Now, it is a 6-team league with 5 of those teams in Germany. The fact that the teams are so close....the league broke attendance figures this past season and travel costs are drastically down. But, the league still isn’t a money maker....and the NFL is all about that. The big wigs [Tags, Gene Upshaw] love it...but not all owners do. I love it...as it gives guys [especially quarterbacks] the opportunity to get real-time game action that they cannot get in the NFL. There are tons of guys who star in the NFL-Europe that latch on to an NFL team...and guys like Kurt Warner, Jake Delhomme and Brad Johnson turned their stints in Europe into Super Bowl appearances.
*In NBA Finals Prediction news.....I have the Spurs winning in 5 games. Coztanza's Commentary has the Pistons winning in 7. That is quite the prediction...since the last road team to win a Game 7 of the NBA Finals was back in 1978 when Washington went into Seattle and won Game 7. Yannis' Sports Journal has the Pistons in 6.