The Rise of the Bubble

by The Cowl Editor on September 3, 2020

Professional Sports

Professional Sports During COVID-19

by Cam Smith ’21

Sports Co-Editor

Late in the evening of March 11, 2020, life in the United States changed forever. In the span of 45 minutes, President Donald Trump announced a travel ban on European countries, actor Tom Hanks declared he was infected with COVID-19, and the National Basketball Association suspended its season indefinitely. The pandemic became real for Americans in these 45 minutes. No longer a mystery disease confined to a far-off continent, it was now an invading virus. 

Though all three of these events woke America up to the impending threat, it seemed almost as if the NBA’s cancellation shook the nation the most. Sports have been a constant throughout the lives of every American in the modern day. They have been there through tragedies ranging from 9/11 to the Boston Marathon bombings. Sports are a unifying force, a way to disconnect from the hardships of life and a way to come together despite individual differences. So, when they abruptly disappeared, the country finally realized the scale of the problem at hand. 

Jumbotron from Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz game, announcing the game's cancellation.
Photo courtesy of Alonzo Adams/USA TODAY SPORTS

Almost immediately after the major leagues were indefinitely suspended, people started to think about what they would look like upon their return. Many hoped the seasons could just resume a month later, once the virus had been contained. Unfortunately, that containment never came.

Instead, it became clear that fans would not be allowed at games when the leagues did restart. Some even started floating the ideas of possible “bubbles,” where the entire league would be confined to one complex. No one would be allowed to leave the designated area, and testing would occur almost daily. The hope was that if there was no contact with the outside world, COVID-19 would never be able to make it in.

Major League Baseball seemed to discuss this idea first, with a possible “Arizona League” in Phoenix, Arizona. The idea was quickly shot down by players, however, as they lamented having to stay away from their families for months.

The bubble idea caught on elsewhere, however, and in late June, the National Women’s Soccer League became the first American professional sports league to resume play. The NWSL hosted the 2020 Challenge Cup, a tournament featuring eight teams and 23 games. The tournament was a remarkable success, both on and off the field. Once in the Utah-based bubble, over 2,000 tests were doled out to both players and staff members alike. Not a single one came back positive.

The NBA and NHL soon followed suit, and by the end of July both had resumed their seasons in bubbles of their own. Basketball resumed at the Walt Disney Resort in Orlando, Florida while the NHL fled north of the border to Canada. Luckily, a few cases were caught upon arrival to the bubbles and as of now, not a single case has been detected in either leagues’ bubbles since the start of play. Both leagues have also shown surprisingly high-quality products on the court and on the ice, as the athletes have seemingly not missed a beat even after the long layoff.

The Houston Dash celebrate their championship.
Photo courtesy of Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Indeed, the bubbles have shown to be remarkable success stories, blueprints for sports during a pandemic. Meanwhile, the MLB has embarrassingly stumbled along without one even after being the first league to raise the possibility of a bubble. Their decision not to enfore a bubble has been nothing but an abject failure.

Just a mere week into the start of the season, COVID-19 outbreaks had already hit several different teams, forcing them to cancel entire series of games. Reports began to leak about players visiting clubs and casinos. With no bubble to speak of, teams continued to fly across the country, exposing themselves and others to the virus every time they were forced to travel.

Sport Illustrated’s Stephanie Apstein summed it up perfectly by saying, “the protocols are woefully inadequate, so the weak spot could be anywhere. It will be almost impossible for the league to identify it definitively—which is one of the challenges of playing baseball outside of a bubble during a pandemic in the country with one of the world’s worst responses.”

The league has continued to saunter on, however, seeing very few changes to its protocols at all. The delays continue, as just last weekend the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics game was postponed after a positive test in the A’s organization. Instead of admitting failure and cancelling the season, Commissioner Rob Manfred and the rest of the MLB have dug their heels in. And by doing so, they have put the communities they play in at risk. 

On the horizon now looms the start of both the NFL and college sports. Even after witnessing the failures of the MLB, the NFL has decided not to use a bubble. That decision could spell disaster for a sport that features the largest rosters of any of the professional sports and is likely the one with the most physical contact. Perhaps the NFL simply does not care about the spread of COVID-19, as the MLB has shown not to.

College sports face even more complex challenges and risks, as bubbles are much harder to pull off for student-athletes who still need to attend class. At the same time, no bubbles mean that student-athletes will be forced to travel around to other campuses and communities. They would then return to their own campuses, potentially breaking the tight seals that colleges across the country are working so hard to keep.

Indeed, the sports world and the rest of the world at large have come a long way since that fateful March 11 night. But, one thing is abundantly clear: if you want to safely play sports during a pandemic, the bubble is king.

PC Alumni Shed Light on Careers

by The Cowl Editor on February 27, 2020

Professional Sports

AMA and SBO Bring Members of Sports Industry to Talk to Students

by Joseph Quirk ’23

Sports Staff

This past Wednesday, February 19 the Providence College American Marketing Association and the Providence College Sports Business Organization hosted a sports marketing panel featuring three PC alumni who have had remarkable success in the sports marketing field. The panel consisted of Matt Ryter ’07, an NFL Account Executive; Molly Giudice ’18, the New York Giants Suites and Premium Service Director; and Mike Hill ’07, the Mediahub Global Vice President and Group Director. The event ran for 45 minutes and began with an introduction of the panel, followed by a guided interview by a head speaker. Following the conclusion of the interview, the panel was opened to audience questions. 

