Concussions suffered by three quarterbacks and a running back Sunday has prompted NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith two renew his call for the league to hire “concussion specialists” with no team affiliation who would man the sidelines to oversee concussion protocols and treat players.The players’ union continues to be frustrated over what it perceives to be an inconsistency among teams to adhere to concussion guidelines.The concussions suffered Sunday by quarterbacks Michael Vick, Jay Cutler, Alex Smith and running back Fred Jackson drew particular attention Monday from the union, which will review the injuries and adherence to guidelines based on initial observations, NFLPA sources said. Players are entitled to file a grievance if they want to pursue claims against teams. Union sources say most players are reluctant to file complaints for fear of decreased job security.Only one of the defensive players involved on the hits to the quarterbacks is under league review for potential discipline, a source told ESPN. Texans linebacker Tim Dobbins drew a penalty flag for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Cutler and could be fined.Smith suffered a concussion when tackled by Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar. Vick left with a concussion after being hit by Cowboys linebacker Ernie Sims. Neither of those hits were penalized and the league has determined both were perfectly legal.NFLPA sources said the union wants the league to accept responsibility for creating a disciplined, prompt and safe environment for players who are injured during the course of a game. They said the union wants concussion specialists, paid not by the teams but by the league, to assume the duties of caring for players, in accordance with normal employer workplace oversight.In last year’s collective bargaining negotiations, the union gained access to player medical information and the ability to conduct its own reviews of how teams evaluate and treat all injuries, including head and neck trauma.
Welcome to The Lab, FiveThirtyEight’s basketball podcast. On this week’s show (Jan. 11, 2018), LaVar Ball has been making headlines for calling out Lakers head coach Luke Walton, saying the players “don’t want to play for him.” Neil, Chris and Kyle break down the stats to see if these claims hold any merit. Next, the Minnesota Timberwolves are having an impressive season, perhaps even impressive enough to contend for the Western Conference championship. Who’s responsible for their season’s turnaround? We investigate. Plus, a small-sample-size segment on Steph Curry’s incredible numbers of late.Here are links to what was discussed this week:Keep an eye on our 2017-18 NBA predictions, updated after every game.Lonzo Ball and Luke Walton responded to LaVar’s comments.The Ringer took a look at the Timberwolves and Jimmy Butler’s rise.Wednesday night, Steph Curry was out again with an ankle injury. Embed Code By Neil Paine, Chris Herring and Kyle Wagner More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed
107Eastern MichiganMAC344.5-15.1-7.0 44CaliforniaPac-12613.6+9.2+3.2 125North TexasC-USA366.1-18.1-11.2 60WyomingMW315.5-9.0+0.6 119South CarolinaSEC716.3+2.0-9.4 31ColoradoPac-12534.2+6.8+4.8 51Middle Tennessee StateC-USA423.2-2.2+1.7 7TempleAmerican449.3+7.5+10.0 3NavyAmerican324.8+6.4+15.4 41Virginia TechACC652.6+11.6+3.5 18BaylorBig 12639.8+15.4+7.9 42TroySun Belt363.0-3.8+3.3 48Ole MissSEC786.2+17.4+2.3 8OklahomaBig 12776.7+24.4+9.8 9WashingtonPac-12683.5+19.3+9.6 10ToledoMAC444.9+6.6+9.3 118HawaiiMW385.3-14.8-8.9 113SMUAmerican460.4-10.1-8.1 13WisconsinBig Ten639.8+15.9+8.4 55New MexicoMW364.5-5.7+1.3 25TCUBig 12648.0+15.1+7.2 37MinnesotaBig Ten525.8+5.3+3.8 92ConnecticutAmerican412.9-9.0-4.6 54TennesseeSEC812.2+18.0+1.6 99Kent StateMAC336.2-14.3-5.8 120UCFAmerican497.4-9.7-9.6 40StanfordPac-12772.2+17.9+3.5 32USFAmerican546.8+7.3+4.7 23UtahPac-12577.2+11.6+7.4 124Fresno