Saturday, April 13, 2024

Eight NFL players get franchise tag; Dartmouth men’s basketball votes to unionize

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🏀 Good morning to everyone but especially …


It was a historic day for Dartmouth and for college athletics as a whole: The Big Green men’s basketball team voted, 13-2, to unionize, joining the Service Employees International Union Local 560 in Hanover, New Hampshire.

The vote came exactly one month after a National Labor Relations Board regional manager ruled players were school employees and therefore able to vote to unionize. That ruling came after the team petitioned to unionize in September 2023, listing Dartmouth College/Dartmouth College Board of Trustees as the employer.

While the vote represents another step forward — and an unprecedented one at that — it’s “unlikely to be the final say on the matter as Dartmouth pushes back on the classification that its basketball players are employees of the school,” David Cobb notes.

Last month, Dennis Dodd explained how a team unionizing could change college athletics forever, and David provided more details following Tuesday’s vote:

  • Cobb: “In addition to the financial benefits of becoming employees, unionizing would give athletes a greater say in shaping their collegiate experiences. University of Pennsylvania professor Karen Weaver, an expert on the intersection of higher education and college sports, told CBS News last week that unionizing will give athletes an avenue to sit down with administrators and negotiate on matters such as practice length, medical care and more.”

As if that wasn’t enough, Dartmouth beat Harvard, 76-69, for just its second Ivy league win of the season.

😃 Honorable mentions

⚾ And not such a good morning for …


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The Red Sox’s precariously thin rotation just got thinner. Lucas Giolito reportedly has a partially torn UCL and a flexor strain, putting his 2024 season in danger.

  • Manager Alex Cora told reporters Tuesday the injury “does not sound minor,” and indeed it isn’t. Giolito could face Tommy John surgery or at the very least a long rehab.
  • Giolito, 29, signed a two-year, $38.5 million contract with Boston in December with an opt out after this season. Giolito had been terrific early last season, going 6-6 with a 3.79 ERA with the White Sox before being traded to the Angels. His season, much like the Angels’, fell apart: He went 1-5 with a 6.89 ERA in six starts with Los Angeles and then 1-4 with a 7.04 ERA with the Guardians to close the campaign.
  • There was hope, though, that Giolito could regain form in Boston. From 2019-21, he was one of the game’s best pitchers, going 29-21 with a 3.47 ERA, an All-Star nod and a top-dozen Cy Young finish each of those seasons.

After a last-place finish in the AL East and a relatively quiet offseason, Boston was hoping Giolito could be a bright spot — or at least an interesting story line. Now, the rotation features Nick Pivetta, Kutter Crawford, Brayan Bello, Tanner Houck and _________.

With Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery available, the Red Sox have to shift their focus there to fill in the blank, right? Wrong, says Matt Snyder.

  • Snyder: “Imagine that offense with a Snell-Montgomery-Pivetta-Bello-Crawford rotation and Houck shifting to the bullpen. The Red Sox would look like a playoff team, even in the all-in AL East. … Instead, plenty of owners are standing in the way and are more worried about their own bottom line. This is why I don’t believe the Giolito injury triggers much in terms of movement. I could be wrong, but my guess is the news Tuesday only further solidifies the Red Sox mindset that this year is a lost cause at the big-league level and new Chief Baseball Officer Craig Breslow‘s job is to build the club from the farm system up.”

Tuesday was a tough day for pitcher health elsewhere, too:

😑 Not so honorable mentions

🏈 Eight players franchise-tagged on deadline day, notable names released


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The NFL offseason is chugging along, and another key date is in the rearview: Eight players received the franchise tag ahead of Tuesday’s deadline.

  • Bears CB Jaylon Johnson (story)
  • Bengals WR Tee Higgins (story)
  • Buccaneers S Antoine Winfield Jr. (story)
  • Chiefs CB L’Jarius Sneed (story)
  • Colts WR Michael Pittman Jr. (story)
  • Jaguars LB Josh Allen (story)
  • Panthers LB Brian Burns (story)
  • Ravens DT Justin Madubuike (story)

All eight received the non-exclusive franchise tag, meaning they can negotiate and sign offer sheets with any team, but their previous team can match it. If the previous team does not match it, that team receives two first-round picks from the player’s new team. The Patriots, meanwhile, used the transition tag on safety Kyle Dugger.

Teams can only use one tag per season, meaning guys who didn’t get the tag are often as notable as those who did. Here are a few big names set to hit free agency.

Free agency officially begins a week from today, and tags weren’t the only moves as teams sorted out their finances.

⚽ UEFA Champions League: Bayern Munich, PSG advance, previewing today


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With things crumbling around them, Bayern Munich found their footing when they needed it most in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg. The German powerhouse thrashed Lazio, 3-0, to overcome a 1-0 first-leg deficit. Harry Kane, Thomas Muller and Mathias de Ligt each tallied, keeping Kane’s career-long hunt for a trophy alive, but they still look far from title contenders, James Benge writes.

Elsewhere, PSG eased past Real Sociedad, 2-1 (4-1 aggregate). Kylian Mbappe scored both goals for PSG and backed Luis Enrique postgame. Thierry Henry broke down the magnificent performance on CBS Sports Golazo Network.

Two more teams will join them in the quarterfinals today.

  • Manchester City vs. Copenhagen (City lead 3-1) (preview)
  • Real Madrid vs. Leipzig (Madrid lead 1-0) (preview)

And finally …

📺 What we’re watching Wednesday

⚽ Manchester City vs. Copenhagen, 3 p.m. on CBS and Paramount+
⚽ Real Madrid vs. Leipzig, 3 p.m. on Paramount+
🏀 Villanova at Seton Hall (M), 6:30 p.m. on FS1
🏀 No. 4 Tennessee at No. 17 South Carolina (M), 7 p.m. on ESPN2
🏒 Sabres at Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. on TNT
🏀 Clippers at Rockets, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Xavier at Butler (M), 7:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network
🏀 No. 2 UConn at No. 8 Marquette (M), 8:30 p.m. on FS1
🏀 No. 20 BYU at No. 6 Iowa State (M), 9 p.m. on ESPN2
🏀 No. 22 Utah State at San Jose State (M), 9:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network
🏒 Red Wings at Avalanche, 9:30 p.m. on TNT
🏀 Bucks at Warriors, 10 p.m. on ESPN
USWNT vs. Canada, 10:15 p.m. on Paramount+

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