Sports

Taking the emotion out of the Redskins name issue, and looking at it strictly from a realistic standpoint.

June 18th, 2014 at 8:56 pm by under Sports

In regards to today’s decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the Washington Redskins’ trademark registration, a federal judge overturned same ruling just five years ago after a 10-year appeals process. Even after today’s ruling, nothing changes regarding the team’s trademark while an appeal process runs it course. It could be another decade long process, depending on where the team’s attorneys file the appeal and they will. So today’s decision has no immediate effect (or even long term effect) on the team in any way.

There is still no indication that NFL owners, NFL officials, NFL players, season ticket holders, sponsors of the team, television networks or large number of Redskins fans are encouraging owner Daniel Snyder in any way to change the team’s name. In fact most Redskins players are against the change. And more importantly, there is no legal precedent to force Snyder to do it if he doesn’t want to.

In Snyder’s view there is no economic reason to change the name since no season tickets holders are refusing to buy tickets or beers or hot dogs. No sponsors are threatening to cancel their contracts with the Redskins. TV networks including NBC, FOX, CBS or ESPN ($25 billion dollars to the teams) are not seeing any indication that viewers will stop watching Redskins or NFL games, so neither the networks nor their sponsors are putting any pressure at all on the team or league to encourage Snyder to change the name. To the contrary, the vast majority of Snyder’s customers are against any name change.

In regards to any financial advantage for Snyder changing the name. Snyder is totally convinced he would lose money if he had to change the name.

The Redskins take in $375 million per year. The vast majority of the money comes from TV, radio, tickets, parking, concessions and then merchandise. The Redskins are not even in the top 10 teams in merchandise sales. But more importantly, if they changed the name, and came out with all new clothing, and other merchandise, they would have to split the money equally with the other teams in the league. So even if every Redskins fan buys all new stuff if they change the name, the Redskins only receive 1/32nd of that money. According to the team’s accountants, this would not come close to offset what it would cost the team to make a name change (throwing out everything that says Redskins on it and buying everything new—stadium signs, books, letterhead, so many other expenses)–so that idea is an uninformed myth.

Conclusion, I just don’t see the name being changed unless the owner decides to have a change of heart. And there is no indication that will happen.

In fact, the owner is adamant that not only Redskins fans, sponsors and TV viewers, but the vast majority of American’s don’t find the name offensive, and he vows never to change the name as long as he owns the team. He says he has the research to back it up. And he is the only person that has the power to make the change.


Nicole’s Notes: Getting muddy to raise cancer awareness

April 24th, 2014 at 5:37 pm by under Health, News, Personalities, Sports, Uncategorized

The weather is feeling more like spring so you may want to get out an run! How about signing up for a race? I’ve only one run in my life and it was a 5k. The good thing is, there are lots of them in our area. Erin Mathe from Dirty Girl emailed me after reading my blog on the “More Than Boobs” cancer fundraising fashion show in Virginia Beach that I emceed. She wants folks to support the Dirty Girl Mud Run Virginia Beach this Saturday, April 26 at Greenbrier Farms,  in Chesapeake.

2013 Dirty Girl Mud Run

2013 Dirty Girl Mud Run

The proceeds go towards Bright Pink, the only national non-profit organization that focuses on risk reduction and early detection of breast and ovarian cancers in young women.

dgKicking through mud

The race takes runners through an obstacle course that will get your heart pumping, challenge your body, and get you all muddy. Many of the runners and volunteers participate because of their own personal experiences with cancer. Elsa Weller is one of them.

Elsa with her dog Bailey

Elsa with her dog Bailey

 

She’s an 8-year cancer survivor serving in the U.S. Navy.

Elsa with her mother and husband

Elsa with her mother and husband

She’s running with her mother and a few friends under the team “Muddy Sailors”. Here’s what she shared with me:

