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 protected] or sending him a tweet @DanCoco7.
Hamilton died in his Lagos home after a protracted illness, at the age of 75. “We would hope that, in some way, our words of support may help bring a little bit of peace and solace in this time of sadness.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram In a letter signed by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, the world body wrote: “I would like to express my deepest sympathy on hearing the news of the passing of the former Nigeria national team player and coach, Paul Hamilton. World football ruling body, FIFA has condoled with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) over the death, last week, of former Nigeria international and coach, Paul ‘Wonder Boy’ Hamilton. “After first coaching the Nigeria U20 national team as well as the senior national team, he went on to guide the women’s national team, the Super Falcons, to their first FIFA Women’s World Cup appearance in China in 1991, an achievement he repeated in 1995. “On behalf of FIFA and the worldwide family of football, please allow me to extend my deepest condolences to the football community of Nigeria, and most importantly, to his family, friends and loved ones.
…says GGB’s negligence caused high levels of mercury in labIn light of the recent discovery of high levels of mercury in the laboratory of the Guyana Gold Board (GGB), the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) is suggesting that Government allocate $2 billion to the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) to conduct a feasibility study on the phasing out of the mercury in mining.The association said the money should be used for acquisition of quality equipment and conducting of test work. It added that Government is expected to put its best mining and mineral processing engineers in the field with miners to find solutions. “The GGDMA is of the view that with clear direction, quality equipment, and adequate funding, the GGMC professionals can determine the feasibility of eliminating mercury from gold mining,” the GGDMA said in a statement.The GGDMA said it is concerned with the high levels of mercury content found in the blood of both GGMC and GGB workers, and has blamed this development on the GGB’s negligence, since proper checks and procedures should have been in place to monitor fugitive mercury emissions.“The GGDMA is disturbed by the description of mercury as a “scourge” because of its use in the gold recovery process. Mercury is a necessary tool in the small and medium scale miners’ toolbox; however, it must be used and handled in a responsible manner,” the statement said.The GGDMA note that the Gold Board’s contamination is more of an issue of carelessness, since the industry’s best practices and technologies for the control and capture of mercury emissions from the Gold Board’s facilities were not installed, and the monitoring and maintaining protocols of the scrubbers installed in its systems were neglected or non-existent.“The GGDMA calls upon the Government to ensure that proper safety measures are in place through standard operating procedures [SOPs] at its facilities, to ensure a safe environment for all Guyanese as they conduct business daily,” it added.The GGDMA also reaffirmed its commitment to the Minamata Convention on Mercury, and reiterated its call for the Government to step forward with strong technical assistance to small and medium scale miners to ensure sustainable development principles are applied to the gold and diamond mining sector.Additionally, the Association said there is a strong need for the Government to identify improved mercury-free gold recovery technologies and techniques which can lead to achievement of the objectives of the Minamata Convention on Mercury.The objective of the Minamata Convention is to protect humans and the environment around the world from mercury emissions caused by human activities. The agreement regulates the use of this heavy metal in manufacturing processes and products, the reduction of emissions, and the management of mercury-containing wastes.Since high mercury content has been discovered in the GGB’s Laboratory, over 130 staffers have been tested. It has been discovered that more than 60 have reported high levels of mercury in their system. The GGB has contracted the services of Trinidad-based Kaizen Environmental Services to conduct an independent investigation of the effect of the emission, and that company has said the mercury levels are back to normal. According to the report, the study was conducted on March 28 at ten locations primarily within the Guyana Geology and Mines Commissions’ compound and surrounding areas.Additionally, the laboratory have since been closed down.