Tarnished Twenty: Tennis Archives
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The NCAA has reached a $75 million settlement agreement in the various concussion cases filed against it, with new guidelines proposed for each of its member schools.

According to USA Today, the proposed settlement doesn't include any damages for the individual plaintiffs named in the suits, but it allows these players to file "separate personal injury lawsuits." The $75 million instead will go toward medical monitoring for current and former NCAA players, as well as research.

What else should fans know about this NCAA settlement?

Trash talk is being taken out of New Jersey high school sports, pursuant to a new state policy that bans taunting in an attempt to curb bullying.

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA), along with the New Jersey Attorney General's Office, announced the new policy last week. It prohibits high-school athletes from harassing others on the field or court, and takes effect this fall, reports the Associated Press.

Will this ban be the end of trash talking in New Jersey?

U.S. Open Security Guards Complain About Employment Violations

So what's it like to work behind the grandest New York sporting event -- the U.S. Open? Well, it's not as glamorous as one would think, if the claims of a group of U.S. Open security guards are true.

The U.S. Open tennis tournament just finished with one of the most exciting finals ever. But just as Andy Murray was finishing off Novak Djokovic in a five-set classic, several security guards working the event came public with allegations of the violations they had to endure working the event, reports The Village Voice.

The U.S. Open security guards made a variety of claims running the gamut of employment law. Below is a quick overview of the claims made by the guards, as reported by The Village Voice:

Lois Ann Goodman was arrested at a Manhattan hotel for allegedly killing her husband.

The 70-year-old U.S. Open tennis referee is accused of bludgeoning her husband to death with a coffee mug at their home in California, reports The New York Times.

While the tennis referee was quietly apprehended by police at her hotel, police indicate they were prepared to arrest her at the tennis tournament if necessary.

U.S. Open Tennis Umpires Illegally Denied Overtime: Federal Lawsuit

Possibly putting a damper on the annual tennis tournament currently underway in New York, a group of four U.S. Open umpires have filed a federal wage lawsuit against the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA), claiming that the organization misclassified the officials as independent contractors so that they could avoid offering overtime pay and other benefits.

Seeking class action status, the lawsuit covers all U.S. Open umpires since 2005, many of whom were only paid between $115 and $200 a day despite working in excess of 40 hours a week.

USC Files Appeal to NCAA in Football Sanctions Case

The University of Southern California has filed an appeal with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, arguing that the sanctions placed on the university football program be reduced. The appeal did not contest all aspects of the sanctions, but argued that much of the punishment was overly severe and "inconsistent with precedent." The NCAA punishment included four years of probation, a two-year post season bowl ban, removal of championships and a loss of multiple scholarships. 

The sanctions came after a four-year investigation of the entire athletic department, which found numerous violations of NCAA rules. The report focused largely on improper benefits for Heisman winning, and now NFL star running back Reggie Bush as well as former basketball player O.J. Mayo. The report found that Bush was showered with gifts and other improper benefits from sports marketers hoping to sign him after he turned professional. The gifts included limousine transportation, hotel stays, clothing, and even a home for Bush's family. 

Yesterday we looked at how the Southeastern Conference, the NFL, and professional tennis were attempting to impose limits on the use of social media by pretty much every group associated with sports -- players, team and league employees, media outlets, and even fans. Today, we examine 3 reasons that those policies are a losing effort.

1. Fighting consumer demand for new technology never works. The TV industry has tried fighting TiVo and YouTube. The music industry is coming up on a decade of flailing away against overwhelming consumer demand for digital music downloads. Movies may be starting to feel a "Twitter effect" from near-instantaneous reviews of films.

Add sports to that list of entertainment industries that cannot escape the grip of new media technologies. Social media is here to stay, in one form or another, and its use will only become more widespread. Being a fan is an inherently social experience, and fans have flocked to places like Facebook and Twitter as new means of sharing their joy and heartbreak. It's only a matter of time before someone starts going to Yankees games and tweeting every pitch -- and there will be an audience for it.
In this, the year of Twitter's explosion and Facebook's ascendancy, it's inevitable that everywhere we look, old institutions are going to be struggling to figure out how to deal with new media. Professional and big-time college sports are no exception, as numerous sports organizations are trying, with mixed results, to implement some kind of social-media policy.

