The Power Five’s effect on women’s basketball…and some NFL

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Breanna Stewart, Niels Giffey during UConn's First Night (AP)

Breanna Stewart, Niels Giffey during UConn’s First Night (AP)

 

Sometime soon, the Power Five football conferences will fund student-athlete stipends.

That’s as safe a bet as Auburn was with the 10.5 point spread in the national championship game.

UConn’s future isn’t nearly as certain.

This past Sunday, I wrote about the momentum from the NCAA convention and the potential consequence for UConn athletics.  I wrote exclusively about the effect on men’s basketball, and received an email Sunday night asking, “What about the women?”

My initial reaction was, “well, the women will be just fine.” Geno Auriemma has built a legitimate empire and it’s hard to imagine a $2,000 to $5,000 stipend comprising another decade of utter destruction.

Hard to imagine, yes, but not impossible.

It’s unnecessary to state that Auriemma must be one of the greatest coaches to ever live (but, yes, I’ll say it anyway). The dominance of UConn women’s hoops is among the most remarkable things in sports today.

It must be noted, though: When Auriemma gets a Maya Moore or Diana Taurasi or Breanna Stewart, he gets her for four years. As great a coach as he is, as well as his teams play together, much of the program’s success stems from its ability to secure that singular program-changing talent.

Because of UConn’s league affiliation, what if Auriemma is unable to offer stipends while Notre Dame, Duke, Stanford and Baylor can? What if that’s a deterrent in UConn’s pursuit of the next mega-recruit? (think about it: Two of the past four — Taurasi, Moore, Brittney Griner and Candace Parker — went to Storrs. A strong case can be made for Stewart as the next one in that group.)

The point: Because of its history, UConn will always pull All-Americans. It’ll always be in contention. But the potential lack of a stipend — insignificant as it may seem — could even the playing field, so to speak, in the recruitment of the All-American. And that could close the gap between UConn and everyone else, a separation that has never been wider than it is today.

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 Bill Belichick didn’t take the L too graciously this past weekend.

Belichick called out former Patriot Wes Welker for a supposedly illegal block on Aqib Talib. The Pats’ star corner was injured on the play. The Broncos, Demaryius Thomas in particular, were virtually unstoppable the rest of the way.

So on Monday, Belichick said this:  ”I’ll let the league handle the discipline on that play. It’s not for me to decide. It was one of the worst plays I’ve seen and that’s all I’m going to say about that.”

That was one of the most outrageous things I’ve heard Belichick say. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

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Half the world hates Richard Sherman. Now he knows how Belichick feels.

But can anyone dislike Peyton Manning?

If you hate Peyton Manning, I’m sorry, I automatically think you’re weird.

He’s one of the few universally respected/liked sports superstars. The others? I came up with Mariano Rivera, Kevin Durant, Tim Duncan, Calvin Johnson and Adrian Peterson.

Anyone else to add?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: General

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