This isn’t anything new as Dana White has had issues with journalists before. Several have been banned — and remained banned — from being credentialed to a UFC event for reporting something that White did not like. Journalists shouldn’t have to worry about repercussions when doing their job. It’s a job, and difficult questions will need to be asked. It’s all about how the subject handles those questions that need answering. It’s not always going to be rose petals and gumdrops in the career of a mixed martial artist, and Conor McGregor is currently dealing with adversity. When it comes to what happens inside of the cage, McGregor proved Saturday night that he’ll be just fine and the UFC is a better place when he’s competing. But as far as what happens outside of it, we’ll never know because we weren’t able to ask. Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearJust about every question was answered as McGregor looked formidable at 170 pounds and as focused as he has been heading into a fight. There were no shenanigans during fight week as McGregor and Cerrone displayed mutual respect for each another before and after the fight. It certainly isn’t the end of Conor McGregor as a loss to Cerrone would have certainly signaled the curtain drawing to a close on the biggest star the UFC had ever seen. As a matter of fact, it looks like a new beginning for the 31-year-old.But there was a question that wasn’t answered. And the stench of that question has cast a dark cloud over the return of the Irishman. And it’s a cloud that could have and should have been addressed at some point during fight week. During Wednesday’s UFC 246 final press conference, when a reporter from the New York Times asked McGregor about the status of two sexual assault allegations, he was met with a chorus of boos by the fans who filled up the Pearl Theater at the Palms. While not surprising, that wasn’t the worst of it. Just as McGregor prepared to address the question, UFC president Dana White joined the mob of angry fans who had no interest in McGregor having to answer about the pending investigations. “He already answered those in the interview with ESPN,” White shot back as the reporter was booed back into his seat. Cerrone also chimed in by suggesting that the reporter should only ask about the fight. It was as if he asked a question that was off-limits. It wasn’t. And McGregor didn’t answer the question in his interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani earlier in the week. “I can’t say anything about this,” he said. “It just has to take place.”But it was never specified what accusations McGregor was fending off because Helwani didn’t say if it was sexual assault or otherwise. One can assume, but nothing was clear cut. A story surfaced last year that a woman had accused McGregor of sexually assaulting her at the Beacon Hotel in Dublin, Ireland. McGregor was arrested, brought in for questioning and later released by Irish police. Later in 2019, a second woman accused McGregor of sexually assaulting her in a vehicle outside of a pub in Dublin. The New York Times has reported that both cases remain open.McGregor has not been charged in either of the sexual assault cases, and an investigation does not make him guilty. However, asking about serious accusations is part of a credible journalist’s job.What took place on Wednesday set a precedent that the UFC doesn’t want the media asking about the investigations and wouldn’t mind bullying journalists into silence. Not another question about the situation was asked. It never appeared that McGregor was bothered by the question. He’s certainly limited in what he can and cannot say about a pending investigation, but he needed the chance to answer the question for himself. And even if that answer is “I cannot comment at this time,” it’s an answer. Instead, MMA journalists, who have been accused of being soft with the UFC, were unable to get their questions answered. And Wednesday let it be known that there will be a penalty for asking. And that penalty would be public shaming. No promotion or fighter wants to have to deal with a touchy subject like sexual assault. That is understandable. But it is something that has to be dealt with until McGregor’s name is cleared. What makes this situation all the more peculiar is that McGregor’s previous transgressions were used in the build toward the former two-division champion’s return to the Octagon. Footage of McGregor’s dolly throwing incident and the August assault on a man in a Dublin pub were all part of the marketing of the fight. McGregor pleaded guilty to both incidents and was punished. Journalists should be allowed to ask about the pending investigations and how they have affected McGregor’s preparation for his fight. Even if McGregor cannot directly address something that is still pending, inquiring about how it has affected his preparation or if it ever put his return in doubt shouldn’t be frowned upon. It’s a tough question, but a fair question. As members of the media, we aren’t here to pander to the UFC’s want to be painted in a positive light. Instead, our duty is to gather information and report to the reader. No journalist should have been subjected to what the New York Times reporter had to deal with on Wednesday. He was publicly shamed and made an example of. A dark cloud of unanswered sexual assault accusations casts shadow over Conor McGregor’s UFC 246 victory Conor McGregor answered all of the questions about fighting inside of the Octagon at UFC 246. However, it was what was left unanswered about his sexual assault accusations, and how they were handled by the UFC, that tainted what should have been a celebratory week.Everything went the way that Conor McGregor wanted it to at UFC 246 when he needed only 40 seconds to dispatch of Donald Cerrone in front of a sold-out crowd at T-Mobile Arena. A violent head kick and a barrage of devastating strikes ended the fight quickly and sent the pro-McGregor contingency into a frenzy.
