July 12, 2008
by Jeff Smith
[ONE // time for kickoff]
This week the Big Ten announced the 33 student-athletes scheduled to attend the 2008 Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon, one of the nation's premier events celebrating the start of the college football season. The Kickoff Luncheon will take place Friday, July 25, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Big Ten fans can get close to their favorite football players and coaches during the autograph session and then stick around for lunch, listening to each team's vision of the 2008 season. Among the list of attendees are four All-Americans and 20 All-Big Ten selections from the 2007 campaign, at least 16 players on national awards watch lists for the upcoming campaign, the Big Ten's reigning Defensive Player of the Year and a former Freshman of the Year honoree. For a complete look at this year's attendees and for more information on the 37th annual event, click here.
[TWO // folks, you are looking live...]
That's right, it's time to hear those legendary words once again. But Big Ten fans won't have to wait for the season's first college football game to hear longtime ABC and ESPN host and play-by-play commentator Brent Musburger welcoming them in. This week the Big Ten announced that Musburger will serve as emcee of the 37th Annual Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon. The television veteran has been with ABC and ESPN since 1990, having previously spent 15 years with CBS Sports. He is the often the voice of Big Ten football on ABC during Saturday afternoon and evening games.
[THREE // former wolverine wins pete rozelle award]
Speaking of longtime sports broadcasters, congratulations to former Michigan football standout Dan Dierdorf for being honored as the 2008 recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award. The annual award is given to an individual who has made "long-time exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football." Michigan's two-time All-Big Ten tackle began his broadcasting career in 1984 and has been with CBS Sports since 1999. Prior to joining CBS, Dierdorf spent more than a decade with ABC on its "Monday Night Football" crew. Dierdorf, a 1996 Pro Football and 2000 College Football Hall of Fame inductee, remains close with his alma mater and has been seen over the past few years in the stands at Wolverine women's basketball games. His daughter Katie recently concluded her career with the Maize and Blue.
[FOUR // speaking of women's hoops]
The Indiana women's basketball team learned this week it will participate in the 2008 Preseason Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT). The Hoosiers will host Ball State on Friday, Nov. 14, in first-round competition, which bodes well for the Cream and Crimson since they have a 26-3 all-time advantage over the Cardinals. The 2008 event marks the first time since the 1998-99 season IU participated in the preseason tournament.
[FIVE // several women's golfers named all-american scholars]
Ten Big Ten women's golfers were honored this week as All-American Scholar-Athletes this week by the National Golf Coaches Association. The recipients must have had a 3.5 GPA or higher and competed in at least 50 percent of the team's rounds this past year. Congratulations to Indiana's Anita Gahir, Michigan State's Michelle Bowels and Jordyn Wells, Northwestern's Jennifer Hong and Kelsey Lindenschmidt, Ohio State's Jennifer Cassidy and In-Hong Lim, Penn State's Brianna Malcolmson and Katherine Murphy, and Wisconsin's Jeana Dahl.
[SIX // half-dozen men's golfers earn the same honor]
The Golf Coaches Association of America announced Wednesday six Big Ten men's golfers were among 96 Division I student-athletes named Cleveland Golf All-America Scholars. To be eligible for Cleveland Golf All-America Scholar status an individual must be a junior or senior academically and compete in at least two full years at the collegiate level, participate in 70 percent of his team's competitive rounds or compete in the NCAA Championships, have a stroke average under 76.0, and maintain a minimum GPA average of 3.2. The six Big Ten honorees were Illinois' Larry Blatt, Indiana's Drew Allenspach, Michigan's Tim Schaetzel, Northwestern's Kyle Moore, Penn State's Robert Rohanna, and Purdue's Michael Randle.
[SEVEN // pair of former conference honorees teeing it up at john deere classic]
Former Indiana golfer Jeff Overton and Michigan State standout Ryan Brehm hit the links this week at the John Deere Classic PGA Tour event. Overton, a current member of the PGA Tour, made the cut after posting rounds of 67 and 68 for a 7-under-par 135. The 2004 and 2005 Big Ten Player of the Year entered the weekend in 12th position. Brehm, the conference's 2005 Freshman of the Year and three-time Big Ten individual runner-up, helped the Spartans to back-to-back league titles in 2007 and 2008. The recent MSU graduate failed to make the cut after rounds of 74 and 72. Take a look at Overton's scorecard by clicking here.
[EIGHT // four former women's golfers compete at lpga's jamie farr event]
Four former Big Ten women's golfers, three of which were conference Player of the Year honorees, made the field for this week's Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic Presented by Kroger. Michigan State's Allison Fouch was the lone member to make the cut as she rebounded after an opening 73 with a second-round 68 to tie for 76th entering the weekend. Missing the cut was Ohio State's Allison Hanna-Williams (75-69--144), the 2003 Big Ten co-Champion and 2004 Player of the Year, and 2001 and 2002 conference champion and 2001 Player of the Year Mollie Fankhauser (79-73--152). Also missing the cut was Purdue's Onnarin Sattayabanphot (75-74--149), the conference's Player of the Year in 2006. Fouch's progress can be found on LPGA Live Scoring.
[NINE // add another olympian to the list]
Former Iowa diver Nancilea Underwood-Foster earned a spot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Diving team this past week after earning the second individual Olympic three-meter springboard spot at the USA Diving selection camp in Knoxville. She is the first Hawkeye female diver to make an Olympic team. Underwood-Foster will back Indiana's Christina Loukas, who won the three-mater springboard competition in Indianapolis last month. During her time at Iowa, Underwood-Foster became the lone five-time all-American in the school's swimming and diving history.
[TEN // big ten network keeps growing]
Tack on Verizon and its FiOS TV brand as yet another convinced distributor of the year-old Big Ten Network. The nation's ninth-largest video distributor announced this week it has agreed to offer the BTN in a number of regions throughout the country where the new service is available. Ft. Wayne (Ind.) is already one of those communities and more regions are being developed in the coming months. Since launching FiOS TV in September 2005, Verizon has signed up more than 1.2 million and is currently available to more than 6.5 million homes in 13 states.
[ELEVEN // getting together for a gopher]
Finally this week, we learned that the Minnesota athletics community put together a benefit and silent auction for one its former Golden Gopher greats. Jennifer (McElmury) Manning, a two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and the first and only player in Minnesota soccer history to earn first team All-America honors, suffered a stroke last month and has since been recovering. The former Minnesota star and her accomplishments were highlighted in a historic feature bigten.org did last fall on the Gophers' soccer program. Here is hoping for the quickest recovery of one of the Big Ten's finest women's soccer players.