College Blog Blog Network

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin move on from racial incident with Kentucky’s Andrew Harrison

04.06.15 at 8:09 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Phillies, 3:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Blue Jays at Yankees, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Mets at Nationals, 4 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Indians at Astros, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Giants at Diamondbacks, 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
NBA: Trail Blazers at Nets, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament final, Wisconsin vs. Duke, 9 p.m. (CBS; WEEI-FM)
Soccer: Premier League, Manchester City at Crystal Palace, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)


(Chris Steppig/Getty Images)

Andrew Harrison (5) and Kentucky were frustrated by Frank Kaminsky (44) and Wisconsin in Saturday’s national semifinal. (Chris Steppig/Getty Images)

— Wisconsin star Frank Kaminsky tried to play down the controversy that erupted when Kentucky guard Andrew Harrison muttered a racial slur about him during Saturday’s postgame press conference.

After Kentucky’s loss that ended the Wildcats’ season at 38-1, Harrison responded to a question about Kaminsky by saying, ‘[Expletive] that [N-word],” even though Kaminsky is white. Although Harrison covered the microphone with his hand, the comment was audible.

Harrison, who also was criticized for skipping the postgame handshake line along with a few of his teammates, later tweeted an apology, writing: First i want to apologize for my poor choice of words used in jest towards a player I respect and know.

Added Harrison: When I realized how this could be perceived I immediately called big frank to apologize and let him know I didn’t mean any disrespect.

Kaminsky, who on Sunday was named winner of the Naismith Award as the nation’s top player, confirmed that Harrison contacted him, and he attempted to put the issue to rest.

“He reached to me, we talked about it, [I’m] over it,” Kaminsky said Sunday, as he focused on leading the Badgers against Duke in Monday night’s NCAA championship game. “Nothing needs to be made out of it.”

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan also was in a forgiving mood, saying: “In this day and age, it always reminds all of us that whatever we say can and will be heard, it seems. The teaching moment is the individual himself learned from it obviously by reaching out to Frank, so we’ll leave it at that.”

— Jaguars defensive lineman Sen’Derrick Marks isn’t impressed with the NFL’s decision to hire a female official, and he made an interesting comparison.

The league announced last week that Sarah Thomas will be the first full-time non-replacement official.

“It’s just like the Michael Sam situation — if he wasn’t gay, he would have gone undrafted,” Marks told TMZ. “Instead, the league drafts him because I think they are trying to monopolize every aspect of the world. The same thing with a female ref.

“For the league, it’s great publicity. The NFL is all about monopolizing every opportunity.”

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Read More: Adrian Peterson, Andrew Harrison, Frank Kaminsky, Sen'Derrick Marks

Thinking Out Loud: URI fortunate to retain Dan Hurley — for now

04.03.15 at 2:41 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to Chris Terreri.

— The rush of warm air coming from South County in Rhode Island might have been the collective sigh of relief over Dan Hurley’s decision this week to remain at URI with a contract extension. It is very good news, but the issue doesn’t completely go away. Should the Rams’ season next year meet or exceed expectations — and they very well could be THE favorite in the Atlantic 10 — we’ll be dancing this Rhody two-step again at this same time, next year.

The fact is, no contract is unbreakable. If the coach wants to go someplace else, he’ll go. That’s true for any coach, anywhere. In the meantime, let’s try to enjoy what could be a memorable ride. And Hurley gets to enjoy a potential million-dollar-per-year salary, if he’s still in Kingston in 2017. With this state in the kind of “state” it’s in, did anyone think we’d see this happen anytime soon? Welcome to big-time, big-money college basketball, Rhody.

— The Rams apparently picked up fifth-year transfer shooting guard Four McGlynn, formerly of Vermont and Towson, as an addition to next year’s team. URI struggled to score much of the time, and McGlynn’s presence should open things up. Now a big man would open things up even more.

— Rick Barnes got a raw deal from Texas. Hard to argue against that. After 17 years, 16 NCAA appearances and more than 400 wins, he was shown the door. Body of work means very, very little, and “What have you done lately?” carries more weight than it should. I understand the “why,” but I don’t like it. UT is a powerful, big-moneyed institution whose higher-ups appear to only value loyalty when it suits them or when it pays them to be loyal, and as an alumnus that does not make me happy. Barnes (and Tom Penders before him) turned Texas from a basketball afterthought into a program where the hardwood actually matters. The way Texas handled the dismissal of both Barnes and football coach Mack Brown a year ago isn’t honorable. It wasn’t disgraceful. It was simply sad the school felt the need to have it happen at all. Welcome to Austin, Shaka Smart.

