MMQB preamble, Homage to the Opening of High School Football Season:
The Michigan High School Athletic Association approved a provision that gives a student a chance to play sports.
The 19-year-old Michigan student with Down syndrome who drew national attention for his fight to play football at his high school will be allowed to suit up his senior year, his father said Thursday.
Watch as NFL great Brett Favre takes the field - as a high school football coach in Mississippi.
NFL player O.J. Murdock apparently focused during his last hours on his glory days as a track and football star at the Tampa, Florida, high school where police say he killed himself.
The past two times the Houston Astros have selected first overall, the results have been solid, if not spectacular.
There's a story about Byron Buxton --- you can call him Buck --- that has nothing to do with baseball. It has nothing to do with how fast he runs (he might be the fastest prospect since Bo Jackson). It has nothing to do with how hard he can throw a baseball (his fastball has been clocked at 99 miles per hour). It has nothing to do with how far he hits a baseball (he once hit a ball, in an exhibition, that landed on the top row of the leftfield bleachers at Wrigley Field).
I'm sorry. I must have missed the NFL reversing field about player safety.
Former Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino tried to sidestep University of Arkansas guidelines to quickly hire his mistress, Jessica Dorrell, as the team's player development coordinator, according to documents obtained by SI.com. The documents show that Petrino sought a waiver to circumvent a university affirmative action policy requiring that the job be posted for at least 30 days before interviews could commence. Dorrell's first interview was scheduled even before the waiver was granted by the university's Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance.
With a swirl of confetti below them and DJ Khaled's megahit "All I Do Is Win" blaring from a loudspeaker above, the Baylor women's basketball team danced on the floor of the Pepsi Center in the moments following its 81-60 title game victory over Notre Dame. The lyrics of the song ("All I do is win, win, win no matter what") were fitting: Baylor is the first college basketball team in NCAA history, male or female, to finish a season 40-0.
Three years ago, I was assigned a story for the magazine about a high-school basketball game between Mater Dei and St. Benedict's. The magazine does not usually feature high-school basketball, but this was no ordinary game. Mater Dei, in Southern California, was 23-0 and ranked No. 1 in the nation. St. Benedict's, in New Jersey, was 19-0 and ranked No. 2. They were meeting at Mater Dei, in something called the Nike Extravaganza, which one college scout compared to the Super Bowl. The teams combined for more than 10 Division-I prospects, with two committed to North Carolina, two to Texas, and others to UCLA, USC, Stanford and Pittsburgh. St. Benedict's best player was a precocious power forward named Tristan Thompson who called the showdown "the top of the mountain."
News broke yesterday that 17 TCU students, including four football players, were arrested in a drug bust spearheaded by the university and Fort Worth police forces. The allegations tarnished the Horned Frogs' previously spotless reputation and could have serious implications on next year's season: Linebacker Tanner Brock, defensive lineman T.J. Yendry, offensive tackle Ty Horn and defensive back Devin Johnson were all named in a Star-Telegram report.
The first day of NFL free agency -- March 13 -- can't come soon enough for Matt Flynn. The soon-to-be ex-Green Bay Packer backup is expected to be the league's most in-demand free-agent quarterback --once Drew Brees is signed or franchised by the Saints and outside of Peyton Manning being healthy and released by the Colts.
I missed on Jeremy Lin, too. And like the front offices and coaching staffs of the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets, I'm kicking myself for not realizing what was right under my nose. The truth is, I had a better look, or at least a longer look, at him than any NBA talent evaluator, and I still never dreamed that Lin, the New York Knicks' suddenly brilliant point guard, would go from garbage time to prime time faster than a crossover dribble.
The emerging portrait of 16-year-old Corey Robinson -- athlete, musician, scholar -- combines the light and shadow of two eras. He is a mass of Renaissance brush strokes on a canvas of 21st Century color.
A year ago this time, with the SEC coming off its fifth straight national championship, my colleague Andy Staples compiled some interesting data that confirmed one of the primary reasons behind the league's recent dominance: The wealth of elite defensive prospects in its backyard. Andy noted that a staggering 43 percent of NFL defensive linemen hailed from a cluster of 10 Southeastern states representing just 22 percent of the general population.
