Thursday, May 31, 2012

U.S. Open Cup, hockey style?

I believe that hockey is a sport which is getting to be very popular. In most NHL markets, the game is growing. In other places, the sport needs a pick-me-up which would help teams in specific leagues grow.

In soccer, the U.S. Open Cup has been around for nearly one hundred years. The event has always been United States soccer’s national championship, and has grown in popularity, with eight MLS teams being knocked out this year in the first game of the tourney by lower division teams.

Bolded teams get a bye into the second round. This would be as of 2012-13 season. There will be a random draw for the rest of the teams. Anything could happen. A SPHL team could host a NHL team. Games would be played during the middle of the regular season. Don't know if this would be a workable idea, but would be very interesting.

96 teams would be a part of it at first, with possible expansion.

Anaheim Ducks
Boston Bruins

Buffalo Sabres

Carolina Hurricanes

Chicago Blackhawks

Colorado Avalanche

Columbus Blue Jackets

Dallas Stars

Detroit Red Wings

Florida Panthers

Los Angeles Kings

Minnesota Wild

Nashville Predators

New Jersey Devils

New York Islanders

New York Rangers

Philadelphia Flyers

Phoenix Coyotes

Pittsburgh Penguins

San Jose Sharks

St. Louis Blues

Tampa Bay Lightning

Washington Capitals

AHL (top nine American teams get byes)

Adirondack Phantoms
Albany Devils
Binghamton Senators  
Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Charlotte Checkers
Chicago Wolves  
Connecticut Whale
Grand Rapids Griffins  
Hershey Bears
Houston Aeros
Lake Erie Monsters
Manchester Monarchs  
Milwaukee Admirals  
Norfolk Admirals  
Oklahoma City Barons
Peoria Rivermen
Portland Pirates
Providence Bruins  
Rochester Americans
Rockford IceHogs
San Antonio Rampage
Springfield Falcons
Syracuse Crunch
Texas Stars
Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins
Worcester Sharks

Elmira Jackals
Reading Royals
Trenton Titans
Wheeling Nailers
Cincinnati Cyclones
Evansville IceMen
Fort Wayne Komets
Kalamazoo Wings
Toledo Walleye
Florida Everblades
Greenville Road Warriors
Gwinnett Gladiators
Orlando Solar Bears
South Carolina Stingrays
Alaska Aces
Colorado Eagles
Idaho Steelheads
Utah Grizzlies
Bakersfield Condors
Las Vegas Wranglers
Ontario Reign
San Francisco Bulls
Stockton Thunder

CHL (just top four in each division except for this year)

Missouri Mavericks
Rapid City Rush
Quad City Mallards
Wichita Thunder
Allen Americans
Texas Brahmas
Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees

FHL (Federal Hockey League, top teams)

New Jersey Outlaws
Danbury Whalers
Thousand Islands Privateers

SPHL (Southern Professional Hockey League, top 2 teams plus the other team in finals qualify)

Augusta RiverHawks
Columbus Cottonmouths
Pensacola Ice Flyers

Friday, May 25, 2012

Amazing catch over wall

Amazing catch here. Community college in Washington, Lower Columbia against Everett Community College.

Guy saves game with amazing catch over the wall to rob a home run. Wins game. Maybe best catch you'll ever see.

Carrier Classic will go on Yorktown

Per Bob Baptist of the Columbus Dispatch, in his story earlier this afternoon, it is almost a done deal that Marquette and Ohio State will play in the Carrier Classic on November 9 on the U.S.S. Yorktown at Patriots' Point in Mt. Pleasant. Notre Dame's women will also play Ohio State then.

Here is the link:

This would be a very interesting game. Ohio State and Marquette, even though they are replacing a lot of players from last year, is still a marquee matchup, and Notre Dame's women has well-known star Skylar Diggins.

The game hasn't been worked out yet, but it is close to.

Update: 7/25 10:15pm  Yorktown's Mac Burdette tells Scott Eisberg of WCIV Carrier Classic is a done Deal- Yorktown has now signed contract. Oh St. vs. Marq mens, OhSt-ND women, November 9.

Charleston Man-of War

Charleston has had many new sporting adventures in the last few years. Some of them have failed, and others, like the South Carolina Stingrays, Charleston RiverDogs and Charleston Battery have succeeded.

Football, though, has been relegated, with only semi-pro professional teams. High school and college teams are very well supported. This team, though, will be a international team. They have no affiliation with any league. They are supported by former Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson.

This team has no schedule. There are four other unaffiliated opponents, including the Washington D.C. Explosion, New Jersey Invaders, Madrid's Oso de Rivas, and the Beijing Guardians.

