The Philadelphia Soul fell to the Albany Empire 45-27 in Arena Bowl 32 on Sunday before a crowd of 12,042 at the Times Union Center in Albany, New York. After trading scores through the first quarter, Philadelphia allowed 21 unanswered points and was unable to recover late in the game.
Soul wide receiver Darius Prince opened the scoring with a 34-yard touchdown from Dan Raudabaugh and the team looked poised to go up two scores after Defensive Player of the Year James Romain forced a fumble on the Empire’s opening drive. However, Albany defensive back Maurice Leggett picked off a Raudabaugh pass three plays later and returned it for a touchdown to tie the game at seven.
While the teams traded scores early in the half, the turning point appeared to come midway through the second quarter. After Prince’s second touchdown of the night tied it at 21 all, Philadelphia recovered an onside kick. However, a fumble on the first play of the drive gave the ball back to Albany at midfield. Empire quarterback and league MVP Tommy Grady then connected with Quentin Sims for the receiver’s third of four first-half touchdowns.
The First Team All-Arena wideout scored his fourth of the half just minutes later after the Empire attempted and recovered an onside kick, setting up a four-play, 39-yard scoring drive. Down 14 at halftime, the Soul never recovered, falling to 3-3 in ArenaBowls.
Raudabaugh finished 26-of-39 for 300 yards and four touchdowns, moving him past Nick Davila for most career completions in ArenaBowl history. Meanwhile, rookie receiver BJ Bunn had a game-high 10 catches for 129 yards and a score.
The Soul finish the season 9-6.
Harlem Day A Success
The Philadelphia — New York youth basketball rivalry resumed Saturday with the Harlem Day Philadelphia-New York basketball festival at Millbank Center in New York.
Philly’s 15-and-under team defeated New York 45-27. In the second game, New York’s 13-and-under tem won 28-24.
“Man, this was something special,” said Maurice “Mo” Howard, a former St. Joe’s Prep, University of Maryland and NBA standout who years ago played in a couple Philly-NYC games. “They showed us a lot of love and respect. We’re going to have to come hard because next year, it’s going to be our turn [to host].
“I believe the kids got a tremendous kick out of going up to New York and playing against outstanding competition. Everyone was into the games. It was a beautiful day. The weather was perfect. I’m proud of the way our kids conducted themselves on and off the court.”
Howard conducted tryouts for the 13-and-under and the 15-and-under team were held at The Shipley School. He said there is hope that the field can be expanded to include girl’s teams.
“That’s what we’d like to do,” Howard said. “They’ve got some girls up there who can really play. It would be a great thing to have included next year.”
NCAA amends agent rules
INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA has backtracked on new certification standards and will no longer require a bachelor’s degree for a sports agent to represent Division I men’s basketball players who declare for the NBA draft while maintaining college eligibility.
The requirement drew criticism last week when the certification standards were revealed, including a social media blast by NBA star LeBron James. The requirement was quickly dubbed the “Rich Paul Rule” in reference to James’ agent, who does not have a college degree.
The NCAA announced Monday it would amend the standards so bachelor’s degrees would not be required for agents currently certified and in good standing with the NBA players union. The NCAA had said last week it modeled its rules after those of the National Basketball Players Association.
“We have been made aware of several current agents who have appropriately represented former student-athletes in their professional quest and whom the (NBPA) has granted waivers of its bachelor’s degree requirement,” the NCAA said in a statement. “While specific individuals were not considered when developing our process, we respect the NBPA’s determination of qualification and have amended our certification criteria.”
The NCAA rule permitting players to obtain an agent yet still return to school after withdrawing from the draft was part of recommendations from the Condoleezza Rice-led Commission on College Basketball, which was formed in response to a federal corruption investigation into the sport.
The change took place last August, and the first players to take advantage of the rule did so in the spring. They were permitted to sign with an agent certified by the NBPA — which was the stopgap standard until the NCAA put together its own certification requirements — though they had to terminate the deal if they decided to withdraw from the draft and return to school.
The amended policy still requires the agent to be certified by the NBPA for at least three consecutive years, as well as taking an in-person examination, going through a background check and paying required fees. In its release last week, the NCAA said agents would pay a $250 application fee and an annual $1,250 certification fee separate from NBPA certification requirements.
The Associated Press contributed to his report.