Month: September 2019

Indie Crossword Puzzlers Are Shaking Up A Very Square World

Gawker wasn’t the only irreverent, iconoclastic internet media property to say farewell recently. To a much quieter dirge, the BuzzFeed crossword puzzle published its final edition this month. Its editor, 23-year-old puzzle wunderkind Caleb Madison, for whom this was his first job, left the company to strike out on his own.The BuzzFeed crossword, which launched in October, promised a millennial upheaval to the musty crossword genre: an internet-native, slang-fluent, pop-culture-obsessed puzzle aimed at young solvers. There was hope, given BuzzFeed’s large amounts of traffic, that it would serve as a meaningful competitor to the starchy, hegemonic New York Times crossword. “BuzzFeed Is Revolutionizing the Crossword Puzzle,” an Observer headline declared last year.It didn’t. Yet while BuzzFeed’s puzzle revolution fizzled, a devoted band of ragtag agitators remains devoted to the cause. A vibrant ecosystem of independent crosswords — “indies” — exists on the internet, its component puzzles multiplying and evolving, finding their niche and trying to find ways to survive. And some of them can outrate the gold standard over at the Times.“I think of the indie world like we’re all craft beer brewers,” Brendan Emmett Quigley, a professional puzzle constructor, told me. The Times is a Budweiser lager; the indies are small-batch saisons and IPAs.“My favorite thing about indie puzzles is the timeliness,” Neville Fogarty, an avid indie solver who helped found the Indie 500 crossword tournament, told me. Indie puzzles don’t have to wait months in a publication queue, as they would at the Times. They also aren’t subject to the stylistic constraints of a large media institution. Topics and themes, however recent, modern, niche or profane, are fair game. Nor are they subject to the physical constraints of a major newspaper. With few exceptions, all daily Times puzzles use 15-by-15 grids with rotational symmetry, a convention indies can and do break.Over (craft) beers recently, Ben Tausig,1It was Tausig whose tweet, about a suspiciously duplicated puzzle, eventually led to the FiveThirtyEight investigation into accusations of plagiarism against the crossword editor Timothy Parker. the editor of the acclaimed indie American Values Club crossword, reflected on the early days of indies, over a decade ago. “We were all out in the woods,” he said. “Papers were dying, papers were dropping their crosswords.” And so some crossword designers decided to go it alone. A risky proposition, but one that came with aesthetic upside. These sylvan constructors could rewrite the stylebook. “Crosswords were staid, you know? As much as I enjoyed them, there was always this feeling that the voice of the Times was not my generational voice. It was like, what if you made a crossword about rap, or something? That felt really radical at the time.”Criticism of the Times puzzle seems to have expanded of late, beyond the stylistic and into the political. It’s not just that the Times puzzle is staid, or geared toward olds. It’s been accused of tone deafness on issues of race and gender. A recent clue for the answer HAREM was “Decidedly nonfeminist women’s group,” and the clue “Exasperated comment from a feminist” led to the answer MEN. “Gangsta rap characters” were THUGS.But Will Shortz, the Times puzzle editor since 1993, is an icon for a reason. All the constructors I spoke to praised him for elevating the Times puzzle to its current station. “The Times’ job is arguably much harder, because they have to walk that thin line of making sure everyone is included,” Quigley said. It’s come a long way, too. The Times published its first crossword in 1942. If you scrape off a thick layer of dust, you’ll find a puzzle riddled with obscurities (the poets CRABBE and TASSO, the seaport HAGI, the Dutch town EDE) and ditchwater-dull clues (both IAN and YVON are clued as “Man’s name”). And even if some indie puzzlers would like to foment a revolution, it already took one to get the Times to the solid position it’s in today. Shortz oversaw a transition away from the dryest trivia to a puzzle that does include some popular culture. He has said that anything the paper covers should be fair game for the crossword.