Friday, April 29, 2005
not impressed
Quote of the day:
Consider the take of one AL team source: "I'll tell you why the Yankees are in trouble: They are locked into this team. I honestly can tell you there is nobody on that team I would trade for. They aren't going to trade Derek Jeter, A-Rod, Hideki Matsui, Jorge Posada or Gary Sheffield. Obviously, Johnson and Mariano Rivera aren't going anywhere. There's nobody else I'd want, because of contracts or age and ability. So when it comes time for them to make a move, they don't have anything of value.
Don't look now but Si.com's Tom Verducci is not impressed with the 2005 edition of the NYY. Unfortunately, while the Yanks may be struggling, recent injuries might go a long way towards making sure the Sox don't stay too far ahead. We're one month into the season, and the Sox have lost Schilling and Wells, while Miller has yet to come off the DL. What does that leave for the starting rotation? Wakefield, Arroyo (who was recently suspended six games for his role in the recent rumble with the Devil Rays), and Matt Clement. If there was ever a time that they needed to show some grit, now would be a good time to start.
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blog it up
Don't look now, but mlb.com is getting in on the blogging action. For a mere $4.95/month ($49.95/yr) you too can have subdomain on mlb.com. Sign up now for a free 30 day trial.
Now there is an even better reason to be a blogger. Major League Baseball Advanced Media has partnered with Six Apart to introduce MLBlogs, where you can find robust, state-of-the-art blogging tools that let you create a page featuring your favorite Major League team's logo and colors. Your blog will allow you to share text and multimedia, and it will come complete with your own MLBlogs.com subdomain. [link]
Seriously though, with all the free blogging sites out there, why would anyone do this? So you can put an mlb.com official logo on your site? Because mlb.com is cool? I don't get it?
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let's get it on
Childless couple told to try sex

A German couple who went to a fertility clinic after eight years of marriage have found out why they are still childless - they weren't having sex.

The University Clinic of Lubek said they had never heard of a case like it after examining the couple who went to see them last month for fertility tests.

Doctors subjected them to a series of examinations and found they were both apparently fertile, and should have had no trouble conceiving.

A clinic spokesman said: "When we asked them how often they had had sex, they looked blank, and said: "What do you mean?". [full story - via db]


I guess the raging hormones of adolescence had died down by time they actually tied the knot. Funny how you actually need to have sex to have a child. Unless you're this couple.

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Thursday, April 28, 2005
Blue Devils everywhere rejoice
Days after the annoucement that served to devastate Tar Heel Nation, Duke fans can breathe a collective sigh of relief, after being assured that the only critical loss from this year's sweet sixteen squad will be Daniel Ewing, who stands to graduate the May with a degree in African American Studies. Shelden Williams is staying, and will form a core with fellow high profile seniors J.J. Reddick, Sean Dockery, Shavlik Randolph and Lee Melchioni on a run to lead the 2005-2006 Blue Devils to the promised land.

Williams said in a statement Monday that he has decided to pursue his goal of earning a degree.

"For that reason along with others, I am going to pass on the opportunity to enter the NBA draft," Williams said in a statement. "I am looking forward to finishing off my academic career with a degree and also returning to the playing court to help Duke compete for the national championship next season."

Williams averaged 15.5 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.7 blocked shots while helping Duke to a 27-6 record and the ACC tournament championship last season.

The announcement means Duke will return two first-team all-conference performers in Williams and senior J.J. Redick, and add a strong recruiting class that includes forward Josh McRoberts and guard Greg Paulus. [espn][si]


I love how every story can't help but mention that the UNC squad will be basically running on fumes this year. This is not about them. Let it go! The ACC ought to be interesting next year, given the decimation of the carolina squad, and the decision of guys like Chris Paul (wf), Jarret Jack (gt), John Gilchrist (md) to jump ship. [full list]

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005
no fair! do over!

Sharing RFK causing problems for United, Nationals

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The sharing of RFK Stadium by D.C. United and the Washington Nationals has resulted in a soccer pitch that isn't rectangular.

``It's clearly not acceptable, but we understand that it's been a challenge for everybody, and we just have to be patient,'' United president Kevin Payne said Tuesday. ``Nobody wants the field to be off.''

Officials at United's 4-3 home loss to New England on Saturday filed a report with MLS saying the field was lopsided. Two officials measured the field by walking it, and they determined that one corner-to-corner diagonal was about 6 yards longer than the other. [yahoo]

Everyone anticipated problems with a system that involves completely redesigning the entire field to convert from a baseball to a soccer field and back again so it's no big surprise but I'm not sure that this is quite what they were thinking would be the problem. But who cares...baseball has returned to capital city, and, they're even managing to win-- well, more than the Expos ever did. I do believe that in the first month in a new city they've already beat the home attendance for the entire 2004 season from their Montreal/San Juan experiment...

