Month: September 2019

Expand The College Football PlayoffExpand The College Football Playoff

Ohio State’s national college football championship might seem to vindicate the playoff selection committee, which chose the No. 4 Buckeyes over two teams with similar resumes, No. 5 Baylor and No. 6 TCU. But there probably weren’t a lot of people in Waco or Fort Worth, Texas, celebrating the Buckeyes’ Monday night win. Instead, Baylor and TCU fans have every right to think their teams deserved the same opportunity.1The argument is particularly strong for TCU, which, after being leapfrogged in an unprecedented way in the committee’s final standings, went on to crush Mississippi 42-3 in the Peach Bowl. In fact, the Horned Frogs entered Monday with nearly the same Football Power Index rating (23.6) that Ohio State had (23.8).It has sometimes been stated — I’ve said it myself — that a four-team playoff is inherently flawed when there are five major conferences. The truth is a little more complicated than that. Sometimes a “Power 5” conference champion won’t have much of a beef with having been excluded from the playoff. In 2012, for instance, Wisconsin was the BCS representative as the Big Ten champion despite just a 4-4 conference record (and an 8-5 record overall). It was a wacky case — Ohio State and Penn State finished ahead of the Badgers but were ineligible for postseason play — but it’s not so uncommon to have an “ugly duckling” major conference champion.But pretty much every other contingency complicates the committee’s job and adds to the list of teams it might consider:Sometimes there will be an undefeated team from a “minor” conference, like Boise State.Sometimes independent Notre Dame or BYU will be undefeated or will have one loss against a strong schedule.Sometimes a second team from a power conference will have a powerful argument for being among the top four nationally. In 2011, for example, Alabama ranked No. 2 and was chosen for the BCS title game; its only loss had come against No. 1 LSU.In other words, this year wasn’t an outlier: A four-team playoff is liable to produce similar controversies more often than not. It may not be the particular controversy we had this year. But there’s liable to be some type of controversy.This is usually the point at which someone asserts the problem is infinitely regressive. With four teams in the playoff, there will always be an argument over Nos. 4 and 5. With six teams, there might be the a debate over Nos. 6 and 7. Or with 68 teams, you’ll have a fight over Nos. 68 and 69.I don’t find this case entirely convincing; you’re going to hit the point of diminishing returns eventually. In 2012, I participated in a mock NCAA basketball selection committee for media members. When filling out the last few slots in the 68-team bracket, we were presented with some incredibly unappealing options: For example, a team that went 1-6 against top 50 opponents against another that had a losing record in conference play. Neither team had a snowball’s chance in hell of becoming national champion.What you don’t want to do is exclude teams that can make a credible case for being the best team in the country. It’s hard to put this philosophy into practice, of course. In a perfect world, you could permit a flexible number of teams into the playoff. One year, a team might be so far ahead of the pack that you’d be tempted to crown it national champion and cancel the playoff. The next year, the top group might run a dozen teams deep. Unfortunately, the NCAA and our corporate overlords ESPN aren’t likely to tolerate that sort of uncertainty when they need to set schedules months or years in advance.So, we need to settle on a particular number of teams. The most important objective is to avoid “false negatives” — that is, to keep from omitting teams like Baylor and TCU, whose resumes are hard to distinguish from the teams ranked first or second in the country. The next priority is to avoid “false positives,” like a three-loss team getting into the playoff when it doesn’t belong there. It might help to break the teams into tiers:The first tier consists of undefeated teams from major (“Power 5”) conferences.2In the chart after this first bullet point, we’ve treated Notre Dame as a major conference team.The second tier includes one-loss teams from major conferences, along with undefeated teams from minor conferences.The third tier consists of two-loss teams from “Power 5” conferences and one-loss teams from other conferences.The fourth tier includes everyone else.The former BCS system, with its national championship game, seemed to be based on the hope that there would be exactly two top-tier teams. Unfortunately that almost never worked out. Only four times in the 16 years of the BCS were there exactly two major-conference undefeateds. The years in which there were three such teams, like 2004, were especially controversial. The more common problem, however, is that there was often just one of these teams or none at all.So reaching into the second tier is a necessary evil if you’re going to have any type of playoff. That being the case, I’d argue that you’d rather not have to make extremely fine distinctions within the second tier. Perhaps you’re OK omitting some one-loss teams with gross deficiencies on their resumes (like those that both played poor schedules and failed to win their conference titles). But you’d rather not have to distinguish the Baylors of the world from the Ohio States.The problem with a four-team playoff is that it will often require the committee to make exactly those distinctions, splitting the second tier right down the middle. Let’s look at some historical data. In the