StateMW403.8-15.9-11.0 22HoustonAmerican542.1+9.9+7.6 103BuffaloMAC330.0-15.2-6.4 70Boston CollegeACC534.0+0.2-1.7 17Brigham YoungFBS Indep.525.2+9.4+8.0 95Arizona StatePac-12687.5+5.1-4.9 100Oregon StatePac-12534.8-4.0-5.9 104FIUC-USA361.5-13.6-6.5 14Kansas StateBig 12504.5+8.7+8.3 33Ohio StateBig Ten904.9+25.6+4.3 87MissouriSEC638.3+3.8-3.6 34Georgia TechACC586.4+8.8+4.2 36AlabamaSEC982.3+29.3+4.0 28North CarolinaACC676.3+15.5+6.2 102MassachusettsFBS Indep.347.3-14.1-6.2 47Arkansas StateSun Belt439.8-0.5+2.5 74IndianaBig Ten562.3+1.3-2.1 76SyracuseACC514.5-1.3-2.2 57NorthwesternBig Ten604.7+6.4+0.8 15Oklahoma StateBig 12641.8+15.7+8.1 108Louisiana-LafayetteSun Belt425.8-11.4-7.6 4Appalachian StateSun Belt323.1+5.0+14.1 20IowaBig Ten565.9+11.3+7.7 68Michigan StateBig Ten717.5+10.3-1.2 122TexasBig 12830.1+7.3-10.1 98AkronMAC428.2-9.2-5.6 50Mississippi StateSEC679.6+11.5+2.0 49Central MichiganMAC384.3-3.8+2.1 66DukeACC581.5+3.4-1.0 38PittsburghACC630.5+10.6+3.6 112Florida AtlanticC-USA405.0-12.9-8.0 89Notre DameFBS Indep.849.8+14.4-4.0 69Iowa StateBig 12540.6+0.9-1.4 11ArmyFBS Indep.159.1-8.5+9.2 39MichiganBig Ten852.0+22.1+3.6 59LSUSEC903.5+21.8+0.6 I mentioned the service academies — Air Force, Navy and Army — because they are the biggest outliers here. Although their recruiting process works largely the same as at other schools (with the biggest exception being a lack of scholarships specifically for athletics), they face unique barriers to hauling in top talent, including mandatory military service after graduation, tougher academic requirements and even size restrictions for incoming players.2Guidelines for weight and body fat, for instance, can make it difficult for top linemen to qualify. That’s why, according to the Team Talent Composite, the academies are mostly filled with players who were lightly regarded coming out of high school. But whether because of their emphasis on character and discipline, or just their predilection for triple-option schemes that can trip up the most formidable defenses, these programs have produced far better results than their talent would suggest.Among Power Five schools, the top outperformers are a generally unsurprising collection of well-coached programs, such as the perennially overachieving Wisconsin Badgers, the Washington schools (both UW and WSU), plus Bill Snyder’s K-State and Mike Gundy’s Oklahoma State squads. But ahead of them all might be a surprising team: the Oklahoma Sooners. OU got a reputation for losing big games under former coach Bob Stoops, but Stoops probably should have also gotten more credit for putting the Sooners in position to play those games in the first place, given the way they outplayed the expectations of their recruiting classes.Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, there are programs that recruit like crazy but achieve only modest outcomes, like South Carolina, Texas and Georgia. The latter two in particular are storied programs that recruit off of their prestige, but both teams have found a way to mess up that advantage in recent seasons. There’s also no shortage of teams that field average talent but manage to be awful anyway, like Kansas and Rutgers. All of these schools serve as testament to the importance of coaching and player development in any program’s fate. Although a team like Nick Saban’s dominating Alabama squad can be No. 1 in recruiting and No. 1 in performance on the field, most schools have to make the best out of what they’ve got.How much bang does your favorite school get for its recruiting buck? Find out in our searchable table below. 61IdahoSun Belt259.6-11.9+0.5 Sources: 247Sports, ESPN Stats & Information Group FOOTBALL POWER INDEX 126Texas StateSun Belt356.1-20.6-13.2 12Washington StatePac-12531.7+10.6+8.8 121RiceC-USA397.2-15.1-9.8 94UCLAPac-12806.2+11.3-4.8 30TulsaAmerican406.6+0.9+5.6 35Georgia SouthernSun Belt413.3-0.3+4.1 64East CarolinaAmerican422.9-4.5-0.5 79NevadaMW385.0-8.5-2.6 84CincinnatiAmerican518.1-2.1-3.1 78Georgia StateSun Belt328.7-11.3-2.5 105TulaneAmerican398.1-11.7-6.5 19ClemsonACC826.8+25.0+7.8 75NebraskaBig Ten695.8+8.2-2.1 77San Jose StateMW408.5-7.0-2.3 97New Mexico StateSun Belt259.4-18.0-5.5 86Ball StateMAC357.9-10.8-3.5 81IllinoisBig Ten527.4-1.5-3.0 FOOTBALL POWER INDEX▲▼TEAM▲▼CONF.