College Basketball

Nebrasketball: Time to Panic?

Even by their historically ugly standards, 2015 has been a very bad year for the Nebraska Basketball program.

Let’s recap Nebrasketball’s low-lights since the first of the year:

  • A 5-13 record, with an average margin of defeat of 13 points.
  • NU was winless on the road and 1-8 against conference foes that made the NCAA tournament.  (It should be noted that lone win was over Michigan State, a Final Four team).
  • The team was locked out of their locker room and banned from media contact by Head Coach Tim Miles after an embarrassing home loss to Iowa.
  • The Huskers fell behind 13th seed Penn State by 16 points in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.  A late rally gave the Big Red a chance to take the lead in the final minute, but they ended up losing by four.
  • Walt Pitchford announced he’s quitting basketball to focus on getting his degree.  Three days later, he had declared for the NBA draft.
  • After appearing in every game, promising freshman guard Tarin Smith decided to transfer.
  • Star forward and leading scorer Terran Petteway announced that he’s foregoing his senior season to enter the NBA draft.
  • Assistant Coach Chris Harriman, a member of Miles’ first staff, is leaving to become associate head coach at New Mexico.

Clearly, there is smoke coming from the Nebrasketball program.

But is there fire?  Collectively, one must ask if there are big issues within a Nebraska program a year removed from looking like a team on the rise.  I think it’s foolish to make sweeping generalizations without looking at the events separately.  Individually, all of these are explainable and/or understandable*, especially the four departures.

*Except for that 5-13 collapse.  I could list twenty things that may have factored in the downfall of the 2014-15 Huskers, and still not account for everything that played a role in that train wreck.

Transfers in college basketball are rather commonplace.  In 2013, there were 455 transfers across D-1 college hoops.  Until Tarin Smith picks a school, it will be hard to determine if he is “up-transferring” to a better program or going to a lower D-1 school where more playing time appears readily available.

Miles was quoted in the Omaha World-Herald as saying “Tarin and I had talked over the last month about his future and where he fit in.  I believe strongly in Tarin and wanted him to stay, but I put out the most likely scenario for him and told him he had to feel good about it.”

One can certainly speculate that the “likely scenario” Miles talks about is Smith being an off the bench role player behind touted point guard recruit Glynn Watson and Benny Parker, who started many games in the 2014-15.  Smith tweeted that his decision “has nothing to do with me competing for a position”.

Pitchford’s initial decision made sense.  He regressed as a player in 2014-15, and I assumed he realized the pro prospects for a 6’10” guy with limited post presence and a deteriorated shooting touch were slim.  I applauded his decision to get his degree and pursue a career in business.

So I get that his decision to declare for the draft a few days later is – on the surface – very curious.  But before we go any further, its worth clarifying that “declaring for the NBA draft” doesn’t necessarily mean that Walt P. believes he’ll be drafted by an NBA team (spoiler alert:  he won’t).  Putting your name into the draft open doors for international teams to evaluate and sign you.  My hunch is Pitchford was sincere about getting his degree and starting a business career, but realized that he could make some decent money playing overseas ($65,000+, in an European league).  He’ll have the rest of life for a business career, but his body has a limited number of years of competitive basketball left.  He might as well see what’s out there.

Petteway’s decision to turn pro is on some levels similar to Pitchford’s decision:  he may not be drafted by an NBA team, but the odds are strong that he’ll get an opportunity to make a nice living overseas.  But looking deeper, I think Petteway’s decision was likely easier to make.

It’s tough for me to say if Terran Petteway is making the right choice or not.  Selfishly, I think he only improves his draft stock by coming back – the highly touted recruiting class likely means he wouldn’t need to be three or four of the best scoring options on the floor every single night.  He’s on pace to get his degree at the end of this semester, so he could have focused on basketball essentially full-time.  Plus, he likely is viewed as a better prospect leading a team that wins 20 games instead of being the best player on a team that loses 20.

But I can also appreciate the flip side.  Had he returned to NU, Petteway would have been 24 when he turned pro, which is old for NBA rookies.  He would have risked injury or a Pitchford-like regression.  As much as Petteway said all the right things about Lincoln and Husker fans when he left, I suspect he won’t miss being bashed on message boards, social media, and talk radio for having poor body language or taking too many shots*.  Finally, I won’t theorize how or if the passing of Terran’s mother from cancer impacted his decision, but clearly her declining health weighed on him this past season.

