TIME Baseball

The Best World Series Celebrations of All Time

Winning the Fall Classic sparks a special kind of euphoria.

TIME Baseball

Top 10 Most Memorable Moments in World Series History

Of the 109 World Series played so far, these are the biggest highs and (depending on which side of a victory you're looking from) lows

TIME

Maddon Exercises Opt-Out, Won’t Return to Rays

(ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.) — Joe Maddon won’t be returning to the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Rays announced Friday that Maddon has exercised an opt-out in his contract, which was due to expire after next season.

Owner Stuart Sternberg said in a statement: “We tried diligently and aggressively to sign Joe to a third contract extension prior to his decision. As of yesterday afternoon, Joe enabled himself to explore opportunities throughout major league baseball. He will not be managing the Rays in 2015.”

Maddon has managed the Rays for nine seasons, compiling a 754-705 record. He led took Tampa Bay to the playoffs four times and won the AL pennant in 2008.

TIME Pictures of the Week

Pictures of the Week: Oct. 17 – 24

From the sentencing of Oscar Pistorius and a fatal shooting at the Canadian War Memorial, to a pair of white lion cubs in Serbia and Darth Vader on the campaign trail, TIME presents the best pictures of the week.

TIME College Sports

North Carolina Has a Real College Sports Scandal on its Hands

A report finds that Tarheel athletes took sham classes to stay eligible. Can any school be trusted?

Georgia running back Todd Gurley allegedly signs autographs for money, and is suspended indefinitely. Reggie Bush receives “improper” benefits from an agent while at USC: his 2005 Heisman trophy is vacated, and the NCAA bans USC from postseason play for two years. Ohio State players sell memorabilia, and they get suspended–while the Buckeyes are hit with a one-year bowl ban.

The media and others have all labeled these events “scandals.” But really, it’s not all that scandalous to receive money from a third party who wants to give it to you. Only in college sports, where schools have placed restrictions on an athlete’s ability to profit from his or her skills, are such actions scandals.

Now, however, we have a real one.

For years, the NCAA has propagated the idea of the “student-athlete” who represents his school on the field, while receiving a top-notch education in the classroom. If schools are still going to require that athletes remain students in good-standing — and there’s no inkling that this rule will change — academic fraud makes this standard a sham. Some administrators at the University of North Carolina, a proud school with a proud alumni and fan base, have sponsored one the most egregious cases of academic fraud in college sports history.

According to a report by attorney Kenneth Wainstein, a former 19-year justice department official and Homeland Security advisor to President George W. Bush, between 1993 and 2011 over 3,100 North Carolina students enrolled in “paper” classes in the school’s Department of African and Afro-American Studies. These courses required no classroom time, little work, and produced inflated grades. Between 1999 and 2011, athletes took approximately 1,871 paper classes, almost half the total; football and men’s basketball players took nearly a quarter of these sham classes.

The report says a student services manager in the department, Debby Crowder, managed many of these “independent studies” classes; Crowder registered the students for classes, assigned them paper topics and then graded their work, even though she was not a faculty member. These papers almost always got A’s or B’s, even if they were shoddy or largely put together by a tutor. The chair of the department, Dr. Julius Nyang’oro, aided Crowder in developing this “shadow curriculum.”

Certain academic counselors in UNC’s Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes knew about the sham classes, and steered athletes into them so they could remain eligible to play. The report names counselors for the football, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball teams who knew of this shadow curriculum. “What was most disappointing to me was that a group of academic counselors for student-athletes took advantage of deficient classes largely just to boost a player’s GPA, without regard to whether those kids were getting a real education,” says Wainstein, now chair of the white collar defense and investigations group at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft.

The University appointed Wainstein’s law firm to investigate the fraud case earlier this year. “That something like this took place within one of the finest universities in the nation, it’s hard to fathom how it happened,” says Wainstein.

One popular offering was Swahili classes; students could satisfy their foreign language requirement by writing a paper about Swahili culture in English. Twelve of the 18 students enrolled in these classes were athletes. Crowder’s retirement in 2009 sparked a sort of panic among the football counselors. One wrote an email to the football operations coordinator, imploring that players get their work in so Crowder could grade it before she left: “Ms. Crowder is retiring at the end of July … if the guys papers are not in … I would expect D’s or C’s at best. Most need better than that … ALL WORK FROM THE AFAM DEPT. MUST BE DONE AND TURNED IN ON THE LAST DAY OF CLASS.”

In November 2009, two counselors led a meeting with the football coaching staff, including then-head coach Butch Davis. They showed the coaches a slide, warning them that these paper classes NO LONGER EXIST. “What was part of the solution in the past?” read the slide. “We put them in classes that met degree requirement in which they didn’t go to class, they didn’t take notes, have to stay awake, they didn’t have to meet with professors, they didn’t have to pay attention or necessarily engage with the material.” The counselors then showed two more slides comparing the GPA of eight football players in the paper classes with their GPA in other classes. The average paper-class GPA was 3.61, their GPA in other classes was 1.917.

