Q&A: WKAR’s Al Martin on ‘sticking to sports’

Athletes and the sports media have gotten criticism for not “sticking to sports,” instead letting social issues and discussion creep into the sports media. Al Martin, host of WKAR Radio’s Current Sports since April 2013, joined Spartan Newsroom reporter Zachary Swiecicki to talk about the issue. Very cool moment here as @MatthewAbdullah @RoJeSoFly and @MichaelLynnIII receive a Skype call from @Kaepernick7 for deciding to stand with Kaep and take a knee during the national anthem before football games at @lansingcatholic this season. Mad respect. pic.twitter.com/khp1z38TCx
— Al Martin (@AlMartinWKAR) December 3, 2017

Martin has used social media, like Twitter, as well as his hourlong radio show to give his opinion on everything in and around the world of sports.

Female athletes battle body image portrayals in media

Michigan State University track and field athlete Denise Spann focuses a lot of time and energy on her body. That’s because she’s focused on trying to perform her best on the track, said Spann, a junior from Coconut Creek, Florida. Muscle structure and body weight can play a significant role in how an athlete performs.

But, Spann said, media portrayals of female athletes seem too focused almost entirely on how women look and not on how athletic they are. “Most of the time they just want to see a beautiful girl play a sport, because there’s a stigma in certain sports that you can’t be beautiful and be one of the best,” Spann said. “I think that the focus should be on the skill, because female athletes do work so hard to be good at their craft, only for it be overshadowed by the way they look, or how their body looks.”

Increased anxiety

Michigan State kinesiology professor Dan Gould studies sports psychology for all age levels of athletes and said having insecurities about your body can lead to increased anxiety and worry.

High school trainers focus on proper injury care

Marci Abraham, an athletic trainer at East Lansing High School, said coaching and training staffs have put a greater focus in the last two years on recognizing and reporting possible concussions and head injuries in high school sports. But concussions aren’t the only injuries trainers and coaches see. She said a majority of the injuries she’s seen have been ankle sprain/strains, thigh (quad, hamstring, and groin) strains, shin splints and back pain. Those injuries are common in all sports, Abraham said. She said athletic training staff try to injuries in many different ways. “We try to combat these and all injuries by encouraging all our athletes to take their warmup session at the beginning of practice seriously and focused, not to goof off during it,” she said.

From left to right: Jordan Keur, Graham Sikes, Jake Boss Jr. and Skylar Meade.

Q&A: Coaches help guide students on social media etiquette

Michigan State University coaches don’t just guide their student-athletes on the field. Many also are becoming coaches for students’ social media presence. Spartan Newsroom talked with coaches from the women’s field hockey, men’s soccer and men’s baseball teams about how they’re implementing social media policies with their players:

Skyler Meade spent three seasons as baseball team’s pitching coach until he was hired by the South Carolina Gamecocks in November. Georgia Holland joined the MSU field hockey team in June 2016 as an assistant coach. She played at Yale for four seasons and Wake Forest for one season.

#TakeAKnee: Is it your right?

The movement that we are now calling the #TakeAKnee protest has moved to the forefront of conversation in America and has garnered the attention of many. Some people, including President Donald Trump, are calling the movement disrespectful to the American flag and veterans who have fought for the country, while others say its meant to protest a long-standing battle against white supremacy in America. Former Michigan State University quarterback Bill Feraco, recalls his experiences during his journey to the Cotton Bowl of 1968, on the brink of the civil rights movement. Feraco remembers a somber time for his teammates after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King when it seemed that some of his teammates had had enough, and decided to do something about it.

Michigan bill would allow sports wagering

Dozens of people gather around a large TV, betting slips in hand, to watch the end of the Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots football game in a sports book at a Las Vegas casino. Cam Newton sets Graham Gano and the Panthers up in field goal range with time about to expire. The score, 30-30. Everyone around the TV starts yelling. “I can make this in my sleep!” “You better not miss this!” “I knew I shouldn’t have bet this game.” And so on and so on.

This is the south side of Spartan Stadium, where the MSU students line up and enter.

MSU student section attendance analysis

Michigan State hosted Maryland on Nov. 18 in football. It was rainy and 45 degrees. Something that stood out to fans in Spartan Stadium was the student section or lack of one. This isn’t the first time the bleachers have seemed empty in the stadium’s southwest corner, which is reserved for student tickets.

The MSU ticket office moved locations and is now located in 1855 Place.

How does the MSU ticket office determine student prices?

For the 2017 football season, Michigan State University student tickets were $182 after fees and taxes, one of the highest student ticket costs in years past. But how does the university determine student ticket prices? “Typically 50 percent of the public rates for football,” said Paul Schager, executive associate athletic director at MSU. In other words, on average, students pay about half of what the general public price of $360 for season tickets. “I didn’t mind paying the price,” said Dalton Pecar, a senior at MSU.