Athlete Development

  • In the NCAA’s annual report of graduation rates over the last six years, student-athletes are earning their degrees at a higher rate than the overall student body at Division I universities. For any student-athletes interested in going pro, here’s some evidence that perhaps going through college first wouldn’t hurt. [NCAA: Six-Year Grad Rate at All-Time High]
  • Ironically while student-athlete graduation rates are improving, a powerhouse may be penalized for its players underperforming academically. The defending national champion UConn Huskies may not be eligible for the 2013 NCAA Tournament due to its low Academic Progress Rate (APR). The program already has lost 2 scholarships as a result of their APR scores. [UConn Academics Could Jeopardize 2013 Tourney]
  • While many speculated that injuries to players would increase due to the NFL lockout, one Pro-Bowler has publically made that claim. Redskins TE Chris Cooley, who was recently placed on injured reserve, alleges that the NFL’s no contact policy between players and team personnel during the lockout affected him. “I fe[e]l 100 percent that I'm a casualty for the season of the lockout,” Cooley said. “I think it was a shame that they didn't let players who had surgery spend time with the doctors and trainers they trust on daily basis, I wish I could've.”  [Redskins TE Cooley Says He’s a Lockout Casualty]
  • In response to decades of countless scandals due to improper benefits, the NCAA approved several changes, including allowing conferences freedom to increase the amount and length of athletic scholarships and allocate an additional $2,000 of spending money per student-athlete. Many NCAA critics believe these rule changes were a much needed step in the right direction. “I think it needs to happen or else I think what's left of the system itself is going to implode,” said an Ohio University professor and past president of The Drake Group, an NCAA watchdog. “We've always lost the moral high ground by saying the educational model is what makes this thing go. I think we're delivering a model that can exploit kids while they're here.” [NCAA Approves Scholarship Changes]
  • Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose is the NBA’s youngest-ever reigning MVP, an All-Star and one of the league’s top stars. However, he’s not one of the highest paid on his own team, let alone the league. He, along with many players voiced their displeasure with the current NBA labor talks and the current rookie wage scale. Atlanta Hawks Center Al Horford agrees: “We owe it to ourselves and others like the guys who are coming up to have a good deal. I felt like in the past, the players have given up a lot to the owners and I just feel like it's excessive that way they're trying to do it. ... At the end of the day, if you look at who's asking for money and all that, it's the owners. They're the ones that want to make all the drastic changes to all these things that haven't really been an issue.” [Rose Wants to Do Away with NBA Salary Cap]
Human Relations 
  • Outside of the fame and fortune that pursuing a career in sports can bring, I think one of the fundamental gifts is the support of fans and loved ones cheering a person on to excel. Yet, Saints TE Jimmy Graham had to find his support in an unusual way. What a remarkable story about the healing powers of sports and family. [Jimmy Graham's Unlikely Path]
  • If there was an encyclopedia of pro athlete cautionary tales, Ryan Leaf, Brian Bosworth and Sebastian Telfair would be included.  However, former No. 1 pick JaMarcus Russell could be more infamous. Yet, the former Raiders QB alleges that personal issues and a lack of support from coaches and teammates contributed to his underperforming in three seasons at Oakland. Here's an excerpt from his recent interview with Sports Illustrated: “Things weren’t going right, and it felt sometimes like everything fell back on me. I take some responsibility, but I was one guy…. I may have missed a throw, but I didn’t give up 42 points, I didn’t miss a block.”   [JaMarcus Russell: The Most Maligned Figure In Football Tells His Side of the Story] For the full SI story: [The Man Who Isn't There]