chart below, I’ve listed the teams since 1998 as they were ranked in the final AP poll before bowl participants were chosen. (This serves as a good proxy for how the playoff selection committee might have ranked the teams.)3You could use the BCS standings or the Coaches Poll as the reference point instead; they would lead you to pretty much the same conclusions. The teams are color-coded based on which tier they belonged to.As you can see, these tiers do a reasonable job of reflecting how poll voters think about the teams. Sometimes the tiers get mixed up around the margins, but these are usually relatively obvious cases involving teams with especially strong or weak schedules.But you can also see the problem. In an average year, there are one or two first-tier teams and four or five second-tier teams. A four-team playoff will wind up splitting the second-tier teams right down the middle.What if you’re willing to omit one-loss teams that didn’t win their conference championships? In the chart, I’ve also indicated whether a team won its conference title. (I’ve listed just one champion per major conference — the team deemed as the conference champion by the BCS in the event of ties.4In 2014, the BCS was no longer active. I consider Baylor to have been the Big 12 champion over TCU by virtue of its head-to-head victory against them. There’s special handling for teams from the former Big East conference, which no longer exists for football.5Big East teams are classified based on the conference they belong to currently. If a former Big East team ranked higher than the top team from the conference it now belongs to, it is considered the champion of its current conference. For instance, Miami is classified as the 2002 ACC champion, because it ranked ahead of the actual ACC champion that year, Florida State.) This gets you closer, but you’ll still run out of space fairly often unless you’re also willing to kick out undefeated teams from minor conferences.Besides, it’s not clear that a conference championship ought to trump everything else. It’s great when, for example, the No. 3 and No. 5 teams in the country square off in their conference championship, making it serve as a de facto play-in game. But this rarely happens. Often, the two best teams in the conference are in the same division and won’t play for the conference title. Or there are cases like 2003, when Kansas State, which had two conference losses, beat undefeated Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game. Would Kansas State really deserve to make the playoff ahead of Oklahoma? AP voters didn’t think so. (They ranked Oklahoma No. 3 and Kansas State No. 8 the next week.)What if we expand the playoff to six teams instead?Now we’re able to accommodate the clear majority of the second tier. One-loss major conference champions will just about always make it. One-loss non-champions from major conferences will make it about 80 percent of the time. Undefeated teams from minor conferences still struggle a bit, but overall this seems to strike a good balance. As a major conference team with just one loss, you’ll make the playoff unless there’s a lot working against you. With two losses, you’ll won’t make it unless you have a lot working for you. There are still some tough decisions to be made, but the committee won’t have to cleave the second tier in half, as it often will under a four-team playoff.If you expand the playoff to eight teams, you’re able to accommodate almost all of the second tier. However, about 75 percent of the additional teams you’d add with the seventh and eighth slots are from the third tier instead. This may be too tolerant, placing too little pressure on teams to perform and schedule well in the regular season.An alternative would be to include eight teams, but with automatic bids for major conference champions. (Technically you could do this under a six-team playoff, too, but it might not be advisable.6It provides for too little flexibility. What happens when in addition to the five major conference champions, there’s an excellent Notre Dame team and an undefeated Boise State? And by placing so much emphasis on the conference championship game, this system would serve to make the rest of a team’s schedule all but irrelevant.) Presumably, teams from outside of the power conferences would object to this, but you could accommodate them by guaranteeing a sixth slot to the best independent or minor conference team. That would leave two at-large positions.I’ve run the numbers on how this would work out — and it seems like another good option. By definition, we’re now including every major conference champion. While you’d have the occasional fluke conference champ like the 2012 Wisconsin team, that might be an acceptable price for reducing the subjectivity in the process. Non-champion teams from major conferences would sometimes make the playoff but would have a lot of pressure to schedule well and perform well. The majority of one-loss teams from major conferences would make it, but they’d be at risk if they fail to win their conferences. And taking a second loss would knock a team out the vast majority of the time.No system is going to end the debates; people still argue about which teams ought to be No. 12 seeds in the NCAA hoops tourney so they can lose to Kentucky in the Sweet 16. But expanding the football playoff to six teams — or to eight teams with some automatic bids — would do a better job of rewarding the most deserving teams while preserving the importance of the regular season. It would help to ensure the most important decisions of the college football season happen on the field and not in a conference room. read more