The policies seem to be fueled by a number of different concerns. Today we'll look at three recent attempts to address social media use, and tomorrow we will examine why restrictive social media policies in the sports world are doomed to failure.

Southeastern Conference: The SEC wants to be hip to social media (see the prominent links on the SEC homepage to its Twitter and Facebook pages), but stumbled badly this month when it informed its member universities of its planned social media policy. Fresh off signing a new and lucrative deal for CBS to broadcast its football games, the conference aimed to protect CBS' rights by declaring, according to Mashable, that ticketed fans could not "produce or disseminate (or aid in producing or disseminating) any material or information about the Event, including, but not limited to, any account, description, picture, video, audio, reproduction or other information concerning the Event."

Translation: no tweets, blog entries, Flickr photos, or YouTube video of football games. Taken literally, this policy might actually forbid fans from even talking about the game with friends.

The SEC backed off the next day, emphasizing that non-commercial descriptions of games by fans would be fine, as long as they did not act as a substitute for radio, television, or video coverage. Still, it took a real pounding in the blogosphere for the conference to change its mind.

Pro Tennis: Did you know that pro tennis (comprised of the men's and women's pro tours, the International Tennis Federation, and the Grand Slam Committee) has a Tennis Integrity Unit?

Weird Betting at a Wimbledon Already on Alert for Match-Fixing

Already on "high alert" over suspicions of possible match-fixing, Wimbledon officials got a scare in the form of a report from one betting company. An AP story reported on how the bookmaker, Betfair, said "the company received more than six times as many wagers as usual for Jurgen Melzer's first-round match against Wayne Odesnik on Tuesday."

Nevertheless, it turns out that the company suspects no wrongdoing in this particular case. Instead, the company is pointing the finger at TV commentators, who may have caused the odd betting by reporting that Odesnik was injured (he lost the match in straight sets).

Wimbledon officials could be breathing a sigh of relief at the innocent explanation. A recent report by The Independent had indicated that a number of players (up to 12) were on a "watch list" for officials to scrutinize during Wimbledon match play, due to their "past involvement in matches where suspicious betting happened and match-fixing was suspected." It isn't clear who the players on the watch list may be, but the bottom line is that worries about match-fixing in tennis are certainly not uncommon.

Damir Dokic Striving for Worst Tennis Dad Ever Award?

Tennis parents for some reason appear to have a strange propensity to misbehave, carry on, or make outrageous statements that may be unmatched by parents in other sports. This isn't really borne out by any statistical proof, and perhaps is due more in part to the fewer amount of players or maybe the increased amount of media coverage tennis parents receive. Whatever the reason might be, tennis pro Jelena Dokic's dad, Damir Dokic, may be staking his claim to the top of tennis-parent-infamy, if he wasn't there already.

The AP reports that Jelena Dokic's father got charged with, of all things, threatening tAustralian ambassador Clair Birgin in Belgrade, Serbia. Supposedly, this wasn't an I'm-gonna-beat-her-up kind of threat either, it was of the I'm-gonna-blow-her-up variety, actually. The AP story indicated that Damir Dokic said he'd blow up Birgin's car if "she did not stop negative articles about him from being published in Australian media." Sounds like drunk-talk, right?

Well, the rifles and grenades police found at Damir's house might suggest otherwise. Plus, this wasn't isolated chatter either as Damir "has told Serbian media he would fire a rocket launcher at Birgin's car."

Damir Dokic might not find much back up from his daughter Jelena either, considering he's admitted to having beaten her in the past. The charges apparently subject him to a maximum of eight years in prison...perhaps he's aiming for the top of spot in all sports' parents infamy?