“The Times’ crossword audience is broad, from teens up to as old as people get,” Shortz told me in an email. “But the average [age] is higher than that for the indies. So in terms of overall tone and cultural references, the Times puzzle will skew a little older than the indies.” Shortz also mentioned the need for the Times puzzle to have a longer shelf life than the indies, which means it eschews some timelier subjects. The puzzle appears in syndication six weeks after its original publication, and sometimes in books years later. American Values Club3.6 Matt Gaffney4.0 Crossword Nation3.9 PUZZLEAVG. USER RATING The New York Times3.5 Los Angeles Times3.6 Brendan Emmett Quigley3.7 Fireball3.9 Wall Street Journal3.4 The Times’ puzzle, though, isn’t the most highly rated on the Web. Indies may be ragtag, but their quality can be remarkably high. The popular blog Diary of a Crossword Fiend lets readers rate a selection of puzzles each day, from one to five stars. Indies do well, with indie icon Matt Gaffney’s topping the list and American Values Club and Quigley’s puzzles averaging above the Times so far this year. (Note, of course, that these ratings are subjective, and come from a highly selected sample of the universe of crossword solvers, namely those who rate crosswords on a crossword blog.)But that the indies are well-received doesn’t make them well-compensated. They’re wrestling with the same confusion about sustainable business models as all the other media upstarts.The New York Times has it relatively easy, with nearly 200,000 digital crossword subscribers, good for over $2 million in revenue in the first quarter of 2016, according to a company press release. When you figure in the hardcopy subscriptions and newsstand purchases due to the puzzle, plus the countless book collections, the Times crossword puzzle is almost certainly worth well north of $10 million a year. (The Times wouldn’t comment beyond what was disclosed in the press release.) Little of that money goes to the constructors: At its rate of $300 for a daily puzzle and $1,000 for a Sunday, I estimate that a little less than $150,000 a year is paid to the crossword constructors themselves.Outside the Times, though, monetization approaches vary wildly. The American Values Club crossword, the indie edited by Tausig, is subscription based. A year’s worth of puzzles is $20, or you can get a single puzzle for a buck, and proceeds are divvied up among constructors quarterly. Depending on the quarter, this model can yield more than the Times’ $300-per-puzzle rate, according to Tausig. “I’ve been a constructor for a long time, and also because I’m a hardcore Marxist, I want to put my money where my mouth is,” he said. Constructors there also retain some future rights to their puzzles. Tausig didn’t give me a precise count of his subscribers, but said there were no fewer than 3,000.Quigley, who runs an eponymous site, was inspired by Radiohead’s 2007 release of “In Rainbows” when he created his pay-what-you-want model. He publishes free puzzles on Mondays and Thursdays, and provides a “tip your constructor” PayPal link on his homepage. Between direct payments and the advertisement it provides for other paying puzzle gigs, Quigley estimated that his site is responsible for two-thirds of his income. He claimed an average of 12,000 people solve a typical puzzle on his site.And Matt Gaffney — whom other indie constructors described to me as the “juggernaut” and the “silverback gorilla” of the field and who tops the ratings list — oversees a mini-factory that publishes eight puzzles a week. About a year ago, Gaffney switched to a subscription-only model for his daily puzzle ($24 a year) which, he told me, has 500 to 600 subscribers. “It seems to be kind of the wave of the future,” he said. “But I think big media, regular media and indie puzzles will always coexist and coevolve for the foreseeable future. I don’t see one putting the other out of business.” Despite that, indies “are where all the crazy, new, fun stuff is happening.”In many ways, the crossword tumult mirrors that of the broader media world, pockmarked with hirings, firings, launches, closings and scandal. BuzzFeed hit the brakes, and USA Today ousted its crossword editor in May. But others hit the gas. The Wall Street Journal added a daily puzzle last September, and The Washington Post tapped a new crossword constructor in November. And Slate, stalwart of internet media, will feature the American Values Club crossword in its paid section, Slate Plus, starting in September.Madison, the former BuzzFeed editor, who has interned for both Shortz and Tausig, is heading back to the indie world himself. According to Madison, the BuzzFeed puzzle’s average 40,000 to 50,000 views didn’t justify its cost at the virally oriented site. (I emailed BuzzFeed for comment but have not yet received one.) He recently announced a new crossword project called Solve the Internet. Details were sketchy, but the description he gave me was heavy on “internet” and “social.” Madison wouldn’t offer a specific launch date but said to expect it soon.“I don’t understand what he’s talking about, but that’s a fantastic thing,” Quigley, 42, said of Madison’s puzzle ideas. “If we don’t go out and try to bring in that younger generation, we’ve got the buggy whip, and we’re gonna get blown out by something else.” Newsday3.9 Chronicle of Higher Education3.3 Boston Globe3.1 CrosSynergy3.3 Jonesin’ Crosswords3.3 The Washington Post3.9 Most highly rated crosswords BuzzFeed3.7 Includes puzzles appearing at least ten times. Ratings are out of 5.Source: Diary of a Crossword Fiend read more

