Just one week into the NFL season, it’s hard to know exactly which teams will be contenders and which will be focused on their spot in the draft next spring. So it probably seems too early to be discussing playoff implications — a conversation that’s usually on hold until Thanksgiving. But in a 16-game schedule, the margins are small, and each game has a big effect on the postseason picture. Week 2 is no different — after all, the season will be 12.5 percent over after Monday night.Thursday’s AFC North tilt between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens is one of those early season contests that could end up having real postseason consequences. In fact, our NFL Elo prediction model considers it the most important game of Week 2. (Remember when Thursday Night Football was a place to stash the NFL’s unwanted matchups?) With a win, each team’s chances of making the playoffs would jump by about 15 percentage points, while the loser would see a commensurate decline. Especially after the division-rival Pittsburgh Steelers stumbled out of the gate without star RB Le’Veon Bell, the chance to jump out to a 2-0 start is a big opportunity for both Baltimore and Cincy. SEA40.311.8CHI188.8.131.52 Elo’s dumbest (and smartest) picks of Week 1Average difference between points won by readers and by Elo in Week 1 matchups in FiveThirtyEight’s NFL prediction game PIT53.812.1KC74.89.922.0 Bengals-Ravens could help make or break their seasonsWeek 2 games with the most total potential swing for the two teams’ playoff chances, according to FiveThirtyEight’s NFL Elo predictions ARI61ARI55WSH 24, ARI 6+4.8– BAL59.0%+/-15.1CIN39.6%+/-14.829.9 NYJ39.013.3MIA30.312.926.2 6Minnesota4023,1180 NE86NE77NE 27, HOU 20-6.3– 1Washington4223,6423 Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com 8San Francisco3831,0285 DAL33.58.1NYG184.108.40.206 Team ACurrentAvg. Chg*Team BCurrentAvg. Chg*Total Change The Bengals always get competent QB play — but no ringsMost seasons with positive yards above backup quarterback (YABQ) for NFL franchises, 1970-2017 DEN30.010.5OAK14.37.918.4 TEN30.49.7HOU220.127.116.11 WSH39.17.9IND18.104.22.168 NO74NO82TB 48, NO 40-13.5– PHI65PHI57PHI 18, ATL 12-9.6– The Ravens come into the matchup off of a 44-point demolition of the Buffalo Bills, which propelled Baltimore from 12th to eighth in our Elo rankings. With the Bills starting the comically ineffective Nathan Peterman at QB, it’s difficult to judge how much we really learned about the Ravens in the blowout. But it had to be encouraging for Baltimore fans to see Joe Flacco play well, regardless of the opponent. At home against Buffalo, Flacco generated 119 more adjusted net yards than a generic backup-level quarterback would have (aka yards above backup QB, or YABQ), which ranked sixth among all signal-callers in Week 1 — behind Ryan Fitzpatrick, Drew Brees, Patrick Mahomes, Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers.In terms of YABQ, this game also represented the third-best that Flacco has enjoyed since Week 3 of the 2015 season, which helps underscore how bad Flacco has been in recent years. For instance, last season the Ravens had the third-worst quarterbacking production of any team in the league, with Flacco’s individual metrics in a three-year tailspin. For a team that featured one of the NFL’s best defenses last season, any spark that Flacco and the offense can provide could go a long way toward sending Baltimore back to the playoffs for the first time since 2014. And in their first test against the overmatched Bills, Flacco and the revamped Ravens receiving corps passed with flying colors.A somewhat similar narrative is unfolding in Cincinnati. With much-maligned QB Andy Dalton embarking on his eighth season as the Bengals’ starter (and coach Marvin Lewis back for an astonishing 16th year on the team’s sidelines), Cincy went into Indianapolis and beat Andrew Luck and the Colts thanks to solid passing and rushing, plus timely defensive plays late in the game. Aside from maybe Flacco, few quarterbacks in the league needed to start the season on the right foot more than Dalton, who infamously has never won a playoff game during his time in the Queen City.A win over Baltimore on Thursday won’t change that — perhaps surprisingly, Dalton has beaten the Ravens more often than not anyway — but it would help quiet the doubts that Dalton’s best days are behind him. Since he finished third in the league in YABQ in 2015 (despite suffering a season-ending injury that December), he slipped to 11th in 2016 and 21st in 2017, and the Bengals didn’t make the playoffs either year. With a defense that projects to be mediocre at best, Cincinnati needs Dalton to reverse that slide in order to have any shot at the postseason — and probably to have any chance at salvaging the Dalton/Lewis era.The great irony of the Bengals is that their quarterbacking has always been just good enough to come up short. While the Ravens have won two Super Bowls behind a couple of QBs (Flacco and Trent Dilfer) who were below-average passers for their careers, Cincinnati has consistently had average-to-good passing over the years, aside from a few notable exceptions. Just look back at the Bengals’ history of primary quarterbacks: 40 of their 47 seasons since 1972 have been led by five quarterbacks — Ken Anderson, Boomer Esiason, Jeff Blake, Carson Palmer and Dalton. Although none is in the Hall of Fame (Anderson’s case is a point of contentious debate), each rates as average or better in his career according to Pro-Football-Reference.com’s advanced passing index.That’s why, from the 1970 AFL-NFL merger until the present day, no team has gotten more seasons of “competent” (above-backup level) quarterbacking than the Bengals have: OUR PREDICTION (ELO)READERS’ PREDICTION MIN76MIN71MIN 24, SF 16-5.3– GB63GB71GB 24, CHI 23+3.3– CAR60CAR60CAR 16, DAL 8-1.8– 7Denver3922,6483 3Miami4125,4802 3Dallas4128,3835 1Cincinnati4223,1280 LAC56LAC55KC 38, LAC 28-0.6– GB29.013.5MIN73.712.926.3 PIT79PIT76PIT 21, CLE 21+0.0 3Pittsburgh4118,7546 TB35.611.6PHI82.98.420.0 And yet, even though the teams around them on that list have won multiple Super Bowls, Cincinnati has yet to break through with even one win of its own.History says that’s unlikely to change this season. But it is fair to say that Dalton’s duel with Flacco this week has taken on unexpected importance for an early season game. The winner will ensure itself a quick boost in playoff chances — and an extra helping of redemption after the way both teams have played the past few seasons.FiveThirtyEight vs. the readersLast week, we relaunched our NFL Elo prediction interactive, which you can use to track every team in the league in the race for the Super Bowl. Along with it, we also brought back a popular feature from last season — a prediction game that lets you test your football smarts against our model (and thousands of fellow readers). Here were Elo’s best and worst picks against the field in Week 1: IND50IND50CIN 34, IND 23-1.9– JAX58JAX62JAX 20, NYG 15+0.7– BAL64BAL72BAL 47, BUF 3+2.9– OAK50%LAR68%LAR 33, OAK 13+11.7– Overall, it was a pretty impressive opening week for Elo — in fact, our model cleaned up nicely, beating readers by 28.3 total points on average. This is especially surprising because Week 1 would seem to be the moment of the season when human pickers have the greatest edge on the algorithm. In our NFL preview, I noted that Elo can get caught a little flat-footed early in the season because it doesn’t know about all the roster and coaching moves that transpired over the summer. Theoretically, that should have made it as unprepared for Week 1 as Matt Patricia’s Detroit Lions … but unlike the Lions, Elo proved the naysayers (i.e., me) wrong.Elo’s biggest win was in not dismissing the Buccaneers completely. While our readers gave the home Saints a better than 80 percent chance of winning, the model was more cautious, and it ended up paying off when Tampa (and backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick) dropped 48 points on New Orleans. Elo also picked up credit for calling the Dolphins’ protracted win over the Titans and for once again showing faith in the Eagles (just like in last year’s playoffs).If the readers did have a crowning moment in Week 1, though, it was for calling the Rams’ big win over the Raiders in Oakland on Monday night. Elo thought the game was a pick ’em, but the readers knew better, giving L.A. a 68 percent chance of spoiling Jon Gruden’s return to the sidelines.Thanks to everyone who played on opening week, and remember that it’s not too late to start, even if you missed Week 1. So be sure to get your picks in now!Check out our latest NFL predictions. 8New England3825,4785 Playoff %Playoff % LAR58.110.9ARI14.17.918.8 SEA54SEA52DEN 27, SEA 24+0.0 PICKWIN PROB.PICKWIN PROB.ResultREADERS’ NET points ATL51.114.1CAR52.413.928.1 NO27.84.2CLE22.214.171.124 *Average change is weighted by the likelihood of a win or loss. (Ties are excluded.)Source: ESPN.com LAC33.312.4BUF21.89.822.2 DET19.18.7SF22.28.417.1 8Philadelphia3816,0041 JAX64.310.8NE81.88.819.6 MIA53TEN55MIA 27, TEN 20-10.3– DET71DET71NYJ 48, DET 17-2.4– The scoring system is nonlinear, so readers’ average points don’t necessarily match the number of points that would be given to the average reader prediction. FranchiseSeasons above backup level since 1970Total YABQSuper Bowls
