While You’re Getting Paid for NCAA Brackets, A New Bill Proposes College Athletes Get Paid

A Republican congressman is pushing to pass a new bill that would allow student-athletes to make money off of their image and likeness. Introduced days before the start of March Madness and NCAA brackets-madness, the Student-Athlete Equity Act would amend the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) bylaws that prohibit students from receiving any form of outside payment for the use of their name, image, and likeness. Under current NCAA rules, student-athletes are not allowed to sign endorsement deals, accept gifts from fans, or even sell their autograph. Duke’s Zion Williamson, for example, can’t earn a dime despite the fact that his athletic prowess has high-profile celebrities and fans pouring into the stands to see him play.

“Signing an athletic scholarship with a school should not be a moratorium on your rights to your name, image, and self-worth,” reads a statement by the bill’s legislator, North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker. “It’s time to bring equity to student-athletes and fix the injustices that exist in the current NCAA model. After nearly two years of discussions with players and leaders, we are introducing legislation that won’t cost the NCAA or our schools a single dollar, while empowering college athletes with the same opportunities that every American should have in a free-market.”

Similar to how superstars like LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and Serena Williams have made millions from lucrative endorsement deals, the Student-Athlete Equity Act would allow student-athletes to get paid when they appear in video games and other public media by amending the definition of “an amateur” in the NCAA tax code. The bill, however, does not advocate for students to receive direct payment from NCAA member schools.

The bill is the latest action in the ongoing “pay-to-play” debate. For years, critics have argued that players are being exploited by colleges, which rake in millions of dollars from fans who pay to watch them play. Colleges and universities are also allowed to profit off the student-athletes’ likeness by selling promotional items like jerseys. The NCAA, on the other hand, argues that athletes are rewarded with sports scholarships, free education, and other perks.

“To be able to profit off the backs of many of the students, some which come from underprivileged or impoverished areas, to me, that’s not fair,” Walker told WFMY News, “If everybody else has access to the free market, they should as well.”

Walker’s bill comes just days before the start of March Madness, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, on Tuesday. During the Division I tournament, CBS and Turner Sports, sponsors, NCAA, universities, and coaches, will earn a mint.

“We’re not asking the NCAA or the schools to spend a dime on these athletes,” Walker told ThinkProgress. “We’re asking for them to have the same rights to the free market that you and I have.”

The post While You’re Getting Paid for NCAA Brackets, A New Bill Proposes College Athletes Get Paid appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Gwyneth Paltrow’s college debt advice will throw you for a ‘Goop’

Just when you think the era of “conscious uncoupling” is over, Gwyneth Paltrow hits her readers with yet another piece of bizarre advice. Her luxury brand, Goop — which writes about a $ 40,000 jumpsuit and other high-end lifestyle goods — is now teaching debtors how to pay off student loans on its website. The irony…
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College Admissions Scandal: Everything That’s Happened So Far

The worlds of entertainment, business, sports and academia were rocked by the recent revelation that wealthy parents such as Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin allegedly paid college admissions consultant Rick Singer large sums to get their children into elite colleges. New developments in the scandal, dubbed Operation Varsity Blues by the FBI, continue to pop […]

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The College Admissions Scandal Is Yet More Evidence of Collegiate Sports’ Inequality Problem

The college admissions bribery scandal has captivated the country — Hollywood stars from Desperate Housewives and Full House are involved! — and leaves ample room for outrage. Spots at elite selective institutions that could have gone to hardworking students and athletes who deserved them instead went to kids whose parents paid for fraudulent tests or bogus athletic profiles. Payments for cheating went to a sham charity, making the fraud tax-deductible for the alleged perpetrators.

But let’s not ignore the scandal’s connection to another noxious stink polluting college sports.

By selling out enormous stadiums, selling apparel and through corporate sponsorships and media rights deals — among other revenue sources — big-time football and basketball teams bring in millions for their schools. Often, these revenues support a school’s entire sports enterprise. Despite that cash spigot, NCAA rules mean these football and basketball players can’t earn compensation beyond the value of a scholarship and a cost of attendance stipend. Meanwhile, 55% of men’s basketball players at the so-called “Power 5” major conference schools (the Big 10, Big 12, ACC, SEC, and Pac-12) are black, according to NCAA data, while nearly half of the Power 5 football players are black. The performances of these unpaid players, many of whom come from low-income families, are often subsidizing sports like tennis, where 48% of the men’s players in the power conferences are white and just 12% are black, and other sports that are even more exclusively white, like men’s water polo (82%), women’s rowing (75%). Just 2% of men’s water polo players and women’s rowers at big conference schools are black.

The dynamic of unpaid, often low-income black athletes in high-revenue sports generating revenues that finance opportunities for, generally speaking, white athletes with wealthier backgrounds in low-revenue sports like water polo is troubling enough. Add this scandal, in which wealthy and often white families were allegedly scamming athletic opportunities that may not exist without the labor of unpaid black athletes, and the case to rethink the system grows even stronger.

“This scandal is an example of corrupt, rich, mostly white parents benefitting off the work of, in many cases, poor black unpaid football and basketball players whose athletic talents actually qualified them for admission,” says Shaun R. Harper, a management professor and executive director of the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center. “This is an example of systemic racism.”

At Harper’s school, for example, USC associate athletics director Donna Heinel received more than $ 1.3 million in bribes to falsify the athletic backgrounds of more than two dozen students seeking admission to the school, according to a complaint filed in a federal court in Boston and unsealed March 12. Many of the students didn’t even play the sport for which they were “recruited.” According to the complaint, Heinel presented the daughter of one parent — Napa Valley vintner Agustin Huneeus, who was also charged in the scheme — as a competitive water polo player; her athletic profile contained a picture of someone else playing the sport. USC water polo coach Jovan Vavic allegedly received $ 250,000 in payments for his team to designate two students as recruits. USC has fired Heinel and Vavic. The indictment says that former USC women’s soccer coach Ali Khosroahin and assistant women’s soccer coach Laura Janke received about $ 350,000 for their private soccer club to designate the children of four Singer clients as USC soccer recruits, even though none of them played competitive soccer.

The controversy goes beyond any one school.

At the University of Texas, football and men’s basketball accounted for 90% of UT athletic revenues attributable to a team in 2017-18, according to federal data. Football alone produced $ 143,064,180, or 79%, of the $ 180,259,057 in revenue generated by UT’s teams, booking a $ 101.8 million profit. UT’s non-revenue sports — all of them besides football and basketball, and many of which field teams with a disproportionate number of white athletes — generated $ 15,928,952 in revenues and $ 33,412,294 in total expenses. That’s a $ 17.5 million shortfall.

