Baylor University used puppets to announce its newly signed football players

National signing day is when high school athletes sign letters of intent to play for specific university. It's a big enough deal for college football fans that ESPN was updating it class rankings every hour. (Apparently Clemson did well, and USC did poorly.)

Each school wants to get as much attention as possible. This year, Baylor announced each player with two tweets, one a traditional highlight reel, and another featuring puppets:

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Jack Russel Hurdle Racing

Jack Russell Hurdle Racing is a lightning fast race where the dogs leap over three obstacles while chasing lure, and then cram through the narrow finish arch. The television broadcast that was on over the weekend was as well-produced as a premier NFL game:

Here's an older video featuring almost twelve minutes of Jack Russell Hurdle Racing:

It's just one of several events at the Incredible Dog Challenge, including agility, diving, and fetch, Read the rest

The best sports gifs of the decade

SB Nation asked for recommendations for the best sports gifs of the decade, and boy they got some terrific responses.

Elite skill:

The exact opposite:

Extreme effort:

Irrepressible exuberance:

Unwarranted confidence:

Live broadcast moments both goofy:

and mysterious:

Enjoy many more responses here. Read the rest

The best thing about American "sports"

Wally Backman, seen here as manager of the South Georgia Peanuts, just wants to know what he said that got him ejected from the game along with his player. The umpire, he says, is "an embarrassment to professional baseball."

The screaming begins 1 minute in; the action begins 3 minutes 8 seconds in. Read the rest

NFL player wears unusual furry dog cleats to support an animal shelter

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (OBJ) is a supporter of the Berea Animal Rescue Friends shelter in Berea, Ohio. As part of the NFL's My Cause My Cleats program in which players wear custom shoes at big games to spotlight their favorite charities, Nike tricked out OBJ's cleats as a tribute to the animal shelter. From Hypebeast:

In line with the canine inspirations, ear flaps have been placed on two sides of each foot, hanging from the upper collars. On the medial side, “OBJ” is embroidered in gold, complemented by round tonal laces at the center. The lateral side features the Swoosh logo as well as the number “13,” while the black toe cap references a dog’s nose.

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Crowdfunding for Los Anarchists, a junior roller derby team in Sun Valley, CA

Anthony Gulino writes, "Los Anarchists Junior Derby is a nonprofit that takes a DIY approach to teaching roller derby to kids. It runs programs for all levels from the youngest, newest skaters to the highest level of competitive junior derby at its dedicated facility, Anarchy Hall, in Sun Valley, CA. Los Anarchists' travel team is the current Junior Roller Derby Association World Champions in the Female division and have been invited to The Big O in Oregon, as well as tournaments in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Tampa this season." Read the rest

Watch a 5'2" player dominate a college basketball game

Darnell Rogers, listed at 5'2", 150 pounds, is starring for the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. Here he is driving to the hoop against LSU:

Getting lost in a forest of trees and exchanging words:

And looking like he's jumping off a trampoline as he pulls down a rebound:

5'3" Muggsy Bogues was the shortest player in NBA history, and at least as of last year, 5'9" Isaiah Thomas was the shortest active NBA player. Read the rest

Audio misencoded in post-game interview with football coach Ed Orgeron

Sports reporter Timothy Burke writes that "Something went wrong with my archival encode of the Utah State-LSU game, and all the audio is pitch-shifted down 100%. Which resulted in this." Read the rest

The potential number one NBA and NFL draft picks were both ruled ineligible by the NCAA

At the end of September, California enacted a new law that will allow college athletes to make money from endorsement deals starting in 2023:

the law creates an unrestricted market for others who want to use the athlete's name, image or likeness. Money could come in the form of major brands like Nike or McDonald's using the athletes in commercials. It could also come from small businesses like car dealerships putting an athlete on a local billboard or memorabilia shops paying an athlete to show up for an autograph session for fans. Athletes could also make money themselves by monetizing social media feeds, selling T-shirts online or advertising to give lessons in their sport to younger kids. The new law allows athletes to hire an agent to help manage the process.

Among the voices speaking out was Ohio State University's athletic director who cautioned the move would lead to California schools being excluded from the NCAA:

if Newsom signs the bill, schools in California are "going to have a model where they can almost pay for play – not quite – but I think they’re going to be challenged to maintain their membership in the association because, as an association, we have the authority as a group to make our own rules and regulations, and they will be outside those rules and regulations. So, I’m not quite sure how they will stay in the association."