The Rams Wont Get As Much From LA As The Lakers AndThe Rams Wont Get As Much From LA As The Lakers And

The source of an NFL team’s fortune looks a lot different than what fills the coffers for MLB, NBA and NHL teams. While 83 percent of the average team’s revenue in those sports comes from sources other than national TV deals — sources largely tied up in local earnings such as gate receipts and regional sports networks (more on those later) — that figure is only 46 percent for the average NFL club. Thus, financially, it matters less where an NFL team is located, because the team is going to get billions anyway from national revenue-sharing arrangements.1The NFL’s total revenue from national TV rights is a sum of deals with five networks: CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN and the NFL Network, plus a contract with DirecTV. Disclosure: FiveThirtyEight is owned by ESPN.This flattening of large-market revenue happens in other ways across all pro sports, such as the shared revenue brought in by licensing and merchandise (hats, jerseys, pagan blood contracts with FanKings), which insidery estimates put at approximately $3 billion annually — another $87 million or so per year per team after the league takes its 10 percent cut — and which is shared equally among 31 NFL teams. (The Cowboys are the only team that has an individual licensing and merchandising deal, because of course they are.)Comparing the Rams’ situation to those of teams in the NBA, NHL and MLB, all of which have lucrative regional TV deals that the NFL can’t tap into, reveals how little the Rams gain in television money by moving to Los Angeles. Specifically, we can zoom in to the revenue from Los Angeles teams’ TV contracts to see how much money the Lakers, Dodgers, Angels, Clippers, Kings and Ducks are pulling in from regional contracts: After years of speculation over which NFL team would be the first to surrender to Hollywood’s siren call, the inevitable finally happened: The league’s owners voted this week to allow the Rams to move from St. Louis to Los Angeles. In his attempt to justify the move, Rams owner Stan Kroenke made a lot of claims about the St. Louis area. He believed, or at least said, his team would be “on the road to financial ruin” if it stayed in the Gateway City because of what he alleged were poor economic prospects for the metro area, a declining population and various other local factors. The kabuki was unconvincing.Kroenke’s arguments rang hollow for a number of reasons, but his silly obsession with the drawbacks of the St. Louis area holds a major logical flaw: The Rams play in the only major pro league where local revenue takes a backseat to the revenue generated by shared, national television contracts. Regional sports networks (RSNs) have been all the rage for a while now, and the profits teams haul in by selling their cable rights — or, better yet, starting their own team-operated channels — have fueled the ballooning revenues in other leagues. In LA alone, the Lakers inked an RSN deal worth an average of $200 million a year,2Hence the figure we list above, a 20-year average from their contract with Time Warner Cable. and the Dodgers dropped jaws when it was announced their RSN contract would net $334 million per year in revenue. Even the Clippers, who come in well behind the Lakers, recently turned down a $60 million per year local deal, presumably because they’re holding out for something more lucrative.If you’re keeping score at home, that’s 60 percent more TV dollars than the average NFL team rakes in annually. And since the NFL does its television business on a strictly national basis, the Rams can’t unleash the power of an RSN on the eyeballs of the nation’s second-biggest media market.Kroenke would of course argue that the financial benefit comes from attendance — St. Louis was dead last in the NFL this season, and has floated around the bottom three during this decade. But even then, it’s not as though the Rams were always a draw in LA, as the Los Angeles Times noted in a 1994 game story titled “Attendance Is Not Exactly Peachy,” as just 32,969 fans turned out for a 14-12 snoozer against the Cardinals. (This was the “announced” attendance, which is definitionally lower than the actual attendance. Anaheim Stadium’s football capacity was 69,008.) The Rams were last in the league in attendance in 1994, their last year in Los Angeles.So Kroenke gains little in the way of media money by uprooting the Rams, and the benefits to the gate are far from certain once we look to LA’s not-that-distant history as a football town. What then does he gain by fistfighting St. Louis and burning every bridge on his way out of Missouri? One way to make sense of this is to look away from league revenue or fan interest and shift our attention downward, to Stan Kroenke’s pockets. Holy Cross economics professor Victor Matheson told the International Business Times that economists generally expect the Rams’ valuation to rise by at least $500 million with the move to LA. read more

Beside The Points For Thursday Jan 11 2017Beside The Points For Thursday Jan 11 2017

Oh, and don’t forgetFat Trick achieved We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆  Join the squad. Subscribe Things That Caught My EyeGOATsNick Saban’s tenure at Alabama brought the program their fifth college championship this decade on Monday after defeating a well-matched Georgia team in one of the best championship games Alabama’s had to play. Since at least 1988, the 10-year dynasty for Alabama — from 2008 to 2017 — is the best ever college football dynasty based on Elo ratings. [FiveThirtyEight]Atlanta isn’t the sameThe Atlanta Falcons won against the highly regarded Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, but they’ve got trouble ahead based on how this team compares to the NFC conference champions of 2017. They’re racking up fewer big plays — yards per game from 20+ yard plays are down 51 yards since 2016 — and their red zone touchdown percentage dropped from 62 percent and 50 percent this year. [FiveThirtyEight]Brady’s having a streakTom Brady’s previous five games were one of the worst five-game stretches of his career based on expected points added. While the Pats were 4-1, his total EPA over the five games was only 22.16 which is the sixth lowest of his career. [FiveThirtyEight]Overwatch League kicks offThe Overwatch League, a competitive gaming esport, had its inaugural day on Wednesday, with games each night through Saturday. The league is backed by money from several NFL owners, and the slick presentation seen Wednesday — and the massive contract they inked with Twitch to carry the games — show they aren’t messing around. On day one, the Seoul Dynasty beat the Dallas Fuel 2-1, the Los Angeles Gladiators defeated Shanghai 4-0, and the Los Angeles Valiant defeated the San Francisco Shock 4-0. [ESPN]Try out our interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?Imagine getting sued by the ArmyThe Army is suing the Las Vegas Golden Knights over their team name, claiming that it infringes on the name of West Point’s teams. This means that for now, both sides appear poised for combat of the legal variety: The hockey team said in a statment “we are not aware of a single complaint from anyone attending our games that they were expecting to see the parachute team,” which is A+ chirping. [SportsLogos.net]Draft order set for most of usFor 24 teams in the league, the future is no longer a mystery. The draft ordering is set for two thirds of the league, with Cleveland pulling two picks in the top four and Oakland and San Francisco fighting for the 9th and 10th picks based on a coin flip alone. [ESPN]Make sure to try your hand at our fun NFL game: Can you beat the FiveThirtyEight predictions?Big Number$17,157The Cleveland Browns fans had their sad parade last weekend to commemorate the 0-16 season, but they did some serious good in the process, raising $17,157 for the Cleveland Food Banks and likely providing about 70,000 meals resulting from the shamefest. [Hayden Grove]Leaks from Slack, Monday Night: tchow [11:46 PM]This game…walt [11:47 PM]i know who is arie gonna eliminatewait wrong channelTagovailola is so goodi want the giants to draft him like nowtchow [12:01 AM]WowThat throw tho…walt [12:03 AM]I love footballPredictions NFL See more NFL predictions All newsletters See more NBA predictions NBA read more