Turns out that some of the athletic activity on the low-revenue side of Texas’ ledger may have been downright criminal. Texas men’s tennis coach Michael Center allegedly took more than $ 90,000 in bribes in exchange for designating a Silicon Valley high school student as a recruited student-athlete, even though the student did not play competitive tennis. The student’s application, according to the document, listed him as the manager of his high school basketball and football teams. In reality, he played a year of tennis as a freshman.

According to the complaint, Center met in June 2015 with William “Rick” Singer, a southern California college admissions counselor who has pled guilty to masterminding a sweeping scandal resulting in criminal charges against 50 people, including wealthy parents who paid off Singer to cheat on tests or pose their kids as college athletes, and college athletics coaches who took payments to facilitate the admission of these students to their schools. In essence, authorities say parents would direct payments to Singer through his sham charity, and Singer would take a cut to bribe crooked coaches. Students designated as athletic recruits often receive a leg-up over others in the college admissions process, even if their academic credentials trail that of other applicants. No students have been charged.

Singer, according to the document, handed Center $ 60,000 in cash in an Austin hotel parking lot. The supposed tennis player got a scholarship to UT that paid for his books. Once he got on campus, he ditched the tennis team and renounced his scholarship. But he still had his spot at UT. The university fired Center on Wednesday; he’s due in a Boston court on March 25.

Authorities intercepted Singer describing the bogus recruiting scam for high school students as a “side door” into the universities, with legit admission as the “front door,” and the “back door” being eight-figure plus donations to fund on-campus buildings and such.

“There’s no side door, give me a break,” says Harry Edwards, the famed sports sociologist and activist who helped organize the black power salute at the 1968 Olympics. “You provided a sewer line to the basement stairs. You have a situation where these coaches, on the backs of unpaid black labor, are bringing in rich white kids who have less legitimacy on campus than the black kids who are so often complained about because they’re quote ‘not interested in academics.’ That’s a travesty.”

Luckily, the sewer can be fixed. Administrators can start by making sure recruited athletes actually play the sport they’re purporting to be good at. “There’s no way any athletic compliance staff should have missed all of this,” says sports attorney Donald Jackson, an adjunct professor at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law who has represented athletes in NCAA eligibility cases.

The next step: investing athletic funds responsibly. “This is an opportunity for colleges and universities to look themselves in the mirror,” says Angela Reddock-Wright, an employment lawyer in Southern California who represents higher education clients. “Make sure the athletes making lots of money for the schools are taken care of” — rather than paying for phony water polo. Money that could be going to unpaid black players seems to have financed corrupt opportunities for rich white families. So now, more than ever, isn’t it time to just pay the players?

Sports – TIME

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Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin Charged In College Admissions Rigging Scheme

American actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among dozens of wealthy parents accused of cheating or paying bribes to get their children into elite universities and colleges.

The Justice Department unsealed indictments Tuesday accusing admissions advisers, coaches and school officials of offering wealthy families back doors into colleges of their choice, such as Yale, Stanford and Geo
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When the system is rigged: What to know the about college admissions process

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Coaches, Actresses Implicated In College Bribery Scheme

BOSTON (AP) — Fifty people, including Hollywood stars Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, were charged Tuesday in a scheme in which wealthy parents allegedly bribed college coaches and other insiders to get their children into some of the nation’s most selective schools.

Federal authorities called it the biggest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department, with the parents accused of paying an estimated $ 25 million in bribes.

At least nine athletic coaches and 33 parents, many of them prominent in law, finance, fashion and other fields, were among those charged. Dozens, including Huffman, the Emmy-winning star of ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” were arrested by midday.

“These parents are a catalog of wealth and privilege,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said in announcing the results of a fraud and conspiracy investigation code-named Operation Varsity Blues.

The coaches worked at such schools as Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, Wake Forest, the University of Texas, the University of Southern California and the University of California at Los Angeles. A former Yale soccer coach pleaded guilty and helped build the case against others.

Two more of those charged — Stanford’s sailing coach and the college-admissions consultant at the very center of the scheme — pleaded guilty Tuesday in Boston.

No students were charged, with authorities saying that in many cases the teenagers were unaware of what was going on. Several of the colleges involved made no mention of taking any action against the students.

The scandal is certain to inflame longstanding complaints that children of the wealthy and well-connected have the inside track in college admissions — sometimes through big, timely donations from their parents — and that privilege begets privilege.

College consultants were not exactly shocked by the allegations.

“This story is the proof that there will always be a market for parents who have the resources and are desperate to get their kid one more success,” said Mark Sklarow, CEO of the Independent Educational Consultants Association. “This was shopping for name-brand product and being willing to spend whatever it took.”

The central figure in the scheme was identified as admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer, founder of the Edge College & Career Network of Newport Beach, California. He pleaded guilty Tuesday, as did Stanford’s John Vandemoer.

Prosecutors said that parents paid Singer big money from 2011 through last month to bribe coaches and administrators to falsely make their children look like star athletes to boost their chances of getting into college. The consultant also hired ringers to take college entrance exams for students, and paid off insiders at testing centers to correct students’ answers.

Parents spent anywhere from $ 200,000 to $ 6.5 million to guarantee their children’s admission, officials said.

“For every student admitted through fraud, an honest and genuinely talented student was rejected,” Lelling said.

Several defendants, including Huffman, were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Lelling said the investigation is continuing and authorities believe other parents were involved. The IRS is also investigating, since some parents allegedly disguised the bribes as charitable donations. The colleges themselves are not targets, Lelling said.

The investigation began when authorities received a tip about the scheme from someone they were interviewing in a separate case, Lelling said. He did not elaborate.

Authorities said coaches in such sports as soccer, sailing, tennis, water polo and volleyball took payoffs to put students on lists of recruited athletes, regardless of their ability or experience. Once they were accepted, many of these students didn’t play the sports in which they supposedly excelled.

Prosecutors said parents were also instructed to claim their children had learning disabilities so that they could take the ACT or SAT by themselves and get extra time. That made it easier to pull off the tampering, prosecutors said.

The applicants’ athletic credentials were falsified with the help of staged photographs of them playing sports, or doctored photos in which their faces were pasted onto the bodies of genuine athletes, authorities said.

Among the parents charged was Gordon Caplan of Greenwich, Connecticut, co-chairman of an international law firm based in New York. He and other parents did not immediately return telephone or email messages for comment.

Caplan was accused of paying $ 75,000 to get a test supervisor to correct the answers on his daughter’s ACT exam after she took it. In a conversation last June with a cooperating witness, he was told his daughter needed to “be stupid” when a psychologist evaluated her for learning disabilities, according to court papers.