*Look:  you are obviously entitled to your opinion on how Petteway carried himself on the court as well as his shot selection/volume.  I have no doubt that you could make a convincing case that Petteway was “ball hog” who was prone to pouting on the court.  But you will never convince me that Nebrasketball will automatically be better in 2015-16 without Terran Petteway.  Even if the incoming freshmen and transfer Andrew White III are better than their considerable hype, are you really telling me that a team like Nebraska wouldn’t benefit from one of the program’s all-time prolific scorers who had a reputation for being a competitive, hard worker?  That doesn’t seem likely.

As for Harriman, it’s frustrating to lose a good assistant and recruiter – especially to a Mountain West team who will be giving him a raise.  But “associate head coach” is a promotion and a stepping stone to what every assistant wants:  a head coaching job of his own.  It stinks losing good assistants – I have the loss of former assistant coach Craig Smith on that long list of things that impacted that 2014-15 season – but on the flip side it says something about the guys Miles has working for him when they move up to other jobs.

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So should we be concerned about where the Nebraska Basketball program is at?  Should Tim Miles start his fourth season on the hot seat?

In light of the player and coaching transitions, I say no.  Roster turnover is a natural part of the college game.  Don’t believe me?  It’s worth noting that of the players I’ve named in this piece (Tarin Smith, Walt Pitchford, Terran Petteway, Andrew White III, and Glynn Watson) the only one who has not transferred is the one who has yet to graduate high school.  Yes, the attrition rate from Miles’ NU recruiting classes is now above 50%, but I’d rather have guys move on than be dead weight on the roster or blights in the locker room.

One of the worst parts of being a Nebraska Basketball fan is having to play the Chicago Cubs “wait ’til next year” game with the next recruit who possibly possesses the potential to potentially get the Huskers that elusive NCAA tournament victory.  Because much like the Cubs, that blue chip inevitably turns into a blue busts.  I like the potential of this class.  I just would like them better with some more veterans on the team.

As for Miles, I think it is far too early to be talking seriously about his job security – especially since we’re 13 months removed from finding sculptors for the statue of him outside Pinnacle Bank Arena.  Yeah, he probably could have handled the locker room lockout better (i.e. internally), but Miles should have enough equity with fans to get through another .500 season.  Beyond that?  Well, I’ve been wrong about Tim Miles once before, so you’ll forgive me if I’m slow to doubt him again.

NCAA Pay for Play (P)

If you follow college sports – especially football or men’s basketball – there is one topic that continues to come up:  The notion of somehow compensating the athletes for the revenue they are bringing into their schools, their conferences, the NCAA, and all of the other entities who make a profit off of amateur athletics.

This compensation, be it in the form of stipends, income from the sale of their name/likeness, an actual “salary” from the schools, or anything else, would be in addition to the items student-athletes already receive (namely, a free education, room, board, and a healthy collection of athletic apparel).

I’ll be the first to admit there is a lot of hypocrisy in the current system.  I recently bought my daughter a replica Nebraska jersey with the number 80 on it.  Why number 80?  Let’s be honest:  it’s not because of Billy Haafke, Jamie Williams, Santino Panico, or any of the dozens of Huskers to have worn #80 over the past 125 years.  It’s because of the current #80, wide receiver Kenny Bell.  I like Bell as an athlete, and respect him as a person.  Plus, my daughter’s hair can do a spot-on impersonation of Bell’s glorious Afro.

That jersey cost me $24.99 at a store owned and operated by the University of Nebraska, located right across the street from Memorial Stadium.  That store had racks of #80 jerseys in home red, road white, and the black alternates from 2013 in every size from 12 months to 3XL.

This fall, I suspect there will be hundreds of fans in #80 jerseys at every home game.  I’m guessing very few of them will be wearing #80 to honor Husker greats Todd Frain, Jeff Jamrog, or Jermaine Bell.  They will wear those #80 jerseys because of Kenny Bell.

And as you probably already know:  Kenny Bell will not see a single penny from the sale of #80 jerseys.  That is just one example of a broken system.

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Recently, one day before his University of Connecticut Huskies won the NCAA Basketball Tournament, guard Shabazz Napier told reports that “some nights I go to bed starving” because they don’t have enough money to buy food (and NCAA rules and the demands of in-season competition mean they cannot work) and they are unable to get extra meals from their school’s cafeteria/training table.

