Category Archives: Sports


Abilene Christian U. Opens Campaign With $55-Million in Gifts

Architect’s rendering of the Onstead Center for Science and Humanities (Courtesy of Abilene Christian U.)

Fund-raising campaigns frequently open with one big gift. Abilene Christian University has begun the public phase of its “Vision in Action” campaign with three sizable donations.

The Texas institution, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, announced on Friday that it had received gifts totaling $55-million. The money provides a foundation for its campaign to raise $75-million to con…


Now, Even Campus Buildings Will Revolve Around Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame football

(Image courtesy of U. of Notre Dame)

Football has long been the symbolic center of the University of Notre Dame. Now it has moved a step closer to becoming the physical center as well, as the university announced on Wednesday a plan to attach 750,000 square feet of new building space to the south, east, and west sides of Notre Dame Stadium.

The $400-million Campus Crossroads Project will include research and classroom space, academic offices, premium sports seating, and the obligatory climbing w…


Report Advocates Using Sports to Promote a College’s Green ‘Brand’

The Natural Resources Defense Council has released a new edition of a report on colleges’ efforts to reduce the environmental impact of their sports programs. The report, “Collegiate Game Changers: How Campus Sport Is Going Green,” advocates using athletics—“the primary form of mass media advertising by academic institutions”—to spread awareness about green practices.

collegiate-game-changers-thumbThe report provides 10 case studies of greening in athletics—particularly at some of the nation’s biggest universities, like Ariz…


New Arizona State U. Mascot Goes Back to the Publicly Juried Drawing Board

Three weeks after introducing an updated costume for its Sparky the Sun Devil mascot, Arizona State University is going back to the drawing board for a new new look—this one to be determined by popular vote.

Last week the university was still playing down the protests against the new mascot costume, rolled out on March 1. ASU attributed the outcry against the anime-ish redesign to a small but vocal minority of students, alumni, and fans whose displeasure was amplified by social media.

But on Tue…


Online Protests Give New Arizona State U. Mascot a Devil of a Time

The on-field Sparky has a new look (right) that some fans just haven't warmed to. (Photo courtesy Arizona State U.)

The new Sparky (right) got his look as part of a campaign to attract younger fans. (Photo courtesy Arizona State U.)

Some of the early buzz on the new look for Sparky, the Arizona State University Sun Devils’ mascot, has been, well, diabolical.

“Creepy” has popped up several times since its unveiling, on March 1.

“Sparky looks like he is on meth,” one Internet commenter offered.

“It’s like a cross between Jafar from ‘Aladdin’ and the honey bee from the Honey Nut Cheerios commercials, with a litt…


Florida Atlantic U. Students Stage Sit-In to Protest ‘Owlcatraz’ Stadium Deal

Students occupied the reception area of the Florida Atlantic University president’s office on Monday in hopes of persuading officials to reverse a deal to name the institution’s football stadium for a company that operates prisons. The university announced last week that the facility, home of the Florida Atlantic Owls, would be known as GEO Group Stadium in exchange for $6-million to be paid over 12 years.

Gonzalo Vizcardo, a student and spokesman for a group calling itself the Stop Owlcatraz Co…


The Tricky Economics of Firing a Football Coach

The recent firings of prominent college head football coaches, particularly Derek Dooley of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, has drawn news-media scrutiny of the practice this week, along with attention to a study, published in the October issue of Social Science Quarterly, that questions the wisdom of such cannings.

As a New York Times article noted, firing coaches in the middle of increasingly lucrative contracts can cost universities big money. The University of Tennessee must pay Mr…