One of the first things the panel discussed was how they got to where they are right now. “Well, I’d say that everyone in this room is already very far ahead of where I was at this age,” joked Ryter. This was a common theme throughout the entire panel. All three guests stressed creating connections through networking and then aggressively following up with them.

Photo Courtesy of Nick Crenshaw ’20/The Cowl

Ryter talked about how he got his first job working for ESPN at a career fair in Gillette Stadium. After spending some time working for ESPN, Ryter used what he learned in a radio advertising class he took here at PC and took a media and advertising job with CBS. Networking led him to his NFL position today. His position entails many responsibilities, including negotiating sponsorship deals for the league.

Guidice met an executive for the Philadelphia 76ers on a trip and “badgered” him until she got an interview. She made calls for the 76ers and then used her experience working in ticketing to get an analytics internship with the Knicks and Rangers at Madison Square Garden. After realizing that was not for her, she took a job again with the Knicks and Rangers in ticketing. It was during this time she realized she wanted to work in service. She had options to do this with the Rangers and Giants, and she chose the Giants. Guidice has many responsibilities including managing premium partnerships, suites, and important events.

Hill works with clients who are purchasing sports sponsorships. He started by sending a ton of emails to different agencies, awhich is how he got an internship. He worked hard and was persistent and covered a wide area of internships. This allowed him to explore what he wanted to do and diversify his skillset and resume. He believes that this is very important. He got a marketing job right out of college, which he did not like, and this led to him bouncing around jobs before getting a low-level position in his agency and working his way up. He is working with Ryter now, as Ryter is trying to get Hill’s clients to sponsor the NFL.

The next segment was dedicated to any advice the alumni had for students trying to break into the sports marketing field. Hill followed his introduction with some good advice, saying, “Once you build up that foundation, you need to be persistent.” This was in reference to the competitiveness of the sports business field. 

He continued: “Don’t be discouraged if it’s not working out because it is a competitive industry. If you are just persistent and network, you will find the job right for you.” He also mentioned the career fair, which is supported by his networking advice, as well as being informed on the responsibilities of these jobs, and being connected on platforms such as LinkedIn. Hill also wanted people to find what they want to do and understand what career path they want to follow. 

“When you’re a freshman in college, you don’t really know what you want to do. You’re winding it down until you’re a senior,” he said. “When you’re first out of college, you’re a freshman in your career, you may not know what you want to do and that’s okay.”

These sentiments were echoed by the other two panelists. “Be the best at what you are doing now,” Guidice added. “If you want to get into sports, get your entry level job and be the best you can at it and the rest will fall into place.” 

Hill advised students to keep an open mind, saying, “Don’t pigeon-hole yourself into one company or career path.”

The panelists provided more valuable advice when asked how students can start getting involved in the sports industry. One suggested website was Teamwork Online. Every team and league post their jobs and internships on that website. They also encouraged not staying in one city for these experiences but being willing to try new places. Ryter suggested internships at sports marketing agencies. 

Guidice suggested that working for bad sports teams may be more valuable as well because you are expected to have more responsibility. “When I worked for the Sixers, and they sucked, you get to learn a lot about how to handle more. It’s very easy to work for a team that’s great.” All three panelists encouraged students to follow a passion and interest and let the sports aspect come to them.

When asked about how PC readied them for the sports field, Guidice said that you do not need sports marketing degrees to get these jobs. Everyone has these degrees, and teams may look for people with something else so they can contribute more unique opinions or skills. She also says a liberal arts background is invaluable in offering versatility to companies.

The final 10 minutes of the panel allowed for student questions. These questions varied on the topic of general interest in the industry itself. One question that led to a discussion is how the new forms of media and different ways to consume live games will affect the price and frequency of sponsorships and ads.

Overall, the entire panel was insightful and entertaining for the students. After the event was over, audience members had a chance to meet and network with the three alumni and grab a slice of pizza.

PCI: Did the MLB Do Enough to Punish the Astros?

by Meaghan P Cahill on February 13, 2020


Yes, They Did Enough

This past offseason was one of the most active and dramatic the MLB has seen in recent history. Compared to the past couple of offseasons, this year MLB fans witnessed big name free agents getting paid faster, more trades, and the biggest scandal the sport has seen since the steroid era. Many could not believe the Houston Astros, the 2017 World Series Champions, were accused of conducting an elaborate system to steal other team’s signs.

After the report from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred came out, the country was shocked by the levels of sophistication the Astros used. It was revealed that the Astros had set up a camera in center field and then put up a monitor between the clubhouse and dugout. Players could study the signs the pitcher was receiving from the catcher, identify what pitch was going to be thrown and then communicate that to the batter either by noise (banging on a trash can) or possibly other means.

So, what did this trash can orchestra lead to? The MLB handed Houston one-year bans for their manager and GM (both fired), forfeiture of first and second round picks in the next two drafts, and a $5 million fine. Houston then fired their manager A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow. The Red Sox and Mets then fired their managers Alex Cora and Carlos Beltran for their roles when they were with Houston. 

