MONEY

NBA’s Empty Arena Problem Tips Off with $5 Home Opener Tickets

Marc Gasol #33 of the Memphis Grizzlies
Marc Gasol and the Memphis Grizzlies play their regular season home opener this week, and fans can buy tickets for around $5. Lance Murphey—NBAE/Getty Images

Basketball fans are showing their excitement—or lack thereof—for the start of the NBA regular season in the form of home opener tickets selling for a small fraction of face value.

The 2014-2015 NBA regular season commences on Tuesday, October 28, and clearly, fans in some markets are excited enough to see their teams back in action that they’re willing to pay top dollar for seats. Four of the top five most expensive NBA games this week, as rounded up by the ticket resale and research site TiqIQ, all currently have “get-in” prices starting over $100 and average ticket prices of $300+.

Tonight’s priciest game is, fittingly, the home opener of the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, when there will be a ceremony for the team to receive its championship rings; as of Tuesday, the cheapest tickets were selling for just under $200 on the secondary market, according to StubHub. Overall, the most expensive home opener is, unsurprisingly, Thursday’s game in Cleveland, when the Cavaliers get to officially welcome back the return of prodigal son LeBron James, who is playing once again for his hometown team in regular season action. Earlier this week, TiqIQ data indicated that the average price for tickets to Thursday’s Knicks-Cavaliers game was $753, while as of Tuesday the cheapest seat offered at StubHub was around $900.

It’s a very different story, however, in some of the other NBA arenas around the country. Tickets for the home openers for no fewer than nine NBA teams (Dallas, Denver, Indiana, Memphis, Minnesota, New Orleans, Orlando, Utah, Washington) are going for around $15 or less, according to StubHub, while seats for Wednesday’s matchups of Philadelphia 76ers versus the Indiana Pacers and the Minnesota Timberwolves versus the Memphis Grizzlies are available for around $5. If fans are truly excited about the start of the season, they’re not demonstrating it with a willingness to pay good money to see the games in person.

There’s nothing new about NBA teams struggling to fill arenas, even when special ticket deals and secondary market resale sites cause prices to plunge. What’s noteworthy, however, is that the demand for tickets is so low for teams’ home opener games, when the season is (theoretically) filled with promise and when fan enthusiasm should presumably be high.

Fans are staying home for any number of reasons, including but not limited to: 1) the local team stinks; 2) the local team is not fun to watch; 3) the season is so long that the games don’t seem to matter; and 4) going to games is too much of a hassle and too expensive. Even when ticket prices are low, the cost of going to a game can be high, once parking, souvenirs, and a few $5 hot dogs and $7 beers are added in. Interestingly enough, parking passes for this week’s Indiana Pacers home opener were selling at a higher price than the cheapest tickets ($8.85 vs. $4.95), according to StubHub.

Yet the NBA doesn’t seem particularly concerned about its teams playing in arenas where broad swaths of seats are unfilled, nor about what it means in the grand scheme of things when fans are reluctant to part with a mere $5 to attend games. A big reason why that is so is because the league just signed a $24 billion contract allowing various TV networks to air its games. The new deal nearly triples broadcast revenues for the NBA. Look for broadcasts to focus squarely on the action on the court, with very few shots of the upper sections occupied by … nobody.

TIME Basketball

The NBA Has More International Players Than Ever

Tony Parker
San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker is one of a record number of international players as the NBA season opens Tony Gutierrez—AP

As the season opens, 37 countries will be represented on team rosters

For those worked up over foreigners taking American jobs, the National Basketball League can provide some fodder. The league announced Tuesday that 101 players from 37 countries, a new record, will be on NBA rosters at the season’s start. The NBA champion San Antonio Spurs have the most foreign players, nine, leading the league in that category for the third year. Their U.N. roster includes Frenchmen Tony Parker and Boris Diaw, two Australians, a Brazilian, a Canadian, an Italian and the big man from the small island, Tim Duncan, who is from the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The league’s foreign legion is led by 12 Canadians, who apparently failed at their nation’s preferred winter sport. France provided 10 players, Australia eight and Brazil sent seven. There are also 13 players from the former Yugoslavia, as those hoop crazy nations such as Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia continue to embrace the game.