The team is having combines on June 2 at Stoney Field in downtown Charleston. To learn more, follow the @CharlestonMoW Twitter feed, Facebook friend them at Charleston Man-of War, or go to their website,

Hopefully, the administration of this team can lead to a USFL team.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Charleston Classic: A very exciting field

Today, the field for the 2012 Charleston Classic was finalized. It is a very good one, probably the best that the tournament has had.

Baylor, who made the Elite Eight last season and will be ranked in the top 15 nationally, will be in the tourney, along with Murray State, who lost just two games last season and brings back nationally-known PG Isaiah Cannan; Colorado, who won the Pac 12 tournament, along with the home-standing College of Charleston Cougars.

St. John's of the Big East with known coach Steve Lavin will be in the tournament, along with Auburn from the SEC, the ACC's Boston College, and the Dayton Flyers of the Atlantic Ten.

The tournament will play on Nov. 15, 16, and 18 at the TD Arena in downtown Charleston, an arena that seats over 5,000.

This will be a very exciting field. Be sure to make your plans for that weekend in the Lowcountry.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What a team would do

Imagine this. It is early spring, March or early April of 2013 or 2014. The United States Football League is back in business. It has a national television contract. Charleston's Johnson Hagood Stadium is buzzing as the host of its first home game. The South Carolina Warriors are up against Salt Lake City. The game is broadcast live on national television on a Saturday night.

Over 20,000 fans are filling Johnson Hagood Stadium ready to see some of the best football players outside of the NFL. Fans are coming from all over the state to see players they remember from Clemson, South Carolina, Georgia, and dozens of other schools in SC and GA play. The economy gets a big boost locally with these games, even with only six to eight of them a year, excluding playoffs.

All games would be on local radio. Examples of players that might play: Jason Barnes, WR from South Carolina; Rennie Moore from Clemson; and others from schools in the area who don't make NFL teams (not slighting these guys, but players from the major schools would put people in the seats).

The goal of the team would be to become a regional draw. Advertising of this team would occur in Myrtle Beach, Florence, and Columbia, and the goal would be to get fans from the entire eastern part of South Carolina. It will be tougher to get fans from the other parts of the state, but there's still a large market involved.

More than 2,000,000 people live within 100 miles of Charleston, and getting people to go from those areas would be important.

For pro and semi-pro sports, Myrtle Beach has just minor league baseball and soccer, a race track and Coastal Carolina, while the Florence area has only the race track and summer league baseball that doesn't begin till June. Columbia only has the Gamecocks, a few other colleges, and a summer league team.

At least one game a year for this team would be played at Williams-Brice or at Brooks Stadium in Conway (which seats over 9,000, and is looking to grow).

Local and regional companies around here could invest in the team in order to find a competent owner. The Charleston area is a fast-growing part of the country with a lot of people moving from the north who are used to following a team.

With affiliation agreements with NFL teams, and teams able to pick up USFL players, this would build up interest in the league in the area. Instead of playing in low-end indoor leagues or in semipro ball, they could get legitimate pay, playing in an area that would support them.

This league will be interesting to follow.

Friday, May 11, 2012

USFL, and why it should be in Charleston

The NFL is one of the biggest professional sports enterprises in the world today. The 32 teams in the league are some of the most followed franchises in the world. The 53 players that make an NFL roster are some of the most athletic men in the world today. Thousands of players try to make the rosters every year, and many fail.

A problem is that there hasn't been a league to put all of these players. The XFL failed. The United Football League, by playing in the fall against the NFL, is barely known outside of the few markets that games are played in.

The WLAF (World League of American Football), with teams in the United States and Europe failed and became an all European league, which flourished for about a decade as NFL Europe, but it eventually fell. The WFL failed in the mid 1970s, even with several innovations like the two-point conversion.

From 1983-85, however, the United States Football League was the best challenger to the NFL. They played in major markets; had owners like Donald Trump, and got some of the best players out of college, including Herschel Walker, who set the single-season football rushing record. The league eventually tried to move to a fall schedule though, and it failed miserably, with the NFL only giving the USFL $3 in damages.

A new league has been formed though, which looks to begin in the spring of 2013. It has the USFL's namesake. The league was announced on May 10, and includes Hall of Fame WR Fred Biletnikoff as one of its advisors. You can learn more about it from this link:

The league plans to play ideally in 20,000-25,000 seat stadiums, and not in major cities competing with the NFL. A league-run organization would run all player and coach contracts.

The regular season would be 14 games, along with three playoff games, and the season would go from March till June. Players would come from nearby colleges and universities. Team budgets would be $8-$10 million.

The team entry price is $7.5 million, but $6.0 million would be put into a fund to run the league, including guaranteeing that all players and coaches would be paid. In addition, it is possible for the owners to purchase shares in the league itself.

The NFL would have complete access to players at all practice times and on game days. Fans would have increased access to coaches and players. Players would consist of players who had not been successful in playing for the NFL.