Watch a 49ers game, and George Kittle is lauded as the NFL’s best tight end any time he makes a play. Watch a Chiefs game, and the same thing often happens with Travis Kelce.There’s no question, then, that the best tight end in the league will be on the field for Super Bowl 54. Because of that, neither will be playing in Pro Bowl 2020, but Kittle (NFC) and Kelce (AFC) would have also started for their respective conferences in that game. The Associated Press, the Pro Football Writers of America and Pro Football Focus all honored Kittle as first-team All-Pro for 2019, but Sporting News, based on voting by NFL head coaches, gave the nod to Kelce.Before the season, SN ranked the top 10 tight ends in the NFL, taking into account both receiving and blocking prowess. Nothing that happened this past season on San Francisco’s or Kansas City’s path to the Super Bowl has changed our mind. It’s still Kittle over the middle for the win.MORE SUPER BOWL 54:SN picks | How much are tickets? | Halftime show info As for who channels NFL tight end emeritus Rob Gronkowski better off the field is a different story. But on the field, Kittle clearly takes the caboodle over Kelce.Kittle (6-4, 250 pounds) and Kelce (6-5, 260 pounds) are mostly even when it comes to the tale of the tape. Kelce, 30, is more durable and accomplished, with six straight stellar season under his belt while missing only eight of 96 games in that span. Kittle, 26, has had only two healthy seasons as a starter after being drafted in the fifth round in 2017.So far, Kittle’s average season is 86.5 catches for 1,215 yards and 5 TDs. For Kelce, it is 84.5 catches for 1,078 yards and 6.2 TDs. Kittle averages 13.6 yards per catch. Kelce is at 12.8.There may not be much to separate them there, but keep in mind that with 1,377 receiving yards in 2018, Kittle set the single-season record for the position — by ripping the Rams for 149 in Week 17 to finish 41 yards ahead of Kelce, who held the short-lived mark of 1,336 yards.But in the era of fantasy football and numbers, don’t forget about the other big job of a tight end — blocking. Kelce is a pretty good pass blocker for Patrick Mahomes when he’s not running crisp routes across the middle. Kelce has improved in helping out the running game since he first entered the league as a third-round pick (and former Wildcat quarterback) from Cincinnati in 2013.Kittle, however, was raised as a blocker first in Iowa’s run-heavy, tight end-friendly program. His blocking got him on the radar, and with limited production in the passing game with the Hawkeyes, many teams failed to realize his untapped field-stretching and dominant physical potential.MORE: Myth-busting the worst Super Bowl 54 narrativesThe 49ers had the No. 2 running game in the NFL this season because of Kittle’s ability to supplement their offensive line. He is nasty at pushing everyone around, just like he is in dragging guys with him after the catch.The 49ers may not be in the Super Bowl without the play of the year — Kittle carrying Saints downfield on a fourth-and-2 conversion to set up his team for a late-game winning field goal in New Orleans on Dec. 8. There’s more of a Gronk-like intimidation factor with Kittle than there is with Kelce, the Eagles’ Zach Ertz or anyone else. If you pay too little attention to him, like many teams did, you will get destroyed. If you try to take him out of the game, it opens up the rest of the passing game. When he’s not catching passes much, like the Vikings and Packers’ playoff games, he’s still having a massive effect with his run blocking.Take it from Gronkowski himself: He was pretty definitive when asked about Kittle earlier this year — that he’s the one who reminds him most of him.Two guys who know a little something about #NationalTightEndsDay 😏@RobGronkowski & @gkittle46 💪 pic.twitter.com/gNFiZORhU4— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) October 11, 2019Really, when you take the blocking into account, “Who is the NFL’s best tight end?” is not really a debate. This also will play out on Super Bowl Sunday, where Kittle has lesser chance to be contained in any way than Kelce does. It’s Kittle, case closed with the door body-slammed shut on Kelce.
But the worst experience? It probably came two years ago against a complete stranger using the video game legend that is Kevin Durant, who dropped 55 points on my head in shortened five-minute quarters. The lowlight was made exponentially worse by my opponent having a microphone through which he efficiently extinguished my soul by way of nonstop roasting.It was then that I determined Durant to be the most unstoppable, unfair offensive weapon in “NBA 2K” among active players. In truth, he’d probably held that mantle for a while, despite the all-world excellence of LeBron James and a rotating cast of other dominant MVP contenders over the past decade. In the upcoming Players Tournament, beginning Friday on ESPN, Durant’s unguardable skill set should be on display for anyone who rocks the Nets.MORE: The conspiracy theory behind Hassan Whiteside’s ‘NBA 2K’ ratingNow, it’s important to note that I do not suck at the game. I do not allow 50-pieces. I do not allow 40-pieces. I do not even really allow 30-pieces. While I’m by no means great, I can hold my own against most people I run up against.So when the contest started against this random online competitor, who told me he would beat me without relying on Steph Curry or Klay Thompson for scoring production, I didn’t think much of the matchup. Maybe I’d lose, but falling to the stacked Golden State squad of that year wasn’t shameful. I certainly didn’t think anything embarrassing would take place.Right away, though, I knew I was in trouble.Playing as the Nuggets, I had Paul Millsap locked in as Durant’s primary defender. Millsap at that point was still considered one of the more versatile on-ball defenders in the NBA. Maybe not someone who could completely lock down the best of the best, but certainly someone who didn’t get smoked very often.”Easy money,” my opponent jeered after isolating Durant at the top of the arc and nailing a 3 in my face.For a bit, I hung around by hitting a series of long-distance shots of my own. When the score is tight in “NBA 2K” it can be difficult to realize just how much a single player is killing your defense.MORE: Remembering the time Deandre Ayton broke his PS4 over ‘NBA 2K’But the do-everything nature of virtual Durant — much like his real-life self — quickly became far too much to handle against someone well-versed in maximizing the forward’s considerable talent. The trash talk escalated, too.You know things are bad when your opponent keeps pausing the game to check up on the stats of the player they’re burning you with — and reads said numbers out loud to you each time.By halftime, Millsap was reassigned, having been crossed over by Durant’s long, sweeping dribbles too many times to count, with many of those moves creating space for open 3s. Durant’s height-speed-shooting combo in the game is absurd. I tried Gary Harris on Durant next, but that just led to Durant using his large frame to overpower Harris inside. Will Barton couldn’t get the job done either. It’s difficult to pick out my most embarrassing “NBA 2K” moment because there are so many to choose from.College dorm room losses were always brutal and came with in-person heckling that was difficult to shake. There were plenty of blown leads and backfired trash talk in those days. By the end of the 55-point arc, I was ready to quit “NBA 2K” for good. That didn’t last, of course, but it still took a while to forget about getting destroyed in that manner.This year, Durant continues to be a force. His 96 rating leads all participants in the Players Tournament, and the way he can stretch the floor, at least in my opinion, narrowly separates him from the likes of James and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Whichever player gets to use the Nets in the Players Tournament, then, will have an instant edge in iso situations, even though the overall team might not be as good as the Lakers or Bucks.
