NCAA March Madness in Kentucky

Posted by Matt Roberts

Mar 11, 2015 4:40:00 PM

NCAA March Madness Kentucky

It doesn't matter who you are cheering for; there is no denying that University of Kentucky (UK) is stirring the pot of madness this March. Though, not the first team to challenge the 75-76 Hoosiers, their 31-0 record has caught the attention of NCAA fans everywhere. When asked about his title competitors, University of Louisville (UofL) Coach Rick Pitino replied; "We've played great competition this year, and different competition. And I will say that, it doesn't surprise me that Kentucky is still undefeated...Obviously you have to have offensive talent to win. You have to have unselfish players." Of course the qualities Coach Pitino listed are known triats shared with UofL. 

If anything, UK has established themselves as a challenge; who can break their winning streak? Pitino voiced his strong desire to win, but is that desire strong enough for the Cards to beat the Cats? The recent victory over Virginia certainly has a lot of people believing so. Not to mention the theory that UK's best chance at winning the championship is to end their winning streak, gain humility, and come in with focus for the final game. 

However you create your bracket; whether by dreams or data, the state of Kentucky has much to bank on.

Topics: college sports, Louisville Cardinals, NCAA tournament, Kentucky Basketball, basketball season, March Madness

Murray State Baseball Stadium Spotlight

Posted by Matt Roberts

May 16, 2014 12:59:00 PM

Murray state stadium bleachersThoroughbred fans at Murray State University have had a lot to celebrate on this 25 year anniversary of Reagan Field.

The Breds kicked off their opening game on Reagan field in late February after the first phase of improvements was complete and ready for fans. Current terraced seating was blended with the new grandstand to include an additional 550 seats behind home plate, 238 chair back seats, 300 bleacher seats, and 12 handicap seats. The new grandstand is part of a phased renovation plan for Reagan Field that will continue as fundraising goals are met. Future renovations will include stadium lighting, a new press box, and an indoor practice facility. Toadvine Enterprises was in charge of the project and Dant Clayton was the supplier for the new seating.

Although harsh winter weather continued to wreak havoc on construction of the facility and ultimately delayed opening day, the new, more intimate look of the field seemed to spark excitement on the parts of fans and players alike.

The 2014 season started off with a bang in the newly renovated Reagan Field when the Breds started out with a 4-2 record on the season with three wins coming over MAC teams. On March 7, Morehead State opened up play in Reagan field for the OVC tournament, a match up that Murray State has missed out on for the past two years. This year, the Thoroughbreds have come on strong, hosting a heavily contested title on their turf.

Other recent updates to the field include:

  • A modern inning-by-inning scoreboard in left field was a gift to the university from Pepsi Cola Bottling in Paducah, Ky.
  • In 2006 a new sound system and backstop was added.
  • Climate-controlled press box and spacious dugouts for the Breds to plot game strategy.
  • Lush grass carpet is the centerpiece of the facility, including a newly resodded outfield which was completed during the off-season last year.

The field first opened on March 11, 1989 when Illinois played Eastern Illinois prior to the Murray State game with EIU. In this game, Rick Grogan threw the first pitch and a day later, Willie Wilder hit the first MSU home run on the field.

On March 30 of that same year, the field was also the site of Johnny Reagan's 700th career coaching victory, with a 7-5 win over Lincoln Memorial. The field was officially dedicated on April 15,1989 and named after coach Reagan.

Murray State will finish up their OVC tournament play at the end of May with hopes of making it to the championship finals on May 21 to round out a stellar 25th anniversary for Reagan Field.

Topics: bleachers, baseball bleachers, college sports

The Reality of College Sports Scholarships

Posted by Matt Roberts

Apr 25, 2014 12:10:00 PM

bleachers in louisville, ky

From the moment many children enter the arena of athletics they are pummeled with intense pressure to perform, improve, and outshine. In fact, as we learned in our last blog, intense pressure from parents and coaches can lead to several outcomes, including continually feeding the drive to excel by pouring more money into the pot with additional training and instruction. Some athletes tank under the stress and quit sports altogether, leaving behind thousands of invested dollars and oftentimes, a parent's dream of college recognition.

That competition doesn't end at the college level. In fact, it only heats up. If your child is tenacious enough and talented enough to make it to the college level, you will enter a whole new realm of competition as your child stands in line for one of only a very few college scholarship spots. If you think your star athlete is destined to capture the end-goal dream of a college scholarship, there are some realities about college athletic scholarships that might surprise you. Here are just a few.