I believe that this punishment was completely fair. Obviously the two in charge needed to be suspended. There was no precedent for this because the game has not seen a scandal like this. A year was fine since the scandal only lasted a year. In the end, the Hinch and Luhnow will likely not be allowed in the MLB anytime soon. It would not be fair to punish other coaches and players involved because they are scattered on different teams, and punishing them now would also unfairly punish those teams. If you are not punishing all the players, you also cannot punish those still on the Astros. The fine given was the most the MLB could give and losing draft picks, will significantly hamper the club’s future. 

Many people also wanted a postseason ban or removal of the World Series title. Both of these are trivial. The MLB wants to continue and put this behind them. Keeping one of the best teams or any team for that matter out of the postseason not only affects that team and the city’s local economy but also the league. As for the removal of the title, that does no good. Everyone will still remember the Astros as champs; you cannot just crown one of the teams they beat the new champion. There is no satisfaction in that, and it will only create controversy.

-Joseph Quirk ’23

Sports Staff

No, Far From It

If a player in the MLB tests positive for steroids, they receive an 80-game suspension, a second failed test leads to a full season, a third leads to a lifetime ban from baseball. Former player/manager Pete Rose was banned from baseball for betting on games. Even players who were suspected of taking steroids have had their reputation tarnished to the point that it has prevented them from being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The punishment for using cameras to steal an opponent’s signs: nothing. After Major League Baseball investigated and found the Houston Astros guilty for using technology to steal signs, manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were each suspended for a year by the league and subsequently fired by Houston. The team was fined and lost four draft picks over the next two years. Meanwhile, the players were granted immunity for their cooperation in the investigation.

While the MLB recognized handing suspensions down to the players would trigger a battle with the Players’ Union, not even giving a fine to any of the players puts all the blame on Hinch and Luhnow. While both knew of the scheme, Hinch broke a TV monitor twice to show his displeasure in the scheme.

It is unfair that Hinch and Lunhow are taking the full brunt of the punishment of the scandal. It may be the leaders’ jobs to make sure that their team complies with the rules (which both failed to do), but they are working with grown men who were very aware they were breaking the rules.

Finding the extent of the involvement of each player is hard to pinpoint exactly, but if there is no punishment to teach players to not cheat, what is preventing another scandal from happening again? Even a basic fine can dissuade players on cheaper salaries from participating.

The only player from the 2017 team who has gotten any sort of punishment was Carlos Beltrán. Beltrán was hired by the New York Mets in the fall to become their new manager.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred made it clear that it will be on the leadership of each team to make sure everyone in the dugout and front office complies with the rules, taking the pressure off the players. What hurt Hinch was that he trusted his players too much and failed to intervene when he needed to.

Very few players have come forward to apologize, and no one still on the team has spoken. The people who led this scheme need to be held accountable for breaking the rules. The men who failed to stop it will serve their time, but how about the ones who were the ringleaders?

-Jack Belanger ’21

Sports Co-editor

Providence College Investigates: Kobe Bryant’s Best Moments

by The Cowl Editor on February 6, 2020


Bryant’s 81 Points vs. Toronto Raptors & Free-Throws Post-Achilles Tear

by Leo Hainline ’22

Sports Staff

In a 2006 mid-season game that nowadays some star players would consider taking off, the Los Angeles Lakers went up against Chris Bosh and the Toronto Raptors in the Staples Center.

The first quarter was nothing special and Toronto was up early. Kobe Bryant was keeping the Lakers in the game, but the Raptors had a serviceable cushion for most of the first half. Nobody would guess that he would end up dropping the second-most points in a single game in NBA history. At half time, despite Bryant having 26, the Lakers were down 63-49 and looked like they were on pace to drop their third game in a row.

Instead of waiting for his teammates to wake up from their off-night, Bryant took the initiative to elevate his game to the next level. 

Down double digits, who else was going to get the Lakers back in the game? Lamar Odom? Bryant knew he was that guy who had to put the team on his back. He missed the first couple of shots of the third quarter but kept shooting and one after the other, his shots started to fall. Scoring three-buckets in a row, Bryant single-handedly cut the lead. Out of a timeout, Bryant got the ball, drove baseline, pulled up, pump-faked twice, got fouled and got the bucket. He was locked in—lay-ups, mid-range, threes, it didn’t matter where Bryant was on the court, he was going to score. With a minute left in the third quarter, Bryant stole the ball and got a fast-break dunk to take the lead and the entire crowd was up on their feet.

Kobe Bryant addresses the crowd after his final game
Photo Courtesy of ESPN VIDEO

Bryant entered the fourth quarter with 53 points and was just getting started. Bryant kept attacking, driving to the bucket, hitting jump shots, getting to the line. Halfway through the fourth quarter, he got fouled on a three and surpassed his previous career-high of 62. Staples Center was hot—every time Bryant got the ball the people rose out of their seats and started cheering. 

At this point, Bryant was pulling up every possession and extending the Lakers lead to close to 20. Everyone in the arena knew that this was one of the best individual performances in the history of basketball. He knocked down his final two free throws to finish with 81, and more important to him, a win for the Lakers.

This game, where one person singlehandedly outscored the opposing team in the second half, is a nice individual memory of Kobe Bryant as a basketball player, but Bryant’s legacy will be remembered for much more than his contributions to the game of basketball, or a single game for that matter. He will be remembered for his energy, hard work, commitment, faith, and love that he spread on a daily basis. The impact he had on his friends, family, and fans is much more significant than a number in the box score.

