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john u. bacon running with friends
Christie Bacon

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon had Monday April 20, circled on his calendar for a long, long time. Before COVID-19 hit, that was the date of the Boston Marathon, and John was supposed to be in it. The marathon is on hold, so John came up with an alternative: he drew up his own 26.2 mile course in Ann Arbor and invited people to cheer him on – at a distance – over the weekend.

comerica park
Gary Shear / Unsplash

Comerica Park sat silent and Opening Day for the Detroit Tigers passed un-celebrated as the city grapples with the COVID-19 crisis. Major League Baseball postponed the start of its season, following the cues of several other pro sports leagues. Detroit-based reporter Bill Shea covers the business of sports for The Athletic. He talked to Stateside about the ripple effects empty sports venues could have on Detroit's downdown economy. 

wikimedia commons

Detroit Tiger great Al Kaline has died.  

He was 85.

In the pantheon of great Detroit baseball players, only one is known as “Mr. Tiger.” 

flickr user Darren Whitley / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The final whistle has blown for high school winter and spring sports in Michigan.

The Michigan High School Athletic Association announced Friday it is cancelling the remainder of the 2019-20 Winter and Spring sports seasons. 

The association says the decision is in compliance with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “state of disaster” directive closing K-12 schools and moving education online for the remainder of the school year. 

Commerica Park
MJCdetroit/Wikimedia Commons

The domino effect of the novel coronavirus has been on full display in the world of sports in past couple of days. After an NBA player tested positive for COVID-19, the league suspended its season. Since then, the NCAA has called off its men's and women's basketball tournaments. The NHL suspended its season. And Major League Baseball canceled the rest of spring training and has delayed Opening Day by at least two weeks.

Michigan Radio Morning Edition host Doug Tribou spoke with Jon Morosi about the ripple effects. Morosi covers baseball for MLB Network and Fox Sports. He also reports for the NHL Network and is a native Michigander.

makzhou / Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

The Detroit Pistons says its players and staff are self-quarantining out of an abundance of caution. That's after the Pistons played the Utah Jazz on Saturday, March 7.

Two members of the Utah Jazz were diagnosed several days later with COVID-19.

basketball hoop with falling basketball
Markus Spiske / Unsplash

Updated: Thursday, March 12 at 4:29 p.m.:

The NCAA has now canceled both the men's and women's basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring tournaments. 

Additionally, the Big Ten Conference has now canceled all conference and non-conference competitions for all spring sports through the end of the academic year, including NCAA tournaments and competitions. This also includes all sports that compete beyond the academic year. 

Minnie Forbes sitting on a couch
Doug Tribou / Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids isn't a big-league baseball town, but a living part of baseball history calls it home. 

Minnie Forbes is the last surviving owner of a Negro Leagues baseball team. She owned the Detroit Stars from 1956 to 1958. She was also one of just a handful of female owners.

Mel Tucker in East Lansing
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Last week Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio announced he was retiring. The news wasn’t surprising, but the timing was.

Michigan State University sign
Michigan State University

Today on Stateside, we're digging deeper into the hiring of Mel Tucker, his around $30 million compensation package, and the process governing sports hiring at Michigan's Big 3 schools. Plus, two African American artists in Detroit talk about finding a canvas big enough to tell real stories.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University has a new football coach. The school announced Wednesday that Mel Tucker will replace Mark Dantonio next season.

Dantonio retired from MSU last week after 13 seasons with the school. Tucker was previously the head coach at the University of Colorado.

Mark Dantonio at a podium
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Today on Stateside, it's the end of an era for Michigan State fooball under head coach Mark Dantonio. Plus, the city of Detroit's new chief storyteller talks about his plan for making sure the city's narrative reflects its residents.  

Mark Dantonio at a podium
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

This time of year, college football fans are often buzzing about incoming recruits. But in East Lansing this week, the big news was departure. After 13 seasons, Mark Dantonio retired as Michigan State's football coach. There are questions about the timing of his announcement and the future of the program.

Michigan State's Mark Dantonio announces retirement

Feb 4, 2020

Michigan State University football coach Mark Dantonio is retiring after a 13-year run.

Defensive coordinator Mike Tressel will be the acting head coach while Michigan State seeks a replacement.

Dantonio has more wins than any other coach in the program's history. He also won three Big Ten championships, a Rose Bowl and an appearance in the College Football Playoff. 