Obviously, those 2018 youth players won’t be old enough in 2019 to figure into the senior team’s World Cup fortunes. But the lack of earlier success could suggest a down period coming for the Americans in upcoming World Cups. At least, that’s assuming youth-level results are predictive of future senior-team outcomes. But is that true?Fortunately for the U.S., the relationship there is only a moderate one. To measure this, I’m using a system called “Dynasty Points,” which I’ve used before to track a team’s postseason success over multiple years. In each tournament, you get 1,000 points for winning the whole thing, 500 for finishing second, 250 for losing in the semifinals (with a 100-point bonus for finishing third), 115 for losing in the quarters and 40 for losing in the Round of 16 (when applicable).2These values are roughly scaled to reflect how many teams you needed to beat out in order to reach a given level of the tournament, while keeping the value of winning at a constant 1,000. If a team’s performance at the youth level was cause for concern or optimism for later iterations of the senior team, we’d expect a strong relationship between World Cup dynasty points and dynasty points produced by the youth teams in the decade between five and 15 years before.But looking at the 2007, 2011 and 2015 World Cups (and weighting by the number of youth tournaments that led up to each — meaning 2015 had more of a sample, since the era of two youth tournaments didn’t begin until 2008), the correlation coefficient between youth performance and World Cup success is 0.49. That’s not a nonexistent relationship by any means, but it also indicates that about three-quarters of the variation between countries in World Cup success is explained by something other than youth-level results in the years beforehand.Broadly speaking, if a team consistently finishes well in the Under-17 and Under-20 events, it tends to do better at the World Cup as well. Many of the most successful youth-level countries — such as Germany, the U.S. and Japan — are also among the best World Cup teams. But the relationship isn’t perfect. According to Dynasty Points, North Korea is the most successful youth-level team since 2002, winning four tournaments and finishing second on two other occasions. Yet North Korea has advanced out of the group stage just once in its World Cup history.3The North Korean team was banned from the 2015 World Cup after a doping investigation. Meanwhile, Norway and Sweden have been incredibly successful at the World Cup level (they rank third and fifth in all-time Dynasty Points, respectively) and have combined to advance out of the group stage of a youth tournament just twice since 2002.The U.S.’s own history is instructive in the imperfect relationship between youth results and World Cup outcomes. Although it dominated junior tournaments from 2002 to 2008 — winning two events, finishing second in another and never losing before the semifinals — it has also made two World Cup Finals and won Olympic gold with the senior squad since its ongoing youth-level dry spell began in 2010. 2012U-20 WCYouth64.51000– 2015World CupSenior76.51000– 1999World CupSenior66.01000– 2002U-19 WCYouth66.01000– 1995World CupSenior64.5350– 2011World CupSenior64.0500– YearTournamentTypeMatchesWins*Dynasty Points 2008U-20 WCYouth65.01000– 1991World CupSenior66.01000– 2004U-19 WCYouth65.0350– 2010U-20 WCYouth42.5115– 2014U-20 WCYouth42.0115– 2003World CupSenior65.0350– 2012U-17 WCYouth32.00 2016U-20 WCYouth63.0250– 2006U-20 WCYouth64.0250– Is the USWNT’s youth-level talent pipeline drying up?Results for the United States at both the World Cup and youth-level tournaments Wherever it lands in the upcoming World Cup draw — which will be held in Paris on Saturday at noon ET — the United States Women’s National Team will go into next year’s tournament in its familiar perch as favorites. The U.S. has been the most dominant team in the history of the event (which began in 1991), capturing the Cup three times and winning more matches (33) than any other country. Along the way, Team USA has given us multiple generations of superstars, the latest of which includes names like Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath — all of whom figure to represent the Stars and Stripes in France next summer.But this won’t quite be the same roster as the one last seen hoisting the World Cup in 2015 (or even the one America sent to the 2016 Olympics). Likely gone are goalkeeper Hope Solo, forward Abby Wambach, midfielder Lauren Holiday and defenders Meghan Klingenberg, Christie Rampone and Ali Krieger, among others. And while the U.S. has perpetually been able to retool on the fly with the emergence of even greater young talent than before (remember Morgan’s breakout performance as a 22-year-old at the 2011 World Cup?), there’s growing concern that the next generation won’t be as ready to carry the torch.Specifically, the U.S. results at the youth level — including both the Under-17 and Under-20 Women’s World Cups — have been pretty mediocre in recent years. The U.S. didn’t advance out of its group in either tournament this year and has advanced past the quarterfinals just twice at the youth level since 2008.1That year, Morgan helped power the U.S. to the championship at the Under-20 Cup with this ridiculous goal. 2008U-17 WCYouth63.5500– 2016U-17 WCYouth31.00 2007World CupSenior64.5350– 2018U-17 WCYouth31.00 2018U-20 WCYouth31.50 It bears mentioning that the 2012 Under-20 squad also won gold, so the U.S.’s recent youth results haven’t been completely devoid of success. And it’s also important to note that the senior team can poach promising young stars from the youth level, inherently limiting the U.S.’s performance in U-17 and (especially) U-20 tournaments in favor of bolstering the main roster.It’s true that next summer’s team will be asking more of some players who hadn’t taken on full-fledged starring roles in previous major tournaments. But a number of those have drawn rave reviews during friendlies and qualifiers with the national team this year, including Lindsey Horan and Crystal Dunn, both of whom also logged time on the 2016 Olympic team. And forward Mallory Pugh, who will turn 21 just a few months before the World Cup, is as promising as any member of the U.S.’s next generation. Pugh returned from injury to score six goals and set up three others in 10 international games this year — and could be just scratching the surface of her talent.According to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group, the average age of Team USA in its 2018 games was 26.4 years old, compared with the average age of 32.6 for the group that took the field in the 2015 World Cup. A few standbys do remain from the rosters of old — Lloyd and Rapinoe are still the anchors of this team, while Morgan remains at the top of her game, having scored or assisted on 14 goals in 15 games with the national team this year. But the 2019 World Cup will also serve as a transition of sorts into a new era for the USWNT. And although America’s youth-level results leading up to next year aren’t great, we shouldn’t assume that the U.S.’s senior-team dominance will end any time soon. Dynasty Points are awarded for success in a tournament. A team gets 1,000 points for winning the tournament, 250 for losing in the semifinals (with a 100-point bonus for finishing third), 115 for losing in the quarters and 40 for losing in the Round of 16.* Ties are counted as a half-win.Source: FIFA
OSU junior left fielder Ronnie Dawson walks away from the plate during a game against Rutgers on April 15 at Bill Davis Stadium. Credit: Lantern File PhotoIn its second game on Saturday and fourth game in four days, No. 4 seed Ohio State Buckeyes avoided elimination once again by defeating the No. 7 seed Michigan State Spartans on a game-winning homerun in the 10th inning off the bat of junior outfielder Ronnie Dawson. The Buckeyes’ victory in the Big Ten semifinal forces a second game with MSU on Sunday morning to determine who will play the eighth-seeded Hawkeyes in the one-game Big Ten final.Since OSU’s first game of the Big Ten tournament on Wednesday against Michigan, coach Greg Beals drew the path for his Buckeyes to reach the Big Ten final. A ninth-inning collapse against the Iowa Hawkeyes on Thursday created a detour littered with adversity to reach the championship game, but OSU had stepped up time and time again.Dawson’s home run was his 10th hit of the tournament, leading all Buckeye hitters. He powered OSU to a victory over Big Ten regular season champ Minnesota on an identical home run in the same inning just a week ago. Dawson has become OSU’s leader on the field through its Big Ten tournament run and seems to come through at the most important times.MSU was playing its third game of the tournament, so its pitching staff was rested and ready to go. Out of necessity, Beals had to pencil in senior pitcher Daulton Mosbarger for his first start in his career with the Buckeyes. It was a classic cat-and-mouse game. When OSU scored, the Spartans retaliated. MSU took the lead in the third, OSU came right back to knot things at 2-2 in the top of the fourth. Each team traded blows throughout seven innings. After Mosbarger left in the fifth inning allowing two earned runs on six hits while striking out five, redshirt sophomore Kyle Michalik took the reigns and ended all chances of MSU scoring the go-ahead run.Spartans redshirt sophomore reliever Jake Lowry was equally as impressive out of the bullpen. In the eighth, OSU junior outfielder Ronnie Dawson smacked a leadoff double down the right field line for his ninth hit of the tournament. Lowry came back with two straight strikeouts to end the Buckeye threat.Coming in for Michalik was sophomore pitcher Seth Kinker, who was on the hill when Iowa started its miraculous comeback and devastated the Buckeyes. Beals still had confidence in his pitcher to give his team a chance to survive and advance. Kinker delivered a scoreless eighth inning with a pair of strikeouts, and with the go-ahead run on second base in the ninth inning, Kinker fielded a ground ball back to the mound and alertly caught the MSU runner between base paths which ended up in a double play to clear the bases. Kinker struck out the next batter, which set the stage for Dawson to become the hero.Redshirt sophomore Yianni Pavlopoulos was credited with the save in the 10th, and the Buckeyes advance to the final day of the tournament.The victory improves the Buckeyes record to 41-18-1, likely putting them firmly in the NCAA tournament picture.Austin Woodby will start for OSU against the Spartans on Sunday at 10 a.m. for the right to go to the Big Ten tournament final.
