Sports

Elite college sports conferences can set their own rules about sharing profits with student-athletes and other matters, under a new policy adopted by the NCAA's Division I Board of Directors on Thursday.

The NBA now has its first full-time female assistant coach, as the San Antonio Spurs have hired WNBA star Becky Hammon to join their bench for the upcoming season. The move comes as Hammon says she'll retire after her current season playing for the San Antonio Stars.

Mengwen Cao/KUT News

Water, the outdoors, music: all things Austinites enjoy, especially when the weather is nice. And all three can go well with some type of beverage in hand.

That was the case during this weekend’s Aqua Olympics. The fourth annual family/tattoo/dog-friendly event, presented by Fun Fun Fun Fest, took over Fiesta Gardens on Saturday afternoon. Events included classic outdoor games like a potato sack race, balloon toss and a ‘6-legged’ race. And, in typical Fun Fun Fun Fest fashion, there were activities like a paddleboard joust on Lady Bird Lake, a taco cannon, a belching contest, and a ‘lagoon launch’ where some of Austin’s best BMX bikers shot down a ramp, flew and flipped through the air, landing in the lake. For many, it could be considered a typical Austin afternoon.

Update at 6:08 p.m. ET

Germany steamrolled over host Brazil 7-1 on Tuesday in their semifinal game to enter the final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Five of Germany's goals came in the first half.

Thomas Muller scored in the 11th minute, Toni Kroos scored in the 24th and 26th minutes, Miroslav Klose and Sami Khedira scored in the 23rd and 29th minutes, respectively, and Andre Schurrle in the 69th and 79th minutes.

Oscar scored Brazil's consolation goal in the 90th minute.

Today, players and fans of the U.S. and Belgium are building toward a decisive game that will send one team to the World Cup's quarterfinals and send the other packing. Two key questions are whether the U.S. can strike early, as it did against Ghana, and whether Belgium can pull away late, as it has in all its games so far in Brazil.

Anticipation is building for the U.S. Men's National Team's showdown with Germany on Thursday. The Americans need a win or a tie to decide their own fate; a loss would mean they need help to advance to the round of 16.

The game will start at noon ET — when the other Group G match, between Portugal and Ghana, also starts. You can follow the game or just comment on the action here at The Two-Way. For now, we've rounded up analysis and predictions.

Amateurism is dead, revealed so in the trial against the NCAA now in progress in Oakland, Calif., U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken presiding. Before her skeptical eyes, amateurism has been laid out naked on a courtroom slab for a jury of all fans to see that it has no beating heart.

Amateurism, Judge Wilken has been told in the case, commonly known as the O'Bannon trial, nobly protects college athletes from being exploited by evil outsiders — so the NCAA knighthood was created in order that colleges could tie up athletes all by themselves.

The "Group of Death" is living up to its name.

Going into the third and final match of group stage, all four teams — the U.S., Germany, Ghana and Portugal — still have a mathematical chance of moving on to the round of 16.

Of course, the U.S. had a prime chance at sealing the deal last night against Portugal. But, as we told you, a last-gasp goal by Portugal scuttled those plans.

https://www.flickr.com/crystiancruz

If you were to ask someone on the street which country has brought more fans to the World Cup this year, many wouldn’t venture that it would be the U.S.

But with the close proximity of the World Cup this year the United States has sent more fans to Brazil than any other nation. U.S. fans also account for the second largest overseas television audience of the event. 

The San Antonio Spurs have brought a fifth NBA title to the Alamo City after beating the Miami Heat last night 104-87. Following the win, downtown filled with Spurs fans reveling in the continuation of a dynasty.

San Antonians crowded Alamo, Market, Commerce and Houston streets following last nights win so well that SAPD had to divert honking traffic down side streets. Spurs fans have been waiting seven years for another title and wanted a victory after last year’s loss to the Heat.

