Most college students have the luxury of setting their own bedtimes. University of Pittsburgh football players are excluded from such freedoms.

Pat Narduzzi

In fact, their bedtimes aren't just handed to them -- they're enforced by one of their dormitory mates.

The man in charge? Head football coach Pat Narduzzi.

"I feel like I'm back in college!" said Narduzzi, according to a feature in The Wall Street Journal. A first-year coach bunking with his players might sound like an effort to create a chemistry within the team, but Narduzzi's reasoning is far more practical.

He wants his players to get enough sleep every night. Sleeping in the same building as them helps establish those sleep hygiene habits. And Narduzzi's concern doesn't merely lie with the trouble players can find when out late at night. He's leaning on science that encourages his athletes to get healthy amounts of sleep every night.

Across the college football landscape, one of the hottest statistics among its head coaches concerns the number of hours players sleep on a given night. Coaches are pulling out all the stops to make sure their student-athletes are well-rested.

Narduzzi's strategy is to enforce a lights-out policy in the dorms. Other coaches are more intensive in their approach: Tennessee's Butch Jones brought in sleep coaches to help the team through summer football camp, and sensors are hooked up to players to measure the quality of their sleep.

At the University of Houston, head coach Tom Herman schedules time for afternoon naps.

"We dived into the science of that a little bit," Herman tells the WSJ. "Nowadays you've got to tell them how [a lack of sleep] negatively affects your body and performance."

Narduzzi's approach is simpler -- lights are out every night at 10:30. He says proof of his program's success is out on the field. In such a competitive landscape, every extra bit makes a difference.

Northwestern began experimenting with sleep schedules in 2012.

Stephen Curry

At a golf event in San Francisco on Wednesday, Warriors star Stephen Curry discussed his recent experience playing golf with the president. Like Barack Obama, Curry is a skilled golfer himself -- he told the media he began playing when he was 12, and while the NBA season doesn't allow for many rounds, he tries to catch up in the offseason.

Obama's game, on the other hand, is a sight to behold. When asked to demonstrate how the president plays, Curry said Obama's approach is quick -- two practice swings and a fast shot.

Then Curry was asked to imitate Obama's golf swing. To demonstrate the left-hander's stroke, Curry turned his club upside down and let it rip.

@stephencurry30 does his impression of @barackobama's golf swing ⛳️. Via B/R snapchat: bleacherreport

A video posted by Bleacher Report (@bleacherreport) on

Teasing aside, Obama teamed up with Ray Allen against Curry and his father, Dell, and POTUS came away the winner. Curry said Allen's game is smooth and sharp, just like his three-point shooting.

As for Obama's fast approach, it's hard to blame the man. He's got things to do and places to go.

The Little League Softball World Series was marred in controversy when a team from South Snohomish, Wash., reportedly lost a game on purpose Monday. Players were instructed to bunt in non-bunt situations and swing pitches in the dirt. South Snohomish had already clinched a spot in the semifinals but could eliminate the Central Iowa All-Stars by losing.

Central Iowa appealed and earned a tiebreaker game with South Snohomish. Karma kicked in and Central Iowa won, 3-2.

On the other side of the bracket, there was inspiration rather than game-fixing. AVRS School became the first team from Uganda to make the LLSWS.

AVRS is a math-and-science boarding school for the athletically talented located 25 miles outside of the capital of Kampala. Richard Stanley, a retired chemical engineer and part owner of a minor-league team in Trenton, N.J., opened the school in 2013. He has been promoting baseball in Uganda for more ten years. Along with the AVRS girls, the boys team will become the second from Uganda -- Lugazi was the first in 2012 -- to go to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

Before traveling to the Europe-Africa region tournament in Poland, the softball team had ride 16 hours by bus each way to Nairobi, Kenya, home of the closest Polish embassy to get paperwork. Back at AVRS, students then had to travel as far as 10 hours to their homes to get it signed by parents.

Stanley told The Oregonian it cost about $3,000 per player just to get to the regional, which included money out of his own pocket.

After AVRS swept the Europe-Africa tournament in late July, the team circled back to Kampala, where it needed to meet at the U.S. Embassy. With American approval, the 12 girls and their coaches made the more-than-24-hour trip to Portland.

"Girls aren't supposed to do anything like this in Uganda, so we are very happy," said Allen Vivian Balondemu, team manager and director of AVRS upon arrival in Portland.