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Ben Simmons Has OldSchool Range In 2019 Thats A Problem

Klay ThompsonGSW5.89.1-3.3 DRE per 36 minutes Russell WestbrookOKC7.911.1-3.2 Stephen CurryGSW10.115.1-5.0 PlayerTeamvs. .500+vs. <.500Diff The Philadelphia 76ers have been one of the most interesting teams of the 2018-19 NBA season so far — and that hasn’t always been a good thing. On the court, they’re a fast-paced squad with a ton of young talent, but they haven’t quite made the leap forward people expected after last year’s breakout performance. Off the court, they followed up a crazy offseason with the blockbuster trade of the year to date, snagging Jimmy Butler from the Minnesota Timberwolves. But perhaps predictably, it didn’t take long before reports emerged about drama between Butler and Philly’s coaching staff. Stir in Joel Embiid’s troll tweets and the depressing saga of former No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz’s shot, and there’s never a dull moment with these Sixers.Somewhat quietly amid the craziness, though, point-forward Ben Simmons’s shooting has also become a major subplot in Philadelphia’s mercurial ascent. Late in his rookie season, we noted that Simmons had never made a 3-pointer in his NBA career; he’s now 126 games in, and that’s still true — in fact, he hasn’t even attempted one this season. Only 10 percent of Simmons’ shots have even come outside of 10 feet from the basket. Here’s what his highly compressed shot chart looks like this season, according to Austin Clemens’ Swish 2.0 tool: Nikola JokicDEN9.613.9-4.3 De’Aaron FoxSAC7.212.0-4.9 Victor OladipoIND7.110.9-3.8 Minimum 500 minutes played; 2019 DRE as of Jan. 15.Sources: hoopsstats, Nylon Calculus Enes KanterNYK5.99.7-3.9 James HardenHOU11.214.7-3.5 Ben SimmonsPHI7.211.1-4.0 Which players drop off against good teams?Biggest declines in Nylon Calculus’s Daily RAPM Estimate (DRE) for 2018-19 NBA players against opponents with winning records vs. losing records It’s like something you might have seen from an NBA star of the 1970s or 1980s — if only we’d had shot charts for players back then. Of course, this hasn’t stopped Simmons from being an extremely productive NBA player: He currently ranks 16th in the league in Win Shares and is tied for 14th in Value Over Replacement Player.But as SB Nation’s Matt Ellentuck pointed out a few weeks ago, Simmons’s unwillingness to shoot could be hampering Philly’s potential against better opponents. “In Simmons’ 11 career games against the Celtics,” Ellentuck wrote, “Boston has outscored Philly by 125 points in 402 minutes with him on the floor, according to StatMuse.” By comparison, that number was somehow 134 points worse than Embiid’s plus-minus against Boston in a comparable number of minutes.1The Celtics have their own problems, but they remain a talented group at full-strength, as well as an ever-present measuring stick for the Sixers after last year’s playoff series. Ellentuck went on to show a similar split for Simmons against other contenders (such as the Toronto Raptors), and more favorable splits against poor teams such as the Atlanta Hawks, although a lot of that is to be expected — obviously a good player on a good team will have a better plus-minus against bad teams than fellow good ones. Individually, though, Simmons does have one of the NBA’s largest splits in performance based on the quality of the opponent, and the Sixers have won disproportionately more games against bad teams than good ones. Using data from HoopsStats.com, I broke out the DRE (Daily RAPM Estimate, a useful all-in-one “game score”-type stat from Nylon Calculus) per 36 minutes for every player who logged at least 500 minutes against opponents who are better and opponents who are worse than .500 this season.Many players across the league see a decline in production when facing tougher teams, but Simmons has seen the fourth-biggest drop-off. And while No. 1 on the list belongs to Steph Curry of all players, Curry still does plenty of damage against good teams, ranking eighth in DRE per 36 vs. teams with winning records. Simmons, by contrast, ranks 77th against those same opponents. Kevin DurantGSW9.713.2-3.4 In addition to Curry, you can also see the maniacally stat-stuffing James Harden and even Curry’s own teammates Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson near the top of the list. So in itself, this isn’t necessarily an indicator of postseason limitations or of players who haven’t yet reached their full potential. But there’s a difference between players who are amazing against all kinds of teams (just playing extra-great against bad ones) and ones who feast on bad opponents in particular.Right now, Simmons is fitting into the latter category. He sees greatly reduced rates of scoring (from 19.2 points per 36 minutes to 15.5), shooting efficiency (from a 60.1 field goal percentage to 54.2) and foul-drawing (from 6.2 free throw attempts per 36 to 5.5) against winning clubs, along with an increase in turnovers (from 3.5 per 36 to 4.0). (Simmons’ rebounds and assists stay roughly stable between each level of competition.) These opponents are the ones best equipped to approach Simmons like Boston did in the playoffs last year, cutting off driving lanes and exploiting the reduced amount of space his shooting range requires them to defend.But there’s also evidence Simmons’s game is adapting in his second healthy season as a pro. According to Second Spectrum tracking data, his drives per game are down from 15.5 last season (sixth-most in the league) to 9.0 (54th-most), and his pick-and-roll ballhandling plays are down from 18.1 to 8.1 — largely due to the arrival of Butler, who commands 10.0 picks per game as a ballhandler and tries 8.6 drives per game. So while Simmons now gets the vast majority of his buckets in transition, which makes sense given his skill set, he’s also ramped up his workload in areas more closely linked to traditional big men, such as rolling off screens and posting up. And more importantly, he’s gradually been taking more jumpers over the past few weeks: In January (through Tuesday’s game), 14 percent of Simmons’s shots have come from outside 10 feet of the basket (with a field goal percentage of 29 percent), compared with only 11 percent of shots (and a 20 percent field goal percentage) in October through December.Simmons still has a lot of work to do in these new parts of his game, but he is at least showing some signs of developing a more diversified offensive profile. And the fact that he’s managed to increase his true shooting percentage and offensive efficiency somewhat significantly while doing so has to be encouraging for the Sixers in the grand scheme of Simmons’s evolution as a player. Although his shortcomings may still leave him vulnerable to good teams for now, that may not always be the case.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