As the global crisis surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic grows, the hockey world is starting to feel its economic impacts.While some teams have stepped up efforts to retain staff, others have made the decision to layoff employees. Sporting News is tracking how each organization is addressing the impact of the crisis.April 10In a statement, the Arizona Coyotes announced a temporary furlough of 50 percent of the organization’s employees through June 30. The team said they will continue to cover 100 percent of health benefits for its furloughed employees.”This was an extremely difficult decision for me and my family. We never anticipated that the situation would escalate to the point of shutting down some of our businesses. It doesn’t appear that the NHL will resume play in the immediate future, so this decision was necessary.”April 3The Carolina Hurricanes announced on their website on Friday they’ll be furloughing just over half of their full-time employees, allowing them to take full advantage of the US government’s stimulus package. The layoffs will run through at least June 7, and any employees who aren’t able to collect 100% of their base salaries through unemployment benefits will be eligible for a bonus once normal operations resume. “The organization remains committed to taking care of or staff as well as possible given these unprecedented circumstances,” GM Don Waddell said in a statement. “We’ve created a solution that protects our employees from financial hardship, while also mitigating the losses suffered by the company during this shutdown.”The Hurricanes are now the sixth NHL team to implement temporary staffing cuts to cope with the pandemic, along with the Canadiens, Bruins, Oilers, Flames and Senators.April 2The Athletic’s Hailey Salvian reported on Thursday that the Ottawa Senators will be reducing their workforce, effective April 5. The #Sens have announced temporary employee reductions effective April 5, which would have marked the end of the Senators season.The full-time workforce will be reduced, and the hours of some of the staff will be furloughed.The full plan to support their staff is here: pic.twitter.com/nprDEULEc5— Hailey Salvian (@hailey_salvian) April 2, 2020On the flip side, the Anaheim Ducks announced owners Henry and Susan Samueli will pay all 2,100 part-time staff members for current or future rescheduled, postponed or canceled events through June 30.“The Samueli family’s primary concern is the welfare of their employees,” Tim Ryan, president/CEO of Anaheim Arena Management, said in the team’s press release. “Today is another example of their kindness, generosity and support for the local community. As a result of their decision, 2,100 dedicated part-time staff members will have one less immediate concern during this significant health crisis. We join them in wishing everybody good health during this unprecedented time.”March 30The Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG) announced they are implementing a temporary staff reduction of 139 employees effective April 13 and a compensation rollback for all continuing staff working from home.”These actions are difficult but necessary to respond to the reality of an effective shutdown of our business. In spite of this, we remain committed to doing all we can for our employees,” OEG business president and COO Tom Anselmi said in a statement. “We are protecting the livelihood of our employees as best as we can and are committed to getting them back to work as soon as possible.”Earlier in the day, the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) announced a 60-day temporary layoff for approximately 50 percent of its full-time staff effective April 13. The Flames added that the remaining staff will see salary reductions ranging from 10 to 25 percent.”We are working hard to limit the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has on our employees,” CSEC president and CEO John Bean said. “The implementation of this cost reduction plan will provide predictability of income to our staff while minimizing the negative impact on their financial health and that of the business.”March 27Fifteen days after the NHL went on pause, The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline reported the Blue Jackets will not be making any changes to their staff. ESPN’s Emily Kaplan added Panthers owner Vinnie Viola will be instituting a similar strategy moving forward, and that “all full-time salaried employees will keep their jobs and not have to take pay cuts.”#CBJ president Mike Priest, in an email to staff today, informed Blue Jackets employees that no reduction in staff and no roll-back of salaries is expected during indefinite “pause” to #NHL season.Employees will continue to work from home for “several weeks,” he said.1/2— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) March 27, 2020March 26The Washington Post reported Thursday that Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the company that owns the Washington Capitals and the Wizards of the NBA, will pay part-time staff for suspended games in April.MSE had previously committed to paying its part-timers through the month of March, and it has advised full-time employees to prepare as if the rest of the 2019-20 NHL and NBA seasons will be completed in full.“Our ownership group and leadership team are in total agreement that this is the right thing to do,” Monica Dixon, MSE chief administrative officer and president of external affairs, said. “Every league and every team has its own set of individual circumstances, and must act accordingly. For Monumental Sports & Entertainment, we are operating simply in a paused state of play for our regular season and playoffs, and we intend to come back as a fully functioning organization to complete this season.”March 25On Wednesday (March 25), the Boston Bruins announced on their website that their ownership group, Delaware North, would be placing 68 employees on temporary leave starting April 1. The workers will get one week of paid leave and eight weeks of full benefits. Additionally, the group will be cutting the salaries of 82 other employees indefinitely. “As relayed to our associates today, none of these decisions were reached without difficult and painful deliberations,” a statement read. “These measures are intended to be temporary with associate employment and compensation returning once our business resumes to its normal state from this unprecedented stoppage.”MORE: Could the NHL implement compliance buyouts when it resumes?The Dallas Stars’ front office has taken a different approach. According to ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski , team president Jim Lites and GM Jim Nill have both taken 50% pay cuts while the season remains on pause. “As soon as this virus hit and we started to see where things were going. We knew it was going to hit [owner Tom Gaglardi] hard, as he’s in the hotel/restaurant business,” Nill said. “We’re just looking to help somebody else. Jim and I are very fortunate. The game’s been great to us, but within our organization, we have a lot of younger people working who live paycheck to paycheck. We hope this is something that can help them down the road.”Nill said internal talks about staffing and finances will continue in the coming days, so it’s possible employees may still face paycuts of their own. March 24ESPN’s Emily Kaplan reported on Tuesday (March 24) that the NHL will be temporarily cutting the salaries of its league office by 25 percent starting April 1. The league reportedly hopes the salary cuts will help prevent layoffs while the world grapples with the pandemic. The season has been paused since March 12 and, despite current plans to let players return to their teams on March 27, it’s unclear if or when it will be able to resume. MORE: How will the NHL season being paused affect schedule, off-season and salary cap? On Monday (March 23), the New Jersey Devils became the first NHL team to announce that they’d be reducing pay for employees. The team’s ownership group, which also owns the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, implemented a 20 percent pay cut for those making over $50,000 and a mandatory four-day workweek. Employees were predictably unhappy, however, and the plans were reversed just one day later after a significant backlash.“Our commitment has been to do our best to keep all of our employees working through this very difficult situation,” owner Josh Harris said in a statement on Tuesday . “As part of an effort to do that we asked salaried employees to take a temporary 20 percent pay cut while preserving everyone’s full benefits — and keeping our 1500 hourly workers paid throughout the regular season. After listening to our staff and players, it’s clear that was the wrong decision. We have reversed it and will be paying these employees their full salaries.” Also on Tuesday, the Montreal Canadiens announced that their ownership group, Groupe CH, was temporarily laying off 60 percent of employees starting March 30. A statement on the team’s website said the decision “was necessary given the significant impact the pandemic has had on the sports and entertainment industries.”GROUPE CH ANNOUNCEMENT: The pausing of the NHL and AHL seasons along with the postponements of all shows has forced the organization to take important measures to stabilize the business and prepare for an eventual return to activities. https://t.co/EPf8YtvQl0— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) March 24, 2020Groupe CH has established a $6-million assistance fund that will help pay employees 80 percent of their base salary for the next eight weeks, meaning the layoffs effectively translate to another 20 percent pay cut.With no end in sight to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s likely that more teams will take steps like these in the next few weeks to soften the economic blow of the crisis.
