Pat Forde

  • Why it looks more likely the NCAA will go soft on N.C.'s men's basketball program

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    For years, people have been asking when NCAA justice would be delivered unto North Carolina for its 18 years of academic misconduct that benefited more than 1,000 athletes.

    Those questions intensified as the Tar Heels men's basketball program – whose players were proportionally one of the most enthusiastic participants in the African and Afro-American Studies bogus classes scandal – advanced to this year's NCAA tournament championship game. The sense among many fan bases was that the Tar Heels were getting away scot-free, and those fan bases wanted to know when the hammer would fall.

    Today, we are closer to an answer.

    And that answer looks even more like never.

    The school received an amended NCAA Notice of Allegations Monday, nearly 11 months after the initial notice arrived. There still are five Level I allegations – the most serious violations in the NCAA penalty structure – but some things have changed.

    "I think that is a question for the NCAA," he said. "I've got to deal with the five we have."

  • Breaking down the cost of everything in Ludacris' rider for Georgia's spring game

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago

    When Ludacris' ludicrous shopping list for his appearance at Georgia's G-Day spring football game became public Tuesday, the questions came quickly:


    How much did all this cost?

    And how hard was it to find?

    There was only one thing for a reporter to do: get to the grocery store with Luda's list and price it out. So that's what I did Wednesday morning, putting myself in the role of Georgia's shopper for the rap star who would perform prior to Kirby Smart's first public show as football coach of the Bulldogs.

    About 80 minutes of retail scavenger hunting later, my empathy for the unknown Georgia athletic department staffer assigned to this chore was immense. Ludacris was booked in a hurry (just a few days before the game), and so the shopping had to be done in a hurry. This required SEC speed.

    Damn Good Dawg, as they say in Athens.

    In addition to the dozen white towels ("No old towels," the rider says) and a meal for 10, here is a verbatim, line-item look at what it cost to properly pamper Mr. Cris:

  • Michael Phelps sizes up international competition ahead of Olympics

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 15 days ago

    MESA, Ariz. – There is no greater student of the sport of swimming than the greatest of all swimmers, Michael Phelps.

    So rest assured, he’s been watching the world as several of the top swimming nations recently staged their Olympic qualifying meets. It’s time to start figuring out where Phelps and the other Americans stand as they head toward the Olympic trials in Omaha in June.

    “That’s something I’ve always paid attention to my whole career,” Phelps said here Wednesday, a day before he will compete in the Mesa Arena Pro swim meet as the last competitive tune-up before Omaha. “It gives us an idea where the rest of the world is, and where we need to be to be in the mix.”

    Right now, not a single American male is No. 1 in the world in any of the 13 individual events that will be contested in the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August. Of course, none of the top Americans have competed on full rest yet in 2016, so that assuredly will change after the U.S. trials. For now, though, at least the Yanks can start to see who the prime competition will be.

    “Those guys are tough,” Phelps said. “They have so many younger guys coming up; that’s really exciting to me.”


  • The most confusing hires of the college basketball coaching carousel

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 17 days ago

    Just seven of the 65 basketball coaching jobs in power-five football conferences have come open in 2016, a low number. Most of the replacements made sense.

    At Oklahoma State, Travis Ford was replaced by Stephen F. Austin coach Brad Underwood. His 89-14 record in three seasons, including two NCAA tournament victories, pretty much demanded an upgrade.

    At Rutgers, Eddie Jordan was replaced by Stony Brook’s Steve Pikiell. Any change is good at the State University of New Jersey, which lunged at Jordan as a stop-the-bleeding hire after the Mike Rice Jr. fiasco. Pikiell, with five straight 20-win seasons and a ’16 NCAA tournament berth, should improve the miserable product immediately.

    At TCU, they hit an alma-mater home run with the hiring of Jamie Dixon away from Pittsburgh. This is instant credibility for a program that had very little.

    And then there is the temporary insanity that seems to have gripped the Atlantic Coast Conference – specifically Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh. The hires there, made by a pair of respected athletic directors, boggle the mind.

    Buy your season tickets today!

    Memphis’ final Pomeroy Rating in 2016: 72. Georgia Tech’s, under Gregory: 49.

  • Louisville imposes more sanctions on basketball team in wake of escort scandal

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 22 days ago

    Louisville is self-imposing more sanctions on its men's basketball team.

    The school will announce Wednesday that it is stripping itself of two scholarships and two official visits in the coming years. The scholarship reductions, from the NCAA maximum of 13, will be one apiece for 2017-18 and 2018-19. The official visit reductions will be one apiece this year and in 2016-17.

    Louisville will also reduce its recruiting days by 30 this year – missing 24 this month and the remaining six in July. That is an approximate 24 percent reduction in recruiting opportunities for the season.

    "After much deliberation, the University believes that self-imposing these penalties is appropriate," outside legal counsel Steve Thompson said in a Louisville release issued Wednesday. "While the University could elect to wait until the infractions process is complete, those consulted agree that these penalties are consistent with NCAA legislation, and imposing these penalties now is the right thing to do and may advance the University's goal of expediting resolution of this matter."

  • How Villanova's Kris Jenkins delivered the most thrilling national title ever

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 23 days ago

    HOUSTON – Kris Jenkins had the national championship trophy in his hands. National championship hat on his head. National championship net threaded through the back of the hat.