 “In June 2003 I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  I was told by the doctors that I would have to undergo chemotherapy.   A bag a day for a whole week every other week. For the next six months. I was on active duty in the Navy at the time so I was stationed in San Diego California while my family was in North Carolina. While I was going through all my treatments my parents would come out when they could to help me out with taking care of me along with my sister and best friend.  I was very fortunate that I never got too sick or felt too weak to do anything.  On the year check up in June 2005 the doctor informed me that saw some cancer spots again in a scan and wanted to do some testing. I went back in for more tests and that’s when they informed me that I was diagnosed with Non hodgkin’s lymphoma.   I went thought another form of chemo and this time they wanted to do a stem cell transplant.  So on 1 march 2006 I received a stem cell transplant from myself.  My bone marrow was healthy enough to be harvested and treated and given right back to me.   After that transplant I have had no signs or symptoms of any type of cancer. I have been in remission now for 8 years and counting.   I do battle 2 different types of skin cancer as well. And I get treated for those on a regular basis. That’s what happens when you are fair skin person.    I have been in the Navy now for 12 years and I could not have survived without the Navy’s support  as being my family when my family was not able to be there. My parents were a big part of my recovery along with uncles and sister and of course my best friend. I wouldn’t be here without their love and support and just being there when I needed them.    With everything I deal with I have taken it in strides, the Navy life and my personnel life.     Being strong and never admitting that I was sick is has kept me strong and facing each challenge head on.. that is why I love mud runs as you head to each obstacle it is a challenge just like in life and once you are faced with it you have the option to conquer or let it conquer you. I am the type of person that doesn’t take NO for a answer or if you tell me I am not able to do something I will prove to you or anyone that it can be done.   I always say NO to cancer. It  will never take me and I will conquer it no matter how many times I have had it.  It will never beat. Me…!!!!!”
Elsa Weller at mud run

Elsa Weller at mud run

The pictures you see here are from a previous race.

DG happy huggers

If you don’t have it in you to run, you can always donate your time or money. Check out the Dirty Girl page for info on volunteering and more.


Redskins schedule a challenge

April 23rd, 2014 at 11:46 pm by under Sports, Uncategorized

His knee is better, the brace is gone, and tonight RG-3 and the Redskins found out who they will be playing this season and when.

The NFL released their 2-thousand 14 schedule tonight, with the Redskins playing three prime time games, one on Thursday Night against the Giants, and two Monday night games, at home against the Super Bowl champion Seahawks and a game in October against the Cowboys.

Obviously the league is betting that Robert Griffin the 3rd will bounce back from his knee injury, and the addition of former Eagle DeSean Jackson will provide an exciting offense.
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Toss in a first year coach–Jay Gruden, and the NFL believes the Redskins are ready for prime time again.

The Redskins will open the season on the road against the worst team in the NFL last year, the Houston Texans, possibly against Johnny Manziel–if the Oilers make him their number one draft pick.

Then at home against the Jaguars who haven’t had a winning season in 7 years. DeSean Jackson will return to Philly in week 3–and then its prime time when the Redskins welcome Eli Manning and the Giants for a Thursday night game. Week 5–Monday Night Football at Fed Ex against Russell Wilson and the Super Bowl champs. Then on the road to Arizona, back home hosting the Titans, week 8 Monday Night Football in Dallas against the Cowboys.

The first Sunday of November finds the Skins in Minneapolis against the Vikings, followed by the Bye Week then at home against the Tampa Bay Bucs–and a big game–week 12, Kaepernick against Griffin out west against the 49ers.

Another tough one, week 13, Griffin against Andrew Luck in Indy, the Rams come to Fed Ex to open up December. Then 3 games that could decide the NFC championship, Dec 14th in New York against the Giants, the Eagles at Fed Ex, and then the final regular game of the regular season the Cowboys on Sunday December 28th.

To get the complete Redskins schedule, go to wavy-dot com and click on sports.


Stronger Than Ever- We’re On The Run Again!

April 17th, 2014 at 2:54 pm by under Sports, Uncategorized
Stronger Than Ever..."On The Run!"

Stronger Than Ever…”On The Run!”

The Latest Running News and Notes in Hampton Roads form Sportswrap Running Reporter, Jon “Flex” Leiding

 

Better Get Going!

While most people are getting ready for Spring Break plans, Runners in Hampton Roads were tearing up the streets with some swift times.  Double knot your laces, here we go!

In Newport news, the Jamestown 4H 10k was “Fast and Furious” for 31 year old,  Todd Kessler, who kicked the 6.2 mile course in 35:17, while the  Ladies Champ,  Sheila Scotti raced away in a quick 43:40.  Good Friend of the Blog Greg Dawson, from Williamsburg, ran a great 38:31.  He’s running a big Marathon in Massachusetts, this Monday.  Another Speedy Friend,  Rick Platt, won his 60-64 Age group in 43:11. Well Done Guys!