Kevin Love drew a box on the wall of his childhood home in Lake Oswego, Ore., and when he couldn't find a pick-up game he threw passes at the box. "Bounce passes, shovel passes, behind-the-back passes," Love said. His middle name is Wesley, after Wes Unseld, a Hall of Fame power forward whose outlet passes were aerial fast breaks. Love took his namesake seriously, studying tapes of the Showtime Lakers and the Celtics passing drills. He grew to be a power forward, just like Unseld, flinging inbounds passes that often traveled half the court. "I know people want the dunks, the crossovers, the sexy stuff," Love said. "But everything for me was based around the fundamentals."
Sports Illustrated will announce its choice for Sportsman of the Year on Dec. 5. Here's one of the nominations for that honor by an SI writer.
Week 7 stories I love: Plaxico Burress, Matt Ryan, Tim Tebow and DeMarco Murray.
Eddie Canales' nonprofit, Gridiron Heroes, provides emotional and financial support to high school football players who've sustained life-changing spinal cord injuries.
Country music singer Wynonna Judd introduces Top 10 CNN Hero Eddie Canales, who helps teens with spinal cord injuries.
Two moments have changed Eddie Canales' life. Both occurred on the football field.
Coaches cancel midday football practices to prevent heat-related injuries to players.
While Big 12 athletic directors met Monday to squash yet another crisis sure to expedite that league's imminent demise (a non-story, yet again), the Big Ten announced that all public tickets to its first-ever league championship game sold out in two hours last weekend. That's par for the course in the SEC but was not always the case for the Big 12's now-defunct title game and pretty much unfathomable for the ACC's six-year-old event.
Although not everyone in baseball is sure that next month's first-year baseball draft is quite as talent-laden as the 2005 draft that included Justin Upton, Ryan Braun, Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Zimmerman, Jay Bruce, Clay Buchholz and several more future stars, this draft is indeed "very strong and extremely deep,'' as one scouting director said.
Related Galleries for the April 18, 2011 issue
Danny Ainge turns 52 on St. Patrick's Day. He is a born Celtic and one of the most confident, fearless executives in professional sports. That's why he's not afraid to trade his starting center two months before the playoffs, even when his team has the best record in the conference.
It's been an odd week. I've been bronchially ill for much of it, napping and coughing and going to bed at 8. I planned to have this week's column be a year-in-review job, what with management and players in silent mode before the federal mediator in Washington over the weekend.
With the notable exception of No. 1 overall recruit Jadeveon Clowney, the 2011 recruiting class is finally in the books. Some prospects are already enrolled in college classes, while others are still planning for prom. But almost all of them will be on a college campus in the fall.
As we approached Cowboys Stadium on the outskirts of Dallas in December, I knew we were in for quite an experience.
CNN follows Eddie Canales on a recent trip to Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.
"Sometimes I'll drive by the old stadium," Lisa Carver said, "and it kind of feels like a dream. You can almost hear the cheers from the crowds, even though the place is empty."
I love what's going on in Missouri. The Chiefs, with 10 wins the past three years, at 10-5, winning the AFC West. The Rams, 6-42 the last three years, one win from the NFC West title.
Former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner talks to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about the league and players' attitudes on concussions.
After a high school football player suffered multiple concussions on the field, his injuries affected the rest of his life.
After growing up in a Salvation Army rescue shelter, Jameel McClain didn't view going undrafted by the NFL as a major hurdle.
Sports Illustrated will announce its choice for Sportsman of the Year on Nov. 29. Here's one of the nominations for that honor by an SI writer.
Women's College Hoops Preview stories in the SI Vault
Reprinted from Scoreboard, Baby by Ken Armstrong and Nick Perry by permission of the University of Nebraska Press. © 2010 by Ken Armstrong and Nick Perry. Available wherever books are sold or from the University of Nebraska Press 800.848.6224 and on the web at nebraskapress.unl.edu.