Say Goodbye To The Old NBA Draft Lottery — But Probably NotSay Goodbye To The Old NBA Draft Lottery — But Probably Not

The new lottery will definitely change teams’ incentives in the right direction. It makes having a bottom-five record less valuable and improves the fortunes of teams in the rest of the lottery (particularly the Nos. 8 and 9 picks, which gain the most value under the new system). But it’s worth wondering if a change of about two-thirds of a win per season will really be enough to make a big dent in teams’ willingness to tank.In fairness, the effect appears larger when you consider the outsize potential of top picks to become stars. Using WORP as a guide, there was about a 34 percent chance of landing an All Star-level player2Defined as a player who produced at least 30 WORP in his first five NBA seasons. if a team had the worst record going into the 2018 lottery; those odds will fall to 27 percent under next year’s system. Seven percentage points doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but the NBA is so star-driven that any reduction in the probability of getting a franchise-altering player hurts. With the ability to get those kinds of players also increasing for teams who finish with, say, the league’s eighth-worst record, it should eventually help the anti-tanking effort by funneling more big stars to teams who don’t completely throw their seasons away.So congratulations, Phoenix: You’re the last team who’ll take advantage of the old odds to help grab a potential star. The league’s changes might not be extreme enough to fully discourage teams from engaging in Sixers-style tear downs, but they’re a start. And after the race to the bottom that played out down the stretch of the 2017-18 season, such changes are more than welcome.Check out our latest NBA predictions. As I wrote last year:Early in the draft, the curve is steep. The average No. 2 pick is worth only about 80 percent as many VORP in his first five seasons as the average No. 1, and players only get less valuable from there.This is part of why teams spend so much time and energy gunning for the worst record — and (until next year) the highest odds of picking No. 1. The chances of getting an impact player from the top pick are much better than at any other slot in the draft. But they’re not perfect; there’s a lot of luck involved in picking the player who’ll have the best career. Add in the extra randomness of getting the lottery balls to bounce your way, and the difference between the expected value of having the NBA’s worst record under the old system and next year’s new one is just 3.4 total wins over the first five years of a player’s career. When the pingpong balls came to a rest after Tuesday night’s NBA draft lottery, it was the end of an era for the league. Starting next season, the lottery’s distribution of odds based on team records will change — the first tweak to the system in 25 years. The jackpot-winning Phoenix Suns came out on top in this season’s historic tankfest, but from this moment on, the already-long odds of burning a franchise to the ground and building it back up will only get longer.At least, that’s the effect the league is hoping the new lottery rules will have. How much of a difference will the changes to the lottery system really make, though? And will it be enough to discourage teams from tanking?To work out some of the new math facing NBA teams, let’s turn to our draft-value chart, which measures the expected value over replacement player (VORP) that teams can expect out of a given draft pick in his first five pro seasons. (We’ll convert our chart from last summer to wins over replacement1Multiplying VORP by 2.7. to better position the differences in a real-world context.) read more

After being relegated to the sidelines Etienne Sabino is making noise onAfter being relegated to the sidelines Etienne Sabino is making noise on

Redshirt junior linebacker Etienne Sabino had an interesting road to a starting job for the Ohio State defense. After Sabino lost the job to current senior Andrew Sweat last spring, he and the coaches decided a redshirt might be in the his best interest. The decision was difficult for Sabino to cope with. “I would say it was probably one of the hardest years of my life,” Sabino said. “The toughest part was sitting on the sideline on Saturday and not being able to play.” Injuries to OSU’s defense and special teams units almost forced Sabino to give up his redshirt and play, but the team held out, giving him more time to grow. Despite his yearlong hiatus being difficult, Sabino said it helped him develop as a player. “I think I really got a better grasp of the defense as a whole,” he said. “As far as with me redshirting last year, I really think that helped me in that sense.” With another year in the system, Sabino is projected to be a starter at middle linebacker this season, replacing last year’s leading tackler, Brian Rolle, who recorded 76 tackles. Sabino said learning the defensive schemes has helped him progress as a linebacker. “It actually slows the game down for you when you’re out there and not thinking, and you can just react and know what you have,” he said. “It just helps your game and your overall football knowledge.” As a junior, Sabino is expected to take on a leadership role for the Buckeye defense, and junior defensive back Orhian Johnson said he thinks Sabino has blossomed into someone the defense can rely on. “He’s definitely stepped up into that leadership role,” Johnson said. “He’s been showing his dedication a lot, and I just really feel like he’s ready to let it all go and go out and perform.” Junior defensive lineman John Simon said Sabino’s presence on the defense makes the group better. “He’s a physical player and he gets the whole defense riled up,” Simon said. “We love having him out there when he’s making plays for us.” Spring practice has proven Sabino is ready to contribute to the defense, Simon said. “Right now is probably the best I’ve felt,” Sabino said, “and I feel very comfortable out there.” Johnson said he thinks Sabino has always had the talent but that he has become even better this spring. “We saw bright spots for him in his future,” Johnson said, “but he’s definitely stepped up a lot.” Even with the progress he has made in the system and the talent he has, Sabino said there is room to improve. “I’m really just trying to work on my little techniques and really just trying to get better in that sense,” he said. “I’m just focused on every day — I’m trying to get better every day.” With a young defense and the departure of starting linebackers Rolle and Ross Homan, Sabino said he is working to be a force on this year’s version of the Silver Bullets. “I’m just trying to be a playmaker,” he said, “and just help this team win in any way that I can.” read more