On the Southside, the Long Distance Action was in Chesapeake at the Dismal Swamp Stomp Half  Marathon.  Maryland’s Dereie Deme was the Overall Winner in 1:04:53.  Norfolk’s Will Christian was the fastest local and just a couple minutes off the victory with a strong 1:06:59.  Rebecca Rollick of Chesapeake blazed the 13.1 mile course on hand cycles. She finished in 1:16:56 as the fastest female.  Mettle Events always throws a good party with a great race as well.

In Norfolk, Football was in the air at Old dominion University and the ODU Big Blue 5K started the day’s celebration of Spring Sports activities.  Portsmouth’s Ryan Carroll topped all racing the 3.1 miles in 16:38.  That’s an average of 5:22 per mile.  The Ladies title went to Stephanie Frenchik in 18:18 which translates to 5:54 per mile.  For both, that’s some serious leg work!

Whats Coming Up for the Next few Days

Everyone's "On The Run!"

Everyone’s “On The Run!”

While most people are enjoying the holiday weekend, there are a few races locally.  This Saturday, Williamsburg hosts the Clara Byrd Baker Relay Team 5k Run/Walk for a Cure.  In Newport News, the action is going on with JLHR Race For a Better Place 5K at the Mariners Museum.  For those who have the need to “Go the Distance”, the following week, the Virginia 24 Hour Ultra Run For Cancer goes off at Sandy Bottom Park.  I have many of my Running Friends who will run Saturday, April 26th until Sunday Morning, April 27th.  Excited for you all!

 

MONDAY MAJESTY!

Boston Marathon Monday Comes Back Big!

Boston Marathon Monday Comes Back Big!

Patriots day is Monday and in Boston, the third Monday of April ALWAYS means the Boston Marathon is on.  With all the events of last year, this year has brought so much attention to it’s return.  Sports Illustrated has featured a cover to some key people and this year’s  race attendance is at an all-time high.  Many of you in Hampton Roads who went last year are making return trips and some new Runners will be making their first appearance.  Staring in Hopkinton and winding their way past Natick, Wellesley College, along the famed hills near Newton, including “Heartbreak Hill”, then the parade to greatness, ending on Boylston and the ultimate finish line.

We will be rooting for you all and watching the progress of so many of you.  “Shout outs” to guys like Andrew Hoffer, Vincent Ortiz, and John Adams, who ran with me the last few miles of the Norfolk Freedom Marathon.  So many stories will follow those famous 26.2 miles.  All of wish you ALL the very best!

 

Throwback Thursday!!!

With the Boston Marathon on Monday, I thought it would be nice to re-visit an interview with the Race Director of the Boston Marathon since 1988, Dave McGillivray.  He was also the Race director for the Run For the Dream Weekend.  Did you know that except for last years race, Dave has run the marathon course after the last finisher crosses the line.  Enjoy this “Throwback On The Run!”

 

Thanks for checking us out this week.  Feel free to share with your friends, or leave us some feedback.  Look for more soon.  Maybe I’ll catch you soon…”On The Run!”

On the Run with Sportswrap Running Reporter, Jon “Flex” Leiding on WAVY.com

With You to the Finish..."On The Run!"

With You to the Finish…”On The Run!”

 

 

 


Runners! Spring Has Sprung- Now, We’re “On The Run!”

April 9th, 2014 at 4:59 pm by under Sports
Time To Go "On the run!"

Time To Go “On The Run!”

The Latest Running News and Notes in Hampton Roads !  We call it “On the Run’ with Sportswrap Running Reporter, Jon “Flex” Leiding

Neither Rain, Snow, nor getting hit by a Car can stop me from sharing the good Running News in the “757″.

It’s true- I was hit by a driver ten days ago who was texting.  I have been rehabbing and being very careful with short runs, riding my bike, and some light weight work.  Luckily, I’m still going and happy to shine some light on what’s happening around the area.  Even though i was wearing bright clothes, the moral of the story is – PLEASE “W82TXT”.   Meantime, we’re here for the party- the Running party, that is.  So, let’s take a look around and like Marvin Gaye once sang “What’s Goin’ On” in Hampton Roads!

 

A Quick Look Back At some Pretty fast Times!

March 29th was speedy, fun times for Kevin White at the Colon Cancer 5K.      The Virginia Beach Masters Runner was the Overall winner in 17:23. Meantime, good friend of the Running blog, Kelly Borkman was the Ladies Champ with a 21:39.