Uganda went 2-2 in pool play, defeating teams from Warwick, R.I., and Maunabo, Puerto Rico. On Wednesday, the team was set to play South Snohomish in the fifth-place game.

"To beat an American team here it's unbelievable," Balondemu told KOIN Oregon Tuesday. "I couldn't believe that. So I'm proud of my team."

In the KOIN news report by Amy Frazier, AVRS team captain Gorret Komuhendo channels her inner Kevin Garnett to exclaim, "Nothing is impossible!" She also praises the American people for their acceptance of the foreign team, although, Komuhendo's taste buds did not mesh with pizza.

Thousands of miles from their home, these players enjoyed an experience this week that would have seemed impossible in Uganda and neighboring African countries a decade ago. Instead, Uganda was the toast of Portland, and like the Ugandan LLWS team in 2012, AVRS will go home with at least one win against an American team in its pocket. (Lugazi's win was against Gresham, Oregon, which is just east of Portland.)

If finances line up, the AVRS girls can make a stop in Williamsport on the way home. The boys' LLWS opener is 1 p.m. ET Thursday against Los Bravos de Pontezuela of the Domincan Republic.

This connects to Stanley's vision of baseball in Uganda.

"I think Uganda can be the next Dominican Republic," Stanley says.

Uganda is far away from producing the next batch of players like David Ortiz and Albert Pujols, but this year's softball and baseball performance are indicative of how fast the nation is improving at the youth level.

April Ross is gearing up for another crack at Olympic gold next summer in Rio. Ross won a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics in London with partner Jennifer Kessy. This time Ross will be teaming with Kerri Walsh Jennings, a three-time gold medalist. In the meantime, Ross is competing on the AVP circuit and just won the Manhattan Beach Open with Jennifer Fopma. The 6-1 USC alum took some time from her training to share pointers with us on developing skills for the sand game and the importance of being smart about playing in the hot sun. The learning curve on the volleyball techniques is even steeper than you might suspect.

This text will be replaced

Nick Symmonds is one of the best 800-meter runners in the world, but he won't be appearing in this year's world championships after refusing to wear a Nike jersey as part of Team USA. While the decision strikes some fans as bizarre, a closer look reveals that Symmonds is more likely making a shrewd business decision -- one that involved a lot of planning and maybe great rewards in the future.

This text will be replaced

Alejandro Villanueva

When the Eagles cut Alejandro Villanueva before the 2014 season, the defensive lineman knew why: He didn't have the size to measure up in the trenches.

Fast forward one year later, and Villanueva is a hulking beast. He added nearly 100 pounds in 12 months, bulking up to a sizable 340 pounds and putting himself in position to make the Steelers roster.

At 6-foot-9, Villanueva had great height and ideal measurables for working as a lineman. But he was only 245 pounds -- light for the D-line, especially with that height.

Take a look at the transformation:

Last summer wasn't Villanueva's first attempt to make an NFL roster, either. The West Point graduate was on practice and summer rosters for the Bengals in 2010 and the Bears in 2012. Each time, he failed to make the team.

At 26, Villanueva's shot at making the NFL is growing slim. He's a clear physical specimen, having served three tours of duty in Afghanistan with the Army Rangers, a specialized task force comprised of the Army's top personnel.

After the Eagles cut him, Villanueva joined the Steelers' practice squad and began taking reps on the offensive line. So far this preseason, he has been dominant on the field -- his size is making a big difference in his performance, transforming him into a sometimes-dominant offensive tackle who impressed in the team's preseason opener against the Minnesota Vikings.

Steelers Depot reports that Villanueva's size and wingspan make him a formidable pass-protector, and he contributes at a position where Pittsburgh is in desperate need of help.

That lack of depth, combined with the Army grad's impressive transformation and strong performance, give him a legitimate shot at making a regular-season roster for the first time in his career.

Jordy Nelson

Jordy Nelson is Aaron Rodgers' favorite target, and by all measures he's worth every penny of the $39 million contract he signed last year.

As a guy who had to walk-on at Kansas State before earning a scholarship and blossoming into a star, Nelson obviously knows the value of work ethic. But where he could sit back and point to his past accomplishments, he continues to put in extra effort -- back on the family farm, that is.

Nelson recently told ESPN the Magazine that he spent part of his summer working 12-hour days on his family's farm, where daily work was a part of life growing up. While the rest of us know him as an NFL star, Nelson sees himself first and foremost as a farmer -- one whose favorite chore is working the cattle.