Chances of Receiving College Sports Scholarships are Very Slim

According to a review in the Houston Chronicle, NCAA Division I scholarships were awarded to somewhere between .6% and 1.2% of high school athletes in the class of 2008. This total does not include NCAA Division II and NAIA schools, which would make the statistics higher, but only slightly higher. The end result of the review showed that your child's chance of earning a college athletic scholarship are 1in 300. Keep in mind that even if you make the recruiting cut, colleges actively recruit up to ten athletes for every one open spot so that they can freely evaluate and choose which athlete they believe is the best fit for their program.

College Sports Scholarships Aren't Free Rides

If your student athlete is fortunate enough to receive a scholarship, it will more than likely only be a partial scholarship. In a chart by BeRecruited, NCAA-mandated scholarship limits are listed. The allotted NCAA baseball scholarship limit for Division I is 11.7. Cross country/track and field is 12.6. These numbers don't even account for a whole team, so unless you are the hottest recruit on the planet, only a small portion of your college expenses will be paid for. You might get recruited, but that doesn't necessarily mean money toward college expenses.

Sports Scholarships Don't Necessarily Cover Four Years of College

Even if you are sold out to the idea that your child is stellar enough to snag a four-year scholarship to a big school, the harsh reality is this: scholarships at most institutions aren't four-year deals. They are one-year deals, renewed annually. In his article, "The Most Evil Thing About College Sports," Josh Levin states that most college recruits and sports fans don't realize that, "A university can yank that scholarship after one, two,or three years without cause. Coach doesn't like you? He's free to cut you loose. Sitting the bench? You could lose your free ride to a new recruit." So, even if you land a coveted scholarship spot on the team, there is no guarantee you will keep it.

Climbing the Scholarship Ladder Can End Before Recruiting

There are many minefields along the way when trekking the path to a college sports scholarship. With football brings the risk of severe concussions and injury. ACL and hamstring injuries can put athletes out for an entire season and sometimes permanently. What if your child burns out on playing sports and decides it's time to retire the cleats? What if your athlete gets recruited but receives a partial scholarship, leaving the remaining cost to the parent and finances don't allow for this kind of commitment, especially after so much money was spent getting to this point? Aspirations for that 1% chance of a Division I scholarship are dashed instantly.

The bottom line is this, although college sports scholarships are difficult to achieve, some athletes do receive them. With extreme talent and some aggressive marketing of that talent, your student athlete could possibly rise to the top and win an athletic scholarship, but you must be realistic if that is the goal. Dollars awarded and potential spots being recruited for are slim, but not completely impossible. But if you are a student athlete who just enjoys playing sports, follow the lead of one student athlete, Cole Cragin, a talented swimmer who beat the odds and earned a college scholarship, but at a cost.

Cragin encourages other athletes by saying: "Anyone who is competing in a sport and maybe doesn't have that chance to get to the next level, I'd give the advice to play anyway. If you love it, if you are learning how to be a determined, responsible person from playing a sport, play it for those reasons and it will still be worth it."

 

Image courtesy of topstep07 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Topics: athletic scholarships, college sports, college sports scholarships

Why Schools Like Maryland Are Joining New Conferences

Posted by Matt Roberts

Dec 5, 2012 2:25:00 PM

Toadvine EnterprisesIt is a pretty simple answer; money! The strength of most schools can be completely tied to the success of their sports programs, or lack there of. University of Maryland President, Wallace D. Loh said "By being a member of the Big Ten Conference, we are able to ensure financially stability for Maryland athletics for decades to come."

Every university is scrambling to position themselves the best they can in conferences that will give their schools the most exposure. Several factors come into play and one of those is sustainability. Maryland must pay the ACC $50 million just to exit the conference, but Loh thinks that is a small price to pay for the success they expect to have in the Big Ten. Maryland has had it's share of success but smaller schools with less than stellar sports programs are thinking about this as a no brainer. Any opportunity smaller schools have to get in with the likes of Indiana or Kentucky they will go for it. 

This shake up in conferences is becoming the norm. It use to be that no school would consider a move like this but with a new wave of professional sports business tactics sweeping the college campuses it appears the future of colllege sports is going to look more like this from now on. The job of the athletic director at these universities is also becoming increasingly difficult with coach loyalty being none existent it is increasingly more difficult to keep the talented coaches. The same is true of the conferences themselves. They will eventually have to rewrite their agreements with schools to make it too financially painful to leave and join another conference. 

Topics: University of Maryland, Big Ten Conference, college sports, ACC

Add Comment