Another game that displayed Bryant’s tenacity occured seven years later at the end of the 2012-2013 season.

During their 80th game of the season, the Lakers were fighting to secure a playoff spot. The team was playing Bryant heavy minutes for this final stretch of games, trying to make the most of what was a bit of a disappointing season. Some of their new acquisitions did not exactly live up to expectations. Regardless of the situation, Bryant was still leading the team, scoring over 27 points a game and contributing on both ends of the court.

The Lakers were in a dogfight with the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center. Bryant was repeatedly banged up in this physical game. In the third quarter, he was down for about a minute after hyperextending his knee but shook it off and continued to play through the pain. Late in the game, Bryant was knocking down threes and doing everything he could to put the Lakers into the lead. 

With three minutes to go, the Lakers were down 109-107 and Bryant drove in on Harrison Barnes at the top of the key. He got fouled but immediately went down, grimacing, grabbing his left heel in what appeared to be a non-contact injury. The severity of the injury wasn’t immediately clear—he still had his game face on and limped over to the bench as the Lakers took a timeout.

Once the coverage resumed on TV it was obvious that Bryant was badly injured. Under his own power, he gingerly moved from the team huddle to the foul line, putting no pressure on his left foot. Down by two, Bryant stepped up and knocked down the first free throw. 

At this point, you could see the emotion in his eyes—likely not from the pain of the injury but because he knew that he would be out for the game and rest of the season, unable to help his team. 

The referee tossed him the ball, and again, Bryant stepped up and calmly hit the free throw. Tying it up late into the fourth quarter in what some considered to be a must-win game on a torn achilles takes much more than pure talent—it’s takes something that’s inherent in Bryant’s Mamba Mentality. The traits that Bryant possessed in his personality and mentality never just purely applied to basketball. They apply to life, and that is partly why Bryant is respected and beloved by so many people. 

The determination he had to fight through the pain and knock down those shots in this single situation is representative of the tenacity he brought on a daily basis, both in basketball and outside the game.

Bryant’s Final Career Home Game & Winning Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals

by Sullivan Burgess ’20

Sports Staff

Before the 2015-2016 NBA season, Kobe Bryant announced that it would be his last season after missing the majority of the previous two seasons due to injury. Immediately fans began to purchase tickets to get the chance to see one of the greatest players of all-time one more time. Bryant’s farewell tour was made with applause from other team’s fans, jersey swaps with a player from every team, and retirement gifts. With each passing game, anticipation rose for the regular season finale on April 13 at the Staples Center against the Utah Jazz. The Los Angeles Lakers came into the game 16-65 and had been long out of playoff-contention, meaning this was going to be Bryant’s final appearance.

Every former Laker and celebrity that you can possibly think of were in attendance to watch the Black Mamba play in his last ever NBA game. Bryant, the final player left from the 1996 NBA draft, was ready to put on a show one last time and let everyone know, including his daughters and wife, that he was not going to go out quietly.

Bryant lifts the Larry O'Brien Trophy in 2010
Photo Courtesy of Mark J. TERRILL/AP

During the season, Bryant averaged 17.6 points per game in 66 games. Expectations were high that Bryant was due for something special, and special was just an understatement of what happened on that night.  After being down by 15 at halftime, Bryant put the Lakers on his back one final time and gave one last memorable game. After scoring 22 points at halftime, Bryant exploded for 42 points in the second half to finish with 60 in his final game.

In the final minute with his team down 95-96, Bryant hit a mid-range jump shot to give the Lakers the lead 97-96. He would seal the game with 15 seconds left by hitting two free throws to make it 99-96. The Lakers gave Bryant the chance for one final curtain call by subbing him out with four seconds left to a standing ovation by the home crowd. Bryant gave the crowd one last salute before walking off the floor forever and leaving everyone with a moment they will not forget.

The other moment that will forever define Bryant’s legacy is when the Los Angeles Lakers faced the Boston Celtics in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals. The two teams also met in 2008 when the Celtics took the series in six games. Boston was looking for their second title with their Big Three. Meanwhile, Bryant was ready to bring LA back-to-back championships and win his fifth overall. Going into Game Six Boston held at 3-2 advantage in the series with two chances to take the series. The Lakers made sure there would be a Game Seven after beating down on the Celtics 89-67. Bryant scored 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the Lakers forced a Game Seven on their home court.

While Boston held the lead after three quarters with the title close in their sights, Bryant was going to make sure his team did not go out quietly.  After averaging 27 points during season, Bryant scored a game-high 23 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter in a tight battle with the Celtics. The Lakers pulled ahead late in the game pulled out the 83-79 win. The series gave Bryant his fifth ring and second Finals MVP award. He averaged 28.6 points per game during the series and shot 40.5 percent from the field.

This series helped cement Bryant as an all-time great, putting him one championship behind his idol Michael Jordan. After winning his first three titles with teammate Shaquille O’Neal, Bryant showed that he could lead a team on his own and carry them when needed most.

Kobe Bryant was more than an athlete, he was a leader, MVP, father, and most importantly a legend amongst all the branches of sports. He will be missed and never be forgotten for his actions on the court and the greatness he achieved off the court.