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Saturday, April 23, 2005
and just like that, the fairytale ends
...and 3 makes 7


"[Insert player here] will be holding a news conference" means the same thing in basketball lingo that "we need to talk" means in female-ese – it's time for me to do some things, it's not your fault, etc. No matter the spin, she's leaving.

"[Three players] will be holding a news conference" is even worse – she's leaving, the kids are waiting in the Benz, and she needs help loading the plasma screen into the trunk.

By 2:00 p.m. ET, Carolina fans were left sitting in the dark, watching the wedding video, drinking Black Label on the rocks and dreaming of good times past. [espn.com]

All around the world, Duke fans rejoice. A mere two and a half weeks after pulling off what might have seemed impossible to last year's squad, Roy Williams and the rest of the Tar Heel nation mourns the loss of the remaining three top scorers (Sean May, Raymond Felton, and Marvin Williams). That makes SEVEN departures from this year's championship team (3 to graduation). In fact, David Noel, the highest remaining scorer only averaged 3.9ppg this year. I hope they enjoyed being on top while it lasted, because they certainly aren't going far this year. In all fairness, a trophy sure goes a long way towards soothing pain though....

On a related note, I wonder how the proposed age limits will affect the number of kids who declare for the draft this year. Eh, who cares, if it's bad for Carolina, it's good for me. [alt link]
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Wednesday, April 20, 2005
let's go mets
With all the free spending (what else is new) the new look Mets are trying to prove that 2000 was no fluke. Time will only tell how successful they manage to be this time, but the team record seven homeruns they scored against the Phillies yesterday definitely speaks for itself.


David Bergman - si.com
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Monday, April 18, 2005
a sign? (2)
it gets better:
The Yankees' skid can't be traced to one particular area. The starters have combined to go 2-5 with a 5.29 ERA, while the bullpen has a 6.53 ERA and has blown three save opportunities. The offense is batting just .207 with runners in scoring position, and the team ranks last in the American League in runners left on base with 106. [mlb.com]
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a sign?
Quote of the Day:"'I am bitterly disappointed, as I am sure all Yankee fans are, by the lack of performance by our team,' said [Yankee's owner George] Steinbrenner. 'It is unbelievable to me that the highest-paid team in baseball would start the season in such a deep funk." [mlb.com] [si.com]
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Thursday, April 14, 2005
10 spot
did i ever mention how much i love the 10 spot?
Nike is crowing about Tiger Woods' birdie on the 16th hole Sunday at the Masters, in which a tiny black swoosh was visible on the ball as it hung on the lip for nearly two seconds before falling in. The company feels the shot exposed its logo to a wide audience that somehow failed to notice the giant swooshes on Tiger's shirt and hat.
(yes Jared, there is a picture of Britney on the page)
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what about the children?!
Lawsuits, lawsuits, everywhere. I guess the goal is to bankrupt as many kids as possible before they have a chance to make any money.
sued for sharing (Duke)
RIAA Gains Access to i2Hub (Columbia) - more on i2hub
RIAA to sue 11 at Harvard

watch out, kids.
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Monday, April 11, 2005
main event
Tim Wakefield. The man of the hour.

Brita Meng Outzen/MLB.com

Quote of the day: "Wakefield made it seem as if the Yankees were swatting at flies instead of baseballs." mlb.com's Ian Browne


More Mo

One by one, the Bronx Bombers were introduced to the sellout crowd, and one by one, each player with "New York" across his chest was being booed.

Jaret Wright? Boo. Randy Johnson? Boooo. Heck, even Andy Phillips got booed.

Then came the most bizarre moment of the day. Mariano Rivera's name was called, and as the closer stepped out of the dugout, the crowd broke into a standing ovation.

Rivera, who blew two saves against the Red Sox in last October's ALCS, then blew two more last week at Yankee Stadium, laughed at the applause, tipping his hat to the crowd. [mlb.com]




Final score?
8-1 BOSTON RED SOX. A fitting conclusion to a glorious day. Don't cry too much, boys.

Brita Meng Outzen/MLB.com
[boston] [mlb] [espn]

it couldn't have hurt to have fellow champs throwing out the first pitch

AP photo

Boston Red Sox in 2005!
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lords of the rings
one of the few things that could possibly be better than this:



...was this. welcome to fenway, boys.




True heroes






Center Stage




[mlb.com] [2] [bdd] [sosh] [boston.com] [nyt] [si.com] [karukeion]





this is filler text. fill me up, baby.
you, know, you.