Ohio State mens soccer set for Big Ten match after 5 daysOhio State mens soccer set for Big Ten match after 5 days

Senior midfielder Yianni Sarris (6) dribbles the ball during a game against Indiana on Oct. 12 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU lost, 2-1.Credit: Ed Momot / For The LanternHeading into another matchup with a Big Ten opponent, the Ohio State men’s soccer team will have the benefit of one thing it hasn’t had in weeks — rest.The five days of rest between OSU’s 2-1 loss to then-No. 10 Indiana on Sunday and this weekend’s matchup at Wisconsin (2-8-2, 0-4-0) is the longest break the team has received in almost a month.OSU (4-5-3, 2-2-0) senior midfielder Yianni Sarris said the team appreciates the time off.“I think (the rest) is going to be huge for us,” Sarris said. “I don’t think we’ve had a full week of rest since the beginning of the year. We’ve got some guys injured right now, so hopefully we can get everyone on track and feeling better and be ready for Wisconsin on Saturday.”Sarris said he is dealing with a “banged-up” knee but will use the week to recover in time for the weekend.OSU coach John Bluem also said he was glad to see the break because of his team’s performance after time off this season.“We’ve played well when we’ve had an extended rest and have had more time to prepare,” Bluem said. “Hopefully that will be the case again.”Bluem said he gave the team a full day off on Monday after facing Indiana the day before.The Badgers sit at the bottom of the Big Ten standings with their 0-4 conference record. However, junior defender Kyle Culbertson said he does not believe the Buckeyes can take Wisconsin — or any other Big Ten team — lightly.“I don’t think we can relax,” Culbertson said. “I think there’s been a lot of things to show that our conference is pretty tough, through and through.”Bluem agreed, saying that he expects every game on the Big Ten schedule to be a close battle.“I wish I could say we could relax,” Bluem said. “But I think every team in the conference is capable of winning a game against anyone else. And certainly we’re one of those teams, as well.“We’re going to be in all these games, they’re going to be close games. We just have to find, and do, whatever it takes to get a result.”Preventing goals has been an issue for the Badgers this season. In eight out of 12 games, they have allowed two or more goals. However, OSU is tied for last in the Big Ten with a goal per game average of one.Despite the Badgers’ record, Bluem had high remarks for his team’s upcoming opponent.“Wisconsin looks like a very good team,” Bluem said. “It’s surprising to me that they’re 2-8-2. I know they’re a very, very young team, so hopefully we’ll be able to take advantage of that.”Wisconsin only carries three seniors on its roster, compared to 12 true freshmen.Sarris said Wisconsin’s losing record is of no interest to the team.“Our goal is to approach everyone like they’re a top-five opponent,” Sarris said. “Regardless if they’re ranked or not ranked, we’re going to treat them like they’re a top-ranked opponent because we can’t afford to lose any more matches.”Sarris said he has no doubt the team will be unprepared for Wisconsin with that mindset intact.“We will be ready,” he said.After the game at Madison, Wis., OSU is set to begin a three-game home stand against Bowling Green on Wednesday. That game is set to kick off at 7 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. read more

Womens basketball Former Duke transfer Sierra Calhoun finding her niche at OhioWomens basketball Former Duke transfer Sierra Calhoun finding her niche at Ohio

Ohio State redshirt junior guard Sierra Calhoun takes a shot during the Buckeyes’ game against Washington on Nov. 19. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports EditorMoving from one place to another can be a difficult process.In redshirt junior guard Sierra Calhoun’s case, however, it was not.  When Calhoun decided to transfer from Duke to Ohio State in 2015, she felt she had an idea of what awaited.Having already known some of the players and coaches at Ohio State, it only made the move that much easier. “I really liked the culture at OSU,” Calhoun said. “I knew a couple of players prior to transferring here, so it didn’t take long to gel with them. I also knew a couple of the coaches here prior to my visit. I thought it was a good fit in terms of coaching staff, personnel, atmosphere, stuff like that.”A product of Christ the King High School located in Queens, New York, Calhoun was the top prospect in the state and committed to Duke in 2013. As a freshman, she posted 10.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. Despite starting the first 13 games for the Blue Devils, Calhoun abruptly left the program midseason, deciding Ohio State would be the best place for her. “It was a lot of things, but it just didn’t work out,” Calhoun said. “It wasn’t a bad transition at all. It was actually pretty easy. The universities are very different. Obviously, coming from a small university to a bigger university is a change. I’m from New York, so moving to a bigger university wasn’t really that hard of a transition.”After sitting out the 2015 season due to transfer rules, the former Blue Devil emerged as one of Ohio State’s best players during her first season in Columbus. She started every contest during the 2016-17 season for Ohio State, averaging 9.5 points per game as the Buckeyes’ resident sharpshooter. Calhoun averaged a team-best 38.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc and made the second-most 3-pointers (68). Watching the previous season unfold beforehand wasn’t easy for Calhoun, but it not only provided invaluable experience, it helped her see the game from a different perspective. “Last year, sitting out a while was hard, but I also got to look at the game from a different perspective,” Calhoun said. “I feel like that helped me last year in terms of looking at things from a different angle and seeing what other people are doing well, so I can help my teammates out more. This year, I definitely have more experience under my belt. We’re gelling more.”The 2017-18 campaign began inconsistently for Calhoun in her second season on the court as a Buckeye. She hit worse than 27 percent of her shots in four of the first five games of the season. But as the season has progressed, so has her shooting stroke. Calhoun has hit 12-of-27 triples in her last four games.Through 10 total games this season, Calhoun is averaging 10.8 points — on 37-of-111 shots from the field for a 33.3 percent field goal percentage — and three rebounds, while shooting 29 percent from 3-point range (18-for-62). At this point in her Buckeye career, Calhoun is more than proving her worth to the 12th-ranked team in college basketball.In a starting lineup featuring seniors at every position except her own, Calhoun has managed to carve out her own niche as a leader, which can only help Ohio State in Calhoun’s eyes. “I definitely want to show that I have more experience,” Calhoun said. “I don’t want to make any sophomore or rookie mistakes. I just want to be a leader out there. We have a lot of leaders on our team. I think it’d be a great to have a lot of coaches on the floor. It’ll help us have a great season.” read more

