November 29, 2012

By BEN WALKER Associated Press 

 

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa are set to show up on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time, and fans will soon find out whether drug allegations block the former stars from reaching baseball's shrine.

Longtime members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America will vote through next month. The much-awaited results will be announced Jan. 9, with players needing to be listed on 75 percent of the ballots to gain induction.

The upcoming election is certain to fuel the most polarizing Hall debate since career hits leader Pete Rose's betting problems put him on baseball's permanently ineligible list, barring him from the BBWAA ballot.

Bonds, Clemens and Sosa each posted some of the biggest numbers in the game's history, but were all tainted by accusations that they used performance-enhancing drugs.

Bonds is baseball's all-time home runs leader with 762 and won a record seven MVP awards. Clemens ranks ninth in career wins with 354 and took home a record seven Cy Young Awards. Sosa is eighth on the home run chart with 609.

Fans, players and Hall of Fame members have all chimed in about whether stars who supposedly juiced up during the Steroids Era should make it to Cooperstown.

Many of those opposed say drug cheats should never be afforded baseball's highest individual honors. Others on the opposite side claim the use of performance-enhancing drugs was pervasive in the 1980s and 1990s, and shouldn't disqualify candidates.

If recent voting for the Hall is any indication, the odds are solidly stacked against Bonds, Clemens and Sosa.

Mark McGwire is 10th on the career home run list with 583, but has never received even 24 percent in his six tries. Big Mac has admitted using steroids and human growth hormone.

Rafael Palmeiro is among only four players with 500 homers and 3,000 hits, yet has gotten a high of 12.6 percent in his two years on the ballot. Palmeiro drew a 10-day suspension in 2005 after a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs, and said the result was due to a vitamin vial given to him by teammate Miguel Tejada.

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November 29, 2012

By DOUG FERGUSON  Associated Press 

 

Tiger Woods is more driven to catch Jack Nicklaus than to try to emulate Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy.

Woods made it clear recently that he had no interest in taking up membership on the European Tour. He had floated the possibility last month in Turkey that he would look into dual membership with Europe counting the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup toward the minimum requirement of 13 events.

"I'll make it real simple — I'm not going to play the European Tour next year," Woods said.

Woods is starting next season at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. Throw in the four majors and four World Golf Championships, and he would need only three more events to become a European Tour member.

"It's a bit much for me still," Woods said, adding that his focus is squarely on the record 18 majors won by Nicklaus.

Donald last year became the first player to win the money title on the PGA Tour and European Tour in the same season. McIlroy matched that feat this year, even though three of his five wins were regular PGA Tour events.

On the strength of majors and WGC events, which are every bit part of the European Tour schedule as the PGA Tour schedule, Woods could have won both money title at least four times in the last decade if he had been a European Tour member and added a couple of events. Europe used to require only 11 events to be a member.

"Certainly, I've had opportunities over the years, especially when it was at 11 events," Woods said. "I was very close a couple times and could have taken membership up and played it. But still ... I enjoy playing around the world, and I still always will. But I am going to play this tour."

When asked why he never bothered becoming a dual member, Woods said, "It wasn't important to me."

"I think I could have won it a few times," he said of the money titles. "I don't know what that number was. But it just wasn't important to me. My main concern was winning major championships, and I've won 14 of them, and I'm very proud of that."

Asked whether adding a few European events would have detracted from his preparation for the majors, Woods nodded.

He remains stuck on 14 majors, winning his last one in 2008 in the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Woods has failed to win the last 14 majors he has played, the longest drought of his career. Next year's rotation of majors include Merion for the U.S. Open, a course he has never seen, and Oak Hill for the PGA Championship, the only time Woods has played all four rounds at a PGA without breaking par.

Woods said winning a major makes it a great year, which in his mind means that four players had a great year — Bubba Watson (Masters), Webb Simpson (U.S. Open), Ernie Els (British Open) and McIlroy (PGA Championship).

"That's something I haven't done since '08, so it's something I can do next year," he said. "I've won golf tournaments; I've had some really nice years, some really good years in there. But as I said, winning a major championship just takes it to a whole new level."

That doesn't make his year a total loss.

Woods played his most complete season since 2009, and the World Challenge that starts Thursday at Sherwood Country Club will be his 24th week of competition, which includes the Ryder Cup and an exhibition in Turkey.

The only stumble was at Doral, where he withdrew in the middle of the final round when his Achilles tendon flared up on him. He won in his next start, at Bay Hill, and then added wins at the Memorial and AT&T National.

"I'm very excited because last year at this point in time I was still not quite where I wanted to be physically," he said. "I ended up having a little bit of a problem at Doral at the beginning of the year, but did the prudent thing in not playing at the end. This year has been fantastic in that regard. I've felt good. I've played a full schedule for the first time in a very long time, and just very pleased with what I've done overall with my game."