Yes, just last week the NCAA announced that all student-athletes, even walk-ons, will have access to unlimited meals and snacks, but Napier’s comments give credence to the notion that a “full-ride” scholarship may not cover things you and I consider basic.  For some, this is incredibly galling considering the NCAA Tournament brings in close to a billion (with a “B”) dollars in revenue, not including the billion (with another “B”) dollar TV contract with CBS.  Mark Emmert, the head of the NCAA, makes over a million dollars a year defending a system that – depending on your perspective – is either flawed or blatantly takes advantage of athletes under the guise of “amateurism”.

So should we give scholarship players a bigger slice of the pie, right?

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Sure, it would be great if we could get some money for athletes, especially if we knew players were having to decide between paying the rent or eating dinner tonight.

But here’s the thing – and there really is no way of getting around it – for the majority of people, college is a time of poverty.  Tolerating a bunch of loud, obnoxious, dirty roommates so you can afford a place to sleep.  Subsisting on peanut butter sandwiches and ramen noodles.  Taking out hefty loans with horrible interest rates.  Busting your ass at a low paying, dead-end job.  And on and on.  Financially, the college years are brutal for most kids – especially those whose parents are unable to help out.

So why can’t we get some more money in the hands of the players – especially the ones who are creating the excitement and interest that helps the college sports machine print money for schools and coaches?  Forget the antiquated notion of “amateurism” or the Utopian ideal of the “student-athlete”.  The main reason schools cannot pay players is there is absolutely no way to do it fairly, evenly, and without opening up a Pandora’s Box of corruption.  Heck, the reason the NCAA rules are so bizarrely strict – where eating too much pasta is a potential violation – is largely to avoid improper benefits to players.  When you open the door to paying players, schools – and more appropriately, their boosters – will likely exploit whatever system gets put in place as they seek to pay the best players to come to College Town, USA.

Don’t believe me?  Let’s look at the popular suggestions for how we can supposedly better compensate players:

A flat stipend.  Every player at Big Football Tech gets X dollars per year in addition to their scholarship to cover the “full cost of attendance”.  The biggest question here is “How much?”, which spawns a list of follow-up questions:

  • Does everybody get the same amount?  Clearly, a star player like Johnny Manziel can have a pronounced financial impact on his school (even if the exact number is debatable).  So does Manziel get more than his fellow starting QBs in the SEC?  What about his teammates who helped Manziel earn those awards – the receivers who caught his passes, the linemen who blocked for him, the scout team defenders who helped prepare him for games?  Should they get the same amount?  And if not, how do you distinguish the levels/tiers?
  • Is there a cost of living adjustment?  Being a college student costs more in Los Angeles (UCLA, USC), Chicago (Northwestern), or the Bay Area (Stanford, Cal) than it does in Lincoln, Nebraska; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; or Waco, Texas.  Every wanna-be Trojan knows that $3,000 goes a lot farther in Troy, Alabama than it does in LA.
  • Does this essentially create a free agent system for incoming freshmen, where traditional recruiting is replaced by bidding wars?
  • What about athletes in other sports?  At schools like Duke and Kansas, the basketball team is more successful and can bring in more money than the football program.  Should those players get a cut?  What about the athletes competing in non-revenue Olympic sports, or teams like baseball where the equivalency of 11.7 scholarships are divided among a 27 man roster?  Surely those athletes face the same financial shortcomings as the football players.
  • How is it administered?  Does the NCAA dole out the cash?  Do the schools hand it out?  Or do we cut to the chase and let the stereotypical shady booster hand out envelopes full of unmarked bills?
  • Would this system make it harder or easier for additional under the table payments by “bag men“?

Own and sell yourself.  Next up, we give players the ability to market their name/image on jerseys, participate in paid autograph sessions, and promote products and local businesses while still a student-athlete.

In theory this makes sense – if somebody wants to pay $20 for Johnny Manziel’s autograph, buy their kid a #80 Husker jersey because they like Kenny Bell, or trade a tattoo for a Terrelle Pryor jersey, those players should get a cut, right?  But the potential for corruption abounds.