▲▼TALENT▲▼ACTUAL▲▼VS. EXPECTED▲▼ 45OhioMAC351.6-4.8+2.9 83VanderbiltSEC614.4+3.0-3.1 2Western KentuckyC-USA377.7+11.8+18.1 123CharlotteC-USA317.3-19.7-10.2 6MemphisAmerican416.5+6.8+11.0 71MiamiACC759.6+11.8-1.9 College football teams’ success vs. their recruiting programsTeam Talent Composite vs. Football Power Index rating for FBS college football programs, 2015-16 73FloridaSEC794.1+13.5-2.0 90OregonPac-12747.9+9.0-4.1 91ArizonaPac-12611.6+1.6-4.4 114South AlabamaSun Belt378.3-14.7-8.4 72Texas A&MSEC822.5+15.1-1.9 111Louisiana-MonroeSun Belt307.8-17.9-7.9 93MarshallC-USA487.6-5.1-4.6 96KentuckySEC643.3+2.2-5.4 62Texas TechBig 12623.0+6.8+0.2 101UTEPC-USA273.3-17.9-6.2 16LouisvilleACC647.6+16.0+8.1 67Wake ForestACC507.6-0.6-1.1 80Old DominionC-USA333.4-11.3-2.7 88UNLVMW354.5-11.4-3.9 5Western MichiganMAC442.6+9.1+11.9 58Bowling GreenMAC413.1-3.8+0.7 115VirginiaACC643.0-1.1-8.6 ▲▼TEAM▲▼CONF.▲▼TALENT▲▼ACTUAL▲▼VS. EXPECTED▲▼ 21Boise StateMW558.9+10.9+7.7 46N.C. StateACC613.3+8.9+2.8 53ArkansasSEC692.2+11.9+1.7 106Texas-San AntonioC-USA377.0-13.1-6.8 24San Diego StateMW488.5+6.9+7.4 109GeorgiaSEC874.9+12.0-7.7 117MarylandBig Ten627.9-1.9-8.7 College football can feel like a hopelessly deterministic sport sometimes. In this week’s preseason AP poll, for instance, it was revealed that the recruiting machines at Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State and Southern Cal are also the top favorites to win the College Football Playoff. Ho-hum.But although raw talent has a pretty strong correlation with on-field success, it doesn’t completely guarantee it. Teams with good rosters can always let their fan bases down, while others can achieve far better results than we would expect from their recruiting hauls alone. (Hello, service academies!)To get a sense of which teams have gotten the most — and the least — out of their talent, I took ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) ratings for each FBS program over the past two seasons,1Ideally, we’d be able to look at this over a longer timeframe, but the data I’m using for this story only goes back to the 2015 season. and plotted them against 247Sports.com’s Team Talent Composite scores. (The latter measures a roster’s strength by tracking how many highly touted prospects a team has at its disposal.) The overall relationship between FPI and roster talent is relatively strong — recruiting scores explain about 65 percent of the variation in team performance — but some teams have managed to rise above college football’s penchant for predestination. 82AuburnSEC865.4+16.2-3.0 116Miami (OH)MAC407.6-13.4-8.6 26Louisiana TechC-USA444.7+4.4+7.1 65Florida StateACC898.3+20.1-0.8 110PurdueBig Ten523.5-6.6-7.9 85USCPac-12931.8+19.5-3.2 52Colorado StateMW400.7-3.4+1.7 56Southern MissC-USA456.1-1.0+1.2 29Utah StateMW344.3-2.0+6.0 1Air ForceMW57.8+1.4+24.3 43Northern IllinoisMAC392.0-2.3+3.3 63Penn StateBig Ten737.4+12.3-0.3 127RutgersBig Ten593.9-8.6-13.6 128KansasBig 12495.5-14.4-14.2 27West VirginiaBig 12640.2+14.0+6.5
By Neil Paine, Chris Herring and Kyle Wagner More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code Welcome to The Lab, FiveThirtyEight’s basketball podcast. On Monday’s show (April 16, 2018), Neil, Kyle and Chris recap the first games of the NBA playoffs. They focus on the weekend’s big storylines: The Pacers trounced the Cavs in Cleveland, the Blazers had no answer for Anthony Davis, and the Sixers looked like real contenders.Here are links to what the podcast discussed this week:Keep an eye on FiveThirtyEight’s NBA predictions, updated after every game.Chris wrote about how Ben Simmons is outsmarting his defenders.