Nelson also equates farm life with many of the habits needed to succeed in the NFL -- not just a willingness to work hard, but also a reliance on your teammates.

There is one difference between the two: Nelson says compared to farming, the NFL is easy.

"Training camp practice is 2.5 hours but the rest of the time we're sitting on our butts in a film room," he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal in 2012. "Where I come from, it takes me awhile to get back into farming shape. You're always on your feet, walking, trouncing through mud and snow."

Using that same math, Nelson probably enters into NFL training camp in great shape -- and maybe that's why he's beat expectations time and again, in both the college and NFL ranks.

Whatever the case, his routine is working well for him. Aaron Rodgers can go right on winning Jeopardy! and practicing his ninja skills with girlfriend Olivia Munn. Nelson will keep on doing the hard work.

[Tip of the cap to CBS Sports]

Michael Sam

Michael Sam's debut as an openly gay professional football player brought plenty of social significance -- but his presence made no difference on the field.

In his first competitive game since the 2014 NFL preseason, Sam underwhelmed for the Montreal Alouettes in the CFL.

The former seventh-round draft pick for the NFL's St. Louis Rams made it onto the field for just 12 snaps in the game, and didn't register a single statistic in a 26-23 loss at Ottawa.

It shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that Sam was a little rusty -- and even he admitted to being nervous before the game. The defensive lineman has been working to regain his conditioning after leaving the team for two weeks during the season earlier this summer.

And, according to the Ottawa Sun, that's the crux of some frustration his teammates have over the NFL hopeful. Sam has been earning a sizable $100,000 salary for the Alouettes, despite leaving the team during training camp without any promise of a return.

He wasn't eligible to take the field until this week, yet the team kept him on the active roster all the while -- ensuring his salary, even though he should have been demoted to the practice squad.

The Sun suggests that Sam's teammates feel he's being given preferential treatment by the Montreal organization.

It's possible the team sees him as a valuable talent that can contribute on the field at some point, but it also can't be ruled out that the team might value Sam for his promotional value -- the CFL team can always claim itself as an organization that helped break the sexual orientation barrier in professional football.

The growing sentiment in Canada is that Sam isn't doing enough to justify his paycheck and standing with the team. Those criticisms won't go away unless his on-field performance improves.

Meanwhile, Sam himself faces an even taller task: After this weekend's quiet outing, he might be farther than ever from the NFL.

Rio Waters

Thirteen American rowers fell ill after competing in a test event held in the polluted waters in Rio, Brazil, where the 2016 Summer Olympics will be held.

The waters are the same bodies that will host Olympic events next year, and which were recently found to be 1.7 billion times more polluted than the standard for hazardous water designations in America, according to the Associated Press.

The pollution levels are essentially equivalent with that of raw sewage. Because of the severity and the short timeline, officials now say there is no way to turn the waters safe ahead of the Olympic Games.

Yet water events are still slated to be held amid the pollution, and the World Rowing Junior Championships held in Rio demonstrated the kinds of problems that might be in store. Of the 40 members of Team USA to compete in the rowing competition, 13 suffered from illnesses that included vomiting and diarrhea after the event.

There's no conclusive way to tie the illnesses to the polluted waters, and no team suffered as much illness as the American side, although many other teams did report sicknesses, according to ESPN. But the common opinion is that the waters are the most likely culprit.

"My personal feeling is, I think it's from the lake," said U.S. team physician Kathryn Ackerman, per ESPN.

The U.S. team also said it didn't take certain precautions that it should have -- American rowers used water bottles stored in their rowboats, which could have been exposed to contamination. Competitors from some countries were barred from having water bottles when out on the water.

"As soon as kids started [getting sick], we were bleaching oar handles, we were immediately washing hands after coming off the water," said U.S. coach Susan Francia. "Other countries didn't allow water bottles at all. Other countries had water bottles in zip-locked bags."

With no fix in the works, that will likely be the standard for handling water hazards in Rio. But it won't do any good for triathletes and other competitors facing more exposure to the water. It's inevitable that illnesses will occur.

It's gotta be tempting: A little kid barely as tall as the basketball itself winds up for a shot from distance. For a former NBA MVP with a wingspan comparable to a 747, stuffing the shot is no challenge -- but that doesn't mean it isn't fun.

At a recent basketball camp, Kevin Durant succumbed to the temptation and sent one young camper's shot all the way to mars. Even better: this isn't the first time the Thunder star has gone after a youngster.

This text will be replaced

Syndicate content