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NCAA: Athletes Improving in Classroom; Wage Gap Remains

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Michael Marot, ASSOCIATED PRESS


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Cash counts in college sports — even in the classroom.

On Wednesday, as the NCAA released Academic Progress Rate numbers showing record highs, the same stats revealed the richest athletic departments are making the grades. Others aren’t so fortunate.

Fifteen of the 21 teams hit with postseason bans and 23 of the 28 teams being sanctioned with some other penalty are from institutions defined as limited-resource schools. And that comes after the NCAA implemented a higher cutline, 930, for some of those schools two years ago.

No school in the Football Bowl Subdivision, which includes the five wealthiest conferences of the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC, was penalized.

Overall, the numbers are improving. Fewer teams were penalized this year, the four-year average, 978, is a two-point increase over last year’s previous record high, and two sports that have traditionally lagged others, men’s basketball and football, both produced significant increases.

Football scores improved five points to 956 while men’s basketball increased its score to 961, up four points. Scores in baseball (969) and women’s basketball (975) both jumped two points, mirroring the overall increase.

“We are pleased and proud of their accomplishments,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “Our goal always has been to encourage students to achieve academically and earn their degrees. Every year, Division I students prove that both academic and athletic success are achievable.”

Scores are calculated by awarding an athlete one point each semester they remain academically eligible and another point each semester if they stay in school. A perfect score is 1,000.

Critics have long contended that the APR is not an accurate measure of academic progress because the numbers can be skewed by various factors such as clustering athletes in certain classes or majors or steering students to certain instructors. They also say athletic departments at the wealthiest schools are seeing the dividends of investing heavily in academic resource centers and tutors — something other schools cannot do.

Teams competing in the five power conferences had an average APR score of 985. Teams in all the other conferences had an average score of 979. The power conferences also had better scores in eligibility (987 compared with 981) and retention (979 to 974).

Five Football Championship Subdivision teams — Alabama State, Florida A&M, Gardner-Webb, Savannah State and Tennessee State — received postseason bans. Men’s basketball teams at Alcorn State, Central Arkansas, Florida A&M and Stetson also will not be eligible for next year’s NCAA Tournament. The only women’s basketball team on the banned list was Savannah State.

All of those schools with the exception of Central Arkansas, Gardner-Webb and Stetson are considered historically black colleges or universities.

Emmert believes the improvements are not necessarily driven by finances even as he promised to continue looking for more ways to help.

The Committee on Academics, which is chaired by Ohio University President Roderick McDavis, is expected to make a formal recommendation in January to the NCAA board to help low-resource schools achieve more academic success.

“The academic performance of limited-resource schools is improving faster than that of any other part of the Division I membership,” Emmert said. “The goal of the academic performance program is to encourage teams to improve academically, not punish those who underperform. We will work with HBCUs and limited-resource schools to make sure their college athletes have every opportunity to succeed academically.”

Another troubling trend showed up in transfer rates between four-year schools, particularly in men’s basketball, which hit a record high of 13.4 percent in 2013-14. In 2003-04, the first year of the report, it was 9.4 percent.

That’s a huge increase when compared with football, which has seen the percentage of transfers go from 3.6 percent in 2003-04 to 3.7 percent last year, and is more than double the increase in women’s basketball, which has climbed from 7.6 in 2003-04 to its current 9.2 percent.

McDavis said nearly 14,500 college athletes also have returned to school and earned their degrees since the NCAA first started measuring the APR in 2003-04.

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Online:

Scores for each team can be found at http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/research/academic-progress-rate-search

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Bay Area

Planning Commission to Hold Public Hearing on Oakland A’s Real Estate Project

The Planning Commission will consider whether the Final EIR was completed in compliance with state law, represents the independent analysis of the city, and provides adequate information to decision-makers and the public on the potential adverse environmental effects of the proposed project, as well as ways in which those effects might be mitigated or avoided.

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The Oakland Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the Oakland A’s Stadium and Real Estate Development. It will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 19, at 3 p.m., according to a city media release.

“During the hearing, the Planning Commission will consider whether the Final EIR was completed in compliance with state law, represents the independent analysis of the city, and provides adequate information to decision-makers and the public on the potential adverse environmental effects of the proposed project, as well as ways in which those effects might be mitigated or avoided” according to the media release.

The 3,500-page report was released the week before Christmas 2021, leaving little time for community advocates to read and critique the report.

After the commission makes a recommendation, the Oakland City Council will consider certification of the Final EIR, likely in February. A “yes” vote by the council does not mean the project is approved but is a major first step toward approval.

Community advocates are asking the commission to postpone the meeting, so that the community has time to read and analyze the 3,500-page report in time to provide public comment. You can contact the commission at drarmstrong@oaklandca.gov or cpayne@oaklandca.gov.