— One more thing on this — the top TWO basketball coaches in Texas history both have Rhode Island ties. Barnes (formerly at Providence) and Penders (formerly at URI). What does that say about basketball, in general, around here?

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Read More: Chris Mullin, Dan Hurley, Kris Dunn, Rick Barnes

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Yankees P Masahiro Tanaka dismisses Pedro Martinez’s pessimism

04.03.15 at 8:22 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Bucks at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Thunder at Grizzlies, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Trail Blazers at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB exhibition: Twins at Red Sox, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB exhibition: Rays at Tigers, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB exhibition: Braves at Orioles, 6 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB exhibition: Cubs at Diamondbacks, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)


Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka

— Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka said he was “honored” that Pedro Martinez would talk about him, but he dismissed the Red Sox legend’s assertion that he will not make it through the 2015 season healthy.

Martinez said Wednesday that he thinks Tanaka has been holding back this spring and expressed doubt that the Japanese ace would last the year.

“I feel kind of honored because a pitcher of that stature is talking about me; I was a little bit surprised by that,” Tanaka said Thursday through his translator (via the New York Daily News). “I understand that everybody has their opinion about certain things, about the way I pitch. But for me, I know where I’€™m at, and I feel good, so I think that’€™s most important.”

Tanaka pitched 4 1/3 innings in Tuesday’s spring training game against the Twins, allowing three runs on seven hits. He said he was trying to have his body “relax a little bit more when I’m throwing,” which might explain why it appeared to Martinez that he wasn’t going all out.

“I think Pedro was looking at specifically the last game that I was pitching, and obviously my stuff wasn’€™t the sharpest that day,” Tanaka said. “The games prior to that, I felt my breaking balls were there. In the bullpen, I’€™ve been throwing them pretty well, so I’€™m not really worried about that either.”

Tanaka, signed to a seven-year, $155 million contract last offseason, started 2014 on fire, winning 12 games before the All-Star break. But he was diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in early July and did not return until late September. The Yankees are cautiously optimistic that the 26-year-old right-hander will regain his form.

“Whatever’€™s going to be is going to be, but right now he feels great, he feels healthy and he’€™s had a productive spring,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “All I know is, I’€™m thankful that every day he checks in and says he feels good.

“We obviously want him to stay healthy and hope he stays healthy, as does he, but I can’€™t predict the future.”

NCAA president Mark Emmert took a stand against discrimination but voiced frustration with the timing of the Indiana religious freedom law controversy during his annual state of the NCAA address Thursday in Indianapolis, site of the Final Four.

Emmert spoke while Indiana lawmakers worked to revise their controversial bill to clarify that it will not permit discrimination against gays and lesbians. Lawmakers passes the alteration to the bill shortly after Emmert’s press conference.

“Are we happy that this debate is occurring during the middle of Final Four week? Of course not,” Emmert said. “It would have been a lot easier to have the debate some other day.”

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Read More: Jonathan Taylor, Mark Emmert, Masahiro Tanaka, Pedro Martinez

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti commits apparent tampering regarding Haloti Ngata

04.02.15 at 7:57 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NHL: Bruins at Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Heat at Cavaliers, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Suns at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: CIT final, Northern Arizona at Evansville, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: NIT final, Stanford vs, Miami, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB exhibition: Red Sox at Twins, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB exhibition: Yankees at Tigers, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB exhibition: Athletics at Giants, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)


Steve Bisciotti

Steve Bisciotti

— Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti has been busy dealing with his players’ off-field transgressions of late, so maybe he hasn’t been paying attention to the league’s tampering controversies. Because there doesn’t seem to be any other way to explain his obvious tampering regarding defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, whom the Ravens traded to the Lions last month.

During a conference call with season ticket-holders Wednesday, Bisciotti indicated he was open to having Ngota — who spent his first nine NFL seasons with the Ravens — return to Baltimore when his contract expires next year. Per league rules, teams are not allowed to make public comments speculating about the future of players who are under contract with another team.

“I respect Haloti,” Bisciotti said (via the Baltimore Sun). I had a wonderful conversation with him after he was traded. We are going to miss him, but I haven’t heard anything about him getting an extension from Detroit. As far as I know, he could be a free agent a year from now, and we may be watching the second coming of Haloti Ngata.”

Added Bisciotti: “Players like that are always welcome back. There were no hard feelings on either side. Haloti is a wonderful guy. I wish him the best, and maybe we’ll see him again.”

