University of Iowa Crowned 'Harvard of Coaching'; The NFL Concussion Rules Have Changed

Today in sports: the NFL revises its concussion policy, the "fight of the century" faces another setback, and Paul Quinn College meets America on ESPN.

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Today in sports: the NFL revises its concussion policy, the "fight of the century" faces another setback, and Paul Quinn College meets America on ESPN.

Penn State University police won't be pursuing charges against starting quarterback Matt McGloin and wide receiver Curtis Drake for their post-practice fight last week in which McGloin ended suffering a concussion and a seizure after slipping and hitting his head on the locker room's concrete floor while trying to throw a punch at Drake. The scuffle, which witnesses say lasted all of 10 seconds, may cost the Nittany Lions their quarterback for next month's Cotton Bowl game. [ESPN]

The NFL's investigation into why Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy reentered the team's December 8 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers just two plays after taking a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit has caused the league to change the policy on how potential concussions are evaluated during games. Effective immediately, "a certified athletic trainer" from a "major college football program in the area" will be on hand to help medical staffs evaluate any head injuries, though the visiting trainer won't have the authority to remove a player from the game. It's looking inevitable that the NFL Players Association's proposal for an independent neurologist on the sidelines at every game to treat concussion will become a reality, even though the league is worried the neurologist's tests could create delays and uncertainty as teams wait to hear if their player has been cleared to return. Using the trainers over the last two weeks and into the playoffs may be the league's idea of compromise, but the problem remains: without the power to override the team and pull a concussed player out of the game, they'll just be another set of eyes. [Pro Football Talk]

Of the 1,200 head coaches and assistant coaches in Division I football, 16 went to the University of Iowa as undergrads. Factor in the number of coaches who worked as assistants with the program but didn't go to school in Iowa City, and the results are impressive enough for The Wall Street Journal to deem Iowa "The Harvard of Coaching." People have said similar things about Bowling Green University and the University of Miami in Ohio, which at various points have been christened "the cradle of coaches." What set Iowa apart was the sideline philosophy of Hayden Fry, now 82, who coached the team from 1979 to 1998 and developed a unique procurement system where he would solicit "certain players to serve as player-coaches for their position groups." Fry called them his "bell cows" and they were unknowingly serving in a kind of coaching intern program while still playing college ball for the Hawkeyes. If they were interested in coaching when they finished school, Fry was quick to give his former players "entry-level coaching jobs on his staff—usually as graduate assistants," a big-boost considering the usual coaching career path begins back as an assistant coach at the high school or junior high level. Players had the chance to advance quickly, and when they wanted to move to a new school, Fry proved himself "gifted at singing their praises" and selling other athletic directors on Iowa as a coaching factory during his 18 years at the school. The reputation endures. [The Wall Street Journal]

The already slim odds of Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao resolving their many vague, possibly imaginary differences and getting into the ring for the fight boxing fans have wanted for a decade took another hit yesterday when Mayweather was sentenced to 90 days in jail after he entered a guilty plea on a domestic violence charge from 2010. Mayweather's still holding out hope that Pacquiao will take him up on his offer to fight in Las Vegas on May 5, but even with time served, Mayweather won't be getting out of the Clark County Detention Center until April 2. That would cut the normal ten week training time in half, which all but rules out any bout in March. If the two sides somehow do hammer out an agreement for a fight this year, Yahoo boxing blogger Kevin Iole believes September is the earliest possible date. Or it could just continue on as the greatest fight that never was. [Yahoo Sports]

The No. 6-ranked Baylor Bears beat Paul Quinn College, a Dallas-area school affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church and an enrollment of about 200 students, by 41 points on national television Monday night. This was expected, considering that Paul Quinn plays in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and recently saw its football program cut, so the field could be used as a farm. The only reason they got the game is because head coach Charles Keeley is friends with new Baylor assistant coach Grant McCasland. The school wants to use the exposure from the Baylor game and a loss earlier in the season against Sam Houston State, to pump up enrollment, possibly to 2,000 by 2020. Keeley, who also teaches math at the college is optimistic Paul Quinn "could move up from N.A.I.A. someday, perhaps as high as N.C.A.A. Division II." Says Keeley: "We want to be relevant." For people watching ESPN this past Monday, they were. [The New York Times]

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