I guess students from Boise State are really, really dumb then?

Study Links Winning Football and Declining Grades
www.nytimes.com

When a college football team is successful, students put down their books and pick up some beers.  In examining the grade-point averages of the Oregon student body and the performance of the Ducks’ football team, the researchers found a relationship between declining grades and success on the field.  “Our results support the concern that big-time sports are a threat to American higher education,” the paper’s authors — Jason M. Lindo, Isaac D. Swensen and Glen R. Waddell — wrote. They said their work was among the first to take a look at the “nonmonetary costs” of college sports.  Male students were more likely than female students to increase their alcohol consumption and celebrating and decrease studying when a team fared well, resulting in lower grade-point averages, according to the study.

When you see studies like this, you should always be skeptical.  It sounds logical to conclude that when a school's football team is doing well, students are probably having a little more fun and spending less time on their studies.  And it may be true.  In fact, I'd be surprised if it's not, to be honest.  However, after reading the quote from the authors, I'm struck by their sheer conviction.  Academics aren't above jumping to conclusions based on one set of data--in this case, the University of Oregon's football team from 1997 to 2007. Further, they're not above taking on a topic in which they can make a name for themselves.  Imagine if their data didn't prove their conclusion.  It wouldn't make news; it wouldn't get their name into the press; it might not be worth a paper at all. 

In order to support the claim that big-time sports are a threat to education, I'd like to see more data from more schools and see it benchmarked.  Everything is relative, as they say.  

Jamal Lewis, Dorsey Levens sue NFL over handling of head injuries

Ex-players sue NFL over concussions
espn.go.com

Jamal Lewis, Dorsey Levens and two other former NFL players say in a federal lawsuit that brain injuries have left them struggling with medical problems years after their playing days ended…The players maintain the NFL knew as early as the 1920s of the potential for concussions to harm its players.

“The NFL has done everything in its power to hide the issue and mislead players concerning the risks associated with concussions,” the players argue in the lawsuit…“While athletes in other professional sports who had suffered concussions were being effectively ‘shut down’ for long periods of time or full seasons, NFL protocol was to return players who had suffered concussions to the very game in which the injury occurred,” the lawsuit states.

The Daily Lard 12-22-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Interesting post yesterday from Brian Burke on the silly reliance upon gross rushing yards to measure a running back's effectiveness. Funny thing is, he's not just talking about fans here - Burke is studying salaries and how players are valued by the NFL. Running backs apparently get paid for their rushing yards rather than their total contributions to their teams, which is how guys like DeAngelo Williams get $21M in guarantees to comprise just one half of a RB tandem. Burke's best line is his clincher:

"Football people" want to tell you that they ignore stats and just look at the game. They want us to believe they have a near mystical sense of how to recognize good play. The fact is they do rely on stats, just the wrong ones.

Remember this next time you hear/read someone say how much they hate stats and then later cite some as proof of a player's worth. "I hate stats" usually translates to "I hate advanced (or rate) stats that I haven't taken the time to understand, and instead I prefer the traditional ones I've heard about my whole life."

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 12-22-11"

Fans want Miller, Tebow, and Dumervil in Pro Bowl

Broncos Tebow, Dumervil, Miller get strong fan support for Pro Bowl
www.denverpost.com

— If the fans have their way, the Broncos will be well-represented in this season’s Pro Bowl game in Honolulu.  Quarterback Tim Tebow, defensive end Elvis Dumervil and outside linebacker Von Miller would all be heading to Hawaii to play for the AFC in the Pro Bowl game that will be played Jan. 29….Fans constitute one-third of the Pro Bowl voting. The players have one-third and the coaches make up the other one-third. Bronco coaches voted Tuesday night with Bronco players filling out their Pro Bowl ballots today…The Pro Bowl squads will be announced at 5 p.m. MST Tuesday on the NFL Network.

In the final fans voting, Tebow was third among AFC quarterbacks, behind New England’s Tom Brady and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger. The top three quarterbacks are named to the AFC team.

Cool Cat Award - Braylon Edwards

Braylon Edwards gave 79 students $10,000 for college
sports.yahoo.com

As a Cleveland Browns rookie in 2005, Edwards announced he’d give $10,000 in scholarships to 100 area eighth-graders if they could graduate high school with over a 2.5 GPA and 15 hours community service. Of the 100 who were afforded the opportunity, 79 met the criteria and have begun their first year of college. Many are attending Ohio universities, but the schools represented spread across the country and include Harvard, Cornell and Johns Hopkins…Edwards hasn’t played for the Browns in two years. He’s a member of the San Francisco 49ers this season and is earning a $1 million base salary for the year, just about what he’ll pay those 79 students he promised to help years ago.

