Tag Archives: Chelsea Thomas

Fair is fair — Pinkel’s call to pay players should extend to all

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Darren Hellwege, Sports Commentator

Earlier this week on his blog, coach Gary Pinkel endorsed paying college players. Since this is a pretty controversial topic and Pinkel’s not known as a loose cannon with his opinions, it was a little surprising and a gauge of how important this is to him. If you’re close enough to the athletic program to see how the athletes live day to day, this is an understandable position. He genuinely cares about the young men on his team, and the lack of money is a problem for some of them.

On the other hand, he made a very serious error in judgment in how he wants to see it done, one that calls into question the notion of fairness.

Pinkel said it’s fair to “give them additional money per semester or per quarter to help them and pay them back for all their sacrifices,” and he’s right. Yes, they do get a scholarship, in the case of most football players a full scholarship. Their tuition and books and room and food are provided for four years, and that’s not an inconsiderable expense at all. I have kids in college and know the amount of money we’re talking about can be major.

On the other hand, for athletes from families that aren’t well-to-do, it’s still a difficult situation. I’ve known guys who couldn’t afford to take a date out because of lack of money. And while the training table feeds them well, every college kid wants to be able to go to the movies or grab a pizza now and then. Where does that little extra come from?

For many college students, the answer is to go get a part-time job. For example, when I was in school, I was working part-time at a commercial radio station for some extra spending money, just like many work at a restaurant or grocery store. Varsity athletes can’t do that, and that’s probably a good thing. As we’re learning this week from the reports out of Oklahoma State, the old “we hired the big football star for a job at our car dealership” is a situation just asking for abuse.

So yes, absolutely, pay the athletes a small extra amount, not a huge salary but just walking around money that any 20-year-old needs. I agree whole-heartedly with Pinkel on this, and appreciate that he took this stand out of what I consider to be a genuine concern for his athletes.


Sadly, while we hear a lot about the “family” atmosphere within Missouri athletics, Pinkel chose to only support this assistance for male athlete — football and basketball players. That’s terribly wrong, and when he said “it’s only fair” about paying his players, it’s hypocritical to then do something as unfair as to only pay athletes in these big name sports.

It’s wrong for several reasons. Let’s hit the obvious one first—it’s illegal. It’s an obvious violation of Title IX to pay male athletes and not female athletes. Even if it wasn’t morally wrong, you just can’t do it. If they’re going to pay athletes, they’re going to have to do it for all the athletes.

The female athletes, and those men in other sports, put in just as much time as the football and basketball players, and face the same obstacles to getting a part time job as the football or basketball guys.

Pinkel raised the fact that these sports bring in millions of dollars. That shouldn’t have a thing to do with this. Turning a profit is not the purpose of the University of Missouri or the athletic program. There’s a place for “rewarding” athletes for “creating revenue,” and that’s the NFL and NBA. College isn’t about that at all, the theory of “it’s valuable if it makes money” does not belong in higher education.

The idea of “football and men’s basketball bring in all the loot” isn’t true across the board at all. In many schools the cost of a football program exceeds revenue. To make this work, every school has to pay the same amount to all players. If you think recruiting is a mess now, wait till you see what happens when there’s an open bidding war for the top 15-year-old wide receiver phenom in the nation. God save us.

Also, the amount of money being created by the sports of James Franklin and Phil Pressey isn’t greater than that of the sports of Kearston Peoples or David Bonuchi because James and Phil are much better at their sport. Mizzou spends a great deal more advertising and publicizing the “major sports,” and the media pays a great deal more attention to them. Every day in the newspaper, on the radio and TV, the superstars of football and men’s basketball are given the spotlight, while athletes who may be equally deserving in other sports don’t receive that advantage. That’s why most of you are scratching your heads and going “who’s that?” when I just mentioned the SEC Diver of the Year and member of the USA Diving Team (Bonuchi) and an All-American shot putter (Peoples).

Bonuchi has everything a college sports hero should have, were he in a sport we paid more attention to. He’s a three-time All-American and SEC Diver of the Year. He’s a hometown boy who attended Hickman High School, is on the USA Diving Team, made All-SEC academically, is the son of two Mizzou grads and has movie-idol good looks.  But because there aren’t ads running all day for the swim team and because the media isn’t talking about them constantly, he’s not a household name and his team isn’t a revenue producer. The same goes for Peoples, one of the top shot putters in the nation.

It’s certainly through no fault of their own that their sports aren’t money makers, and that shouldn’t be the standard upon which we choose who is and isn’t worthy.  Even the biggest names, like Chelsea Thomas or Molly Kreklow, aren’t known off campus the way Gary Pinkel’s and Frank Haith’s Tigers are, but that’s not really what ought to matter.