OSU coach Kevin McGuff yells during a game against Nebraska on Feb. 18 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 96-70. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorA road matchup against No. 20 Michigan State (22-7, 13-4) was how the No.5 Ohio State (23-6, 15-3) women’s basketball team would end its regular season, and it surely was a thrilling conclusion. After losing to Minnesota just three days ago in overtime, the Buckeyes once again needed extra time to try and secure a win. However, they fell to the Spartans in not one, not two but three overtime periods, 107-105, on Saturday in East Lansing, Michigan. Despite the loss, sophomore guard Kelsey Mitchell set a single-game scoring record for OSU after dropping 48 points. Senior guard Ameryst Alston added 19 points and seven assists. It was Michigan State’s senior day, making it the second game in a row that the Buckeyes would battle against an opponent honoring its seniors. The inspired Michigan State roster followed the same strategy that Minnesota set in place against OSU by coming out in a zone defense. After facing a zone the past few games, though, the Buckeyes started to find a flow, moving the ball around the court and being patient until they found the shot they were looking for. The first half was bundled with highlight action from both squads, but neither team was able to take advantage of opportunities that were presented. At the halfway mark, the Buckeyes and Spartans were knotted up at 34 apiece.As could be expected from the matchup between ranked conference foes, the lead was exchanged multiple times between the two teams, with a total of 22 lead changes and 16 ties by the final buzzer. The Spartans came out of the locker room for the second half fired up, willing to do whatever it took so that OSU wouldn’t be able to celebrate a win on their home court, on their senior day.Michigan State swarmed the Buckeyes on the defensive end at the beginning of the second half, forcing five turnovers in a 2:18 stretch, then making OSU coach Kevin McGuff take a timeout to allow his team to regain composure with 6:08 to play in the third quarter.The Buckeyes would finish the game coughing up the ball 25 times, allowing the Spartans to score 18 points off those mistakes.Back and forth the two teams went until the final media timeout of the fourth quarter when the action began to get interesting.At the timeout, the score was knotted up at 63. With the Spartans controlling the final few minutes of play, the Buckeyes had a tough time regaining the momentum to help put them ahead.Down two points with under a minute to play and the game clock ticking down, Mitchell tied it up after making a nifty spin move in the paint and floating the rock through the net. With 25 ticks remaining, the teams were leveled at 72. Michigan State would not have to worry about the shot clock in the final seconds, but redshirt junior Ariel Powers, who has been the Spartans’ main scorer all year, missed the potentially game-winning pull-up jump shot, pushing the game into overtime.The continued exchanges for the lead continued in the extended time, and with 11 seconds left the Buckeyes thought they had the road win wrapped up with a two-point lead. They were wrong.Senior center Jasmine Hines, who finished the game with a career-high 36 points to make for an impressive senior day showing, would answer for the Spartans and tie the game, moving it to another bonus period.The second overtime was controlled by the Buckeyes; receiving contributions from Mitchell, Alston and sophomore guard Asia Doss. The defensive specialist Doss made a huge steal for her team and scored on the other end to put OSU ahead 92-88, but it was immediately was answered by Spartan redshirt sophomore guard Branndais Agee on a 3-pointer.Alston went to the charity stripe after getting fouled off the inbound, where she knocked down both and regained the three-point lead for the visitors.Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant then drew up a play during a timeout, which her team executed to perfection, as junior guard Tori Jankoska drained one from downtown to tie it up 94-94 with 11.1 seconds on the game clock.The Buckeyes put the ball in Mitchell’s hand for the final shot. Dribbling down the floor, the sophomore made a move to the left wing, but after being unable to create space for a shot, she looked to kick out to Alston. But the pass went awry, flying out of bounds.Triple overtime was next on deck.In the third and final overtime period Michigan State would dig down, eventually coming out on top when time expired. Jankoska was the hero yet again for the Spartans, knocking down her three free throws at the end to get the two-point lead and victory.Mitchell’s 48-point performance led all scorers, but with Alston and junior forward Shayla Cooper having a tough