Florida prosecutors announced today that Jameis Winston won’t be charged with sexual assault. Unless new evidence comes forward, the case is “gone and dead,” ESPN legal analyst Roger Cossack said on the network.
I didn’t earn a law degree in the last three weeks, but here are six initial thoughts:
Last May, the NCAA Men's Basketball Rules Committee met with a chance to rescue college basketball from its ongoing doldrums. The aesthetic quality of the sport had hit rock bottom, with scoring dropping to its lowest levels since the 1951-52 season, according to the NCAA record book (page 44 [PDF]). An NCAA press release, and subsequent media reports, highlight the 1981-82 season, which was the previous low point since the 1950s.
Our pals at StatSheet have documented the decline in everything from shooting percentage to scoring to free throws attempted to possessions, and every chart tells the same story. Games were longer, too, and the style of play was slow and plodding compared to the NBA. In essence, athleticism and pace had been ground to dust under the jackboot of physical defense and control-freak coaches. Individuality, which makes basketball such a free-flowing, exciting sport, was systematically squelched.
Here’s how to understand the NCAA’s decision to give back some scholarships it took away from Penn State: The NCAA is trying to survive in a moral universe in which everything it does, and everything it doesn’t do, sucks.
In case you were busy doubling down on a profanity-laced tirade against your own fans, here's what you missed in sports on Monday:
Rookie running back Giovani Bernard had two touchdowns as the Cincinnati Bengals dropped the Pittsburgh Steelers to 0-2 for the first time in the Mike Tomlin era with a 20-10 win. "The guy from The Other Sister! You gotta be kidding me," Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said to Tomlin over his headset after Bernard's first touchdown. A confused Tomlin asked LeBeau what he was talking about, to which the renowned defensive coordinator responded, "I thought it was crazy too! Why would Marvin Lewis bring him in? He was wooden in Avatar, and I hear his new show, Dads, is terrible. I mean he wasn't bad in Saving Private Ryan, but he hardly struck me as an athlete, and that was long enough ago the Bengals still had Ickey Woods at the position. Guy's gotta be pushing 40." When Tomlin then asked LeBeau if he had confused rookie speedster Giovani Bernard with Boiler Room star Giovanni Ribisi, LeBeau went silent for 60 seconds before saying, "So, we might not have the schemes in place to stop this guy."
After a weather delay postponed the final round of the BMW Championship, Zach Johnson fired a 65 to outpace Jim Furyk and Nick Watney, winning the tournament at 16-under. "Man, what a super tournament," Johnson said after surging from behind to take the win. "Just a really sweet victory. And it's my title at 16-under. My super, sweet, 16 under wait that's not on tape is it? Shit."
The Internet is a big place, and in the age of social media it's important to stay current on all the ridiculous things that happen in sports. Every Friday, we'll catch you up on important stories you might have missed. This week, we begin in St. Louis.
There are very few times in life when you might be depressed and hopeless and disgusted with yourself for missing a regular-season baseball game. It just doesn’t happen. Unless someone hits three home runs or attacks a pitcher, every regular-season baseball game is basically the same. If you missed one, don’t worry, there are 161 others. When do we see an exception to this rule?
Jalen Rose and David Jacoby discuss the underreported practice of middle school basketball prospects like Nerlens Noel and Andrew Wiggins staying back a year in school so they can dominate on the court. Check out the entire Jalen Rose Report podcast with David Jacoby, here.
In case you were out being a real Party Time Jack, here's what you missed in sports on Wednesday.
NFL tight end Aaron Hernandez has been officially charged with murder and released by the Patriots. "Now that's what I call a bad day!" said Lenny Dykstra, who was named Hernandez's defense attorney by a bizarre, nonreversible computer error at the Massachusetts Department of Justice. "Does anybody have any chew? There's none in my briefcase. In fact, the briefcase is totally empty. Unless you count the moisture. I found it in a Dumpster really late last night. Where are we at on that chew?"
Roger Federer was upset in the second round at Wimbledon, losing in four sets to Sergiy Stakhovsky. Sorry guys, but it's really hard to see one of my heroes go down like this, and I can't just turn off my emotions and make a joke. I mean, what do you say when a legend falls? When perfection fails? It's heartbreaking. All you can do is ask why. WHYYYYY, AARON HERNANDEZ?! WHY DID YOU (ALLEGEDLY) MURDER SOMEONE!!?! YOU WERE THE LIGHT OF NEW ENGLAND!!!! YOU WERE THE FLAME IN MY SOUL!!!
