The Wisconsin softball team played two of its biggest home games Wednesday afternoon at Goodman Diamond, but you most likely didn’t know about them.Even if you did know the Badgers played, there’s little to no chance you could have attended the games anyway.Like half of Wisconsin’s six home series, the final home series against Nebraska yesterday came as part of a Wednesday afternoon doubleheader. The games were initially scheduled back to back at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., but due to weather concerns, the twin bill got pushed ahead to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. If they weren’t early enough as it was, the nearly morning start time for the first game of the doubleheader made it seem like the series was being played as part of a secret society event no one could know about. The attendance of 271 certainly reflected that, a drop of exactly 1,100 fans from last Saturday’s Senior Day matchup with Purdue.With no baseball team, softball is the calling card for the UW Athletic Department in the springtime, but you wouldn’t know that from the games scheduling. The Badgers had three home Wednesday doubleheaders this season, all with 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. start times. The other nine home games of the season consisted of two Friday doubleheaders with 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. first pitches and five Saturday and Sunday games, all of which started between the hours of 12 and 2 p.m.The times for the weekend contests are reasonable, but as for the weekday games, they leave you scratching your head. Obviously there is the subject of weather, considering spring in Wisconsin is anything but predictable. Scheduling in the afternoon helps to avoid a temperature drop come nighttime. Therefore, changing the times for the weekday games, at least in Wisconsin, might be unavoidable. But if that’s the case, then the promotion for UW student day shouldn’t have been scheduled for Wednesday afternoon’s games. The Athletic Department might not have complete control over when games are, but having a promotion during the middle of when most students are either in class or napping doesn’t bode too well. I can’t imagine that many of the 271 in attendance Wednesday were students, outside of the players on both teams who had to be there.Clearly softball isn’t one of the revenue sports at Wisconsin, but providing a quality playing environment that more closely resembles a sporting event and not the atmosphere of Steenbock Library starts with the scheduling of events.Unfortunately, though, softball isn’t the only team at Wisconsin playing during odd times of the day, and the real problem is not weather. It’s the influence of television, specifically the Big Ten Network. Ever since BTN launched in August 2007, the network has changed the sports landscape in the conference, but hardly for the better. Sure, the access to Big Ten sports has widely increased and you can now watch sports like softball, swimming and wrestling on a regular basis — if you have cable or satellite, that is — but the network has also drastically changed sports and the times they air.The biggest impact of BTN has been its at least partial responsibility for the hockey realignment, which in only one season has diluted the college hockey product. With no Big Ten hockey league when the network came on the air, it couldn’t dedicate coverage to a product on the ice and would just air games sparingly. But the discussion of an NCAA-sanctioned men’s hockey team at Penn State in 2010 allowed for a Big Ten hockey league now that there were enough teams for a league.The decision by Penn State could have been for competitive reasons, but there’s no doubt money played a key role. A network dedicated the conference gave the opportunity for teams to have regular air time and exposure, an opportunity less well known hockey schools like Ohio State, Michigan State and certainly Penn State would seize in a heartbeat. Because broadcast rights involve money, there’s more than just the idea of exposure at play.This past season with the launch of BTN hockey, ESPN U and NBC Sports also decided they wanted in on college hockey. While Wisconsin and the other Big Ten schools got more exposure because of the different television outlets, it came at a cost. For the years I have followed Wisconsin hockey dating back to the start of the Mike Eaves era in 2002; the staple start time for games was 7:07 p.m. With the influx of television deals this season though, Wisconsin started games at 4 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., which included a Thursday-Friday series in the most important two-game set of the year against then-No. 1 Minnesota. But even when games were on TV, more often than viewers would have liked, other games beforehand cut into the Badgers’ game.This has also been a regular occurrence for basketball, where games on BTN and other networks are scheduled for an unrealistic two hours to maximize the number of games in one night. Just like hockey, the games almost always seem to cut into one another. It might be a minor annoyance, but if these networks dictate when these games are played the least they could do is make sure the game gets broadcasted in its entirety.To say the softball games Wednesday were infected by this recent plague might be a bit of a stretch, but lately games have been dictated more and more by the people who stand to make money off them rather than the people who pay the money to get into them.The schools and networks can continue to schedule games however they please, but they’re only hurting themselves.Dan is currently a sophomore at UW with an undeclared major. Do you agree with him that TV networks have altered the landscape of college sports for the worse? Let him know by sending him an email at email@example.com or sending him a tweet @DanCoco7.