  • The defensive starters attend booster dinners where they sign autographs – at $100 a pop.
  • During recruiting, a coach promises Johnny Five-Star that if he comes to Football University, he’ll make $50,000 from jersey sales in his first two years.  If Johnny Five-Star is a bust, the citizens of some third world country will be wearing his jersey for the next decade.
  • Every car dealer in College Town USA has an endorsement deal with a star player who drives around campus in a new SUV for appearing in a couple of TV spots.

Make athletes paid “employees”.  Northwestern University players are attempting to organize a union that would make players “employees” of their schools, and make them eligible for medical coverage, four-year scholarships, and possibly compensation in addition to their scholarships.

Aside from the uncertainty over how this would impact public schools, the possibility for strikes/lock out, if the scholarship and other benefits would need to be taxed as income, and just what happens if a football player doesn’t want to be in a union, there is the minor hurdle of a prolonged legal battle before any college football union would ever truly start up.  Let’s circle back on this one in five to ten years.

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Where do I stand on all of this?

I don’t have a ton of sympathy for the Shabazz Napiers and others who bemoan how athletes are being taken advantage of and can barely afford to eat.

For tens of thousands of college students, college is a time of poverty, of working full-time while attending classes, of going to bed hungry, and waking up knowing that the things you do that day put more money in somebody else’s pocket than in your own.

But can we please stop with the notion that these guys are being taken advantage of?

First off, there are the things that scholarship athletes get that the general student population does not:  free education, books, housing, food, and clothing.  You can discount those things all you want, but they all have a very real financial benefit.

Secondly, there is the notion that guys are going hungry.  What is the real reason guys are going hungry?  Is it because they are being limited in the amount of food they can consume at the dining hall / training table?  Or that the cafeteria is closed when they’re done with practice, meetings, and study sessions?  Or is it because they’re not spending their money wisely*?  Regardless of the reason, all of those are things that can (and should) be corrected without the need to issue scholarship athletes a stipend.

*Yes, I am suggesting that some guys may be going to bed hungry because they are managing their money poorly.  Since I have no tangible proof, I won’t imply that players are blowing their food money on stereotypical extravagances (cars, tattoos, jewelry, designer clothes, etc.), but I will suggest that if players were better at managing and budgeting their money, they might have a full tummy at bedtime – even while recognizing that a 300 pound defensive tackle has greater caloric needs than the average college student struggling to make ends meet.

At the extreme risk of being hypocritical, I’ll concede that being financially responsible and fiscally conservative is a rare trait in most college aged kid – regardless of if they can dribble a basketball – but considering the laundry list of professional athletes who have blown through million dollar contracts and signing bonuses, maybe athletic departments should to do a better job of helping their athletes create and stick to a budget that allows them to eat and pay the rent.

The other thing that rubs me the wrong way about the paying players debate is the often alluded to notion that the athletes are indentured servants who are being taken advantage of by rich (white) men who sit in ivory towers unaware of the real struggles being faced.

While I am a (decidedly not rich) white man who may very well be out of touch, there is one that I’m pretty sure of:

Nobody is coercing these guys to go to college and deal with these harsh conditions.  I may not be familiar with the recruiting pitches being done by college football and basketball coaches, but I’m pretty sure none of them are forcing players to go to college against their will, or to remain at Big Time State University, starving, while their coach makes $4 million a year and the school’s TV deal brings in another 20 million.

For a basketball star like Shabazz Napier, there are ways to get to the NBA without ever stepping foot on a college campus.  Sure, it would be tough (if not impossible) for a guy to get to the NFL without spending a couple of years in college, but considering that most NCAA student-athletes go pro in something other than sports, the guys with NFL/NBA talent are the exception and not the rule.  The players with the next-level ability have to decide:  do they use college athletics as an unpaid stepping stone to becoming a high draft pick?  Is the potential for a big day pay worth putting up with a year or three of poverty?

For those of us who were not student-athletes, we likely faced a similar decision.  Do I work an unpaid internship over the summer, knowing that the experience and skills I gain should help land a better/higher paying job upon graduation?  Or do I work a paying job outside of my career field where the only benefit is a paycheck that allows me to buy name brand peanut butter?  The only differences between the athlete and the average student is the student’s internship likely will not lead to a six figure salary and it definitely didn’t come with your tuition paid for.