Dr. James Borchers is the head team physician for OSU athletics and Director of Medical Services for The Ohio State Univeristy Wexner Medical Center. Credit: Courtesy of OSU Department of AthleticsLast week, Dr. James Borchers was named head team physician for the Ohio State Department of Athletics. In the new position, Borchers will be responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations of other team physicians and ensuring that every varsity student-athlete receives the best possible care.Borchers said he is excited to take on the challenges of the new position. He started in his new role on Sept. 22.“It’s very humbling,” Borchers said. “It’s a position that I think I’ve prepared for and am really looking forward to doing. It means a lot for me in my career development, and it means a lot for me doing it here at Ohio State.”Dr. Christopher Kaeding, executive director of sports medicine at OSU, decided that with the recent expansions of the sports medicine program, it would benefit from someone heading the team physicians.“With the expansion of our program and the increase in demands, regulation and bureaucracy and the caring for a Division I collegiate athletic program, we need to expand our personnel and resources to meet those needs,” Kaeding said.And for Kaeding, Borchers was a shoe-in for the job. “I think he has a passion for the job,” Kaeding said. “He has 12 years of experience, and he understands and is very good at implementing the team concept of caring for the student athletes.”Borchers has been working at Ohio State for 12 years, but his time as a Buckeye started long before his time in the sports medicine program. After leaving his hometown of Bellbrook, Ohio, Borchers played center and long snapper for the OSU football team from 1989 to 1993. But, as a player, Borchers was still a bit unsure about what the future had in store for him.“At that time when I played, I had an interest in medicine, but I also had some other interests and I didn’t really, at that point, have it figured out that that’s what I wanted to do,” Borchers said. “But certainly we had great team physicians back then, and I really appreciated the care I got. And I think as I went on and went to medical school and got involved in medicine, I really appreciated it more.”After graduating from OSU, Borchers went on to the Northeastern Ohio College of Medicine, where he received his M.D. He completed his residency and fellowship at the University of Toledo Athletic Department from 2000 to 2004. Since then, Borchers has been providing care to varsity athletes at his alma mater in the role of team physician.While working as a physician, Borchers completed his master’s of public health at Ohio State in 2008, a degree that has done a lot to benefit him in his line of work.“It’s been helpful as a sports medicine physician because although we are concerned about individual athletes, often times we are making decisions, too, that affect teams and groups of people and looking for ways to help treat certain injury types or prevent certain injury types so it really has been helpful for me with my career,” Borchers said.Over the last two years, Borchers has had a more advanced role in the sports medicine field, serving the program at OSU as lead physician, associate professor, and division director of sports medicine.To Kaeding, Borchers’ promotion serves more as a new title than new tasks to complete.“It’s actually a very small jump from being the director of clinical operations to being the head team physician,” Kaeding said. “He’s essentially been doing the majority of the job as head team physician already; we’re just recognizing him with the formal title.”But the new title does come with some additional responsibilities. In addition to overseeing other team physicians, Borchers will serve as the executor of the policies decided on by the Ohio State Sports Medicine Administrative Group. According to Kaeding, the group has to “formulate the policies and procedures for the care of the athletes.”The group is an “intersection where the medical center and athletic department meet” and it consists of Janine Oman, senior associate athletics director for student services and sport administration, and Doug Calland, associate athletic director for sport performance, along with Kaeding and Borchers. Looking ahead, Borchers has a few goals in mind.“Primarily, first and foremost, (our goal) is to make certain that we’re leaders in advancing health and safety for our student athletes,” Borchers said. “We want to make certain that we are staying on the forefront of everything we can do to promote health and safety for our student athletes and be advocates for them.”Borchers said being at the top of sports health care and providing a friendly and helpful atmosphere is key to the success.“Secondarily, we want to make certain that we’re providing an environment where we are doing all that we can to help these student athletes be accessible to the things they love to do,” Borchers continued. “And so we have to help work within our multidisciplinary team to make that happen and if I can provide some leadership in that area, I will be happy to accomplish it.”
In a game that meant less to the standings and more to its pride on senior day, the Ohio State men’s soccer team (10-5-2, 4-2-0) took down the Big Ten champion Indiana Hoosiers (9-6-2, 4-1-1) 1-0 Sunday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. “It’s a very emotional day,” senior Sam Scales said after taking the pitch at home for the last time. “For Konrad (Warzycha), Matt (Gold) and I, it’s a dream come true. It really is bitter-sweet, to be honest.” Warzycha, Gold and Scales have been one of the most successful classes in history, amassing 48 wins during their tenure — good for third most of any four-year class at OSU. Austin McAnena scored the game’s lone goal when an Indiana defender misdirected his shot from seven yards out. If the shot went untouched, it likely would have gone right to goalkeeper Luis Soffner. “To be honest, we haven’t had a lot of breaks this year,” coach John Bluem said. “So to catch a deflection like that and see the way it spun into the net playing against the wind was great.” OSU fended off a strong second-half effort from the conference champions that was highlighted by Matt Lampson’s goalkeeping and timely defense. “They have one of the top goal scorers in the conference, and we held them,” McAnena said. “Props to our center backs and Lampson for some great saves.” Indiana’s Will Bruin has scored 15 goals this season and was mentioned by Bluem as one of the better “brute force” players in the country. Sunday’s loss to the Buckeyes was the first conference game the Hoosiers have lost this season. The Hoosiers came into Sunday’s match leading the all-time series 45-5-2 against the Buckeyes. With the win, OSU has won three straight over IU dating back to last year, when the Buckeyes took both games the teams played. “Their tradition in this conference is not matched by any of us. We’ve been battling for a long time now to try to be on an even par with them and gain some notoriety for ourselves,” Bluem said. This season marks the first time since 1974 that OSU has gone unbeaten at home with a 7-0-1 record at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU earned the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and will play No. 7 Wisconsin on Thursday.