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woot
best.day.ever [asv]

let's hope wake can spank the yanks to make the home opener what it ought to be!
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the major league experience
Hmm....forgot about this. It's a little old but it is a fascinating glimpse into the major league "practice" season. One of these days I'll actually get to one of these spring training games (not the jays though!)

Life down Blue Jay way
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talk about ugly
A group at MIT has designed an alarm clock for the hardcore snoozing croud like me. Dubbed clocky, the clock will roll off the table to a random location, forcing you to get up and search for it to turn it off.

The technology is great and everything, but could they have made it any uglier? Engineers. sheesh.

Oh, wait. I'm an engineer too...
[cnn.com][bn]
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missing something?
Wendy's offer reward over finger in chilli

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Reports of a severed human finger in a bowl of chilli at a Wendy's restaurant have hit the firm's sales in the San Francisco area, a company spokesman says.

"We've had a severe sales impact from this, particularly in the San Francisco-San Jose bay area," said spokesman Bob Bertini from Wendy's corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ohio, on Saturday.

"It's very important to us to find out what happened in this incident. We believe someone knows exactly how the piece of finger got into the chilli bowl," he said.

The company has offered a $50,000 (26,520 pounds) reward to the first person offering verifiable information about how the finger found its way into a bowl of chilli at a franchise in San Jose, California, on March 22.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported this week that police has searched the home of Anna Ayala of Las Vegas, who filed a complaint about biting into a human finger after spooning up a mouthful of chilli at the San Jose Wendy's on March 22.

::snip::

The Chronicle reported on Saturday that Ayala has filed legal complaints against commercial establishments before. She won a claim against a restaurant after her daughter contracted salmonella poisoning in 2003. She sued a car dealership and tire manufacturer after an accident in 2000. That case was dismissed.

Wendy's has said its own investigation found no evidence of any finger or hand accidents among workers or suppliers at the San Jose franchise in late March.

Police also focused on where the finger had come from.

"From a law enforcement point of view, once you establish it is a human finger, you have to wonder is this a case of industrial accident or is this a case of unreported homicide," Muyo said.

While the finger-in-the-chili thing is old news, hearing more about this woman makes me wonder. Don't get on her bad side or you may find yourself missing a limb for her next lawsuit.
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Sunday, April 10, 2005
make that 4
Tiger Woods is like the (most recent) energizer bunny of golf. After a three year drought he came away with his fourth green jacket today, winning the Master's golf tournament by nailing a birdie on the first playoff hole. I'm sure this day is one Chris DiMarco will be thinking about for a long time. He definitely gave Tiger a run for his money, but came up short for the second year in a row, losing in the playoff. For the record, this is Woods' ninth victory overall in one of golf's four major tournaments, known simply as 'The Majors'. Woods had to fight for this one though...is he losing his touch or has the rest of the field simply learned to keep up these past few years? I guess we'll have to wait and see if he can catch the golden bear.




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Saturday, April 09, 2005
roids and baseball

Adam@home by Brian Basset

I was doing the rounds and came across an article discussing the problem of drug use in baseball.

Report: Dominicans fail more tests than US players

Well duh. Is that really so surprising? As the author points out, these kids are still trying to make it to the big leagues, and the millions that come with an mlb contract. With guys like Mike McGuire and Barry Bonds breaking records and making records, being praised for their accomplisments in the process can you really expect anything else? Drug use in American kids has been studied, and in countries where the regulation is virtually non-existent kids are going to take every advantage they can get, especially if (career-wise) there are no consequences. I'm glad to see that the problem is recognized and that people are calling for a crack down to eliminate the double standard. Money matter aside, these are peoples lives we're talking about.
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no more
Remember those free ipods Duke gave out to the class of 2008 (this year's freshman)? Looks like their utility is not enough to continue the experiment with the class of 2009. Sorry guys.

Duke takes targeted approach with iPod project

RALEIGH, North Carolina (AP) -- An iPod in every new student's hand?

Not this fall at Duke.

The private university in Durham has decided not to reprise last year's experimental mass handout to all incoming freshman of the pricey, hard-disk portable digital players. [cnn.com] [link2]

My favorite part of the story:
Some students questioned the need for the giveaway, given many students already owned iPods or similar devices, with some saying the money would be better spent on financial aid or campus security.
I have my opinons.... what do you think? Exhibit A B C D E
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Thursday, April 07, 2005
sorry mo, we've got your number!
At least something seems to be going right for the sox.
You can no longer call it a fluke, Boston's success against the great Rivera. It was the fourth consecutive save opportunity (including postseason) Rivera has blown against the Sox, and the sixth in the last 11. Rivera also blew a save on Tuesday, giving up a game-tying homer to Jason Varitek, but the Yankees rescued him in that one with Derek Jeter hitting a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth.

