All posts by bennethayes

‘Purple Pricing’ Winning For Northwestern Athletics

By Bennet Hayes

Your football team has won a single bowl game since 1948. Your men’s basketball program has never been to the NCAA Tournament. Now go sell some tickets, university athletic department.

Neither of Northwestern’s major-revenue athletic programs can claim much in the way of postseason history, but that hasn’t stopped its ticket office from finding success.

Northwestern’s athletic department unveiled “Purple Pricing” during the 2012-13 men’s basketball season. The ticketing method, a variable pricing strategy best described as a “modified Dutch auction” system, is now being used as a mechanism to drive ticket revenue for other university athletic departments. Continue reading

Chris Borland’s Early Retirement Raises Questions About Football’s Future

By Bennet Hayes

The Monday retirement of Chris Borland, 24 years young and poised for a successful and lucrative NFL career, has sparked serious concern that on-field safety issues may turn young players away from football.

Dave Jacobs, the VP of Health and Safety for Chicagoland Youth Football League, said Borland’s decision is likely to increase already prevalent concerns about the safety of football, particularly among parents contemplating their children’s participation in the sport.

“For lack of better words, we’re under attack,” Jacobs said. “The game is as safe as it’s ever been, but I think we now have the biggest challenge yet to make sure kids still enjoy the sport and are coming out to play it.” Continue reading

queshin’ n’ Anser w/ King of Strong taeks, PFT Commenter

By Bennet Hayes

Odell Beckham Jr. wasnt the nFL’s only Break-out star in 2014: at lease knot on the twitter’s world.

As you just saw in the headline and first paragrah, grammatical and spelling errors can make for a choppy read. But in the case of one NFL satirist, there is plenty of material worth reading hiding behind the dropped commas and uncapitalized proper nouns.

The witty, occasionally irreverent and ALWAYS misspelled satire of PFT Commenter (@PFTCommenter) earned him more followers with every passing Sunday last fall. The identity of the man behind the Twitter handle remains a mystery, but for many fans, the SB Nation guest contributor has become a trusted voice on everything NFL. Continue reading

Injuries To Chicago Stars Dampen City’s Mood

By Bennet Hayes

Chicago’s winter got a little gloomier Wednesday.

Within the span of hours Tuesday night, news broke of injuries to both Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks. The ailments – a torn meniscus in the right knee for Rose and a left clavicle fracture for Kane – will sideline two of the city’s biggest sports stars for weeks and possibly months.

The Blackhawks and Bulls, each harboring legitimate championship aspirations, are now left to scramble. Kane underwent surgery Wednesday and will miss approximately 12 weeks, according to team doctors. Rose’s timetable for return is less certain, but it’s possible his 2014-15 season is over.

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Criticizing College Athletes: Fair Game?

By Bennet Hayes

They are, quite easily, the five most memorable words of Mike Gundy’s 10-year career as Oklahoma State head football coach. They are also one of the most direct and public condemnations of criticism directed at college athletes.


In unleashing his now-famous “I’m a man, I’m 40” rant in October of 2007, Gundy took a firm stance against the local media’s negative critiques of his former starting quarterback Bobby Reid. Many have questioned Gundy’s true motives in the years since (including Reid himself), but at least outwardly, the message was clear: 18-to-22-year-old college athletes should be shielded from criticism.

If anything, however, the continued evolution of the 24-hour news cycle in the seven years since Gundy’s diatribe has only multiplied the criticism levied at college athletes.

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For One National Signing Day, Beckman Earns Chicago’s Ear

By Bennet Hayes

Tim Beckman and the Illinois football program are often overlooked in a Chicago market dominated by professional sports. At least for a day, Beckman changed that.

The Illinois coach overshadowed the unveiling of his 25-man recruiting class on National Signing Day last week, with a bizarre attempt to enlist the state’s sports media in his quest to return the Illini to national prominence. Continue reading

Lynch’s silence keeps media talking

By Bennet Hayes

“I’m here so I won’t get fined.”

By the letter of the law – or at least the NFL’s version of it — Marshawn Lynch fulfilled his duties at Tuesday’s Super Bowl Media Day. Never mind that he uttered the same seven-word phrase in response to every question, or that he took leave of the podium immediately after the NFL-mandated 270 seconds had elapsed. By the barest requirements, Lynch fulfilled his media obligations on Tuesday.

Video clip via KCPQ-TV.

But in the hours since Lynch stepped off the podium in Glendale, debate has raged. Does the Seahawks star tailback owe the world – media, fans and the NFL alike — more than those seven words?

Many media members seem to think so.

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