The NCAA's collapse is inevitable, and unless it makes some serious changes, it will soon cease to exist.

That's the view of John Calipari, one of the most controversial and high-profile college coaches of our era. In a forthcoming book, Calipari, whose Kentucky Wildcats finished as surprise runners-up to UConn in the NCAA tournament, likens the collegiate governing body to the crumbling Soviet Union in its final days.

"The situation reminds me a little of the Soviet Union in its last years," Calipari writes, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. "It was still powerful. It could still hurt you. But you could see it crumbling, and it was just a matter of time before it either changed or ceased to exist."

The 55-year-old head coach, who has taken his teams to three Final Fours (five if you count the two that were vacated), presents a 13-point plan for improving the NCAA. His suggestions include doling out player stipends of $3,000 to $5,000, allowing athletes to accept loans up to $50,000 against future earnings and letting athletes have one round-trip flight home every year.

Calipari also suggests that if a coach leaves a school, players should be able to transfer without having to sit out a season.

Two of Calipari's former schools -- UMass and Memphis -- have had Final Four appearances vacated because of NCAA transgressions. Calipari, who was not personally implicated in either case, says he has tried to work with the NCAA to improve the system but has been turned away because of his reputation.

"I think we could have gotten somewhere with me as the point man, but the NCAA was not interested in my help," Calipari writes. "The message I got, between the lines, was, 'No, not you. Not Calipari. We don't want him involved.'"

Calipari's book, "Players First: Coaching From the Inside Out" is set to be published April 15. The timing seems ripe, as the discussion surrounding college athletes' rights has grown deafening in recent weeks. An NLRB regional director ruled last month that Northwestern's scholarship football players should have the right to unionize, while an antitrust lawsuit brought by former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon against the NCAA is scheduled for a June trial.

Shabazz Napier, the UConn standout who led his Huskies to the national title this week, recently said he sometimes goes to bed "starving" because he can't afford food.

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As he gears up for his final playoff run in the NBA, Shane Battier has been dolling out quiet reminders of his on-and-off-the-court brilliance.

Battier, who has said that he's retiring after this season, held Carmelo Anthony to 4-of-17 shooting during the Heat's victory over the Knicks this week.

Then the graceful veteran offered one of his signature quotes, about why he'll miss guarding the NBA's best players.

“I will miss the feeling of the butterflies before a game when I know I have to guard a Carmelo Anthony, guard a Kevin Durant, a Kobe Bryant,” Battier told ESPN. “There’s nothing in my life that will ever, ever replicate that feeling. So I try to enjoy it. It’s not a good feeling. It’s not. But it makes you feel alive."

While other players surely know the feeling, few can express it as eloquently as the 35-year-old Battier.

A Duke graduate who has grinded out 13 years in the NBA, Battier is heralded for his basketball IQ. He is widely respected by his opponents and often selected as one of the players who would make the best coach.

His brilliance was the subject of a New York Times feature by Moneyball author Michael Lewis. In that story Battier talks about guarding Kobe Bryant, whom he has famously shut down over the years.

While he's taken on a reserve role with the Heat after being a full-time starter in Memphis and Houston, Battier still finds himself matching up occasionally with the opponent's top player. And, whether they admit it or not, Battier's tactics are extremely frustrating.

Battier's heady play hasn't earned him an All-Star appearance, and he's never even made the NBA's All-Defense first team. But his love for the game, and specifically for an aspect (defense) that others abhor, has earned him a special place in the hearts of basketball purists.

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A.J. McCarron and Katherine Webb's high-profile romance will soon be hitting the small screen in the form of a reality TV show.

The former Alabama quarterback and his model girlfriend will be the subject of a reality show as they prepare for their July 11th wedding as well as his transition into the NFL. Webb's sister, Laurie, told the Auburn Plainsman that cameras were rolling during McCarron's proposal.

“From what I understood, it came from someone else," Laurie said of the opportunity. "I don’t think they were trying to get into a reality show, I think they just had the opportunity and decided to take it.”

McCarron recently proposed to Webb in Gulf Shores, Ala., where Webb thought the couple would be attending a charity event. That's why she figured there were cameras around.

Now, as the couple prepares to tie the knot as well as transition to life in the NFL, its every move will be documented. But according to Webb's father, Alan, this reality show won't stoop to the genre's often trashy reputation.

“As reality shows go," Alan told the Plainsman. "This would be a wholesome one for sure.”

