Stephen Thompson

A senior majoring in communications and political science at The University of Pittsburgh. Sports Editor and Pitt men's basketball beat writer for The Pitt News. Contributor to SB Nation's Red Sox site, Over The Monster. A native of Washington, D.C. Avid fan of Boston sports and Pitt athletics. 

My Writing

Read some of my the best at latest writing here!

Column | Don’t forget who kept NIL off the table for college athletes

The powerful in college athletics are trying to shift the goalposts. As NIL restrictions fall, amateurism itself moves into the crosshairs. The NCAA’s dam — loosely held together by the term “student-athlete” — has sprung a leak. While a recent ruling from the Supreme Court and a myriad of state laws superseding the authority of the NCAA did not automatically bring the idol of amateurism crumbling, it opens the door to such possibilities.

Congressional Democrats introduce bill that would give college athletes the right to collectively bargain

Congressional Democrats introduced a bill on May 27 that would formally make college athletes employees of their universities as well as granting them the right to collectively bargain. Cries for labor organization in college sports that began with the Northwestern University football team’s attempt to unionize in 2015 have now reached national legislatures.

After offseason from hell, Capel and men’s basketball begin reloading

A total of 56.2 points, 27.8 rebounds and 10.7 assists per game from last season’s squad left the program as the half-dozen former Panthers departed. But the brutality of the last four months is reaching a merciful, maybe even optimistic conclusion. Because, while the program has suffered major losses, Capel’s latest recruiting has begun the work of rebuilding a depleted roster. Capel started reloading primarily by tapping the same crowded transfer market that took so much talent from last year’s squad.

Pitt falls 79-73 to Miami in ACC Tournament’s opening round

Pitt men’s basketball entered the ACC Tournament desperate to pull itself out of a downward spiral that goes back months. It began with the Panthers (10-12 overall, 6-10 ACC) dropping a one-point contest to Wake Forest on Jan. 23, then snowballing into a streak during which they lost nine of 11 games, reaching its worst when junior stars Xavier Johnson and Au’Diese Toney transferred and ending with a 79-73 loss to under-manned Miami (9-16 overall, 4-15 ACC) on the first day of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Miller, Coca star in all-around for Pitt gymnastics despite loss to WVU

Pitt gymnastics (5-9-1) took the floor of the Fitzgerald Field House for the first of three dual meets against rival West Virginia (1-6 overall, 0-6 Big 12) on Friday night. The Panthers were unable to overcome dazzling floor routines from the Mountaineers in a 195.900-194.175 loss, but an event win for junior Olivia Miller and Coca’s first trip through the all-around category softened the sting of defeat.

Contentious offseason fades in memory as Sibande settles in at Pitt

His hair was different — Sibande debuted braids after sporting a fade for much of the season. His role was different — Sibande started the game for just the fourth time as a Panther. But most importantly, his play was different — Sibande, a heralded transfer from Miami (Ohio), finally looked like the steady scorer that he’s proven himself to be in the game against FSU. After the COVID-19 pandemic and a contentious transfer process kept him out of action for 262 days, Sibande spent his first nine games at Pitt shaking off the rust. But he showed flashes of dynamism in his breakout game on Saturday that indicate his game is growing along with the comfort of a still-new home in Pittsburgh.

Sibande’s season-best can’t save Pitt in 79-72 loss to No. 16 FSU

One would be hard-pressed to find a college basketball coach who revels in moral victories or celebrates a loss, no matter how competitive their team was. But in the middle of a worsening four-game losing streak, it can often be helpful to search for the positives. While making sure to add that he was not satisfied with the loss, Pitt men’s basketball head coach Jeff Capel praised his team’s effort on Saturday against ACC power Florida State and said the Panthers’ faults could be summed up simp

Panthers doomed by short Cavalier burst, lose to UVA 73-66

No college basketball coach enjoys embracing moral victories. Either you win or you lose and that’s the ultimate statistic you evaluate. But Pitt men’s basketball (9-6 overall, 5-5 ACC) did have some positives to take away from its 73-66 loss to No. 14 Virginia (13-3 overall, 9-1 ACC). The Panthers hung with the ACC-leading Cavaliers — led by head coach Tony Bennett, who won his 300th career game on Saturday — for a while before UVA separated with a quick second-half blitz.

ACC navigates pandemic-induced schedule changes

The first two weeks of the Atlantic Coast Conference college football season have come to pass with jarring normalcy. ACC title contenders Notre Dame, Clemson and Miami have rolled through their opening week competition and made early statements that their preseason hype was deserved. Meanwhile, Boston College and Syracuse occupy their expected places in the standings’ cellar. None of what happened in between the lines was all that surprising — the play looked like any other early season colle
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