As reported by USA Today, the athletic director specifically expressed concern California schools would have an unfair advantage:

And how those schools will compete against those schools in California who have an unfair advantage because they’ll be able to offer student-athletes benefits that the other schools will not be able to offer.

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Athlete Mary Cain: "I Was the Fastest Girl in America, Until I Joined Nike"

Mary Cain, a middle-distance runner, reports that her male coaches' constant demands she get “thinner, and thinner, and thinner” hurt her health and career. The crux of the problem: she joined a program operated by Nike, whose priority is selling shoes, not training athletes.

The New York Times:

The problem is so widespread it affected the only other female athlete featured in the last Nike video ad Cain appeared in, the figure skater Gracie Gold. When the ad came out in 2014, like Cain, Gold was a prodigy considered talented enough to win a gold medal at the next Olympics. And, like Cain, Gold got caught in a system where she was compelled to become thinner and thinner. She developed disordered eating to the point of imagining her own death.

“America loves a good child prodigy story, and business is ready and waiting to exploit that story, especially when it comes to girls,” said Lauren Fleshman, who ran for Nike until 2012. “When you have these kinds of good girls, girls who are good at following directions to the point of excelling, you’ll find a system that’s happy to take them. And it’s rife with abuse.”

It's a big warning to young athletes: Nike doesn't need all of its mannequins to be winners. The head coach, Alberto Salazar, would weigh her in front of her teammates and humiliate her if she failed to reach his arbitrary targets.

Consider how even after years of constant scandals, this sort of abuse still thrives at the place two opposed goals meet. Read the rest

'Baby Trump' balloon is going to LSU-Alabama football game to mock Donald

It's on. Read the rest

Watch these incredible and utterly dangerous moves banned from figure skating competitions

Enjoy these demonstrations of figure skating elements and moves that the International Skating Union ISU) has apparently banned from competition. Examples include a one-foot backflip, spinning your partner by their ankles, and even lying down on the ice. Here are the ISU's official rule books.

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Anime running vs the actual thing

Next up: Pokemon vs actual pets.

(h/t Adam Savage) Read the rest

Incredible video of "Spiderwoman" setting new speed climbing record

At last weekend's International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) World Cup, Indonesia’s Aries Susanti Rahayu, aka "Spiderwoman," broke the women's speed climbing record previously set in April by her competitor, China’s Song Yiling. Rahayu bested Yiling's prior record by .106 seconds which, in this game, is a lot. Speed climbing. in which climbers race to scramble a 15-meter wall, will be a new addition to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Below, more highlights from the 2019 IFSC World Cup:

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RFID implicated in live-streamed poker cheating scandal

Seems a pro-poker player, Mike Postle, has achieved impossible-seeming results. Other players have put hours upon hours upon hours into analyzing his baffling play. It is like watching someone play with perfect information, they claim!

While nothing definitive has been found, Stones Gambling Hall, a live poker site where the questionable Postle has spent a lot of time live streaming, has stopped using RFID chipped playing cards and hired an investigator.

Spying isn't just for governments!

CNBC:

It’s not just that Postle is winning, it’s how he’s winning, that is drawing suspicion. Ingram, Berkey and others have spent hours reviewing hands Postle played and found several times where Postle made a fold or a call that wouldn’t seem “right” but happened to work out in his favor.

Berkey said Postle made plays no pro would ever make, and he did them often, and they worked. Poker is a game of incomplete information. Berkey said Postle played “as if he had perfect information.”

Stones Gambling Hall said it has hired an independent investigator to look into the accusations.

In a statement Stones Gambling Hall said: “We temporarily halted all broadcasts from Stones. We have also, as a result, halted the use of RFID playing cards.”

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Boxer Sonny Liston kisses a fan

This is such a beautiful GIF. Read the rest

Idiot soccer hooligan arrested for punching horse

A gentleman was arrested in Portsmouth, England after punching a police horse during a riot following a soccer game. He apparently was angry that Portsmouth lost to Southampton. It isn't clear why he blamed the horse though. From The Telegraph:

In the footage of the aftermath of the first match in seven years between bitter rivals Southampton and Portsmouth, the supporter then attempts to run from the horse, but his path is blocked as he ends up in the arms of a group of police officers with riot shields.

Hampshire Constabulary said a 52-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty and attempted criminal damage. He was later released but remains under investigation.

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