The Weekender: Charles Barkley Announces Retirement From Television After Next NBA Season, Big 12 Considers Selling Out Its Naming Rights, and Deion Sanders Denies Forcing His Son's Rap Career on Colorado Football Team

By George Eisner on June 16, 2024 at 3:00 pm
Charles Barkley of the Inside the NBA broadcast team.
Cary Edmondson — USA TODAY Sports

Own the group chat with The Weekender, highlighting the biggest stories in college sports, standout writing from Eleven Warriors, and a glance at what's next.

Charles Barkley Announces Impending Retirement From Broadcasting

However the NBA media rights negotiations pan out in the near future, it appears Charles Barkley has decided he will pick up his ball and go home.

On Friday night following the fourth game of the NBA Finals, Barkley announced on the NBA TV postgame broadcast that he will retire from television after 25 years as an analyst.

Barkley's decision arrives after a frustrating stretch of speculation throughout the NBA Playoffs that Turner Sports appears set to lose out on broadcasting rights to professional basketball in favor of an 11-year, $76 billion media deal encompassing NBC, ESPN and Amazon. Such an agreement would almost certainly bring about an end to the show Inside the NBA after 35 years, which has become a pillar within basketball culture during that timeframe largely in part due to Barkley's presence. His impending retirement would also leave a hole among the desk analysts CBS uses for its coverage of NCAA March Madness and the Final Four.

Throughout the NBA postseason, Barkley has openly joked about his own future employment prospects across his segments as an analyst. However, he has also given several interviews in which his criticism of the negotiations between the NBA and TNT has held sharp with the livelihood of his fellow employees and show staff in mind.

The circus surrounding the negotiations fueled so much public scrutiny that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver felt compelled to issue an apology to Turner Sports on the first day of the NBA Finals.

It is difficult to overstate what a massive loss Barkley's retirement will be for fans of basketball analysis and coverage worldwide. His decision to step away from the mess reflects much of the dissatisfaction sports fans have experienced in recent years as broadcasting negotiations have largely fractured the media landscape across networks and streaming platforms.

In an era when sports media seems less eager to take risks than ever before in favor of safe decisions to maximize prospective ratings and return on investment, Barkley and his co-hosts on Inside the NBA have stood out as humorously irreverent yet consistently insightful in their contributions to basketball discourse. Along the way, he has hardly lost any step in his rare form of entertainment. Barkley offered up yet another signature moment in his broadcasting career earlier in these NBA Playoffs when he suggested the New Orleans Pelicans should be punished for their postseason efforts with a trip to Galveston, Texas instead of the show's traditional Cancún sendoff.

Next season, every episode of Inside the NBA figures to serve as appointment television. No one will be able to predict what Barkley will unleash during his final stretch flanked by Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O'Neal. Appreciate the legend while you can before he disappears from behind the desk.

Big 12 Considers Sale of Naming Rights to Sponsors

As college football braces itself for the possible implementation of sponsors across fields and even jerseys, at least one of the Power Five conferences seems eager to sell itself out entirely.

Last month, Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark reportedly offered a proposal to sell the conference naming rights to a sponsor in a similar style to what the sport's bowl games currently utilize. Such an agreement would require majority approval from the Big 12 schools' presidents.

Allstate currently appears to have the lead in bidding for the potential naming rights, but that has not stopped college football fans from hypothesizing more humorous options than the "Allstate 12."

Here are some of the proposed rebrands from the Eleven Warriors staff — feel free to leave your own in the comments:

  • Jason Priestas — Dr. Pepper 12
  • Chris Lauderback — Dude Wipes 12
  • Ramzy Nasrallah — Delve 12
  • Garrick Hodge — The Dunkin' Dozen
  • Yours Truly — 7/11 12

Deion Sanders Denies Forcing His Team to Attend Son Shedeur Opening for Lil Wayne

The Sanders family continue to make headlines for all the wrong reasons during this college football offseason, but speculation surrounding Neon Deion's reign of terror in Boulder has begun to teeter towards unbelievably ridiculous.

Last Wednesday, Athlon Sports published a story claiming that Coach Prime forced the Colorado Buffaloes football team to attend and support his son Shedeur's opening rap performance at a Lil Wayne concert. The request allegedly rubbed many members of the team the wrong way and prompted several players to hit the transfer portal. Colorado long snapper Camden Dempsey responded to the story by labeling it "100% false."

The elder Sanders further went on to describe the allegations in the story as "one of the best lies I've heard," although video of Shedeur's performance from April does exist.

While the legitimacy of this story remains heavily in question, the willingness for the public to believe it further reflects the villainous perception the Sanders family has cultivated for themselves during this college football offseason. Meanwhile, FCS juggernaut North Dakota State awaits its season opener at the end of August with the sensation surrounding Colorado.


Five-Star Tavien St. Clair Shines at Buckeye Recruiting Camp (WATCH)

Ohio State held a recruiting camp during the past week in which several prospective Buckeyes had the opportunity to showcase their talents, most notably at the quarterback and wide receiver positions. Incoming five-star quarterback Tavien St. Clair made a particularly superb impression as he prepares for the Elite 11 Finals this upcoming week.

OSU Recruiting Staffer Leaves to Become New TTUN Director of Ops

Not satisfied with poaching merely the running backs coach from Ohio State's staff this offseason, Michigan added another ex-Buckeye to its staff this week in the form of former assistant director for recruiting and events, Erin Dunston. She will become the new director of operations for the Wolverines — joining her sister Jillian in Ann Arbor, currently an assistant coach for the Michigan women's basketball team.

Tommy's Pizza Closes Ohio State Campus Location After 45 Years

One of the most iconic pizza places for Buckeye students over the last half-century closed its doors this week, as Tommy's Pizza announced the shuttering of the North Campus location at the corner of Neil and Lane Avenue. However, the second-longest running pizzeria in Columbus will continue to operate stores in Dublin and Upper Arlington.

What’s Next

  • 76 Days: Ohio State football's season opener vs. Akron
  • 167 Days: The Game
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