https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/f9/d1/buccaneers-uniforms-ftr_l9iw3a7f8ebo1h6w92jnt4ygl.png?t=1512479049&w=500&quality=80What’s new: Maybe the better question is: what’s old? The Buccaneers spurned their futuristic-looking kits from their 2015 rebranding for something more traditional and familiar. The Bucs say that their uniforms are inspired by the 1997 through 2013 era of Tampa Bay football, one in which they won their first and only Super Bowl in 2003. In fact, the number font is the same to that of those prior uniforms, with the red a deeper one to that of their prior uniforms. Buccaneers owner Ed Glazer pointed out some of the details of the new uniforms .This new but familiar look is a direct result of the valuable feedback we received from our fans. We are excited to return to our classic Super Bowl era uniforms while also introducing a sleek Color Rush uniform that showcases our signature pewter in a new and dramatic way. The refreshed classic design of our home and away combinations bridges our past with our exciting new future, and we are confident it will resonate with our fans.With a new all-pewter alternate uniform, the Buccaneers have just three uniforms in rotation for the time being. Atlanta Falcons new uniforms https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/c2/6b/patriots-uniforms-patriots-ftr-042020_cu1d631aj5s715a8567sa7win.jpg?t=-1748054151&w=500&quality=80What’s new: The Patriots have used the Color Rush uniforms as an alternate for a few years now, and it’s one of the more visually appeasing sets of unis in the league. With Tom Brady now out as Patriots quarterback, the new uniforms signify a new era in New England football. Jen Ferron, chief marketing officer of Kraft Sports and Entertainment, felt like a moderate change was best for the brand.As we started to think about the 2020 season and a new decade, we began to envision what we wanted our uniforms to reflect. The success of the ‘Color Rush’ uniform that we’ve worn for the past couple of years had us thinking that we didn’t need to make real substantive changes, rather we could make modest changes to our home uniform and then use a complementary version with those same aesthetics for our away uniform.The new uniforms for the Patriots feature blue tops with blue bottoms, while a white top with blue bottom will be their primary away digs. The shoulder stripes are an ode to throwback uniforms and While the Patriots don’t have a white or silver pants alternative — something that would have looked nice with the blue tops — these are a welcome Los Angeles Chargers new uniforms (Cleveland Browns) When Nike took over for NFL’s uniform making in the early 2010s, a few things were promised: innovation and the future of design. The innovation in material and jersey technology have been apparent and effective while the design has seen varying degrees of success.MORE: Ranking Nike’s NFL uniform redesignsThis offseason, we’ve seen a lot of teams revert to old looks while others have been very fashion forward. In all, five teams have unveiled new uniforms with a few more to come.Here’s how they all look with some of their more prominent changes:Tampa Bay Buccaneers new uniforms (Credit: Atlanta Falcons) New year, new threads.Nothing invigorates a fanbase like a new set of uniforms. New kits oftentimes signal a new era for teams, which brings hope and excitement for a lot of fans. It also brings about a lot of bad and hilarious Tweets ripping the uniforms. (Credit: Chargers) Browns uniforms https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/79/28/browns-uniforms-2020-ftr_89zx09lw4dh91ocpc8mj8ovhk.png?t=2123927953&w=500&quality=80What’s new: As with the Buccaneers, maybe the best question to ask is what’s old?The Browns went in with a bold rebranding in 2015, and it worked to some degrees. While the new, deeper orange was much more inviting and easy on the eyes when paired next to their signature brown, the rest of the branding updatesThat’s not the case with their new look for 2020. The Browns went with something simpler, more traditional and inviting, a strategy that doesn’t or wouldn’t work for most NFL teams. Co-owner and executive vice president JW Johnson echoed those sentiments:We wanted to get back to the roots of who the Browns are. We’ve heard it from our fans and from our players. We needed to get back to our roots. As you look at iconic franchises like the Browns, the Bears, the Packers, the Cowboys — they’re true to who they are. They’re not doing a lot of changes and trying to make a lot of flashy moves with their uniforms. I think when we went through the process, it just felt right that we got back to who we are and who we’ll always be.These uniforms are much more similar to the unis of the ’50s through ’80s and eliminated the “BROWNS” ultra branding on the leg and Cleveland across the chest. While the Browns don’t have a lot they can work with when it comes to motifs, these are a welcome sight and change.New England Patriots new uniforms https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/78/eb/chargers-uniforms-chargers-ftr-042120_1no0ld5ag4kdm1czafmagbe0bz.jpg?t=-1659628183&w=500&quality=80What’s new: The Chargers improved on an already-great look by simplifying the shoulder bolts, updating the numbers and adding a few shades of blue for their alternate kits. Aside from that, the Chargers re-added the numbers back to their helmets (a staple of Charger unis of yesteryear), elongated the bolt on the lids and removed the unnecessary backdrop stripe on the shoulder bolts. All in all, one of the best uniforms in the sport, in fact, got better.Indianapolis Colts new logo What is featured in their new uniforms, though, is a new font for their numbers which mirrors their wordmark. Those are the only changes for the Colts for the upcoming season, but they’re nice ones that work.The Colts dealt with some controversies, though, as their new secondary logo drew the ire of someone who had originally designed something similar.Los Angeles Rams new uniformsRams’ new uniforms….thoughts? pic.twitter.com/b88PyinyEJ— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 13, 2020Closer look at the @RamsNFL new uniforms. 