Ivanhoe V. Ffriend, Business Excellence Award. Ffriend is the president and CEO of Ffriend Enterprises, Ltd., and Principal of Ffriend Financial Group. He holds an MBA in finance from Baruch College of the City University of New York, and is a registered investment advisor licensed by the New York Department of Law and FINRA. with over 38 years of experience as a financial professional, Mr. Ffriend has built an award-winning firm of advisors specializing in qualified pension, estate and general financial planning, as well as insurance and investment services. Roy Leslie Reid, Mountain Mover Award. After an accomplished career as a business executive, Reid founded Corporate Courier N.Y. Inc., and Trans Management Corporation, where he currently serves as President and CEO. In addition, Reid has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the less fortunate in his native Jamaica, providing donations to hospitals and clinics, furnishing computers to rural schools and partnering to form RCM Community, a nonprofit that works to give local children a technological edge. Following a competitive process, three students were selected this year for scholarships. They are:Christina McBean. A graduate of St. Andrew High School for Girls in Kingston, Jamaica, McBean is now enrolled at Howard University, where she is studying physics.Aaditi Tamhankar. A graduate of Cherry Hill High School West in Cherry Hill, N.J., Tamhankar is pursuing studies in healthcare management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.Adam Fane. A graduate of Bronx International High School, Fane is now studying political science and economics at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana.“Investing in the future, and in the next generation, is the only way to keep dreams, fulfill visions and build legacies,” said Lowell Hawthorne, Golden Krust’s chairman and CEO, and chairman of the foundation. “Golden Krust is proud to continue to invest in our communities, as these communities have welcomed us so warmly and remain the linchpin of our ongoing success.”That commitment isn’t lost on Fane, one of the scholarship recipients.“I am very proud to be a part of this group of scholars. Because of the Mavis & Ephraim Hawthorne scholarship, I no longer have to worry about how I will buy my books, or find transportation to school,” he said.The eight community leaders who were honored at the event were recognized for their selflessness, ingenuity and commitment to their communities. They are: Camille A. Clare, Champion of Education Award. A board- certified obstetrician/gynecologist, Dr. Clare is the Director of Resident Research in her department, and the Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion at New York Medical College. She has received numerous awards for excellence in medical student teaching, and is a dedicated clinician, researcher and educator with a particular focus on healthcare disparities in the Caribbean and African diaspora.Thomas A. Farrington, Humanitarian Award. After being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000, he resolved to found an organization to educate black men about their prostate cancer risk. e He fehE hE fHe felt a particular drive to act because he lost his father and both grandfathers to the disease. In 2003, he founded the Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN), a nonprofit that that works to teach men in the black community about this disease. Farrington is the author of “Battling The Killer Within” and the follow-up, “Battling The Killer Within and Winning.” Robert “Bobby” Clarke, Visionary Award. Clarke is the founder and CEO of Irie Jam Media, the media empire through which he brings Caribbean programming to listeners in the New York area. Clarke’s first business venture was Bronx Travel Express. The business was successful, but the visionary had bigger dreams, which sparked the idea for Irie Jam Radio, which has become a staple in the community. In addition to his success in broadcasting, he has planned and produced several large music festivals, including the annual Irie Jamboree, the event which has become North America’s premier reggae festival. Clarke, along with collaborator and partner Louis Grant, has worked closely with Grace-Kennedy and Western Union Money Services to promote track and field events, including the Inter-Secondary Schools Boys and Girls Championships, or Champs, in Kingston, Jamaica, and the world-famous Penn Relays. Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill raises $100,000 to benefit college-students and honors eight community leaders Caribbean-themed franchise honors eight community leaders in the US for their outstanding work and commitment.Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill raised $100,000 at its 12th Annual Excellence Awards Gala on Nov. 10, 2017, at the VIP Country Club in New Rochelle, N.Y.More than 300 attendees – among them leaders in business, nonprofit, education, and other fields – joined with the families and friends of the Hawthorne family, which founded Golden Krust in 1989 with a single retail location. Today, the family-owned and -operated business is franchised in North America, with 120 locations along the U.S. East Coast, as well as in Texas and Canada.All proceeds from the night will support the mission of the Mavis & Ephraim Hawthorne Golden Krust Foundation, a nonprofit that was established by the Hawthorne family to provide scholarships to college-bound high school students from underserved communities.Golden Krust has provided more than 350 scholarships to students since the foundation first began its work. Awardees each receive $1,000 each per year for four years of undergraduate study. The Rev. Eric Wendel Lee, Sr., Community Service Award. Eric Wendel Lee, Sr., is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in History (1993). He then attended Vanderbilt University Divinity School in Nashville. Pastor Lee has served on the boards of numerous community organizations, including Hands on Newton, Newton County High School Council, Faith Works of Newton County, One Voice of Newton County, Equity Council of Rockdale Public School System, Newton County Tomorrow, IMPACT, United Rockdale Summit, Light House, Village of Rockdale County and the Rockdale County United Way. He has also worked as a Professional Child Advocate in Indianapolis, Indiana and in Atlanta. Douglas & Priscilla Dixon, Champion of Education Awards. Charles Douglas Dixon, Esq., is a Principal with MEDX Global Healthcare Solutions, Madison Square Partners II, Total Business Solutions and Cadiz Captial LLC. Following a distinguished career in business, corporate and real estate law, Mr. Dixon established his own law firm. Among his clients are the National Minority Supplier Development Council, the largest minority business development organization in the world. Dixon has shown a strong commitment to the Westchester community through his serviceon the African-American Advisory Board and the Association of Black Lawyers of Westchester. He is on the board of directors of the Beta Zeta Boule Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club of New Rochelle. Since his retirement from the practice of law, Mr. Dixon currently serves as Chairman of the Arthur S. Dixon Family Foundation.Priscilla Dixon has a Ph.D in psychology, where she specialized in developmental and environmental psychology. She spent 37 years as a professor and college administrator. In addition, she has trained educators in the New York City public school system and has published her work in professional journals and popular magazines. Mrs. Dixon is a licensed psychologist, and she has a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York. For most of her life, she has sung gospel music with her siblings, The Hambrick Singers.The Mavis & Ephraim Hawthorne Golden Krust Foundation was established in 2005 with the mission to help educate and assist with college completion through scholarships, mentorship and internships. As of this year, the MEHGKF has granted over 350 scholarships and counting. Each student who is selected will receive four thousand dollars over four years. Not only are they committing to the financial support of the scholarship recipients, but they are providing them with a lifelong community and network. Learn more about the foundation at www.goldenkrustfoundation.org.