"Our history is that we've been able to swing the bats well against him, and I think the guys feel that they can do that," said Mills. "I think that's big, and that's key, to have that confidence against anybody, not just Mariano." [mlb.com]


Thanks to Rivera (with a little help from our old friend A-Rod) the Sox were able to leave the Bronx with a 1-2 record on the season. As much as I like to crack on Rivera, it's incredible what the Red Sox have managed to do with him. In spite of it all, he still maintains his composure and goes out every day, fully expecting to get the job done. What can I say, I actually have some respect for the guy, unlike an already-been-named former shortstop who I will stop short of mentioning again).

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Wednesday, April 06, 2005
it doesn't matter, it's not october
In the top of the ninth, Jason Varitek ties it at 3 with an uppercut against Mariano Rivera that lands in the right-field seats. The blow staggers the Yankees.

A few minutes later, Derek Jeter unleashes a roundhouse to Keith Foulke. This one lands in right-center, and in the Yankees' win column. [mlb.com]

double ::sigh::

0-2

p.s. I always thought it was a bad idea for Smoltz to come out of the bullpen. ouch.

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early departure
I was working late last night in the lab and happened to notice two of my fellow students' dissertations sitting in my advisor's mailbox (she's out of town until tomorrow). It occurred to me that two students from the class ahead of me will be GRADUATING in <6 years. Granted, they are over a year ahead of schedule but still...

<sigh>

back to work!
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sweet victory


March Madness is officially over. Earlier tonight (last night?), the Baylor ladies squashed their overmatched Michigan St. opponents, rolling to a 84-62 victory. Overlooking the fact that I was completely owned with my (revised) championship game predictions, it was great to see neither Tennessee nor UConn in the mix for the first time in 12 years. I'd really like to see the Duke ladies pull one out before I leave, but the departure of Monique Currie (WNBA) won't help that.

In related news, Baylor's title is the first in men's or women's hoops in Big 12 conference HISTORY (okay, okay, so it's only been a conference since the '96-'97 season. still. big news). Kirk Heinrich and the boys at Kansas sure came close not too long ago, but remember, almost doesn't count...
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achoo!
Science in action


In the natural world, of course, mice rarely, if ever, suffer from cat allergies. But laboratory mice specially bred to be allergic to cats have been cured by researchers who have developed a novel approach to allergy treatment.

The results may lead to better therapy for millions of people who are allergic to cats - including 14 percent of children from age 6 to 19 - and for the estimated 50 million Americans who suffer from some type of allergy. [nyt article]


The original Nat Med article, for your reading pleasure -- yes, i'm a dork like that :-p.
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Tuesday, April 05, 2005
tar heels on top
75-70. The Illini almost pulled it up but in the end, the best team came out on top. Don't worry, my boys will be back in the mix next year!

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Monday, April 04, 2005
blogger status
Tired of the random blogger outages? Subscribe to the blogger status feed to stay somewhat informed about what's going on. [link]
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Sunday, April 03, 2005
the end is near
now that the tournaments are nearly over, it's about time we take a look back. If you recall, I predicted a men's final four of Wake, Duke, UNC and Arizona, with UNC eventually claiming the title over WF. Well, I was obviously very wrong about most of this, as the only thing that has a chance of happening at this point is for Roy Rogers' Tarheels to come away with the national championship that has eluded him thus far. For the record, the actual Final Four competitors turned out to be Illinois, Louisville, UNC, and Michigan St. I was pretty slow getting this out, so I can already tell you that #1 UNC will be facing #1 Illinois for the title of 2004 top dog. If carolina can pull out the W, it will be the end of a dominating string of victories against Big Ten opponents. As much as they've been conditioning me to hate carolina here, I have ACC pride, so I've still got to say carolina all the way. I also can't say that I'm too upset about the fate of Rick Pitino-led Louisville, given his history with the Boston Celtics (actually, I think the same thing would have happened to Krzyzewski, had he jumped ship for Laker-ville. Given their current record, I'll bet he's thanking his lucky stars that he avoided that mess!).