Laurie Webb said networks started contacting the family after her sister's appearance on TV during the 2013 BCS national championship game, but the timing was never right. Webb was Miss Alabama 2012 but not widely known before then.

The families are scrambling to finalize wedding plans for the July 11 ceremony, which will also be filmed. Producers of the show have yet to reach an agreement with any network.

McCarron is preparing for next month's NFL draft, where he is expected to be selected in the second or third round.

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Whether he's talking basketball, fashion or pop culture, Jeff Van Gundy isn't afraid to speak his mind.

And one of Van Gundy's most recent on-air rants, about Howard Stern leaving the Knicks game early, has landed him in the radio star's doghouse.

The "King of All Media" sat courtside at last week's Knicks-Nets game at Madison Square Garden. With the Knicks up big, Stern left before the fourth quarter started. Van Gundy, who was doing color commentary of the game for ESPN, called Stern out for bolting.

“I wouldn’t give you front row seats again if you leave early,” Van Gundy said. “Nick Lachey is still here, (with the Knicks) up 27 points.”

Stern wasn't too happy to hear about this. During his show on Tuesday he fired back at Van Gundy, saying it takes a certain level of commitment to be the best at something.

“Has he ever won a championship? So, he wouldn’t really understand the effort it takes,” Stern said. “I’ve been No. 1 many times in my career, Jeff, and let me tell you something it takes intense dedication. I can’t sit at Knicks game all night, I’ve got way much to do. … Sometimes you have to leave a Knicks game early.”

Stern is a regular at Knicks games, and surely this isn't the first time he, or another courtside celebrity, has left early. It seems a little confusing for Van Gundy to call out Stern, and maybe there is something more to this beef. Or perhaps Van Gundy was simply looking for something to riff about with the game getting out of hand.

To hear Stern's full, R-rated comments, see here.

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With NFL teams having the largest rosters of any of the four major North American sports, it figures that the composition of these clubs changes rapidly.

And it's not just the backups or special teamers who are coming and going. According to a new study done by Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com, the majority of players who started the last game of 2011 did not start the last game of 2013 for that same team.

In a telling look at just how fleeting an NFL opportunity can be, Kempski found that only 33.5 percent of the players could make that claim. A player could be traded or have signed with a new team, sidelined with injury or even out of the league.

It appears that stability pays off, as the past two Super Bowl champions each retained 10 out of 22 starters. The San Francisco 49ers, who have been in the NFC championship game each of the past three years, led the league with 15 of the same starters.

But the 49ers, Ravens and Seahawks were joined in the top 10 by the Jets and the Redskins, who combined for a total of one playoff berth in the three-year period of the study.

As previous research has shown, stability normally pays off, but it is obviously not a sure thing.

Kempski uses this instability to argue for drafting based on overall talent rather than current need. "...[B]y the time young players are in the NFL for 3 years and ideally they've developed into good starters, the roster is often going to look nothing like the way it did when those players were drafted, and you may have passed on a better player who plays a position that is a need in 2016, but wasn't in 2014."

To check out the entire list of NFL teams and how their rosters have changed over time, see here.

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Paulina Gretzky's Golf Digest cover has generated criticism, controversy and, now, comedy.

The daughter of NHL legend Wayne Gretzky, who is engaged to PGA star Dustin Johnson, posed for the cover of the magazine's May issue. The fact that Gretzky became just the 11th female to pose alone on the cover, while most of the world's top females have never graced the glossy, stirred ire among some in the LPGA. Mike Whan, the LPGA Tour commissioner, said he was "disappointed" by the cover (below):

Taking the controversy in stride, an Orlando photographer named Cy Cyr decided to have some fun with Gretzky's photo. He called together some buddies, mostly middle-aged men, to recreate Gretzky's pose. And the results are wonderful.

"Photographer Walter Iooss is my photography idol," Cyr writes on his website. "His recent Paulina Gretzky golf cover sparked nationwide interest in Golf Digest this week. And well… I have a sense of humor and called a few friends."

Cyr included his brother, his neighbor and even himself (lower right corner) in the image.


For more information on the photo and the men in it, see Cyr's website.

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John Daly has scaled back on his vices since his carefree days of the 1990s -- he no longer drinks alcohol and has considerably limited his Diet Coke intake -- but his bad habits still trump those of almost every other pro athlete.

In an interview with the Guardian, the 47-year-old Daly says he once drank 26-28 Diet Cokes a day. However after lap band surgery in 2009 he's down to 10-12.

