Today’s news starts off in Boston. Yesterday, the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) announced that the new prize structure will include higher purses per race, as well as bonus incentives for professional runners who finish in the top of their races multiple times. The author lays out the prize structure format created by the B.A.A., and the money breakdown per race per gender is equal. The article described the B.A.A. Distance Medley as a three-race series: a 5k, a 10k, and a half-marathon, and take place in April, June, and October, respectively. The B.A.A. Distance Medley event is now in its third year. Each of the winners of previous championships in the past two years walked away with $100,000 (males: Kenyan Allan Kiprono, 2012; Kenyan Stephen Sambu, 2013; females: Kiwi and Providence, RI resident Kim Smith was the champion in 2012 and 2013). This year’s prize purse at the Boston Marathon is $806,000, which adds to the $17 million in total prize money and bonuses handed out by B.A.A. since 1986. .
Yesterday, another article appears in the news, this time from Truth Dig. In case you are out of the loop on this topic, let me bring you up to speed: Northwestern University quarterback Kain Colter is seeking certification on behalf of NCAA athletes from the National Labor Relations Board in an effort to unionize athletes to protect against the NCAA – an organization whose goal, ironically, was to protect amateur athletes from professional organizations exploiting athletes. The complaints remain the same: NCAA allegedly takes advantage of for-revenue sport athletes, coaches and athletes receive reprimands for athletes and/or their families receiving payment “under the table”, and athletes (the biggest complainers are basketball and football players) spending too much time at practice and not enough time elsewhere, among other complaints. The article’s tone reads as wry cynicism: the author does not think the athletes have any chance at changing present conditions. Instead, the author poses a different point in its title, but appears to leave the reader to fill in the blanks: why not end collegiate athletics all together? Europe does not have them, so why should we? Leave schools for studying, and let players go pro if they make it.
One interesting point the article puts forth is this: the author learned that USC Trojan football spend four to five hours a day on football, if you include practice, meetings and treatment. Now, four to five hours a day of practice adds up to about 20-25 hours of work a week. Most schools run about 10 months out of the year, and that includes coming back early for football practice in August. The article mentions “four or five hours’ work a week a day for a full ride at the $46,000-per-year-in-tuition school sounded like a good deal,” which is completely true…assuming that all institutions cost that much to attend. Most of the state schools – the schools with powerhouse athletic teams – do not cost that much. While it is unjust to the players that the NCAA milks hundreds of thousands of dollars each year (mostly from football and basketball), I am unsure whether pursuing the unionization route is the soundest of ideas. Perhaps players should take a lesson out of Rosa Parks’ playbook and organize a mid-season boycott of football and/or basketball teams. It might send a stronger message to the NCAA to reconsider their options. Imagine sitting down to your television on Saturday night and the Oregon-Stanford game is canceled; someone (or many) will complain, and matters will have to change.
How to fight an invisible drug is yet another challenge posed to Sochi 2014, as we turn our focus to foreign soil. A scientist from the Russian Academy of Sciences allegedly offered what is known as “Full Size MGF” to an undercover reporter in Sochi. The drug, undetectable by current World Anti-Doping Agency testing mechanisms, is rumored to “develop muscles at twice the natural rate.” Director general David Howman enlightened the public regarding the “illicit sale of drugs” and how new products pharmaceutical companies work have gone missing, due to theft at a A WADA news conference which occurred yesterday. The issue with the theft of new drugs being stolen and later sold on the black market is the lack of testing and its unknown effects on humans, which make them perilous to humans, and put athletes at even greater risks of injury or losing medals at a future date. Fortunately, WADA President Sir Craig Weedie admonished athletes that the new regulations allow WADA to retest samples within a 10-year period. The new regulation provides WADA with additional time to catch up to newer doping techniques, and to reprimand athletes who cheated in the past.
These last articles will round out the end of this week. There are some huge question marks surrounding the disappearance of the Pepsi Team Invitational, one of the favored quad outdoor track and field meets at the world-famous Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon’s track coach Robert Johnson delivered no explanation as to why a meet that has been part of Oregon’s home meet line-up since 1986 suddenly dropped off without question. It is not the only suspicious occurrence of a weakened home meet schedule; apparently, the first regular home meet hosted by Oregon will not feature the “star quality” athletes, of whom local fans and spectators have grown accustomed to watching. The reason is due to the close time-time near the Indoor NCAA Championships. Another home meet is split between home and away, which dilutes another quality home meet. Rest assured, Hayward Field is still busy, as it hosts the Prefontaine Classic, the NCAA Championships, and the IAAF World Junior Championships in May, June and July, respectively.
Nigeria is in trouble in its effort to adequately prepare their athletes for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. Their lack of funding for athletic camps to train athletes is in jeopardy, subjecting athletes to lesser quality training. Discussions with their government and relevant personnel are ongoing to try and address the problem. Finally, you might want to take a look at how the U.K. appears to “demonize” running in schools. Education Secretary Michael Grove uses running as a form of punishment within U.K.’s public education system, along with “weeding school grounds, reporting to school early, and cleaning school grounds.” Brendan Foster, the bronze medalist in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, called out Grove, saying that his use of running as a form of punishment “is inconsistent with the government’s efforts to encourage youth health and reduce childhood obesity.” Promoting the message that running is an enjoyable experience while simultaneously using it as a form of sanction sends a mixed message – a message which Foster wants to clean up.