The first test of Nick Symmonds’ unconventional sponsorship deal will come Friday evening. That’s if and when he runs the first round of the 800-meters at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene. KTVB reported last night that Symmonds has yet to commit to compete at Hayward Field and will make his decision tomorrow (although an ongoing ankle injury is also a factor). The former Boisean told Sports Illustrated he will protest over the rigid USATF and IOC rules against individual sponsorships and the lack of compensation for athletes participating in the Trials and the Olympic Games. Symmonds is asking fellow competitors to wear black tape over their shoulders in a show of solidarity in a movement he has branded as #OwnYourSkin.
This spring, Symmonds sold advertising space on his right shoulder to T-Mobile for $21,800. The contract says T-Mobile can place a tattoo on Symmonds’ shoulder—and the Bishop Kelly grad must wear it for six races, including the Olympics should he qualify for a third time. Same goes for the Trials, even though no doubt he’ll be required to cover it. Symmonds abandoned his spot in the 2015 World Championships when he refused to sign the agreement requiring all U.S. runners to wear official Nike-branded gear to all functions. Symmonds is sponsored by Brooks Running.
Voting for Boise State’s 30-Year All-Blue Team rolls on today with the introduction of the offensive line. All you need to know about the challenge in deciding among the O-line candidates is at one position. The Broncos have had five consecutive starting left tackles drafted into the NFL, starting with Daryn Colledge’s second-round selection by the Green Bay Packers in 2006. Ryan Clady followed as BSU’s highest-ever draft pick, going 12th overall to Denver in 2008. Then came Arizona Cardinals’ seventh-rounder Nate Potter, the Timberline High grad, in 2012, Charles Leno Jr. going in the seventh to the Chicago Bears in 2014, and Rees Odhiambo scooped up by the Seattle Seahawks in the third round this year.
Boise State has had one other left tackle drafted into the NFL in the new century, massive Matt Hill, the Grangeville product who went to the Seahawks in the fifth round in 2002. But the Broncos have had only one non-left tackle taken in the NFL Draft’s first seven rounds—not only since 2000, but ever. That was none other than everybody’s favorite Council Lumberjack, Matt Paradis, the center who was a sixth-round pick of Denver two years ago and has since been fitted for a Super Bowl ring.
I’m not a fantasy football guy, but predictions for that ever-growing pastime this time of year can be interesting. Especially at NFL.com, which has entrusted Adam Rank to write for the fanatical fantasy fanbase. Take former Boise State star Jay Ajayi, for example. Ajayi enters his second season as a Miami Dolphin with all of 49 carries, seven pass receptions, and one touchdown. The Dolphins tried as hard as they could to find someone to start ahead of him, but here he is as Lamar Miller’s heir-apparent this summer. Fantasy value? “I’m pro-Jay Ajayi; he’s going to be a top-10 running back,” writes Rank. “He’s fragile and I wouldn’t want to build a dynasty squad around him. But for this year? In Adam Gase’s offense as the lead back? I’m in.”
As we approach the end of June, Boise State has five commitments for its 2017 football recruiting class. The Broncos are at about their average pace right now (maybe a bit behind). But I’ll tell you who’s pacing way ahead. Nevada received two more verbals last weekend and is already up to 13 commits, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal. We won’t know if this class bears fruit for the Wolf Pack until about the time Boise State and Nevada meet again in 2017 and 2018.
The Boise Hawks dusted off their bats and put them to work last night upon returning to Memorial Stadium, with a season-high run total—by eight. The Hawks clobbered the Eugene Emeralds 16-6 in a barrage that included a 10-run eighth inning during which Boise sent 14 hitters to the plate. The catalyst was Luis Castro, who went 3-for-4 with a double and triple, four runs and four RBIs. He was also hit by a pitch. Castro has lifted his batting average from .133 to .261 in the past five days. Jacob Bosiokovic was also 3-for-4 and drove in three runs for the Hawks, and Wilkyns Jiminez added another four RBIs. The second of the three-game series against the Ems is tonight.
Last night was the tonic for Josh Osich in San Francisco—but only for Osich. The former Bishop Kelly star pitched a perfect seventh inning and left with the Giants leading 8-5, but the Oakland A’s rallied after that to win 13-11 in the second game of the Bay Bridge Series. Osich had been struggling of late after getting off to a great start in his major league career last summer (and this spring). In his previous 15 appearances, Osich had a bloated ERA of 8.22, with 13 hits and seven earned runs allowed with six walks in just 7 2/3 innings. Last Sunday he surrendered the lead in the eighth inning of an eventual walk-off win. The Giants hope Osich is returning to his dependable setup routine now.
Catching up on Idaho ties in the 2016 Summer Games—there are more now. Former Boise State Bronco Jordin Andrade will run the 400-meter hurdles in Rio and will represent Cape Verde, an country consisting of an archipelago of 10 volcanic islands 350 miles off the western coast of Africa (yes, I had to look it up). Andrade was runnerup in his event at the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Championships. And Will Brown of Twin Falls had made the U.S. Olympic Shooting team. Brown will compete in the Men’s 10-meter Air Pistol and the Men’s 50-meter Free Pistol. Elsewhere, Boise State’s Emma Chard and Brittany Aoyama finished 50th and 80th yesterday, respectively, in the 200-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha, NE. Aoyama has two more events to go.
This Day In Sports…June 29, 1936:
Probably the most famous and prolific sports figure in Idaho history is born. The late Harmon Killebrew spent 22 years in the major leagues—all but one with the Washington Senators and Minnesota Twins. With 573 career home runs, he was the all-time leader among American League righthanded hitters until being passed by Alex Rodriguez in 2009. Of course, Killebrew hit his homers without the benefit of steroids. Harmon Killebrew would have been 80 years old today.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)