This case speaks to the challenge of “reforming” college sports. Unless college athletes become paid employees who don’t have to go to school — some academics have proposed this solution, arguing it’s a more honest system — change must come from within the schools themselves. The NCAA can’t have a cop on every campus, poring over athlete transcripts, hopping in and out of classes to make sure they’re legit.

Institutions should be honest with themselves. Are these “student-athletes” we parade in front of packed stadiums and arenas academically eligible in name only? Are they getting a real education? We have to trust the adults in the room, running what are supposed to be enviable institutions, places of “higher learning.” If we can’t trust the “teachers,” we can’t fix college sports.

 

 

 

 

TIME hockey

Watch Hockey Fans Sing ‘O Canada’ After the Shooting in Ottawa

Hours after a soldier was killed outside Parliament

Hockey games typically only start with Canada’s national anthem when there’s a Canadian team on the ice — Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary or Winnipeg. But that wasn’t the case on Oct. 22, when the Pittsburgh Penguins hosted their rival Philadelphia Flyers just hours after a Canadian soldier was shot and killed in an attack outside Parliament in Ottawa.

With the National Hockey League having postponed a planned Wednesday game that would’ve seen the Ottawa Senators host the Toronto Maple Leafs, it fell upon the Penguins to honor the slain soldier and those grieving by leading fans in a heartfelt rendition of O Canada, with the Pittsburgh rink digitally draped in a Canadian flag.

You can watch the touching footage above.

TIME Baseball

Steady, Dominant Bull Pen Helping Royals Prove They Belong on Big Stage

World Series Giants Royals Baseball
Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez and Greg Holland celebrate after Game 2 of the World Series in Kansas City on Oct. 22, 2014 Jeff Roberson—AP

Kansas City beat the Giants, 7-2, in Game 2 to even the World Series

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera made a conscious effort to change the speeds of his pitches this year, and in Game 2 of the World Series, it paid off. He threw a fastball 101 mph, then dropped down to 100, then went back up to 101. You can see why opposing hitters might be confused, and also why they would want to curl up with a good book and hit themselves over the head with it.

Herrera got five outs and handed the baton to Wade Davis and Greg Holland. Then Herrera watched video of himself, which he does after every outing to make sure he is not too open in his delivery, which was a problem last year. Maybe a little tiny bit of him watches so he can see the radar-gun readings and think, “Good God am I awesome,” though he wouldn’t admit that.

Anyway, the video confirmed what anybody watching live already knew: That was the real Herrera. And these were the real Royals.

Kansas City beat the Giants, 7-2, in Game 2 to even the series, and they really had no choice. Lose this one, and the hill would get awfully steep. The Royals didn’t win the Series in Game 2, just as the Giants didn’t win it in Game 1, but they did something important besides win the game. They showed why they belonged here.

There is a risk when you appear on an unfamiliar and large stage. Anybody who watched the 2008 Rays, ’06 Tigers, ’07 Rockies or a friend nervously stumble through wedding vows understands. The Royals are the feel-good story of baseball, but we’ve all seen this script, and the last few pages are usually in flames. It happened to the Chiefs in January; after a stunning regular season, they collapsed in the playoffs against the Colts. After their Game 1 loss, the Royals looked like they might do the same.

Instead, we saw the real Royals. The bullpen dominated. The offense put together a big inning, a five-run sixth. And yes, there were moments when they seemed determined not to score, no matter how many hittable pitches they saw. The Giants’ Jake Peavy found the middle of the plate way too often; a better lineup probably would have chased him by the fourth inning. Instead, the Royals couldn’t pound Peavy’s mistakes and they chased pitches they should have left alone. Well, hey, nobody is perfect … except the Royals’ relievers, obviously.

The World Series is different. It feels different. The Royals had five days to think about how different it is. Herrera said his bullpen warm-up sessions don’t tell him much. “I never know before I throw my first pitch in the game, because it’s way different.” That’s how it is in the World Series, too. Until you go through it, you just don’t know what it will be like.

The Royals know now, and a potentially epic Series is unfolding. We may have seen the last two blowout games of the Series — the pitching is better than the hitting for both teams and runs should be scarce. Madison Bumgarner looms over everything for the Royals: lose Game 3, and Game 4 becomes a must-win because Bumgarner pitches Game 5.

But the Royals don’t have to worry about that until Friday. In the meantime, they can enjoy their first World Series victory since they beat the Cardinals in Game 7 of the 1985 Series, and they can enjoy the fact that somebody else embarrassed himself.

That somebody, of course, is Giants reliever Hunter Strickland, who gave up a double to Salvador Perez, a homer to Omar Infante and a little piece of his dignity. After Infante’s homer, Strickland chewed out Perez for reasons that remain unclear, using words that remain a mystery, making this the lamest baseball confrontation in baseball history.

“[Strickland] was doing something like, ‘Get out of here,’ or something,” Perez said, “and he starts to look at me, and look at me, that’s why I was asking him, ‘Hey, why are you looking?’”

