Readers Missing the Boat on Masters' Discrimination

The only thing more astounding than the good folks at Augusta National refusing to allow a female reporter into the locker room to interview a golfer is the reactionary comments from some of the readers at NorthJersey.com.

For those who missed it, columnist Tara Sullivan of The Bergen Record was not permitted into the locker room Sunday at The Masters during a group interview with Rory McIlroy. Tara wrote a column on her experience and Masters officials have since apologized.

“It should not have happened,” Augusta spokesman Steve Ethun told The Associated Press. “We will work as hard as we can to make sure it does not happen again.”  To read more of this story, click here

Twitter, Facebook Causing Coaches Headaches

NEW YORK – When Tyshawn Taylor seemed to indicate a year ago on Facebook that he might be transferring from Kansas, Jayhawks coach Bill Self put an end to it.

For good.

“He posted something we didn’t like much and so we kind of banned him from that,” Self recalled recently with a smile. “If he loves social networking, he’s really not getting a chance to express himself through it right now.” To read more of this story, click here

New York Needs a Marquee High School Event

New York City has now lost the Jordan Classic, the Boost Mobile Elite 24 event and the ABCD Camp within the span of four years – and needs a big-time high school event to restore its prominence on the grassroots circuit.

To review:

**Nike moved the Jordan Classic to North Carolina for April 2011 because of the ongoing renovation at Madison Square Garden.

**Kris Stone, founder of the Boost Mobile game, took that event to Venice Beach, Calif., in 2010 after the 2009 game was rained out and moved inside to the Gauchos Gym. To read more of this story, click here

Mike Francesa: College Basketball 'Expert'

I think we all understand that college basketball is not Mike Francesa’s primary area of expertise.

The Yankees, the National Football League and the ponies? Yes.

College hoops and college hoops recruiting? Not so much.

Still, what happened on WFAN Wednesday was just embarrassing.

Francesa interviewed four local college coaches — Fordham’s Tom Pecora, Rutgers’ Mike Rice, St. John’s Steve Lavin and UConn’s Jim Calhoun — and could not have been more out of it. (All the audio can be found here.) To read more of this story, click here

Knicks Fire Johnson; Garden Reveals College Schedule

The Knicks fired radio play-by-plan man Gus Johnson, the voice of the team since the 1997-98 season, according to the New York Post.

“Over the last two seasons, Johnson, 43, had annoyed MSG Network shot-callers by missing many games to work outside TV gigs, including CBS’ college basketball and Showtime boxing,” the Post reported.

“Johnson’s primary replacement is expected to be Mike Crispino, an MSG TV and radio multi-tasker since 1992. Johnson, in 1997, replaced Mike Breen, who moved to MSG TV.”

The Knicks also let go of talented young writer Mike Slane, who covered the team for the Knicks’ official website. Sources said the team is looking to reorganize the site.

In other Garden news, the 2010-11 college hoops schedule was released and, as usual, it features some tremendous events and matchups.
To read more of this story, click here

Worldwide Leader Adds Windhorst, Telep; Mariotti Departs Fanhouse for 'Other' Projects

ESPN made two key hires in the basketball world recently, although one is receiving a lot more attention than the other.

The Worldwide Leader announced the hiring of Brian Windhorst, who covered the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Cleveland Plain-Dealer and maintains a close relationship with LeBron James.

Windhorst is part of a four-man team that comprises ESPN’s new “Heat Index,” “devoted specifically to daily, season-long coverage of the Miami Heat and their new superstar core of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.” To read more of this story, click here

Vaccaro Expects Decision Within Weeks

Sonny Vaccaro, the grassroots sneaker guru who signed Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant to multi-million dollar shoe deals, expects to make a decision about his future plans within weeks.

“I have had discussions with two of the companies,” Vaccaro, 71, said Monday by phone from California. “I have one more left and then a decision will be made. Pam and I see it happening no later than the middle of November.”

Vaccaro declined to name the companies with whom he has met, but sources said one is Chinese apparel manufacturer Li Ning. To read more of this story, click here

Who's Gonna Break the LeBron Story?

Somebody is going to break the LeBron James story.

We don’t know who. We don’t know when. But sometime in the coming days or weeks, some entrepreneurial journalist is going to scoop everyone else and land the biggest sports story of the year, and maybe the decade.

Odds are it will be someone like Chris Broussard of ESPN The Magazine, Chris Sheridan, Ric Bucher or Marc Stein of ESPN.com, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports or Brian Windhorst of The Cleveland Plain-Dealer.

My old Columbia University classmate Richard Deitsch of SI.com put out these odds on Twitter: To read more of this story, click here

McIntyre Sells 'The Big Lead' for 7 Figures

If Jason McIntyre had been given a pro beat at The Bergen Record or gotten a job at ESPN The Magazine, The Big Lead would likely never have been born.

Instead, McIntyre went on to create the popular independent blog that was purchased by Chris Russo, chief executive of Fantasy Sports Ventures, for “a figure in the low seven figures,” The New York Times reported Tuesday on its Website.

“If The Record had moved me [from covering high schools] to stuff that I cared about, I probably would not have left or gone the blog route,” McIntyre, with whom I worked at the Herald News and Bergen Record for several years, said Wednesday in a  phone interview.

“If I had gotten the job at ESPN The Magazine — they were  looking for an editor — the blog probably wouldn’t have happened. Things just happened.” To read more of this story, click here