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Good News From NCAA is Refreshing
The GIST: Four women’s basketball coaches are finally getting paid, and Big Ten football teams are gearing up for their opening weekend of play. All good news from the NCAA...how refreshing!
Tell me about the women: The University of Connecticut (UConn) paid out nearly $250,000 to seven women after an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department found that they were underpaid. Four of these women were members of legendary coach Geno Auriemma’s 2014 women’s basketball coaching staff.
- The 2013–14 UConn team, led by 2020 WNBA Finals MVP Breanna Stewart, went an incredible 40-0 before winning the 2014 NCAA Championship. Good on UConn for resolving the disparity! And because it’s always a good time to say it loud and proud: Equal. Pay.
Hell yeah! And what’s happening in the Big Ten?: After v. chaotic back and forth negotiations, Big Ten teams will finally begin their football seasons this weekend. The opening weekend matchup to watch is No. 5 Ohio State vs. Nebraska, featuring two of the coaches who most aggressively advocated for a return to play. Spicy.
- The noon E.T. battle will also spotlight Heisman trophy candidate quarterback (QB) Justin Fields as he tries to lead his Buckeyes through a condensed schedule and into the college football playoffs. Tough bid, but we have faith in the QB1 star.
Any other college sports news?: You bet. And it’s even more good news: earlier this year, the NCAA Division 1 council designated Election Day (November 3rd) as a day off from games and practice to ensure student-athletes have time to participate in civic engagement.
⚾Tampa Bay and Los Angeles Are For 2020 Champions
The GIST: Tampa Bay has the Stanley Cup. LA has the NBA Championship. Now it’s up to the Tampa Bay Rays and LA Dodgers to decide once and for all (for 2020, at least), which sports city reigns supreme.
Tell me about it: The World Series kicked off on Tuesday, and it’s already proving to be a battle of the best. The Dodgers took Game 1 in a spectacular 8–3 win, with eight-time All Star pitcher Clayton Kershaw giving us a masterclass from the mound and fielder Mookie Betts stealing a base and winning tacos for the nation.
- The Rays were having none of that last night, though. They started the game with an early home run from Brandon “Bamm-Bamm” Lowe and never looked back, taking Game 2 with a 6–4 win.
- Still, history could be on the Dodgers’ side here: 20 of the last 25 World Series winners won Game 1, including 14 of the last 17. But the Rays love to disprove their perennial underdog status, and after last night’s dominating performance, we wouldn’t be surprised if they disprove this stat.
Awesome. Any other news?: Oh, just a little herstory. With her Game 1 call on ESPN Radio, Jessica Mendoza became the first woman ever to serve as an analyst in a World Series national broadcast. Tune in tomorrow night at 8 p.m. ET to hear the softball Hall of Famer and Olympic gold medalist call Game 3. We love to hear it.
🏆Russian Military Hackers Target Tokyo Olympics
What happened?: Earlier this week, U.K. security officials broke the news that Russia’s military intelligence service, GRU (how fitting), had been planning cyber attacks on the organizers and sponsors of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. Reminder: Russia is banned from all major international sporting events until 2023 due to widespread doping offenses.
- This news came just a day after U.S. authorities outed GRU for its cyber attacks on the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics. The malicious attacks wiped computer data and disabled networks in an effort to sabotage the Games. Confidential medical records of over 250 athletes were also stolen and published online. Just horrible.
What happens now?: Six Russian military officers have been charged by the FBI for their involvement in the PyeongChang attacks, which were said to have been done in retaliation of the doping ban and to further Russia’s geopolitical standing. We’re not sure sabotaging the beloved Olympics is gaining you any brownie points, Russia.
- The 2020 Games are still a go for next summer, and Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Katsunobu Katō, has assured Olympic organizers and participants that Japan will do everything it can to prevent cyberattacks. Anyway, off to watch Icarus...
🏈Eagles vs. Giants on Thursday Night Football
The GIST: The Eagles play the NY Giants tonight on Thursday Night Football (TNF). Even with a combined nine losses, this matchup is a battle for the top National Football Conference (NFC) East spot. 2020, you wild.
Bruised and beaten: The Birds are coming off a physically taxing game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday and have had little time for that much needed R&R. QB Carson Wentz took six sacks on Sunday (a lot for one game) but has to be ready to face the Giants’ defense, which is very capable of powering through the Eagles’ weak offensive line.
- Don’t expect a lot from the Eagles’ offense tonight, with key players like tight end (TE) Zach Ertz and running back (RB) Miles Sanders out with injuries. While this doesn’t not make us nervous, we’re hopeful wide receiver (WR) DeSean Jackson, who is returning from injury after three games, will make up some of the difference.
Showing some depth: Let’s not sugar coat it: the Eagles’ running game has struggled this season, but RB Boston Scott and QB Jalen Hurts hope to turn that around despite a tough NY defense. Hurts has been featured sparingly to fake handoffs and move the ball down the field himself while Scott, who is filling in for Sanders, earned a career-high 59 rushing yards against the Giants last year. Let’s hope he still has the G-men’s number.
- If the Eagles win, they’ll overtake the Dallas Cowboys for the top seed in the NFC East (mind-blowing, we know). Head coach Doug Pederson is 5-0 on Thursdays in his Eagles career, so here’s hoping there’s more where those came from.
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This Week in Golf, Soccer, Lacrosse
⛳️Golf: The LPGA should have teed off today in South Korea, but COVID-19 nixed those plans. Instead, the Drive On Championship at Reynolds Lake Oconee — a brand new stateside tournament — will fill our golf-loving hearts.
- Danielle Kang won the OG Drive On Championship back in August, and she’s back this weekend to try to win a matching trophy. Major winner and ultimate underdog Sophia Popov, American Lexi Thompson and World No. 2 Nelly Korda’s sister Jessica (sorry, Nelly’s sitting this one out) will try to make sure that doesn’t happen. Follow the leaderboard here.
⚽️Soccer: We have a name! The NWSL’s highly anticipated new team, based in Los Angeles, will be called Angel City FC (FC stands for Football Club). The league’s 11th team, which will start competing in 2022, also named additional investors to the already star-studded ownership group: WNBA star Candace Parker (and her daughter Lailaa, so cute), Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn (and her fiancé P.K. Subban) and tennis legend Billie Jean King (and her partner Ilana Kloss). Sounds like heaven.
🥍Lacrosse: Athletes Unlimited, a collection of new pro sports leagues that highlights women’s sports and works to put the athletes first, is introducing lacrosse as its newest undertaking. Joining the already successful softball and volleyball leagues, the lax league will feature some of the top American lacrosse stars.
- Superstar Kayla Treanor and her U.S. national team teammates Megan Douty, Michelle Tumolo and Emily Parros have all committed to the month-long series, which starts July 19th, 2021. Mark your calendar!