Illinois Public Media News

AP - Illinois Public Media News - July 14, 2010

Cornbelters on Winning Side in Their 1st All-Star Game

The West beat the East 9 to 2 Wednesday night in the Frontier League All-Star Game in Marion.

Two members of the Normal Cornbelters played on the winning side --- pitcher Tyler Lavigne and 2nd baseman Daniel Cox.

The Cornbelters are currently in 4th place in the Frontier League's West Division, with a 21 and 27 record for the season. The team resumes regular season play Friday evening, when they host the Southern Illinois Miners.

Categories: Sports
Tags: sports

AP - Illinois Public Media News - July 14, 2010

Quinn Signs Bill to License Agents for Student Athletes

Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation aimed at protecting Illinois student athletes from dishonest agents.

Quinn signed Senate Bill 2542 Wednesday at the annual meeting of the Uniform Law Commission. The group works to make sure state laws are consistent across the country.

The bill requires government licensing for sports agents who want to represent students.

Agents could be investigated and lose their license for misconduct, such as defrauding a client or abusing drugs.

The legislation also would require agents to notify student athletes that signing a contract might endanger their eligibility to compete. Athletes could cancel contracts within 14 days.

The law takes effect Jan. 1.


AP - Illinois Public Media News - July 02, 2010

Olympians and Paralympians to be Inducted at Champaign Olympic Monument

Ten members of Champaign County's Olympic tradition will be honored Saturday, July 3rd, at the monument built as a tribute to all area Olympians.

Six of the ten people to be inducted at the Tribute to Olympic Athletes are Paralympians, who compete in their own games that run parallel to the Olympics.

One is University of Illinois administrator Brad Hedrick, who was a member of the bronze-winning men's wheelchair basketball team at the 1980 Paralympics in Arnhem, Holldan, and placed second in the marathon in the 1984 games. Four years later, he coached the US women's basketball team to its first Paralympics gold in South Korea.

Hedrick says athletes with disabilities have had an upward climb to win respect over the decades - in fact, it wasn't until recently that Paralympians were recognized on the Champaign monument despite the area's history of Paralympic training. But he says that discrimination is melting away.

Hedrick says as younger generations grow up and attend both the Olympics and Paralympics, "I think the chasm that some may see as being wide will be narrowing in the eyes of future generations."

Hedrick's 1988 gold-medal team included two women who will also be inducted Saturday -- Terri Goodknight and Barbara Yoss.

Hedrick says he's honored to be in the same list as Jack Whitman -- he was known as the father of wheelchair archery in America when he won gold medals at the 1960 and 1964 Paralympic Games, at a time when athletes with disabilities faced widespread discrimination.

"He had such grace", remembers Hedrick. "And I still say he was the greatest 60-year-old athlete, and I owe him a lot."

The dedication ceremony will also honor two speedskaters from the 2010 Vancouver winter Olympics, Katherine Reutter and Jonathan Kuck. Also on the list is wrestler Mark Johnson, whose 1980 team never made it to the boycotted Moscow Olympics.

The ceremony begins at 10 AM, Saturday, July 5th, at at the Tribute to Olympic Athletes monument, in Dodds Park in Champaign.

Categories: Biography, Sports
Tags: sports, people

AP - Illinois Public Media News - June 17, 2010

Lakers Win NBA Championship

The Los Angeles Lakers have won their 16th NBA championship, dramatically rallying from a fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Boston Celtics 83-79 Thursday night in Game 7 of the NBA finals.

Kobe Bryant scored 23 points despite 6-of-24 shooting while winning his fifth title with the Lakers, who repeated as NBA champions for the first time since winning three straight from 2000-02.

Ron Artest added 20 points for the Lakers, who shot terribly while trailing for most of the first 31/2 quarters. Yet they reclaimed the lead midway through the fourth quarter and hung on with big shots from Pau Gasol and Artest.

With their fifth title in 11 seasons, the Lakers moved one championship behind Boston's 17 banners for the overall NBA lead.

After the game, hundreds of jubilant Los Angeles Lakers fans poured into the streets near Staples Center, and Los Angeles Police declared an unlawful assembly.

Police urged people to disperse immediately outside Staples Center Thursday night.

A police spokesman says at least two people have been arrested --- both misdemeanors for drinking in public.

Police massed around the arena before the game, aiming to prevent a repeat of the violence that accompanied the Lakers' victory last year.

Categories: Sports
Tags: sports

AP - Illinois Public Media News - June 11, 2010

Illinois Athletic Staff Welcome Nebraska to the Big Ten

Illinois coaches and officials are welcoming Nebraska to the Big Ten though few Illini teams have recent experience against the Cornhuskers.

Athletic Director Ron Guenther on Friday called Nebraska a good fit for the Big Ten. The Big Ten accepted Nebraska Friday after the Cornhuskers opted to leave the Big 12. The move is part of what could be major shift in college athletics. Illini football coach Ron Zook welcomed Nebraska's strong football tradition. Men's basketball coach Bruce Weber said he expects the Cornhuskers to be a tough opponent. Illinois football is 2-7-1 all time against Nebraska but the two haven't played since 1986. Illini men's basketball is 7-2 against the 'Huskers but hasn't played them since 1990.

Categories: Education, Sports

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - May 20, 2010

New Minor League Franchise Fills Supporting Roles

While minor league baseball works to develop stars of the future... it also strives to create a family atmosphere. The tickets are far cheaper than the cost of a big league game, and teams rely on various promotions, mascots, and a team of on-field enthusiasts to complete that minor league experience.