A Decade of Success: PC in the Pros

by Meaghan P Cahill on January 16, 2020

Professional Sports

By Cam Smith ’21

Sports Assistant Editor

Julian Gressel providence college men's soccer
Photo Courtesy of PC Athletics

The 2010s produced a slew of immensely successful Providence College athletic teams, cementing the College’s status as a major player in the Big East conference and beyond. However, collegiate success is not the only thing that PC produced last decade, as the College also churned out a bevy of professional players who are currently finding success at the highest levels of their respective sports.

Three players that exemplify this wealth of Friar talent are Julian Gressel ’17, Noel Acciari ’15, and Kris Dunn ’16.

Gressel wrapped up his historic college career for the men’s soccer team in 2016, a season in which he scored a whopping 15 goals, placing him in the top four in scoring in the country. Following a two-goal performance against the top-seeded University of Maryland in the 2016 College Cup, Gressel was drafted by Atlanta United with the eighth pick of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft.

The sure-footed midfielder wasted little time adjusting to the big leagues, as he registered nine assists, third-most all time for a rookie, to go along with five goals in a first-year campaign that landed him the 2017 MLS Rookie of the Year award. Since then, Gressel has only continued his success, tallying a total of 15 goals and 35 assists across three seasons for an Atlanta United team that he has helped turn into one of the best expansion teams in recent history.

Acciari, too, found collegiate success prior to entering the professional ranks. His final season with the Friars featured the first national championship in men’s hockey history, a season in which Acciari tied for most goals scored on the team with 15.

After spending four solid seasons with the NHL’s Boston Bruins to begin his pro career, Acciari signed a three-year, $5 million deal with the Florida Panthers this off-season. The deal has immediately paid dividends for both sides, as Acciari has already set a career high in goals with 17, a number boosted by a remarkable two-game stretch in December that featured back-to-back hat tricks.

Dunn, perhaps the most well-known recent PC alumni, also finished his PC career strong, leading the men’s basketball team to a NCAA tournament victory over the University of Southern California in the first round. The Big East player of the year for 2016, Dunn was drafted fifth overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2016 NBA draft.

Though shooting woes have marred the start of his promising career, Dunn has found his stride this season with the Chicago Bulls on the defensive end. The fourth-year point guard has locked down some of the best offensive players in the league, and trails only Philadelphia 76ers’ star Ben Simmons in total steals, all while playing almost 400 minutes less than Simmons.

‘‘I’ve been guarding my whole life,’’ said Dunn on his defensive prowess. ‘‘I know when somebody is kind of fearful. I can see it, I can smell it, and I just try and act on it.’’

Indeed, the past decade has shown that PC can produce world-class athletes, ones who can succeed against the toughest competition in their respective sports. Players like Gressel, Acciari, and Dunn will continue to serve as inspirations to the next generation of Friar athletes.

Already this year, Jack Dugan ’22, a Vegas Golden Knights 2017 draft pick, has shined for the men’s hockey team. In addition, a pair of men’s soccer players, Austin Aviza ’20RS and Danny Griffin ’20, were both taken in the second round of the 2020 MLS SuperDraft and will hope to follow in the footsteps of Gressel. The triumph of these players and many more bodes well for another decade of success beyond Friartown for PC athletes.


PCI: Should NBA Teams Be Allowed to Rest Their Key Players During Nationally Televised Games?

by The Cowl Editor on December 5, 2019



Kawhi Leonard is one of the best players in the NBA. An MVP candidate and finals MVP last season, Leonard was one of the most talked about players in the league, despite his quiet and reserved demeanor. This past offseason, Leonard shocked Canada as well as NBA twitter as he chose to team up with fellow superstar and California native Paul George on the Los Angeles Clippers. 

However, Leonard’s success has been marred with controversy. Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors last offseason after losing trust with his previous team, the San Antonio Spurs. 

He claimed that the Spurs’ medical staff mishandled an injury he sustained during the playoffs that forced him to sit the rest of the playoffs and most of the regular season. To help get Leonard  on the court and manage his health, the Raptors and now the Clippers implemented a strategy known as “load management.” 

The NBA season is long and tedious, and many players struggle to play all 82 games. While load management was relevant prior to Leonard, he brought it into the spotlight. 

This season, the excitement caused by Leonard’s move to Los Angeles has landed the Clippers in numerous primetime games. However, Clippers coach Doc Rivers is less concerned about the fans watching Leonard  and more concerned about his star. And rightfully so. 

When healthy, Leonard alone can change a series. He is one of the best two-way players in the game. River’s main concern right now is having Leonard available for a tough run through the Western Conference playoffs. That should also be the main concern for Clippers fans. Of course, it is understandable why the NBA would dislike this. 

The NBA places teams in nationally televised games because they believe the teams are interesting or good and can attract more fans or get fans of other teams to watch them. These games are meant to pull the biggest audiences and the most ad revenue of any in that week. But if a team’s star player does not play, that obviously hurts their marketability. If the player is able to perform and their reason for being inactive is rest and recovery, the league is upset. But the logic the Clippers employ is valid league wide. 

While this is a business, money is still going to be made. People will still watch, and if not, they will in the playoffs. These teams hire coaches and trainers to make the best decisions for the teams to win long term and monitoring the health and well-being of their best players falls into that category.