👇🏻 pic.twitter.com/odQeI1iZ7F— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) May 13, 2020What’s new: The Rams saved the worst for last with their new uniforms aren’t out yet. Many expected their current blue and gold alternates would be promoted to regular status, similar to what the Patriots did with their Color Rush uniforms. The old colors held true, but L.A. introduced a number font and gradient that were anything but vintage and made fans cringe. (Credit: Colts) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/c3/b1/moore-colts-uniform-colts-ftr-042120_17a2ual18hp91jiuj7i91qqp3.jpg?t=-1658193695&w=500&quality=80What’s new: Of the seven teams who introduced new or updated uniforms this offseason, the Colts did the least. They introduced a new wordmark, which is very fitting for their brand. They also introduced black into their color scheme, though it’s not featured in their uniforms. (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) (Credit: Patriots) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/e7/46/falcons-uniforms-falcons-ftr-040820_g543w3261hd71fjvjtwwx74um.jpg?t=1509060017&w=500&quality=80What’s new: The Falcons went all-in with a new look for 2020 and beyond.When their old kits were introduced in the 2002 season, they were almost too futuristic for some to handle. But the looks endured during the Michael Vick and Matt Ryan eras and eventually became dated. Now, the Falcons take another quasi-futuristic approach with their uniforms while also simplifying them. The team has eight different color combinations with the new uniforms and introduce a new gradient alternate uniform, which actually works well. They are also keeping 1966 throwback uniforms as a wardrobe staple.But arguably the nicest and most unique part of the Falcons new uniforms is the satin finish of their black helmets; it makes the lids look almost deep gray, which plays well with the rest of their updated color palette. With a single stripe down the sides of the uniforms and and updated number font (with shadowing that works and isn’t overstated), the uniforms are certainly toned down but offer a new look.Per the Falcons’ release , there were three goals in the creation of the new design: bring black to the forefront, keep it simple and “reflect the modern progression of the city.” With the colors, the design and the “ATL” across the chest, all three missions were accomplished.Cleveland Browns new uniforms
New York IslandersPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSSamuel BolducD2019: 2nd rd, 57th overallThree-year, $2.775 million ELCBlade JenkinsF2018: 5th rd, 134th overallThree-year, $2.41 million ELCFROM ORR TO FLEURY: Best NHL goal celebrationsNew York RangersPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSPatrick KhodorenkoFUDFA: Michigan State (NCAA)Three-year, $2.775 million ELCK’Andre MillerD2018: 1st rd, 22nd overallThree-year, $3.825 million ELCAustin RueschhoffFUDFA: Western Michigan (NCAA)Two-year, $1.85 million ELCJustin RichardsFUDFA: Minnesota-Duluth (NCAA)Two-year, $2.85 million ELCTyler WallG2016: 6th rd, 174th overallTwo-year, $1.85 million ELCOttawa SenatorsPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSMark KastelicF2019: 5th rd, 125th overallThree-year, $2.465 million ELCKevin MandoleseG2018: 6th rd, 157th overallThree-year, $2.585 million ELCJonathan AspirotDUDFA: Belleville (AHL)Three-year, $2.305 million ELCArtem ZubDUDFA: SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)One-year, $1.775 million ELCPhiladelphia FlyersPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSWyatte WylieD2018: 5th rd, 127th overallThree-year, $2.625 million ELCTanner LaczynskiF2016: 6th rd, 169th overallTwo-year, $1.85 million ELCWade AllisonF2016: 2nd rd, 52nd overallTwo-year, $2.275 million ELCLinus SandinFUDFA: HV71 (SHL)One-year, $925,000 ELCPittsburgh PenguinsPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSDrew O’ConnorFUDFA: Dartmouth (NCAA)Two-year, $3.55 million ELCCameron LeeDUDFA: Western Michigan (NCAA)Two-year, $2.275 million ELCWill ReillyD2017: 7th rd, 217th overallTwo-year, $1.6 million ELCRadim ZohornaFUDFA: BK Mlada Boleslav (Czech)One-year, $925,000 ELCSan Jose SharksPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSBrinson PasichnukDUDFA (Arizona State)Two-year, $1.85 million ELCJohn LeonardF2018: 6th rd, 182nd overallTwo-year, $1.85 million ELCAlexei MelnichukGUDFA: SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)Two-year, $1.850 million ELCFredrik HandemarkFUDFA: Malmo (SHL)One-year, $925,000 ELCTimur IbragimovF2019: 6th rd, 164th overallThree-year, $2.46 million ELCSt. Louis BluesPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSTyler TuckerD2018: 7th rd, 200th overall Three-year, $2.425 million ELCHugh McGingF2018: 5th rd, 138th overallTwo-year, $1.85 million ELCScott PerunovichD2018: 2nd rd, 45th overallTwo-year, $1.85 million ELCTampa Bay LightningPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSDmitri SemykinD2018: 3rd rd, 90th overallThree-year, $2.44 million ELCToronto Maple LeafsPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSMikhail AbramovF2019: 4th rd, 115th overallThree-year, $2.430 million ELCFilip KralD2018: 5th rd, 149th overallThree-year, $2.43 million ELCAlexander BarabanovFUDFA: SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)One-year, $925,000 ELCMikko LehtonenDUDFA: Jokerit (KHL)One-year, $925,000 ELCMAPLE LEAFS 2019-20: Best moments from the seasonVancouver CanucksPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSWilliam LockwoodF2016: 3rd rd, 64th overallTwo-year, $1.85 million ELCMarc MichaelisFUDFA: Minnesota State (NCAA)One-year, $700,000 contractNils HoglanderF2019: 2nd rd, 40th overallThree-year, $3.375 million ELCVegas Golden KnightsPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSJack DuganF2017: 5th rd, 142nd overallTwo-year, $1.85 million ELCWashington CapitalsPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSDamian RiatF2016: 4th rd, 117th overallTwo-year, $1.85 million ELCWinnipeg JetsPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSDylan SambergD2017: 2nd rd, 43rd overallThree-year, $3.525 million ELCThe above information is courtesy of