Oregon Athletics

Report: Initial decision to ban Brandon Austin from Providence campus was overturned

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When it was announced in early January that now-former Oregon guard Brandon Austin had officially transferred in from Providence, head coach Dana Altman stated that discussions with the Providence coaching staff alleviated any concerns with regards to why the freshman was suspended.

“That’s always something that we consider very strongly,” Altman said at the time. “But in talking with their coaching staff, we felt like this was something that was not of a serious nature and we’d be able to move on from there.”

Of course a lot has changed in the months since Austin’s arrival in Eugene, with a sexual assault investigation leading to the dismissals of Austin, Damyean Dotson and Dominic Artis (no criminal charges were filed due to a lack of evidence) earlier this month. During the press conference announcing the dismissal of those players, athletic director Rob Mullens said that neither he nor Altman were aware of the sexual assault investigation that led to the suspensions of Austin and then-teammate Rodney Bullock at Providence.

Whether or not one believes that to be the case is up for debate. And apparently, so was Austin’s status at Providence according to a report by Lynn Arditi of the Providence Journal. According to Arditi’s report the school disciplinary board that looked into the allegations initially ruled that Austin should be banned from campus until the spring of 2015, only to have their decision overturned.

The board found that “a preponderance of evidence” supported a finding of “sexual misconduct I,” which includes non-consensual sexual penetration, violation No. 14 in the college’s student handbook. It voted to suspend Austin through the fall semester of 2014, the letter states.

During that period, Austin was “not permitted to be present on any Providence College owned or leased property without the express, written permission’’ of one of several college administrators.

According to the story vice president of student affairs Kristine Goodwin reviewed Austin’s appeal of the board’s decision, ruling in late December that she could not support the original decision and instead ruled that Austin would not be allowed to play in games or sit on the bench for the remainder of the season.

The question to be asked is what Goodwin saw in the original report that led to her reversal of the board’s decision to ban Austin from campus until the spring semester in 2015. But given student privacy laws, will the answer ever be learned?

Nigel Hayes’ comment on basketball brands hits on greater point

Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes (10) drives on Ohio State's Jae'Sean Tate (1) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Madison, Wis. Hayes had a team-high 21 points in Wisconsin's 79-68 win. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)
AP Photo/Andy Manis
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Much is made about the ball when it comes to how the sport of basketball is played and rightfully so, as the ball is the most important piece of equipment. Different brands have different characteristics, and with college basketball programs being able to pick the ball they use for home games there are adjustments to be made during the season.

Wisconsin will play at No. 2 Maryland Saturday, meaning that in the days leading up to the game the Badgers needed to get used to the Under Armour basketball. The brand became a conversation point in the aftermath of Maryland’s win over No. 4 Iowa last month, with the Hawkeyes (while not blaming the ball for their loss) made note of the differences between the Under Armour ball and the Nike ball they use for their home games.

Thursday Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes offered up his observations on the basketball while also pointing out (albeit sarcastically) the goal of intercollegiate athletics.

“It’s definitely different,” Hayes said. “Personally, we don’t like it too much. I don’t like the Under Armour ball whatsoever. But that’s the way this amateur sports league is set up. We’re supposed to be having fun, but all the money is in these basketballs that colleges play with. But it’s an amateur sport, we’re just here for fun. It’s not really that serious. So I guess any ball should be OK.

“Maybe we should have a universal ball like the NBA. You don’t go to the Clippers’ stadium and play with a Nike and then go to Golden State and play with a Rawlings. But in this amateur sport of college, where money isn’t the goal — it’s the student education and experience that you get — we play with a million different basketballs.”

Hayes makes a good point here, and in regards to the NBA all hell would break loose under similar circumstances (remember the leather vs. microfiber composite controversy in 2006?). If these games are solely about fun and the college experience, wouldn’t having one ball used by all schools better fit that mission? This isn’t the biggest of deals when it comes to “amateur” athletics, as different basketball brands have been used for years.

But Hayes was able to take this situation and work it into the discussion of the goals of intercollegiate athletics. Is it about the experience? Or does the ability to profit, be it through a minor move such as using a particular ball or the more impactful step of moving from one conference to another, take precedence? Given the shifts that have occurred in college sports in recent years, it’s quite apparent that the search for additional revenue streams has won out.

Hayes did note that neither he nor his teammates would make excuses, saying that the team would simple “have to get used to” the unfamiliar basketball according to the Wisconsin State Journal. In the end, this was a good use of sarcasm by Hayes to make a greater point about the collegiate athletics machine he and his teammates are but minor parts of.

Marquette fan sends Providence money for missed free throw

Providence's Kris Dunn reacts to his shot during the first half of an NCAA basketball game against Villanova, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
AP Photo/Chris Szagola
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It goes without saying that sports can inspire some interesting promises, from players and coaches guaranteeing victory to fans making statements that hinge on the outcome of a particular game or play (see: tattoos celebrating a team’s triumphs before they’ve even won the game in question). For one Marquette fan, the need for Providence’s Kris Dunn to miss a free throw during Wednesday night’s game (which Marquette won in overtime) inspired him to make a promise that he intended to keep.

Jamey Schilling took the approach of yelling that he’d pay Dunn $10 if he missed the free throw. Sure enough Dunn missed the shot, and Schilling made good on his promise. But with players themselves unable to receive such funds due to NCAA rules, Schilling sent the check to the Providence athletic department.

Schilling’s gesture did not go unnoticed by Marquette either, as the school sent him a gift card to use in the Marquette Spirit Shop.

H/T For The Win