time from the field, Mitchell had no choice but to attempt to put the team on her back down the stretch. The Cincinnati native showcased her seemingly unlimited range and speed on the fast break, which she utilized to get to the basket and finish with contact. Mitchell is in the conversation for the national player of the year award, as she is averaging 24.5 points per game and continues to be the go-to option for the Buckeyes.Powers, who is also a nominee for the player of the year award for the 2015-16 season, had an impressive all-around performance, despite being quiet in the first half as she struggled to find her groove from the start.On Saturday, Powers showed that she can do it all, finishing with 23 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists. Before their next game, the Buckeyes will have to play the waiting game to see which team they will be playing in their first game of the Big Ten conference tournament. They will also have to wait to learn their seed in the tournament. A win Saturday would’ve locked up the top seed and a share of the Big Ten title, but instead a Maryland win over Minnesota on Sunday would give the Terrapins the outright title.Last year, OSU fell in the championship game of the tournament against that Maryland team, and it will look to flip the script this year in Indianapolis. Its quarterfinal matchup is set for Friday.
A national football powerhouse such as Ohio State expects to win every game. This is a stark difference from the aura that surrounds the Eastern Michigan program. The Eagles have lost 15 straight games. In the time since Eastern Michigan’s last victory, Barack Obama was inaugurated, LeBron James “took his talents to South Beach” and the Jersey Shore became a popular tourist site. The last time OSU lost consecutive games was in 2004, when they lost to Northwestern, Wisconsin and Iowa. That was the last season in which OSU did not play in a BCS bowl game. Safety Tyler Moeller doesn’t care that Eastern Michigan has not won since Nov. 28, 2008. “Any team can beat us any day,” Moeller said. “Ohio University proved that in 2008. They gave us a great game. We need to play our game every week and not let go of the throttle.” Are the Eastern Michigan Eagles really as bad as they seem? The team is led by senior linebackers Neal Howey and Tim Fort, who are both in the top five in tackles in the Mid-American Conference. Second-year coach Ron English, former defensive coordinator at Michigan under Lloyd Carr, leads a team that is predominately underclassmen. “He knows us better than his players know us, having been on Lloyd’s staff for all those years, coaching the secondary there at Michigan, and he knew the challenge when he took over,” said OSU coach Jim Tressel. Five of Eastern Michigan’s 15 consecutive losses have come in games decided by a touchdown or less. The Eagles’ losing streak is currently second behind Western Kentucky’s 23-game drought. Despite the disparity in team success, the message in the OSU locker room is quite simple. “We can’t have any letdowns,” defensive end Cameron Heyward said.
Members of the United State’s men’s national soccer team like to think of Crew Stadium as home. The American’s most recent visit to Columbus is yet another example of why there’s no place like home. The U.S. improved its all-time record at Crew Stadium to 6-0-3 with a 1-0 win against Jamaica in a 2014 World Cup qualifying match Tuesday. American forward Herculez Gomez struck a set-piece goal in the 55th minute to give the Americans a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard also helped keep a shutout intact for the Americans, who avenged their 2-1 loss to Jamaica on Friday in Kingston, Jamaica. With the win, the U.S. moves into a three-way tie for first-place in its World Cup qualifying group with Jamaica and Guatemala. The Guatemalans defeated Antigua and Barbuda Tuesday, 1-0, to keep pace in the group, from which only the top two teams can advance in World Cup qualifying. The Americans will resume World Cup qualifying Oct. 12 with a game against the group’s last-place team, Antigua and Barbuda, in St. John’s, Antigua. Crew Stadium was a powder keg and the U.S. came close to lighting the fuse numerous times in the first half. Chance after chance went just wide of Jamaican keeper Dwayne Miller’s goal. American midfielder Graham Zusi set the tone for the first half when he clanked an 18-yard shot off the upper right corner of Miller’s goal, which was besieged in the first half. All told, three U.S. shots caromed off the posts of Miller’s net by the time 30 minutes had passed. Other U.S. attempts whistled wide as the American fans standing on temporary bleachers waited to erupt. Howard, by comparison, wasn’t tested once in the opening half, and his teammates kept the pressure up on the other end of the field, outshooting