*   *   *

So where does all of this leave us?  What can the universities do to ensure their student-athletes aren’t going hungry or living in a cardboard box behind the stadium?  And what can the players do to help ensure they have enough spending money to put some gas in the tank, go on a date, or not have to live in a run-down dump with five other guys?  Here’s what I’d like to see:

  • Mandatory budgeting classes for all student-athletes.  You can argue that these are things high school graduates should know, but where is the harm in ensuring these kids know how to manage their money?
  • Make all athletic scholarships good for five years.  Many fans are familiar with the story:  Johnny Five-Star signs with big time SEC school, but after disappointing freshman and sophomore seasons, the coach decides to free up a scholarship by forcing Johnny to quit, transfer, or declare a bogus injury.  I propose that when a kid signs a letter of intent to play ball for your school, they are guaranteed five years of academic benefits, even if Coach decides that their athletic scholarship would best be used by another kid.  This stays in place even if the guy goes pro early and wants to come back to school after he washes out of the pros.
  • Provide full medical coverage for the full life of the scholarship.  Similar to honoring the “student” part of a student-athlete scholarship, allow  players to have access to team doctors and trainers while their five year academic calendar is ticking.  This would not be applicable for guys who have medical care from a professional league’s union.
  • Stop selling replica jerseys and shirts with the numbers of active players.  There is no plausible excuse for why school (and the NCAA) should make money off the uniform number of a current star player when the player doesn’t see a dime.  Instead, sell jerseys of guys who have exhausted their eligibility.  If I paid $24.99 for a #80 jersey with no name on the back this year, the odds are good that I would probably pay $29.99 for a #80 jersey that says “BELL” on it next year (Bell is entering into his senior season), especially if that extra five bucks is going to a guy who represented my school with talent and class.

 

 

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While you’re here, I’d appreciate a quick vote in my poll to see which Incomplete post I should finish next:  Vote here.

(Author’s note:  Wondering why there is a random letter in parentheses in the title of this post?  Not sure how this post corresponds to the daily letter in the April A to Z Challenge?  Like clicking on links?  These questions are all answered here.)

My Four Year Old Daughter’s Bracket is Better Than Yours

Indulge a proud father in some bragging…

My wife and I have competed in NCAA brackets for as long as we’ve been together.  Since we’ve had kids, we’ve gotten them involved with brackets of their own.  I picked on behalf of my one year old son (straight chalk), but this year my daughter picked her own games.

The night before the tournament started, I pulled up espn.com and went through all of the games, asking her who she liked:  Oklahoma State or Oregon?  Memphis or St. Mary’s?  VCU or Akron?  With the exception of automatically picking the 1 seeds to beat the 16’s in the opening round, I did not veto her when she wanted to knock out a 1 seed in the round of 32 or took five double-digit seeds to the Sweet 16.   I entered in her picks, as she gave them to me, and we repeated the process through the entire bracket.  Then we watched kids videos on YouTube, (including the very painful ABC Rap).

So here’s the deal:  my beautiful four-year old, who earlier this year saw a basketball game on TV and called it “football”, is absolutely killing it with her bracket.  As of this writing (three days into the tournament, half of the Sweet 16 set), she is in the 99th percentile* on espn.com.  Of the seven million brackets on ESPN, only 90,445 are better than hers.

Imagine what she could do if she cared about basketball...

Imagine what she could do if she cared about basketball…

What makes it even cooler is this tournament has a number of big upsets:  #12 Oregon getting to the Sweet 16, #9 Wichita State knocking off #1 Gonzaga, #12 Ole Miss over #5 Wisconsin, #13 La Salle  over #4 Kansas State, #14 Harvard over #3 New Mexico, #12 Cal over #5 UNLV.

My daughter correctly picked them all.

About the only big upset she didn’t predict was #15 Florida Gulf Coast over #2 Georgetown.  Frankly, I’m surprised she didn’t pick that one as she was born on the gulf side of Florida.

I’ll admit:  I want to get my bragging in now while I can.  As amazing of a run as she’s having, I’m skeptical about her picks of Oregon over Louisville, North Carolina over Kansas, and Temple over Indiana.  But if this tournament has shown anything, it’s that the top seed overlook the lower ones at their own risk.

Her Final Four?  She has Ohio State, Duke, Florida, and Temple, with home state Florida winning it all.  You can snicker at that Temple pick, or you let me know how your bracket is doing.

