Today's word count: 1,622 words (6 minutes).
The NCAA routinely punishes student athletes for getting bad grades or accepting free meals, but nowhere in its 440-page rule book does it cite penalties for sexual violence.
Driving the news: Last month, USA Today published a wide-ranging investigation that examined how college athletes move from school to school and continue to play sports even after being found responsible for sexual assault.
1. Athletes are frequent offenders: Over the past five years, the nearly three dozen NCAA Division I universities that contributed data disciplined athletes for sexual misconduct at more than three times the rate of the general student population.
2. The transfer "loophole": Even when expelled from school, the NCAA allows athletes to transfer elsewhere and keep playing, "a pipeline that college athletes disciplined for sexual assault use regularly to resurrect their playing careers and leave sanctions behind," writes USA Today's Kenny Jacoby.
3. Schools won't comply: USA Today tried to collect disciplinary records from 226 Division I public schools across the country, but only 35 complied.
"People in higher education have come to regard their institutions as a brand and will do anything to protect the brand, even if that means putting people on campus at risk."— Frank LoMonte, University of Florida professor
4. The push for change: Advocates continue to spread awareness about this cause, which has led some NCAA conferences to adopt their own sexual violence policies, with a handful of schools taking a zero-tolerance approach.
What to watch: The USA Today investigation caught the attention of Congress, which has since pressured the NCAA to review its sexual violence policies. Perhaps president Mark Emmert will address the topic in his "state-of-college-sports" address tonight at the organization's annual convention.
Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Zion Williamson exploded in the fourth quarter of his NBA debut, scoring 17 consecutive points during a three-minute stretch that electrified the crowd (and Twitter) and helped turn a double-digit deficit into a brief Pelicans lead.
What they're saying: "Best thing I can say about Zion: months of anticipation for what amounted to an electric 3 minutes of basketball from him and ... it was totally worth it." (@damanr)
At first, the idea that Alexander Ovechkin could break Wayne Gretzky's "untouchable" goal-scoring record seems crazy. But then you do the math, and ... it's really not.
By the numbers: With eight goals over a three-game stretch last week, Ovechkin moved into a tie for ninth place on the all-time goals list with 692 career goals, 202 shy of Gretzky's 894.
Side-by-side: Gretzky was a sniper who possessed one of the most accurate slap shots the world has ever seen, while Ovechkin is a volume shooter and the best power-play goal scorer of all time.
The last word, courtesy of retired NHL player turned broadcaster Eddie Olczyk:
"10 years ago, I probably would have said, 'not happening, nobody's catching Gretzky ever.' But boy oh boy ... Can [Ovechkin] play another five years? Yeah, I think he can, so ... never say never."
🚨 Bonus: We're giving away an Ovechkin jersey! Scroll to the bottom for more details.
Eli Manning will hold a news conference at 11am ET tomorrow to formally announce his retirement from the NFL after 16 seasons as the face of the New York Giants.
What they're saying: "Eli is our only two-time Super Bowl MVP and one of the very best players in our franchise's history," Giants co-owner John Mara said in a statement.
By the numbers: Manning, 39, is one of five players to win multiple Super Bowl MVPs (Tom Brady, Joe Montana, Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw) and he never missed a single game due to injury.
What's next: SI's Ben Baskin wrote about "the final days of Eli" in October:
"There might not be another player in NFL history whose Hall of Fame candidacy fans and critics will argue about more fervidly. And, friends say, there might not be another player who will care less about the outcome.
"But everyone who knows Eli agrees he is perfectly suited to handle retirement. If they had to bet, he'll disappear entirely into domestic life, not join Peyton in TV ubiquity.
"They suggest, in fact, we may never see Eli again, not in the public eye. Instead, he'll be the dad who takes his kids to school every morning and proudly mows his lawn on Sunday afternoons."
NEW YORK — A day after being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Derek Jeter and Larry Walker held a joint press conference at the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan where they reminisced about their careers and slipped on their new threads.
LOS ANGELES — Esports organization 100 Thieves (I profiled them in July) unveiled the "100 Thieves Cash App Compound," which will house everything from practice facilities and streaming stations to a retail storefront featuring the brand's latest apparel.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — "Some of the so-called true blue courts at the Australian Open were coated in red after a rain front that lashed Melbourne overnight pushed through a dust storm from the northwest and left its mark on the city and the tournament." (AP)
Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Five years ago today, Klay Thompson went off against the Kings, scoring 37 points and draining nine threes (on nine attempts) in the third quarter alone, both NBA records.
Courtesy: Thrill One Sports & Entertainment
In an attempt to transform the fragmented world of action sports, The Raine Group and Causeway Media Partners have taken three industry-leading brands — Nitro Circus, Street League Skateboard and SuperJacket Productions — and combined them into a single entity called Thrill One.
Meet the brands: A combination of live sports, events, production.
Meet the investors:
The big picture: This move comes with action sports set to gain global exposure at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which will feature skateboarding and surfing for the first time, as well as BMX freestyle.
This will be the first Super Bowl since 2013 (Super Bowl XLVII) that won't feature LeGarrette Blount or C.J. Anderson at running back.
Answer at the bottom.
Photo: Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images
In honor of his greatness, we're giving away an Alexander Ovechkin jersey.
Kendall "Need Y'alls merch ASAP" Baker
Trivia answer: Ravens and 49ers