Laura Rice/KUT

The United States is taking on Ghana today in its first game of the World Cup. The two teams have only met twice before – and Ghana has won both times.

I was in Ghana earlier this year for a journalism exchange program sponsored by the U.S. State Department. There, I met Gary Al-Smith a journalist at Citi FM  – who, though only in his 20’s, is considered his country’s foremost soccer – or football – expert.

In a dramatic Game 5 of the NBA Finals, the San Antonio Spurs triumphed over the Miami Heat to win the NBA title Sunday night, closing out the series with a 104-87 victory.

After a dismal start, the Spurs rallied and turned things around, entering halftime with a 47-40 lead. When the game resumed, they never looked back and were up by more than 20 points multiple times in the second half.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Update: Check out our photos from the first ever Austin X Games in the slideshow above. And see more on the KUTX Flickr page.

Original Story (June 6): The X Games are underway for the first time in Austin.

Most of the extreme sports events are happening at the Circuit of the Americas track.

Morgan Wade has competed in the X Games before. But this year will be different… because he’s practically a hometown boy.

“It’s always nice to have a hometown crowd cheering you on," Wade says. "It’s different than all the other places we’ve been, obviously, because Texas is bigger and better than everywhere else we’ve already been.”

The first game of the NBA finals was a scorcher. Yes, it was played indoors – but the air conditioning in San Antonio's arena broke down, leaving the host Spurs and the Miami Heat sweating in 90-degree temperatures. The Spurs overcame the heat, and the Heat, 110-95.

Laura Rice/KUT

For the next three days, the streets of downtown Austin will be full of flips – Ninja flips, inward flips and varial kickflips – as dozens of professional skateboarders, BMXers and other athletes descend upon Central Texas for the first ever X Games Austin

Housed in the Austin360 Amphitheater with a large “X” marking the spot, the X Games arena features an ESPN Clubhouse and a video gaming venue along with a full schedule of skateboard and BMX competitions. Musicians including Kanye West and The Flaming Lips will also be in town with the athletes, along with a roster of local acts. (KUT's sister station KUTX is a media sponsor of the X Games, and is hosting its own stage of Austin performers at the fest.)

flickr.com/rmtip21

The San Antonio Spurs may not have rock star players like LeBron James – they don't have the resources. They might not have the youngest lineup, either (to say the least). And no, they're not flashy.

But the Spurs succeed so often – both on and off the court – they're now considered the top ranked team in the NBA, picked by many to win a fifth championship this year. They must be doing something right.

LBJ Presidential Library at the University of Texas

The role sports has played in America's civil rights struggle, especially with black athletes, has been well documented.

For many the movement started with Jackie Robinson crossing the color line in baseball. But two other athletes were in Austin Wednesday to share their perspectives at the LBJ Library's Civil Rights Summit.

Jim Brown is often called the greatest running back in the history of pro football. But he was never the most popular player. He told the crowd in Austin he attributes that to his role in pushing for civil rights and equality for himself and other black athletes.

Jon Shapley for KUT News

The 87th annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays returned to the University of Texas late last week. More than 6,000 college and high school athletes from across the country converged at the Mike A. Myers Track and Soccer Stadium from Wednesday through Saturday.

Opening day for the Texas Rangers is Monday. The Rangers play the Phillies at 1:05 p.m. And Tanner Scheppers is the Rangers’ Opening Day starter, replacing Yu Darvish, who’s on the disabled list and dealing with stiffness in his neck.

We’re not going to preview the season right now. What we are interested in, though, is what’s new to eat. And the answer is … big! The bigger, the better. 

The Rangers unveiled their menu last week. Here’s a look at what you can eat at Globe Life Park in Arlington.

KUT News

This week, a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Northwestern University athletes can legally form a union.

Here in Austin, UT Law professor Dr. Lucas Powe sees it as a change that can be expected for elsewhere.

Oh, those boys and their video toys.