Oh, that’s right.  You’re getting smoked by a four-year old girl.

The Future of Nebrasketball

I started this post a week or two ago as a “Fire Doc Sadler” piece.  At the time, there was still some doubt* on if Nebraska would fire their basketball coach**.

*Yes, as of this post, Doc Sadler still has a job, but the near universal opinion from the media is that he will soon be out of a job.  I suspect that to be the case too (and I hope so, because I’d really rather not have to use this space to rip Tom Osborne a new one).  But Doc needs to go.  The results have not come.  It is time.

**Fact – NU has not fired a men’s basketball coach since 2000.  Twelve years.  Let’s put that another way:  Nebraska has fired two football coaches since they have fired a basketball coach.  Yikes.

So instead of making a case for why Sadler should be fired this year instead of giving him another year, let’s discuss what Nebraska Basketball is, and what it could be.

First, what it is.  Right now, Husker hoops is teetering between neglected afterthought and statewide joke.  Attendance is horrible, fan apathy is rampant, and there is zero positive buzz about the program.  Yes, there are some things you can count on:  the month of December will be spent playing teams you have never heard of (Maryland Eastern Shore???), at some point, there will be speculation about Nebraska making the NCAA tournament (only to have it come crashing down like the proverbial lead zeppelin).  On a positive note, it is all but guaranteed that once a year Nebraska will upset some ranked team they have zero business beating (see also: Kansas, Texas, Indiana).  Of course, to find that amazingly fun and exciting game, you have to suffer through a half-dozen blowout losses where the talent gap between NU and the ranked teams is painfully evident.

And I firmly believe it does not have to be that way.

Nebraska basketball could be the second most popular team in the sport in the state*, and a major source of excitement and conversation.

*The 10 most popular sports in Nebraska:

  1. Nebraska Football – Duh.
  2. Nebraska Football Recruiting – an entirely separate beast from what happens on Saturdays
  3. Nebraska Volleyball – the most successful team over the last decade
  4. Creighton Basketball – A solid program, but their popularity has as much to do with NU’s poor performance as it does with their success (and the beer doesn’t hurt).
  5. UNO Hockey – A good mix of hockey fans and people who enjoy drinking beer while watching sports.
  6. Nebraska Baseball – In the CWS years, they were a strong #3 on this list.
  7. Omaha Lancers/Lincoln Stars/Tri-City Storm – The games are fun, but let’s be honest:  this is glorified high school hockey.
  8. Lincoln Saltdogs/AAA team formerly known as the Omaha Royals – For both of these teams, it really is more about a night at the old ballpark than the game, but they still do well.  Just don’t ask me to dignify the stupid new name of the O Royals by typing it here.
  9. Nebraska Women’s Basketball – a winning program.  In a best of seven series with the NU men, it wouldn’t surprise me if the women won a game or two.
  10. Nebraska Men’s Basketball – The number of empty seats is rapidly gaining on the number of full seats.

Let’s be clear – I’m not saying that Nebraska can become a program to rival Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, or North Carolina.  But there is absolutely nothing standing in the way of Nebraska being a team that can regularly finish in the top half of the conference, make the dance 6 or 7 times a decade, and make it to the Sweet Sixteen (or farther) every so often.  I think that is a fairly reasonable expectation.

I can hear some of you laughing right now.  You’re thinking “Nebraska?  In the Sweet Sixteen?  The same Nebraska that could barely score 34 points (in 40 minutes) at Michigan State?”

I get it.  I hear you.

And yes, it can be done.

Thought of the Day – 11/11/11

On Friday, North Carolina and Michigan State played a college basketball game on the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson – an aircraft carrier.

I dig the concept of playing traditional sports in unconventional settings.  Therefore I humbly suggest the following:

  • An NHL hockey game in Death Valley, CA.
  • A NASCAR race on Interstate 80 in Nebraska.  They start at the Wyoming border and race east to one of the casinos in Council Bluffs, Iowa. 
  • A football game on a handful of garbage barges floating in the Pacific Ocean.  Appropriately, the participating teams will each be in last place.
  • A baseball game in a random cornfield in Iowa.  Bonus points for ghosts or soliloquies by James Earl Jones.
  • A diving meet at Niagara Falls.
  • A high jump meet at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
  • A shot put meet next to a mine field.
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