Most of the time, when reporting these stories, we don't really know the person we are writing about. This time I do. Former 16-year NFL veteran and UAlbany assistant football coach, Jim Sweeney unexpectedly passed away on Saturday. The news rocked the New York Jets organization, as well as Sweeney's friends and family at the University at Albany.
Only a few years ago, universities and colleges were the only ones that could benefit from a student-athlete's name, likeness and image (NLI) but we all know that has changed. When you think about programs like Alabama and Texas, where the head coaches are racking in tens of millions of dollars in contracts and endorsements, student-athletes were given a small fraction of a percent of those profits through scholarships and sometimes stipends. That rule has changed and now a University at Albany football player is benefitting from the modification.
Tuesday morning was media training with yours truly giving the presentation to the University at Albany football team. 100 players packed into the academic center, where the team generally holds training camp team meetings. The UAlbany Great Danes are preparing to take on 10th-ranked Baylor on September 3rd, so information had to be quick and to the point. Plus, one Great Danes player was about to learn that he earned something incredibly special.
Home cookin' will hopefully mean a lot. It hasn't been on the menu for Coach Greg Gattuso and his team very often this season. The UAlbany Great Danes will be home for back to back weekends for the first time this year, as the team hosts Maine for their annual ‘Pink Game’ to raise awareness for breast cancer and the American Cancer Society. The Great Dane fan base is also hoping that this will be the game where their team turns the corner with a victory.
Timing can be everything and the UAlbany Great Danes Football team needed the week 4 bye in their schedule. The Danes started the season September 4th by visiting the reigning national champion North Dakota State, then came home to lose to CAA rival Rhode Island because of special teams and traveled east on I-90 to get kicked by Syracuse. It was the perfect time for Coach Gattuso and the team to reset.