NCAA

How Navy's Ken Niumatalolo is working from home during COVID-19

How Navy's Ken Niumatalolo is working from home during COVID-19

Ken Niumatalolo is the longest-tenured head coach in Navy history, and the winningest.

In his 12 seasons the Midshipmen have gone 98-60 with six bowl wins. They finished the 2019 season 11-2, good enough to place No. 20 in the Top 25 AP poll. It was only the second time in the programs' last 56 years they’ve done so. 

It was also an eight-game improvement from the year before. Pretty outstanding. In fact, it was the biggest turnaround in the country and tied for the second-biggest in FBS history.  That earned Niumatalolo the American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors for the third time in the last five seasons. Navy claimed the Commander-In-Chief’s trophy for the first time since 2015 by defeating both Air Force and Army.

Ok, you get the point. They had a good year, but talking football is far from Niumatalolo’s top priority right now.

“My main concern first and foremost has been for the safety and health of our players. And so the biggest thing early on when this first started to happen, just checking on our coaches and our staff,” Niumatalolo told NBC Sports Washington. “How's everybody? How's their family doing? You know, what kind of plan, situation do they have? Then each of our coaches reached out to our players. What’s their living situation? You know what’s their food situation? Are they okay? Just all those kinds of things, and so, once we figured that out, then we’re just trying to do a little bit of football so it helps people to keep sane … “

Once knowing all of his young men were taken care of, he could then start the next step of running a program from home - after watching Disney movies with his granddaughter, of course. Even if that draws gentle chiding from his daughter who notes that they COULD read some books, too. But spending extra time with his family has been a blessing. 

“I think it helps you to keep some sanity and we’ll give them some football, but it's not like we're trying to totally prepare for the first game," Niumatalolo said. "These are unprecedented times, so I think you got to find a way to keep things in perspective.”

Of course, the challenge for a football team lies in staying in shape, which is even more challenging depending on what equipment each player has at home. Some have a workout place, some have a few dumbbells … and then some are just doing bodyweight exercises. 

“We’re trying to do the best we can, trying to be creative, don’t fall into the lull of ‘Hey, I don't have anything so I can't do anything,’” Niumatalolo said. 

Translation, no excuses. Niumatalolo follows his own orders but he does so from his home town.

“In Hawaii, they're allowing you to go outside to run or jog, or if you go to the beach you got to be on the move,” Niumatalolo said. “You can’t be lounging. Or if you’re swimming, you have to keep your social distancing.” 

Albeit, his goals are slightly different than that of his players: “It definitely helps you keep your sanity and hopefully try to keep my weight down,” Niumatalolo said.

Now that is something we can all relate to!  

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Will Ivy League's fall sports decision affect college football?

Will Ivy League's fall sports decision affect college football?

As the days of summer continue to be checked off the calendar, college football finds itself facing a diminishing amount of days left to finalize its plans for seeing football on college campuses this fall, if at all. One conference might be ready to make the call, at least according to some of their coaches.
 
The Ivy League has announced its final decision regarding fall sports, college football most notably, will come sometime this week. According to The Athletic, multiple coaches have stated "that they expect Wednesday's announcement to be that the league is moving all fall sports, including football, to spring 2021."


 
Could college football be headed for a new home on our calendars? How would that happen and who would ultimately make that decision? 
 
The decision for the Ivy League to move fall sports to the spring would be the first declaration from a Division 1 conference of its kind and could set the tone for the other FBS schools. The Ivy League was the first to cancel its basketball conference tournament back on March 12, under scrutiny at the time, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. It was soon to be followed by the other conferences once the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak was universally understood.
 
Harvard has already announced it will allow only 40% of undergraduates on campus in the fall, and all teaching is set to be conducted remotely. 
 
Moving all college football to spring 2021 is one of many scenarios being examined by athletic directors, school presidents and conference commissioners. Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour has called spring football a "last resort," citing the proximity to the 2021 season. The realities of the varying concerns surrounding playing, including scheduling, are legitimate. 

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Multiple programs including Kansas, Kansas State and Houston, have already been forced to suspend voluntary workout because of COVID-19 spikes among athletes. Those cases combined with a recent spike in COVID-19 cases continues to cast a shadow over the likelihood of college football being played as normal this fall.
 
The only thing that remains constant throughout this entire ordeal has been the ever-present fluidity of the world we inhabit. Those able to retain the flexibility and skill to adjust and react to new and pertinent information will be best suited to get us closer to seeing our fall traditions once again, even if it means seeing them in the spring. 

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Former Penn State guard transferred after head coach Pat Chambers made 'noose' comment

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Former Penn State guard transferred after head coach Pat Chambers made 'noose' comment

During his freshman year as a member of the Penn State men’s basketball team, guard Rasir Bolton says he was subject to “subtle repercussions” after reporting an incident in which head coach Pat Chambers said he wanted to “loosen the noose that’s around your neck.”

Now playing for Iowa State, Bolton claims that he went to the school after Chambers made the comment but never received an apology from him. He added that his family didn’t hear back from Penn State’s Integrity Office for six months while in the meantime being provided with a psychologist who wanted to teach him “ways to deal with Coach Chambers’ personality type.”

“A noose; symbolic of lynching, defined as one of the most powerful symbols directed at African Americans invoking the history of lynching, slavery and racial terrorism,” Bolton wrote on Twitter. “Due to other interactions with Coach, I knew this was no slip of the tongue.”

Bolton, who's originally from Petersburg, Virginia, and attended Massanutten Academy for high school, played 32 games for the Nittany Lions in 2018-19, averaging 11.6 points per game with nine starts. However, he says teammates informed him he couldn’t be trusted because he wasn’t “all in” on the program.

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“I didn’t realize that word would hurt him, and I am truly, truly sorry for that,” Chambers told The Undefeated in a story published Monday.

Four days prior to the interaction with Bolton, Chambers was suspended one game for pushing freshman guard Myles Dread in the chest during a timeout. Penn State finished 14-18 that season before turning things around with a 21-10 record this year.

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