May 17, 2014
Tracy Williams-Johnson, Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach at UNC and former VP for the ABL, and Jamal Brooks, former NFL Linebacker, join the discussion this week to talk about the controversy around LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
May 10, 2014
Dr. Eric Anderson, Professor of Sociology, Masculinity, Sexuality at the University of Winchester, and Sean James, former NFL running back and advocate against bullying, join the discussion this week to discuss about an athlete’s sexual orientation and the NFL Draft.
April 19, 2014
The NCAA is facing several lawsuit in the near future. One that has not gotten as much attention as suits like the Ed O’Bannon suit, was filed in March. Former University of West Virginia running back Shawne Alston is claiming that the NCAA is violating anti-trust laws by capping the value of athletic scholarship at what he claims is far below the actual cost of attending most universities. Alston’s lawyers have released statements saying student-athletes should “no longer be treated as second-class citizens” and they shouldn’t have to “struggle to make ends meet while they are surrounded by multi-millionaire coaches.” Joining us to discuss the suit are Shawne Alston and Steve Berman, a partner at Berman, Sobol and Shaprio who is representing Alston.
April 12, 2014
This week we continue our discussion of unionization efforts in college athletics. In March a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago ruled that players at Northwestern University could be considered employees of the school and eligible to form labor unions. The NCAA and Northwestern have both appealed this decision. Players on the team have cast secret ballots to decide if they want to form a union. Those votes won’t be counted until the lengthy appeals process is over. Joining us to continue our conversation of this issue are Tim Crothers, former senior writer at Sports Illustrated, and Jason Kahn, sports reporter at the CBS affiliate in Tallahassee, Florida.
April 5, 2014
Recently, a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board ruled that scholarship football players at Northwestern University should be considered employees and given the right to unionize. The NCAA and Northwestern are appealing the ruling while others, like the National College Players Association, hope it will help end what they see as exploitation of college athletes by organizations like the NCAA. While the importance of this decision is unclear, we do know that this is the beginning of a long process and no one is entirely sure where it will end. Joining us to discuss the ramification of this decision and where the process goes from here is Jeffrey Michael Hirsch, a professor at the UNC School of Law who specializes in labor law and union organizing.
March 29, 2014
Recently, University of North Carolina system President Tom Ross was invited by the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics to attend their latest meeting as an independent participant. President Ross spoke to the committee’s public session and met with members in their executive session. On this special edition of Sports Focus, President Ross joins us to discuss what he told the commission and what he thinks are the most pressing issues relating to college athletics in North Carolina and the nation as a whole.
March 22, 2014
Recent scandals regarding the education that student-athletes in big-time athletics programs are receiving begs the question, what can be done to make sure the “student” in student-athlete still means something? One idea proposed by an instructor at UNC would allow student-athletes to take a reduced course load in their active seasons and make up for it after their playing eligibility has expired. Joining us to discuss this proposal and other alternatives to the current system are Stephen King, an instructor of visual communication and author of the aforementioned proposal, and Luke Notestine, a sports anchor and reporter at WLOS News 11, the ABC affiliate in Asheville, North Carolina.
March 15, 2014
A class action lawsuit against the NCAA, known commonly as the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit, is finally on the way to some kind of resolution. Originally filed in 2009 against videogame makers over their use of former athlete’s likenesses in their games, the suit has expanded to include former and current players and the NCAA. A federal judge has ordered the parties to enter settlement talks, with a trail date in June if those talks don’t resolve the issues. Joining us to talk about where the case is and where it might be going are Ellen Staurowsky, a professor of sports management at Drexel University and Sonny Vaccaro, sports marketing pioneer and long time NCAA critic.
March 8, 2014
A recent cover story for Bloomberg Businessweek shows a UNC basketball jersey with an ‘F’ grade and the caption “No Class.” This refers both to lectures in the Afro-american studies department, taken predominately by student-athletes at UNC, that never met and the way the University has handled the ensuing scandal. Joining us to discuss the article and why Universities are so reluctant to address these issues are Paul Barrett, author of the Businessweek cover story, and Richard Southall, director of the College Sports Research Institute.
March 1, 2014
You can’t have a successful college athletic program without the right athletes and recruiting these players has become a huge part most athletics programs, almost becoming a sport in-and-of itself. How has this changed over the years? How are coaches able to predict if a high school sophomore will be a successful college player? And how do scouting agencies and the growing media and fan interest in recruiting affect the process? Joining us to discuss this are Jimmy Adams, a retired basketball coach who has worked at the high school and college level (University of Memphis and Ole Miss), and Joe Giglio, a sports writer at the News & Observer who covers recruiting.