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Clean slate Buckeyes begin new year with weekend sweep of Bowling Green

After nearly a month off, the Ohio State men’s hockey team kicked off 2010 with a sweep of conference foe Bowling Green.Forward Sergio Somma said it would take the Buckeyes a good half-period to get back to game speed after the long layoff. His prediction held fairly true, as it took the Buckeyes exactly 14 minutes on Friday to find the net in their first game back.From there the Buckeyes took off, scoring twice in the second and four times in the third en route to a 7-2 victory.­The offensive onslaught continued for the Buckeyes Saturday night. C.J. Severyn scored — his second goal of the weekend — just over six minutes into the first period. Freshman Devon Krogh also scored in the first and the Buckeyes headed into the first intermission with a 2-0 lead, an advantage they would not relinquish. The Buckeyes went on to win Saturday night’s game 4-3 and complete the sweep of Bowling Green.Forward John Albert led the way, collecting five assists on the weekend, and he now has a team-high 14 on the season. Albert and forward Hunter Bishop credited some of their on-ice success to spending time together off it.“We’ve been pretty much doing everything you can think of together these past couple of weeks,” Albert said. Their familiarity with each other was quite evident on the ice. Their line, which includes Severyn, accounted for four goals and 10 assists on the weekend.Improved special teamsThe special teams — or power play and penalty kill — were an area of concern as OSU headed into the second half of the season. “We worked on our special teams every day in practice,” coach John Markell said. “All week we filmed it, watched it, filmed it, watched it.”The Buckeyes showed much improvement, piling up five power play goals against Bowling Green. The Buckeyes also locked down on the penalty kill, successfully killing nine of 10 penalties on the weekend.“Our penalty kill worked in the end, which was also important,” Markell said. “Special teams are so important this time of year.”Taking it up a notchAfter the first half of the season fell short of expectations, the Buckeyes opened 2010 with a renewed vigor. “I think guys definitely came back with an attitude in the second half. I don’t think anyone was happy with the way [the first half] went,” Bishop said. “I think guys came back to practice ready to step it up a notch and you could see it in practice.”The Buckeyes carried their increased intensity into the games against Bowling Green and came away with the sweep, which the players acknowledged as big wins. “I think all CCHA games are must win games in the second half of the year. I think it’s really big to get up there in the top four in the league to get that first round bye for the playoffs.”Ohio State will look to continue to gain ground in the standings on Jan. 22 and 23 in East Lansing against Michigan State. read more

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College coaches need lesson in loyalty

