O'Neal: NCAA players should stay more than 1 year


O'Neal: NCAA players should stay more than 1 year

GRAPEVINE, Texas (AP) After being introduced to the NCAA convention as Dr. Shaquille O'Neal, the four-time NBA champion jokingly asked that his scholarly resume be repeated before he opened with a public confession to the group's president.

``From 1989-92 I committed numerous NCAA infractions,'' O'Neal said, referencing his time as an LSU player. ``I used to get a free bowl of jambalaya right before every game.''

NCAA President Mark Emmert laughed, saying that the statute of limitations had run out on that.

That was the start of a more than 30-minute question-and-answer session Emmert conducted with O'Neal during the keynote luncheon Wednesday on the opening day of the NCAA convention.

O'Neal said earning his doctoral degree in education, which he received last May from Barry College in Florida, was harder than anything he ever did athletically. He also talked about the importance of education, saying in the age of one-and-done basketball players that they should have to stay in school at least three years before going pro, such as the rule for NCAA football players.

``A lot of guys do it because of their financial situation and they need to do it. That's the only way to provide a better means for their family. So when you look at it from that aspect, I understand it,'' said O'Neal, who then told Emmert that if up to him the rule would ``probably say three-and-done.''

For players who do leave early, O'Neal's advice is to make sure they go back and finish their education. He said it's not a matter of how much money they will make, but how much they're going to keep.

O'Neal, who called his three years as an LSU player the best time of his life, recalled spending ``$1 million in about 30 minutes'' after he got his first check as the NBA's first overall pick in 1992. He quickly realized he wasn't as smart as he thought about money despite a few business and accounting classes.

Emmert is the former LSU chancellor who in 2000 presented O'Neal with his diploma for general studies after the NBA player had gone back to complete his undergraduate work. O'Neal added an online MBA from the University of Phoenix in 2005, and soon after that began work on his doctoral degree.

O'Neal said he always promised his family he would get his degree from LSU. He then challenged himself more and kept educating himself to help with his business pursuits, which today include owning 42 health and fitness clubs and 155 hamburger restaurants.

``I'm sure the aura of doing business with Shaquille O'Neal was there,'' he said. ``I needed them to know that they were doing business with a businessman, not doing business with an athlete.''

He also thought it was good for his six children to ``see me educate and challenge myself.''

Having O'Neal as the keynote speaker was somewhat of a departure for the NCAA, coning a year after U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan was the speaker. The former basketball player was entertaining, insightful and humorous during his appearance.

Emmert will deliver his state of the NCAA remarks Thursday.

The NCAA Board of Directors meets Saturday, the convention's final day. The board is expected to approve a sweeping set of changes that will include eliminating rules about how coaches communicate with recruits, how often they communicate with recruits, and allow college and high school players to accept money for travel expenses and prize money at non-scholastic events.

Along with questions posed to O'Neal by Emmert, there were some submitted by student-athletes in attendance.

When asked about star athletes being role models, O'Neal said he preferred the term ``real'' model.

``A lot of people, they play roles. When you play a role, and it catches up with them, we all figure out they're not who we thought they were. So with me, what you see is what you get,'' O'Neal said. ``As we're seeing now, there's a lot of people out there selling a lot of fake products. You're hearing people confess. ... To me, image is reality.''

There were no direct references to anybody in particular, but O'Neal's comments came the same week disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong told Oprah Winfrey in an interview to air later this week that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France. His confession comes after a decade of denial.

O'Neal went on to say that athletes have the responsibility to be good role models.

``I don't think you get a choice,'' O'Neal said. ``I think we do have a social responsibility to do the right things, say the right things and behave correctly.''

Asked about who he looked up to, O'Neal talked about Magic Johnson for ``what he did on and off the court'' and remembered being told by Johnson as an 18-year-old kid that sports wouldn't last forever and it was important to get the education to move into life after basketball. He mentioned Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Donald Trump as smart businessmen he watched.