CapFriendly. The St. Louis Blues added 2020 Hobey Baker Award winner Scott Perunovich while the Toronto Maple Leafs signed highly touted forward Alexander Barabanov and the Ottawa Senators nabbed defenseman Artem Zub.Below is a list of each team’s signings since March 1.NHL 2020 signingsAnaheim DucksPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSBryce KindoppFUDFA: Everett (WHL)Three-year, $2.775 million ELCTrevor ZegrasF2019: 1st rd, 9th overallThree-year, $5.325 million ELCJack BadiniF2017: 3rd rd, 91st overallTwo-year, $1.63 million ELCHunter DrewD2018: 6th rd, 178th overallThree-year, $2.38 million ELCRoman DurnyG2018: 5th rd, 147th overallTwo-year, $1.7475 million ELCFREE AGENCY TRACKER 2020: Full list of signings, best available playersArizona CoyotesPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSRyan McGregorF2017: 6th rd, 172nd overallThree-year, $2.41 million ELCNate SuceseFUDFA: Penn State (NCAA)One-year, $820,000 ELCDavid TendeckG2018: 6th rd, 158th overallThree-year, $2.35 million ELCCameron CrottyD2017: 3rd rd, 82nd overallThree-year, $2.775 million ELCMatias MaccelliF2019: 4th rd, 98th overallThree-year, $2.775 million ELCBoston BruinsPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSNick WolffDUDFA: Minnesota-Duluth (NCAA)One-year, $925,000 ELCJeremy SwaymanG2017: 4th rd, 111th overallThree-year, $3.15 million ELCJack AhcanDUDFA: St. Cloud State (NCAA)Two-year, $2.275 million ELCBuffalo SabresPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSBrandon BiroFUDFA: Penn State (NCAA)Two-year, $2.7 million ELCDawson DiPietroFUDFA: Western Michigan (NCAA)One-year, $750,000 ELCMattias SamuelssonD2018: 2nd rd, 32nd overallThree-year, $2.775 million ELCCalgary FlamesPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSColton PoolmanDUDFA: North Dakota (NCAA)One-year, $925,000 ELCConnor MackeyDUDFA: Minnesota State (NCAA)One-year, $1.35 million ELCEmilio PettersenF2018: 6th rd, 167th overallThree-year, $2.775 million ELCJohannes KinnvallDUDFA: HV71 (SHL)Two-year, $1.85 million ELCDustin WolfG2019: 7th rd, 214th overallThree-year, $2.48 million ELCCarolina HurricanesPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSJason CottonFUDFA: Sacred Heart (NCAA)One-year $725,000 contractDavid CottonF2015: 6th rd, 169th overallTwo-year, $2.7 million ELCChicago BlackhawksPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSEvan BarrattF2017: 3rd rd, 90th overallThree-year, $2.775 million ELCAndrei AltybarmakyanF2017: 3rd rd, 70th overallTwo-year, $1.85 million ELCMichal TeplyF2019: 4th rd, 105th overallThree-year, $2.48 million ELCMatej ChalupaFUDFA: HK Hradec Kralove (Czech)Two-year, $1.85 millionColorado AvalanchePLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSJustus AnnunenG2018: 3rd rd, 64th overallThree-year, $3.150 million ELCColumbus Blue JacketsPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSJacob ChristiansenDUDFA: Everett (WHL)Three-year, $2.775 million ELCTim BerniD2018: 6th rd, 159th overallThree-year, $2.775 million ELCDallas StarsPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSJerad RosburgDUDFA: Michigan State (NCAA)One-year, $924,000 ELCDetroit Red WingsPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSMathias BromeFUDFA: Orebro HK (SHL)One-year, $1.14 million ELCVictor BrattstromG2018: 6th rd, 160th overallTwo-year, $1.85 million ELCFREE AGENCY 2020: Complete list of all 31 teams’ UFA, RFA playersEdmonton OilersPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSRaphael LavoieF2019: 2nd rd, 38th overallThree-year, $2.775 million ELCTheodor LennstromDUDFA: Frolunda (SHL)One-year, $925,000 ELCMarkus NiemelainenD2016: 3rd rd, 63rd overallTwo-year, $1.85 million ELCFilip BerglundD2016: 3rd rd, 91st overallTwo-year, $1.85 million ELCFlorida PanthersPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSAlec RauhauserDUDFA: Bowling Green State (NCAA)One-year, $770,000 contractMax GildonD2017: 3rd rd, 66th overallThree-year, $2.775 million ELCJohn LudvigD2019: 3rd rd, 69th overallThree-year, $2.775 million ELCCole SchwindtF2019: 3rd rd, 81st overallThree-year, $2.775 million ELCGrigori DenisenkoF2018: 1st rd, 15th overallThree-year, $2.775 million ELCLos Angeles KingsPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSAlex TurcotteF2019: 1st rd, 5th overallThree-year, $7.425 million ELCTyler Madden*FTrade with CanucksThree-year, $2.775 million ELCCole HultsD2017: 5th rd, 134th overallTwo-year, $2.1 million ELCJacob InghamG2018: 6th rd, 175th overallThree-year, $2.55 million ELC* Drafted in third round, 68th overall, by Canucks in 2018Minnesota WildPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSAdam BeckmanF2019: 3rd rd, 75th overallThree-year, $2.775 million ELCDamien GirouxF2018: 5th rd, 155th overallThree-year, $2.55 million ELCMitchell ChaffeeFUDFA: UMass-Amherst (NCAA)Two-year, $3.55 million ELCHunter JonesG2019: 2nd rd, 59th overallThree-year, $2.775 million ELCMontreal CanadiensPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSJesse YlonenF2018: 2nd rd, 35th overallThree-year, $2.775 million ELCVasili DemchenkoGUDFA: Chelyabinsk/Magnitogorsk (KHL)One-year, $925,000 ELCArsen KhisamutdinovF2019: 6th rd, 170th overallTwo-year, $1.59 million ELCAlexander RomanovD2018: 2nd rd, 38th overallThree-year ELCCameron HillisF2018: 3rd rd, 66th overallThree-year, $2.775 million ELCNashville PredatorsPLAYERPOSACQUIREDSTATUSCole SmithFUDFA: North Dakota (NCAA)One-year, $925,000 ELCPatrick HarperF2016: 5th rd, 138th overallTwo-year, $1.85 million ELCThomas NovakF2015: 3rd rd, 85th overallTwo-year, $1.85 million ELCNew Jersey DevilsNone. Everything surrounding the NHL remains in flux — from the conclusion of the 2019-20 season to when the 2020-21 season will start — but that hasn’t stopped NHL general managers from signing the next crop of NHL players.Everyone from college stars to KHL players to draft picks are putting pen to paper and moving to the professional ranks in North America. Among the names added are a who’s who of youngsters from the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship, including the United States’ Trevor Zegras, Alex Turcotte and K’Andre Miller, Canada’s Raphael Lavoie and Russia’s Grigori Denisenko and Alexander Romanov.
