The U.S. News and World Report college rankings came out this week and it was not good news for one Capital Region institution. The University at Albany continued to fall behind the other New York "University Centers"; Stony Brook, Binghamton and Buffalo in gold standard of national university rankings. For more than a decade there have been rumblings of concern by faculty and alumni about the academic direction of the school. Once a proud research institution with a stout business school, UAlbany is now struggling to be recognized academically.
It was my third year working New York Giants training camp, as part of my responsibilities as the Associate Athletic Director at the University at Albany. Back then, from the beginning of July until mid-August, the Giants' front office personnel would occupy the athletic administration offices of the Great Danes and many of us had camp responsibilities. In those days, there were two-a-day practices and about three to five thousand fans would show up each day to see head coach Tom Coughlin and his team.
Tuesday morning was media training with yours truly giving the presentation to the University at Albany football team. 100 players packed into the academic center, where the team generally holds training camp team meetings. The UAlbany Great Danes are preparing to take on 10th-ranked Baylor on September 3rd, so information had to be quick and to the point. Plus, one Great Danes player was about to learn that he earned something incredibly special.
Baseball is a funny game and a Major League clubhouse can be an interesting place. Respect from veteran players doesn't come easy. Younger players and journeyman are merely taking another guy's job. So, when a 12 year-veteran All Star buys the entire team replica tee-shirt jerseys of your name and number, that's a pretty big honor.
Being a student-athlete is not easy at any level. Competing in a sport with the best of your peers can be extremely challenging, physically and mentally. High school student-athletes are going through intense bodily chemical changes as they grow and compete at the same time. Collegiate student-athletes are usually on the back end of the growth spurt but most are living on their own for the first time and are faced with brand new expectations, challenges and temptations.
On Tuesday, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced that current President Mark Emmert would step down by June 30, 2023. Running an organization that governs the athletic operations of hundreds of a colleges across the country, with different financial models, is an impossible task for the most part. However, having worked at one of those institutions' athletic department for a few decades, Emmert doesn't get a pass for his performance or lack there of.