There are just 450 jobs on the NBA’s 30 teams, which means that foreign players now hold 22% of them, up from 10% in the 2000-2001 season. Globalization is a two-way street, though. At least 80 Americans are playing soccer for foreign clubs.

TIME

How the Shot Clock Saved Basketball

shot clock explanation
From the Dec. 2, 1954, issue of TIME TIME

Before the 24-second clock, teams trailing in the fourth quarter could never pull off a win

As the basketball season begins this week, it’s hard to imagine that 50 years ago the sport was in jeopardy. Potential fans could expect low-scoring games with lots of free throw shots, little contact and a very boring final quarter. A team with a small lead at the end of the game would hold the ball for as long as possible, essentially stopping play. The only thing the losing team could do was foul, which they did, and the final minutes of all close games would be drawn out into a free-throw shooting match. No quick layups, no desperation threes, no buzzer beaters. Just free throws.

How bad was it? In 1950, the Fort Wayne Pistons squeaked out a win against the Minneapolis Lakers 19-18, a score that today only occurs in middle school junior varsity games. In a playoff game—a playoff game—in 1954, Syracuse beat New York 75-69, and 75 of the points scored were from free throws.

Unsurprisingly, nobody was buying tickets to watch a sport with even less action than baseball. Desperate, owner of the Syracuse Nationals Danny Biasone came up with a plan: a shot clock. Each team would get 24 seconds to put up a shot. If they didn’t, they’d lose the ball. They rule was put in place for the 1954-1955 season.

It was immediately effective: NBA teams averaged 93.1 points that season, 13.6 more than the year before. “The new rule…has made the pro game a better, faster, more exciting sport,” TIME Magazine wrote in 1954. “Under the new rule, in some games this year a team that was behind in the last quarter has managed to pull out to win.” Imagine that!

But not everyone immediately took to the shot clock. “Some college coaches (freezing is still very much a part of the college game) are eying it with misgivings,” reported TIME. March Madness wouldn’t be very mad at all without that clock. Luckily, college teams came around.

So as you tune in to the Dallas Mavericks tipping off against reigning champions San Diego Spurs Tuesday night, thank Danny Biasone for saving the sport of basketball.

Read TIME’s 1998 cover story about Michael Jordan, here in the archives: The One and Only

TIME Basketball

Exclusive First Look: LeBron James’ Debut Car Ad

Can the NBA superstar sell $66,000 cars?

Two weeks ago, LeBron James and Kia announced that they had reached a multi-year endorsement agreement for the Kia K900, the auto company’s first official foray into the luxury market. The MSRP for the K900: $59,900. The fully-loaded VIP version costs $65,500. Here’s a first look at the debut commercial spot, which will air Tuesday night during TNT’s coverage of the NBA’s opening night games.

Tim Chaney, vice president of marketing communications for Kia Motors America, says the car is an attempt to “change America’s perception about what a Kia product is all about.” Kia’s most popular model, the Optima, is a midsize car. Chaney says Kia wasn’t in the market for new endorsers until James’ representatives called Kia after the K900 was first released earlier in the year. James was familiar with the Kia brand: the Seoul-based manufacturer has been the official auto partner of the NBA since 2008, and is expected to announce the renewal of its NBA deal on Tuesday.

James has received a Kia for winning each of his four MVP awards (he has donated the cars to charity). James liked the look of the K900, so his reps asked if Kia could send him one to drive around. “When LeBron James says he’s interested in your luxury sedan, you’re happy to leave a car with him,” says Chaney.

Chaney says his research found that James ranked in the top 1% of celebrity influencers, even for older, more affluent customers who typically buy luxury cars. “He pretty much transcends the NBA, and connects with everyone,” says Chaney. “It’s a natural fit for us.”

