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Draft Academy Moves To ESPN+

“The first seven episodes will be available each Thursday and will highlight the lead-up to the NFL Draft on April 25, while the final episode will drop May 2 to recap the draft weekend experiences.”

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ESPN’s Draft Academy moves to ESPN+ this year to give an in depth look at six prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft Class.

Draft Academy will be an eight-episode series detailing the path of potential first round picks Ohio State DE Joey Bosa, Missouri QB Drew Lock, Alabama RB Josh Jacobs and Oklahoma WR Marquise Brown as well as Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham and Buffalo QB Tyree Jackson.

The first seven episodes will be available each Thursday and will highlight the lead-up to the NFL Draft on April 25, while the final episode will drop May 2 to recap the draft weekend experiences. Episode one debuted Thursday.

Draft Academy has proven to be about so much more than physical preparation, it’s about overcoming obstacles, fighting to beat the odds and family bonds,” said Libby Geist, Vice President & Executive Producer, ESPN Films and Original Content. “I never imagined how loudly I’d be rooting for Shaquem Griffin before last year’s Draft Academy, and this season is sure to bring that same passion and emotion.” 

The 2018 edition of Draft Academy was the inaugural season of the series, which aired on linear ESPN networks. USC QB Sam Darnold, Wyoming QB Josh Allen, Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Central Florida LB Shaquem Griffin, Notre Dame WR Equanimeous St. Brown and Houston QB Kyle Allen were featured. The entire series is available on ESPN+

While Shaquem Griffin’s story is unrivaled, the 2019 prospects have interesting stories of their own to detail.

Joey Bosa is a lock to be taken at the top of the 2019 Draft despite a groin injury early in the 2018 season that resulted in him leaving the Buckeyes program early to focus on the NFL. Bosa is also fighting the shadow of his brother Nick who has quickly become one of the most feared pass rushers in the NFL for the Los Angeles Chargers.

Josh Jacobs was a relative unknown heading into the 2018 season for the Crimson Tide. Despite largely unrecruited and finding himself homeless, Jacobs landed at Alabama. Jacobs outshined Damien and Najee Harris in the 2018 Bama backfield to solidify himself as the top running back in the 2019 class.

Marquise Brown is the cousin of now Oakland Raider WR Antonio Brown and goes by the nickname “Hollywood” Brown. His flashy style is hard to miss, and he shows glimpses of his All Pro cousin in his game.

SEC alums Lock and Stidham both began the 2018 season as the top QB prospects, but have since been overlooked by Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins. Both are looking to prove they are worth a Day 1 selection.
Buffalo QB Tyree Jackson is the late round focus in this year’s series. Standing 6’7” and sporting a canon right arm, Jackson is fighting to hear his name called on Day 2 of the Draft.

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Online Sports Betting Not Happening In Maryland In 2022

“Some state regulators had expressed optimism at one point that online sports betting in Maryland would go live by the end of this year or in time for next year’s Super Bowl.”

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Online sports betting in Maryland appears to have no shot of happening this year due mainly to the fact that the state’s oversight committee on sports wagering is hung up on how to bring women and minority-owned businesses into the fold.

The Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Committee (SWARC) is currently awaiting results of a disparity study by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.

Some state regulators had expressed optimism at one point that online sports betting in Maryland would go live by the end of this year or in time for next year’s Super Bowl. But given where SWARC is, the whole process is being held up to the point that it’ll likely be later in 2023 before residents can use their phones to place bets.

It’s been just over a year since Governor Larry Hogan signed legislation that legalized sports betting in the state. Since then, five casinos in the state have opened retail sportsbooks.

The casinos have handled more than $132 million in bets since December. $26.9 million in wagers were placed in April alone.

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Media Reacts To Nick Saban’s Comments On Texas A&M, Jackson State

“Saban’s comments and the ensuing rebuttals will be used to fuel content on sports television and radio through the offseason and likely beyond.”

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Nick Saban had some choice words about recruiting in the NIL era on Wednesday night. The Alabama head coach didn’t just voice frustrations with the process. He called out three schools specifically for using Name, Image and Likeness payments to create an advantage for themselves in recruiting.

He said that Texas A&M, which signed the top-ranked recruiting class in 2022 according to a number of outlets “bought every player on their team.”

He said that Jackson State gave a player $1 million to come to the school. “It was in the paper,” he said. “They bragged about it! Nobody did anything about it.”

It is likely that he was talking about defensive back Travis Hunter, widely regarded as one of the five best players in the class of 2022. It should be noted that Jackson State Coach Deion Sanders has been adamant that Hunter did not receive a dime from the school or anyone else.

The comments created plenty of content on sports radio on Thursday.

Jimbo Fischer, the head coach of Texas A&M took the story to a new level with a press conference of his own in which he cryptically encouraged people to “dig into” Saban’s career history.

The commentary in the sports media came in all kinds of forms. Plenty took to Twitter to express an opinion.

Others used the feud to create comedy.

Finally, others did actual reporting. they made phone calls to get context and further the story.

The coaches may be relatively quiet in public for a while. That doesn’t mean the stories and reactions are going away. Saban’s comments and the ensuing rebuttals will be used to fuel content on sports television and radio through the offseason and likely beyond.

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Bleav Announces Partnership With SiriusXM

“The Bleav podcasts come with some serious star power. Each show features a former player paired with a host to discuss the latest news about their team. In adding Bleav, SiriusXM adds the likes of Eric Davis, Lorenzo Neal, Adam “Pac Man” Jones and others to its roster.”

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A new partnership will see content from the Bleav Podcast Network come under the SiriusXM umbrella. All 32 of the network’s NFL team-specific podcasts will now be available on the SXM app. The satellite radio company will also have the ability to air Bleav content on its sports channels.

“SiriusXM is a leader in content. We’re very happy to be a part of their programming and continue to amplify the voice of our talent,” Bleav CEO Bron Heussenstamm said in a press release. “SiriusXM listeners will be able to regularly hear from athletes that played for their team, bringing fans insight and access that only a player can.”

The Bleav podcasts come with some serious star power. Each show features a former player paired with a host to discuss the latest news about their team. In adding Bleav, SiriusXM adds the likes of Eric Davis, Lorenzo Neal, Adam “Pac Man” Jones and others to its roster.

The deal will also lead to more content in the future. The companies expect to add to the Bleav content available on the SXM App, including shows focused on other professional and college sports. 

“Bleav’s team-focused programming, hosted by many former stars from the league, give fans a unique and experienced perspective into their favorite players and franchises,” said Steve Cohen, SiriusXM’s SVP of Sports Programming and Podcasts.  “Bleav’s network of shows deliver valuable insight for fans of every NFL team.  They are a great addition to the selection of sports podcasts available on the SXM App and we look forward to adding other shows, focused on other sports, from the Bleav network to SiriusXM in the future.” 

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