The spectacle of big bodies crashing with brutal force has helped make American Football a billion-dollar industry and the country's favorite sport. But the game is changing because its players are being crippled with the whole country watching.
Somewhere in Kuwait in late 2007, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Chris Croft handed a package to a convoy commander bound for Baghdad. Croft told the commander to deliver the package to Lt. Col. Fred Wintrich.
In the past three weeks, I have done dozens of interviews with radio stations, websites, blogs and print media as part of the publicity for my book, Blood, Sweat and Chalk. The Ultimate Football Playbook: How the Great Coaches Built Today's Game. It's a fascinating process and I'm thankful that almost every interviewer has been prepared and enthusiastic. I wish W.C. Heinz had been given a similar opportunity to talk about writing Run to Daylight with Vince Lombardi, because he would have killed, for sure and I'd pay to see the transcripts.
Question: What do Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and nearly two dozen football players from McMinnville High School in McMinnville, Ore., have in common?
Power prodigy and No. 1 overall draft choice Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals agreed on a five-year, $9.9 million deal late Monday night, beating the midnight deadline for 2010 draftees.
Jameson Taillon, the No. 2 overall pick in the first round, agreed on a deal believed to be for about $5 million with the Pittsburgh Pirates, SI.com has learned. Taillon is a right-handed pitching prodigy from the Houston area and a big addition for the Pirates.
If Scottie Pippen cries during his Hall of Fame induction speech on Friday, don't be surprised. This is the end of his career. He always cries at the end of his career.
He was hired to break the rules. That is the first thing you need to understand about Isiah Thomas' latest and briefest work for the Knicks, as a consultant. He was hired to break the rules.
By his coach's recollection, when Alex Rodriguez debuted on the Westminster Christian varsity as a sophomore in 1991, he gave little indication that he was destined for home run-hitting greatness. Rodriguez was tall and lean when standing in the batter's box and smooth and slick while fielding grounders at shortstop. He primarily batted seventh and only hit about .270.
As he sat on a couch in the coach's office at Palo Alto High School in Northern California, the walls festooned with aged, curling photos of teams from 50 and 60 years ago, Jeremy Lin understood the importance of his contract with the Golden State Warriors. After all, his new deal meant as much to him as it did to the Asian community that has been rooting for him.
From training camps in late September to blockbuster moves through the summer -- what has it all meant?
Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we prepare to hit the road next week for some NFL training camps and the stickiest, sweatiest portion of every football season...
Never again will there be a repeat of the 1976 MLB draft, when two Hall of Famers and two near Hall of Famers were bypassed in the first round, with Alan Trammell going in the second round, Rickey Henderson (Hall class of 2009) in the fourth, Jack Morris in the fifth and Wade Boggs (Hall class of 2005) in the seventh.
Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we creep within two months of the Bengals and Cowboys kicking off the NFL's 2010 preseason in the Aug. 8 Hall of Fame Game in Canton...
While pitching a summer-league game three years ago, Jameson Taillon of The Woodlands (Texas) High carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning, at which point one of his high-80s fastballs caught too much of the plate and was lined up the middle, where it smacked off his forehead and ricocheted some 40 feet toward first base.
Today, on the same day that Gunnar Sandberg undergoes surgery to reattach a portion of his skull at a hospital outside of San Francisco, the repercussions of the 16-year-old's near-tragedy will play out around California.
How, in four brief years, does the No. 21 pick in the draft turn into an All-Star leader with a championship ring? Here is the story of the Celtics' 24-year-old point guard, Rajon Rondo, who averaged 20 points and 15.5 assists as Boston surprisingly split the opening two games against No. 1 seed Cleveland.
The Nationals, who have the first pick in next month's draft, are now working to hire possible No. 1 pick Bryce Harper's college coach as a scout, SI.com has learned.
CNN's Campbell Brown speaks with Natalie Randolph, named football coach at Calvin Coolidge High School in Washington.
A high school in Washington, D.C., on Friday named a former women's professional football player as its head varsity football coach, a move that a national women's sports advocacy group calls historic.
March Madness is here. We have the draw. Time to dive into the office pools.