On the women's side, while there were fewer huge upsets than throughout the course of the men's tourney, things were still shaken up. My predictions: LSU, Minnesota, Rutgers, and Stanford in the final four, with Stanford beating LSU for the title. Reality: LSU, Tennessee (I don't know what possessed me to count a Pat Summit-led team out so early), Baylor, and Michigan St. I know that last weekend, when all this was set, they were partying like there was no tomorrow out in East Lansing. However, the double championship that UConn pulled off last year was not to be repeated, as the men have already been sent home. Better luck next year. I don't know if I can continue to root against Tennessee, although both Baylor and LSU have looked really strong throughout the tournament. Hmm...I think I'll have to take LSU over Tennessee for the title, because they're just too strong this year. Sorry Pat.
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c'est increible!
incredible is right! i had a chance to see this wonderful pixar creation earlier this evening and i finally understand what all the hype was about. If you've been in the dark like me, go see it. now. in fact, you might as well just buy the thing because you'll want to see over, and over, and over...


(see...i do think about more than just sports :-p)
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Saturday, April 02, 2005
en memoriam
R.I.P.

Teresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo (1963-2005)

Johnny L. Cochran, Jr. (1937-2005)

Pope John Paul II
(1920-2005)
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rumble in the bronx

Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for, Major League Baseball's opening day 2005. The day the title defense officially begins. Regular season action begins in under 24 hours with a repeat of the 2004 ALCS matchup, which of course ended with a pivotal Boston victory (a great link...i suggest you check it out). The Red Sox will face the Yankees in the first of 19 regular-season matchups, with this one to take place in the boogie down Bronx. If you happen to have been under a rock for the last 6 months, here's a little reminder of what went down during that fateful October series.

Like many other teams, the Sox don’t have the same 25 man core so let’s take a look at the most recent scouting report.


I don't have a similar report for the Yanks, but check out what si.com had to say this time last year. I did find an AL report, in order of predicted finish. Note that this is from a BOSTON paper and they put the Yanks first, so it must be unbiased ;-).

Given the current injuries (Schilling & Miller vs. Brown), I admit the first series may not go so well (Wells vs. RJ in the opener?!), but remember, it's not a sprint, but a marathon!

-->Catch the game Sunday at 8:05pm ET on WSBK/NESN/ESPN2/MLB TV

........

In related news, for the first time ever, "both sets of duelists in the previous October's League Championship Series are facing off to launch a new season." On April 5th, the Cardinals head to Minute Maid park to face the Astros in a rematch of the 2004 NLCS. Can the Cards top the 'stros yet again? Time will only tell. What a way to tip off a season. Let's hope that regardless of the outcome, that the teams put up a good fight.

........

Quote of the day: "July 1, Yankee Stadium ... Bloodied, battered, but beaten? Never." - mlb.com's Tom Singer

Fun Fact: RP Mariano Rivera's ERA against the Red Sox is 4.22 and 1.59 against all other teams.

preorder
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Friday, April 01, 2005
point taken
This is old news by now, but it proves my point, so I guess it's still worthy of mention. It seems that yet another young athlete has deemed his training complete enough to enter the workforce. Unfortunately he's 20, so I guess I was wrong after all ;-).

Villanueva headed to NBA

STORRS, Conn. (AP) -- Two years ago, Charlie Villanueva thought he was ready for the NBA. This time, he says he's sure.

UConn's 6-foot-11, 240-pound sophomore forward announced Tuesday that he [sic] forgo his final two years of college eligibility to enter the NBA draft.

It will be the second time Villanueva has gone through the NBA evaluation process. Coming out of Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J., in 2003, Villanueva declared for the draft, but changed his mind after workouts in front of NBA scouts.


Villanueva may feel he's ready, but I'd say that this is not the most glowing of recommendations:

Villanueva is the eighth player during [coach Jim] Calhoun's tenure at UConn to leave school early for the NBA. The coach said he is not shy about telling players when he thinks they are not ready.

"I don't think Charlie's making a mistake," he said. "Would I have liked him to stay for another year? Yeah. Could he use another year? To some degree, they all could."

The article goes on to say that "he chose to go pro in part because his mother was in a serious car accident last year on her way to work, and he doesn't want her to ever have to work again." Honorable intentions, and I can't fault him for that, because I myself would love to be in a position to relieve my mother of the responsibility of needing to work as a present for her upcoming birthday [but I'm not, sorry mom]. Regardless, I know my mom would have done the same as his, urging me to stay in school before making the plunge. I guess the millions he'll use to take care of her will have to serve as a consolation prize. Hopefully she'll find some way to cope.

Even though Villanueva will likely earn millions of dollars next year, his departure will hurt UConn's grade under a system being implemented to evaluate academic progress of NCAA programs. Calhoun said that should be changed.

"Right now, we seem to have lost a little bit of sight that a few of our very, very special students have an opportunity to get a very, very special job."

agreed. they should definitely take in consideration kids who leave early, and not penalize those institutions whose athletes maintain a good GPA, even if their time in school is cut short.

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