When college football coaches go out and recruit high school stars, they promise parents that they will look after the player and be a “father figure” of sorts. Coaches preach commitment and dedication to their players. The players buy into it. Football becomes their life. They believe in the program’s “principles.” Their coaches have lengthy, hefty contracts and tell the players that they aren’t going anywhere. Next thing the players know, their “father figure” is gone.College football head coaches are changing as much these days as health care bill proposals. The eerie thing is that they’re well-versed in the same political cheap talk.Heck, Alabama head honcho Nick Saban, who just recently directed the Crimson Tide to their first national title in 17 years, is no stranger to flip-flopping. On Dec. 21, 2006, Saban said, “I guess I have to say it. I’m not going to be the Alabama coach.” On Jan. 4, 2007, Saban was introduced as Alabama’s next head coach.Within the past few months, the nation’s top programs have been through coaching drama normally reserved for Hollywood stars and “Jersey Shore.” Florida’s Urban Meyer abruptly resigned citing health issues and stated he wanted to spend more time with his family. The next day he had a change of heart, and said he would take a “leave of absence” but still coach the Gators in the Sugar Bowl. It is basically a foregone conclusion that Meyer will be on the sidelines this fall, and ESPN cameras even spotted him texting at the Kentucky-Florida basketball game last week.Coaches spend hours upon hours preaching team unity and forming bonds with their teammates, encouraging them to spend time with one another.Kansas’s Mark Mangino, Texas Tech’s Mike Leach and South Florida’s Jim Leavitt, all of whom recently led their school’s programs to unprecedented success, were all fired for player mistreatment.Mangino, allegedly verbally abused his players regularly, including wide receiver Raymond Brown. After he dropped a pass in a game, Brown claims Mangino told him, “If you don’t shut up, I’m going to send you back to St. Louis so you can get shot with your homies.” Leach reportedly ordered that concussed sophomore wide receiver Adam James, son of ESPN analyst and Southern Methodist legend Craig James, be kept in a dark equipment garage/closet of sorts during practice. Leavitt is accused of grabbing a player by the throat and slapping him in the face at halftime of a Nov. 21 game. Where is the love?Then there’s the disaster that the University of Southern California has become. Ever since Pete Carroll was hired, the Trojans have been at the forefront of college football, but sometimes not for the right reasons. Now reports are out that former USC assistant coach Dave Watson received prescriptions from USC doctors to supply his apparent addiction to painkillers, and claims Carroll allowed him to keep his job. A few months later Watson pleaded no contest to DUI.  Where is Carroll now? He was introduced as the new head of the Seattle Seahawks last week, apparently running away from his problems.As for the players, questions still remain about former running back and Heisman trophy winner Reggie Bush’s relationship with marketing agents and former running back Joe McKnight was forced to sit out of the Emerald Bowl because he could not be cleared by USC’s compliance department following his alleged use of a gifted SUV. I love college football. I love wasting my Saturdays watching it. But the way the sport treats the players is despicable.Coaches have “contracts” that really don’t mean anything. The players put in the work and make their coaches look good, and don’t get paid. Do I know what to do? Absolutely not, but something has to happen. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go vomit; Lane Kiffin was just announced as the new USC coach after spending one measly year at Tennessee. read more

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OSU outduels Michigan to win Dual

In the 100-meter dash, OSU freshman Matt Terrell and senior Stephen Robinson took first and second place respectively, with Terrell posting a time of 11.05 seconds. Robinson also won the 200, finishing in 21.81.  Buckeye senior Jeff See set two Dual meet records, in the 1500 at 3 minutes, 44.71 seconds, and the 3000 at 8:22.37.  Along with the sprinting victories, the Buckeyes also won a number of field events.  Freshman Korbin Smith took the top spot in the long jump, sophomore Matt DeChant won the shot put, freshman Heath Nickles won the pole vault, and senior Ryan Blake was victorious in the high jump.  Even OSU football coach Jim Tressel recognized the significance of this event, as he spoke to the track team the night before the event, Simms said.  The team used a few other tricks from the OSU football squad, breaking into the song“Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes during the meet’s final event, as the Buckeyes pulled away in the 4×400-meter relay.  The band continued the song through the Buckeyes’ victory lap, as OSU claimed the Dual pennant for the fourth time in the last five meets. For Ohio State, the victory lap was the slowest but sweetest lap of the day Saturday. The OSU men’s track team defeated Michigan in “The Dual” 116-84, the largest margin of victory in the meet since it began in 2008. Coupled with a victory at the indoor Dual in January, OSU also became the first school to win both events in the same year.  The Buckeyes won 13 of the 19 events held at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, including the 400-meter hurdles.  Senior Elon Simms won the event, and junior Aaron Roberts overtook second place down the final stretch in one of the more exciting races of the day.  “‘The Dual’ is a special meet,” Simms said after winning the hurdle event.  Simms, a graduate student in social work, was injured in a previous year during his undergraduate work at OSU, so he still has eligibility to compete this season.  The importance of the rivalry is right below the Big Ten Championship, and The Dual is a good indicator of where the team is in the Big Ten, Simms said.   read more

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Buyer beware Ohio State mens basketball facing counterfeit ticket problem

There’s a counterfeiter on the loose — so have your wits about you when purchasing tickets for Ohio State men’s basketball. The OSU athletic department acknowledged a recent uptick in the number of counterfeit tickets that have appeared at the turnstiles for men’s hoops games this season in a Thursday statement. OSU athletics spokesman Dan Wallenberg said the counterfeiters are reproducing season-ticket ticket stubs. Wallenberg said the fake tickets are convincing. “About 50 tickets a game are found to be counterfeit,” Wallenberg said in an email to The Lantern. “They are high quality reproductions.” The Thursday release from OSU said fans are encouraged to purchase tickets directly from the university, ohiostatebuckeyes.com or Ticketmaster. Two of the Buckeyes’ four remaining home games are sold out — the team’s Feb. 11 date with Michigan State and the game against Wisconsin on Feb. 25 or 26 — and fans should use the Buckeyes’ TicketExchange on the athletics website, the release said. Ohio State Police did not immediately respond The Lantern’s request for comment regarding the counterfeit tickets. OSU returns to action with a Saturday away game against the Badgers, which is set to tip at 2 p.m. OSU’s next home game is Tuesday against Purdue. Two-thousand tickets are still available for purchase for the game against the Boilermakers. read more

