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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Saturday, March 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Couch Slouch

Syracuse University, perhaps the nation’s premier institution of higher learning in terms of balancing academic excellence with athletic achievement, has announced it will offer the first-ever U.S. bachelor’s degree in sports analytics.

“Moneyball” is now a teachable moment, at the yearly cost of $43,318 in tuition and fees.

Beginning in August 2017, students at Syracuse will get a chance to acquire a “deep understanding of math, statistics, research methodology, sport economics, database management, finance and computer programming integral to sport analytics.”

Boy, what a babe magnet that’s going to be.

The program also includes a mandatory foreign language requirement, largely to prepare its students to better comprehend Mel Kiper Jr. in the months leading up to the annual NFL draft.

Data uber-wonk Nate Silver, a 2000 graduate of the University of Chicago, announced he was voiding his B.A. in economics and immediately enrolling at Syracuse “to earn the degree I was put on this Earth for.”

The sports-analytics initiative indicates the forward thinking Syracuse often has demonstrated in regard to academics and athletics.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for data analysts is growing at 27 percent; data analysts also score remarkably well at and eHarmony.

And, of course, analytics is a boom industry in the sports world right now – heck, just this month the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes hired as their general manager a 26-year-old numbers nerd who last year was playing EA Sports NHL most weekday evenings.

Syracuse is so ahead of the curve, it also plans to offer the nation’s first degree in “sports misconduct” – concentrating on Division I transgressions – allowing the university to lean heavily on its own real-world experiences. That program will include the following courses of study:

Failing to Promote Compliance of NCAA Rules. How to ignore NCAA regulations and avoid NCAA scrutiny for a decade or longer. Jim Boeheim, instructor.

Intro to Coaching While Suspended. An examination of new-age techniques of keeping tabs on your team from home, undetected, with emphasis on burner phones. Jim Boeheim, instructor.

Violating Your Own Written Drug Policy 101. Up-close examples of how student-athletes can test positive for drugs up to three times and remain eligible. Jim Boeheim, instructor.

Declining Comment on Ongoing Investigations. A P.R. tutorial on crisis management, informed by the Orange basketball coach’s stock phrase, “I don’t know anything about it.” Jim Boeheim, instructor.

The Art of the Self-Imposed Ban. How a school can get ahead of its repeated malfeasances by punishing itself before the NCAA limps in. Former athletic director Daryl Gross, instructor.

Providing Improper Benefits to Student-Athletes. Weekly seminar to be held on-site at YMCA of Oneida, N.Y.; features free gym membership for first 90 days. Oneida YMCA CEO Hank Leo, instructor.

Intro to Institutional Plausible Deniability. Ways and means for top administrators to act as if nothing is wrong. Former chancellor Nancy Cantor, instructor.

Assistant Coaching Under Duress. Graduate-level workshop explores problem-solving for beleaguered assistants, such as how to counterbalance a sex probe with layup drills. Bernie Fine, instructor.

Receiving Improper Assistance on Coursework. As a rule, you should never resubmit a subpar paper too quickly – this raises a red flag. Fab Melo, instructor.

One-and-Done. The ins-and-outs of getting the most out of the university in a single year, or a single semester. Carmelo Anthony, instructor.

Navigating the Criminal Justice System In Case Of… An A-to-Z guide for the cosmopolitan student-athlete – from selection of a legal team to finding a “fall guy” – in the event of assault, battery, DWI/DUI, drug possession, drug trafficking, prostitution solicitation, grand larceny, money laundering, shoplifting, harassment or disorderly conduct charges. Derrick Coleman, instructor; Cris Carter, guest lecturer.

Ask The Slouch

Q. Would the Thunder be the first team escorted to a title by NBA refs since the Red Auerbach-led Celtics in the 1960s? (Howard Littman; Chicago)

A. It doesn’t make any sense that OKC is getting all the calls – the Thunder have only one Duke player on their roster.

Q. Why would the U.S. Department of Justice be investigating state-sponsored doping by Russian athletes? (Geoff Tucker; Washington, D.C.)

A. Because, at the moment, there is very little injustice to look at in the U.S.

Q. Lenny Dykstra says he used to put HGH in his cereal. Is that why it’s the breakfast of champions? (Don Packer; Charleston, W.Va.)

A. Actually, I’ve always felt that Frosted Flakes alone is a PED.

Q. Given the Raiders’ long history of keeping their options open, how long after they move to Las Vegas will they say the NFL can’t put a team in London because they’ve claimed that market? (Rich Petre; Denver)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!

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