Is it a fit for James? This is his first car deal: he likely could have hooked up with more established luxury brands. “You don’t think that LeBron James and Kia go hand-in-hand,” says Ben Sturner, President and CEO of Leverage Agency, a sports marketing firm. “Mercedes, Lexus would seem to make more sense. But if you look a little deeper, there are clear benefits for him.” Kia advertises heavily during the NBA season, so the deal broadens his exposure even more. More importantly, if James can help Kia establish itself in the competitive luxury car market, it speaks to his power as an endorser. This can become the “LeBron car.”

LeBron may have a much harder time moving $66,000 Kias than winning games with his new team in Cleveland. Kia sold just 1,106 K900s in the U.S between March and September; BMW sold 32,081 of its 5-Series sedans during that period, while Mercedes moved 43,071 E-Class luxury cars. But it’s still very early in the game: the K900 just hit the market in March. And even if LeBron doesn’t sell the top-shelf stuff, Kia can benefit from a trickle-down effect.

“If LeBron James can drive a $66,000 Kia,” Sturner says, “it’s OK for someone else to drive the $18,000 one.”

TIME NBA

Donald Sterling Withdraws Lawsuit Against the NBA

The NBA banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life for "deeply offensive and harmful" racist comments that sparked a national firestorm. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver fined him a maximum $2.5 million dollars and called on other owners to force him to sell his team
The NBA banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life for "deeply offensive and harmful" racist comments that sparked a national firestorm. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver fined him a maximum $2.5 million dollars and called on other owners to force him to sell his team ROBYN BECK—AFP/Getty Images

Sterling will no longer pursue his case against NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Sterling's wife Shelly, which accused both parties of fraud and of inflicting "severe emotional damage"

Former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has dropped one of his two lawsuits against the NBA, according to the Los Angeles Times‘ Nathan Fenno.

Sterling will no longer pursue his case against NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Sterling’s wife Shelly, which accused both parties of fraud and of inflicting “severe emotional damage” during his forced sale of the team earlier this year. The move frees up Sterling to pursue his other suit against the NBA, an antitrust suit that seeks more than $1 billion in damages.

MORE: NBA Atlantic Division Preview: Can the Raptors repeat as division champs?

“We believe that we can more efficiently address all the issues in our pending federal action,” Sterling’s attorney Bobby Samini told the Times Monday.

The news comes on the same day that a judge threw out the defamation lawsuit of Sterling’s mistress V. Stiviano against Shelly Sterling. Judge Richard Fruin said Stiviano could produce no evidence Shelly Sterling defamed her. Shelly Sterling called Los Angeles Police to Donald’s home earlier this month, indicating there had been a break-in at the home. Responding officers found no evidence of a break-in, however, and instead found Donald Sterling entertaining Stiviano.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME

The Sacrifice LeBron James’ Teammates Make to Play Alongside Him

Indiana Pacers v Cleveland Cavaliers
LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots a free throw during the game against the Indiana Pacers at Cintas Center on October 15, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Joe Robbins—Getty Images

David Berri is a professor of economics at Southern Utah University.

Playing with the Ohio native means giving up valuable points in the game's bigger picture. Is it worth it?

The NBA season is almost underway, but winning games is not all that basketball players think about on the court. There’s another game within the game.

To understand this second game, consider a recent comment from Kevin Love. This past off-season, Love left the Minnesota Timberwolves for the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he’ll play with LeBron James. Although playing with LeBron was Love’s choice, he also notes it comes with a “sacrifice,” Love said. “I think it’s going to have to be an effort throughout the entire team to do what’s best for the Cleveland Cavaliers. And we don’t know what that is really yet. But I’m going to do what’s best for this team to win, because at the end of the day that’s what we want, is to win.”

To understand what Love means by “sacrifice,” let’s think about some recent comments from Chris Bosh. For the past four years, Bosh was LeBron’s teammate in Miami. Across these four years, Bosh was paid $67.1 million and won two NBA titles. To put that in perspective, in the previous four seasons Bosh was paid $46.9 million and saw his team win a total of just three playoff games (and not one playoff series). Despite this record, Bosh argued he essentially went hungry playing with LeBron:

“You just get your entree and that’s it. It’s like, wait a minute, I need my appetizer and my dessert and my drink, what are you doing? And my bread basket. What is going on? I’m hungry! It’s a lot different. But if you can get through it, good things can happen. But it never gets easy. Even up until my last year of doing it, it never gets easier.”

