Today in sports: Penn State's interim athletic director may soon get the job permanently, David Boies is on the other side of a sports labor fight, and the creeping menace of basketball court decals.
- Penn State University has named David Joyner interim athletic director. Joyner, an orthopedic surgeon, has been a member of the school's board of trustees since 2000, and was an All-American lineman for former head football coach Joe Paterno in 1971. He's also worked with the U.S. Olympic Committee, serving as head physician to all American teams in the 1992 games. The Scranton-Times Tribune, which has been right on lots of things so far during the scandal, reports that while his title says interim "expect Joyner to be just a placeholder for a full-time AD to be named later. Joyner is the guy." [The Scranton-Times Tribune]
- The Ole Miss football team needs a head coach. Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning's name frequently comes up when the subject turns to active NFL players who will one day make terrific coaches. Factor in that Manning may never play another game because of repeated neck surgeries and that his father and brother both played quarterback in Oxford and the program's daffiest boosters don't understand what the hold-up is. Archie Manning says he's received "20 or 25 emails" from people wanting to know if his son (the non-Eli one) is interested in taking over for Houston Nutt, who only officially got word he was being dismissed a week ago. Manning, of course, isn't interested in the job, because he's trying to salvage his pro career. And if he did want to take over a directionless SEC program, his alma mater Tennessee is 4-6 and hasn't won a conference game this year. [The Commercial Appeal]
- NBA players have formally filed an antitrust lawsuit in federal court, claiming the league's lockout represents "an illegal boycott of the work force" by NBA owners. The players are being represented by David Boies, which is a hoot, since eight months ago Boies was representing NFL owners and taking the position that the NFLPA's attempts to decertify were all show. Stephen Gillers, an legal ethicist with NYU School of Law, tells Above the Law that ethically Boies is only solid ground because the NFL lockout was resolved in July. "By representing the NFL," says Gillers, "Boies would not have a traditional attorney-client relationship with its member teams." Still, two NBA owners -- Paul Allen of the Portland Trail Blzers and Stan Korenke of the Denver Nuggets -- also own NFL teams (Allen has the Seattle Seahawks, Kroenke the St. Louis Rams.) In other words, he's now negotiating against two of his former clients. It's likely he'll need to get "conflict wavers" from both owners in the near future. [Above the Law]
- Time was, the only paint on a basketball court, besides the foul lanes and three-point lines, was at midcourt where the two teams would tip-off the game. Sometimes it was the home team's logo, sometimes it was just a circle. Nobody paid much attention to it as a safety hazard until schools like Texas A&M began stretching their midcourt logo all the way down to the three-point arc and sponsors started slapping down plastic decals at various points on the court. On Friday against North Carolina, Michigan State's Branden Lawson slipped on a Quicken Loans decal on a fast break and landed smack on his right knee. He was just shaken up, but it looked like it was going to be much worse. After the game, both coaches fumed about the safety hazard. "Let us wear the sponsor logos," groused Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. "I know we need the sponsors. I want 'em. But it's just too dangerous out there." UNC coach Roy Williams said the NCAA should just superimpose advertising onto the field like the NFL does. The decals seem like something that will be changes sooner rather than later, but massive mid-court stickers like the one in College Station will be tougher to get rolled up for a nice sensible maroon circle. [SI]