World number one Rory Mcllroy has never competed at Colonial, but the return of the PGA Tour has the top players flocking to the competition. The Match 2 featuring Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady gave the audience a glimpse into the return of golf. This weekend, there similarly won’t be any fans at the course. The Match 2 aimed to hold golf fans over, but it may have just made them want the return even more. That wait is over.Here is a guide to watching the Charles Schwab Challenge in 2020, including a list of tee times (updated daily), the complete TV schedule and more.MORE: Watch the Charles Schwab Challenge live with fuboTV (7-day free trial)Watch the Charles Schwab Challenge 2020Dates: June 11-14, 2020TV channels: CBS, Golf ChannelLive stream: fuboTV and CBSSports.comCBS and the Golf Channel will broadcast live coverage of the 2020 Charles Schwab Challenge. Rounds start at 8 a.m., which can be seen in coverage from PGA Tour Live.Live coverage for rounds on Thursday and Friday can be seen on Golf Channel from 4-7 p.m ET and heard on PGA Tour Radio from 1-7 p.m. For Friday and Saturday night, early TV coverage can be seen on Golf Channel before the coverage shifts to CBS from 3-6 p.m. ET.The event can be live-streamed on CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports app for the network’s portion of the coverage as well as fuboTV, which offers a free seven-day trial.DateTimeTV channelThursday, June 114-7 p.m. ETGolf Channel, fuboTVFriday, June 124-7 p.m. ETGolf Channel, fuboTVSaturday, June 131-6 p.m. ETCBS, fuboTVSunday, June 141-6 p.m. ETCBS, fuboTVWho is in the 2020 Charles Schwab Challenge field?The Charles Schwab Challenge doesn’t normally garner this kind of attention, but when it’s the first PGA Tour tournament after a three-month break, it’s no surprise the field is loaded.Tiger Woods will not participate and will likely continue to rest for a few more weeks. Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay and Tommy Fleetwood are among the other notable top players who won’t participate, but the excitement for this event is much more focused on who will be participating. 16 of the top 20 players in the World Rankings will be competing in the Charles Schwab Challenge, including the top-five ranked golfers. The expanded 148 player field (from 120) showcases the desire for players to return to the course. Charles Schwab Challenge tee times for 2020Here is the complete list of tee times for Sunday’s Round 4 at the Charles Schwab Challenge. Round 4: Sunday, June 147:45 a.m. — Brian Stuard 7:50 a.m. — Denny McCarthy, Zach Blair8:00 a.m. — Jhonattan Vegas, Scott Piercy8:10 a.m. — Adam Schenk, Doc Redman8:20 a.m. — Keith Mitchell, Joaquin Nieman8:30 a.m. — Richy Werenski, Bronson Burgoon8:40 a.m. — Matthew Wolff, Pat Perez8:50 a.m. — Jason Dufner, Matthew Ne Smith9 a.m. — Zach Johnson, Talor Gooch9:10 a.m. — Andrew Landry, Byeong Hun An9:20 a.m. — Harry Higgs, Louis Oosthuizen 9:30 a.m. — Scottie Scheffler, Billy Horschel9:40 a.m. — Chris Kirk, Lucas Glover9:50 a.m. — Patrick Rodgers, Viktor Hovland10 a.m. — Matt Jones, Tyler Duncan10:10 a.m. — Rory Sabbatini, Brooks Koepka10:20 a.m. — Bud Cauley, Matthew Fitzpatrick 10:30 a.m. — Alex Noren, Keegan Bradley 10:40 a.m. — Rafa Cabrera Bello, Brian Harman 10:50 a.m. — Adam Hadwin, Kevin Kisner 11 a.m. — Maverick McNealy, Tony Finau 11:10 a.m. — Peter Uihlein, Joel Dahmen 11:20 a.m. — Ian Poulter, Jim Furyk11:30 a.m. — Bubba Watson, Charles Howell11:40 a.m. — Sungjae Im, Mark Hubbard 11:50 a.m. — Cameron Champ, Jason Kokrak 12 p.m. — J.T. Poston, Chesson Hadley 12:10 p.m. — Rory McIlroy, Bryson DeChambeau 12:20 p.m. — Corey Conners, Justin Rose 12:30 p.m. — Patrick Reed, Abraham Ancer 12:40 p.m. — Daniel Berger, Harold Varner III12:50 p.m. — Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth 1 p.m. — Justin Thomas, Branden Grace 1:10 p.m. — Xander Schauffele, Gary Woodland Charles Schwab Challenge purseThe 2020 purse at the Charles Schwab Challenge is $7.5 million — a slight increase from the $7.3 million purse in 2019. The winner will pocket $1.35 million in prize money.Charles Schwab Challenge odds, picks for 2020Rory McIlroy +850Jon Rahm +1100Justin Thomas +1600Webb Simpson +2000Brooks Koepka +2200Bryson DeChambeau +2200Dustin Johnson +2500Xander Schauffele +2500Jordan Spieth +2800Patrick Reed +2800SungJae Im +2800Rickie Fowler +2800Rory McIlroy, the world number one, is the betting favorite (+850) to take home the victory, according to odds from BetOnline.ag. That means a $100 bet would win $850. Charles Schwab Challenge past winnersThe winning score has varied over the last decade. In 2014, Adam Scott won with a -9. In 2010, Zach Johnson shot -21, a tournament record that was nearly matched by Justin Rose in 2018. YearWinnerScore2019Kevin Na-132018Justin Rose-202017Kevin Kisner-102016Jordan Spieth-172015Chris Kirk-122014Adam Scott-92013Boo Weekley-142012Zach Johnson-122011David Toms-152010Zach Johnson-21 Golfers are just as eager as the fans for golf to return to play, and the wait is finally over. 148 of the world’s top golfers are set to tee off in the Charles Schwab Challenge at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. Colonial has never had the top-two golfers in the Official World Golf Rankings compete in the same event since the rankings started in 1986. This weekend, each of the top-five players in the OWGR will be competing.