On the Peninsula, bad weather had postponed the 2nd Annual Knights of Columbus 10 Mile Run for the Heart back in January but, this past weekend temperatures were just right.  Meagan Hutchinson took the Ladies title with a swift 1:21:09.  Douglas Marshall was the  first to the tape in 1:03:44.  Out in Suffolk, Good friend of the blog, Ryan Carroll smoke the Bon Secours 5K in 15;46.  Elizabeth Lawson was the Women’s Champ in 21:38.   Wait, there’s More!

Ryan Carroll slowed down just enough for a Picture! Ryan is On The Run!

Ryan Carroll slowed down just enough for a Picture! Ryan is On The Run!

 

At Chesapeake city Park, Vincente Rivera won the  CASA Superhero 5k.  his time of 21:38 was the best for the guys, while Portsmouth’s Jennifer Gildea topped the girls in 23:00.  Nice work!    Just up the Road, the 20th Annual Queens Lake 5K Run at New Quarter Park went off well this past Saturday.  Lots of your Running Friends posted “Fast Times”, like 65 year old, Larry Coley who ran a 20:39 to set an Age Group Record.  Victor Fleming blazed the 3.1 mile course in 16:24.  the always strong Runner, Pamela Lovett led the Ladies in 20:29.  Great job all around

The Purple Stride 5K this past weekend went to John Brountas , who won the event in 19:53.  Keeping the Ladies at bay was Devon McCarty  with a sizzling 22:18.

 

 

What’s on the Horizon or, what Races are Coming Up!

Wanna go Long?  How many times have we Runners heard that?  If you are wanting a great distance race, our friends at Mettle Events offer up the Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon.  I always enjoyed this race.  Ann Hupp knows how to throw a good party with a thirteen mile run thrown in to make it interesting.  Check out mettleevents.com for more.

Do you feel like hitting the road this weekend? Jamestown is the place to be for the Jamestown 4-H 10k run.  The 6.2 mile run begins at the 4-H Camp.  Also this weekend, check out a little drive to Wakefield   A week later at the Mariners Museum on April 19th,   the JLHR Race for a Better Place 5K & 8K begins at 8:30am.   The very same day, the action gets hot and heaving in Williamsburg with the Clara Byrd Baker Relay Team 5k.   You can hit the beach at the Surf’s Up 5K at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.  The race starts at 17th Street.   You can always check peninsulatrackclub.com, tidewaterstriders.com, and colonialroadrunners.org for more details.   See??? PLENTY of Great races are available to you!

Throwback Thursday, Anyone?

Many people LOVE Throwback Thursday, so for you, we pulled an interview with Michelle harde-Smith, who has run now close to 75 Marathons, including one in All Seven Continents.  enjoy the memory…”On The Run!”

Hope your training is going well.  we’ll alway try to keep you in the know for what’s happening in Hampton roads.  if you have a story idea or just want to leave feedback here, PLEASE DO!  come back and visit us here on WAVY.Com.  Maybe, I’ll catch you….“On The Run!”

 On the Run with Sportswrap Running Reporter, Jon “Flex” Leiding on WAVY.com

 


Is Desean Jackson a good fit for Redskins?

April 2nd, 2014 at 9:57 pm by under Sports, Uncategorized

He was a thorn in the side of the Redskins defense every time he took the field as a Philadelphia Eagle.

But now DeSean Jackson will be wearing the burgundy and gold.

A lot of people have been scratching their heads since the Eagles just out right cut all pro wide receiver Desean Jackson last Friday.

Jackson admits he was angry and embarrassed when the Eagles made the move–but right away his phone started ringing.

Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin the 3rd, defensive back DeAngleo Hall put the full court press on Jackson, imploring him to join their team.

Last night Jackson gave in, signing a 3-year $24 million contract and the Redskins got their man.desean jackson

So what do we make of all of this.

Prior to today, the Redskins offense had the potential of being pretty good. Quarterback Robert Griffin the 3rd had a really good season two years ago, but his bum knee caused him to have a sub-par performance this past year.The signing of DeSean Jackson now gives RG-3 a trio of 2 all pro’s Pierre Garcon and, DeShawn Jackson–teaming up with newly acquired Andre Roberts. Throw in young tight end Jordon Reed and Griffin now has plenty of quality targets.