Central Illinois' newest franchise recently held a casting call to fill some of those roles. Illinois Public Media's Jeff Bossert talked with some of the hopefuls:

Download mp3 file
Categories: Entertainment, Sports

AP - Illinois Public Media News - March 28, 2010

ISU defeats Illinois in Women’s NIT

The Illinois State women's basketball team defeated Illinois 53 to 51Sunday, in a close game that sends the Lady Redbirds to the Women's NIT Final Four.

Senior Jenna Smith scored with 1:43 left in the game to give Illinois a 51-50 lead over ISU. But the Redbirds' Katie Broadway shot a three-pointer with 17.5 seconds left to regain a lead that turned out to be the final score. Two Illinois shots at the basket in the final seconds --- the first by sophomore Lydia McCulley and the rebound by Smith --- were unsuccessful.

The game was close for most of the first half, with ISU pulling ahead to a 28-19 lead with three minutes in the half. Illinois started the second half with a 9-2 run to take a 33-32 lead at the 15:53 mark. After that, the lead went back and forth the two teams, with neither one leading by more than four, up through the Redbirds' two-point victory margin.

Freshman Karisma Penn led Illinois with 13 points, while Smith followed up with 12 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two blocks in her final game for the Illini.

Nicolle Lewis was the Redbirds' top scorer, with 14 points and nine rebounds.

The game was played at Redbird Arena in Normal, in front of 4,459. ISU will host California Thursday, April 1st, in the Women's NIT semifinals. Illinois finishes its season with a 19-15 record, including their first-ever quarterfinal appearance at the WNIT..

Categories: Education, Sports

AP - Illinois Public Media News - March 26, 2010

Illinois to Play ISU in WNIT on Sunday

It will be the Illini versus the Redbirds in Women's NIT quarterfinal action this Sunday, following wins by both teams in third round play Thursday night.

Illinois defeated the Missouri State Lady Bears 65 to 53, with 17 points apiece from Lacey Simpson and Karisma Penn. Illinois' defense held Missouri State to 31 percent shooting and a season-low 53 points.

Meanwhile, Illinois State beat Kansas 71 to 51 at Redbird Arena in Normal. Ashleen Bracey led the Redbirds with 15 points and seven rebounds, while four of her teammates also scored. in double figures. The win was a reversal from 2009, when KU eliminated ISU from the WNIT in the semifinals.

Illinois State will host Illinois in the WNIT quarterfinals, Sunday, March 28th at 2:05 PM at Redbird Arena. The two teams last met in a non-conference game last November, when the Illini defeated the Redbirds, 62 to 51.

Categories: Education, Sports

AP - Illinois Public Media News - March 24, 2010

Illinois Falls to Dayton 77-71 in NIT Quarterfinals

The Fighting Illini men's basketball team bowed out of the N-I-T Wednesday night, with a 77 to 71 loss to the Dayton Flyers.

Chris Johnson scored 18 points and Dayton used a strong start to win the game.

The third-seeded Flyers (23-12) advanced to play Mississippi on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. They also joined Rhode Island in the semifinals, giving the Atlantic 10 Conference two of the four teams remaining in the tournament.

Dayton jumped out to a 23-9 lead behind excellent shooting and never let up. The Flyers shot 48.1 percent from the field, including 8 of 18 from 3-point range.

The Illini's struggles to get back on defense led to quick, easy baskets for Dayton. Illinois trailed by as many as 16 points before cutting it to four with 18 seconds left.

Johnson was 4 for 11 from the field but 9 of 10 at the foul line.

Demetri McCamey had 13 points and 10 assists for No. 1 seed Illinois (21-15).

Meanwhile, the Illini women's basketball team will be in Springfield, Missouri Thursday night to play Missouri State in the Women's N-I-T. The game starts at 7 PM, Central Time.

Chris Johnson scored 18 points for the third-seeded Flyers (23-12). They advanced to play Mississippi on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. They also joined Rhode Island in the semifinals, giving the Atlantic 10 Conference two of the four teams remaining in the tournament.

The Illini's struggles to get back on defense led to quick, easy baskets for Dayton. Illinois trailed by as many as 16 points before cutting it to four with 18 seconds left.

Johnson was 4 for 11 from the field but 9 of 10 at the foul line.

Demetri McCamey had 13 points and 10 assists for No. 1 seed Illinois (21-15).

Categories: Education, Sports

AP - Illinois Public Media News - March 19, 2010

Forbes Study Places Fighting Illini Among Most Valuable Teams

In a season where the Fighting Illini's bid to make the NCAA tournament fell short, a study by Forbes magazine says it's still among the most financially viable college basketball programs.

The team ranked 5th in the magazine's study and tops among Big Ten Conference teams with a value of $20.8 million. Reporter Peter Schwartz analyzed 'dividends' that teams can generate, including money for academics and scholarships, their athletic conference, and their community at large. In Forbes' third annual ranking of the most valuable college basketball teams, Schwartz says the U of I's athletic department was also able to keep costs for basketball down while helping a lot of so-called 'non-revenue' sports like volleyball and tennis.

Schwartz also says being one of the primary attractions of the area doesn't hurt. "There's even more professional sports competition in and around the area as well, but at the same time, being in Urbana and not being in Chicago actually plays to the programs' benefit." says Schwartz. Schwartz says the Illini's most impressive figures include $7-million in gate receipts, and more than $4 million coming from season ticket holders. Schwartz says success on the court also plays a role into a team's financial success. The Fighting Illini are hosting at least one postseason game next week as part of the NIT Tournament. Schwartz says that will help a team, but it's not a deciding factor in its final ranking in the study.

Other Big Ten schools on Forbes' list of the 20 most valuable teams include Indiana, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Minnesota. Tops on the list was the North Carolina Tar Heels, with a value of $29 million.

Categories: Economics, Education, Sports

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