Michael Sam Now a Motivational Speaker
Speaking before an audience of a few hundred students at the University of Albany last month as part of the school’s Sexuality Month,, Michael Sam shared his story about coming out as the first openly gay NFL player in 2014. He said that growing up he always felt like an outsider. But while the death of two older brothers, the bullying he received from other family members as well as his mother’s religious affiliation with the Jehovah’s Witnesses made him feel he didn’t belong, he said nothing made him feel more of an outsider than being gay in the NFL.

The constant attention focused on his sexual orientation when he came out has left him distrustful of the media to this day. He’s still bewildered by their reaction to his coming out; “I thought it would be a story for two weeks and then it would go away.” Even more upsetting was his expectation that when he was drafted the headline would be ‘NFL has first openly gay player’ but instead it was all about him kissing his boyfriend. The media, he says, made it a distraction of it and it just never quit.

He believes that the combination of the continuous and excessive media attention he received and the homophobia still rampant in professional sports ruined his football career. However, noting that “everything happens for a reason,” Sam now uses all these experiences as a motivational speaker, urging people to be true to themselves.

Stanford Women’s Basketball Coach Tara VanDerveer Reaches 1,000 Victories
Congratulations go to Stanford Women’s Basketball Coach Tara VanDerveer who now joins the legendary Pat Summitt as the only other women’s coach with 1,000 victories. Summitt died last year due to early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Mike Krzyzewski of Duke is the only other Division I men’s coach with 1,000 wins. Now in her 38th year of coaching, VanDerveer also has two NCAA titles in 1990 and 1992; an Olympic gold medal from the Atlanta Games in in 1996, 11 Final Four appearances to name a few. In 2011 she was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

Kelsey Plum Breaks NCAA Scoring Record
For scoring a career-best 57 points in her Senior Day game with the University of Washington women’s basketball team, Kelsey Plum broke the all-time NCAA Division I scoring record and was named the 2016-17 Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Player of the Year. . During the 84-77 win over Utah, she beat Jackie Stiles’ record of 3,393 by four with 3,397 career points as well as topping Stiles 56-point career-best by one.

UConn Women’s Basketball Team Wins 100th Consecutive Game
The women of the University of Connecticut basketball team showed why they’re the top-ranked team on February 13 by extending their winning streak to 100 consecutive games. Nicholas Goss of NESN.com calls it even more impressive that 98 of the 100 wins have come by double-digits and 56 of them were decided by 40-plus points. Congratulations came from all over the sports world, including NBA legend himself, Kobe Bryant who called Coach Geno Auriemma “one of the greatest coaches/leaders we have ever had in sports.”

March Madness campus Sites Not Impacted by NCAA Ban
This past September the NCAA pulled seven championships from North Carolina as well as the first two rounds of the 2017 men’s basketball tournament due to the discriminatory HB2 “bathroom bill” limiting protections for the transgender community. Even though newly-elected Democratic governor Roy Cooper promised to repeal HB2, the effort has been blocked by the Republican-backed legislators. As a result the NCAA is threatening to eliminate from consideration all of North Carolina’s bids to host championship events through 2022.

But now Duke and North Carolina State are among the top 16 projected seeds recently revealed by the NCAA, making them potential game hosts in their home state of North Carolina. While it appears at first glance that the NCAA could be in violation of its own ban should either school win, that’s not the case. The NCAA allows games to be played by teams that have earned the right to host the game on their own campuses.

EyeGym Founder to Crack Down on Rugby Players’ Smartphone Use
Dr. Sherylle Calder, world renowned sports scientist and coach specializing in visual performance has been appointed to work with England Rugby. She is the founder of an online training program called EyeGym that specializes in improving visual skills. Saying that players’ ability to have good awareness is deteriorating by use of smartphones where there are no eye movements, she will be making strong recommendations on length of phone use to improve their spatial awareness and decision-making skills under pressure.

The South African native has been signed to ready the team for the World Cup in Japan in 2019 and will initially work with only the back-line players at the request of head coach Eddie Jones. They are typically the fastest members of a rugby team. Calder comes highly recommended having helped win two World Cups – England in 2003 and South Africa in 2007.

Senator Calls for Changes in Olympic Sports Law to Protect Child Athletes from Abuse
Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-California, announced she will introduce legislation requiring Olympic national governing bodies to immediately report any allegations of sexual abuse to authorities. This is in the wake of an Indy Star investigation into the sexual abuse over the past 20 years of 368 young female gymnasts by former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. USA Gymnastics had delayed informing the FBI about Nassar for five weeks. He is currently charged with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person younger than 13 and faces up to life in prison if convicted.