It says something about the media that there was a bigger horde around Perez, who got yelled at for no apparent reason, than around Infante, who actually hit the home run. Yes, Perez also hit a double, but most of the questions were not about the double. I suppose this also says something about us. Let’s just say that unlike Herrera, I will not be watching video of our performance. I fear I spent too much time in the wrong horde.

Strickland has now faced 23 batters in the postseason and allowed five home runs. This next sentence will not help Strickland’s mood, but here you go: Herrera has faced 325 batters this season, including 40 in the postseason, and allowed zero home runs. Zero! And he is their seventh-inning guy.

That pretty much sums up why the Royals are here, why this city has fallen in love with its baseball team again and why the Giants had better get to Game 3 starter Jeremy Guthrie early. The video replay of the Kansas City bullpen is always the same. Those were the Royals and that’s how they got here. Your move, San Francisco.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Basketball

North Carolina Releases Wainstein Report on Academic Scandal

Kenneth Wainstein
Kenneth Wainstein, lead investigator into academic irregularities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, holds a copy of his findings following a special joint meeting in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Oct. 22, 2014 Gerry Broome—AP

The report mentions that athletes' academic counselors directed them to take the classes in question

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill released the report on its latest investigation into alleged academic fraud on Wednesday.

The report details how a lack of oversight allowed Department of African and Afro-American Studies administrator Deborah Crowder and former chairman Julius Nyang’oro to create so-called “paper classes.” In these classes, students received high grades with “little regard” for the quality of their work.

Nyang’oro and Crowder have been implicated in previous probes into the situation for steering athletes into the aforementioned classes, an issue that was found by a 2012 probe to have dated to the 1990s. This latest investigation was conducted by former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein at the request of the university.

While Wainstein’s report still places most of the blame for the fraud in the department at Nyang’oro and Crowder​, it points to the surrounding culture at North Carolina for allowing it to happen. Wainstein mentions that athletes’ academic counselors directed them to take the classes in question, that there wasn’t sufficient external review of the department and that a belief within the school that fraud couldn’t happen there prevented proper oversight.

Wainstein told reporters Wednesday that Crowder, who was largely responsible for creating the fraudulent classes, was motivated by a belief that UNC’s athletes weren’t being supported by the university.

University chancellor Carol Folt said that disciplinary action will be taken against those connected to the probe.

“It is a case where you have bad actions of a few and inaction of many more,” school chancellor Carol Folt told reporters in a conference call shortly before the report’s release. “It is shocking and people are taking full responsibility.”

Wainstein said he has shared his report with the NCAA, which announced this summer that it had re-opened its investigation into North Carolina after new individuals were available to talk to investigators for the first time.

In the report, Wainstein says current North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams became uncomfortable with the nature of the classes in question and attempted to steer his players away from the department. Former star Rashad McCants accused the school of fraud earlier this year. McCants chose not to speak with Wainstein’s investigation.

A previous NCAA investigation resulted in a postseason ban for the football team in 2012 and a loss of scholarships. Wainstein’s report describes academic counselors recommending the department’s classes to football coaches.

From a joint statement released by North Carolina and the NCAA:

The information included in the Wainstein report will be reviewed by the university and the enforcement staff under the same standards that are applied in all NCAA infractions cases. Due to rules put in place by NCAA membership, neither the university nor the enforcement staff will comment on the substance of the report as it relates to possible NCAA rules violations.

It’s unknown when the NCAA’s investigation will be concluded.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Research

Many Colleges Fail to Address Concussions, Study Shows

helmet football concussion
Getty Images

A quarter of schools don't educate their athletes on the injury

Policies guiding concussion treatment at scores of colleges across the country still run afoul of rules set by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), according to a new study in The American Journal of Sports Medicine.

“The vast majority of schools did have a concussion management plan, but not all of them did,” said Christine Baugh, a Harvard researcher and one of the study’s co-authors. “The number of schools who reported to us that they didn’t have a concussion management plan in place affects tens of thousands of athletes each year.”

The study comes as the NCAA faces increased pressure to protect the health of college athletes. Earlier this year, the organization set aside $70 million for concussion testing and research to settle several class action lawsuits. The exact number of college athletes who suffer from concussions during practice and games is unclear, but some estimates put it in the thousands.

To combat concussions, the NCAA has mandated that colleges create “concussion management plans.” While 93% of the 2,600 schools surveyed said they had drafted such a plan to guide their response to concussions, many of those plans lacked components that Baugh says are critical to actually reducing the head injury. For one, about a quarter of schools don’t train athletes to detect concussions, making it difficult for athletes to recognize when they need to seek medical attention. And more than 6 percent of schools allow coaches or athletes who lack formal medical training to make the final decision about whether a student can return to competition after suffering a concussion.

“It may be the case that coaches and athletes are being extra cautious; despite being cleared by a clinician, they are withholding themselves or withholding their athletes,” said Baugh, who was a Division I athlete during her college years. “But it may also be the case that some of these schools, coaches or athletes are pressuring clinicians to prematurely return to play before their symptoms have been resolved.”

The study concludes with a recommendation for the NCAA: step up enforcement of concussion policies.

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