Since earning his doctorate last year, O'Neal has mentioned going to law school and owning his own firm.

``That's my smart guy talking,'' he said, smiling. ``I thought about it, but probably not.''

Wayne Rooney didn't need to cross midfield to score game-winner vs. Orlando

Wayne Rooney didn't need to cross midfield to score game-winner vs. Orlando

With temperatures pushing above 90 during DC United's game against Orlando on Wednesday, Wayne Rooney saved himself a few steps by scoring a goal - from beyond midfield.

“I thought it was nice and it was special to score the goal this evening. It’s something that I’ve practiced so many times," he said after his team's 1-0 win. " Different managers and teammates are like why are you practicing this, you won’t score from this position, but for nights like tonight that's why I do practice it.  It was a good strike and an important goal for us.”

The goal gave United a 1-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the first half - the only one they would need for the win. It was also a fitting moment for the anniversary week of when Rooney signed with the team in 2018.

“It’s been fantastic," he said of his time in the DC. "I’ve enjoyed my time here over the course of the year and there is still a lot more to come. We know we can play better.  First half we played well, second half we know we can do better, but the win was the important thing because we haven’t won in a few games in the league.  Winning today was the main thing.”

United's back in action on Saturday night against Toronto.


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Three numbers worth considering when looking at the Redskins and Trent Williams

Three numbers worth considering when looking at the Redskins and Trent Williams

It's certainly possible that the Redskins and Trent Williams fix their issues in the next few weeks, but as of now, it feels like late June and early July will be a period of silence for this storyline.

You can bet both sides are pondering their options, though, and will be considering just about everything when it comes to how they'll approach resolving the problem or moving on from one another.

With that in mind, here are three numbers that could very much factor into this dilemma and how it ultimately ends. 


The left tackle's base salary for the 2019 season is $11 million. When you divide that by 16, you'll arrive at how much he's slated to make per game for Washington this year: $687,500. 

It appears that Williams has most of the leverage as of now. The options behind him are quite dreadful (that'll be covered in the next number), the franchise just drafted their potential star QB and the offense will rely heavily on the running game. All of those are reasons why Washington should be looking to appease the Pro Bowler.

However, if the Redskins don't want to bend, they can merely wait No. 71 out and see how serious he is about his reported vow to never play in D.C. again.

It's a lot easier to take that stance in the summer, where at most he'll lose some dollars in fines for not showing up to offseason work. When he starts costing himself six figures a week, though, that could change his mindset very quickly. 


The 'Skins have other tackles on the roster, but obviously — really, really obviously — none of them look like close to suitable fill-ins for Williams. 

Ereck Flowers received much of the work at OTAs and minicamp at left tackle, and though he's supposed to be trying to transition to guard, he currently looks like he'd be in serious consideration to play there in the regular season if Williams doesn't show or is moved.

Well, during his time starting with the Giants (he finished 2018 with the Jaguars, but was with New York for three-plus campaigns), Flowers allowed a pressure on 9.45-percent of his pass blocking snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. Since 2006, PFF has evaluated 275 offensive lineman with at least 1,800 pass blocking snaps. Flowers' pressure rate is the worst out of those 275. 

That's justtttttt a bit worrisome.


The first number is one that favors the organization, while the second is one that's advantageous to the player. This third one, meanwhile, affects both.

In the past four seasons, Williams has missed 15 contests. The soon-to-be 31-year-old has battled with numerous injuries as well as a drug suspension in that time, both of which have prevented him from always starting for the O-line. 

If the only solution to this thing is money, like many are suggesting, the Redskins have to decide how much they're willing to give him. Williams is still a force as a lineman, but he's aging and may simply be past the point of being able to string together a 16-game schedule. What price can they pay for that?

Williams, on the other hand, will look at that number as reason why he should hold out for more money and better medical treatment from Washington. The NFL is a league where guaranteed money is hard to come by and he's running out of it on his current deal. He won't want to risk getting hurt again before he has more cash on his side.