– Joseph Quirk ’23

  Sports Staff


Load management in the NBA is defined as balancing the level of playing time in which a player utilizes in the league. This concept is terrible for the future of the NBA.

Load management is just a way to give superstar players a day off in the NBA in order to rest their talents for the playoffs. These superstars are taking off on games that are back-to-back nights throughout the week or even when the team is playing a weaker team.

One big advocate for load management has been NBA champion and small forward for the LA Clippers, Kawhi Leonard. While there is nothing wrong with a player being concerned with his health, which is always the number one focus when playing in a professional sport, there is a time and a place in which players should and should not rest.

If a player knows he is hurt and the doctors order him not to play, then he should not play; however, if he is 100 percent healthy he should be focused on playing. You do not see other elite players such as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic take days off for load management.

Another factor that plays into why load management is unnecessary is that it takes away from the experience of watching the game. Imagine paying a lot of money for a ticket to watch your favorite NBA player live in person, and you do not get to see him that day due to the player wanting to take some time off.

There are plenty of young players willing to play a 82 game season; meanwhile, these all-stars think they are tough and want to take some time off to rest. They need to be there to contribute to the team and help secure wins and chemistry for the ongoing season.

Without the superstars, the NBA is boring to watch and television ratings slip. The league is not doing enough to prevent these load management situations throughout the entire NBA, allowing their players to walk all over the front office.

It is time to put an end to load management once and for all to make sure all players are equally contributing to their teams.

– Sullivan Burgess ’20

   Sports Staff

Kim Miale ’01 Returns to Friartown

by The Cowl Editor on November 14, 2019

Professional Sports

Superstar Sports Agent Talks to Students About Her Career

By Joseph Quirk ’23

Sports Staff

Kim Miale providence college roc nation sports agent
Photo Courtesy of Suffolk University

This past Thursday, November 7, Providence College Alumna Kim Miale ’01 returned to campus to talk to students and faculty in the Center at Moore Hall. Miale is not only one of the most successful women in the sports business, but is also one of the best agents in sports overall. 

Miale had not been back to campus in a long time. One of her very first comments was how beautiful campus has become and how happy she is for all the current students. “It’s amazing to see all the changes made,” she said. “It’s beautiful. You guys are so lucky to be going here right now.” 

Miale grew up in nearby Johnston, RI, where she was a fan of the PC basketball team on route to their elite eight run under the coaching of Pete Gillen in 1996-97. She loved being a Friar, and despite being so close to home, she still wanted to live right here on campus. “I made a deal with my dad. I had to make the Dean’s list every year to live on campus. I upheld my end of the bargain.” 

Miale enjoyed her time at PC and even said it helped prepare her for law school and life beyond. “I had an amazing experience here. It’s such a family atmosphere, steeped in tradition.” When asked how PC helped prepare her for law school and practicing law, she remarked, “Reading all the time, speaking in front of class, it all came in handy.” 

From PC, the political science major and English minor went on to law school which she compared to high school. It was here that while studying sports law and copyright she met her future husband and, just as important, a future mentor. 

Kristen Kuliga, one of Miale’s professors in law school, happened to be a female pioneer in sports business herself. Kuliga would become the first woman agent to negotiate a contract for a starting quarterback (Miale would become the second). Miale interned for Kuliga as much as possible, but unfortunately Kuliga did not have the bandwidth to hire her after law school. 

Miale eventually got a job in litigation in Boston to help pay off law school. When asked what came after law school she simply replied, “Bills,” with a laugh. “I had to practice law traditionally to pay off student loans.” Her work in litigation, however, ultimately helped her as an agent. “A lot of the things I learned as a litigator I applied to be an agent…there were a lot of transferable skills.” 

The death of a very close relative eventually pushed Miale  to pursue her dream of becoming an agent. Miale was very close to an uncle of hers who  used to preach to her the importance of making her dreams a reality. His sudden passing was a defining moment in her life, as it made her realize she did not want to waste any more time. While still working as a litigator, Miale started representing local Boston and New England athletes who were not really expected to succeed. “It’s tough doing it on your own,” she said of representing players without any resources. Using her vacation days from the litigation offices, Miale would frequently fly to pro days or the NFL Scouting Combine to establish connections and relationships with football scouts from all different levels. 

Kim Miale providence college roc nation sports agent
Photo Courtesy of Sports Business Organization

Eventually, Miale’s hard work paid off. Rapper Jay-Z founded a new agency called Roc Nation Sports in 2013. Opportunity came knocking when the company was searching for a head agent of the football department and wanted Miale to oversee operations. Commenting on getting this opportunity, she said, “It’s a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work…you need to wait for your opportunity and be prepared for it when it finally comes.” 

Miale is now not just one of the top women agents in sports, but one of the best overall agents in the game. Miale represents many top-level clients including New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, who became the highest drafted player represented by a woman during the 2018 NFL Draft, Pittsburg Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, free agent wide receiver Dez Bryant, and Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley, amongst others. 

When asked about advice she would give to kids looking to break into this field, she said, “Stay the course and take little steps. You have to be patient.” When asked for more women-specific advice on breaking into a historically male-dominated field, she said, “Players don’t talk to you about on-field strategies. They want to know about your strategies in the negotiating room. It’s going to be tough but you have to have a passion for it.” 