The following are Planning Commission members:

• Clark Manus, Chair

• Jonathan Fearn, Vice-Chair

• Sahar Shiraz

• Tom Limon

• Vince Sugrue

• Jennifer Renk

• Leopold A Ray-Lynch

To read the Final EIR, go to:  https://bit.ly/32KZ3pT

 

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Black History

Oakland Natives’ We Ball Sports and HBCU’s League Pass to Deliver Negro League Apparel

With the mission of bridging HBCU baseball with its historic Negro Baseball League roots, We Ball Sports, headquartered in Atlanta, will design integrated apparel, and distribute via HBCU League Pass news, sports, shopping, and entertainment network based in Roanoke, Texas.

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Nehemiah Mitchell and Derrion Herring, co-founders of We Ball Sports.
Nehemiah Mitchell and Derrion Herring, co-founders of We Ball Sports.

By Carla Thomas

E-commerce company We Ball Sports, specializing in high-quality football gear and apparel, announced a new retail partnership with Urban Edge Networks, owner of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) League Pass.

With the mission of bridging HBCU baseball with its historic Negro Baseball League roots, We Ball Sports, headquartered in Atlanta, will design integrated apparel, and distribute via HBCU League Pass news, sports, shopping, and entertainment network based in Roanoke, Texas.

Just in time for baseball season, Nehemiah Mitchell, a co-founder of We Ball Sports, says the new partnership is the perfect blend of technology and fashion that invokes awareness and pride in African American culture.

“This is a significant partnership for us that has grown from the community we’ve built and the trust we’ve earned from athletes nationwide,” said Mitchell. “HBCU League Pass enables us to bring both of our communities together to further our reach and foster relationships between young athletes and the HBCU community.”

According to Mitchell, a native of Oakland, Weballsports.com, is the most visited, privately-owned e-commerce football equipment business globally, achieving 500,000 visitors by the end of July 2021. “This year we expect $1.5 million in sales by the end of December and 2022 should yield up to $5 million in sales,” said Mitchell.

“Nehemiah Mitchell, Brendan Royal, and Darreon Herring have their fingers on the pulse of Gen-Z and cultural trends,” said Hardy Pelt, chief financial officer at Urban Edge Networks which owns HBCU League Pass. “Their amazing growth over the past couple of years and genuine relationship with the youth sports community made them an easy selection and the perfect partner to support HBCU baseball.”

Urban Edge Networks, the owners of HBCU League Pass and entertainment network company in Las Vegas, vow to continue promoting the legacy of African Americans’ contributions to the sport of baseball through collaboration with the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, and with various HBCU baseball teams.

We Ball Sports co-founders Royal, DaHerring, and Mitchell, all former D1 football players under 30, are thrilled to partner with HBCU League Pass.

They hope to accelerate the brand’s growth by branching out into other sports and providing additional apparel and equipment in their catalog. The company also plans to partner with NFL athletes while increasing their philanthropic activities in the community.

“We plan to generate even more interest and investment into HBCU sports from professional athletes and entertainers similar to NBA point guard Stephen Curry’s agreement to fund Howard University’s golf program for six years,” said Mitchell. “Also, Deon Sanders and Percy ‘Master P’ Miller, both retired professional athletes, are also encouraging nationally ranked high school players to attend HBCUs and join their athletic programs.”

For more information visit: http://www.weballsports.com and http://www.hbculeaguepass.com.

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Bay Area

IN MEMORIAM: John Madden, Oakland Raiders Super Bowl Winning Coach, Dies at 85

“We all know him as the Hall of Fame coach of the Oakland Raiders and broadcaster who worked for every major network, but more than anything, he was a devoted husband, father and grandfather,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said.

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John Madden.
John Madden.

By Bay City News

John Madden, who won a Super Bowl with the Oakland Raiders and went on to be a television commentator and namesake of a popular football video game series, has died at the age of 85, the National Football League announced on Dec. 28, 2021.

No other information about a cause of death was immediately released.

Madden, who grew up in Daly City, led the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl victory in 1977, then went on to highly successful careers in TV and video games, and was recently the subject of a documentary titled “All Madden.”

“We all know him as the Hall of Fame coach of the Oakland Raiders and broadcaster who worked for every major network, but more than anything, he was a devoted husband, father and grandfather,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said.

Madden’s death prompted widespread reactions on social media from those who knew or admired him.

The Raiders, who have since moved to Las Vegas, wrote “A brilliant coach. A loyal and trusted friend. A Raider.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom wrote, “Tonight we mourn John Madden — he redefined the role of a sports broadcaster — his voice as recognizable as anyone who ever did the job. He hoisted a Super Bowl trophy with CA’s own Oakland Raiders. Our thoughts are with his family as we mourn this incredible man.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf wrote, “I join all in mourning + honoring SuperBowl-winning coach John Madden. He was a great personality who truly loved #Oakland. When his grandson played at O’Dowd, John was as enthusiastic about the Dragons as any NFL team. We will miss him!”

San Mateo County Board of Supervisors president David Canepa wrote, “RIP John Madden. A 1954 graduate of Jefferson High School in Daly City and Super Bowl winning coach for the Oakland Raiders. He did so much for Daly City!”

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