Ohio State students paid $32 per ticket for home football games last season. The OSU Athletic Department spent more than $1.3 million a game to host them. The department spent nearly $9.4 million on the 2009 season. That figure would have covered the cost of tuition for nearly 1,000 in-state students. The department made almost $31.4 million on games last year, good for nearly $4.5 million a game. Department officials said they expect similar numbers for expenses and revenue for the 2010 season. Profits from each game remain relatively constant throughout the season, but the expenses vary drastically, even though the price tag per game covers similar services. The difference between the most expensive game for the athletic department, Navy, and the least expensive, University of Southern California, was $945,784. Because of agreements with contractors, the cost of electricity, cleanup services and payments to game officials is fixed. The disparity in overall cost comes largely from game guarantees. These guarantees — the amount the athletic department pays visiting schools — are usually negotiated by the athletic director. “If it was a home-and-home situation like USC was, the guarantees are usually significantly less,” said Pete Hagan, associate athletic director of finance. OSU played at USC in 2008 before the Trojans came to Ohio Stadium last season, meaning the schools essentially traded game guarantees. “The Navy one was higher because there was some glitch in the schedule that … required us to go out and give them a much higher guarantee to get them in here,” he said. Hagan said those types of scheduling problems are rare but would not disclose precisely what the “glitch” was. In the Big Ten, the more profitable teams — such as OSU — are required to distribute $1 million to opponents for home conference games, Hagan said. Removing game guarantees from the equation, the USC game cost the university $88,968 more than any other contest, looking at only operating expenses. That variation stems primarily from kickoff times. “The only thing that really affects the expense side is if it’s a noon game, a 3:30 (p.m.) start or a night game,” Hagan said. “A lot of the security and traffic control … has to start for a night game early in the morning just like a regular game would.” The USC game kicked off at 8 p.m. Those traffic control and security costs constitute the two largest portions of the operational expenses for a given game. OSU spent just more than $1.4 million on security and traffic and parking for the 2009 season. By comparison, the University of Nebraska spent nearly $849,000 on those areas last season, and the University of Iowa expects to spend $975,000 on security and traffic in 2010. Don Patko, OSU’s associate athletic director of facilities management, said the university ultimately benefits from the money spent. “Between in-bound and out-bound (traffic), we are second to none … in and out. For 102,000 fans in an urban setting, we’re one of the best,” he said, sitting in his office inside the stadium. The stadium holds 102,329 people. With that many people clustered in one area, security becomes another major factor, officials said. “We know that Ohio Stadium is a desirable target for the bad guys so we do everything that we can … to protect our fans,” said Ben Jay, associate athletic director of finance and operations. Officials said that, to protect visitors and athletes, the university works with about a dozen law enforcement agencies to secure the stadium and surrounding areas. Though officials would not say exactly which agencies are involved, it includes Columbus Police, OSU Police, the State Highway Patrol, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the Columbus Fire Department and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. For each agency, OSU is “at the mercy” of its union when it comes to cost, Hagan said. “Ohio State is looked at as the leader in this type of security business,” Patko said. “We’ve got to be the best secured stadium in the country.” Megan Schneider, a third-year in nursing, has attended football games at the University of Illinois in addition to OSU and noticed a difference in the level of security. In Illinois, “I still felt secure, but it wasn’t quite as intense as Ohio State,” she said. Molly Shlaes, a third-year in civil engineering, has attended games at Ohio Stadium and the University of Iowa. “Around the stadium, I would say there’s a lot more (security) here,” she said, “because the streets surrounding are bigger than the streets surrounding at Iowa, so they have to direct more traffic.” OSU officials said the security effort for home football games is such a smooth operation that other universities use OSU’s model as the standard. “About a year ago, the Department of Homeland Security partnered with the university creating a video that’s used as a training module for other venues on how to set up security at their stadiums,” said Tom McGinnis, assistant athletic director of administration and human resources. The video was federally funded through the Urban Area Security Initiative, said OSU Police Chief Paul Denton, in an e-mail. The stadium’s clean-up operation is another area that officials think sets OSU apart. “We probably have the lowest cleanup cost in the country,” Patko said. “A lot of stadiums go $15 (thousand) to $20 (thousand) in just power washing and trash removal, where that has been stabilized at about $7,100.” Total cleanup expenses at other universities are often around $50,000 a game, he said. The University of Georgia, whose stadium seats 10,000 fewer fans than Ohio Stadium, spent about $40,000 per game on cleanup costs last year. Lower clean-up costs are largely tied to a 43-year relationship with the university ROTC, which works alongside student employees Sunday mornings to clean the stadium. The cooperation leads not only to lower costs, but also rapid turnaround. “By 10:30 or 11 a.m. Sunday morning, we are ready for a meeting, another game, an event or anything inside” the stadium, Patko said. Though the post-game cleaning saves the department money, cleaning during games, especially in restrooms, is costly. “We have specific crews that have to hit those areas at strategic times during a game,” Patko said. The effort of the athletic department to increase recycling efforts has also resulted in higher expenses. “We are trying to get to zero waste, and that’s hard to do,” Patko said. “There’s some extra cost going to recycled products.” Although the choice to recycle has increased expenses, officials said the athletic department is looking to cut costs in other areas. “Cutting expenses, there are always ways to look at that,” Patko said. “If you cut expenses you’ve got to defer something.” Officials are wary, though, to cut corners by hiring fewer staff members. “You could save it on not having so much personnel here,” Patko said. “But personnel things can create a risk.” Although officials gave their program ample praise, they wouldn’t compare their facilities to the most prestigious football venues. “We’re not at the pro level. The pro level is the Cadillac,” Patko said. But “we’re probably giving the folks a little more service than some of the better schools.” Ultimately, some said, comparing Ohio Stadium to others around the country is difficult. “It’s very hard to compare us even to some of the major big-school programs around the country,” Jay said. “We’re a different animal than everybody else.” The differences arise because of the stadium’s size and location, he said. The urban surrounding in Columbus is rare for college stadiums. The other universities whose stadiums make up the five largest in the country, University of Michigan, Penn State University, University of Tennessee and the University of Alabama, are all in lower-populated areas. Columbus also has more than four times as many people as the cities where those schools are located. Officials toyed with Penn State and the University of Texas for size comparison but had difficulties coming up with college venues that matched Ohio Stadium in both capacity and surrounding population. “As far as (college) stadiums of our size around the country, we’re second to none,” Patko said. “Of the stadiums over 100,000 in North America, it would be Dallas Cowboys in pro and then Ohio State.”
OSU coach Urban Meyer stands during a game against Iowa Oct. 19 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 34-24.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorOhio State football coach Urban Meyer had what is being called “a short medical procedure” this past weekend to remove fluid related to a congenital arachnoid cyst, according to a press release.The procedure, done at the OSU Wexner Medical Center, was done to help alleviate pain from headaches Meyer has been experiencing the past few weeks, according to release.Meyer is “doing well” post-procedure and is set to be on the field Tuesday when the Buckeyes open spring practice.The cyst was first found in 1998 when Meyer was the coach at Notre Dame, according to the release.An arachnoid cyst typically develops in the head but can also be present around the spinal cord, and is named such because it happens in the area between the brain and the arachnoid membrane — one of three membrane layers surrounding the brain and spine.If it occurs in the head, the cyst will grow between the brain and skull or in pockets around the brain called ventricles.This is latest in a line of medical issues that have ailed Meyer throughout his coaching career, including when he was admitted to the hospital in the early morning on Dec. 6, 2009 while he was coach at Florida after the Gators lost to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, 32-13.Even though he was rushed to the hospital, Meyer returned to the field Jan. 1, 2010 to lead the Gators to a 51-24 victory against Cincinnati in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.Meyer announced he would step down as the Gators’ head coach following the loss to Alabama, but remained on the sidelines for the 2010 season.Florida went 7-5 that season, and Meyer saw issues with his health again, which ultimately led to him stepping down for good. He had a recurring burning sensation in his chest, and doctors told him in December 2010 that he would raise cardiovascular risk factors if he continued to coach, according to espn.com.Meyer took the following year off and became a college football analyst for ESPN, before taking the reigns at OSU prior to the 2012 season.The Buckeyes are set to take on Navy in their first game of 2014 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Kickoff is set for noon.
