Shiffrin wins giant slalom for 49th World Cup victory
Friday, December 21
COURCHEVEL, France (AP) — Mikaela Shiffrin appears unstoppable.
The 23-year-old American won a giant slalom Friday for her 49th career World Cup victory as she continued her march to a third straight season-long overall title.
It was a fourth successive win for Shiffrin who sat out the races in Val Gardena to rest up for a big block of technical events — her specialty.
Shiffrin became the youngest female skier to reach 49 World Cup wins and she could reach the half-century mark in Saturday’s slalom. She is undefeated in her trademark event since finishing a surprising fourth at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
“It was a big fight, and I knew it was going to be really tricky,” Shiffrin said of her GS win. “Try to take this energy into tomorrow.”
Shiffrin, the reigning Olympic GS champion from Colorado, has won six out of her 10 races this season to soar ahead in the standings as she looks to emulate compatriot Lindsey Vonn’s feat of winning three successive overall World Cup titles.
Shiffrin has more than double the points of her nearest rival. Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway is second in the overall standings but has only 367 points, compared to Shiffrin’s 789.
Nicole Schmidhofer of Austria is third, with 359 points.
Under heavy snow on Friday, Shiffrin had a fantastic second run to finish in a combined time of 1 minute, 49.81 seconds and beat first-run leader Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany by 0.14 seconds.
Shiffrin had trailed Rebensburg by 0.08 after the first run but was more aggressive on the second, which was moved down because of weather. She let out a yell of celebration after she crossed the line and saw her time.
France’s Tessa Worley recovered from injury to take third place, 0.33 behind Shiffrin, who won a giant slalom as well as a parallel slalom last year in Courchevel.
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House panel finds Olympic leaders valued image over safety
By EDDIE PELLS
AP National Writer
Friday, December 21
A congressional review of the U.S. Olympic system’s handling of sex-abuse cases criticizes a culture that sought to protect reputation and image over athlete safety.
A House subcommittee released the report Thursday, outlining conclusions about the handling of sex-abuse cases involving Larry Nassar and others that have led to calls for change at the U.S. Olympic Committee and the sports organizations it oversees.
The report acknowledges the changes that have come since Nassar’s crimes were exposed. But it criticizes the lack of conformity among the organizations, noting some didn’t use background checks or publish banned lists.
The panel’s recommendations include a review of the law that governs the USOC, and the USOC using its authority to more actively protect athletes.
USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland pointed out the federation formed the U.S. Center for SafeSport and is reviewing how it engages with the national governing bodies and athletes. A report commissioned by former WNBA President Lisa Borders is expected next year.
“We will continue to do the work necessary to develop a healthy culture that keeps athletes safe and allows them to be their very best,” Hirshland said.
In one of the most striking examples of the diffuse policies that exist in the U.S. Olympic system, the report included a table detailing each NGB’s policy on how it handles banned lists. Each response was different; 18 of the NGBs do not publish their lists.
Those differences are part of what has made it difficult for the SafeSport Center to publish a comprehensive list of all banned people — among the many tasks it was given when it was established in March 2017.
The report said perhaps its most troubling finding was a culture that prioritized image over safety.
It included instructions to panels that deliver sanctions that included “the effect on the USOC’s reputation” as one of the factors to consider when deciding on penalties. That bullet point has since been removed.
Also in the report was a deposition from a USOC attorney that underscores the general state of confusion about the relationship between the USOC, the NGBs and the athletes. On a day-to-day basis, NGBs have more direct contact with athletes than the USOC. Meanwhile, the USOC provides funding to NGBs but doesn’t have much say in their operation.
In a 2016 deposition related to sex abuse, USOC attorney Gary Johansen was asked: “You want to protect your athletes from being sexually abused. That’s a top priority, right, sir?”
Johansen’s response: “The USOC does not have athletes.”
Thursday, December 20
Ohio wins Frisco Bowl for Solich, oldest head coach in FBS
Nathan Rourke ran for two touchdowns and threw for another score, leading Ohio to a 27-0 victory over San Diego State in the drizzly Frisco Bowl. A.J. Ouellette rushed for 164 yards as the Bobcats finished with 215 on the ground, the most the Aztecs allowed all season with the fourth-best run defense in FBS. San Diego State was shut out in a bowl for the first time since its first postseason appearance in 1948.