The Braves designated right-hander Mike Foltynewicz for assignment Monday night shortly after his first start of the 2020 season — a clunker in which he allowed six earned runs in 3 1/3 innings.The move felt sudden on a couple of levels. Foltynewicz is 28 and just two years removed from receiving Cy Young votes, meaning there is a reasonable chance of him pitching at a very high level again at some point. Even if he didn’t perform particularly well this season, he would have been an inexpensive option to bring back via arbitration for 2021. He also was given just one outing to prove himself this campaign. That said, Atlanta did have its reasons for letting Foltynewicz head elsewhere. He was out of minor league options, meaning the team could not take him off its active roster without designating him for assignment. The club is also competing in perhaps the toughest division in baseball in a 60-game sprint and cannot afford to wait for Foltynewicz to get back on track. Each game this year is the equivelant in value to about 2.7 in a normal season; giving up an essential sweep once a turn through the rotation is not an acceptable outcome.Plus, Foltynewicz did not throw single a pitch harder than 92.9 mph in Monday’s loss against the Rays, a steep decline from his average of almost 95 mph last year.His DFA leaves him a talented-but-wobbling under-30 pitcher available to the rest of the league.Snitker on Folty: “After the last couple outings in (Summer Camp), we wanted to give it a go here and it was the same. We didn’t see enough increase in the velocity. That’s who he’s been. He’s been a stuff guy for the entire time we’ve had him. The stuff hasn’t been there.”— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) July 28, 2020MORE: Latest on MLB’s coronavirus outbreak While preseason projection systems don’t account for possible velocity losses, Foltynewicz was supposed to have an OK year by the ZiPS (4.19 ERA) and Steamer (4.86 ERA) models on FanGraphs. He also wasn’t publicly placed on the chopping block before this start.It’s likely Foltynewicz will get several more chances elsewhere to prove his worth considering the 2.85 ERA he posted over a full season in 2018.The Braves, meanwhile, are considering activating one of their top prospects or rolling with temporary options in the coming weeks.Snitker on whether it’s too soon to expect a prospect like Ian Anderson or Tucker Davidson to be an option: “They’re in the 60-man pool, so all those guys are definitely in play.”— David O’Brien (@DOBrienATL) July 28, 2020
DES MOINES — Republican leaders in the Iowa legislature say they will meet with Governor Kim Reynolds to chart the state’s response to the catastrophic flooding that’s hit western Iowa, but House Speaker Linda Upmeyer of Clear Lake said she’s worried more flooding is on the way.“Certainly applications will go to FEMA, but there’s also a state role in that,” Upmeyer told statehouse reporters Thursday. “We’ll take a look and see how we can insert best to fill the gaps where they exist.”The Federal Emergency Management Agency requires states and local governments to come up with “matching funds” when federal aide is distributed in disaster areas.“We’ll address it. I don’t know if it affects the current budget, the future or a special kind of budget,” Upmeyer said. “We’ll see.”After the massive flooding that struck Iowa in 2008, state officials dipped into the state’s economic emergency fund to pay for some of the response. Upmeyer said legislators will first look for ways to find extra money within existing budget plans to respond to this year’s flooding, but that emergency fund is an option.“This genuinely, in my opinion, does classify as an emergency,” Upmeyer said, “so if we need to access those resources, we could.”Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, a Republican from Ankeny, said the governor has seen the flood damage firsthand and she’ll take the lead in determining the extent of the state’s response.“It is a tough situation and a dire situation in southwest Iowa and we’re getting constant feedback from our senators that represent that area,” Whitver told reporters Thursday.In 2009, Democrats who held majority control established new committees in both the House and Senate to address flood-related issues. Senator Rob Hogg, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, was chairman of the Senate’s Rebuild Iowa Committee.“I am all ears, waiting to hear what Governor Reynolds and Republican legislative leaders are going to do in response to this flood,” Hogg said. “This is absolutely devastating for thousands of people across the state.”Hogg said as chairman of the Rebuild Iowa Committee in 2010, he asked Kim Reynolds — who was a freshman state senator at the time — to manage a bill about disaster case management.“We did a lot things to not just handle immediate recovery, but to create policy and set up things in place to try to prevent future flood damage,” Hogg said. “Well, we just still have never done enough on that.”Upmeyer — who was a member of the Iowa House after the floods of 2008 — cited creation of the Iowa Flood Center as one of the accomplishments of that time period.“That still exists, so we have resources already in place that we can go to,” Upmeyer said.The center has developed flood-risk maps and has a website with a variety of flood-related data, including some flood depth analysis.
DES MOINES — About $20 million separates the public school funding plans Republicans in the Iowa House and the Iowa Senate are proposing. Senate Republicans like Majority Leader Jack Whitever of Ankeny favor an increase of 2.1% in general state spending on K-12 public schools.“This is an amount that we feel allows us enough money to continue to fund our other priorities as well,” Whitver says, “Whether that’s state troopers, mental health, health care issues — we want to make sure that fits in the larger budget picture.”House Republicans have joined Republican Governor Kim Reynolds in calling for a 2.5% increase in per-student state funding. Democrats like Representative Ras Smith of Waterloo say schools really need more than 2.5% — or roughly a $100 million boost.“I don’t think it really digs our schools out of the hole,” Smith says, “understanding that we’ve dug a trench and we’re slowly filling it in like a teaspoon at a time and that’s not going to get us where we need to be.”Republicans control a majority of seats in the House and Senate, so GOP leaders will likely negotiate a school funding deal in the next couple of weeks. The decision is for general state aid for the school year that starts next fall.