The team’s social media staff made sure everyone was aware of Bisciotti’s apparent violation, tweeting: Steve Bisciotti doesn’t rule out the possibility of Haloti Ngata returning to Baltimore after this season. Will be a free agent in 2016.

— UConn women’s coach Geno Auriemma is concerned about the decline in offense in his sport — especially on the men’s side.

Through the first four rounds of the NCAA Tournament, men’s teams are averaging 67.8 points. That’s 1.7 points less than the women, continuing a recent trend that started in 2007 when the men scored six more points than the women.

In the regular season, men’s scoring is down four points a game over the last 15 years, and the men only outscored the women by three points per game this season — the closest margin in a decade and a half.

“As a spectator watching it, it’s a joke,” Auriemma said of the men’s game. “The game’s a joke, it really is. I don’t coach it, play it. I don’t understand its ins and outs.”

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Read More: Geno Auriemma, Haloti Ngata, Jarred Cosart, Steve Bisciotti

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: UConn coaches to skip Final Four due to Indiana’s ‘religious freedom’ law

04.01.15 at 8:16 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Pacers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Nets at Knicks, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Clippers at Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: CBI finals, Loyola (Chicago) at Louisiana-Monroe, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
High school basketball: McDonald’s All-American Game, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Flyers at Penguins, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Avalanche at Sharks, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB exhibition: Blue Jays at Red Sox, 1 p.m. (NESN)
MLB exhibition: Cardinals at Mets, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB exhibition: Brewers at Cubs, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB exhibition: Pirates at Orioles, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)


Kevin Ollie

Kevin Ollie

— UConn is taking a stand against Indiana’s new “religious freedom” law, as the Huskies coaching staff will skip the Final Four in Indianapolis along with the National Association of Basketball Coaches convention that is held at the same time.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy banned state-funded travel to Indiana in response to the new law that critics say legalizes discrimination, but because coach Kevin Ollie and his assistants already had paid for their trip, the school was given the choice how to handle it.

“In support of Gov. Malloy’s travel ban to the state of Indiana, Kevin Ollie and other members of the UConn men’s basketball staff will not travel to Indianapolis for the NCAA Final Four and events surrounding it,” UConn president Susan Herbst said Tuesday in a statement. “UConn is a community that values all of our members and treats each person with the same degree of respect, regardless of their background and beliefs and we will not tolerate any other behavior.”

Earlier Tuesday, USC athletic director Pat Haden, whose son is gay, announced that he would boycott the College Football Playoff committee meetings this week in the Hoosier State.

Tweeted Haden: I am the proud father of a gay son. In his honor, I will not be attending the CFP committee meeting in Indy this week. #EmbraceDiversity

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who previously dismissed opposing views of the bill, took a more open stance Tuesday, saying that he has been meeting with lawmakers and wants new legislation by the end of the week that clarifies that the new law does not open the door for people and businesses to legally discriminate.

“It certainly wasn’t my intent,” Pence insisted.

— An arrest warrant was issued for former NHL player Andre Deveaux in Sweden after he attacked an opposing player during warmups before a playoff game last week.

Deveaux played for Rogle BK, a second-tier team from the southern Sweden town of Angelholm, but the Canadian’s contract was terminated Monday after video of the incident went viral. In the video, Deveaux — apparently upset about a hit earlier in the series — can be seen skating out from the bench and immediately heading for VIK Vasteras captain Per Helmersson. Skating up from behind, Deveaux raises his stick and, with two hands, swings it at Helmersson’s skate and then jumps on top of the surprised player.

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Read More: Andre Deveaux, Kevin Ollie, Pat Haden, Tyren Jones

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Despite worst season in franchise history, Phil Jackson asks Knicks fans to ‘remain optimistic’

03.31.15 at 8:05 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NHL: Panthers at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Spurs at Heat, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Warriors at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NIT, Miami vs. Temple, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: NIT, Stanford vs. Old Dominion, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: CIT, Tennessee-Martin at Evansville, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: CIT, NJIT at Northern Arizona, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
MLB exhibition: Yankees at Twins, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB exhibition: Athletics at Angels, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB exhibition: Royals at Padres, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: Switzerland vs. United States, noon (FS1)
Soccer: Israel vs. Belgium, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Mexico vs. Paraguay, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)


— The Knicks have the NBA’s worst record at 14-60 and have lost 60 games for the first time in franchise history, despite entering the season with playoff aspirations. But team president Phil Jackson sees light at the end of the tunnel — or at least he’s trying to convince season ticket-holders that he does so they come back in 2015-16.

