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college sports

Spartan stadium
Flickr/Ken Lund / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The Big Ten Conference will play football this fall. After postponing the season – and a lot of behind-the-scenes back and forth since then – the leaders of the member universities voted in favor of a plan to start the season next month.

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon joined Doug Tribou on Morning Edition to discuss the decision.

Michigan State football
User: spartanjoe / Flickr

The Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) has given the green light for some fall sports to get underway. Golf, tennis and cross country can begin competition August 19 and 21. The decision for football, volleyball and soccer isn't expected until August 20.

The experiences of professional and collegiate athletes bring up more questions about resuming competition than answers. John U. Bacon is Michigan Radio's sports commentator. He has been keeping an eye on professional and student athlete's return to the field.

Office of the Governor

Today on Stateside, Michigan Radio Sports Commentator John U. Bacon checks in on hopes for college sports amid COVID-19. Also, a conversation with an author whose new book digs into what the University of Michigan got right and got wrong in its diversity and inclusion efforts.  

(Subscribe to Stateside on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or with this RSS link)

empty baseball stadium
Simon Johnson

For a time with very few sporting events, it's been a very busy week for sports news. Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon shared his thoughts on bringing back sports during the COVID-19 crisis and the Detroit Lions' ownership change.

Carol Hutchins talks to a player
User MGoBlog / Flickr / http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

The federal civil rights legislation known as Title IX was instrumental in creating opportunities for women athletes in high school and college sports. Previously, varsity sports were mostly reserved for men while women played club sports on teams with shoestring budgets. As Title IX opened doors for female athletes, though, coaching opportunities for women gradually dwindled after its passage.

michigan football team in circle
Courtesy Michigan Photography

Many Michiganders will grab some Thanksgiving leftovers for lunch and settle in for the annual Michigan-Ohio State football game on Saturday.

John Auchter

Sports is often the last refuge for civil conversation. Politics, race AND religion are practically no-go zones these days. But even seemingly benign topics like health or the weather are pocked with landmines:

"It's a bit chilly today." "Yes, it is — so much for your dumb global warming theories!"

football
Kaveman743 / Flickr / https://bit.ly/2KKaWih

After Michigan football finished a disappointing 8-and-5 last year, most pundits figured the Wolverines wouldn’t be much better this year. Worse, they had one of the toughest schedules in the country.

Plenty of pundits have raged about the soaring salaries of college coaches, and rightly so. 

Over the past three decades, the average football coach’s salary increased tenfold to $2.5 million. That’s about 25 times more than the average college professor earns, whose salary has merely kept pace with inflation. Today the highest paid public employee in 39 states is either a basketball coach or a football coach.

Michigan v. Penn State
MGoBlog

Looking at this year’s Michigan football schedule, everyone who plays, coaches, covers, or follows the team knew it would be a tough run, maybe the toughest in the country.

Michigan’s schedule included five ranked teams almost half the schedule. Three of them sat right in a row, in the middle of the season: Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Penn State. The players called that the gauntlet, until defensive end Chase Winovich renamed it “The Revenge Tour,” because all three teams had beaten Michigan last year.

John U. Bacon

Michigan and Michigan State both faced highly ranked opponents last weekend.

The unranked Spartans suffered a couple bad losses, and entered last week’s game looking for a miracle against eighth-ranked Penn State at Penn State, no less, one of the toughest places to play. But the Spartans pulled the upset, earning them a 4-2 record and a return to the top 25.

Big Ten Preview 2018

Aug 31, 2018
John U. Bacon

I usually spend the Friday before Labor Day predicting what’s going to happen in Big Ten football. But this year, so much has already happened off the field that it threatens to eclipse whatever might happen on it.

MGoBlog / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0 (for photos on Flickr)

Ohio State University has put head football coach Urban Meyer on paid leave while the school investigates whether he protected former assistant coach Zach Smith, who was fired last week.

John Beilein at the 2018 NCAA Basketball Championship game.
MGoBlog

University of Michigan men’s basketball coach John Beilein has probably reached his greatest heights – which is saying something.

Since 2012 Beilein’s Wolverines have won four Big Ten titles and got to two NCAA finals, including one of each this spring. No Big Ten coach has done better over that stretch. What’s more impressive is how Beilein has done it: by recruiting genuine student-athletes, then coaching them up to beat teams loaded with stars. Beilein and his staff have pushed six of those underrated players to the first round of the NBA draft.

Students protesting
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

About 100 students rallied in the rain Tuesday afternoon, marched up to the second floor of Welch Hall, and confronted the president of Eastern Michigan University.

Michigan men's basketball coach John Beilein seated courtside
Flickr user Adam Glanzman / Flickr

The Michigan Wolverines are still dancing in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

In the opening round, UM beat Montana 61-47 Thursday night in Wichita, Kansas. The Wolverines are the third seed in the West region. They'll face sixth-seeded University of Houston on Saturday night.