But if the University of Missouri is going to pay extra so Tiger athletes can have a little less hardship from being part of varsity sports, Kearston, David, Chelsea and Molly are just as deserving as Dorial, James, and Phil.

Pay them? Absolutely.

But pay them all.

Darren Hellwege is a member of Football Writers Association of America and United States Basketball Writers Association  


After disappointing end, Mizzou softball future looking bright

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Darren Hellwege, Sports Commentator

From the highest-level athlete to a fan of a really good team, there’s nothing quite so shocking as the upset loss that ends a season with high expectations, expectations now crashed to earth. It’s even worse when it means the end of a great career, that beloved superstar that walks off the field for the last time, never having quite made it to the Promised Land.

After a second straight year of a shocking loss in an NCAA Super Regional, this time to Washington (it was LSU last time around), the MU softball program and its fans now look to life without Chelsea.

Chelsea Thomas, with all those All-American awards and Pitcher of the Year in two conferences, is gone for good. So are several other top players including some that are darn near irreplaceable. We lose Nicole Hudson, whose move from the field to the pitching circle didn’t keep her from being one of the team’s most reliable hitters. Farewell Jenna Marston, who became a terrific catcher and also contributed a lot to the offense. Lindsey Muller, Princess Krebs, and Rachel Hay all have played their final game in the black and gold.

But, after even with the loss of quite possibly the greatest player in the program’s history, and several other key components, there’s reason for plenty of optimism. Read more of this post

By the Numbers: Chelsea Thomas’ Mizzou career in review

Chelsea Thomas is arguably Missouri’s historically best pitcher, ranking at or near the top in several categories. But she doesn’t need to throw a perfect game to be effective. Though the redshirt senior has thrown 11 no-hitters in her Missouri career (three of those were perfect games) she dominates in nearly every game she plays. Thomas’ win-loss record as of May 11 is 111-29 with 1,147 strikeouts in 897 innings pitched. She is averaging 7.45 K’s per game.

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Mizzou wins, one step away from another Women’s College World Series

Chelsea Thomas shuts out Hofstra for a second time

Nicole Hudson (8) is congratulated by teammates Mackenzie Sykes (4) and Jenna Marston (26) after scoring. Missouri beat Hofstra 5-0 in the second game Sunday, May 19, 2013, to win the regional tournament at University Field in Columbia, Mo. Missouri will host the Super Regional tournament. Photo by Karen Mitchell

Nicole Hudson (8) is congratulated by teammates Mackenzie Sykes (4) and Jenna Marston (26) after scoring. Missouri beat Hofstra 5-0 in the second game Sunday, May 19, 2013, to win the regional tournament at University Field in Columbia, Mo.

Missouri needed both games on Sunday to defeat Olivia Galati and the Hofstra Pride.

With Nicole Hudson in the pitching circle, the Tigers were unable to score a run, losing 10-0 in five innings. Missouri managed just four hits while Hofstra had nine.

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With little offense, Missouri beats Hofstra 1-0 in regional game

By Karen Mitchell

Chelsea Thomas pitches with Hofstra's lead-off hitter Chloe Fitzgerald watching from second base. Thomas was able to hold on for the shut-out victory.

Chelsea Thomas pitches with Hofstra’s lead-off hitter Chloe Fitzgerald watching from second base. Thomas was able to hold on for the shut-out victory.

Even though the Hofstra Pride jumped on Missouri pitcher Chelsea Thomas from the very first batter, Thomas was able to get timely strike outs to earn the 1-0 shutout in the Columbia Regional Saturday.

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Mizzou’s Thomas and Marston earn SEC Pitcher and Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards

By Karl Roskamp

Missouri's starting pitcher, Chelsea Thomas, during the first inning against Evansville on Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Thomas earned her 1,000th strike out in the game and earned the win. Photo by Karen Mitchell

Missouri’s Chelsea Thomas capped off an award winning year by being named pitcher of the year. Photo by Karen Mitchell

Missouri pitcher Chelsea Thomas and catcher Jenna Marston were named Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year, respectively, as voted by SEC head coaches.

Thomas and Marston also earned First Team All-SEC honors and Thomas was named to the SEC All-Defensive Team.

Thomas led Missouri with a 13-4 record with a 1.70 ERA in league play, putting her first and second in the SEC in those categories respectively.  She had a league-best 19 conference starts and held SEC opponents to a .176 batting average. In her career, Thomas has been elected Pitcher of the Year for her conference three times, First Team All Conference three times and All Defense once.

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Mizzou’s Thomas earns record fifth Pitcher of the Week honor this season

By Karl Roskamp

Missouri pitcher Chelsea Thomas delivers a pitch.  She threw a complete game and allowed one earned run, but ended up losing for the fourth time this season on April 13, 2013.