In a letter and video message sent out Monday, Jackson talked optimistically about the prospects for the future.

“While I know this has been a challenging season for our team on the court, I can also tell you that everyone in the organization is working tirelessly to get our Knicks back to a place where we are once again competing at the highest level,” Jackson said on the video (as reported by ESPN).

Added Jackson: “We have a clear plan and expect our efforts to really take shape as we enter the 2015 draft and free agency in the months ahead. I ask that you remain optimistic and hope you will join us on our continued journey as we build a team that once again reflects the spirit of being a New York Knick.”

With the Knicks expected to have at least $25 million in cap space this offseason, Jackson implied that the team could start to turn things around quickly.

“We have made key roster moves to free up significant cap space that will provide us greater flexibility to acquire talent in this summer’s free agency,” Jackson said. “And for the first time in many years, we expect to have a top pick in the NBA draft this June. These are key steps to building a roster of players that have both the talent and character to win in New York and who, alongside Carmelo Anthony, will become a team that can become a consistent winner.”

— While Jackson’s return to the Knicks organization hasn’t produced positive results, St. John’s is hoping for a different outcome after reportedly hiring former standout guard Chris Mullin to take over as coach.

Mullin, a New York native who led St. John’s to the Final Four in 1985, went on to star with the Warriors in the NBA and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011, will take over Steve Lavin, who departed after five seasons and an 81-55 record (2-9 in the postseason).

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Read More: Chris Mullin, Eloi Vasquez, Lou Carnesecca, Phil Jackson

Falcons lose draft pick for piping in crowd noise; Browns GM suspended 4 games

03.30.15 at 2:10 pm ET
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The Falcons will forfeit a fifth-round draft pick and be fined $350,000 by the NFL for piping in crowd noise during opponents’ huddles in home games during the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

The responsible party has been identified by the NFL as former Falcons director of marketing Roddy White. White has been fired by the Falcons and given an eight-game suspension by the NFL.

“The Falcons and all of our other businesses are built upon a foundation of values that drive our decision making,” Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a statement. “This issue was a clear failure in that regard. I apologize for any embarrassment this situation has caused the NFL, our fans, and our Falcons players and associates.”

Added Blank: “Anytime there are actions that compromise the integrity of the NFL or threaten the culture of our franchise, as this issue did, they will be dealt with swiftly and strongly.”

In other NFL news, Browns GM Ray Farmer has been suspended four games by the NFL, and the team will be fined $250,000. Farmer was investigated and punished for sending texts to team personnel during games throughout the 2014 season.

“I respect the league’s decision and understand that there are consequences for my actions,” Farmer said in a statement. “Accountability is integral to what we are trying to build and as a leader I need to set the right example. I made a mistake and apologize to [owner] Jimmy Haslam, [coach] Mike Pettine, our entire organization and our fans for the ramifications. Learning is a big part of who I am and I will certainly be better from this situation.”

Read More: Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Calls to move Final Four continue after Indiana’s passage of ‘religious freedom’ bill

03.30.15 at 8:10 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Celtics at Hornets, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Suns at Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: CBI finals, Louisiana-Monroe at Loyola (Chicago), 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Women’s NCAA Tournament, Dayton vs. UConn, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Women’s NCAA Tournament, Tennessee vs. Maryland, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Kings at Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB exhibition: Twins at Red Sox, 7:05 p.m. (NESN, MLB Network)
MLB exhibition: Marlins at Mets, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB exhibition: Giants at Cubs, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)


— With the Final Four just days away, there’s no way the NCAA could move it from Indianapolis at this late date. However, there are calls nationwide for the event to be rescheduled in response to Indiana’s passage of a bill that critics say is a veiled attempt to allow discrimination against gays.

According to opponents, Indiana Senate Bill 101, which was signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence on Thursday and goes into effect July 1, allows businesses in the state to refuse service to gay people based on religious objections.

The NCAA, which is based in Indianapolis, said in a statement from president Mark Emmert that it intends to “closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce.”

Other individuals were more pointed in their criticism.

“As long as anti-gay legislation exists in any state, I strongly believe big events such as the Final Four and Super Bowl should not be held in those states’ cities,” Charles Barkley said in a statement.

Tweeted Pacers legend Reggie Miller: I’ve never been big into politics but I’m very disappointed in my home state of Indiana and the passing of Senate Bill 101.. I’ve always been about inclusion for all, no matter your skin color, gender or sexual preference.. We are all the same people, beautiful creatures..

Pence has stood firm against the criticism, insisting the opposition has been using “shameless rhetoric” to imply that the bill is meant to OK discrimination.