Once again, the top talent in the Northeast and the mid-Atlantic converged in central New Jersey for the Premier Showcase, an invite-only event for top juniors and selected underclassmen.
Dominic Randolph's college career is over. The Holy Cross quarterback threw his final pass in a 38-28 Division first-round Football Championship Subdivision loss to Villanova on Saturday.
The marriage between Ohio State and Terrelle Pryor began with such promise. The nation's most gifted high school quarterback joining forces with the reigning powerhouse of the Big Ten? What could possibly go wrong?
Deep in preparation for a Big East mega-game Thursday at No. 21 South Florida, Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly took a day off to visit ESPN's corporate monolith last Friday. It was a match made in media heaven, Kelly being a Worldwide Co-Leader in the ways of corporate and self-promotion.
From his home in Austin, Texas, Chad Morris watches every Auburn game, just as he did for Tulsa the past two seasons and Arkansas the year before that.
That first Friday at Grove City High was so quiet. Any other school year, the school's nationally acclaimed band would have ended the day by marching through the halls blasting the fight song. Any other school year, more than 11,000 would have gathered later that evening at the stadium behind the school to watch the Greyhounds -- better known as the Dawgs -- open their season. Any other school year, Friday would have meant something.
Four years ago Derek Holland was a senior at Newark (Ohio) High School and, like most kids his age, rather clueless about what he was going to do with his life. He was a pitcher, but not a particularly great one -- not even the ace of his high school team. One school offered him a scholarship: Wallace State, of the Alabama Community College Conference, in Hanceville, Alabama. "I went there thinking about going into sports broadcasting," says Holland. "Professional baseball?" He laughs. "Not even on the radar."
Guesses from a multitude of executives around baseball for ballyhooed/deified No. 1 pick Stephen Strasburg's eventual signing bonus have ranged from $12 million to $30 million. Every estimate represents a record bonus.
I spent three days on the July recruiting circuit last week, during which time I got a chance to watch about 90 percent of the nation's best high-school players in action. Two of those days were spent at Nike's King City Classic in Cleveland, and on the third day I attended the Reebok All-American Camp in Philadelphia. Based on what I saw, here is how I would sum up what the vast majority of college coaches will be looking for as the summer evaluation period continues over the next three weeks:
It's happening to Derrick Brooks. After 11 Pro Bowls, six first-team all-pro nods, one Super Bowl victory and one Defensive Player of the Year award, football is saying to him, "We don't need you anymore.''
On draft day, every pick can change the world. That's the nature of hope and sports. Every recruit is a future star. Every draft pick might go to the Hall of Fame. In the NFL draft -- the biggest talent-grab of them all -- you have these fun interviews with general managers and coaches after every pick. Every one sounds the same:
What's more fun than playing scouting director? Playing scouting director 32 times. Baseball America's draft experts, Jim Callis and John Manuel, conducted a mock MLB draft in which they took turns making the picks for Tuesday's first round, factoring in the finances and needs for each team. So the player listed is the one that BA's experts think that each team should pick, not necessarily the one that they will pick. (Callis won the coin toss, so he gets first dibs on the best prospect in draft history and makes all the odd-numbered picks; Manuel has the evens.)
A Washington Nationals official pretended on Sunday not to know a thing about Stephen Strasburg, the San Diego State pitching phenom who's expected to go first to the Nats in Tuesday's draft. "What's Tuesday? Who's Strasburg?'' he said, feigning ignorance.
SEBRING, Fla. -- With 19 players listed among Baseball America's Top 200 Draft Prospects, it's a strong year for high school players in the state of Florida. So when nearly all of them converge on a small city in Central Florida for a postseason all-star tournament -- and the first-year player draft is less than two weeks away -- it's a must-see event for scouts. Thus nearly 100 scouts attended last weekend's 31st annual Florida Athletic Coaches Association Baseball Classic, including scouting directors for at least 10 major league teams.
NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. -- Standing behind home plate, behind the wall of poised radar guns, four consecutive no-hitters didn't seem so improbable. Trying to wrap the brain around the concept -- four games without even one Texas-leaguer or seeing-eye single -- grows more difficult with each of Patrick Schuster's starts. But in the moment, against a fastball that looks like a Ferrari changing lanes on the Autobahn and a slider that spends just enough time in the strike zone to entice a swing, a hit would have offered more of a surprise.