Bosh’s comments were referring to — and this is also the focus of Love’s comments — shot attempts and scoring totals. With LeBron as a teammate, Bosh averaged 13.0 field goal attempts and 17.3 points per game. In the four seasons before coming to Miami, Bosh averaged 16.0 field goal attempts and 22.9 points per game.

Remember, Bosh got to win in Miami. And he got paid more money. But he went “hungry” because his shot attempts and scoring declined. And Love – who averaged 17.1 field goal attempts and 23.5 points per game in the last four years in Minnesota – expects that he will also “sacrifice” shot attempts and points in playing with LeBron.

The academic research makes it clear why players should care about shot attempts and scoring. Published studies show, of all the box score statistics, points scored (per minute or per game) is the most important determinant of:

A similar story is told when looking at how much playing time a player receives. The rules of the game indicate that the primary box score statistic dictating minutes is personal fouls. But according to Stumbling on Wins (a book I co-authored with Martin Schmidt), of the remaining box score stats, it is points per minute that primarily determine how often a player actually is on the court.

And despite Bosh’s recent experience, player pay is also about scoring. A large collection of academic studies have shown that points scored – more than any other box score statistic – dominates how much money an NBA player receives. In sum, it seems that every evaluation a player faces in basketball is dictated by how many points the player scores. So it’s not surprising that players regard it as a “sacrifice” when they are asked to score less.

It should be emphasized, though, that a player’s production of points isn’t the same as his production of wins. Wins in the NBA are determined by the team’s ability to gain and keep possession of the ball (i.e., turnovers, steals and rebounds) and the team’s ability to convert those possessions into points (i.e., shooting efficiency).

Scoring totals are certainly increased by a player’s shooting efficiency. But as Bosh and Love know, scoring totals are also determined by shot attempts. And this is where the game within the game is played. Shot attempts are a finite resource and are generally not “created” by players. If fact, the numbers suggest that these attempts are really just “taken” from teammates. One of my favorite examples illustrating this story is what happened when Carmelo Anthony was traded from the Denver Nuggets to the New York Knicks in 2011. With Anthony, the Nuggets averaged 80.0 field goal attempts per game, with Anthony taking 19.3 of these attempts. Once Anthony went to the Knicks, the Nuggets averaged 82.2 field goal attempts per game (and actually saw their shooting efficiency increase).

A somewhat similar story is told when LeBron left the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010. In the 2009-10 season – with LeBron on the roster – the Cavaliers averaged 77.9 field goal attempts per game. Without LeBron the next season, the Cavaliers averaged 81.1 field goal attempts per game. Unfortunately for Cleveland, although the team shot more without LeBron, the team’s shooting efficiency also declined significantly.

So without LeBron, the Cavalier players got to take more shots. But they also won 42 fewer games. Much of this can actually be traced to LeBron. Not only does LeBron produce wins by shooting efficiently, he also is a very good passer. And these passes enhance the shooting efficiency of his teammates (this is something Anthony does not do as well).

That means that when you play with LeBron, you get to win more often. But because a player loses shot attempts to LeBron (his career average is 19.9 field goal attempts per game), his teammates give up shot attempts and scoring.

All of this highlights the game within the game in the NBA. Yes, players prefer winning to losing. But players are also rewarded for scoring. Since a team’s shot attempts are finite, players are also competing with each other for opportunities to score. When that competition is lost, players are unhappy. And this is true even if a player is paid millions and wins titles.

It should be emphasized that the second competition – over shot attempts – can undermine a team’s ability to win the first competition (i.e., win the game). Passing the ball helps a team win. But since players are rewarded most for scoring, they actually have an incentive to pass less. So next time you see an NBA star launch an ill-advised shot rather than make the obvious pass, you should remember: players are not just rewarded by winning games, they are also rewarded when they win the other game within the game.