Said Pence in a Sunday interview on ABC’s “This Week”: “We’re not going to change the law, but if the general assembly in Indiana sends me a bill that adds a section that reiterates and amplifies and clarifies what the law really is and what it has been for the last 20 years, then I’m open to that.”

— Dave Leitao is headed back to DePaul, 10 years after he left the Chicago school to take over at Virginia.

Leitao, a Massachusetts native who played at Northeastern and later coached there, led DePaul from 2002-05, after a six-year stint as Jim Calhoun‘s assistant at UConn. He guided the Blue Demons to a 58-34 record and an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2004. DePaul has not been back since.

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Read More: Charles Barkely, Craig Sager, Dave Leitao, Mike Pence

Thinking Out Loud: Providence not tough enough for NCAA Tournament success

03.27.15 at 1:29 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to Steve DeMeo?

— Your bracket is busted, no doubt. For the first time in NCAA Tournament history, five games were decided by one point on the opening day of the Round of 64 games. But did you know that last Friday higher-seeded teams were 15-1, just the second time in tournament history that has happened in a single day in the Round of 64? The one, of course, belonged to Providence.

— It’s a question I’ve been asked plenty over the past week — why did PC lose to Dayton? The answer isn’t as concrete as you might think it would be, but it really boils down to one thing: toughness. A story published this week appears true — the Friars simply weren’t tough enough to beat the Flyers in that environment, and it’s hard to argue the premise.

— The access Ed Cooley allowed Fox during the Big East Tournament, and Grantland for the NCAA appearance, is pretty much unprecedented during my tenure as radio voice. Kudos to the coach for recognizing the advantages of program exposure and PR. The disadvantages? Well, it helps if you win. And the Friars came up a little short in that department — through no fault of their own in New York, anyway. Just sayin’.

— You can argue the NCAA screwed up the seedings, the pairings, the First Four game — all of it. And you would be right. The NCAA Tournament committee seriously messed this up, and undervalued the home-court advantage it handed to Dayton. It would not have taken much to fix the problem, however, if the committee had just switched out Providence’s 6 seed with Xavier. You could have had a blockbuster event in Columbus, with the arena split evenly between UD and XU fans, who already hate each other. Yup, blew that one.

— Not for nuthin,’ but Dayton was the last team in the Dance? In whose mind?

— The fallout from the disappointment of the second-round loss didn’t take long to get started. Tyler Harris announced this week he would be leaving the program, with one year of eligibility remaining. He is graduating in May, and by rule is entitled to transfer and play right away for his last year. Or, he can turn pro. This rule disappears in another year, so I’ve heard, so he’s getting out while the getting is still good. Best of luck, Tyler.

— Replacements? Well, 6-foot-6 forward Eric Paschall has announced his intention to transfer from Fordham — he was the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year — and there should be mutual interest, as he was on the Friars’ recruiting radar a year ago. His father, Juan, told this week he wants to visit PC and Villanova soon.

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Michael Sam: ‘I am not the only gay person in the NFL’

03.27.15 at 1:20 pm ET
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Michael Sam

Michael Sam

Michael Sam, the openly gay player who was drafted by the Rams last year, said that there are other gay players in the league during an appearance in Dallas on Thursday, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“I am not the only gay person in the NFL,” Sam said. “I’m just saying there is a lot of us. I respect the players that did reach out to me and had the courage to tell me that they were also gay, but they do not have the same courage as I do to come out before I even played a down in the NFL.

“Was it a risky move? Yes. But at that moment, the reason why I came out is I thought it wasn’€™t going to be a big deal. Maybe I was naive. Maybe I thought it was 2014, and people will understand that there’€™s gay NFL players. There’€™s gay athletes everywhere. But I was clearly wrong. It was a huge deal.

“The players who have reached out to me and told me about their sexual orientation, it just means a lot. But I will never say anything about who they are, what teams they are [on]. I’€™m just saying there’€™s some famous people, and I’€™m not the only one.”

Sam has yet to see regular-season playing time in the NFL. After being drafted in the seventh round by St. Louis, he did not make the team and was placed on the Cowboys’ practice squad. He was released by Dallas in October and has been a free agent since.

“Hopefully I’m not being discriminated [against] because I’m gay,” Sam said. “I don’t believe that I’m being discriminated [against] because I’m gay. I just want to know if I’m truly not in the NFL, it’s because of talent. Let it be because of my talents. But you’ve got to prove that I can’t play this game. If you look at the film, clearly I can. So, I’ll leave it at that.”

Read More: Michael Sam,