The man in the St. Cloud State University jacket sitting at the hotel bar in Pittsburgh leaned over Wednesday evening and made a confession. "Ka-winna Wa-keena Coo-weepak I don't know how the hell it goes!" He was referring to Quinnipiac University, the top-seeded hockey team that St. Cloud will face Thursday night in the semifinals of the NCAA Frozen Four. And he wasn't the only one who felt a little bit lost. "Where is St. Cloud State, anyway?" I overheard someone say earlier this week as she looked up at the giant banners in Pittsburgh's CONSOL Energy Center that named this year's four national championship contenders (Yale, UMass-Lowell, Quinnipiac, and St. Cloud State).
For the record, it's pronounced "KWIN-ni-pee-ack, and St. Cloud State is in Minnesota, but you can't blame either of these folks for not knowing. It's not uncommon for a relative unknown to work its way into the final rounds of the NCAA tournament; Ferris State and Union were part of last season's Frozen Four, while Bemidji State made it in 2009. But what's unusual this year is that none of college hockey's typical powerhouses will be there alongside any newcomers.
In the hallway outside the Michigan locker room, we the media huddled on the far side of the retractable dividers, a mass of cameras and notebooks and digital recorders. Inside, head coach John Beilein had a few minutes to speak in private with his players after they'd lost the national championship game to Louisville. When he was done, the players took their turns. Glenn Robinson III went first, which surprised the others because of his shyness. The theme of his speech and those that followed was constant: This was a great season, we're brothers for life, we should be proud. When everyone had finished, they sang the fight song together. It was a postgame tradition normally reserved for a win, but it felt like the right way to end the season.
Then they hustled Beilein, Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Spike Albrecht to the official press conference room and opened the locker room doors to the hordes. We filed through a security bottleneck, shouted at by the usual array of hired security who enjoyed their power 10 to 25 percent more than they should have, and swept in through the doors. We saw a table littered with empty Powerade bottles, a bowl full of apples and bananas, and beyond that, the Michigan players standing in front of their lockers with tears in their eyes.
Back on the court, the Louisville players were still celebrating. The team that couldn't lose, no matter which of its star players struggled or what obstacles were placed in its way, had won again. Rick Pitino won a national championship the same day he was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. Luke Hancock had pulled off another miracle and, for his reward, held the trophy for Most Outstanding Player in his hands. They wore their championship T-shirts and hats, and their fans stuck around to roar their approval after every word.
While NCAA basketball brackets were mostly left busted after this weekend, the national championship tournament matchups in another winter sport were just being built. It was championship weekend across the country in college hockey, with the five conferences that award automatic bids to the NCAA tournament holding their playoffs in a lead-up to Sunday night's selection show. When the ice was cleared, 16 teams were given berths in the tournament, which culminates at the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh this April. In its honor, here are 16 takeaways from, to borrow from Badger Bob, a great weekend for hockey!
16. We'll begin with the coolest thing to happen in college hockey this weekend: The Minnesota Golden Gophers women's team won its second straight national title, capping off a 49-game winning streak that dates back to February 18 of last year. After a regular season in which it outscored its opponents 216-36, Minnesota faced much tougher challenges in the contests leading up to the national title. In the NCAA quarterfinals, they needed triple overtime to beat North Dakota 3-2. They also won their semifinal game over Boston College in overtime. And while Boston University proved to be surprisingly resilient in the finals, it was the Gophers who pulled off a commanding 6-3 win in front of a sellout hometown crowd.
It's time for the last Man of the Hour, and there's no doubt who deserves the honor. He's the man who represents the last hope of a real upset (no, Wichita State over Pittsburgh doesn't count) in the early games. He is:
In case you were busy deciding which of your biceps should be nicknamed Air Force One in honor of Presidents Day, here's what you missed in sports on Monday.
The Anaheim Ducks won their fifth game in a row, holding off the Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-2, at home. Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau was pleased with the win, saying, "I didn't used to enjoy playing against Columbus because I thought they were named for some sort of Ohio-based mutant wasp species. I don't much care for wasps at all." Boudreau went on to say, "But when I found out their name is a reference to the American Civil War, well, as a Canadian, that doesn't affect me nearly as much as wasps. I really don't care for wasps at all. If someone wanted to make a scary team name, they should go with the Wasps."
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday.
Unscramble the anagram to decode the WACKY HALLOWEEN COSTUME.
LeBron James scored 26 points and grabbed 10 boards despite missing most of the second half with cramps, and the Heat opened the NBA season with a 120-107 win over the Celtics. To spite the Celtics, James will dress up as an: CRAWLEN 'N HEL
Dwight Howard's first regular-season shot as a Laker was a missed two-handed dunk, and the Mavericks started their year with a 99-91 upset win over L.A. To the horror of Lakers fan, Howard dressed as a: LEGIT LAM CUB
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency will ban Lance Armstrong for life and strip him of his seven Tour de France titles after Armstrong elected to stop fighting what he called an "unconstitutional witch hunt." Late last night, witnesses reported seeing Armstrong deep in the woods with Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, uttering strange rhymes about the body parts of dead animals and placing objects into a smoking black cauldron.