Rory McGrath appears in court charged with stalking married woman for 14Rory McGrath appears in court charged with stalking married woman for 14

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Rory McGrath at court His alleged victim cannot be named for legal reasons. McGrath, from Cambridge, is accused of harassing the woman in the city between June 2015 and August this year.Prosecutor Anthea Harris said the alleged offence continued over a 14-month period.McGrath was granted conditional bail, which bans him from contacting the alleged victim or visiting an address in Cambridge.McGrath, who has appeared in shows including They Think It’s All Over and Who Dares Wins, is due to stand trial in January. Rory McGrath, right, arrives at court in Cambridge on TuesdayCredit:Terry Harris/i-Images Rory McGrath, the comedian, has appeared in court accused of stalking a married woman for 14 months.The 60-year-old TV star is alleged to have harassed the woman despite complaints from her, her husband and the police, a court heard.McGrath is said to have sent his alleged victim electronic messages, approached her in the street and sent letters to her husband.He spoke only to confirm his name, address and to enter a not guilty plea to a charge of stalking against a woman when he appeared at Cambridge magistrates’ court on Tuesday morning.last_img read more

Man and woman found dead in Hertfordshire flat after being stabbedMan and woman found dead in Hertfordshire flat after being stabbed

first_imgPolice are investigating after a man and woman were found dead after being stabbed.Officers found the body of a woman after storming a flat in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire.They also found a man also suffering from knife wounds, who died shortly after police arrived.A nearby bar manager claimed two children were inside during the incident.A Hertfordshire Police spokesman said: “When police arrived at the address they found a woman had been stabbed and had tragically passed away.”A man was also found to be at the property with knife wounds. He also tragically passed away shortly after at the scene.”At this early stage of the investigation, police do not currently believe they are looking for anyone else in connection with this incident.”Investigations are on-going.”An air ambulance also flew to the scene, while pictures show police vehicles and a taped cordon surrounding the block of flats, which sits close to a roundabout linking Turners Hill and the High Street.A bar manager at The Old English Gentleman pub nearby, told The Hertfordshire Mercury: “I feel sorry for the kids. I heard there were two children in there as well. One was about six, same age as my child.”  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Dunkirk heros son reunited with the little ship that saved himDunkirk heros son reunited with the little ship that saved him

first_imgThe boat was salvaged and owned by the same person for 30 years before he put it up for sale on eBay three years ago. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. David Wilson with ‘Count Dracula’, the little boat back from the deadCredit:Phil Yeomans Mr Wilson is helping to return Count Dracula to her former glory in time for the 80th anniversary of the evacuation in 2020 when the original ‘little ships’ will return to Dunkirk.The restoration project is costing £200,000.Count Dracula already had a remarkable existence before Dunkirk as it was built for the German navy in 1913.Kaiser Wilhelm II gifted her to Admiral Franz von Hipper who used it as his launch boat on the SMS Hindenburg in the First World War. It was even at the Battle of Jutland. Kevin Kilkenney, whose great uncle was also evacuated at Dunkirk, purchased the boat and with the assistance of restoration expert Derek Abra is attempting to return her to her former glory at Mr Wilson’s boat yard. Sgt Wilson was left behind with a group of engineers to blow up a bridge then they made their way along the coast looking for a means to escape.They found this boat with the crew washed up on a mud bank and the mechanic with them managed to jury rig the gear box to allow them to set off.David Wilson, 79, who runs the boat yard Wilson’s of Hayling in Hayling Island, Hampshire, said: “It’s the boat my dad came back from France in at Dunkirk. “My father only spoke a few times about Dunkirk but he told me Count Dracula was the boat which rescued him.”It is an amazing story and this boat has a remarkable history. It’s incredible that it has now turned up in my boat yard after all this time.”After the war, Count Dracula went back to the Greiner family who eventually sold her and she was then used as a houseboat before being abandoned on the Thames Estuary. Count Dracula on the SMS Hindenberg before its scuttling in Scapa Flow at the end of WW1 When the German fleet was scuppered at Scapa Flow in 1919, the boat was salvaged by the Royal Navy.It became a private yacht and its London owner Carl Greiner gave it the name Count Dracula. Count Dracula on the SMS Hindenberg before its scuttling in Scapa Flow at the end of WW1Credit:Kevin Kilkenny David Wilson with 'Count Dracula', the little boat back from the dead Sgt William Wilson, who was rescued by the ‘Count’ In June 1940 he sent his son Alan to take her to Ramsgate, Kent, to be a part of the flotilla of ‘little ships’ destined for Dunkirk.With two 35ft lifeboats in tow, Count Dracula lifted 702 British and 10 Belgian soldiers over the course of the evacuation. A Dunkirk hero’s son has been reunited with the ‘little ship’ which saved him 77-years-ago as it emerges that the boat was built for the German fleet and served in the Battle of Jutland. Sgt William Wilson was one of 712 soldiers plucked from the beaches by the 50ft vessel – named Count Dracula – during the Dunkirk evacuation in the Second World War.Now, the decrepit timber craft turned up at a boat yard owned by Sgt Wilson’s son, David, for restoration. Sgt William Wilson, who was rescued by the 'Count'last_img read more