There has been a lot of speculation as to why Eagles coach Chip Kelly would just cut one of the best receivers in the NFL. He didn’t trade him, didn’t try to work something out, they just got rid of him.
Why?

According to a variety of stories, Jackson was a diva, didn’t get along with his new coach, was late to and even missed meetings, a no-no in the structured NFL. He was considered a malcontent. And lets not forget the un-substantiated reports that he was associated with gang members in his home town L-A.

Now where do you think these reports came from? Obviously from people in the Eagles organizations. Kelly wanted knew he was getting rid of Jackson, and wanted to get out in front of it. Jackson was a twenty-something millionaire athlete, who was probably full of himself, and may have not liked the idea of a new coach coming in telling one of the team’s “superstars” what to do.

I don’t know what to believe.

Most teams have professional investigators who look into the backgrounds of their players. Even though the Redskins were under the gun to make this deal happen they had several days to do some checking.

I have no idea what went on behind closed doors. There is no dispute that Jackson has been problematic since he came into the league, he didn’t follow certain rules, he was always asking for new contracts—he was a diva. But he admits he never saw his release coming.

Mike Jones of the Washington Post reported today, Jackson admitted feeling a wide range of emotions: anger, frustration, embarrassment ranking among them. Jones posted the following quote from DeSean in his article.

“I feel they embraced me as far as RGIII, DeAngelo Hall reached out to me and made me feel like it was home here,” Jackson said Wednesday via conference call. “After everything that was going on the past couple days and the last week, that’s a big step of their first move for me. I think DeAngelo Hall really stepped up to the plate and called me and said, ‘Look, bro. I know I’ve been playing against you for a long time, but I feel like this is a situation where if you came in here, you could help us out a lot.’ For myself, I was still at a point in my career where that made me very humble for everything to go down and happen the way it happened. But coming in here, Bruce Allen, Mr. Snyder,Jay Gruden, I think it was an open-arm situation and I just was looking for an opportunity to come in and be productive and help out any way possible. I think this place right here is a great place and has some great things going on and I’m just happy to being an addition to helping this team win.”

Was this a wake up call for the 27 year old Jackson? Will the change of venue be the one thing that turns his attitude around? Maybe Chip Kelly thinks that in his system he can take any receiver and turn him into a star and he doesn’t need Jackson around, regardless of the fact he was their best receiver. The one thing unique about the NFL is teams can cut players every year regardless of their contract. Jackson is guaranteed $16 million dollars.

If he has three great years, it ends up a good deal. If he doesn’t work out, the Redskins lose $16 million.

Only time will tell. Want to bet a Dr. Pepper on this one?


March 24th, 2014 at 7:24 pm by under Sports, Uncategorized

UVA headed to the Sweet 16

UVA headed to the Sweet 16

They might not be tournament favorites like Michigan State, Louisville, Arizona and Florida, but Coach Tony Bennett and his Virginia Cavaliers just keep doing what they are doing–pulling off impressive wins–and Hoos now head to New York City to take on Michigan State in the Sweet 16.

ACC schools Duke, Syracuse, North Carolina, Pittsburg and NC State–are finished for the season.

Their conference now resting firmly on the shoulders of
UVA–the regular season and ACC tournament champs.
After an easy win over 16 seed Coastal Carolina, He Hoo’s ganged up on 8th seed Memphis last night. Senior Joe Harris, and sophomores Malcom Brogdon and Anthony Gill all scored in double figures and hit more than 50 per cent of their shots.

Unselfish on offense and tenacious on defense, UVA is not your usual number one seed–but after missing out on a trip to the both the pre-season and post-season NIT last year, Bennett and company finally gets that trip to the Big Apple.

Next for the Hoo’s, a highly anticipated showdown against 4 seed Michigan State Friday night. It will be Virginia’s first Sweet 16 appearance in 19 years–and boy is that going to be a fun game to watch.


Runners Rejoice! We’re BAAAAAACK- “On The Run” Again!

March 11th, 2014 at 10:59 am by under Sports

The Latest Running News and Notes with Sportswrap Running Reporter, Jon “Flex” Leiding

Neptune Agrees- It's great to be back, "On The Run!"

King Neptune Agrees- It’s great to be back, “On The Run!”

 

What’s the Deal with the Running Blog?

Hey Hampton Roads!  Whether you are NEW to Running or an experienced racer, it’s  cool to have you visit “On the Run”, here on WAVY.com.   Last year, you helped make this one of the more popular visits on WAVY.com.   Each week,  we’ll tip you to the great races and faces of Running in Hampton Roads. Not convinced, yet?