Jamaica, 8-0, in the opening 45 minutes. Jamaica was barely hanging on, but the Americans weren’t able to break through and the teams went to half in a scoreless tie. Fans remained at a roar as the second half began and before long, the moment the entire stadium had been waiting for finally arrived in the 55th minute. After the U.S. earned a free kick from about 25 yards out, Gomez stepped to the ball and bent his kick around a wall of Jamaican defenders. Miller made a full-stretch lunge to save the shot, but could only manage to get part of his left hand on Gomez’s rip from distance. The white twine of the net rippled and Gomez had put the U.S. up, 1-0, to spark Crew Stadium to life. From there on out, it was all defense for the U.S. and few additional offensive chances. Howard and his backline of defenders managed to deal with Jamaica’s three second-half shot. In the midfield, Jermaine Jones, a dual citizen of America and Germany, pushed and muscled his way around the field to stop the Jamaican attacks. Jamaica never had a shot on goal. In the 82nd minute, Howard skied to tip a seemingly threatening corner kick away from the mouth of his goal, and most of the 23,881 still in attendance roared with approval. Jamaica, nicknamed the “Reggae Boyz,” wouldn’t mount another serious attack. After three minutes of extra time, Honduran referee Jose Pineda blew his whistle to end the game and send the packed stadium into one final frenzied cheer.
Members of the Ohio State men’s hockey team know now is not the time to start letting doubt creep in, even after dropping its last three games. OSU only has one win in its last 10 games, a 3-1 victory at Ferris State on Jan. 11. The team has suffered a lot of injuries this season, something OSU coach Mark Osiecki said “drastically” hurts the team’s chemistry. “Our roster has been different every game because of it,” Osiecki said. “You don’t want to use that as an excuse at all, but it’s definitely affected it.” Despite the team’s recent struggles, Osiecki stressed the importance of the team consistently maintaining a positive attitude, even if its play has not been consistent. “They’ve got a great attitude,” Osiecki said. “They love coming to the rink. If (the Schottenstein Center) was open every day, they would be in here every day shooting pucks on the ice, using open ice. That’s the mentality.” It is that mentality of working hard every day that could help the Buckeyes toward closing out the season on a high note, said senior goalie Brady Hjelle. “All the cards are right there ready to go,” Hjelle said. “We are ready to go, we just got to stay positive and keep working hard every day.” Sophomore forward Max McCormick said he agreed with Hjelle and said staying positive is key. “We can’t get down on ourselves and hang our heads,” McCormick said. “We’ve got to have a good work ethic in practice and prepare for the weekend.” OSU is scheduled to host Lake Superior State (13-12-1, 8-9-1-1 CCHA) this weekend at the Schottenstein Center. The series against the Lakers begins a stretch where OSU will play eight of its next 10 games in Columbus. “It’ll be nice to be back home here,” Osiecki said. “At home you got a full roster and we gotta play with an attitude.” Junior defenseman Curtis Gedig also said he is happy to be at home and playing in front of the home crowd, something the team has not had the chance to experience since before Christmas. “I love the building, love the atmosphere,” Gedig said. “We don’t have to worry about catching up on school because we are traveling, so that is nice.” Osiecki said the team is closer to 100 percent health than it has been since the beginning of the season, adding that he is looking forward to getting some of the players back to “knock the rust off.” Even with the roster being nearly at full strength, he said his team does not have a lot of time to waste before the end of the regular season. “Guys have to get to game speed quickly,” Osiecki said. “There’s not enough time to sit around and ease into it.” Hjelle said winning games is a must for any team at this point in the season but is happy to have the majority of the remaining games at home, which he said helps with morale. “It’s always a good time to start winning a lot of games,” Hjelle said. “It’s definitely nice being at home. It’s going to be huge for us.” Osiecki said he and the rest of the coaching staff have not had to say much in practice to keep the team focused on what they need to do. “I think the sky is still the limit,” he said. “Our guys have the right attitude. Now it is just a matter of getting some sort of comfort and chemistry going.” Gedig agreed with Osiecki that the team just has to find a way to win. “The excuses have got to come to an end,” Gedig said. “We are so close, and I believe with this team we are good enough and it will come for us.”