Advertising crackdown on secondary ticketing websites over fees and chargesAdvertising crackdown on secondary ticketing websites over fees and charges

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Singer Amy Macdonald has also warned music fans about resellers Credit:Getty The advertising watchdog has clamped down on four of the main secondary ticketing websites by banning their “misleading” pricing information.The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has taken action against StubHub, Viagogo, Seatwave and GetMeIn after finding that they were not upfront and clear with consumers about additional ticket fees and charges that were added at the end of the booking process.It has banned the websites from not making the total ticket price, VAT-inclusive booking fee and delivery fee clear at the start of the booking process.The ASA has banned Viagogo from claiming that it is the “official site” after it misleadingly implied it was an official primary ticket outlet rather than a second-hand ticket website.Viagogo is also banned from making a “100% Guarantee” claim in its ads which the ASA said misleadingly suggested that consumers were guaranteed entry to the relevant venue.The ASA found there was a reasonable risk that customers could be denied entry with a ticket bought from a secondary site. “The message from our rulings is simple and it’s clear: The price you see at the start should be the price you pay at the end.”A StubHub spokeswoman said: “As a consumer-first ticket marketplace, StubHub supports any measures which make ticket buying easier, more convenient and more transparent for fans.”We welcome this opportunity to work closely with the ASA and we will be fully compliant with its decision.”We hope that other players in the ticketing industry, including primary issuers, follow suit.”In November the competition watchdog announced it was taking enforcement action against secondary ticketing websites suspected of breaking consumer law.The Competition and Markets Authority, which did not identify the sites, had been investigating the market.A number of artists including Ed Sheeran, Mumford And Sons, Radiohead and Amy Macdonald have encouraged music lovers to stop using Viagogo, GetMeIn, StubHub and Seatwave.A spokeswoman for Ticketmaster, which owns Seatwave and GetMeIn, said: “Our ticket resale sites already ensure fans know exactly what they will pay at every stage of the buying process, displaying all fees as soon as the customer selects and submits the number of tickets they are looking to buy.”We will continue to work with both the ASA and the CMA to further develop levels of transparency and consumer protection within the UK ticketing sector.” UK advertising rules require quoted prices to include non-optional taxes and fees that apply to all or most buyers, and advertisers should also list any applicable delivery fees.ASA chief executive Guy Parker said: “Many of us will recognise the frustration of being happy with the initial price of tickets on a secondary website only to be stung by hefty fees when we come to book. Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home products and services, said: “It’s absolutely right that the ASA has stepped in to prevent secondary ticketing websites from misleading people and potentially leaving them disappointed and out of pocket.”With people increasingly finding that they have to buy tickets through secondary sites, the sector must be closely scrutinised and action should be taken against companies that aren’t playing by the rules.” Singer Amy Macdonald has also warned music fans about resellers last_img read more

Lettuce shortages and hosepipe ban as heatwave continuesLettuce shortages and hosepipe ban as heatwave continues

Severn Trent said: “We’re set for another hot weekend, and, with demand for water really high, we’re producing millions of extra litres.”We’re asking customers to be careful with their water and for now avoid using the garden sprinkler or hosepipe.”Trent Water’s reservoirs were at 88 percent of capacity on June 18, down from 97 percent in April.The British Leafy Salad Growers Association (BLSGA) said the “soaring” temperatures were causing “havoc” for growers.It said the last week a record 18 million lettuces had been sold, about 40% more than last year and warned that that “when the mercury hits 30C lettuces can’t grow”.In good weather the crop normally grows rapidly, but at current high temperatures it effectively stops growing because it is “under stress”.Dieter Lloyd, spokesman for the BLSGA, said it “looks entirely likely that there will be shortages” from the “middle to end of next week”.One East anglian grower added: “I think that if the weather keeps going the way that it’s going absolutely we wouldn’t be in a position to fulfil the demand that we’re seeing with UK-grown produce.”The Met Office said the highest temperature on Friday was 32.5C (90.5F) in Porthmadog, in north-west Wales, and highs of 30C-31C (86F-87.8F) are expected on Saturday. The recent hot spell has put a strain on water firms, which have been pumping millions of litres into their systems. Farmers have warned of a shortage of lettuce while gardeners in England have been told not to use hosepipes as waters shortages deepen as a result of the heatwave.Lettuce and other vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower could be in short supply as high temperatures put the produce “under stress” and stop them growing.Growers say that with traditionally high summer demand for lettuce they may have to import salad leaves from the US to make up the shortfall, at a time when more than 90 per cent usually originates here.Farmers have also said there could be problems with the wheat and barley harvest if there is no rain in the next few weeks, as these crops depend on rainfall rather than irrigation.At the same time water companies have asked customers to conserve supplies by not using hosepipes or water sprinklers, with the heatwave continuing into the weekend.The first hosepipe ban began in Northern Ireland at 6pm on Friday, and on Saturday Severn Trent Water in the Midlands and United Utilities in the north west began to urge people not to use hosepipes and sprinklers. This compares with average temperatures for the time of year of 17C (62.6F) in the north and 21C (69.8F) in the south.Senior forecaster Marco Petagna said: “There’s a lot of fine weather still to come.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Signal failure delays could become complaint of the past as train companySignal failure delays could become complaint of the past as train company