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Ohio States Michael Brewster doesnt hear name called in 2012 NFL Draft

If former Ohio State center Michael Brewster is going to make it in the NFL, he’ll have to do it the hard way. All seven rounds of the 2012 NFL Draft came and went without Brewster’s name being called, and the player will now have to go the route of free agency in order to achieve professional success. A four-year starter for the Buckeyes and a vocal leader during the 2011 season, Brewster was an All-American and first-team all-Big Ten Conference performer in 2010. During the 2011 season, Brewster was also named a game captain a team-high eight times.  Brewster played in a total of 51 games for the Buckeyes during his career, and started 49 consecutive games to end his career. He graduated in December with a degree in strategic communication.   OSU had four players – Mike Adams, DeVier Posey, Daniel “Boom” Herron and Nate Ebner – taken in the draft.  Adams, a partner of Brewster’s on the offensive line for the past four season at Ohio Stadium, was the first former OSU player taken in this year’s draft and went to Pittsburgh in the second round. Posey was also selected on the second day of the Draft, ending up with the Houston Texans after his third round selection. Both Herron and Ebner went in the sixth round to the Cincinnati Bengals and the New England Patriots, respectively. read more

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Urban Meyer Something wrong if JT Barrett is not a Heisman finalist

OSU coach Urban Meyer enters Ohio Stadium before a game against Michigan on Nov. 29. OSU won, 42-28.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorAfter redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett was ruled out for the season due to a fractured ankle suffered against Michigan, the Ohio State football team learned of the death of teammate Kosta Karageorge on Sunday evening.While OSU refrained from commenting on the ongoing investigation surrounding Karageorge’s death or the player’s medical history, coach Urban Meyer addressed the media during his Monday press luncheon to discuss replacing Barrett and the Buckeyes’ upcoming Big Ten Championship Game matchup with Wisconsin.After beating the Wolverines, 42-28, on Saturday, the Buckeyes concluded the regular season 11-1 overall and 8-0 in the Big Ten. OSU sits at No. 6 in the College Football Playoff poll, and a new set of rankings are set to be released Tuesday evening.Meyer started off the press conference by praising OSU’s students and fans after the Buckeyes led the country in total attendance this season.Meyer also praised OSU’s senior class and said those players have earned respect.He noted the one thing this year’s seniors haven’t won is a Big Ten championship. “The one thing you notice I did not mention in there is a championship, and that’s an opportunity to get it done this week,” he said.Meyer said Barrett’s Sunday surgery went well and that he “talked to him last night.” He added Barrett was expected to be at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center sometime on Monday.Meyer said Barrett’s injury is similar to the one suffered by senior wide receiver Evan Spencer during OSU’s Orange Bowl loss to Clemson last season. Spencer has played in every game in 2014.“Obviously Evan’s recovered without any issues whatsoever, and so they’re anticipating the same with J.T.,” he said. “We love J.T., I personally have an incredible amount of respect for him.”Meyer said he doesn’t feel Barrett’s injury should remove him from the Heisman Trophy conversation. “He is a Heisman candidate too, and he should be invited to New York,” Meyer said. “And if he’s not, there’s something wrong.”Despite the Buckeyes’ No. 6 ranking, Meyer referred to his team as a “top-five” team in the nation.He said Wisconsin is an “excellent team” and added Badger coach Gary Andersen is a “great football coach.” The two worked together while Meyer was the head coach at Utah.He noted Wisconsin redshirt-junior running back Melvin Gordon is a Heisman candidate just like Barrett.Meyer said it’s “been a tough week” for OSU.He noted he does not agree with the decision that led to junior defensive lineman Noah Spence being ruled permanently ineligible.“Obviously a young man goes missing, and then obviously we lose J.T. Barrett and then obviously the tragic news last night,” Meyer said of the events unfolding over the past week.He said the Buckeyes are “an extremely close team who leans on each other at tough times.”“Every red flag is up,” Meyer said. “Every excuse to not play well, to not win a game, to lose a game.”He added the Buckeyes have “some really good built-in excuses” and said it’s going to be a challenge to overcome the “incredible tragedy” of Karageorge’s death.“This is so much deeper than lining up on a football field,” Meyer said.Meyer said the reason he was in a good mood Monday is because he’d “seen about 40 players come popping through, ‘Hey coach, how’s it going?’”“That’s what makes coaches’ days,” he said.Meyer said there’s nothing in the “coaching manual” about how to deal with a player’s death. “Just continue to grow and stay on your journey,” he said.On Karageorge’s time as a walk-on at OSU, Meyer said: “He loved it, he loved it. I had dinner with him a couple times, it just was such a short period to spend with him.”While redshirt-sophomore quarterback Cardale Jones is set to start for OSU, Meyer said he hasn’t decided if a Jones injury would mean burning freshman quarterback Stephen Collier’s redshirt.Meyer said Jones has a “very good understanding” of the OSU offense and has taken reps with the starters in the past.He said the coaching staff plans to use Jones how they must in order to win the game, but have had conversations about whether or not they should limit his runs. “We’re not saving him for next week, the week after,” Meyer said. “We’re not saving anything, this is an opportunity to win a Big Ten championship.”The Buckeyes and the Badgers are scheduled to play on Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Kickoff is set for 8:17 p.m. read more