James Coller/MGoBlog / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg


    

 

Michigan has won its second straight Big Ten title by beating Purdue 75-66. 

Keith Allison / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

To sum up the year in sports, Michigan Radio’s sports commentator John U. Bacon said this: “If you like mediocrity, I mean really like it, Motown is the place for you.”

He sat down with Stateside host Cynthia Canty to explain.

Doug Tribou / Michigan Radio

This ​story is part of Mornings In Michigan, our new series about morning rituals from across our state.

For a lot of folks, Saturday is this week’s second major holiday. That’s when the University of Michigan and Ohio State University will meet for their 114th football game. Kickoff is at noon in Ann Arbor.

To find out what it’s like inside Michigan Stadium on the morning of a game, Morning Edition producer Lauren Talley and host Doug Tribou went behind the scenes before the Wolverines hosted Rutgers in October.

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

Monday night’s Issues & Ale event dove into the complicated world of sports – where players kneel during the national anthem, college students get payoffs, and misinformation swells around concussions and other injuries.

Courtesy of the ACLU of Michigan

She wants to wrestle with the University of Michigan-Dearborn men’s team, but the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) says its rules are clear: “Women wrestle women, men wrestle men in practice and competition. Period.”

Now wrestler Marina Goocher has the ACLU on her side in her fight to compete against the men. That includes staff attorney Bonsitu Kitaba with the ACLU of Michigan.

 

Monday, November 20, 2017, 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
Zingerman's Greyline 
100 N. Ashley St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104  

What happens when the controversies of politics and the realities of life intersect with the sports we love to watch? Issues like domestic violence, players kneeling for the national anthem, and payoffs to college players have all helped to move stories about our favorite players from the sports page…to the front page.

Join Michigan Radio’s Morning Edition host Doug Tribou as he talks with sports experts about some of the controversies facing the world of sports. Joining Doug will be author and Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon, former NBA player and UM 'Fab Five' member Jimmy King and sports journalist Joanne Gerstner. 

Football game at Michigan Stadium at night
Larry / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

At 7:30 on Saturday night, plenty of folks in the state will be fixed on the annual clash between Michigan and Michigan State during the first-ever night game between the two.

NCAA Championship
Dayna / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The FBI calls it a "scheme involving bribery, corruption and fraud.”

That's how agents describe the alleged scheme uncovered by their investigation into NCAA men's college basketball.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, arms out, protesting a call
MGoBlog / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Get out your face paint and foam fingers. It's opening weekend for college football.

Michigan State is hoping to bounce back after finishing with just three wins last year. The program has been under intense scrutiny for off-field problems, including allegations of sexual assault against some former Spartans players.

female softball player getting ready to pitch
Library of Congress / Public Domain

Softball teams from the Big Ten, including Michigan State and the University of Michigan, open their conference tournament in Ann Arbor today.

Next month, thousands of fans will attend the NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City. In 2020, softball will return to the Olympics after a 12-year-hiatus.

It’s a far cry from softball’s early days when top female and male players often had to move to find a company-sponsored team with a travel budget so they could play in a big tournament.

 Red Berenson, coaches the University of Michigan's hockey team.
MGoBlog / Flickr

Gordon “Red” Berenson"  loved the game from the start. When he was a six-year old kid in Regina, Sasketchewan, for Christmas his parent gave him new skates, gloves, and shin pads.

He was so excited, he called his best friend on the party line – at 6 a.m. When his friend’s mom answered, she said, “Do you know it’s 6 a.m.?”

Berenson replied, “Yes -- but this is important!”

He played most of his games outside, where the prairie winds make it feel like you’re skating uphill. By 18 he was so good, the Montreal Canadiens wanted him to turn pro. When he decided to go to the University of Michigan instead, the Canadiens' general manager warned him, “If you go to an American college, you’ll never become a pro.”

Berenson went anyway.

Ninety seconds into his first game at Michigan, he skated end to end and scored his first goal. He scored 78 more, including 43 his senior year, still a Michigan record. He was the best player in the country.

John U. Bacon

The Michigan men’s basketball team just finished one of the craziest seasons in program history.

After a sluggish start, the Wolverines were in danger of not only missing the NCAA tournament, but even the second-rate National Invitational Tournament.

John U Bacon
John U. Bacon

Last week, Michigan men’s basketball team traveled to take on Northwestern. For years, that trip amounted to a fun field trip for the Wolverines, a chance to pad their stats before taking on the Big Ten’s big boys.

Not this year. The Wolverines and the Wildcats both entered the game in the top half of the league, and on the verge of an invitation to the NCAA tournament.

First, the good news: A hearty four college football teams from the state of Michigan were invited to play in bowl games this winter: the University of Michigan, plus Eastern, Western and Central Michigan. The only top-tier team not to qualify: Michigan State, which fell all the way from a top-four spot in last year’s playoffs to a dismal 3-9 record.

Now, the bad news: All the teams from Michigan lost.

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