As I read this, I began thinking of how I might apply this to my own life.  If you know of 79 students who need a $1 Jumbo Eraser at Dollar Tree, send them along.  I'm a big spender.

SNL wants Tebow to kick it up a notch

Tim Tebow To Host Saturday Night Live?
www.thepostgame.com

Having supplanted Tom Brady and Peyton Manning as the NFL’s most-discussed player, Tim Tebow could soon follow the pigskin legends onto the hallowed stages of America’s most popular late-night television sketch comedy show. Saturday Night Live producers want Tebow to host the popular NBC show, according to HollywoodLife.com. The site reports that a source close to SNL says producers want the Broncos quarterback to be featured as soon as football season is over. “SNL realizes it would be huge ratings and they are hoping he will say yes,” HollywoodLife’s source said. “Tim just can’t and won’t be able to do it while the season is still in play.”

My vote?  Tebow plays a motivational speaker:

Tebowmania yet to reach Buffalo, NY

Bills' home finale blacked out on TV
espn.go.com

The Bills announced Wednesday they still had about 24,000 tickets left for their final home game of the season. Buffalo closes its season having its last three home games blacked out.

We think we’re an adaptive species.

Why Athletes Keep Chasing Head Injuries
deadspin.com

He was so comfortable, in fact, that, according to the release, “(James) Harrison called…to thank him for putting (Kevlar) in his helmet, proclaiming it was the first time he did not experience post-game head pain or ringing in his ears.” In seven years.

Polamalu took the field against the Cincinnati Bengals just seven days after sustaining his not-quite-acknowledged concussion. His fear of not being a man, of looking like a wuss in front of his teammates, trumped his fear of looking at his son at age 50 and seeing a stranger; of uncontrollably sobbing and not knowing why, like the departed NFL great Dave Duerson, or, more recently, the late 28-year-old NHL enforcer Derek Boogaard; of not remembering what he ate for breakfast that morning, like the late NHL tough guy Bob Probert.

The NFL is good—astonishingly so, to the point where it’s tough to ever quite notice it doing it—at pushing its stark-raving, trembling, broken-down old soldiers to the margins. They are kept away from public view and trotted out briefly when the occasion arises. We see them only as their younger, beautiful selves in living eulogies produced by NFL Films.

Not my words, that title above. Rather, they belong to Sean Conboy, the author of the excellent column originally posted on The Classical and republished on Deadspin. As if the Ben Utecht story weren't enough to give one pause...

Would Tebow Nation care if Orton beats the Broncos?

Rankings: Orton move could bite Elway, Broncos
sports.yahoo.com

So yes, he is acutely aware of the public pummeling that awaits him if Kyle Orton – the former starter the Broncos’ executive vice president nobly set free a few weeks ago – returns to Denver 11 days from now as the Chiefs’ quarterback and squashes his old team’s playoff dreams. Should that scenario play out, Elway knows he will be slammed for having made a gratuitous transaction that ultimately came back to bite his team.

I disagree with Silver. Tim Tebow is too big a phenomenon at this point for his supporters to care what happens to Kyle Orton.  Tim Tebow is the answer; Kyle Orton is just another name Tebow gets to ghostwrite in his next autobiography.  I'm telling you right now, the Chiefs could run the table with Kyle Orton (it won't happen), beat the Patriots in the conference playoffs, and destroy the Packers in the Super Bowl, and it wouldn't change the feelings of Tebow Nation in the slightest.  

The Daily Lard 12-21-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Don Banks is loving the storylines of the AFC West right now, and who can blame him? There sure is a lot of wackiness going on here, and there could be no more interesting regular season finale than Tim Tebow versus Kyle Orton for the division title. And as Banks highlights, the Chargers are the only team in the division whose W-L record underachieves their point differential.

In fact, if the teams' records matched what would be expected from their point differentials (Pythagorean Wins or PW), San Diego would be the lone 8-6 team, Denver and Oakland would each be two games back at 6-8, and Kansas City would be 3-11 rather than the 6-8 mark they currently sport (You can see PW on each team profile over at PFR as "Expected W-L"). Sure, it's the actual games that really count and ultimately a team is judged by its record. But as we've seen over a zillion times, your team isn't really that good until it posts some decisive (on the scoreboard) victories.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 12-21-11"

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