International Doings…

I guess the right thing to do today is to tip my hat to an old adage:

“There’s many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip.”

I mentioned last week that the Canadian Football League and its players’ union had reached a tentative agreement on a new CBA and that agreement had ended a brief training camp strike.  That was only half accurate; there indeed was an agreement but ratification by the league’s Board of Governors and the full membership of the union remained to be done.  Apparently, everyone’s optimism – mine included – that the agreement by the negotiators and the endorsement of the agreement by those folks would make ratification a formality.  Evidently it was not because I got an email from Gregg Drinnan late Monday night telling me to stand by because the players voted to reject the new agreement.

I tracked down a report in the Winnipeg Sun on this matter.  According to that report, the sticking point is the ”Canadian ratio”.  This part of the agreement mandates the number of Canadians that must be on the roster and on the field for a game.  I do not pretend to know the history of this negotiating point or the intricacies of how it is counted or enforced, but it seems that the league wanted to deal with “nationalized Americans” as an entity in the compilation of the ratio and the players en masse objected to that activity.

The ray of hope here appears to be that the players do not see this as something that is insurmountable because in the same report in the Winnipeg Sun the story is that the players were willing to return to the practice field while this gets ironed out.  Here is a link to that report for those wanting more information from a far more informed source:

Let me stay with an “international theme” for a moment and point out that the English Premier League (EPL) season is over.  Manchester City was the league champion beating out Liverpool by a single point after the 38-game schedule.  That is an important outcome for “City fans” but the outcome for the teams at the bottom of the EPL Table is more important.  Three teams will be relegated to the second tier of English football next season (The Championship) and the economic impact on those clubs will be enormous.  The relegated teams are:

  • Burnley
  • Watford
  • Norwich City

Obviously, the EPL needs to have three teams ascend from The Championship to maintain the 20 teams playing at the EPL level next year.  The folks in charge have come up with a way to do that that is popular and lucrative.

  • The winner of The Championship is automatically “promoted”.  This year that team is Fulham.
  • The second-place team in The Championship is also automatically “promoted.  This year that team is Bournemouth.
  • The teams that finished 3rd through 6th in the Championship play an elimination tournament to see which team  gets the third “promotion”.

The winners in the first round of that tournament are based on the aggregate score in two games – one at each team’s home venue.  The final game is a winner-take-all contest.  This year in the first round, third-place Huddersfield beat sixth-place Luton Town and fourth-place Nottingham Forest beat fifth-place Sheffield United.

  • Huddersfield will meet Nottingham Forest in the final game of this tournament on May 29th.  The winner “goes up” and the loser “stays down”.

As the folks from Monty Python’s Flying Circus used to say:

“And now for something completely different…”

A US Department of Defense contractor suggested that the DoD fund athletic scholarships for tens of thousands of college athletes that would be repaid by mandatory service in the US armed forces and/or civilian agencies.  Think of this as an analog to college ROTC programs but with many more participants and to fill the ranks of the military not just in the officer cadre.  Evidently, this idea has made it to the attention of both civilian and military decision makers in the Pentagon according to a report in Sportico.  The program would not be open to football or basketball players – the idea being that there are plenty of scholarships there.  This idea is aimed at non-revenue sports and suggests a dual benefit:

Benefit to colleges and college athletes is that there will be more money available for non-revenue sports since scholarship funds can be found outside the universities.

Benefit to the military is that it alleviates inefficient recruiting which spends time and money to get recruits who then fail to make it through the physical rigors of basic training.

Obviously, there are a ton of details to be considered here and I would be gob smacked to learn that the NCAA thought this was hunky-dory.  The NCAA rarely thinks that any idea that originates outside of NCAA HQS is worthy of even minor consideration.  However, let me suggest that you follow this link and read the report in Sportico and see if you don’t think there is the germ of a potentially good idea here.

Finally, I will close today with these words from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:

“When Dallas eclipsed the Suns, it marked the fifth time that a team with Chris Paul on it has blown a 2-0 postseason lead — an NBA record.

“On the bright side, he’s been named an honorary Atlanta Falcon.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



3 thoughts on “International Doings…”

  1. I reject any incursion of the military into the sports domain. This program if instituted will become part and parcel of the propaganda we see in ads for a military life. All glitz and glitter. Just another attempt at the militarization of sports as we see on NFL Sunday with the ubiquitous flyovers on big games.
    There will be only one winner if this program gets off the ground. And it won’t be the athletes. Have we forgotten Pat Tillman and how his death was manipulated by the military?

    1. Willie:

      Welcome back; long time no hear…

      I agree that the idea of the government offering athletic scholarships to non-revenue sport athletes in exchange for mandatory military/government service down the road could quickly turn into a minefield. But the idea seems to have gained some traction.

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