Today in sports: The Women's Tennis Association is urging the next generation of players to stop their excessive grunting by never starting, the Vikings may finally be getting their state-funded stadium, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers go back to the college coach well.
The Women's Tennis Association has dispatched representatives to junior tennis academies in recent weeks to educate players and coaches about the dark side of excessive on-court grunting. The New York Times explains that this is preferable to a ban on wild and excessive shrieking at the professional level, because "grunting habits deeply engrained by the time a player reaches professional age, the most effective time to curtail the habit would seem to be at the junior level." This logic is sound, but it will be years before anyone can tell if the push for a quieter game was successful. In the meantime, you can enjoy watching Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka -- "the sport's best known screechers," per The Times -- grunt, ululate, and hoot in the final round of the Australian Open on Saturday. [The New York Times]
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have moved on from the collapse of their super-secret negotiations to hire University of Oregon head coach Chip Kelly by hiring Rutgers coach Greg Schiano after a series of super-secret negotiations. Rebound coaching hires are a risky proposition, and Schiano was 68-67 in his eleven seasons at Rutgers, but give Tampa credit for hiring somebody, anybody after a search process during which they interviewed ten different candidates. By way of comparison, the Oakland Raiders interviewed five candidates--including Dennis Allen, who eventually got the job--during their recent search for a new coach. [ESPN]
Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf finally appears ready to grudgingly accept close to $500 million in taxpayer funds to build a new stadium on the site currently occupied by the decrepit Metrodome. In the span of two days, the team's front office has gone from being "frustrated" with city officials and state legislators saying they wouldn't put up funds to help build a stadium in downtown Minneapolis or suburban Arden Hills to being ready to "reluctantly accept" the Metrodome site. Now Wilf is saying he's "optimistic" this could be the deal that resolves the franchise's decade-long quest for a new home stadium. Which is how you're supposed to feel when you're picking up $425 million on a $918 million check. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]
Customs agents at Los Angeles International Airport have confiscated almost 11,000 counterfeit NFL jerseys since the regular season began last September. Before saying hooray, consider that the illicit bounty only had a street value of $850,000. Even that figure, provided by Customs, seems high, since it assumes an average purchase price of more than $80, which is hard to fathom when real jerseys are going for $60 a pop on the league's Website. A Customs spokesman noted that in addition to being overpriced, the contraband was also "of poor quality." [AP]