Sports Science

Former Ohio State head football coach Jim Tressel seemed to be a role model for achieving on-field success with a high level of character.  Two-time National Coach of the Year, Larry Coker and former player Randy Shannon also were thought to provide moral leadership while winning national championships during their tenure as head coaches for the University of Miami.

Yet, both storied football programs now find themselves in the middle of NCAA investigations for major rule violations.  Reports of players trading memorabilia for cash or discounts, receiving cash and “entertainment” from boosters, and at least one of these coaches admitting to lying about their knowledge of these events has triggered a frenzy of discussion on what’s wrong with college athletics.
Just what computer scientists want - dumb jocks getting all of the credit for artificial intelligence.

Or maybe computer scientists are simply letting football players think they matter, and they are really just data.

For artificial intelligence to get out of its 20-year rut, a computer has to be able to observe a complex operation, learn how to do it, and then optimize those operations or accomplish other related tasks. What if a computer could watch video of football plays, learn from them, and then design plays and control players in a football simulation or video game?  
When was the last time you listened to a sporting event on the radio? If given a choice between watching the game on a big screen HD or turning on the AM radio, most of us would probably choose the visual sensation of television.

But, for a moment, think about the active attention you need in order to listen to a radio broadcast and interpret the play-by-play announcer's descriptions. As you hear the words, your "mind's eye" paints the picture of the action so you can imagine the scene and situations. Your knowledge of the game, either from playing it or watching it for years helps you understand the narrative, the terms and the game's "lingo".

Golf is a good walk spoiled, according to both proponents and detractors.  It isn't just the outrageously fickle game that takes abuse, the golf courses, known for their calm scenic views and precise grass patterns, get hammered every day as well.  

Divots created by golf strokes are common  and can be a costly problem for golf course maintenance operations. Although previous research has identified differences in divot recovery across species of bermudagrass and zoysiagrass, little has been developed about actual divot resistance.

Stop eating all of that junk food.  Why?  So, you can live longer, of course.  Get off the La-Z-Boy and go run five miles.  Why?!  So, you can enjoy your old age.  No more drinking and smoking.  Why?!!  So, you can live to be 100 years old.

The rationale often given for converting to healthy habits has been to give you a longer life.  Who better to know about long lives than those that are closing in on the big 100.  The U.S. Census Bureau estimates there were nearly 425,000 people aged 95 and older living in the U.S. in 2010 − still only a small percentage of the 40 million U.S. adults 65 and over.
An athlete’s level of greatness is often measured by the opinions of his or her peers while they’re playing and especially when they retire.  Being recognized as one of the best by those who understand what it takes is rare.  This week, one of the world’s greatest soccer players of the last 30 years retired, yet he could walk down most streets in America without being recognized.  After 17 seasons, Paul Scholes of Manchester United played in his final tribute game last week and will become a coach at the club he’s been part of since his teens.

While not a household name in the U.S. like Messi or Ronaldo or Beckham, he has earned the respect of the greatest players of his time.
As Tiger Woods returns to action this weekend at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, mortal golfers wonder what's inside his head that makes him so much better than us. Well, chances are his brain actually has more gray matter than the average weekend duffer.

Researchers at the University of Zurich have found that expert golfers have a higher volume of the gray-colored, closely packed neuron cell bodies that are known to be involved with muscle control. The good news is that, like Tiger, golfers who start young and commit to years of practice can also grow their brains while their handicaps shrink.
Just as struggling calculus students wonder if they will ever actually use their new proof-finding skills in real life, developing athletes may be curious if their endless practice drills will ever serve them off the field or court?  Well, researchers at the University of Illinois have found at least one real life task that will benefit from an athlete’s unique cognitive abilities; crossing the street.
The problem with your diet is not that you’ve been eating the wrong food, but rather you’ve been thinking about your food all wrong.  According to Alia Crum, a clinical psychology researcher at Yale University, our mind’s opinion of food labeled or thought of to be “diet” or “low fat” can actually affect our body’s physiological response after eating it, which changes our metabolism.  

Her sneaky research team told 46 volunteers that they were getting two milkshakes to drink.  In the first test, they were told they were sampling a “health” shake that had no fat, no added sugar and a skinny 140 calories.  At a separate test, the same group were told they were rewarded with an “indulgent” shake weighing in at a guilt-inducing 620 calories and full of fat.
Last week, the Cubs made a rare visit to Fenway Park to face the Red Sox in a Major League Baseball inter-league series. Things got a little nasty when Sox pitcher Alfredo Aceves put a fastball into the face of the Cubs’ Marlon Byrd, causing multiple fractures. As is “tradition” in baseball, the Red Sox batters knew the score would be settled in the following game. After just missing Jed Lowrie with an inside pitch in the eighth inning, Cub pitcher Kerry Wood made sure he connected with his target and plunked Lowrie in the behind on the very next pitch.