By SCHUYLER DIXON
AP Sports Writer
FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Ohio running back A.J. Ouellette doesn’t think of Frank Solich as the oldest head coach in FBS. He sees him as the guy who stuck around a smaller program long enough to run it for going on 15 years.
Ouellette gave Solich and the Bobcats a little something to build on in his final game.
The senior had his fourth straight 100-yard game with 164 yards rushing, quarterback Nathan Rourke accounted for all three touchdowns and Ohio rolled to a 27-0 victory over San Diego State in the drizzly Frisco Bowl on Wednesday night.
Ohio (9-4) finished with six wins in seven games and won a second straight bowl game under Solich, who became the oldest head coach in FBS at 74 before bowl season when 79-year-old Bill Snyder retired at Kansas State.
“To have him a little older than most coaches, young coaches are at a school a couple of years and they leave,” said Ouellette, who finished among Ohio’s career rushing leaders with 3,784 yards. “Him being there 14 years, we’ve just been lucky that he stayed around.”
Solich spent 19 years on Tom Osborne’s staff at Nebraska before replacing the coach at his alma mater in 1998.
After six years in charge of the Cornhuskers, Solich was forced out following a 9-3 season, a year after a 7-7 record that ended a streak of 40 straight winning seasons. A year later, he took the Ohio job and has taken the Bobcats to 10 bowls in 14 seasons.
“I feel like I still have a lot of energy,” Solich said. “I still feel like I communicate well with players and coaches. I’m not feeling like the oldest coach, at least not tonight.”
San Diego State was shut out in a bowl for the first time since its first postseason appearance — a 53-0 loss to Hardin-Simmons in the 1948 Harbor Bowl at long-since-demolished Balboa Stadium in San Diego.
The Aztecs had 44 of their 287 yards on one run by Juwan Washington while losing a fourth straight game in a season for the first time in eight years under coach Rocky Long. The fourth-best run defense in FBS gave up a season-high 215 yards rushing to Ohio.
San Diego State’s first meeting with Ohio was its first loss in 15 games against Mid-American Conference teams. The 27-point margin ended a streak of 10 straight games decided by single digits for the Aztecs, which the school said was the longest such streak since at least 1980.
“I think you have to look at everything you do, from the top on down,” Long said. “We can delve into this as deep as you want. And we’re evaluating everything in our program. And it might be nothing but we don’t have one big-time player. That might be the difference.”
San Diego State: Long is one of five current coaches to lead his team to a bowl in each of his first eight seasons. The Aztecs, who have been to nine straight bowls, are 3-5 in the postseason under Long with consecutive losses in the Dallas area. Army was a 42-35 winner in last year’s Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth.
Ohio: The Bobcats have a 1-1 postseason record in Texas, getting even 56 years after losing to West Texas State 15-14 in the school’s first bowl appearance in the 1962 Sun Bowl in El Paso. The school’s only other game in Texas was in nearby Denton, a 31-30 double-overtime win against North Texas in 2009.
Light rain that fell throughout the first half didn’t seem to bother Rourke. The junior fooled the entire San Diego State defense with a fake handoff to Ouellette and ran untouched 9 yards around left end to cap a 15-play drive for a 10-0 lead in the second quarter.
Rourke’s other scoring run was from 11 yards before halftime, and he threw a 35-yard TD to a wide-open Andrew Meyer near the goal line on a flea-flicker from Ouellette in the fourth quarter. Rourke was 10 of 22 for 206 yards passing with 44 yards rushing.
San Diego State: Standout LB Kyahva Tezino is eligible to enter the NFL draft, so his decision will go a long toward determining the Aztecs’ hopes of getting back to 10 wins after a two-year streak ended. San Diego State opens at home against Weber State on Aug. 31.
Ohio: Solich’s 15th season should be the third as a starter for Rourke, who is losing his top running back in Ouellette and three of his offensive linemen. The Bobcats open at home against Rhode Island on Aug. 31.
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Green, Davis helps Marshall beat South Florida 38-20
By MARK DIDTLER
Friday, December 21
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — It was a family affair as Marshall ended the season with another bowl victory.
Isaiah Green completed 17 of 25 passes for 221 yards, cousin Keion Davis ran for two touchdowns and Marshall beat South Florida 38-20 in the Gasparilla Bowl on Thursday night.