Then-freshman Kyle Snyder during a match against Minnesota on Feb. 6 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 22-13. Credit: Lantern File PhotoOhio State is used to being the home of national champions, but now a world champion is also among its ranks.Sophomore wrestler Kyle Snyder took home the gold medal in the 97-kilogram freestyle competition at the 2015 World Championships on Friday in Las Vegas. At 19 years old, Snyder became the youngest-ever world wrestling champion from the United States.Prior to Snyder’s victory, the youngest U.S. wrestler to be victorious at the World Championships was 20-year-old Andre Metzger in 1979. Snyder said he is proud of his place in the history books.“I like making history,” the Woodbine, Maryland, native said following his win. “I want to be known as one of the greatest wrestlers to ever live, and that’s what I plan on doing.”Snyder credits his parents for his ability to succeed at such a young age.“They raised me the right way. They told me that if you work hard, make the right decisions and you’re just hungry for something, to do everything you can to get it,” Snyder said. “I just believed in that.”Ranked No. 15 in the world prior to the competition, his closest match came in the first round against Ukraine’s No. 11-ranked Pavlo Oliynyk, which Snyder won by a score of 2–1. Snyder breezed through the next three rounds, beating Poland’s Radoslaw Baran (ranked No. 8) and Venezuela’s Jose Daniel Diaz Robertti and Iran’s Abbas Tahan (ranked No. 13) by a combined 25–4.In the gold medal match, Snyder tied defending world champion Abdusalam Gadisov of Russia 5–5 but earned the win based on an edge in criteria.After taking second in both the Big Ten Conference Championships and the NCAA Championships just six months ago, Snyder said he was determined more than ever to prove himself as the best in the world.“When you feel pain like that, you never want to feel it again,” he said. “This is what I’ve been thinking about doing since the NCAA finals, and I’ve been working hard with the coaches at Ohio State to get it done.”Snyder is taking a redshirt this season to train for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, but he said returning to OSU to finish his degree is also a priority.“If I can wrestle the best guys in the world, then I should be able to go to class every day,” he said. “Homework’s no fun, but getting a degree is fun. Getting a good job after college is fun.”The rest of the reigning NCAA champion Buckeyes are scheduled to take the mat on Oct. 29 for their annual Wrestle Offs.
Urban Meyer prepares to run out on to the field with the team prior to the Ohio State- Oklahoma game on Sep. 9. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOhio State’s football team might only be No. 10 in the latest Associated Press Poll Rankings, but it ranks as the most valuable program in college football, being evaluated at more than $1 billion, according to a study done by Ryan Brewer, an associate professor of finance at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, and published in the Wall Street Journal.Brewer’s exact value estimate of the program is $1,510,482,000, one of only three teams that is worth more than $1 billion, with Texas being evaluated at $1.24 billion and Oklahoma at $1 billion. Michigan was the only other Big Ten team in Brewer’s top 10, ranking at No. 6 with a value of $893 million.Brewer told the Wall Street Journal that he could envision the Longhorns surpassing the Buckeyes and that the adjusted revenue Texas brings in annually is higher than Ohio State’s, but that the on-field success of the Buckeyes and lack thereof from the Longhorns pushes Ohio State out in front.The study was conducted in a way to try and measure how much a team would be worth if it were sold on the open market like a professional sports team. With that said, Ohio State would rank last among all NFL teams in terms of total value, as the 32nd team in the NFL is the Buffalo Bills worth $1.6 billion, according to Forbes. The Dallas Cowboys are No. 1 with a current value of $4.8 billion.Ohio State was ranked No. 1 last year in the same study, also conducted by Brewer. At the team, it was valued at $946.6 million, indicating a 59.6 percent increase from last season.Ohio State reserve quarterback Joe Burrow weighed in on the news.Our team is worth 1.5 BILLION dollars but it wouldn’t be fair to other students if we get a free hamburger https://t.co/SKHPmhzeRq— Joey Burrow (@Joe_Burrow10) September 22, 2017
Ohio State freshman running back J.K. Dobbins (2) and junior wide receiver Terry McLaurin (83) celebrate a large run in the first quarter of the B1G Championship game against Wisconsin on Dec. 2 in Lucas Oil Stadium. Ohio State won 27-21. Credit: James King II | Sports DirectorINDIANAPOLIS — Ohio State claimed its first Big Ten title since 2014 with a 27-21 victory against Wisconsin. The Buckeyes outgained the Badgers 449-298, and did not trail for any point during the matchup. There were plenty of statistics that tell the story of how this game finished. 18 – Wisconsin points off turnovers. The Badgers did not look great on offense. As previously stated, they had just 298 total yards, and their quarterback, Alex Hornibrook, threw two interceptions without a touchdown pass. But sometimes the best offense is a good defense. And Wisconsin’s defense essentially drove its offense Saturday. It tied the game in the first quarter on a pick-6 of Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, forced and recovered a fumble on Ohio State’s 8-yard line that led to a field goal and turned an interception in the third quarter at its own 48-yard line into eight points on a touchdown that drive in the beginning of the fourth quarter.Ohio State junior cornerback Denzel Ward (12) takes down a Badger in the third quarter of the B1G Championship game against Wisconsin on Dec. 2 in Lucas Oil Stadium. Ohio State won 27-21. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOnly once did Wisconsin start inside its own 40-yard line and march down the field to get points. The Badgers began at their own 23-yard line and marched down to the Ohio State 27-yard line and kicked a 46-yard field goal. Offensively, Wisconsin looked lost. But mistakes by Ohio State’s offense kept the game close throughout the matchup. 2.7 – Yards per carry by Jonathan Taylor. Heading into the game against Ohio State, Taylor was one of the leading rushers in the nation and had more rushing yards than any running back in the Big Ten. Despite only being a true freshman, his name quietly emerged as a darkhorse candidate in the Heisman Trophy. But just as Ohio State did to Penn State running back Saquon Barkley and Michigan State’s L.J. Scott, Taylor was bottled up by a stout Buckeye rushing defense, averaging his fewest yards per carry on the season. His previous low was 4.2. The 41 total rushing yards also were the lowest, stooping below the previous low of 80. Taylor and the Badger offensive line came into the game expecting to be the catalyst for the offense, but instead the defensive line of the Buckeyes bullied the Badgers’ offensive front. No rusher had more than 7 yards on a single carry, and overall the Buckeyes had five tackles for a loss. The Badgers have relied so heavily on their freshman running back all season, but against one of the top rushing defenses in the nation in Ohio State, Taylor was unable to come through for them. And given the struggles in the passing game Wisconsin has faced all season, it was hardly a surprise to see its offense struggle to get off the ground without the help from Taylor.19 – Rushes by J.T. Barrett. A knee injury to Barrett was evidently not enough to reduce the amount of carries he received. It would have seemed like a smart move to protect Barrett as much as possible, but the redshirt senior quarterback ran read options and designed quarterback runs as often as any other game. In the end, his 19 carries were the most of any player in the game, two more than freshman running back J.K. Dobbins.Ohio State redshirt senior quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) hands the ball back to the referee after running in a touchdown in the second quarter of the B1G Championship game against Wisconsin on Dec. 2 in Lucas Oil Stadium. Ohio State won 27-21. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorThe decision to use Barrett as the primary ball-carrier was made all the more puzzling by the fact Dobbins turned 17 carries into 174 yards, a 10.2 average yards per carry, while Barrett only averaged 3.2 yards per carry with 60 yards. Dobbins also had two carries each that went for more than 50 yards. If there was ever a game Ohio State would seem to lean off its quarterback for all the rushing production, it would have been this game.141 – Yards gained on two passes from Barrett. The overall numbers for Barrett in the passing game looked solid. He was 12-for-26 for 211 yards, two touchdown passes and two interceptions. He was not outstanding by any means, but he did enough to get the job done. However, his stats take a step back when his 84-yard deep ball to wide receiver Terry McLaurin and 57-yard screen pass to H-back Parris Campbell are removed. Then, Barrett was just 10-for-24 with 70 passing yards and two interceptions.Fortunately for Ohio State and Barrett, those two passes did happen, and nothing can remove them from the stat book. But Barrett was not overly effective Saturday. He missed several wide open receivers downfield and had a couple instances where he was nearly picked off because of wildly inaccurate throws. He did not look like the same quarterback whose name was found in the conversation for the Heisman Trophy earlier this season. He did just enough to win the game, but he had many more opportunities to break the game open and failed to convert. 0 – Sacks allowed by Ohio State. After the game, center Billy Price said every time Barrett took a hit, he was always one of the first people over there to help him up and check on him. He added that he didn’t like when people hit Barrett. So the offensive line simply made it the goal to prevent any sacks on the injured Barrett. And they did. Going up against a vaunted defensive front that was sixth in the nation in total sacks (39) and eighth in sacks per game (3.25), the Ohio State offensive line stood strong and gave its quarterback plenty of protection. The Buckeyes did an effective job protecting their quarterback as much as possible. Though Barrett was still hit several times whenever he attempted to carry the football, he had all the time he needed to stand in the pocket and complete passes, or wait for receivers to get open. Barrett did not make the most of every opportunity, but his offensive line certainly gave him a chance to have one of his best passing games of the season.