Asked how soon we could see these prototypes become reality in the UK, Mr Ferrer said: “I don’t know but in Swizerland we have taken the control centre from one line and put that onto the cloud. It does sit on the cloud. So it is doable.”A spokesperson for Network Rail said: “In May we launched the new Digital Railway Strategy, which explains why modern forms of signalling and train control are required urgently to improve the passenger experience and bring down the operating costs of the network.”They added that some signalling systems are still based on Victorian technology and need to become obsolete in the next 15 years. Train delays caused by signal failures could soon be a frustration of the past, as one of the UK’s leading train manufacturers trial new ‘cloud’ technology.Siemens, which has 450 trains in service in the UK and recently won the contract to build new London Underground trains, hopes to move signalling to a digital space in ‘the cloud’ to reduce the chance of technical errors.Signal failures are caused by power cuts or a blown fuse in the train track circuit. Between 2016 and 2017, there were 19,000 signal failure faults which caused delays of more than 100 minutes or more to a train service.By removing computers and wires from the rail communication system, Siemens hope to avoid delays caused by broken or faulty equipment.]Cloud-based technology could also allow train operators to predict and avoid delays and overcrowding by collecting passenger data and storing it in one place. Mark Ferrer, the Operations Director for digital railways at Siemens told The Sunday Telegraph, said: “[Cloud technology is] just moving functionality and control from one place into another place – which is the cloud. What this gets you is the ability to have a greater level of analytics and prediction.”It gives you a better level of prediction across the entire system so it can run more smoothly. It’s about being able to predict what the future would look like in any given scenario too, for example increasing passenger demand.“Really it’s about taking the data out of the system, putting it into the cloud and using the data to improve capacity.”The UK plans are in prototype stage, but Siemens has already put one rail line onto the cloud in Switzerland.Mr Ferrer added: “Passenger use has gone up massively over the last 15 years, so if there is a failure of any part of the infrastructure, the impact of that failure is felt wider across the network.”The capacity challenge we face in the industry is mammoth – we need more capacity.”It is also about reducing infrastructure, so there is less that can go wrong, and therefore fewer delays. He added: “The objective would be to cut down on the amount of infrastructure that we have. The more there is, there more there is to go wrong so if you reduce it there would be less to go wrong.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

There are far too many its nonsense says blue plaque chief MikeThere are far too many its nonsense says blue plaque chief Mike

If you have noticed blue plaques springing up all over town, you are not alone. The chairman of an organisation that puts up the plaques has agreed there are far too many of them.Mike Read, the former Radio 1 DJ and head of the British Plaque Trust, said some are erected at spots that have only a fleeting connection to the famous person in question.“There are too many. There are about 50 for Dickens,” said Read, who was speaking at the Henley Literature Festival. “And Tolkien has quite a few. I’m a bit against that. There’s one to Tolkien where he stayed for two nights. That’s nonsense.“In Basingstoke about eight years ago, they suddenly decided, ‘We don’t have any plaques’, so they said, ‘Let’s bang some up.’ One or two are appropriate, the others maybe not that appropriate.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––“You can’t put one up saying, ‘This is a very old building.’ We have lots of very old buildings. That’s not terribly good.”The subjects of Basingstoke’s plaques range from Jane Austen, who attended dances in the town, to the local marketplace, where a plaque notes that markets have been held on that spot since 1214. One plaque marks the spot where the Beatles once had fish and chips in NorwichCredit:Leo Reynolds One plaque marks the spot where the Beatles once had fish and chips in Norwich The British Plaque Trust is a separate body that recognises the contributions of “notable, influential and successful people from all walks of life” around the UK – the English Heritage scheme is limited to London – and its patrons are Earl Spencer and Lord Grade.Read says he can sometimes be overruled by his own committee. “One I didn’t agree with was Screaming Lord Sutch. OK, he was a character. But I didn’t think he was worthy of a blue plaque.”English Heritage requires recipients to have been dead for at least 20 years “to ensure that the decision about whether or not to shortlist a candidate is made with a sufficient degree of hindsight”.The organisation has admitted to a “historic blindness” over the achievements of women, after figures in 2016 showed that only 13 per cent of its honorees are women. Read said he did not approve of affirmative action. “I’m not [an] advocate of putting up a great flurry of plaques to women simply because they are women. But it will happen naturally. As time goes, more female plaques will appear.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Official blue plaques are given out by English Heritage, which administers a scheme that began in the 1860s, and they currently number just over 900. However, councils and other organisations are free to put up their own. read more