Now, I'll talk about why Charleston would be the perfect city to have a USFL team. The metro area consists of almost 700,000 people, the largest between Jacksonville and Raleigh and the 75th largest in the country. Football for decades has been the most popular sport in the entire area.

There are several ingredients to putting a team into Charleston. First, interest in sports.

South Carolina and Clemson get large percentages of their crowds from the Charleston metro area. The Citadel, with only just over 2,000 cadets, averages well over 10,000 fans per game even with no SoCon championships in 20 years. Other programs nearby like Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina and others usually draw good crowds.

High school games are almost always an event, and the bigger schools can get over 10,000 fans to their games. Games are frequently broadcast on radio and a weekly Thursday package airs on OTA TV.

The area loves its sports. Charleston has three minor league sports teams in hockey, baseball and soccer which all are very popular. College baseball (which would be during the USFL season) is also a huge sport in the area. Each team has its own niche that attracts people from the community. Three major universities: the College of Charleston, The Citadel, and Charleston Southern, all have vibrant athletic programs.

CofC frequently sells out its basketball arena and they have beaten North Carolina and Tennessee in the last few seasons there. In April each year, the Family Circle Cup gets big crowds to Daniel Island and Family Circle Tennis Stadium. Last year, the World TeamTennis semis and finals moved to Daniel Island and drew well even though the players weren't even known until days beforehand.

In August, the PGA Championship will be held at Kiawah Island's Ocean Course. This event will be the biggest in South Carolina sports history, having a nearly $200 million impact on the economy in a week.

Another ingredient; a ready-made stadium. Johnson Hagood Stadium seats 21,000, and is within 30 minutes of most of the Charleston metro. It is within 2 hours of Columbia, Myrtle Beach, and Beaufort, a quick day trip for most. From December thru August, except for Citadel spring practices, a few Citadel lacrosse matches, and concerts and special events allowed by The Citadel, the stadium sits mostly empty.

Bringing in the USFL would help fill these dates, and would provide much-needed commerce to the downtown area, providing hotel nights and a help in real estate because all the players and coaches would need some type of housing.

Games locally would be held around RiverDogs games (i.e. when they're on the road), and more of them would be held on weekends which would provide more opportunities for bigger crowds.

A third ingredient; there are many companies who would be interested in perhaps helping buy a share of the team. Boeing provides several thousand jobs to the Lowcountry, along with Blackbaud, several hospitals including MUSC, Trident, St. Francis and Roper, plus numerous state companies like Continental Tire and BMW.

Radio and television coverage would also be important for the new team. The Charleston area alone has four sports radio stations; and several avenues that games could air on TV. Games could air on OTA, cable television and/or online. It is important to get something that could get the entire state involved in the new team.

Most of the Columbia metro (800,000 population) would be within 2 hours of the team. Myrtle Beach (nearly 300,000) would be within that. Sumter and Orangeburg, both at about 100,000 nearby, also would be within 2 hours.

Statewide marketing would also help promote the team in Greenville/Spartanburg and Anderson. With seven home games a year, perhaps one could be held in Columbia or Myrtle Beach the first year to promote the team. In most of the state, high school sports, the local colleges, and college/summer league baseball are the only draws during this this over 3-month period. This league would help fill a large void: a developmental league for the NFL. Several national networks will be interested in this new league.

More info about the league:

Another column:

An article:

E-mail for interest:

Friday, May 4, 2012

Updated statement on Sammy

Sammy Watkins: "I made a mistake last night and I am truly sorry for my action. I let the team down, the coaches down and this University down. I will learn from this. I will accept any discipline Coach Swinney and the University issues and there will be in this case. I am in the process of gathering the facts and discipline will be determined when I have completed the process."

Sammy Watkins arrested

Full press release from Clemson:

Clemson University police arrest two students
Clemson University police arrested two students on drug-related charges early Friday.
Samuel B. Watkins IV, 18, a freshman communication studies major from Fort Myers, Fla., and member of the football team, was charged with possession of a controlled substance and simple possession of marijuana, both misdemeanors.
Amadou-Tidiane Daniel Dia, 18, a freshman in parks, recreation and tourism management from Highlands Ranch, Colo., and member of the men’s soccer team, was charged with simple possession of marijuana.
The men were arrested when police stopped the car Watkins was driving after an officer saw it scrape against a curb on campus and because the temporary license tag was not illuminated. When the officer pulled the car over in a parking lot off Commons Court, he smelled marijuana. During a search he found marijuana and two pills for which Watkins did not have a prescription.
The men were arrested and taken to the Clemson City Jail. Watkins was released Friday morning on a $1,620 personal recognizance bond, and Dia was released on a $620 personal recognizance bond.