David Berri is a professor of economics at Southern Utah University. He is the lead author of The Wages of Wins and Stumbling on Wins and continues to serve on the editorial board of both Journal of Sports Economics and the International Journal of Sport Finance.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME

Why You Can’t Find the Baseball Playoff Game on TV

Baseball Matt Carpenter
St. Louis Cardinals' Matt Carpenter hits an RBI single during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers in Milwaukee on Sept. 7, 2014. Morry Gash—AP

Big events, like the final games of the Major League season, are moving to harder-to-find cable networks. And cost of your cable bill is only getting biggger

At a Bay Area retirement community this past Monday, a group of elderly baseball fans gathered in a room to watch their San Francisco Giants take on the Washington Nationals in the National League playoffs. One problem: the game was nowhere to be found on the TV. The MLB Network, a league-owned cable outlet that requires a special subscription in many areas, was airing the game. The old folks were out of luck, until a worker called the cable company for a quick fix. “An associate and I were able to negotiate a deal (probably not such a good one) to get the game and the channel instantly,” a worker at the retirement community told the San Francisco Chronicle, “for an additional $18/month.”

These retirees weren’t alone: the Chronicle reported that its sports desk fielded over 150 calls from fans trying to find a playoff game on TV. The migration of sports programming away from free TV is nothing new. But now even the crown jewels are on cable. For the first time ever, the bulk of baseball’s two league championship series will air on cable channels. TBS will carry the American League Championship Series between the Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals, which starts Friday; Fox Sports 1, the network Rupert Murdoch launched in August 2013 to compete with ESPN, will handle Games 2-5, and Game 7, of the National Championship Series between the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals, which starts on Saturday. The Fox network will broadcast Game 1 and Game 6.

The baseball playoffs have moved way down the dial. I, for one, never thought I’d be watching a league championship series on Channel 99, home of Fox Sports 1 in my New York City neighborhood.

TBS broadcast the Final Four national semifinal games last season, will do so again this coming season, and will add the title game in 2016. The Super Bowl still rotates between CBS, NBC, and Fox: the Super Bowl of college football, the championship game of the new College Football Playoff, will be on ESPN. The sports cable boom isn’t going anywhere: on Monday, the NBA announced that it extended its rights deal with ESPN and TNT through the 2024-2025 season. These networks will pay the NBA a combined $2.66 billion a year, almost triple what they pay in the current contract.

Such lucrative agreements fatten the wallets of players and owners. But they do consumers no favors; they’re driving up the cost of cable. An FCC study shows that the average monthly cable bill for expanded basic service grew 30%, to $64.41 between 2008 and 2013. According to SNL Kagan, a media research firm, sports networks account for 40% of the fees that operators pay cable network to carry their programming.

Operators pass those costs along to consumers, while building in some margin for themselves. So if ESPN and TNT are tripling their investment in the NBA until 2025, they’re going to charge operators more to finance this investment, further spiking your bill. According to SNL Kagan data, ESPN and TNT are already the two most expensive national basic cable networks: operators pay an average of $6.04 per month per subscriber to carry ESPN, and $1.44 per month for TNT. That’s right: ESPN can command a price that’s three-times as high as the second most-expensive national basic cable channel. Four of the top-10 most expensive basic cable networks are sports channels (ESPN, NFL Network, ESPN2, Fox Sports 1). Two others — TNT and TBS — feature high-profile sports content like the NBA regular season and playoffs, the baseball playoffs, and March Madness. (Disney Channel, Fox News, USA, and Nickelodeon round out the Top 10, according to SNL Kagan).

In some areas, the regional sports networks are among the most expensive for operators to carry. For example Fox Sports North, which serves Minnesota, Wisconsin, and other states, costs $4.67 per subscriber per month. Comcast SportsNet Washington (DC) costs $4.60 per month. NESN, in New England, costs $4.22. The rates dwarf the top-tier, non-ESPN basic cable nets like TNT ($1.44), CNN ($0.61), MTV ($0.47) and AMC ($0.39). The network that shows Minnesota Twins games is nearly 12 times more expensive than the one that airs “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.”

