Maryland Terps

Supporters, MLS clash over 'Cascadia Cup'

Supporters, MLS clash over 'Cascadia Cup'

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) The Cascadia Cup, created in 2004 by soccer supporters to celebrate the rich rivalry between clubs in Seattle, Portland and Vancouver, is now the unexpected center of a conflict between those groups and Major League Soccer.

It started when MLS intended to trademark the term ``Cascadia Cup'' in the United States and Canada - prompting outrage from the fans who named the yearly head-to-head competition between the Sounders, Whitecaps and Timbers, and gave it a stately silver trophy.

MLS claims it wants to protect the Cascadia Cup from outsiders looking to exploit it. The supporters fear that MLS itself will be exploiting the term.

The issue has Seattle's Emerald City Supporters, Portland's Timbers Army and Vancouver's Southsiders banding together - something that on the surface appears a bit unusual given the competitive passion of the rivalry.

The groups have formed the Cascadia Cup Council to protect the rivalry's name. And its spirit.

``Not only does the Cascadia Cup Council believe they rightfully own the trademark to Cascadia Cup but they also are of the belief they are the appropriate entity to protect the mark from third parties that are unaffiliated with the supporters groups in the Pacific Northwest,'' the group said in announcing its formation.

The council has already submitted its own application to trademark ``Cascadia Cup'' with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The application was filed on Jan. 8.

To his credit, MLS Commissioner Don Garber said he should have better communicated the league's intentions with the supporters' groups. MLS has not yet applied for the U.S. trademark, but has applied for the equivalent in Canada.

Obviously, the issue is touchy for the teams themselves.

``I've tried to keep an ear to it and not get into the middle of it very much. I understand both sides of the issue. And I'm confident that something reasonable, that cooler minds, cooler heads will prevail and they will work something out,'' said Sounders owner and general manager Adrian Hanauer. ``But that's about as controversial as I'm willing to get right now.''

The Cascadia Cup - at least the trophy itself - was introduced in 2004 when all three teams were part of the United Soccer Leagues First Division. Fans pooled their money to buy the 2-foot tall silver cup, which goes to the team that finishes with the best record in head-to-head matches between the three, based on a points system.

But the actual rivalry between the three teams dates back to 1975, when all of them were part of the North American Soccer League.

Seattle supporters like to point out that the Sounders beat Portland 1-0 in the first game between the two teams that year, while Timbers fans talk up how Portland beat Seattle in the playoffs and advanced to the league championship.

Since 2004, each of the teams has claimed the Cascadia Cup three times. The rivalry grabbed attention on a national scale when the Timbers and Whitecaps joined the Sounders in MLS in 2011. The Timbers are the reigning Cascadia Cup champions.

This is not the first time that an issue involving a rivalry and supporters groups has become contentious.

Last season, controversy erupted surrounding the Rocky Mountain Cup between the Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake. Shortly before the April match between the teams, the rivalry was described as ``presented by Mark Miller Subaru'' on team websites. Supporters for both teams expressed outrage that the fan-created derby suddenly had a corporate sponsor - without their input. The teams later admitted the sponsorship deal should have been handled differently.

The MLS has already applied to trademark other rivalries, including the Rocky Mountain Cup, the Brimstone Cup between the Chicago Fire and FC Dallas, and the California Clasico between the San Jose Earthquakes and the L.A. Galaxy.

Following the MLS SuperDraft earlier this year, Garber addressed the controversy. From a business standpoint, it's understandable that MLS wants to make sure that anything involving its teams is kept in-house.

``(MLS can) ensure that it's controlled. Prospective fan groups, in theory, could offer that trademark to a competitive sponsor,'' Garber said at the time. ``They can take that trademark and sell it to a promoter. They can produce merchandise that's not merchandise that we would want associated with our teams or with our league.''

The Cascadia Cup Council and MLS officials aired their concerns in a meeting earlier this week, which both sides said was productive.

``This week we had a constructive conversation with supporters of all three clubs involved in Cascadia Cup, and we look forward to continuing that dialogue in the weeks ahead,'' MLS President Mark Abbott said.

In other words, stay tuned.

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AP Sports Writer Tim Booth in Seattle contributed to this report.

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Maryland reacts to latest FBI investigation reports

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USA Today Sports Images

Maryland reacts to latest FBI investigation reports

The world of college basketball has been on high alert since last fall when reports first surfaced of a long-term FBI investigation into the worst-kept secret in sports: college athletes being paid to play.

News surrounding the scandal died down after the inital wave of arrests, but Yahoo! Sports released a warning of sorts recently and followed it up on Friday by naming players (both past and present) for the first time. There were dozens of programs and players implicated, including Maryland's Diamond Stone.

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon released the following statement Friday afternoon.

"Late last night we were alerted of a report associating one of our former student-athletes with an agent. We are extremely disappointed, and we will fully cooperate with any investigation. I do not have a relationship with Andy Miller or anyone from his agency, and at no time have I ever had a conversation with Andy Miller or his agency regarding any Maryland basketball player. We remain steadfast in upholding a program of integrity that reflects the values of our University community."

Stone played for the Terps during the 2015-16 season, after which he left for the NBA. That Terps team was highly-ranked entering the season but ended up losing in the Sweet 16 to top-seeded Kansas.

RELATED: DIAMOND STONE ADMITS TO 'MISTAKES' DURING FRESHMAN YEAR AT MARYLAND

Andy Miller is the agent whose financial records were used to implicate so many players in the Yahoo! Sports report. It's no surprise that Turgeon would deny having a relationship with Miller regarding any of his players, but the question remains: What does this mean for Maryland basketball?

You can be sure that Turgeon will be meeting with both past and current assistant coaches Friday to confirm they have not had any involvement with Andy Miller. He'll also certainly be meeting with higher-ups at Maryland, as they try to cover their bases. 

That said, it seems unlikely Maryland would take an action as drastic as firing Turgeon over these allegations. There has been no evidence released so far that implies Turgeon had any knowledge of Stone's actions. Barring further information coming to light, it seems as though this is a case of Stone developing a relationship with Miller's agency separately from Maryland.

Some of the more vocal members of Maryland's fan base would like to think Turgeon is on the hot seat. The truth is, given his long-term contract and the current state of Maryland's finances, it's not currently feasible to fire him and expect to afford a more accomplished coach. Though if further reports indicate Turgeon was complicit, then all bets are off.

It remains possible the NCAA will impose punishments on the schools involved with this scandal, in the form of reduced scholarships, postseason bans, or worse. But that's likely off the table until further evidence comes out regarding how much schools and coaches actually knew. It is a near-certainty that some schools were in cahoots with Miller and other agents; the problem is identifying which schools were intentionally breaking the rules, and which were simply unaware. Ultimately, however, some degree of responsibility falls on the head coach.

For now, the biggest worry on the minds of Maryland fans should be vacated wins. If Diamond Stone was ineligible, then it's possible the victories Maryland recorded during the 2015-16 season will be erased from the record books. Unfortunately, this could include their run to the Sweet 16, which was the program's first in more than a decade.

Given the expectations surrounding the team during Stone's year in College Park, his tenure could already be considered a disappointment. Losing those wins would further dampen the memories fans have from that season.

On the bright side, at least the Terps didn't have a Final Four run to lose.

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Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

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NBC Sports Washington

Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

Alan May knows a thing or two about the trade deadline.

Over the course of his NHL career, May was traded five total times, four at the trade deadline. He sits down with Rob Carlin on a special edition of the Capitals Extra Podcast to tell stories from his playing days about what it was like getting traded.

This one's a can't miss for hockey fans. You can listen to the episode here on the Capitals Extra page or with the player below.