“It’s the home run of home runs,” the witness said.

“And it works?” Caplan asked.

“Every time,” the witness responded, prompting laughter from both.

In another case, a young woman got into Yale in exchange for $ 1.2 million from the family. A false athletic profile created for the student said she had been on China’s junior national development team.

Prosecutors said Yale coach Rudolph Meredith received $ 400,000, even though he knew the student did not play competitive soccer. Meredith did not return messages seeking comment.

A number of colleges moved quickly to fire or suspend the coaches and distance themselves from the scandal, portraying themselves as victims. Stanford fired the sailing coach, and USC dropped of its water polo coach and an athletic administrator. UCLA suspended its soccer coach, and Wake Forest did the same with its volleyball coach.

Loughlin, who was charged along with her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, appeared in the ABC sitcom “Full House” in the 1980s and ’90s. Huffman was nominated for an Oscar for playing a transgender woman in the 2005 movie “Transamerica.” She also starred in the TV show “Sports Night” and appeared in such films as “Reversal of Fortune,” ”Magnolia” and “The Spanish Prisoner.”

Messages seeking comment from Huffman’s representative were not immediately returned. A spokeswoman for Loughlin had no comment.

Loughlin and her husband allegedly gave $ 500,000 to have their two daughters labeled as recruits to the USC crew team, even though neither participated in the sport. Their 19-year-old daughter Olivia Jade Giannulli, a social media star with a popular YouTube channel, is now at USC.

Court documents said Huffman paid $ 15,000 that she disguised as a charitable donation so that her daughter could take part in the college entrance-exam cheating scam.

Court papers said a cooperating witness met with Huffman and her husband, actor William H. Macy, at their Los Angeles home and explained to them that he “controlled” a testing center and could have somebody secretly change her daughter’s answers. The person told investigators the couple agreed to the plan.

Macy was not charged; authorities did not say why.

The couple’s daughter, Sofia, is an aspiring actress who attends Los Angeles High School of the Arts.

Sklarow, the independent education consultant, said the scandal “certainly speaks to the fact that the admissions process is broken.”

“It’s so fraught with anxiety, especially at the elite schools,” he said, “that I think it can’t be surprising that millionaires who have probably never said no to their kids are trying to play the system in order to get their child accepted.”

PHOTO: AP

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Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman Among Parents Caught In $25 Million College Admissions Scandal

Almost 50 people, including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, were charged in a massive college admissions scandal, which involved bribing SAT administrators and college coaches to gain admittance into top universities.
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Zion Williamson’s Exploding Shoe Is a Reminder That College Basketball Needs Serious Fixing

Zion? No!!! Please. Not Zion.

Even if you’re one of the biggest Duke basketball haters on the planet — we’re aware there are many of you — there was only one proper response to what transpired 33 seconds into Wednesday night’s clash between Duke and North Carolina at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C. And that’s utter sadness.

Duke freshman Zion Williamson is what I (somewhat stupidly?) call a “no sandwich” player. As in, don’t go fixing a sandwich in the kitchen while this guy’s on TV in your living room. Williamson’s an athletic freak, liable to leap over an entire zone defense for a post-ready slam. He’s supremely skilled, entering the game against UNC averaging 22.4 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, while shooting a ridiculous 68% from the field.

“No sandwich” players don’t come through college basketball that often. Kevin Durant was another one, at Texas, more than a decade ago. So when Williamson’s left foot tore through his Nike shoe early in Wednesday’s game, causing his knee to awkwardly buckle, basketball fans shuddered at the idea that an injured Williamson would have to miss this rivalry game, and maybe much more — especially as he’s considered a top prize in the upcoming NBA draft lottery.

Williamson might be fine — he walked off the court on his own accord, and early reports indicate that the shoe explosion caused just a mild knee strain. But no matter how many games Williamson does or doesn’t miss, the incident served as an all-too useful reminder that one key part of basketball’s business model needs serious fixing.

The Duke star was NBA-ready right out of high school. Williamson should have had the option to get drafted, and lock up a multi-million dollar NBA contract — not to mention lucrative shoe and other sponsorship deals — last June. But ever since the NBA instituted an age restriction in 2006, players have needed to be at least 19 (and one season removed from high school graduation) to be draft-eligible. Back then, the NBA was concerned that too many high school players unprepared for the pros were entering the league. So that means elite prospects like Williamson have essentially been funneled into college for a year, creating a class of “one-and-done” college sports stars who try to win an NCAA title before bolting school for the pros after freshman year.

To be fair, Williamson didn’t have to play for Duke. He could have just sat out his year before the draft, worked to improve his game, and minimized his injury risk. But college ball offers benefits beyond pure economics. Who wouldn’t want to star for Duke? Playing in front of the rabid Cameron Crazies, against bitter rival North Carolina, in front of a rapt national TV audience can be a unique, treasured life experience for an 18-year-old like Williamson. In fact, Williamson has said he would have played college basketball even if he could have shot straight from high school to the NBA.

“I always knew I would go to college,” Williamson recently told NCAA.com. “Even if they would’ve had the NBA rule, I still would’ve came to college. You’re never going to get this experience again. Once you go to the league, it’s grown men, kids, families. It’s not just teenagers having fun. It’s business then.”

Let’s take Williamson at his word. If he indeed would have skipped instant millions for a year of college, you have to respect that personal decision. But that doesn’t mean he, and others like him, shouldn’t have the option to do otherwise. Kobe Bryant and LeBron James didn’t play for Duke — or any other college team — and they turned out just fine heading straight from high school to the pros. And what’s worse, Williamson, and others like him, not only can’t join the NBA right away, but thanks to NCAA amateurism rules, they can’t receive compensation, either — all while fueling the mighty economic engine of college sports. Wednesday night, countless entities were making big money off the Zion Williamson spectacle: ESPN. Duke. North Carolina. Whoever drove Barack Obama to Cameron (Williamson draws both former presidents and the best players on the planet to his games.)

What did Williamson get out of it? A busted Nike shoe and potential for career jeopardy.

Indeed, the shoe incident was stunning. Nike, a company with some $ 133 billion in market cap that’s accrued millions in brand value thanks to its sponsorship of Duke basketball — but cannot compensate the generational talent creating a chunk of that value for the company — could have played a role in damaging Williamson’s career, thanks to a questionable product. Nike’s stock is down about 1% as of midday Thursday. “We are obviously concerned and want to wish Zion a speedy recovery,” Nike said in a statement. “The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance. While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identify the issue.”

No matter the timetable of Williamson’s return, Wednesday night’s injury is the indelible image of this college basketball season. First, the exploding sneaker. Next, we might witness the exploding knee. No teenage athlete should ever forget it.