Over the past five years, ESPN’s carriage fees have jumped 48%. NFL Network fees are up 100%. CNN’s have spiked 22%; fees for Lifetime Television are up 18%. Two forces have driven — and will continue to drive — the accelerated growth in sports cable prices.

First, sports remain DVR-proof. You can record a great TV show, and catch up to it later while fast-forwarding the commercials. (Just stay away from spoilers.) A great sporting event is perishable: going back three days later to watch a Super Bowl just doesn’t make much sense. “Sports is an anomaly,” says Derek Baine, research director at SNL Kagan. “People watch it live.” So ESPN and other sports networks can still attract advertisers, and this ad revenue allows these networks to keep upping the ante for sports rights.

Second, blame Murdoch. If the Fox chairman is going to mount a serious run at ESPN, Fox Sports 1 needs big events. This year’s NLCS, in many respects, is a dress rehearsal. Murdoch’s presence alone made ESPN and TNT pay a premium for the NBA; the networks knew that if they didn’t ante up, Fox would likely swoop in. Fox Sports 1 and other new outlets like NBCSN (NBC Sports Network) increase competition for rights, which create bidding wars that drive up cable bills.

The more expensive monthly bills may not be a bad deal for avid sports fans. For less than $10.00 per month, ESPN comes out to pennies on the hour. But if you don’t want sports, you’re getting rooked. Since cable companies bundle channel packages, you have to pay premiums for ESPN and other sports networks in order to get the stuff you want. Sen. John McCain has pushed for “a la carte” cable — just pay for the channels you know you’ll watch. He won’t get his way any time soon though. The cable industry is fine with their bundled revenues, thank you. The sports boom is just too good. No matter how it costs you.

 

 

TIME College Sports

The Long and Winding Road to Paying College Players

The man who helped win free agency for NFL and NBA players is seeking the same for college athletes

Over the past few months, the movement to pay college players has gained unprecedented momentum. In August, a federal judge ruled that college football and basketball players can earn a share of licensing revenues from the use of their name, image, and likeness. (The NCAA has since appealed the ruling.) An athlete can access these funds, which will be placed in a trust, when he or she has graduated or left the school. Schools can cap the pay, but the minimum cap is $5,000 per year.

This verdict in the so-called “O’Bannon” case – a former UCLA hoops star filed a lawsuit in 2009 after realizing he wasn’t being compensated for his likeness being used in a college basketball video game – came a few days after the NCAA voted to let schools in the Big 5 power conferences – the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12 and SEC – have autonomy to write their own rules. These schools are prepared to give all their athletes a stipend that covers the full cost of attendance, which amounts to anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 above the value of their athletic scholarships.

In March, a regional director for the National Labor Relations Board said that football players from Northwestern University could form a union, since these students act as employees of the school. Northwestern appealed the decision; the NLRB’s national office has yet to rule on the appeal. One just-released paper, to be published in the Hofstra Labor and Employment Law Journal, argues that the players should win.

(MORE: TIME Cover Story — It’s Time To Pay College Athletes)

However, an even bigger threat to the amateur model looms ahead: the lawyer who helped win free agency for NFL and NBA players is seeking the same open market for college athletes. Jeffrey Kessler, a partner at the Winston & Strawn law firm, filed an anti-trust lawsuit in March that could fundamentally alter college sports. The O’Bannon suit was limited to intellectual property rights: could athletes profit from their names, images, and likeness?

“We’re aiming to enjoin the restrictions placed on Division 1 basketball and major college football players from being compensated for their services, given the huge amount of revenue generated from these sports,” says Kessler, one of the top sports labor attorneys in the country. “What will be decided is whether it’s legal to have a rule that schools cannot compensate athletes at all.”

Kessler’s case won’t go to trial until fall of 2015, at the earliest. If he prevails, the courts may force the NCAA to adopt a true pay-for-play system, which the organization has long dreaded. The mechanics of paying players — do you just pay the football and men’s basketball players, and no one else? Should there be any limits? — are daunting. But the O’Bannon ruling sets some strong precedent for Kessler. The judge in that case, Claudia Wilken, may not have torpedoed the college sports model with her ruling. But she seems to invite someone else to do so.