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Mens basketball Chris Holtmann beat North Carolina as a firstyear head coach

Then-Butler head coach Chris Holtmann coached the 2014-15 Bulldogs to a surprise 23-11 with a win against No. 5 North Carolina in his first season as head coach. Credit: Courtesy of John Fetcho | Butler AthleticsChris Holtmann wasn’t officially the guy until after he secured the biggest win of his early coaching career.He was Butler’s interim head coach at the start of the 2014-15 season and took his team to the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas during Thanksgiving weekend. Their first opponent: No. 5 North Carolina.“To be honest,” former Butler guard Alex Barlow said, “I didn’t know what to expect.”Barlow said he wondered if the moment of Holtmann’s first truly big game as head coach would get to him.It did not.Butler shocked the Tar Heels, 74-66. The Bulldogs shot only 30.6 percent from the field and turned the ball over 19 times, but they grabbed 29 offensive rebounds and allowed just eight fastbreak points.That win put Butler on course for a 23-11 season and an NCAA Tournament bid, following a 14-17 season the year prior. It also was a main factor in Holtmann’s promotion from interim to full-time head coach. He then quickly entered the conversation of college basketball’s best up-and-coming coaches.“We got out there, and it was just like we were playing Chattanooga,” Barlow said. “It had no different feel. And at that moment, I’m like, we got ourselves a really good coach.”Holtmann had bested future hall-of-famer Roy Williams in his first season as a head coach at a major program.He has a similar opportunity Saturday when Ohio State battles the fifth-ranked Tar Heels in New Orleans.At 10-3 with wins against Wisconsin and Michigan, the Buckeyes have been somewhat of a surprise in college basketball in the first year of the Holtmann regime. Picked to finish in the bottom third of the Big Ten by several media outlets, Ohio State is now in a similar position to that Butler team three years ago. An upset win against the Tar Heels can vault the Buckeyes into the national picture and significantly boost their NCAA Tournament resume before January.“We’re going to really talk to our guys about just staying in the moment and staying really focused on doing what you know is expected to do and then cut loose and play aggressively,” Holtmann said. “I don’t have any, at least I haven’t had any kind of Knute Rockne speeches in my bag.”He didn’t have that moment in 2014 either. There wasn’t one or two main factors to why Butler won that day. Barlow and Kellen Dunham — another Butler guard on that team — said it had to do with Holtmann simply convincing them they were the better team.“He believed in us from the start,” Dunham said. “He’s like, ‘Guys, I’m serious. I look around the country and I’d go with you guys every day of the week. I’m not going to trade any one of you guys for anybody.’ “For a coach to say that, as cheesy as it sounds, it’s like, man, I want to go dive on the floor for this guy.”Holtmann had three days to prep his players before they played North Carolina in the Bahamas for the first game of the 12-team tournament. Normally, a player might expect a coach to have a higher level of intensity in the practices leading up to that caliber of a showdown. It was quite the opposite.Dunham said Holtmann was pretty much the same the whole week as he was preparing for other games. He tried to drown out the hype the media put on the game and laid out the tendencies of each player on the scouting report, humanizing would-be lottery picks in future NBA drafts. The only difference, Barlow said, was how much they practiced on transition defense and rebounding.“If you would have told me we shot as poorly as we did, would we have won the game? I would’ve been surprised,” he said. “But we got so many extra possessions, we had a lot of 3s and we did a great job with all of our defensive keys.”Alex Barlow (3) celebrate near the end of a 56-48 win against Texas in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh on March 19, 2015. He was Butler’s leading scorer against North Carolina in 2014. Credit: Courtesy of TNSButler trailed by just three at halftime and executed its offense well, despite a low shooting percentage. Barlow, who had 11 points at halftime, said he remembered Holtmann entering the locker room and delivering the same message, instilling the same confidence he had all week with the players — they were going to win that game.Barlow hit two 3s to open the half for his game-high 17 points and Butler didn’t turn back. With stellar play on the boards and getting back in transition — something echoed by Ohio State forwards Jae’Sean Tate and Keita Bates-Diop Thursday — Butler made a statement it could beat any team.The same statement Ohio State hopes to make Saturday.Butler led by as much as much as 14 with eight minutes left. North Carolina ended up cutting its deficit to three with 37 seconds remaining.At any point where Holtmann’s inexperience in big games would show, this had to be the moment. The double-digit lead had shrunk to one possession. However, Barlow said Holtmann didn’t show an ounce of nervousness, which reminded him of former Butler head coach Brad Stevens, now the Boston Celtics head coach.“I think coach Holtmann’s kind of like that in the fact that he was always like, ‘Guys, we’re going to win this game,” Barlow said.Dunham said he gets frustrated thinking about how poorly he shot in that game — 3-for-17 — but remembers that game as one that put the Bulldogs on a track to the NCAA Tournament and as a turning point in the team’s trust in Holtmann as the guy moving forward.“It instilled a lot of confidence that we could beat just about anybody in the country if we buy into what coach Holtmann’s saying,” he said.Ohio State has surpassed early expectations. That Butler team did the same. The only difference is Holtmann hasn’t had that signature win against a ranked opponent with the Buckeyes just yet. The same opponent can provide Holtmann with another career-defining victory in his first season at another major program.Ohio State junior guard C.J. Jackson (3) talks with head coach Chris Holtmann during a timeout in the first half of the game against Radford on Nov. 12. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor“Whether or not they can beat North Carolina this weekend, I don’t know … But what I do know is those guys will believe they can beat them because of coach Holtmann, because of the assistant coaches there with them,” Barlow said. “Coach Holtmann has gotten those guys to buy in. He’s gotten them to believe they’re better than what they were supposed to be. And when you have that type of confidence, you can beat anybody on any given night.”This won’t be Holtmann’s only chance in his inaugural season to secure a win against a top team. However, the opportunity presented to him against the Tar Heels comes with the territory of knowing how to complete the task.“It was one of your coaching moments that you reflect back on and you’ll never forget because when you’re coaching a new group and you just got the position and you’ve been named interim and you’re kind of on a day-to-day contract,” Holtmann said Thursday when asked about the 2014 game. “To have a moment like that for us as a group and as a team after what we had been through was pretty special given the caliber of program that we were playing.” read more

