3 Stories: NCAA Lobbying, New Pro Football League, FBI Investigation Into Ali-Liston

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Muhammad Ali knocked out Sonny Liston in the first round of their 1965 title fight. Eyebrows were raised -- and the FBI investigated whether the match was fixed. (AP)
Muhammad Ali knocked out Sonny Liston in the first round of their 1965 title fight. Eyebrows were raised -- and the FBI investigated whether the match was fixed. (AP)

The sports world is no stranger to allegations of match fixing and ensuing investigations. But newly released documents indicate that the FBI spent more than a year looking into claims that the May 1965 boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston was fixed. That and more on this week's "3 Stories You Should Know."

Rachel Bachman of the Wall Street Journal and Erik Malinowski of Bleacher Report joined Bill Littlefield.

1. College Athletic Directors Seek Influence In Washington

Former Maryland congressman and NBA player Tom McMillen is now lobbying against any plans to pay college athletes. His organization, Lead1, is holding its "College Sports Congressional Gala" at the the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. this September. Bill Littlefield thinks the news is troubling.

Tom McMillen has said that paying college athletes would be "devastating" to the enterprise of college sports, which currently pays coaches a lot of money, and it's an easy thing to do in an industry where the workers don't get paid. So, it feels to me like the swamp is getting deeper and damper. ... Maybe it's inevitable that as the movement to reform the revenue sports grows, the resistance to that movement would also grow, perhaps in desperation. That is what I see in Tom McMillen's announcement.

2. Alternative To College Football

Rather than signing up for classes and joining an NCAA football team, those between the ages of 18 and 22 seeking to continue their football careers before they're NFL-eligible will have a new option starting in 2018. The Pacific Pro Football League plans to start hiring this winter in anticipation of games next year. And, the players will get paid. Rachel Bachman thinks the league could have a noticeable effect on college football.

The average player compensation in this new league will be about $50,000, including benefits. ... That would make it possible for talented players to leave college early or skip it altogether and spend three years improving in the new league and then enter the NFL draft, which is an opportunity that basically has not existed until now.

3. FBI's Year-Long Investigation Into Ali-Liston Rematch

More than 50 pages of new documents outlining attempts by the FBI to determine whether Ali-Liston II was fixed surfaced this week. At the time, some speculated that Ali's knockout hit on Liston in the first round was actually a "phantom punch." The investigation amounted to very little, but it's got Erik Malinowski wondering what modern frivolous sports conspiracies the FBI could look into.

It got me thinking like, you know, maybe Kevin Durant and Steph Curry in the playoffs last May were whispering salary cap minutiae to each other during timeouts or something like that. Or, maybe Geno Auriemma's paying off coaches before games and that's why they can win 90 straight games or — well, I did say frivolous, so maybe we could lump Deflategate into all of that.

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This segment aired on January 14, 2017.


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