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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
The Athletes’ Advisory Council (AAC), an athlete-led group within the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), met this past weekend to discuss the possibility of forming a union, the Wall Street Journal reports (subscription).
Why it matters: "The push for more compensation and influence by athletes long considered 'amateurs' is building in several corners of the sports world, including college athletics," writes the WSJ's Rachel Bachman.
On one side of the room was Sarah Hirshland, the newly-hired USOC president. She represents the status quo, in which administrators — not athletes — hold the power and make the big bucks.
On the other side was Donald Fehr, who led the MLB Players Association in its successful fight against ownership in the 1990s and is now executive director of the NHL Players Association.
The big picture, courtesy of former Olympic kayaker and past AAC chairman, Norm Bellingham:
"It feels almost like there's an Arab Spring taking place. Waiting for the people in power to implement appropriate changes is something athletes are less and less willing to tolerate."
The bottom line: "The USOC is essentially defrauding us, and our champions," the Washington Post's Sally Jenkins wrote last year.
A week after Manny Machado signed a 10-year, $300 million deal with the San Diego Padres, the Colorado Rockies made their own star infielder an even richer man in terms of average salary per season, signing third baseman Nolan Arenado to an eight-year, $260 million extension.
Fun Arenado facts:
The bottom line: The free agency tours of Machado and Bryce Harper, both 26, dominated the offseason, but Arenado — who turns 28 in April and would have been a free agent next year — might be the best of the bunch. Last five seasons:
P.S. We have now reached the point in the Harper saga where Smash Mouth is attempting to break news. Hey now.
P.P.S. If you convert Alex Rodriguez's 2001 Rangers contract to today's dollars, it would be worth $592 million. Haha WUT.
Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
From Mike: After a lengthy wait, DraftKings has finally landed a sports betting partner, signing a multi-year deal with Caesars Entertainment.
Why it matters: The deal gives DraftKings Sportsbook access to betting markets in the 14 states where Caesars is already operating, including Pennsylvania where mobile betting is expected to go online this fall.
Last month, Chattanooga FC of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) began offering public ownership shares. 30 days later, the club has already raised over $500,000 from investors across 44 states and 10 countries.
Why it matters: Prior to 2016, the only people who could invest in equity crowdfunding campaigns like this one were accredited investors with net worths of at least $1 million.
📺 Tonight, 7 pm ET (FS1): The U.S. women's national team takes on Japan in a rematch of the 2015 and 2011 World Cup finals. The match is part of the SheBelieves Cup. Full preview.
Eric Dickerson and Craig James during their SMU playing days. Photo: Denver Post via Getty Images
32 years ago today, the SMU Mustangs were sentenced to the "death penalty" by the NCAA after an investigation revealed the school paid 13 players, including NFL Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson, a total of $61,000 funded by boosters.
"SMU taught the committee that the death penalty is too much like the nuclear bomb. The results were so catastrophic that now we'll do anything to avoid dropping another one."— Former Florida University president John Lombardi
Details: The penalties didn't stop at the cancellation of the 1987 season. They also included:
No. 20 Virginia Tech upset No. 3 Duke 77-72 last night, the Hokies' third straight home win over the Blue Devils.
Answer at the bottom.
Ryan Crouser (gold) and Joe Kovacs (silver) celebrate after medaling at the 2016 Olympics. Photo: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
If you're looking for fame and fortune, avoid the shot put.
The six teams that will take the field when the PLL debuts in June are the Archers, Atlas, Chaos, Chrome, Redwoods and Whipsnakes. Go deeper.
Thought bubble: As I explained earlier this month, the PLL will use a tour-based model, so these teams aren't tied to cities. That means fans will choose their favorite squad based on things like name, logo, color scheme and roster (when they're announced). Pretty cool.
🇬🇷 The exile of Rick Pitino (The Ringer)
Kendall "100 days until the women's World Cup" Baker
Trivia answer: Dell Curry (No. 15 pick in 1986 draft)