PCI: Should NFL Athletes Have More Choice In What They Wear for Cleats?

by The Cowl Editor on November 14, 2019


Allow More Freedom

By Cam Smith ’21

Assistant Sports Editor

The NFL, often labeled the “No Fun League,” is notorious for restricting players’ freedom to wear cleats of their choosing. If the league wants to keep up with the times, that needs to change.

Recently, the cleat controversy has centered around Cleveland Browns wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. A week nine game against the Denver Broncos saw the pair sport unauthorized cleats in the first half of the game, before being forced to change at halftime by a league dress code official. If they refused to comply, the duo would have been banned from participating in the second half of the game and would likely have faced further league punishment.

The fact that this can occur is ridiculous on two fronts. The first being the hypocrisy it displays, as the league very much profits off of the individuality of its stars. In Beckham’s case, the league has gone to great lengths to promote him as one of the faces of the game, featuring him and his flashy play style in everything from commercials to award shows.

The league intentionally highlights Beckham as one of the great personalities in the game in an effort to draw viewers in. That is why it is so abhorrent that they then restrict him in the one area where he can creatively express himself on the field.

Secondly, the absurd nature of the rule is amplified by another American  sports league’s recent update on its footwear policy. The NBA changed its dress code rule to allow for sneakers of any color, with designs of the player’s choice. This season, players have already flaunted everything from SpongeBob SquarePants to Minnie Mouse on their basketball sneakers.

“You can learn a little bit more about a guy when you see what he’s putting on his shoe, whether it’s a social campaign or his love for a movie or character or something like that,” said Colleen Garrity, the Vice President of basketball marketing at Excel Sports Management, an agency which represents multiple NBA stars.

Indeed, this increased knowledge of players’ interests has already allowed for greater fan interaction, as fans can now better connect with players they know share similar interests. So too has it added some much needed personality to games sometimes filled with boring and monotonous uniform colors. The NFL has no reason not to follow suit.

Finally, with the advent of items such as social media, players have been given more substance to their public personas beyond simply the uniform and team they play for. Gone are the days of football being just about football, and the cleats the players wear should reflect this.

The NFL must catch up with the changing times.

Keep The Rule

By Scott Jarosz ’21

Sports Staff

Many controversies have risen as of late relating to the National Football League’s strict policies about the gear its players can wear during games, and specifically the cleats the players can wear. The league’s strict policies have earned it the nickname the “No Fun League” in recent years, as players have little freedom in terms of wearing customized cleats during games. 

In some cases, players have donned customized cleats that are designed to support good causes, such as when Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. sported cleats that raised awareness for cancer research back in 2016. 

However, for the most part, giving players freedom to wear whatever they choose welcomes the possibility that players could wear cleats that contain imagery that is inconsistent with the league’s values. These types of unwanted situations would negatively affect the league’s image. This is why the NFL should continue to enforce its relatively strict policies surrounding custom cleats, as doing so helps maintain leaguewide consistency and also prevents players from wearing controversial gear that harms the perception of the league.

Back in 2017, the NFL updated its footwear policy to allow players more freedom in wearing cleats with custom designs. The new policy allowed for players to wear approved cleats with custom designs during team warmups as well as pregame activities. 

However, during games, players would be required to wear cleats that are black, white, or team colors. This policy allowed players to show their true colors during warmups, but also maintain consistency with their uniforms during games. This policy returned to the spotlight on November 3, 2019 when Odell Beckham Jr. wore “The Joker”-themed cleats and Jarvis Landry wore flashy gold cleats during a game. The league informed the players that they would have to change their footwear to adhere to league standards at halftime or else they would be prohibited from participating in the second half. The league’s enforcement of its rules during this situation was fully justified, as the players knowingly acted against the footwear policy. 

The NFL, just like any other work environment, has a dress code that its “employees” must follow or else they will be asked to change. If the league were to make exceptions to this rule, it would face even more criticism. By enforcing its footwear policy, the NFL ensures that it produces a consistent on-field product that is organized and prevents further controversies from arising.


Editor’s Corner: Money Talks: The NBA & China

by The Cowl Editor on October 31, 2019

Professional Sports

By Cam Smith ’21

Sports Assistant Editor

For months, pro-democracy protesters have filled the streets of Hong Kong, a former British colony that was handed back to the Chinese in 1997. Although taking place on the opposite side of the globe, the effects of the protests are being felt on the American world of basketball.  

To understand the unrest, one must understand that since 1997, China and Hong Kong have operated under a “one country, two systems” policy. The policy grants the citizens of Hong Kong far greater access to rights, including the right to free speech and free assembly, than those living on the Communist party-controlled mainland.

The catalyst for the protests was a bill that would make it easy for Beijing officials, including President Xi Jinping, to accuse Hong Kong citizens of fallacious crimes, and then process them through courts controlled by the Communist Party. Although the bill was recently withdrawn by the Hong Kong legislature, the protests have continued as they have evolved into a broader fight against the increasing encroachment of Beijing into everyday life.

It is in this context that on Oct. 4, the general manager of the Houston Rockets, Daryl Morey, tweeted out his support for the protesters, posting an image that read, “fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” This simple gesture of support created countless consequences.

Subsequently forced to apologize for his tweet, Morey was denounced by the Chinese consulate in Houston and was even on the hotseat as the Rockets reportedly considered firing him in an effort to appease the Chinese. His own star player, James Harden, took it upon himself to apologize for Morey, saying, “We apologize… we love China. We love playing there.”