My, a lot of folks are hot under the horse collar about the NFL's new Brady Rule, which continues the trend of making it costly to take the shortest or even longest route to the quarterback and arrive in ill humor. One site claims the league will require signal-callers to wear dresses, and ESPN's Mike Golic has suggested that players will get flagged for merely looking at a QB.
The fourth-floor view of Tempe Town Lake would be splendid, but the shades are drawn because the glare from the descending desert sun makes Ping-Pong impossible. This glassy tower on the road snaking behind Arizona State's landmark "A" Mountain is no dorm -- if the architecture doesn't give it away, the sign advertising luxury condos will -- and inside it looks as if these college kids are crashing an investment banker's bachelor pad. But the resident of the two-bedroom unit is actually junior communications major Derek Glasser, the Sun Devils' starting point guard and son of premium jeans magnate Michael Glasser. Derek's volleying with sophomore shooting guard Ty Abbott as friends look on, heckling them.
After a while, as a sportswriter, you get used to coaches calling. A coach in the mountains of North Carolina called the newspaper again and again to come do a story on his punter, who was averaging something like 55 yards a kick. When a reporter finally gave in and weaved along the icy two-lane roads, he found the town and he found the punter. The problem was: The guys keeping the box score were measuring the kid's punts from where he kicked the ball -- some 12 yards behind the line of scrimmage.
Florida won't take the field to play for the national title until Thursday, but the Gators scored a victory for their future Sunday when Sanford (Fla.) Seminole receiver Andre Debose committed during the Under Armour All-America Game, choosing Florida from a group that also included Georgia, LSU and Miami.
Everyone has a favorite Matt LaPorta home run story. There's the one about the dented baseball, the one about the clutch bomb in the College World Series and the one that inspired the pitcher to offer his services for LaPorta's batting-practice. But none are as compelling as his performance in a high school home run derby five years ago.
All college coaches still searching for an athletic tight end should watch this video. You may not have missed your chance to land the guy who made the play of the year in high school football.
The bus was on I-35 just north of Laredo, Texas, with about 450 miles still to go and plenty of gas in the tank, when the driver suddenly pulled over to the side of the road. Assistant coach Gustavo Adame immediately knew why. Before the bus came to a halt, he sprang from his seat in the front and shouted in Spanish, "Paperwork, out! Passports, out! Visas, out! Rápido!"
Four players in baseball history have put together this odd combination: 25 homers, 25 stolen bases, 40 doubles, more than 110 RBIs and 110 runs scored. They are:
The moment Mark Sanchez cemented himself as USC's starting quarterback this season didn't come when he led the team to a fourth-quarter comeback win over Arizona last season in his first career start. It didn't come when he threw four touchdowns passes and no interceptions in a 38-0 rout of Notre Dame in South Bend. It didn't even come this spring when coach Pete Carroll named him the starter in April, leading to No. 6 jerseys being printed and sold in the campus bookstore.
SI.com has dispatched 10 writers to report on the 32 NFL training camps across the country. For the complete schedule of postcards, click here.
The summer before his red-shirt freshman season at Texas Tech in 2004, prized quarterback recruit Graham Harrell took a week-long working vacation. Already ensconced in workouts on the Tech campus, Harrell left to prepare for and play in the Oil Bowl -- the annual all-star football grudge match between Oklahoma and Texas high school seniors. "When Texas plays Oklahoma in college, half the Sooners roster is from Texas and vice versa," says Harrell. "With the summer all-star games, it's purely a state rivalry."
Saints coach Sean Payton knows how to take advantage of the moment and is not afraid to take on new challenges.
LOS ANGELES -- Ten seconds became 20 and 20 turned into 30, and still Glenn (Doc) Rivers was stuck, trapped, the emotion catching in his throat, the tears welling up just out of sight in corners of his eyes. Thirty seconds was headed toward 40, and the question still hung unanswered in the air.