Sports – TIME

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College Is For Suckas? You’ll Never Guess How Much Money Amber Rose Makes Off Instagram

amber rose talks personal finance

Source: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / Getty

The government shutdown had plenty of people considering new career paths with Uber and other creative ways to get by without a regular direct deposit occurring. One person that was clearly unaffected by Trump’s massive temper tantrum is Instagram favorite Amber Rose. The 35-year-old who was once Kanye West’s muse before he drank the Kardashian Kool-Aide recently sat down with Van Lathan as a guest on his podcast “The Red Pill.” Rose who is also affectionately known as “MUVA” shared with Lathan that thanks to Instagram she’s booked and busy and her bank account has no worries.

So how much money does MUVA make in a year? The blonde beauty shared that endorsements for flat tummy teas and popular clothing company, FashionNova as well as other collaborations bring in about a cool $ 2 million per year.

“Probably like $ 2 million a year, just off Instagram.”

While she isn’t exactly living check to check, she did point out that the payout was modest for a social media influencer:

“There’s girls that make more than $ 2 million a year, I make $ 2 million on Instagram a year.”

Like many of us, Lathan took a moment to highlight the millennial student loan-debt struggle sarcastically noting how some went to “college and bought into that bullsh*t, and Amber’s making $ 2 million off Instagram. Wow!” It’s also reported that Rose pocketed $ 4 million from an emoji app she launched in 2014. But MUVA maintains that while she’s been blessed in many ways, ultimately, she feels like the money moves are a result of her being a good person more than anything else:

“I feel like I made it this far by being a really good person.”

“I’m good to everyone I’m around. I treat everyone the same whether it’s a waitress or a driver or anybody. I take care of my team. I’m just a cool, down-home Philly chick.”

As much as I’m inspired by this tale of God’s favor for the fortuitous, I must say that I know plenty of “nice” women who treat those around them with respect that are still playing musical bills every month with their paychecks trying to see how they’re going to pay car insurance AND tuition for their kids. Are we really going to sit here and act like money falls from the sky simply because you acknowledged your Uber driver? Furthermore, as much as I applaud Amber Rose taking making the most out a few minutes of fame (I wouldn’t know who she was had it not been for Kanye), I would really appreciate it if many of these celebs were a little bit more honest about the connections that got them this far in the first place, but I digress.

You can watch Amber Rose discuss coins and congeniality, her thoughts on R. Kelly and her humble beginnings below at around the 1:20:00 mark:

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RuPaul’s ‘Drag Race’ inspires college course on race, body image

Drag queen class is now in session. A full-semester spring course called “RuPaul’s Drag Race and Its Impact” launched this week at the New School in Manhattan. Taught by drag historian Joe E. Jeffreys, the course will study the reality TV hits in the context of contemporary culture — and spill the tea on drag…
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President Trump Feeds College Football National Champions ‘Hamberders’ and Twitter Can’t Stomach It

The Clemson University football team was invited to the White House Monday to celebrate their College Football National Championship win in a scene that was also a feast for social media users.

The South Carolina team, which defeated the University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide 44-16 on Jan. 7, was offered a candelabra-lit spread of takeout food from McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and Domino’s.

In a since-deleted tweet, the president boasted that the group was served 1,000 “hamberders” at the event that he paid for himself – a spelling error that immediately prompted online snickers. Meanwhile, aides said there were closer to 300 burgers at the event.

The President reportedly paid for the food himself because many of the White House staff are furloughed due to the partial government shutdown, Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley told CNN in a statement.

Trump, who has claimed to be a big fan of fast food himself, told reporters before the event, “We have some very large people that like eating. So I think we’re going to have a little fun.”

Later, Twitter users had more than a little fun with the “hamberders” typo.

Some pointed out that nothing kept the fast food warm as it sat on the tables. While Trump’s critics implied that the junk food was a good metaphor for the President himself.

“This is an incredible self-own for someone who aims to be worth $ 10 billion,” wrote user Judd Legum.

The meal also caught the attention of former NFL running back Reggie Bush, who tweeted that the dinner was “disrespectful on so many levels.”

In a video of the event, the players seem to be enjoying the food. One player loudly says that the food is “awesome.”

“I thought it was a joke,” he adds.

Sports – TIME

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Get Paid to Play With Legos? This Former College Student Found a Way

When Maxx Davidson was 4 years old, he wanted to grow up to build things. He ultimately achieved that goal, although the path that took him there was something even he couldn’t dream up.

Now 23, Davidson is the latest to earn the title of Lego Master Model Builder — and he’s one of only 22 people in the world who have the right to put that on their resume.

So, how does someone not only land a literal dream job but one as prestigious as Master Model Builder? With a few months of experience in his new gig under his belt, Davidson filled us in.

The Student Becomes the Master (Model Builder)

In spring 2018, while Davidson was pursuing a life-sciences education degree at the University of Akron in Ohio, he stumbled on a shared Facebook article that would change his career path.

A new Legoland Discovery Center was preparing to open in Columbus, Ohio, and they were on the hunt for the park’s official Master Model Builder.

Although Davidson had already left his 4-year-old self’s dream job behind to pursue “something more reasonable,” his curiosity was piqued. Here was a real-life opportunity, something he didn’t realize existed. Naturally, he applied along with thousands of others.

Davidson and over 70 other contestants from across the country were invited to Brick Factor, a two-day, multiround competition where he worked to outbuild the best of the best to earn the job.

A man builds a LEGO model during a contest.

“I know Brick Factor used a lot of the more basic bricks. They didn’t have any specialty stuff,” he says. “I got out a lot of my old Lego bricks and practiced putting those together in different geometric shapes to see if I could get something fluid from those blocky structures.”

Not only did he go back to his Lego roots to practice for the competition, contestants were told about the first round animal theme beforehand. So, he went into the contest with a bees-in-a-honeycomb model idea… which he abandoned at the last minute for a saltwater environment instead.

Despite his eleventh hour changeup, Davidson beat the country’s top builders and became the next Master Model Builder.

From the time he landed the job in May to the opening of Legoland Discovery Center Columbus in late September, he has been training with fellow Master Model Builders and creating models for the grand opening.

“It was completely surreal,” he says. “When it finally kind of clicked for me that this was actually a job that I had, it just felt so good coming into work every day.”

While the official salary wasn’t disclosed, a Glassdoor listing from 2011 reports the base pay as $ 15 to $ 16 per hour. And what exactly does the day-to-day work of a Master Model Builder entail? A whole lot more than building awe-inspiring Lego creations.