In a statement first released on social media, Dantonio said his retirement "marks one of the most difficult decisions that I have ever made here at Michigan State." 

 

absentee ballot
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, local and county clerks are raising concerns about their ability to deal with an influx of absentee ballots in November’s presidential election. Plus, the woman who turned the University of Michigan into a softball powerhouse talks about the yawning gender equity gap in college sports coaching. 

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.

John U. Bacon

George Perles was born and raised in Detroit, where he starred on the Western high school baseball and football teams. After serving in the Army with 17 classmates, he returned to play for the legendary Duffy Daugherty at Michigan State.

Perles played both offensive and defensive line until he suffered a knee injury -- the kind they can fix in an afternoon these days but career-ending sixty years ago.

Jim Harbaugh, Mark Dantonio
MGoBlog / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

In the preseason college football coaches poll, Michigan started the season ranked 7th, with Michigan State ranked 20th.

Since then they’ve both gone through plenty of ups and downs, with Michigan falling to 17th, and Michigan State falling out of the rankings altogether. But there’s one final twist left: their bowl games.

two football players on a football field
Matt Radick / The State News / Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

This Saturday, for the 112th time, the University of Michigan and Michigan State University will fight over a football for 60 minutes.

During the year’s other 364 days, the two schools’ coaches, players, and fan bases produce enough adolescent sniping and sophomoric stunts to fill a book— in fact, several.

person running on concrete road
Clem Onojeghuo / Unsplash

On my 55th birthday this summer, I stepped on the scale and watched it top out at 205 pounds. Since I’m just 5'8", the Body-Mass Index scale put me in the “obese” category. Awesome.

John U. Bacon

Michigan and Michigan State both entered this season ranked in the top twenty. Both have struggled on offense, and lost some games along the way.

But by the end of October, their paths seemed to have diverged. Michigan State has lost three straight, while Michigan finally found its way with a big win over Notre Dame.

In a surprise move, the NCAA says it intends to allow college athletes to earn compensation — but it says it's only starting to work out the details of how that would take place. The organization's board of governors said Tuesday that it had voted unanimously to permit student-athletes to benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness.

John U. Bacon

This fall California Governor Gavin Newsome signed a law that will allow college athletes to sell their names, images, and likenesses to whoever wants to buy them.

True, it’s just California, where only four Power-Five schools play; the law won’t take effect until 2023; and the measure addresses just one aspect of the complicated relationship between athletes and their schools.

person in orange football jersey and black helmet holds a football
Riley McCullough / Unsplash

California made sports history last month when Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill that would let college athletes cash in on the $14 billion college sports industry.

The landmark "Fair Pay to Play Act" opens the door for athletes to be paid for their likeness, name, image, and lets them sign endorsement deals.

two staffers in Michigan football locker room
Doug Tribou / Michigan Radio

Everyone sees the football coaches and the players when they go to a game at the Big House.

What we don’t see are the 67 full-time staffers that support them, almost around the clock. These include everyone from athletic trainers to strength coaches to nutritionists, videographers, and academic advisors, just for starters.

university of michigan football coach jim harbaugh
MGoBlog / Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

Both the Michigan State and Michigan football teams entered last weekend with something to prove – and one of them proved it.

a group of young girls and one adult woman holding skateboards and posing for the camera.
April Van Buren / Michigan Radio

Skateboarding has long been associated with graffiti-covered parks and Vans-clad teenage boys, but a program at the Ann Arbor Skatepark is working to change that stereotype. 

headshot of Valorie Kondos Field
Courtesy of Valorie Kondos Field

 


Michigan was ground zero for a scandal rocked the world of gymnastics and revealed widespread athlete abuse in the sport. In January 2018, hundreds of young women delivered blistering impact statements at the sentencing hearings for serial pedophile Larry Nassar in Ingham and Eaton County courtrooms. 

Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics, and the U.S. Olympic Committee were all called out for failing to protect young athletes. Private gyms and coaches across the country have also been investigated for abusive behavior.

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

This week Eastern Michigan University opened a brand new training facility for its 436 student athletes.

MSU and U of M football stadiums
Flickr user Ken Lund

College football is back. With Michigan State and Michigan about to begin their seasons, Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon joined Morning Edition host Doug Tribou for a preview. 

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