The MP Michelle Thomson has been reported to prosecutors along with four other people after a police investigation into allegations of mortgage fruad.Ms Thomson, 51, the independent MP for Edinburgh West, resigned the SNP whip and was suspended from the party last year after officers began investigating a solicitor involved in property deals linked to her.Christopher Hales was struck off by the Scottish Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal in 2014 in connection with 13 transactions conducted by a property firm, M&F Property Solutions, in which she was a partner in 2010-11. Mr Hales is understood to be one of those named in the report.Prosecutors last year instructed police to carry out the investigation into “alleged irregularities” relating to the deals. 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. The MP addressing the Commons last weekCredit:PA Ms Thomson, who moved members of the House of Commons to tears last week when she revealed that she had been raped at the age of 14, has denied any wrongdoing.Police Scotland confirmed on Tuesday night that a report had been submitted to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service “in relation to an investigation into alleged mortgage fraud”.A Crown Office spokesman said: “The Procurator Fiscal has received a report concerning four men aged 48, 56, 59 and 59 and one woman aged 51, in relation to alleged incidents between 16/06/10 and 26/07/11. The report remains under the consideration of the Procurator Fiscal.”A spokesman for Ms Thomson said: “Michelle Thomson MP voluntarily attended an interview with Police Scotland on October 13 to assist in the ongoing investigation into solicitor Christopher Hales.”No charges were brought and, as is standard under Scottish legal procedure, a report has now been submitted to the Crown Office. She looks forward to a conclusion on this matter at the earliest opportunity.”
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. Kate Winslet accepts The Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Film at the London Film Critics’ Circle Awards 2018Credit:David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images At the time, Winslet was promoting her role in Wonder Wheel, Allen’s latest film. She had been touted as a potential Oscar nominee, but did not make the best actress list when it was announced last week.Winslet has previously criticised Harvey Weinstein, who produced The Reader, the film for which she won an Oscar in 2009. (L to R) Anna Smith, Kate Winslet, winner of The Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Film, Rich Cline and Jude Law attend the London Film Critics’ Circle Awards 2018Credit:David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images Allen’s adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, gave a television interview earlier this month repeating her claims that Allen sexually abused her as a child. He has denied the allegations.Following that interview, Colin Firth said he would not work with Allen again. Rebecca Hall and Timothee Chalamet said they would donate their salaries from working in the director’s forthcoming film, A Rainy Day in New York, to charity.Winslet appeared in Roman Polanski’s 2011 film Carnage, which was made after he was released from house arrest.Polanski fled justice in 1978, leaving the US after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl. Kate Winslet has expressed “bitter regrets” about working with “individuals whom I wish I had not” in the wake of Hollywood’s sexual abuse allegations.The actress was careful not to name names, but she has appeared in films by Woody Allen and Roman Polanski. Until now, she has heaped praise on both directors.Appearing on stage at the London Critics’ Circle Film Awards, she said: “There are directors, producers and men of power who have for decades been awarded and applauded for their highly regarded work by both this industry and moviegoers alike. Indeed, many actors have had flourishing careers due in part to roles played in their films. The message we received for years was that it was the highest compliment to be offered roles by these men.”As women around the world and from all walks of life marched last weekend, once again joining together to speak out about harassment, exploitation and abuse, I realised that I wouldn’t be able to stand here this evening and keep to myself some bitter regrets that I have at poor decisions to work with individuals with whom I wish I had not.”It is not known what caused Winslet’s change of heart, because only last month she told the LA Times that Allen was an “extraordinary writer” who writes “extraordinary” roles for women. “Nobody should be exempt from having a right to speak in support of vulnerable people. There are those who can speak so powerfully for those who are not able to do so themselves, and let us please not make this about which people express public regret.” In September, asked directly about working with Allen, she told the New York Times: “I don’t know anything about that family.” She went on: “Having thought it all through, you put it to one side and just work with the person. Woody Allen is an incredible director. So is Roman Polanski. I had an extraordinary working experience with both of those men, and that’s the truth.” In her speech last night, made as she accepted The Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Film, Winslet broke off mid-way through as if overcome by emotion. She turned her back on the audience, gave a dramatic pause then returned to her notes.”It almost feels uncomfortable to receive an award at such a time, but being up here does give me the opportunity to say some things that matter to me,” she said.”It has become clear to me that by not saying anything I might be adding to the anguish of many courageous women and men.”Sexual abuse is a crime. While it rests with the rule of law to pass judgment, it lies with all of us to listen to the smallest of voices and to never stop listening. Also those who do have a voice are becoming afraid to say anything because of intense scrutiny and criticism.
“While we know many will share this terrible loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy at this time of grief.” Christopher Biggins and Claire Sweeney arrive for the funeral of Dale WintonCredit:Kirsty O’Connor/PA Dale Winton was found to have died from natural causes, the much-loved presenter’s agent has said.The Supermarket Sweep star was found dead at a house in north London, which he had moved into just weeks earlier, in April, aged 62.The office of Dale Winton’s long-time agent, Jan Kennedy, told the Press Association “that the coroner investigating the death of Dale Winton has found death by natural causes”.Winton became a household name with game shows such as Supermarket Sweep, Touch The Truck and the National Lottery game show In It To Win It.Supermarket Sweep, which saw contestants run around a mocked-up shop collecting shopping items, was a hit in the 1990s and was later revived. David Walliams, Martine McCutcheon and Christopher Biggins were among the stars who attended a humanist service in central London in May, on what would have been Winton’s 63rd birthday.The send-off included a performance of One Love by boyband Blue and an impersonation of Winton courtesy of Jon Culshaw.Kennedy previously said in a statement to the Press Association: “It is with great sadness that we can confirm the passing of Dale Winton who died at home earlier today. 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. In 2016, Winton opened up about his battle with depression, triggered by a break-up.”Listen, there are worse things in the world – but I had depression and I didn’t realise,” he told Loose Women.Scotland Yard previously said the star’s death was being treated as unexplained, but not suspicious. After the sudden news of his death, Paul O’Grady, Davina McCall, Graham Norton, Laurence Fox, Les Dennis, Jack Whitehall and Paddy McGuinness were among those to pay tribute to the man David Walliams described as “always outrageous and hilarious”.