“I run the creative workshop… We have a different monthly model building every month, and I get to take the kids step by step through how to do that,” says Davidson.

The Discovery Center also offers Lego Education — weekly programs that support the schools’ core curriculum. Davidson spends that time teaching children about science, technology, engineering and math concepts that match up with what they’re currently learning in school.

“So, part of the job is definitely the building, but another part is being able to interact with the guests and make sure everyone has a great experience,” he says. “There’s a lot of different facets, and they balance each other really nicely week to week.”

What It Takes to Land a Dream Job

Snagging this opportunity of a lifetime meant Davidson had to completely pivot from his previous plan, which included leaving the University of Akron behind and moving to Columbus full time.

A dramatic career change can seem like a disorienting move for some, but Davidson says the work he was doing as a student applies to his current gig. Plus, he stresses that just because you leave formal education for a job, it doesn’t mean you stop learning. You continue your education — just in a different format.

He also thinks his previous experiences, especially his interest in education, gave him an edge in the competition. Aside from stellar Lego brick-building skills, the judges were looking for someone who was comfortable interacting with a crowd, children in particular.

For the final round of Brick Factor, instead of just constructing a model on his own, he brought kids from the audience on stage with him to build small pieces of the final product — a record player with a moving needle.

Going that extra mile elevated him above the other applicants. And while this example may seem specific to this particular gig, the overarching concept should be used by applicants pursuing a job in any field: Know your strengths, and don’t be scared to try something outside the norm to showcase how well you fit a position.

Davidson also has a bit of personal advice when it comes to landing a dream job:

“The idea of a dream job is something that doesn’t come around very often, but what you can do is pursue a passion,” he says. “Then in the off chance that you do get an opportunity, you’re prepared.”

He believes that if you have a passion — any passion — and work toward it, you’ll acquire universal skills that will push you forward into a dream position. It’s a sort of “If you build it, it will come” mentality. (Pun 100% intended.)

And if your passion happens to be Lego model building, you may be in luck. A new Legoland Discovery Center is scheduled to open in 2019 in San Antonio, which means Lego is on the hunt for Master Model Builder No. 23. Time to start strategizing your models and brushing up on your public speaking skills.

Davidson is living proof that our dream jobs, even the ones from childhood, aren’t out of reach. Just play to your strengths and always pursue new learning experiences — and keep an eye out for life-changing Facebook articles.

Kaitlyn Blount is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. When she was little, her dream job was a flight attendant. Now, she white-knuckles her way through takeoffs and landings, so it’s probably for the best that she chose a different career.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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12 public college presidents get paid more than $1 million a year

Over the past several years, the pay of public college presidents has ticked up, with the leaders of 12 public college systems earning more than $ 1 million in total compensation during the 2016-17 academic year, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. But a new study suggests taxpayers may not be getting their money’s worth….
Living | New York Post

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College campus rolls out ‘snackbots’ to replace vending machines

Every college’s student’s dream is becoming a reality today at one California college campus — a robot that delivers snacks. Students at the University of the Pacific, a private university in Stockton, can now use an app to order food and drinks to more than 50 locations throughout campus — and have the grub delivered…
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Want to Make Bank After College? Don’t Pick One of These 11 Majors

We’ve already looked at the best college majors for all you undeclared freshmen out there. But what about the worst?

OK, so there’s really no such thing as “the worst” college major, and I have nothing against following your dreams. But six months after you graduate when that first student loan payment is due, you might feel a tinge of regret if you picked that major your parents scoffed at.

So, we looked at the median salaries for workers under 30 for 172 of the most common degrees to find the worst college major in terms of annual pay. We also considered how this pay has changed since 2013 to find majors that are getting even worse in terms of pay for recent graduates.

Pick one of these 11 majors at your own risk…

The 11 Worst College Majors for Recent Graduates

For this analysis, we dug into census data from 2017 and 2013 to find the college majors with the worst annual pay for recent graduates and the majors that have seen the biggest drop in median earnings over the past four years.

To make sure we were keeping everything consistent, we excluded folks with graduate degrees (that means you might still be able to make bank with one of these majors; it might just take an advanced degree). We also only included full-time, year-round workers.

We then looked at the jobs that the greatest percentage of graduates currently have, according to the American Community Survey. That way you get an idea of what types of occupations these graduates gravitate toward.

Still, you’ll see a lot of these degrees are what I would call “passion majors,” and our earnings data doesn’t include any side gig income that, say, a designer might make by selling T-shirt prints. Also, as you’ll see, a low-paying major isn’t necessarily a bad one — there are teachers, nurses, and social workers who are very important to our country with these degrees.

Here they are, arranged by median salary:

1. Industrial and organizational psychology

Median salary: $ 26,000

Change in earnings: -28%

A whopping 33% of those with a degree in industrial and organizational psychology are employed as a human resource worker. It makes sense, since this degree is pretty specialized for that field of work.

Graduates also became secretaries or administrative assistants, medical assistants or social service managers.

2. Composition and rhetoric

Woman writes in a notebook

Median salary: $ 30,000

Change in earnings: -22.7%

The greatest percentage of those who majored in composition and rhetoric do end up as writers, authors or editors (which likely explains the low pay ¯_(ツ)_/¯).

Other graduates include customer service representatives, retail supervisors and receptionists or information clerks.

3. Humanities

Median salary: $ 30,000

Change in earnings: -7.2%

This is a pretty general degree, and many graduates, around 10%, end up as elementary or middle school teachers right after college.

Teacher’s assistants and marketing or sales managers are also among the most common occupations for recently-graduated humanities majors.

4. Zoology

Median salary: $ 31,000

Change in earnings: -4.2%

I came really close to majoring in zoology before settling on music, and finally economics. Here’s why: More than 10% of all graduates currently work as veterinary assistants or take care of lab animals. Awww.

And nearly one-in-10 of all graduates are currently employed as “nonfarm animal caretakers.” Basically, zoo workers or those who work at aquariums.

5. Studio arts

Picture of woman painting a mural

Median salary: $ 34,000

Change in earnings: -11.4%

This was a tough list, emotionally, to put together. And it’s because of majors like studio arts. I lived and worked with artists all through college, so I know the passion that a degree in this field requires — but the pay just isn’t there for young graduates.

Roughly 13% of these grads end up as designers. Others end up as auditors, miscellaneous managers or retail supervisors. (Obviously, this doesn’t include side gigs these folks may run, like an Etsy store.

6. Linguistics

Median salary: $ 35,000

Change in earnings: -27.9%

Oddly enough, the largest percentage of young graduates with a linguistics degree actually end up as accountants or auditors. And the logic behind understanding the syntax of language also makes software development a popular field.