Missouri pitcher Chelsea Thomas delivers a pitch on April 13, 2013.

The Southeastern Conference named Missouri senior Chelsea Thomas the SEC Pitcher of the Week for the fifth time this season on Monday afternoon.

The award gives Thomas a tie with former Tennessee pitcher Monica Abbott for the most SEC Pitcher of the Week recognitions in one season.  Abbott achieved the feat in 2005.  The award gives Thomas 17 Pitcher of the Week awards for her career.

Thomas pitched her 11th complete game no-hitter of her career in a 2-0 win over No. 4 Tennessee.  It was the first time Tennessee had been no-hit since 2002.  Thomas totaled seven strikeouts, three walks and one hit-by-pitch and improved her season record to 20-4.  The win gives her 13 conference wins this season, the most in the SEC.

Thomas will take the circle again at the SEC Tournament against No. 22 Arkansas on Thursday at 3 p.m. at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Ky.

Mizzou’s Chelsea Thomas recognized for community service.

By Karl Roskamp

Pitcher Chelsea Thomas is already a two-time All-American and an Academic All-District honoree. Now, she is also a member of the Southeastern Conference’s Community Service team.

The SEC announced the annual team that recognizes athletes who give back to their community in superior service efforts. One player from each softball team in the conference is selected to be part of the team, one of 21 community service teams the conference sponsors.

Thomas was recognized for planning the Mizzou Moves pilot program, which teaches elementary school students in the Columbia area about exercise and healthy eating. In addition, she teaches Missouri’s Court Appointed Special Advocates clinics, showing softball and baseball skills to attendees. She has also spoken at the Tiger Village Retirement Home and organized the softball team’s annual “Christmas Adopt-A-Family” gifts.

Thomas is expected to take the field again on Thursday in the SEC Tournament. No. 11 Missouri will face No. 22 Arkansas at 3 p.m. at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Ky.

The 2013 SEC Softball Community Service Team is as follows:
Ryan Iamurri, Junior, Alabama
Hope McLemore, Senior, Arkansas
Baylee Stephens, Senior, Auburn
Kelsey Horton, Senior, Florida
Maya Branch, Senior, Georgia
Kara Dill, Senior, Kentucky
Allison Falcon, Junior, LSU
Brittany Broome, Senior, Ole Miss
Jessica Cooley, Senior, Mississippi State
Chelsea Thomas, R-Senior, Missouri
Julie Sarratt, R-Sophomore, South Carolina
Melissa Brown, Senior, Tennessee
Allison Garrett, Junior, Texas A&M

Mizzou’s Thomas throws no-hitter as Tigers split doubleheader

By Karl Roskamp

With 1,540 people packed into University Field and many more watching the nationally-televised game, Chelsea Thomas pitched a no-hitter to lead No. 11 Missouri to a 2-0 victory in game one against No. 4 Tennessee.

“It’s pretty crazy.  It was a really fun night.  I’ll remember this night for a while,” Thomas said.

The game was her first solo no-hitter of the season and the eleventh of her career. The caliber of competition makes the performance even more special according to coach Ehren Earleywine.

“It’s as good as I can remember because Tennessee lights it up offensively,” he said.  “It was in front of a nice crowd, and it was an important game.  I thought it was extraordinary.”

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Three Mizzou softball players recognized for academics

By Karl Roskamp

No. 11 Missouri softball has not only been good on the field but also in the classroom this season.

On Friday, senior catcher Jenna Marston, junior outfielder Mackenzie Sykes and senior pitcher Chelsea Thomas were selected for the Capital One Academic All-District 6 team. The College Sports Information Directors of America select players based on athletic and academic performance.

An industrial engineering major, Marston has a 3.99 grade point average. She also ranks second in the Southeastern Conference in doubles (7) and on-base percentage (.500) this season. Marston has earned Academic All-District three times in her career and was named First Team Academic All-American last season. She was selected as a First Team Academic All-Big 12 in 2011 and 2012.

A sports management major, Sykes has a 3.92 GPA and is batting a career-best .333 this season. She also has hit seven home runs this season after hitting just four in her first two season. Sykes earned First Team Academic All-Big in 2012.

After obtaining an undergraduate degree in biology, Thomas is in graduate school for positive coaching and has a 3.37 GPA. She leads the SEC in earned run average at 1.31 and opponent batting average at .162.  Thomas earned Second Team Academic All-American in 2012 and has been Academic All-District twice. Thomas was First Team Academic All-Big 12 three times from 2010 to 2012.

First Team Academic All‐District honorees advance to the Capital One Academic All‐America Team ballot, from which first, second and third team All‐America honorees will be selected later this month.

Friday’s game against No. 4 Tennessee was postponed due to adverse weather. Saturday’s game scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and Sunday’s at noon at University Field are expected to be played.