Check out our Video Blog as well:

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We Missed You!

This past weekend, I was in Williamsburg and caught up with some friends who had just run the Jamestown Swamp Stomp 5k.  I had to check the results at the Jamestown HS course.  Barrett LeHardy, of  Newport News, just missed the course record by pounding out a swift 15:55.  Congrats!  Williamsburg’s Jennifer Quarles, won the Womens’ Title in 20:03.  Big “Thank Yous” to Todd Kessler and Greg Dawson, friends of the blog and age group winners of the race for getting me details.

Staying Strong at Sandy Bottom!

Also, on the Peninsula, the Joe & Sue Moore Memorial Scholarship 5k at Sandy Bottom Park in Newport News was cooking as well Saturday morning, with Spencer Mims as the overall winner in 19:04.  Meanwhile, Connie Glueck, a seasoned veteran, won the ladies title, averaging 7:02 mins per mile with her 21:49.  Youth was also on tap, as twelve year old, Morgan Merritt of Newport News was the second female, just under a minute behind in 22:40.

Southside Fun, "On The Run!"

Racing Fun, “On The Run!”

 

Doing it on the Southside

We keep  our eyes on both sides of the water.  The Cox Falcon 5k was fast and furious for Joshua Wilks.  The 24 year old blazed the course in 16:11.  Another showing for great young runners was Virginia Beach’s Ben Werve, speeding away with a 19:01.  Impressive for a twelve year old!  Kellie Zinchini        led the ladies with a 21:20.

 

What’s Coming Up

Many of you already know what this weekend brings: the Shamrock Sportsfest Weekend at the Oceanfront.  J & A Racing has a full menu of fun, starting Saturday with the 8K run.  My friend, Larry Taylor will be out there, along with plenty of new Runners as well.  In addition, there is the Final Mile for the kids.  This may be one of the best ideas for keeping youth active.  The kids have trained at their schools and put in at least 25.2 miles of training, leading up to the weekend.  Saturday, in groups representing their schools, they will storm the Virginia Beach Oceanfront for one more mile, totaling up to the 26.2 miles, the traditional Marathon distance.

Sunday, Running Goes Long, with the Shamrock Half Marathon starting at 7am.  Be aware that Shore Drive will be limited that morning.  Then at 8am, Marathoners will challenge the 26.2 mile course for the Shamrock Marathon.  I will be taking on the miles and wishing great weather and light winds to us all.  I’ll try to get a good word with Don Slater, Jeremy Wheeler, and Jeff Edmundson in the WAVY Weather Center.

That’s a Wrap!

Racing to the Finish..."On the Run!"

Racing to the Finish…”On the Run!”

This week gets us all back outside and ready to run.  We Need Your Feedback!  If you have any story ideas or want to just say hi, drop me a line here or email me at astrovp@yahoo.com.  Look for us here next week.  maybe, I’ll catch you….  “On the Run!”

 

On the Run is weekly feature here at WAVY.com.  On the Run with Sportswrap Running Reporter,

Jon “Flex” Leiding

 


East Carolina, Florida agree to 2015 football meeting

February 27th, 2014 at 11:38 am by under Sports, Uncategorized

East Carolina, Florida agree to 2015 football meeting

By Bruce Rader Thursday, February 27, 2014, 11:36 am

Pirates Will Visit Ben Hill Griffin Stadium For First Clash Against Gators Since 1983

GREENVILLE, N.C. (wavy) – East Carolina and Florida have agreed on a single-game contract for the Pirates and Gators to play at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Sept. 12, 2015, according to a joint announcement by both institutions Thursday.

The meeting will mark ECU’s second visit to Gainesville and first since 1983 when No. 6 UF used a late fourth-quarter touchdown run by Neal Anderson to post a 24-17 victory on Oct. 22.

“I’m sure many of our fans will remember the last time we played in The Swamp,” East Carolina Director of Athletics Jeff Compher said. “While it’s a great opportunity to compete in that environment against a program with the tradition Florida has, I’m confident Coach (Ruffin) McNeill will have the Pirates ready to play.”