Fellow NBA star, Lebron James, whose team was in China at the time for a pair of preseason games, also weighed in, saying that, “So many people could have been harmed [by the tweet], not only financially, but physically, emotionally, spiritually… Even though yes, we do have freedom of speech, there can be a lot of negative that comes with it.”

Since then, Chinese broadcasters have ignored key games in the opening week of NBA action, including the Rockets opener against the Milwaukee Bucks. Chinese sponsors for the NBA have also been pulled, and those games that did make it to television in China were devoid of audio for fear of mentioning the controversy.

It was only recently that the NBA forged a $1.5 billion agreement to stream games online with Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings. Prior to the deal, what the league labels as “NBA China,” already held an estimated value of $4 billion to the league. Unquestionably, China represents an enormous market for basketball itself.

However, this does not excuse the NBA from turning its back on a people fighting for freedom. The squashing of support for Hong Kong by the league, along with other American corporations including Apple and Blizzard Entertainment, is deeply disturbing. Furthermore, it is a complete betrayal of the American values that we hold dear as a country, values that have allowed the NBA and its players to thrive. The expansion of capitalism must not result in the sacrifice of democracy.

Simone Biles: The Golden Girl

by The Cowl Editor on October 10, 2019

Professional Sports

Gymnast Sets Record for Most Medals in History

By Nicole Patano ’22

Guest Writer

Simone Biles
Photo Courtesy of Alex Livesey/Getty Images South America/Getty Images

Simone Biles has one medal for every year she has been alive—and then some. During the 2019 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, which started on Oct. 4, Biles won her 21st world championship medal. Taken together with her five Olympic medals, the 22-year-old has a total of 26 medals, making her the most decorated female gymnast in history.

The title for most World Champion medals was previously held by retired gymnast Svetlana Khorkina, who had 20. With 21 under her belt, Biles is only two medals short of the all-time record for men and women. And the week is not over yet. If Biles were to medal in the Women’s All-Around Final, as well as four individual event finals—vault, uneven bars, balance beam, and floor exercise, her total count of World medals could get up to 26. While this week is full of successes for Simone Biles, it is nothing new to her.

Biles has been training in gymnastics since the age of six. She made her national debut at the American Classic only five years later, where she placed third in the all-around competition and first in the vault. From there, her career took off. Still too young to perform in the 2012 Olympics, Biles trained six to eight hours a day in preparation for the 2016 Olympics held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Biles’s inaugural Olympic performance led her team to victory and won her four gold medals, setting a new American record for most gold medals in gymnastics at a single Olympic Games. Her team elected her to carry the American flag in the closing ceremonies. Since then, Biles has been the face of U.S. female gymnastics, appearing on the covers of Time, Sports Illustrated, and Teen Vogue.

Recently, Simone Biles has been in the news for being the first to execute a perfect double-double dismount off the balance beam and a triple-double on the floor. She nailed these two moves at the world gymnastics championship, and they are now known as the “Biles” and the “Biles II,” respectively. With the addition of these moves, Biles now has four moves named after her. If her performance this week continues, we may see more history being made.

Simone Biles
Photo Courtesy of NBC News

But it has not all been gold medals and perfect dismounts. At an early age, Biles was diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While this was difficult enough, after the 2016 Olympic Games, Russian hackers accessed the medical records of some Team USA athletes, including Biles. They revealed that Biles had tested positive for methylphenidate (Ritalin) and tried to use this information to discredit her performance at the Games. Biles took to social media, saying, “I have ADHD and I have taken medicine for it since I was a kid. Please know, I believe in clean sport, have always followed the rules, and will continue to do so as fair play is critical to sport and is very important to me.” By opening up about her experience with ADHD, she encouraged many young people in similar circumstances.

When Team USA members began accusing team doctor Larry Nassar of sexually abusing them, Biles added her name to the list. While she does not carry Nassar’s guilt, Biles says, “It’s not easy coming back to the sport, coming back to the organization that has failed you…I feel every day is a reminder of what I went through and what I’ve been through and what I’m going through and how I’ve come out of it. I try just not to think about it.” In August, Biles told reporters that she could no longer trust USA Gymnastics, and that she feels anxiety whenever visiting a doctor or trainer now. “We had one goal and we’ve done everything that they’ve asked us for, even when we didn’t want to, and they couldn’t do one damn job.”

In addition to the emotional pain Biles feels, she admits to constantly being in physical pain. In an interview with Daily Mail, Biles says, “I joke to my friends a lot that I am going to be in a wheelchair at 30.” She adds that it is unusual for her to not be in pain. A calf that has been torn repeatedly, a broken rib, and a shattered toe, and Biles claims she has been fortunate with her injuries. Less than 24 hours after spending the night in the hospital with kidney stones, Simone Biles was leading her team to first place at the 2018 World Gymnastics Championships and securing them a spot in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The 2020 Olympic Games may be Biles’s last ever. The champion says that her body is “just kind of falling apart.” While she has been out breaking records, she is also healing—emotionally and physically. Admitting that there is little keeping her in the sport besides herself, Biles feels she does not have to prove herself anymore. It is about time that she experiences a break that will not result in a hospital visit.