"The band won't allow me to drink as many," Daly said. "If I don't have ice, I can't drink it. I can't have it straight because of the carbonation. I have to drink it slowly and not out of a can, I need some ice. I used to have 26-28 cans a day. Now I have 10-12 at the most."

It'd be one thing if soda was Daly's only bad habit, but the 1991 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year said he still smokes 40 cigarettes a day.

Making matters worse, Daly says he doesn't do much exercise outside of walking the golf course.

"I'm overweight and everything but we are all fit; we walk six or seven miles a day, that's plenty of exercise for most people," Daly said. "Some guys want to do a little more cardio training; I can't see me being allowed to smoke a cigarette on a treadmill. I don't think they will let me into the gym if I do that. Will they?"

Probably not.

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A woman with no professional golf experience, whose main connection to the sport is that she is engaged to a PGA Tour star, appears on the cover of May's Golf Digest, and some LPGA pros aren't happy.

Sure, that woman happens to be the supremely attractive Paulina Gretzky, daughter of former NHL star Wayne, but that doesn't help much for the female golfers who are continually passed over.

As Karen Crouse of the New York Times reports, Gretzky is just the 11th woman to appear alone on the cover of the magazine. Meanwhile Inbee Park, the world's No. 1 who won three consecutive majors in 2013, has never been on the magazine's cover.

“That’s just been the way it is for over 20, 30 years," she told Crouse.

Gretzky, 25, is engaged to PGA star Dustin Johnson and has taken turns as a model, actress and singer. The cover image features her in yoga pants and a sports bra.

Perhaps anticipating backlash, Golf Digest Editor-in-Chief Jerry Tarde discussed why he and others chose Gretzky for the cover.

"Sports figures, celebrities and models have appeared on Golf Digest covers since the magazine's beginning," Tarde said. "Paulina ranks at the high end of the golf celebrity scene today, and she has a compelling story to tell. She also might get some new people interested in the game."

Stacy Lewis, a former No. 1 who won last year's Vare Trophy for the tour's lowest scoring average, says she understands why Gretzky is on the cover but she's not happy about it.

“It’s frustrating for female golfers," Lewis told Crouse. "It’s kind of the state of where we’ve always been. We don’t get respect for being the golfers that we are. Obviously, Golf Digest is trying to sell magazines. But at the same time you’d like to see a little respect for the women’s game.”

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Will Ferrell will reportedly play former tennis star Bobby Riggs in a new movie, and it's a role that is consistent with some of his favorite parts.

In a film based around Riggs' storied "Battle Of The Sexes" matchup with Bille Jean King,
Ferrell will get to play a sports role set in the 1970s. In movies like Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Semi-Pro and Blades of Glory, Ferrell has played on one or both of those themes.

But this doesn't seem like it'll be another mostly silly Ferrell comedy in the style of the aforementioned movies.

Riggs, who won several Grand Slam titles before facing off in a pair of high-profile matches against female players, was considered by some to be sexist. He is accused of taunting female players into playing him for lucrative sums of money.

A lover of gambling, Riggs is thought by some to have thrown the 1973 match to pay off debts. The accusations are laid out in a recent ESPN The Magazine feature which will be the basis for the movie.

Ferrell will co-produce the film. The script was written by Steve Conrad (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Pursuit of Happyness). Along with Ferrell and his production partner Adam McKary, the movie will be co-produced by Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping.

According to Variety, the star's passion for tennis led Chernin to pursue the 46-year-old Ferrell for the role.

(H/T to For The Win)

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Pat Riley famously dangled his handful of NBA championship rings in front of LeBron James and Chris Bosh as he tried to lure the two men to Miami during the wild free agency summer of 2010.

"Hey," Riley reportedly told James, "try one on."

With Bosh, Riley actually gave the big man one of his rings to keep until Bosh won one in Miami. Bosh took it and, two titles later, still has it.

"He gave me one of his championship rings from 2006, and was like, 'You give me that back when you come here and win yours.'" Bosh told ESPN. "So I took it. I was like, 'Oh, man!' Don't tell me to take something if you don't want me to take it. I've still got it, too. But I told him I'd give it back after this year."

Bold move by Bosh. Riley has won NBA championships as a player (1972), assistant coach (1980), head coach (1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2006) and executive (2012, 2013), but he's still not going to let one of his rings go easily.

Fortunately for Riley, the Heat are favorites to win a third consecutive NBA title. However if something gets in the way of that goal, things could get mighty awkward between him and Bosh.

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