    As NRG Stadium still buzzed with the aftershocks from the greatest ending the NCAA tournament has ever seen, Jenkins stood on the podium and faced the stadium big screen. He was waiting for the show every college basketball player dreams of starring in.

    The music started, and he sucked in his lips. “One Shining Moment” played. Kris Jenkins watched – still in something of a dream state – and shook his head. Like he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

    When the video montage of the 2016 tournament came to its final scene – Jenkins swishing the buzzer-beating 3-pointer that lifted Villanova past North Carolina, 77-74, a climactic shot that pushes Lorenzo Charles, Keith Smart, Mario Chalmers, Christian Laettner and every other hero down a notch in March Madness lore – Jenkins nodded.

    Making the shot? He could believe that.

    “Kris Jenkins lives for that moment,” Villanova coach Jay Wright had said moments earlier.

    “Wow,” he thought, “we’re really national champions. Who would have thought?”

    Jenkins’ Jumper.

  • Approaching retirement age, UNC's Roy Williams as feisty and thin-skinned as ever

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 25 days ago

    HOUSTON – Roy Williams lives at a conflicted intersection. He fancies himself a fighter but has an emotional glass jaw.

    He will say he doesn't care about the critical things that are occasionally said and written about him, but some of them still seem to crawl inside his self-acknowledged thin skin and take root. After beating Syracuse on Saturday night, Williams said he was looking for a couple of Orange fans he heard taunt him pregame about losing in the 2003 national title game.

    At his core, Williams badly wants to be liked and respected despite working in a business where enemies are made all the time. The Appalachian kid who was raised poor by a single parent seems to crave being embraced and understood. Yet basketball coaches are booed and misunderstood routinely.

    It's a nearly impossible balance he's been trying to achieve for all these years.

    Even now, at age 65 and worth millions, the leader of the North Carolina Tar Heels seems to vacillate between hard feelings and hurt feelings. In fact, maybe more so now than ever.

    More will be written Monday night if the Heels win it. North Carolina and its coach should go ahead and brace for that now.

    It didn't happen.

  • Four storylines to watch in the Final Four

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 27 days ago

    HOUSTON – Four storylines for the Final Four:

    No. 1: The question came up last week: When was the last time a scorer like Buddy Hield made the Final Four?

    The answer: a long time ago. Like, before any of the current college players were born.

    Until Hield and his 25.4 points-per-game average got here, the Final Four hasn’t had a 25 ppg scorer since Glen Rice of Michigan (25.6) in 1989. Rice also set the NCAA tournament scoring record that season, racking up 184 points in six games. Hield will have to average 34 points over two games here to surpass that total.

    That isn’t likely. And it’s flatly impossible for Hield to boost his season average high enough to overtake James Daniel of Howard (27.1) for the national scoring title. Last time the scoring champion played in the Final Four was all the way back in 1960.

    That was Oscar Robertson, who sat next to Hield on the interview podium at NRG Stadium on Friday as the Oklahoma guard was given the Oscar Robertson Trophy as the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Player of the Year. Robertson averaged a whopping 33.7 points per game as a senior at Cincinnati.

    No. 2: How much will previous results matter Saturday?

  • How Lon Kruger's long odyssey led him back to the Final Four

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 28 days ago

    HOUSTON – Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione pulled up to a new house in Las Vegas in the spring of 2011 to make a major recruiting pitch.

    It wasn't so much to Lon Kruger, coach of the UNLV Runnin' Rebels.

    It was more to Kruger's wife, Barb.

    "Joe came into our home and I was still unpacking boxes in our dream home we'd just built from the ground up," Barb Kruger recalled. "We designed it with an architect. It had everything we wanted."

    And now Castiglione's job was to convince her to leave the dream home before she'd even settled in. He wanted the Krugers to come to Oklahoma, so Lon could perform one more rebuilding job in a career full of them.

    Lon had already told Castiglione no on the phone – the discussion never got to the point where he told Barb about it. But Castiglione persisted, and pushed for the face-to-face meeting – he knew Kruger was the right guy for a program that had veered off course and into NCAA trouble under Jeff Capel. Finally, Lon started to listen – but he knew he had a tough sell at home.

    Barb's initial reaction when Lon told her he was considering the job: "Are you kidding?"

  • Height of hypocrisy: Michigan limiting Spike Albrecht's transfer options

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 29 days ago

    HOUSTON – Just like every big-event gathering of college administrators and coaches, there will be a lot of posturing and pontificating here at this Final Four about student-athlete welfare. And putting players first. And empowering them. And so forth.

    That is the formulaic rhetoric. But here is what’s happening right now in the real world, on a real college campus to a real student-athlete: He’s being held hostage by conference rules and a coach’s controlling instincts.

    At Michigan, guard Spike Albrecht is completing his undergraduate degree this semester. On Monday he announced his intention to transfer elsewhere and play immediately as a graduate transfer. Part of the reason for this is the fact that Albrecht has been recruited over – there would be no room for him at Michigan as a fifth-year player, something coach John Beilein made clear months ago, before Albrecht redshirted this season to have double hip surgery.

    “There are 334 other schools he can go to,” Beilein told Yahoo Sports on Wednesday, almost getting the math right on 351 minus the other 13 Big Ten members. “He has a lot of choices.”

    But neither does Chuck Albrecht want to take this lying down.