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November 22, 2012

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s leading scorer, was the center of attention this past Friday night outside of Staples Center as his statue was unveiled.  Earving “Magic” Johnson, Jerry West, James Worth, Pat Riley, and several hundred fans were all on hand to honor Jabbar, who led the Lakers to five NBA championships.

 Photo by Ken Brooks

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November 29, 2012

By KYLE HIGHTOWER  Associated Press

 

A study of the racial and gender makeup of leadership and coaching positions among the Football Bowl Subdivision membership showed it remains largely white and male.

The report recently released by the Institute for the Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida said that 100 percent of FBS conference commissioners, 76 percent of school president positions and 84 percent of all athletic director positions were held by white men at the beginning of the 2012-13 academic year.

It also showed a decline in the percentage of women in campus leadership positions with a slight increase in the representation of people of color, especially for Latinos and Asians.

Among the FBS’ 120 institutions, there were 18 minority head coaches to begin the season, down from an all-time high of 19 last year. That total included 14 African-Americans, two Latinos and two Asians.

“For me as somebody who has worked on college campuses for 30-plus years it’s especially discouraging that in terms of hiring practices they are far behind the professional levels,” said primary study author Richard Lapchick. “I would have hoped that colleges would have at least kept pace, but they are clearly behind in hiring practices.”

For the position of faculty athletics representative, 94.4 percent are white and 31.7 percent are women.

According to 2011 data compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education, 6.3 percent of full-time faculty members are Asian, which is 1.2 percentage points less than the 2007 data reported in last year’s study. African-American and Latino faculty members have grown by 1.6 and 0.6 percentage points respectively, to seven and 4.2 percent. Forty-seven percent are women.

For coaches, the study’s numbers don't reflect the recent dismissals of Joker Phillips at Kentucky, and Jon Embree from the University of Colorado, who drew attention to the poor rehire rate for minority coaches.

During his final news conference earlier this week, Embree hinted at a double standard for African-American hires after they are fired from a head coaching job.

Tyrone Willingham is the only African-American coach to be hired for another head coaching job (by Washington in 2005) after having been fired (by Notre Dame in 2004).

“We don’t get second chances,” Embree said. “And that’s OK, you know it going into it ... But every minority coach knows that going into it. Eventually that'll change.”

The numbers show that change is coming at a slow pace.

Since 1982, there have been 546 head coaches hired in the FBS and 41 African-Americans since Willie Jeffries became the first at Wichita State in 1979. There have also been three Latino and two Asian/Pacific Islander head coaches hired in FBS history.

“Our representation is not consistent on the court or on the playing fields,” Black Coaches and Admini­strators executive director Floyd Keith said. “You have to look at the numbers.”

Keith noted that a pair of other African-American coaches have been fired from FBS jobs and rehired, though not on the FBS level.

“Turner Gill was fired at Kansas but ended up at (Football Champion­ship Subdivision) Liberty. We had Tony Samuel at New Mexico State and he ended up at Southeast Missouri State. With only 41 individuals hired in history, it’s not a very good record,” he said. “You have to say getting back in the cycle is difficult. So you have to make the most of your first chance.”

Keith also echoed the importance of getting more diversity at the leadership positions.

“I think in total it’s about college athletics,” he said. “When you’re making decisions, there was the old term ‘Out of sight, out of mind.’ If you aren’t represented around the table, your concerns aren’t heard. And that’s at all levels.”

Both Keith and Lapchick continue to advocate for an “Eddie Robinson Rule,” which like the NFL’s Rooney Rule, would mandate that minorities are included in the interview process for open head coaching and key front office positions.

Since the BCA started putting out its hiring report cards in 2004, the number of minority coaches in the FBS increased 600 percent from three to last year’s high of 19.

BCA partners with Lapchick to put out the report cards and said that in the latest one, which is scheduled to be released this week, three schools that hired black coaches received poor grades because they didn’t invite more minority candidates to the interview process.

“If they continue to be excluded from that interview room, not much is going to change,” Lapchick said.

Keith said the process of bringing a Robinson Rule to college athletics continues to be a slow process.

“We’ve had meetings, and I don’t think anything has ever seriously developed out of it ... they simply have been discussions,” he said. “We keep talking about it. We see minor advances in terms of overall landscape, but there’s hasn't been a watershed change.”

He said his resolve to see it happen won’t be affected by the pace, though.

“Perseverance. We’ve got to keep being advocates,” Keith said. “We have to continue it and keep it going.” 

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November 22, 2012

Sentinel News Service

 

Councilmembers Bernard C. Parks and Jan Perry declared November 14, 2012 Dwight Howard Day in the city of Los Angeles.  Parks and Perry hosted a special event at City Hall where they presented Dwight Howard an official 6' 10" city resolution (Dwight's height) with the help of surprise guest, Snoop Lion (formerly Snoop Dogg). The Cren­shaw Choir sang and city staff members looked on as Parks and Perry welcomed Howard to the city of Los Angeles.

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