“It’s fun to get to play my senior year with my cousin, sharing the experience,” said Davis, who was the game MVP.
Marshall, 6-0 in bowl games under head coach Doc Holliday, gained 503 years. The Thundering Herd (9-4) had 282 rushing yards and 221 through the air.
“It was my first time contributing to a (bowl) win,” Green said. “It feels good to be able to show people that just because I’m a freshmen doesn’t mean I can’t play this game like I’m not a freshman.”
Green also had a touchdown run in the first quarter, while Davis’ second TD — from 16 yards out — put the Thundering Herd ahead 38-20 with 6 1/2 minutes to play.
Davis had 94 yards on 14 carries, while Brenden Knox gained 93 yards on 12 rushes — all during the first half.
Knox left with a broken hand, giving Davis extended playing time. Davis entered with 308 rushing yards and one TD in eight games.
“Keion is a special player,” Holliday said. “He makes things happen every time he gets the opportunity to play.”
Blake Barnett, slowed by shoulder and ankle injuries, replaced Chris Oladokun for South Florida 10 minutes into the game and completed 11 of 23 passes for 212 yards. Barnett, a transfer from Arizona State who also started one game for Alabama in 2016, sat out two of the Bulls’ previous three games.
USF (7-6) lost the bowl game played on its regular-season home field to end the season by losing six in a row after a 7-0 start.
“We know this, there’s work that needs to be done in the program, and we’ve got to go get it done,” coach Charlie Strong said.
Green scored on an 10-yard dash and Anthony Anderson had an one-yard TD run over a 37-second span as Marshall took a 14-0 lead with 4:43 left in the first. The second score was set up by Darius Hodge’s fumble recovery and 29-yard return after Barnett couldn’t handle a high snap.
After USF wide receiver Tyre McCants took a direct snap and threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Randall St. Felix, the Thundering Herd went up 21-7 during the final minute of the first on Knox’s eight-yard TD run.
St. Felix had six receptions for a school-bowl record 165 yards.
Marshall has outscored its opponent 101-39 in the first quarter this season.
Davis’ 5-yard run made it 28-7 with 90 seconds left in the second.
USF got to 28-10 on Coby Weiss’ 22-yard field goal four seconds before halftime.
South Florida settled for a 31-yard field goal by Weiss on a second-half opening 14-play drive.
“We were in position to make some plays and we didn’t make them,” Strong said. “We had our opportunities.”
Marshall countered with Justin Rohrwasser’s 28-yard field before Barnett connected on a 33-yard scoring pass with St. Felix that cut the Bulls deficit to 31-20 late in the third.
Marshall: Green will be back next season to anchor a promising offense as the Thundering Herd try to win eight or more games for the fifth time in six years.
South Florida: Barnett returns in 2019 and being healthy could be key in the Bulls’ bid for their first American Athletic Conference championship.
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How big bonuses for winning coaches became a tradition in college football
December 20, 2018
Fresno State Bulldogs head coach Jeff Tedford and running back Ronnie Rivers hoist the Las Vegas Bowl trophy after the Bull Dogs defeated Arizona State on Dec. 15.
Author: Jasmine Harris, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Ursinus College
Disclosure statement: Jasmine Harris does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
As college football bowl and playoff games unfold before a TV audience of millions, most of the attention will be on the final scores. Less is likely to be said about certain bonuses that the coaches get for their bowl and playoff appearances.
For instance, when the Fresno State Bulldogs defeated Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 15, the Bulldogs’ coach, Jeff Tedford, already being paid US$1.6 million per year through 2021, got a $200,000 bonus for the win. He would have gotten $100,000 even if his team had lost.
Western Michigan’s Tim Lester gets $25,000 for making it to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Dec. 21.
Since college football coaches are already often the highest-paid public employees in their state – their eye-popping salaries often dwarfing even those of state governors – it may seem strange that coaches could collect bonuses that surpass most families’ annual income, on top of it all.
It may also be tempting to think of the bonuses as being a byproduct of lucrative marketing deals that colleges started to get in the 1980s and television contracts that they started to get in the 1990s. But history shows that bonuses for college football coaches stretch back to the early 1900s, well before the invention of television or even the first commercial radio broadcast.