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. The number of unconditional offers has risen sharply in recent years Eight in ten offers are unconditional at one British university, new figures from Ucas show.Suffolk University promised 1,110 offers to students last summer irrespective of their A-level grades.Unconditional offers made up 83.8 per cent of all offers the university made in 2018, rising steeply from the 23 per cent it made the year before.There are ten universities that gave more than half of their offers as unconditional last year, according to data published by the university admissions service in its end of cycle report.The number of unconditional offers has risen sharply in recent years, with students now 30 times more likely to receive one than five years ago.Fierce competition between universities to attract students has seen sixth form pupils increasingly offered places regardless of their exam results.Some institutions hand out “incentivised” offers, where they tell students that their offer will be unconditional but only if they accept it as their first choice university.For the first time, Ucas has published an in depth study into the rise of unconditional offers as part of its annual end of cycle report.“The growth in unconditional offer-making since 2013 is the consequence of a combination of the growing number of providers that use unconditional offers, and among those providers, the increasing extent to which they do so,” the report said.”However, while the number of providers making unconditional offers has increased each year since 2013, a number of providers have only done so for one or two cycles, then reduced or halted their use of unconditional offer-making.” Earlier this month, the higher education watchdog warned that universities making unconditional offers may be breaking the law by “pressure selling”’ to students.The Office for Students published a report which found that applicants who accept an unconditional offer are more likely to miss their predicted A-level grades by two or more grades.Nottingham University announced that it will cease giving out unconditional offers from this September onwards.It is the first Russell Group university to do so, and cited concern at the “reported variation” between predicted and actual A-level results for students with unconditional offers, indicating that some pupils “may lose motivation at a critical period in their studies”.Last year, 11.4 per cent of Nottingham’s offers were unconditional making it the second highest among the Russell Group universities. Birmingham University gave out the most, at 18.9 per cent of its total.Clare Marchant, chief executive of Ucas, said: “It’s crucial that students can make well-informed choices. UCAS is here to provide step-by-step support, to help them make the right decisions for their future, including advice on unconditional offers.”Education Secretary Damian Hinds has said that the steep rise in unconditional offers is “disturbing” and should not be used as a tactic to “get students through the door”.He said: “What I find particularly concerning is the OfS’s finding of how many of those accepting unconditional offers then miss their predicted A Level grades, because if university didn’t work out for that student it is those A Level grades they would fall back on.”
JK Rowling’s former personal assistant has been ordered to repay £18,734 to the author after a court ruled she obtained the money fraudulently.Ms Rowling sought damages against Amanda Donaldson in a civil case brought under the author’s married name Joanne Murray.In a written determination issued after the case was heard at Airdrie Sheriff Court, Sheriff Derek O’Carroll found during her employment Ms Donaldson obtained £18,734 through fraud.He said Donaldson is bound to repay the sum to her former employer together with interest at 8%.In a statement, the Harry Potter author said: “JK Rowling is pleased that Sheriff O’Carroll has ruled that her former PA Amanda Donaldson must repay the money she fraudulently misappropriated from Ms Rowling. “From the outset Ms Rowling made it clear that the decision to take this matter to court was a last resort and not for her personal benefit but rather to protect the reputation of her existing staff and to make sure Ms Donaldson is not in a position to breach the trust of another employer.”Terms of the recovery will be decided in due course and the money owed will be donated to JK Rowling’s charity Lumos.”Ms Rowling alleged Ms Donaldson made transactions including more than £3,000 in retailer Molton Brown, £2,139 in card shop Paper Tiger and more than £1,619 in Starbucks and Costa coffee shops on a company credit card without authorisation. Amanda Donaldson has been ordered to repay £18,734 to the Harry Potter author Credit:Andrew Milligan/PA 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. The sheriff said he found Ms Rowling gave her evidence in a “thoughtful, considered, measured, accurate, honest and reliable fashion” and that where there was in her mind any doubt in favour of the defender (Ms Donaldson), she readily gave her the benefit of that doubt.Giving final submissions in the case in January Allana Turley, representing Ms Donaldson, said her client never intended to deceive her employer and believed she was authorised to use the card in the way in which she did.Mr O’Carroll said he did not find Ms Donaldson to be either “credible or reliable”. Ms Donaldson was also accused of fraudulently obtaining £7,742 of foreign currency, more than £1,500 in cash and Harry Potter merchandise worth £3,213.Mr O’Carroll found Ms Donaldson had use of a business credit card in her name but knew and understood it was not to be used for her personal benefit.During her employment, she used the business credit card to make unauthorised cash withdrawals for her own use on a number of occasions, amounting to a total of £1,160, and unauthorised purchases for her own use in a large number of retail outlets amounting to a total of £9,832.She also used her employer’s bank accounts to purchase foreign currency worth the Sterling equivalent of £7,742.The sheriff found there was not enough evidence to prove that Ms Donaldson was responsible for Harry Potter merchandise going missing.Ms Donaldson worked as Ms Rowling’s personal assistant from February 2014 until her dismissal in April 2017.Mr O’Carroll said the expenditure on Molton Brown toiletries of £3,629 was “extraordinary”.Giving evidence during the case, the author said she did not ask Ms Donaldson to buy the toiletries.She explained her husband is allergic to strong perfumes so she would never buy them for home or office use.
Mary Portas, the celebrated retail expert, has separated from her wife more than four years after they became one of country’s the first same-sex couples to marry. The 58-year-old businesswoman announced last night that she and Melanie Rickey had been setting their separation in motion for the past year.They converted their civil partnership into marriage shortly after midnight on December 10 2014, when changes to the law came into force in England and Wales.The couple said in a statement: “After 17 years together we have decided to legally separate. There is no one else involved.“We have spent the last year consciously managing our separation in as good-heartedly, open, and mature a way as possible to ensure a smooth, amicable evolution for us our family and friends.“We remain a family, and are committed parents to three wonderful humans (and Walter the dog) who are our number one priority.We are still good friends, and will share much together going forward.”The couple had one son together during their relationship, while Ms Portas has two other children from a previous marriage. 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.
Theresa May has urged the BBC to rethink its plan to scrap free TV licences for most over-75s, as it announced that three million pensioners would no longer be eligible for the concession.The Prime Minister was “very disappointed” by the decision, a spokesperson said, after the BBC revealed eligibility for free licences will be means-tested from June next year, leaving them only available to those who qualify for pension credit.Around 1.5 million of the 4.45 million households currently receiving free licences will be eligible.The corporation said maintaining the universal scheme would cost £745 million a year and necessitate the closure of BBC Two, BBC Four, the BBC News channel, Radio 5 Live and BBC Scotland, plus local radio stations and other services. The new scheme will cost £250 million per year.The announcement triggered a major clash with the government, which passed responsibility for the scheme on to the BBC as part of a deal negotiated four years ago.The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We are very disappointed with this decision. We have been clear that we expected the BBC to continue this concession.“People across the country value television as a way to stay connected and we want the BBC to look again at ways to support older people. “Means-testing may sound fair but in reality it means at least 650,000 of our poorest pensioners facing a big new annual bill they simply can’t afford, because though eligible for pension credit they don’t actually get it,” she said. “The BBC’s decision will cause those affected enormous anxiety and distress, and some anger too, but in the end this is the Government’s fault, not the BBC’s, and it is open to a new prime minister to intervene and save the day for some of the most vulnerable older people in our society who will otherwise suffer a big blow to their pockets and to their quality of life.”A report commissioned by the BBC suggested that pensioners now enjoy “a marked improvement” in living standards since the scheme was brought in by the then chancellor Gordon Brown in 2000.TV Licensing said all over-75s will receive a letter over the course of the next month explaining the new scheme, and a ‘Pay as you Go’ scheme will be set up next year offering fortnightly or monthly payment plans for pensioners whose free licences are being revoked. Lord Hall, the director-general, said it had “not been an easy decision” but the outcome is the fairest one. Writing in Tuesday’s Telegraph, he said a public consultation on the issue was evenly split between those who wanted to keep the universal licences and those who wanted change “but what emerged across all the feedback was the overriding concern to protect those most in need – and to protect the BBC and what it offers”.Age UK said many pensioners live in poverty but do not claim pension credit, either because they are unaware of it, are unable to navigate the complicated application process, or are simply too proud to accept benefits.Caroline Abrahams, the charity’s director, said means-testing would leave vulnerable elderly people cut off from the world.“Make no mistake, if this scheme goes ahead we are going to see sick and disabled people in their 80s and 90s who are completely dependent on their cherished TV for companionship and news, forced to give it up. 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. “Taxpayers want to see the BBC using its substantial licence fee income in an appropriate way to ensure it delivers for UK audiences, which includes showing restraint on salaries for senior staff.”