Move over, Dallas Cowboys and AT&T Stadium: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth says it has the bigger and better video screen. And it's way bigger than whatever fancy screen you have in your living room.

The speedway on Wednesday night unveiled its giant high-definition video board. TMS says it’s the world’s biggest HD screen at a sporting venue.

Sam Ortega for KUT News

Last May, Jason Collins – a 12-year veteran of the NBA – made history when he penned an editorial in Sport Illustrated revealing he was gay. "I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport," he wrote. "But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation."

The issue of homosexuality in sports has certainly become a topic of discussion, from the politics of the Sochi Olympics to NFL hopeful Michael Sam coming out as gay. But many athletes feel there is still a long way to go before gay players are fully welcomed into sports.

Wikimedia Commons user Citizen59

The Texas Sports Hall of Fame inducts two Texas Exes today. 

Four-time Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross and former Detroit Lions defensive tackle Doug English are among 344 inductees to the hall since 1951. 

Ross was inducted into the University of Texas Women’s Hall of Honor in 2011; English was previously elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Speedskater Jordan Malone waves the Texas flag in Sochi. (Via Instagram)

Four Texans represented Team USA at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, but only one athlete came back with a medal.

Denton native Jordan Malone clinched the silver in the speed skating 5,000-meter relay along with teammates, J.R. Celski, Chris Creveling and Eduardo Alvarez on Friday. The team finished behind Russia. 

youtube.com/TheNewYorkTimes

Last night, former Missouri Tigers defensive end Michael Sam announced he is gay. Sam came out during an interview with The New York Times. If a team drafts Sam this spring and signs him, he will become the first openly gay active player in National Football League history.

There's a Texas connection to this national story: Sam is a native Texan, who attended Hitchcock High School in Galveston County. Sam earned first-team All-District honors as a senior in 2008, as both a defensive end and an offensive lineman.

Arno Balzarini/EPA /Landov

The Winter Olympics kick off in the Russian city of Sochi – and Texans will have four homegrown athletes to cheer for.

San Antonio's Justin Olsen and McKinney, Texas' Johnny Quinn are competing in two-man and four-man bobsled events. Houston's Jonathan Garcia is competing in the long track, 1000-meter speed skating event. And Denton, Texas' Jordan Malone Malone will race in speed skating's short track 500-meter and 1,500-meter competitions, and its 5,000-meter relay event.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: The Longhorns got trampled 30-7 by the University of Oregon Ducks tonight in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. 

The Ducks ran two interceptions for touchdowns, spoiling what was the farewell game for Longhorns' Head Coach Mack Brown, who is retiring after 16 seasons with UT.

Despite the loss -- and a 30-21 record in his final four seasons -- the crowd gave Brown a warm send-off. UT athletic director Steve Patterson has said the team intends to name Brown's successor by January 15th. 

Original story: It's not unusual for the University of Texas at Austin's football team to appear in a post-season bowl game. But tonight, when the Longhorns take on Oregon in the Alamo Bowl, there is one twist: it is the last game as Head Coach for Mack Brown.

Brown became the Longhorns' 28th head football coach on December 4, 1997.

On December 15, 2013, after months of speculation, Brown made the announcement that he will retire at the end of the 2013 season.

After a few disappointing seasons since 2010, many fans and observers have considered the team to be underperforming and were clamoring for change.

NBA Development League

Not even four years ago, Josh Howard was making more than $10 million a year playing in the NBA. Today, he plays for the Austin Toros in the NBA's Development League (or "D-League"), with a salary of $25,000.  

After a string of debilitating injuries, including some freak on-the-court accidents, doctors gave him a grim prognosis for recovery last year.  The 33-year-old faced the very real prospect of retiring far earlier than he'd planned.  

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Sports talk shows and news outlets have been all over the story of a Texas parent who filed a complaint about bullying after his son's high school football team lost a game last week by the score of 91-0.

If you haven't heard about what happened during that game, here's how Fort Worth's Star-Telegram sums up the story:

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