But, the majority are spread across other, low paying careers like paralegals or manufacturing sales representatives.

7. Music

Female Musiciasn Creating Music

Median salary: $ 36,000

Change in earnings: -4.6%

If I had remained a music major, I would have had a rough time financially right after graduating — and that’s coming from a journalist. I still play drums in my spare time and once taught percussion as a side gig, but I do think I ultimately made the right choice.

About 8% of new graduates start their careers as singers or musicians. The next most common occupations are miscellaneous managers, elementary or middle school teachers and waitress or waitresses.

8. Liberal arts

Median salary: $ 36,000

Change in earnings: -4.6%

Here’s another really general major that doesn’t pay off in the short term for new graduates. But that’s not to say it’s an unimportant or unnecessary degree — many graduates (around 10%) start out as elementary, middle or school teachers.

Others end up as customer service representatives, retail supervisors or teacher’s assistants.

9. General social sciences

Median salary: $ 36,000

Change in earnings: -4.6%

This is another general degree in which the greatest percentage of graduates end up as elementary or middle school teachers. And, in another instance of a low-paying major making a high impact, many other recent college graduates became social workers.

Those with this major also start out as retail salespeople, customer service representatives or office clerks.

10. Nutrition sciences

Median salary: $ 37,000

Change in earnings: -3.6%

More than one-in-six recent nutrition science graduates end up as dietitians or nutritionists, a nod to how specialized this degree is. But graduates are also employed as secretaries or administrative assistants, retail salespeople and personal care aides.

11. History

A man reads a book

Median salary: $ 38,000

Change in earnings: -2.1%

A plurality of history majors become elementary or middle school teachers, while the next big chunk become retail supervisors. Other recent graduates include customer service representatives, miscellaneous managers and secretaries or administrative assistants.

What if I Already Graduated With One of the Worst College Majors?

Don’t despair if you happen to have just graduated with one of these degrees. Personally, I wish I had majored in zoology rather than economics — I think I would be down to trade days of playing with numbers for days playing with red pandas.

But as you can see, these majors might make it difficult to pay back your student loans solely on your income in your first years in the workforce.

No-spend weeks might not make a huge dent in student loan debt, but they will help you be more conscious of frivolous spending.

It might not be the most popular option, but you could always move back in with your parents. Even something as simple as bringing your lunch to work four days a week can help pay down student loan debt.

Still, if you do happen to be a college freshman or high school senior reading this, you might want to check out this list instead — before you register for classes next semester.

Alex Mahadevan is a data journalist at The Penny Hoarder.  He was a music major for exactly two semesters in college.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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12.11.18 The smartphone decline; How to give gift cards; For-profit college closures

Smartphones aren’t getting much smarter these days. So Clark tells you how to avoid the hype and avenues to pay less on your cell phone hardware; Gift cards aren’t the best gift. But you can make it a decent gift with a couple smart strategies; A few for-profit colleges went bust today. It’s important for students to apply for student loan cancellation.

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I’m Second-Guessing the Way We’ve Been Saving for Stepdaughter’s College

Dear Frank,

We laugh about saving for college when kids are very small. They’re little bundles of joy who simply need to be fed and clothed. Why fret about what’s going to happen 18 years from now? And then, all of a sudden, they’re not small anymore. They grow like very opinionated weeds and have their own senses of humor and points of view. And body hair.

I can imagine you’re not the only parent quietly panicking at this as you glance over your stepdaughter’s shoulder trying to decipher how they’re teaching math these days. This very far-off life event is not actually that far off.

The good news is that you’re saving. The bad news is that your money probably isn’t working hard enough for you while it waits for your stepdaughter to make some big decisions about her future.

A 529 savings plan is a solid option because it’s a tax-free investment account. But the penalty is steep for those non-educational withdrawals: a 10% penalty on top of income tax. However, it’s important to note that those funds can be used for almost any educational endeavor, and you can change the beneficiary on the account in the event she doesn’t need all the money.

Another option is a custodial account. As long as the account earns less than around $ 2,100 per year, the earnings are taxed at the child’s rate instead of the parents’.

This type of account can negatively affect how much need-based financial aid she’s eligible for when she applies to school. But the benefit of a custodial account as a college savings plan is that she gets control of the money when she’s 18. That can sound scary right now with a new teenager in the house, but it means that if she chooses not to go to college, she can still use that money toward her future financial security.

Every method of saving for college — from 529s to savings bonds to stuffing cash under the mattress — will have drawbacks. At this point, what’s essential is that the money you’ve already saved gets into an investment account of some sort. When the time rolls around — oh, and it’s about to roll around — you want that money to stretch as far as it possibly can.

Have a tricky money question? Write to Dear Penny at https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/dear-penny

Lisa Rowan is a personal finance expert and senior writer at The Penny Hoarder, and the voice behind Dear Penny. For more practical money tips, visit www.thepennyhoarder.com.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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On My Way to a B.F.A.: Episode 3.2 Jenna Ushkowitz on Going from College to ‘Glee’ to a Tony!

On the latest episode of “On My Way to a B.F.A.,” Natalie talks with Jenna Ushkowitz. Jenna is an actress, singer, author, podcaster, and Tony Award-winning producer for the 2017 revival of “Once on This Island.” She is well-known for her role as Tina Cohen-Chang on the hit TV show read more
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Michelle Obama, Kelly Rowland And Ciara Celebrate National College Application Month [Video]

November is National College Application Month and to celebrate the occasion, Reach Higher has launched its “laundry” campaign in an effort to encourage high school seniors to apply to college.

Celebrities such as Keke PalmerKelly RowlandCiaraNick Cannon, and Michelle Obama have joined the social media outreach to students across the nation asking them to take the pledge and apply to college.

In exchange for making this commitment, celebs are (sorta) pledging to do students laundry for an entire semester.

“As a 19-year-old, I’m facing the same questions and fears that other people my age are facing. Reach Higher answers those questions while encouraging you to dream bigger, be better and take that next step towards your education. After all, I truly believe that with an educated mind ANYTHING is possible. College is the first step towards the life you want for yourself, and I believe every person – no matter what age – deserves that first step. It’s never too late to reach higher, ” said Bailee Madison, star of Hallmark’s “Good Witch” and “The Strangers: Prey at Night”.

Reach Higher is an initiative started by former First Lady Michelle Obama during her time at the White House.

“It’s National College Application Month and we want to see high school seniors all over the country make the commitment to apply to college. And we know that once they get to college, students will discover so much about themselves, their passions, and the world. They’ll take eye-opening classes and engage in campus activities.  And many students, if they are anything like me at that age, will learn to do to their laundry. We hope seniors will take the pledge and apply to college this fall,” said Eric Waldo, Reach Higher’s executive director.