These bonuses create a market for winning that fuels the business of college sports. In my view as a scholar who studies big-time college football, these bonuses are not a reaction to a multi-billion-dollar market that rewards winning – they are the foundation of it.
Bonuses go back to early 1900s
The first superstar college football coach contract on record to include compensation beyond base salary was signed by the legendary John Heisman – for whom the coveted Heisman Trophy is named – to coach Georgia Tech’s football team in 1904.
Records show that Heisman’s contract added 30 percent of all ticket sales to his annual $2,500, a salary that would have been the equivalent of just under $71,000 in 2018 dollars.
Georgia Tech football coach John Heisman, for whom the coveted Heisman Trophy is named, shown here in his University of Pennsylvania football days, circa 1891. Everett HIstorical/www.shutterstock.com
Heisman’s contract was an acknowledgment that the football coach was uniquely intertwined with revenue generated during games. But it was also notable, as coaches’ salaries were then often decided based on the relationship to faculty and administrator salaries. Ewald Stiehm, University of Nebraska head football coach from 1911 to 1915, was famously denied a $750 raise by the school because they didn’t want a coach making more than the top professor. His salary at Nebraska was $4,250. He went to Indiana, which paid him $4,500.
Before television deals and marketing contracts, high salaries and added incentives were reserved for those top-tier coaches deemed capable of bringing a “winning culture” to the institution. Bear Bryant’s 1954 contract was one of the few before 1980 to rival Heisman’s. It included 1 percent of Texas A&M football ticket sales. Tickets in 1958 went for $3.50 per ticket.
The first million-dollar contract was signed by Bobby Bowden with Florida State University in 1995. Bowden only had one losing season in his 34 years at FSU and was coming off a 1993 National Championship when his contract was extended with a $300,000 per year raise, including another $700,000 in television appearance and apparel promotion bonuses. For the first time, pay was tied not just to winning – but to winning enough and in the right way. Exponential increases in revenue generated via ticket and apparel sales, bowl appearance payouts and even application pools beyond student athletes, are evidence of the value of wins – first culturally to university communities, then economically for universities’ financial health.
A bonus bonanza
Today a long list of bonuses are included in contract offers to top coaches as additional compensation for winning.
Beyond incentives like home loans, car allowances and country club memberships, merit bonuses attached to bowl appearances, win-loss records, divisional rankings and national championships emphasize the value of coaches to their institutions. Some bonuses have little to do with the game’s final score – like UConn’s Randy Edsell earning a $2,000 bonus every time his football team scores first or leads at halftime.
The bonus money coaches are paid in exchange for those highly valued wins is a small fraction of what the institution earns for those wins. National tournament qualification and bowl appearances trigger additional bonuses, not only because they excite the fans but because they mean more revenue for the institution. Merit bonuses are a small price to pay to keep money flowing into a university through victories on the field – wins.
In my opinion, coaches aren’t taking advantage of universities under this scheme. The universities are in on the joke. Universities were heavily involved in creating fiscal environments where high salaries and merit bonuses for coaches were more feasible. Bowden’s 1995 contract would’ve been impossible if not for important legal victories led by individual universities seeking to transform college sports to big business.
For instance, the 1984 Supreme Court ruling in NCAA v. Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma found in favor of individual universities negotiating television contracts directly with major networks. The ruling described the NCAA’s control as in violation of anti-trust law. The move forever changed the financial landscape of college football and basketball, and introduced an influx of cash into the market.
The 1984 ruling meant schools and division conferences, like the Southeastern Conference, of which schools are members, could negotiate deals independent of the NCAA. The resulting influx of money into college football is directly connected to today’s high coaches salaries. In 2017, when the Big Ten’s new television deals with cable news networks ESPN and Fox kicked in, the conference was also home to five of the top 14 highest paid football coaches in the NCAA.
The win-first mentality
“Winning cultures” also encourage student athletes to buy into win-first, team-first thinking. This can be dangerous because it encourages coaches to push players beyond their limits. Earlier this year, University of Maryland football player Jordan McKnight’s death uncovered a record of dangerous workouts driven by then-head coach DJ Durkin and the university leadership’s desire for wins and a stronger financial future.
The power given to coaches with winning records is not new. They are the foundation of college football. Before players or fans, there are coaches. As long as millions of people continue to enjoy college football games and attach so much meaning to the final score, football coaches will continue to fatten their pockets as a result.