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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Does Big Sky have too many members?

On the remote chance that you actually care, I assume you can make up your own mind about that.

But I'll just say the conference's recent expansions have resulted in insanely unbalanced basketball schedules.

www.missoulian.com

This 2012 graphic from The Missoulian doesn't even include Idaho (basketball).

Biggest upset win in Idaho history?

If Idaho beat Florida State in a football game next Saturday, would that constitute a bigger upset victory than Idaho State defeating UCLA in an NCAA basketball tournament game back in 1977?

Idaho NCAA college athletes score well in academic performance report

Idaho's NCAA college athletes fared well in the latest report on academic performance, the State Board of Education learned at its meeting yesterday in Pocatello. The NCAA tracks student athletes on every Division 1 team, with scores awarded for eligibility, graduation, and retention for each student athlete on scholarship. Out of 1,000 possible points, Idaho State University got 983 in the latest report, which covers 2011-12; BSU, 977; and the University of Idaho, 961. Click below for the state board's full announcement.

College sports, coaches’ salaries, etc.

If you don't count a couple of angry letters to the editor written as a teenager in Vermont, I started my journalism career at an Arizona newspaper called the Daily Sun. Despite the name, it came out in the afternoon. At least it did then.

There was a veteran reporter on the staff who did a lot of good stuff. But the thing that made him a legend in certain circles was submitting his own work to the Pulitzer committee and subsequently referring to himself as "nominated for a Pulitzer Prize."

A few years later, I was working as a news reporter at The Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. Despite the name, it came out in the morning.

In 1981 I sat between two guys, Clark Hallas and Bob Lowe, who actually did win a Pulitzer for their work exposing various misdeeds connected to University of Arizona athletics.

I wrote the story about their award. And I still have a commemorative glass with that front page emblazoned on it. (I refer to it as my "Pulitzer" story, but no one in 30 years has ever thought that was funny.)

Anyway, I don't think the paper sold many of those glasses. You see, the reporting Lowe and Hallas did was not popular in the community. Car dealers pulled their advertising from the paper. News sources refused to speak to us. Et cetera.

I remember it changed the way I viewed Tucson a bit. Sure there was a vibrant progressive element in the city. But there were also a lot of college-sports booster/lunkheads.

In my experience, these people can be found everywhere big-time college sports is played. They like to think they have their priorities straight and that they should not be lumped in with knuckledragging sports zealots in places like Alabama and Oklahoma. But if someone criticizes their beloved "program," well, there's hell to pay.

So I smiled when I saw the story about the coaches being the best-paid employees of the state of Washington.

The Northwest is great in a lot of ways. But when it comes to taking college sports way too seriously, we have our head up our ass. Just like the rest of the country.  

How did the wrestler cross the road?

In the 165 weight class, North Idaho College's Jake Mason (in back) beat Lincoln's Rick Goerke in the NJCAA Wrestling Championship first round.

Who can cross a busy road better, a varsity wrestler or a psychology major? That question, which seems to beg for a punch line, actually provided the motivation for an unusual and rather beguiling new experiment in which student athletes were pitted against regular collegians in a test of traffic-dodging skill. The results were revelatory.

For the study, published last week in The Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, researchers at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recruited 36 male and female students, ages 18 to 22. Half were varsity athletes at the university, a Division I school, and they represented a wide variety of sports…

The rest of the volunteers were healthy young collegians but not athletes, from a variety of academic departments. New York Times, Full Story

…The student athletes completed more successful crossings than the nonathletes, by a significant margin, a result that might be expected of those in peak physical condition. But what was surprising — and thought-provoking — was that their success was not a result of their being quicker or more athletic.

Interesting article especially in light of the rash of car/pedestrian accidents in the Gonzaga area. Do you believe participation in sports is important or adds to the college experience?

Judge: Cheerleading Isn’t A Sport

Item: Judge: Competitive cheerleading is not an official college sport/New York Times

More Info: Competitive cheerleading is not an official sport that colleges can use to meet gender-equity requirements, a federal judge ruled Wednesday in ordering Quinnipiac University to keep its women’s volleyball team. The parties in the case said it was the first time the issue had been decided by a judge. Several volleyball players and their coach sued Quinnipiac, in Hamden, Conn., after it announced in March 2009 that it would eliminate the team for budgetary reasons and replace it with a competitive cheer squad

Question: Do you consider cheerleading to be a sport?