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Care homes should house students to stop age apartheid between old and

first_imgElderly people rarely interact with younger people outside of their family  Street parties should be encouraged so that older and younger members of the community can come together  “What we are calling for is older people’s housing schemes opening up to and being involved in the wider community.”Some housing schemes have cafés or restaurants where other ages come in; some have younger volunteers coming in to help with activities – keep fit etc; and some have schools coming in.“There are examples from Spain and Germany where housing schemes are built to accommodate both older and younger people in the same building to promote mixing and mutual sharing of activities, support and social life.“By sharing our concerns and interests, and sharing our experiences and community activities across generations, we can promote stronger understanding and trust between people of all ages.”Separate research by the University of Lincoln and Sheffield Hallam University found that the elderly are suffering from social exclusion, with many struggling to get to shops or their GP.The team studied more than 10,000 people over 65 and found 16 per cent of over-85s reported significant problems accessing services such as healthcare and food shops.This compared with just 4 per cent of those in the younger age group.The study was published in the journal Social Policy and Society. Elderly people rarely interact with younger people outside of their family  Street parties should be encouraged so that older and younger members of the community can come together Stephen Burke, director of United for All Ages, said: “Britain is increasingly divided by age and by generation. Ending age apartheid and promoting social integration between generations can help build communities and a country for all ages, where we are united, not divided. The report said the elderly were becoming increasingly ghetto-ised in care homes or housing schemes designed for them, and rarely met younger people, except for relatives.Once family interactions are excluded, the average Briton has 56 per cent less interaction with other age groups than would be expected if they were mixing naturally with people in their community, United for All Ages said.To combat the problem the thinktank suggested that older people should share care homes with students, and  allow their facilities to be used for  community activities such as nursery schools.It also suggested opening up schools and universities for older  people’s programmes to encourage mixing within the age groups, or holding regular street parties.The think tank encouraged the adoption of home-share schemes in which younger people live with older people and help them in return for a reduced rent. 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. Care homes should be opened up to students and nursery-age children, and more street parties held, to stop the “apartheid” between the old and the young, a think tank has said.A new report from United for All Ages warns that there is widening gap between older and younger generations, largely fuelled by the housing crisis, which has forced young people to live in cheaper urban areas, while their parents and grandparents live in the suburbs or the countryside.last_img read more

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