The Women’s World Cup finished up a few weeks ago, and one of the main talking points leading up to and through the tournament was the artificial turf that all the games were played on. Although some high school and college soccer teams play on artificial turf, no Men’s international matches between countries have ever been played on turf.1 This was the first time that the Women’s World Cup was held on a surface other than grass, and it led to a lawsuit being filed by many of the players who played this summer. When questioned about this difference, FIFA gave a few answers, among them, the fact that the turf was included in Canada’s bid for the World Cup.2 In response, the grass company Scotts stepped up and offered to put grass in at all 6 venues at no cost to FIFA, but the proposal was refused. In the end, all the matches of this edition of the World Cup were held on turf. Luckily though, the next edition of the Women’s World Cup looks like it will be held on grass again as both countries bidding have included that in their bid. Overall, this difference in quality is one of the many things FIFA will have to change as they look to improve the balance of the Women’s and Men’s games.
The Upcoming NBA Salary Cap Increase and its Effect on the 2015 Offseason… By Ben Eisenberg and Evan Garden
The NBA 2015 offseason has seen some enormous contracts offered to free agents. These contracts have been offered to both superstars and rising stars. The amount of money in these contracts is both surprising and unprecedented in the NBA’s history. However, there is a legitimate reason for the teams’ ridiculous spending. To understand the context of these huge deals, and what it means for the next few years of free agency, we’ll first need to understand the NBA’s salary cap system.
NBA Salary Cap
The NBA uses what is know as a “soft” salary cap. Each team can only spend a certain amount of money on payroll based on a figure the league sets each year. The cap prevents big market teams from luring players on small market teams away with huge contracts. However, the cap is not as simple as one definite ceiling; in order to allow teams to retain fan favorites, the NBA allows exceptions to the general rule. For example, any team is permitted to re-sign their own players to as much money as the maximum deal allows - a max contract is 5 years for 25%, 30%, or 35% of the salary cap, depending on the player’s credentials and league experience - despite the salary cap. There are also smaller exceptions for veterans and low salary players. As a team uses these exceptions, they are liable to pay extra money to the league if they exceed another cap set by the league, the luxury tax line. Once a team’s payroll exceeds the luxury tax line, they must pay money back to the league based on how much they have spent. This money is then shared with other teams. For repeat violators of a payroll above the luxury tax line, there are even harsher penalties, as shown below.