The contest against Florida will also maintain the continuity of Southeastern Conference opponents on the Pirates’ future schedules, which includes visits to South Carolina in both 2014 and 2016. In addition to a 17-game series with the Gamecocks that dates back to 1977 and one previous encounter with the Gators, ECU has also faced current SEC members Alabama (1998), Arkansas (2010), Auburn (1985, 1986, 1994), Georgia (1990), Kentucky (1993, 2009), LSU (1981), Missouri (1982, 1983) and Tennessee (1995) in its history.

ECU’s 2015 non-conference schedule now includes road games at Florida and BYU with home matchups again Virginia Tech and an opponent to be announced.

The Pirates, who compiled a 10-3 record and made their seventh bowl appearance in the last eight years in 2013, will open play in the American Athletic Conference this season after a 17-year membership in Conference USA.

East Carolina Football

Florida was 4-8 under third-year head coach Will Muschamp last fall.


Va. Beach to get arena proposal from ESG

February 15th, 2014 at 12:18 am by under News, Sports, Uncategorized

Two outstanding companies, both with wonderful ideas have finally given the Virginia Beach City Council something to smile about.

W.M. Jordan Co. and The ESG Companies have put together proposals that should eventually lead to Hampton Roads finally getting that 18,000 seat arena the region has wanted for years.

On Tuesday, ESG a Virginia Beach company founded by Eddie Garcia over 60 years ago, will present to council plans to construct an 18,000-seat sports arena and entertainment complex across from the city owned Convention Center. The deal came together after the company hosted business leaders from China last summer.

Unlike the Jordan proposal which was given to council three months ago, the ESG group will promise to design, build and facilitate the project using all private funds. Although S.B. Ballard Construction Company in Virginia Beach will be involved in the building of the arena, a major player will be Mortenson Construction, which just broke ground on a new NFL stadium for the Vikings in Minnesota. Mortenson is considered one of the largest sports contractors in the nation, and has offices in several US cities as well as Shanghai, China.

China is a major player in the venture. While the Jordan proposal is expected to need equity contribution from both the city and the state, Andrea Kilmer, the CFO of ESG says her project will be built with private money. That statement will have Beach tax payers and council members jumping for joy.

But who would loan ESG some $200 million dollars to build an arena without a major league sports franchise an anchor? A bank in China has agreed to finance the deal. ESG would pay it back over time. Chinese companies invested $14 billion in the US last year, driven by aggressive economic reforms in China, a more liberal policy environment for Chinese outbound investors, and a positive outlook for the U.S. economy. Local company Smithfield Foods was bought by a Chinese company this past September for $7 billion dollars. So a $200 million dollar loan for an arena in one of America’s top resort cities seems like chump change.

But deals that seem too good to be true often are. While the ESG group may not be asking the city to help with construction costs, Virginia Beach taxpayers will be expected to kick in for various improvements. A giant TV screen outside the building, a skating rink, improved roads, parking lots, maybe even a new off ramp at Birdneck Rd. The cost could be as much as $50 million, but would be less of a burden on the city’s bond ratings than what may be required by Mr. Lawson’s proposal. Considering projects like light rail and the Dome Site are still on the council’s priority list, interest rates and bond ratings are important. As any citizen knows, you can only borrow so much.

But where does an arena rank on the council’s priority list? A year ago, it probably wasn’t even there. But with these two fabulous proposals on the table it has moved up close to if not to the top. It was certainly discussed at the council’s last private retreat.

If ESG builds the arena, SMG will manage the building. They also manage the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville. Should the W.M. Jordan group get the bid, Comcast-Spectacor would run the building on a 25 year lease and would kick in millions of cash for construction costs. Both plans are aesthetically breathtaking, the ESG building with giant doors in the back that would open for sound stages and equipment for state of the art concerts and sporting events.

The devil is in the details and that may end up being John Lawson’s biggest problem. He told me his proposal was the most extensive and time consuming his company has ever undertaken. It is very specific, every nail, window, and door handle accounted for. Ms Kilmer’s offer is expected to be a little more vague. Had Lawson presented his proposal earlier, before the Chinese came for their visit, it may have already been approved.

But that boat has sailed. City staff will now go through both proposals with a fine tooth comb. Term sheets will have to be written, and citizens will get their say. It will be one of the most crucial votes by the City Council in decades, and could frame the oceanfront for generations.

They have to get this right. The winner will end up being the heroes. But if they don’t follow through with their promises and the project is not completed, they will always be remembered as the goat.

More on this story Monday, February 17th on WAVY-TV and FOX 43 news.