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Michael Strahan and Blue Origin Team Prepare for Space Launch

The NFL Hall of Famer and ABC personality is set to blast off today, becoming the first journalist to go to space. Michael Strahan will join a team of astronauts from Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin for a suborbital trip. Strahan is set to take off at 9:45 a.m. EST and the event will be streamed on the Blue Origin YouTube channel. 

UFC Strikes Global Licensing Sponsorship with Timex

The UFC has racked up yet another major sponsorship, announcing on Friday that it has reached a global licensing deal with Timex. As part of the agreement, which is reported to be a four-year, seven-figure deal, Timex will make a line of watches and clocks featuring the UFC logo. The news comes in advance of tonight’s UFC 269 event in Las Vegas. 

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NCAA to Investigate NIL Deals at University of Miami and BYU

While the rules have changed to allow college athletes the chance to cash in on their name, image, and likeness, there are limitations to the opportunities. Two programs are under investigation for violating the parameters of NIL. The University of Miami and BYU are both being looked at by the NCAA to ensure that they are not simply booster-backed, “pay to play” deals, which are still prevented even with the expanded NIL rules. It is expected that the results from the investigation will shape the future of NIL team deals with boosters, such as The Pancake Factory at the University of Texas.

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Steve Kerr Set to Replace Popovich as US Men’s Basketball Coach

Pop’s tenure as the U.S. Men’s Basketball coach has come to an end culminating in the gold medal in Toyko. On Friday, reports emerged that his successor will be Warrior’s head coach – and NBA veteran – Steve Kerr. Kerr has served as an assistant with the team since 2018. ESPN also reports that he will be joined by a deep well of talented assistants, including the Suns’ Monty Williams, the Heat’s Erik Spoelstra, and Gonzaga’s Mark Few.

Bill Russell Auctions Celtics Memorabilia

Celtics legend Bill Russell teamed up with Hunt Auctions to auction off a number of historic items from his career, including an Olympic Gold Medal, 2 NBA Championship Rings, and a Hall of Fame Ring. Earlier this week, Shaquille O’Neal expressed his intention to buy the NBA Championship rings. Darren Rovell reports that his 1957 championship ring, the first his of 11, sold for $705,000, but the winner of the auction has not yet been revealed.

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Hue Jackson Formally Announced as Head Coach at Grambling State 

The Tigers officially announced Hue Jackson as their new head football coach. He takes over for Broderick Fobbs who was let go in November after 8 seasons. Jackson, a former NFL head coach with the Raiders and Browns , spent this past season as offensive coordinator at Tennessee State University under former Heisman Trophy winner and Tennessee Titan running back Eddie George. Jackson is the latest high-profile name to step into a football head coaching position at an HBCU, joining George, Deion Sanders (Jackson State), & Tyrone Wheatley (Morgan State).

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PSA to Resume Regular Grading Service 

With the enormous popularity of the hobby, elite grading service PSA has struggled to keep up with the demands and was forced to restrict its grading options due to limitations to its capacity. However, on Friday, PSA announced that its regular grading capabilities are back. With the return of the service, PSA indicated that it will calibrate costs based on demand. 

Big Ten Conference Forms Data and Analytics Department

Data is king. From fan development to sports betting, teams and leagues across the world have identified the power of well-curated data and a team of analysts who can help make sense of it all. The Big Ten announced that it has formed a data and analytics department to help lift insights about its fans and to surface potential business opportunities to drive revenues.

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