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedHouse Speaker receives several complaints of MPs breaching privilegesMay 4, 2016In “Politics”Teixeira roasts House Speaker …says Opposition “disturbed” by process of decision-making and reaction to MPsMarch 3, 2016In “latest news”PPP MP to face Committee of Privileges after publicly calling for Speaker to be impartialJuly 30, 2018In “latest news” The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is worried that the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland, will subvert a motion by the political Opposition, to among other things, reduce the rate of the Value Added Tax from 14 to 12 per cent.Opposition Chief Whip, Gail TeixeiraThe warning bell was sounded by the Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira, who was addressing members of the local business community at the Guyana Business Summit.Teixeira, who was at the time delivering an address on behalf of Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, said while the PPP has already delivered its motion to the Clerk of the National Assembly, the members were not too optimistic.She indicated that most of the 124 measures outlined as concerns by the business sector were in fact included in the motion sent to Parliament on Monday last – two days before the opening of the Business Summit.Teixeira warned however that given the track record of the Speaker and Government in the National Assembly, the Opposition was not confident that the motion would even be heard this year.She told the business community that the next sitting of the National Assembly should be Private Members Day, often referred to as the ‘Opposition Day’.Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Barton ScotlandAccording to Teixeira, should the Opposition business not be given priority at the next sitting, then it is very likely that the demands of the Opposition would not be heard until sometime next year.Finance Minister Winston Jordan is slated to present to the National Assembly the Budget for 2018.The Finance Minister on Monday last announced that there would be no new taxes in Budget 2018, but the Opposition members contended that the 200 new taxes alone that were imposed in the last budget were currently costing Guyanese $10 billion in disposable income.According to a draft copy of the motion seen by this publication, there has been a marked effect on the business community, “there is a marked reduction in the overall demand for goods and services”.The motion attributed this marked reduction to the reduced disposable income, “dwindling sugar and forestry sectors that employ in excess of 40,000 persons directly, the downsizing of many businesses and reduction in investment in agriculture”.
(Trinidad Guardian) Prosecutors have made another blunder in the case again 10 men charged with the murder of former Independent Senator Dana Seetahal, SC.Dana SeetahalThe latest mistake occurred in the State’s appeal over a decision by Senior Magistrate Indrani Cedeno to dismiss gang charges against the group and two of their acquaintances in 2016, due to an administrative error by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).Hours before the appeal was due to be heard yesterday, special prosecutor Travers Sinanan and Assistant DPP Angelica Teelucksingh-Ramoutar informed the court’s registry that their office had filed the notice of appeal late.While it had 14 days to appeal Cedeno’s ruling, given on May 27, 2016, it filed the appeal on June 13 that year.During yesterday’s hearing, Sinanan and Teelucksingh-Ramoutar applied to have the appeal withdrawn, but were given a lifeline as Appellate Judges Alice Yorke-Soo Hon and Rajendra Narine suggested they file an application to have the deadline extended retroactively.Once that application is filed it will be determined by one Appellate Judge. Provided that the State succeeds in its application, the appeal will then be heard by Yorke-Soo Hon and Narine.Seetahal was shot dead in her SUV while driving along Hamilton Holder Street, Woodbrook, on May 4, 2014.Reputed gang-leader Rajaee Ali, his brothers Ishmael and Hamid Ali; Devaughn Cummings, Ricardo Stewart, Earl Richards, Stephan Cummings, Kevin Parkinson, Leston Gonzales; Roger Boucher and Gareth Wiseman were initially charged with the crime. They, along with Rajaee’s wife Stacy Griffith, Deon Peters and David Ector, were also charged under the Anti-Gang Act for being members of a gang.In 2016, the DDP’s Office applied to amend the gang charges due to an administrative error made when they were laid on the group.The DPP’s Office had admitted to filing the charges indictably (heard and determined by a High Court Judge and jury) as opposed to summarily (heard and determined by a magistrate) as prescribed by the legislation. Cedeno dismissed the charges as she ruled the time for making the amendment had expired.Peters and Ector were set free, while Griffith remained in custody on an unrelated gang offence that was not affected by the blunder.In December last year, the murder charge was discontinued against Stephan Cummings, who was instead charged with conspiring to murder Seetahal. Ector was murdered last week.While the State mulls over its appeal, the preliminary inquiry into the murder charge has hit a snag.Evidential hearings of the inquiry have been put on hold as Cedeno is considering an application calling on her to recuse herself from the case. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedDana Seetahal’s murderer shot dead by policeAugust 22, 2014In “Crime”Cops to charge 6 with Dana Seetahal’s murderFebruary 24, 2015In “Crime”Appeal Court throws out Bisram’s request for DPP to withdraw murder caseJuly 31, 2018In “Court”
Hitachi Construction Machinery launched two new rigid dump truck models designed for use in large-scale mining operations anywhere in the world on December 15 – the 180 t payload class EH3500AC-3 (nominal payload with standard equipment of 181 t, target gross machine operating weight of 322,000 kg), and the 220 t payload class EH4000AC-3 (nominal payload with standard equipment of 221 t, target gross machine operating weight of 384,000 kg). Key large class Hitachi truck users around the world include the Cerrejon coal mine in Colombia; the Kaltim Prima coal mine in Indonesia; and many others including trolley assist fleets at First Quantum Kansanshi, Barrick Lumwana, Exxaro Grootegeluk and Eldorado Gold’s Kişladag.The two new rigid dump truck models are equipped with the new AC-3 drive system that was developed using Hitachi Group technologies that were already employed in conventional truck models. “This time around we improved the AC drive system with various sensors that provide information on drive conditions. The result is the Hitachi Drive Control System which reduces tire slippage on acceleration and tire lock-up during braking, and prevents chassis oscillation in a front-rear direction and tyre skid while steering.”In addition, to satisfy the request of customers worldwide, Hitachi is giving them the choice between engines from two different companies – Cummins or MTU. This option will also be made available for the EH5000AC-3 rigid dump truck, which was launched back in February 2013. The release of these two rigid dump truck models completes the lineup for the EH AC-3 series of dump trucks equipped with an AC drive system. Hitachi states: “Along with our ultra-large hydraulic excavators, for which we boast a high market share, we plan to supply these rigid dump truck models to contribute to the improvement of productivity at mines around the world.”The Hitachi Construction Machinery Group states it “is at present embarking on the fortification of the mining business, which is a key policy in the mid-term management plan, GROW TOGETHER 2016. In addition to further fortifying our develop, sales, and support system for high value-added products, including an autonomous driving dump truck, and carrying out development of emerging markets, we are also making optimal recommendations for mining operations and machine management, mainly using mine management systems developed by Wenco International Mining Systems Ltd. Going forward we plan to continue strengthening the mining business by working with Hitachi Group companies, including Hitachi Ltd whose strength is in information and communication, and infrastructure technologies, and also aim to provide “Reliable Solutions” to our customers worldwide.”In detail, Hitachi coupled the AC drive system, which has a high load-responsive IGBT inverter, with drive control software that was jointly developed with other Hitachi Group companies, to achieve a system “that excels in controlling travel motor speed and torque.” Whether taking off from a standstill, ascending grades, or performing steering manoeuvres, the system delivers an optimal, individual amount of power to each of the travel motors for smooth, quick operation. In addition to adding various sensors that detect vehicle motion, this is the first time in this class of machinery that they employed the Hitachi Drive Control System which “aims to achieve higher drive control performance by reducing tyre slippage on acceleration and tyre lock-up during braking, and preventing chassis oscillation in a front-rear direction and tyre skid while steering.” Consequently, the company says it realised strong and steady travel performance that ensures more stable jobsite haul-cycle times which contributes to higher productivity. These two models also boast powerful electric brakes that are activated during downhill driving. Since these dump trucks do not require the use of mechanical brakes during normal driving, not only is deceleration smoother but maintenance for the mechanical brakes is required less frequently.In the wide-berth cab, which is capable of housing two full-size seats, a large LCD display is located at the base of the handle. The display is in clear view and quickly provides the operator with information and warnings on drive operations such as travelling speed, engine turnover, and hauling performance. In addition, the multilingual display allows users to view information and warnings in their own language, thereby contributing to improved serviceability and safety. Thanks to a powerful electric brake, the dump trucks can be normally operated using two pedals, one for acceleration and one for the brakes. Easier operability alleviates operator fatigue. The levers and switches for operating the body are in the centre console, making it possible operate the body with one hand.