Morning Sports Update

Damien Woody was ‘on the floor laughing’ at the Supreme Court’s unanimous NCAA ruling

ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum thinks "the next lawsuit will bury the NCAA."

Supreme Court NCAA
The United State Supreme Court in Washington on Monday, June 7, 2021. Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times

The Red Sox get a three-game series against the Rays underway tonight at 7:10 p.m.

Also tonight, the NBA holds its annual draft lottery at 8:30 p.m on ESPN. The Rockets, Pistons, and Magic each hold the joint best odds at top pick.

Reaction to the Supreme Court’s NCAA ruling: On Monday, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled to uphold a lower court ruling in Alston V. NCAA, a decision which ended the NCAA’s ability to block colleges from providing education related benefits for athletes. The benefits include providing laptops, tutoring, and paid internships (among other possibilities).

The court sided with a group of former college athletes (including former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston) in their assertion that the NCAA’s rules forbidding education-related compensation was inherently unfair and also violated federal antitrust laws.

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The ruling was not a decision on whether or not college athletes can be paid a salary by their school, but the language chosen by justices in their written decision hints at what the future might hold for the institution and its long-held assertions about amateurism.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in his concurring opinion, noted the undeniable tradition of NCAA athletics as a “part of the fabric of America.”

“But,” added Kavanaugh, “those traditions alone cannot justify the NCAA’s decision to build a massive money-raising enterprise on the backs of student athletes who are not fairly compensated. Nowhere else in America can businesses get away with agreeing not to pay their workers a fair market rate on the theory that their product is defined by not paying their workers a fair market rate. And under ordinary principles of antitrust law, it is not evident why college sports should be any different. The NCAA is not above the law.”

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During an episode of ESPN’s morning program “Get Up!” on Tuesday, college football analyst Paul Finebaum took a strong view of the court’s ruling and its eventual ramifications.

“This is the end of the NCAA as we know it,” said Feinbaum. “The funeral hasn’t happened yet, the last rights have not been uttered, but it’s over for the NCAA. It won’t happen tomorrow. It won’t happen next week, but the next lawsuit will bury the NCAA.”

Former Patriots offensive lineman Damien Woody, who played his college career at Boston College, expressed his joy at the ruling.

“I laughed so hard when that whole thing came down, I was on the floor laughing,” Woody, now an ESPN analyst, admitted. “The fact that someone could go buy you a hot dog and you could be in hot water [with the NCAA] and you see everyone else profiting off the backs of the student-athletes. You know, Mark Emmert making $4 million , coaches making $9-10 plus million dollars. Everyone talks about student-athletes, well guess what? If you’re student, there are certain courses you can’t even take because it interferes with the athletic side of it, so it’s all hypocrisy.”

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Later in the program, Woody was asked if he felt like football was his job when he was at Boston College, despite being a student at the time.

“Absolutely,” said Woody. “I knew why I was there. I was there to elevate the program. I was there to bring money in for the university. Everyone says ‘student-athlete,’ no, the athlete part comes first and the student part is secondary.”

Trivia: Which U.S. president played a critical role in the original founding of the NCAA in the early 20th century?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: While at Harvard, he was both a rower and a boxer.

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On this day: In 1986, Argentina faced England in the quarterfinals of the World Cup. Diego Maradona scored two goals to help his country defeat the English, 2-1. The first was infamous: The “hand of God,” in which Maradona deliberately used his fist to reach a ball in the air before England goalkeeper Peter Shilton. The referee failed to spot the handball, and Argentina had the lead.

But just in case there were any doubts about the legitimacy of Maradona’s brilliance, his second score would be known as the “goal of the century.”

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In an amazing sequence, he turned skillfully past two defenders inside Argentina’s half of the field before sprinting downfield, sidestepping multiple English players (including Shilton) to score what proved the winning goal. Argentina would go on to win its second World Cup, immortalizing Maradona in the tournament’s history.

Daily highlight: Denmark became the first nation in the history of the European Championship to advance to the knockout round despite losing their first two games thanks to a 4-1 win over Russia in Monday’s group stage game.

The Danes needed to achieve the necessary goal difference to advance, and did so thanks to a spectacular goal from defender Andreas Christensen after a wild sequence.

Trivia answer: Theodore Roosevelt

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