Check out a clip from the campaign above.

Sign the pledge by clicking here and be sure to follow Reach Higher’s Laundry campaign on social media:

@BetterMakeRoom:

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Trump is finally bringing justice back to college campuses

At last, some good campus news: The Trump administration is going to require colleges to allow cross-examination in sex-assault cases. In draft Education Department rules that leaked in August, schools were merely given the option of giving the accused the right to cross-examine their accusers. Even that would be progress, since Obama-era rules essentially forbid…
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Week 10 College Football Power Rankings: The SEC Has Four Top 10 Teams … for Now

The SEC buckles up for two elimination games in Week 10 with Georgia–Kentucky and Alabama–LSU, quickly wiping out any meaning to the first round of College Football Playoff rankings.

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How the College Basketball Corruption Verdict Could Help End Amateurism

A little more than a year ago, federal attorneys and the FBI — to much fanfare — unveiled their findings from a two-year investigation into corruption in college basketball. Assistant coaches and sneaker company reps and aspiring agents were arrested. Officials shared tales of illicit money sloshing around the sport in order to attract certain players to certain schools.

On Wednesday afternoon, the feds achieved their biggest win of the effort to date. A jury found three defendants — two former Adidas employees and an aspiring sports agent — guilty of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud after a three-week criminal trial at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Courthouse in New York City. James Gatto, Merl Code (the ex-Adidas reps) and aspiring player rep Christian Dawkins will be sentenced in March. (They will likely appeal the case.) On the surface, the verdict appears to count as a huge victory for the NCAA’s amateurism rules, which prevent college athletes from earning money from their schools, or from third-parties, for playing their lucrative sports. Paying players now appears to be a federal crime; NCAA regulations now appear to be enforceable by federal law.

Not so fast.

This case was a head-scratcher from the start. As TV rights agreements and other business deals plow millions of dollars into college sports, more and more people have argued that amateurism is outdated. While coaches and other stakeholders get rich, don’t the players who actually attract the audience deserve their fair share? Former college players are challenging amateurism in federal court, arguing that prohibitions against players earning salaries and third-party sponsorship violates anti-trust law. And while one arm of the federal government hears out amateurism, another swoops in with a criminal prosecution that equates paying players with corruption. This reeks of government overreach. Why are the feds doing the NCAA’s bidding and enforcing its amateurism rules?

Read more: It’s Time to Pay College Athletes

Meanwhile, federal prosecutors argued that the defendants defrauded colleges by paying players, since those payments violated NCAA rules and would make them ineligible to suit up for their schools. In effect, the defendants denied the schools the services of these athletes. So the schools were in essence the victims of a federal crime. The jury, by handing down the guilty verdict, agreed with this reasoning.

But at the same time, the NCAA can use evidence unearthed at the trial to punish the institutions supposedly wronged here. For example, former Adidas associate T.J. Gassola testified that he paid the family of former Kansas player Billy Preston $ 89,000 and the guardian of current Kansas player Silvio De Sousa $ 2,500 for online classes. Gassola also testified that a Maryland booster paid De Sousa’s guardian $ 60,000. Kansas announced that De Sousa has been pulled from the team, pending an eligibility review. The NCAA could hand down sanctions on Kansas for suiting up an ineligible player (De Sousa, for example, played in 20 games for the Jayhawks a year ago). So in essence the NCAA would be punishing a school that’s a so-called victim of a federal crime. Only in the twisted world of college sports could “victims” be subject to punishment.

“This case is filled with paradoxes,” says Matthew Mitten, executive director of the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University.

Read more: North Carolina Academic Fraud Decision Exposes College Sports Hypocrisy

This verdict, however, won’t necessarily make paying college players a federal crime. Conversely, some of the evidence could bolster the civil cases challenging the NCAA’s payment prohibitions. One of the NCAA’s core arguments in support of amateurism is that paying players would turn off fans and hurt the bottom line of NCAA schools. Paying players would be bad for business, so amateurism must live on.

The college hoops trial, however, showed that the opposite may be true. The testimony exposed the black market economy of college basketball; money is already flowing to players, business is booming, and it will continue to do so.

“The federal government has now proven itself ready to sink its teeth into college basketball,” says Marc Edelman, a professor of law at Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business. “But the prosecutors missed the big issue here. If we’re going to be intellectually honest, the correct next step would be for the Justice Department to file an anti-trust lawsuit against the NCAA.”

Such a federal suit is unlikely to happen. Other stakeholders, however, are challenging amateurism in civil court. Many fans and pundits know that the model is unfair and unsustainable. Money has to flow to the players who deserve it, no matter what a jury says.

Sports – TIME

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Wiretap audio from college hoops trial details pay schemes

Federal wiretap audio,  text messages, hidden camera video and fraudulent invoices obtained by Outside the Lines — evidence from the first criminal trial resulting from the two-year FBI investigation into college basketball corruption — reveal an intimate look into the sport’s unseemly underbelly. In one wiretapped call, former Adidas consultant Merl Code and Adidas executive James Gatto discuss the University of Arizona’s alleged offer of $ 150,000 to sign then-rising senior Nassir Little and whether the shoe company would match the sum to send the five-star recruit to the University of Miami, which is sponsored by Adidas. Multiple wiretapped calls with Brian Bowen Sr. cover the several-school recruitment of his son, Brian Bowen Jr., and detail the father’s efforts to get paid. Another call features Munish Sood and Christian Dawkins, a former runner for NBA agent Andy Miller, discussing whether they can trust two people who would later…
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Three College Basketball Recruiting Insiders Convicted of Fraud in Pay-for-Play Trial

(NEW YORK) — An Adidas executive and two other insiders from the high-stakes world of college basketball recruiting were convicted Wednesday in a corruption case that prosecutors said exposed the underbelly of the sport.

A federal jury in Manhattan found former Adidas executive James Gatto, business manager Christopher Dawkins and amateur league director Merle Code guilty of fraud charges.

The trial centered on whether the men’s admitted efforts to channel secret payments to the families of top recruits luring them to major basketball programs sponsored by Adidas was criminal. At stake was a fortune in revenue for the basketball programs and potential endorsement deals for the players if they went pro.

Evidence included text messages between the defendants and coaches from top-tier coaches like Bob Self of Kansas and Rick Pitino of Louisville and testimony from the father of prized recruit Brian Bowen Jr. describing how a Louisville assistant handed him an envelope stuffed with cash.