Her opinion condemns the NCAA, and knocks down some of the most common justifications for limiting compensation for athletes to the value of the scholarship. “The evidence … demonstrates that student-athletes are harmed by the price-fixing agreement among FBS football and Division 1 basketball schools,” Wilken writes.

“It is also not clear why paying student-athletes would be any more problematic for campus relations than paying other students who provide services to the university, such as members of the student government or school newspaper,” Wilken writes in another section.

(MORE: College Athletes Need To Unionize, Now)

There’s nothing amateur about college sports. Conferences own their own television networks. Schools switched conferences to capture more revenues. Coaches salaries have skyrocketed: Newsday just reported that the average compensation for coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision – the top tier of college football schools – is $1.75 million per year. That number has spiked nearly 75% over the past seven years. Athletes deserve their fair share.

Kessler picked the right time to mount a challenge. “There’s a growing recognition from the courts, the public, the fans, and even the schools that the current system is fundamentally unfair,” says Kessler. “We think change is coming.”

 

TIME NBA

A Microsoft Guy Bought the Clippers So Now iPads Will ‘Probably’ Be Banned

Los Angeles Clippers Fan Festival
The new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Steve Ballmer, addresses the media after being introduced for the first time during the Los Angeles Clippers Fan Festival on August 18, 2014, in Los Angeles Jeff Gross—Getty Images

Expect to see some Surface tablets on the team bench instead

One of Steve Ballmer’s first acts as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers might be to do away with the team’s iPads.

In an interview with Reuters on his plans for the NBA franchise he bought for $2 billion a few months ago, the former Microsoft CEO revealed that the fate of all the Apple devices used by the team’s staff was one of the first things head coach Doc Rivers brought up.

“It’s one of the first things he said to me: ‘We are probably going to get rid of these iPads, aren’t we?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, we probably are.’ But I promised we would do it during the off-season,” Ballmer said.

Not surprising, considering that Ballmer was the CEO of Apple’s major competitor for 14 years and is still the company’s largest individual shareholder. In fact, his loyalty to his old company is so strong that no one in his family is allowed to use an iPhone. So why should his team be any different?

“Most of the Clippers are on Windows, some of the players and coaches are not,” he told Reuters.

If the ban goes ahead, any iPads the team uses for courtside strategy will most likely be replaced by Microsoft’s Surface tablets.

The Clippers, under Ballmer’s ownership, will hope to emerge from the shadow of their former owner Donald Sterling, who was banned from the NBA and forced to sell his team earlier this year after racist comments he made to his then girlfriend became public.

[Reuters]

TIME NBA

NBA Player Got Arrested Again After Domestic Violence Charges

Jeff Taylor
Charlotte Bobcats guard Jeff Taylor (44) shoots during the first half of an NBA basketball game between the Indiana Pacers and the Charlotte Bobcats (now the Hornets) in Indianapolis on Dec. 13, 2013. Aj Mast — AP

He had been booked on domestic assault charges earlier the same day

Police in East Lansing, Mich., reportedly arrested Charlotte Hornets small forward Jeff Taylor for a second time on Thursday afternoon and charged the player with malicious destruction of a building.

The damage inflicted on the building was valued at less than $200, and he was later bonded out, according to a local NBC affiliate.

The arrest comes only hours after Taylor was charged with domestic assault, assault and malicious destruction of property.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, the Swedish-American small forward was allegedly involved in an altercation at the East Lansing Marriott; however, authorities have yet to release a detailed account of what happened, according to ESPN.

“The Charlotte Hornets were made aware of the incident involving Jeffery Taylor early this evening. The organization is in the process of gathering more information and doing our due diligence,” read a statement released by the Hornets. “This is a matter that we take very seriously.”

An NBA spokesperson reportedly told the sports broadcaster that the league had commenced an investigation into the matter as well.

The allegations of Taylor’s misconduct come days after the NBA promised to review its policies regarding domestic violence in the wake of the NFL’s recent experiences with Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson.

“We learn from other league’s experiences. We’re studying everything that’s been happening in the NFL,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver told a press conference in New York City earlier this week.

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