Pillar by pillar, Chris Olsen's world was crashing down.
Matt Bush is not Chipper Jones yet, or Alex Rodriguez, or any number of other former No. 1 picks who have taken their lofty status in Major League Baseball's draft and become mega-stars. Bush, who spends his days rehabilitating from elbow surgery in Peoria, Ariz., is about as far away from that as a ballplayer can get.
With 24 hours to go before the selections begin, the draft remains a muddled mess, making the process of doing a mock a series of hedged wagers. "This is easily one of the most unpredictable first rounds I've ever seen," said one team official. Basically, the draft pool has two clumps of players, one made up of the top 10, followed by a larger group of up to 40 players. With even the first overall pick still up in the air, any one last-minute flip could change the board dramatically.
Fifteen years ago, the San Diego Padres spent their first-round draft choice on Derrek Lee, a lanky first baseman from El Camino High School in Sacramento. It was a wise and prescient pick. Lee had a big-league frame (6 foot 5, 225 pounds), a big-league pedigree (his father and uncle were professional baseball players) and blue-chip athletic ability (the University of North Carolina had offered him a spot on its basketball team). By drafting Lee with the 14th overall pick, the Padres demonstrated foresight and scouting acumen. The pick was a testament to talent evaluation, the bedrock upon which every franchise is built.
A tornado struck northeast Iowa a week ago, and seven people were killed. About 220 homes were destroyed, and much of the downtown of Parkersburg, Iowa, (pop.: 1,800) was leveled.
If this is going to work, if Tom Osborne and Bo Pelini are going to turn the new Nebraska back into the old Nebraska, the process had to start in a place like this, in the rural town of West Point (pop. 3,472). It had to begin with a Nebraska kid, a tough, hardworking high school player who has always been a Husker in his heart, a kid like linebacker Micah Kreikemeier. Now, Micah Kreikemeier might one day join the long line of legendary Nebraska stars, or he might be one of those Cornhuskers who never has a bigger college football highlight than the day the most famous man in the state called to offer him a scholarship. But one thing that Micah Kreikemeier almost surely will do is work his tail off the way Nebraska boys are expected to do, treasure the block N on the side of his helmet as if it were a big red ruby and make everyone in the state proud that he's one of their own. If you don't know how important all of that is, well, then you don't know Nebraska.
The Yankees and the Red Sox had engaged in two consecutive seven-game American League Championship Series, splitting the Game 7s, when in 2005 they took their rivalry to a new battlefront: the draft room. Until that point both teams had relied on trades and free agency to acquire impact players. But with aging rosters, bloated payrolls and almost no elite players in the pipeline, the superpowers realized they had to change.
The message boards buzzed when Kalispell, Mont., forward Brock Osweiler committed to Gonzaga two years ago. Would Osweiler, then a high school freshman, make it to Spokane, Wash., before changing his mind or doing something to make Gonzaga coaches change their minds? Now, as Osweiler nears the end of his junior year, he may indeed choose a school other than Gonzaga.
Scott Porter remembered the game. Asked Wednesday if he could recall the most heartbreaking loss of his junior season at Lake Howell High in Winter Park, Fla., the man who plays paralyzed former Dillon Panthers quarterback Jason Street on NBC's Friday Night Lights flicked on his mental highlight reel.
When hoops historians look back on the 2007-08 college basketball season, they may conclude that its most significant moment came on an Indian summer evening in October '03. At the head of a heavy oak table in his Memphis steak house sat Tigers coach John Calipari, who has led teams to both the Final Four and the NBA playoffs. Next to him was an obscure junior college coach from Fresno named Vance Walberg. For six days Walberg had observed Calipari's practices, continuing an annual pilgrimage that had given him deeper insight into the work of two dozen elite college coaches, from Bob Knight to Dean Smith to Billy Donovan.
What do you suppose it was like to be inside the tiny gymnasium at Jeannette (Pa.) High last Saturday night?
If you've checked out the SI/TAKKLE.com list of the nation's top 100 high school football players recently, you probably pelted your computer screen in strawberry-banana smoothie when you noticed one particular ranking.