Prosecutors claimed the schools were in the dark about the payment schemes, including $ 100,000 promised to Bowen’s family, that are outlawed by the NCAA. They accused the defendants of defrauding universities by tricking them into passing out scholarships to players who should have been ineligible.

In closing arguments, prosecutor Noah Solowiejczyk recounted testimony from cooperators and wiretap evidence about how the defendants took steps to create false invoices to Adidas, route funds through various bank accounts and convert it to cash for the families.

The behavior “tells you an awful lot about the defendants,” the prosecutor said. “It tells you that what they were doing was wrong.”

The defendants didn’t deny they sought to make the payments. But they argued that was how the recruitment game was played by Adidas, Nike and other sportswear companies – and that talent-hungry coaching staffs knew it.

A lawyer for defendant Dawkins, who was instrumental in steering Bowen to Louisville, claimed his client thought he was helping the program succeed to the benefit of everyone involved.

“What proof did the government present that Louisville suffered any harm?” attorney Steven Haney said in closing arguments. “In Christopher Dawkins’ mind, he thought what he was doing was OK.”

Defense attorneys sought to convince the jury the text messages and phone records showing Self and Patinto were in touch with the recruitment middlemen aligned with Adidas proved they had to be aware of the payments. They said further proof the schools weren’t blind to the schemes was testimony by Brian Bowen Sr. claiming he received $ 1,300 from Louisville assistant Kenny Johnson and other testimony by a cooperator, former Adidas consultant, Thomas “T.J.” Gassnola, that he delivered $ 40,000 to North Carolina State assistant coach Orlando Early intended for the family of highly-touted point guard Dennis Smith Jr.

In the texts last year, Gassnola told Self he was in the touch with the guardian of player Silvio De Sousa, who prosecutors say was among recruits whose families were offered secret payments.

Self responded: “We good,” according to an exhibit of the communication.

Gassnola said: “Always. That was light work.”

Another exhibit showed how Dawkins texted Pitino as Bowen was nearing a decision about where he would play, asking, “Would you have any interest in Brian Bowen or are you done with recruiting?”

Pitino responded: “We would love to have him.”

The exhibit showed Gatto also reached out to Pitino by text asking if they could speak on the phone, and records show there was a conversation afterward.

But there were no communications in which the coaches mentioned money. The coaches and the schools have either denied any wrongdoing or not commented on the case.

Self remains at Kansas, where De Sousa is still on the team. Kansas announced this week De Sousa is being held off the court until information that came out of the trial was reviewed. But at Louisville, the scandal resulted in the firing of Pitino and forced Bowen to leave the university and pursue a professional career.

The trial’s most emotional moment came when a prosecutor first began questioning the elder Bowen about his son, who goes by the nickname “Tugs.”

“Is Tugs in college?” asked prosecutor Edward Diskant.

“No, he’s not,” Bowen responded.

When the prosecutor asked why not, Bowen dropped his head into his hands and wept.

Sports – TIME

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10.8.18 Retail rewards; not going to college; E sim cards

New loyalty programs are bringing bigger perks to loyal shoppers; Men are forsaking college in bigger numbers; E SIM cards will make switching cell phone carriers much easier in the near future. 

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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LeBron James Is Taking on the NCAA’s Rules Prohibiting Pay for College Players

LeBron James, the best basketball player in the world and one of the most influential athletes on the planet, fights for off-court causes he cares about. In 2017, for example, James starred in Nike’s “Equality” ad campaign, which was released at the outset of the Trump presidency in 2017, following the Women’s March and the President’s executive travel ban that sparked protests across the country. This past summer, James opened a public school for at-risk students in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. He has criticized Trump for using sports to divide the country. Trump responded by questioning James’ intelligence.

Now, James is taking on a new foe: the NCAA. He’s the executive producer of a new documentary, Student Athlete, which debuts on HBO Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET. The film picks apart amateurism in major college sports, a model that allows schools to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues, but prevents the cash from tricking down to the players themselves. Instead, it flows to coaches’ salaries and athletic facilities with barber shops and bowling alleys and flat-screen TVs. (James himself notably skipped college, instead going from high school directly to the pros.)

The hypocrisy exposed in Student Athlete is not new: lawyers are challenging amateurism in the court system, while advocates and media outlets have long screamed for change. Still, the film –— which was co-directed by Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy — hits the mark. Over its 88 minutes, Student Athlete packages five stories — on a high school prospect, a former college coach, and three former college players — that show how the system takes its toll. In the opening scene, the viewer meets former Rutgers tight end Shamar Graves, who played for the Scarlet Knights from 2007 through 2009. He’s sleeping in his car.

Student Athlete shines an invaluable light on athletes like Graves, who effectively held an unpaid full-time job while playing his sport in school, managed to earn his degree, but has struggled in his post-college life. Most major college athletes aren’t going pro. Those who sacrificed internships and other career development opportunities in school in order to concentrate on sports may find that the promise of a degree — an education sets you up for life! — falls far short of expectations. A back injury ended the college career of Mike Shaw, a former top-ranked high school basketball prospect who played at the University of Illinois and Bradley University. The film shows Shaw at this graduation ceremony at Bradley. His pro basketball dreams shattered, he’s still hopeful he’ll find his way. We soon learn, however, that Shaw has struggled with his mental health. Shaw shares that he’s rehabbed in a psychiatric hospital.

If the film falls short in one area, it’s in offering solutions for athletes like Graves and Shaw. Yes, the undercurrent is that colleges should pay their athletes. “The thing that’s disgusting,” says John Shoop, a former offensive coordinator at the University of North Carolina and Purdue, “is that coaches are making millions of dollars, and they’re coaching players whose families live below the poverty line.” (Shoop seems to have been blacklisted from the college coaching ranks due to his advocacy for athletes). But not all college athletes would earn lucrative salaries while playing their sports. Graves and Shaw, for example, weren’t stars. If they could have earned money for playing in college, would they find themselves in a better situation today? In recent years, many college graduates have learned that their degrees don’t guarantee stable employment. Is it the obligation of schools to offer full services like post-graduate career training and job placement and health insurance for their athletes? If so, are the schools obligated to do the same for all students?

You can’t blame Student Athlete for largely glossing over the prescriptions for college sports. Quick and easy fixes don’t exist. But the film drops at an opportune time, as college sports are ripe for major reforms. Testimony just wrapped up in the latest anti-trust trial — Alston v. NCAA — challenging compensation caps in college sports. A federal trial that promises to expose the underbelly of college basketball, and resulted from an FBI investigation into under-the-table payments by shoe company representatives and financial advisers to coaches and players, begins in New York this week. College athletes deserve better. Having LeBron James on their team can only help.

Sports – TIME

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