One of the most exciting tournaments in golf is finally here. The top players in the world will stroll down Magnolia Lane to tee it up at the legendary Augusta National Golf Course for The Masters, the first of four annual major championships on the Professional Golfers Association Tour. The 93-player field will feature top players, past champions and even the youngest competitor in Masters’ history: 14-year-old Tianlang Guan from China, who won the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in November to punch his ticket to Augusta, Ga. (I couldn’t imagine doing anything of this magnitude at age 14). This year’s edition features a common theme from past Masters tournaments: Tiger Woods versus the rest of the field. With three wins in five starts on the 2013 PGA Tour, and regaining the No. 1 ranking in the world after a whirlwind three years, I think Woods is a shoe-in to win for the fifth time at Augusta National. Woods is definitely my favorite to win the Masters, but here are my top-10 players who can also win the green jacket: 1. Brandt Snedeker: If there is anyone in the world who is as hot as Woods, it’s the 32-year-old from Nashville. The winner of the season-long race for last year’s FedEx Cup, Snedeker carried that momentum into 2013, posting a win and four top-three finishes in just seven starts so far on the PGA Tour. 2. Matt Kuchar: After finishing T-3 in last year’s Masters, and picking up a win earlier this year at the World Golf Championship Accenture Match Play Championship, Kuchar’s consistency over the last three years with 21 top-10 finishes makes him a key player to look for this year. 3. Justin Rose: The Englishman hasn’t finished worse than T-17 in eight events on the PGA and European tours this season. Expect him to be in the mix late afternoon on Sunday. 4. Rory McIlroy: The 23-year-old Northern Irishman has had an eventful year so far, highlighted by the switch to Nike golf clubs and inconsistent play so far. But last week’s second-place finish at the Valero Texas Open gave him the confidence he needed to try to win his third major championship. 5. Dustin Johnson: The big-hitting American’s power of the tee will be crucial to his success this week. Look for him to score some low numbers on the par-5s, and this could be the year for him to break through for his first major championship. 6. Phil Mickelson: A three-time Masters champion playing in his favorite event? You know Lefty is going to bring his A-game to Augusta this week. 7. Lee Westwood: His success in majors in astonishing, except for one stat: wins. Westwood has yet to win that first major, despite having eight top-10 finishes in the last 16 majors. 8. Bubba Watson: The emotional roller-coaster, and last year’s Masters’ champion, Watson knows what it takes to win at Augusta, especially with his incredible shot-shaping abilities. 9. Ian Poulter: The 37-year-old Englishman knows how to thrive on golf’s biggest stages. A Ryder Cup hero for the Europeans, Poulter will look to improve from his seventh place finish last year. 10. Keegan Bradley: Another big-hitting American, poised to add a second major championship to his impressive resume. When he won the 2011 PGA Championship as a rookie, everyone knew he could handle the pressure of a big-time tournament.
Then-sophomore middle blocker Grayson Overman attempts to block an opposing spike during a match against Lewis March 4, 2011, at St. John Arena. OSU won, 3-0.Credit: Cody Cousino / For The LanternThe Ohio State men’s volleyball team is set to start the 2014 season in a location where the climate is quite the contrary to what Ohio has been facing lately.The Buckeyes are scheduled to travel to Honolulu for the fifth straight year to take part in the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Invitational.In what marks the 20th anniversary for the tournament, No. 12 OSU is slated to take on top teams in No. 14 Hawaii, No. 7 UCLA and No. 11 Penn State.“The Outrigger Volleyball Invitational is one of the oldest non-conference tournaments in college men’s volleyball. It traditionally includes Hawaii and a team from the (Mountain Pacific Sports Federation), Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) and (Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) in its four-team field,” said Nancy Daniels, the director of public relations for Outrigger Hotel and Resorts.The Buckeyes have made five appearances, Penn State has made 19 appearances with two titles, UCLA has made 13 appearances with a record eight titles and Hawaii has played in all 20 tournaments, winning six times, Daniels said.OSU is set to kick off play Thursday facing the host of the tournament, Hawaii. Hawaii leads the overall series with OSU, 3-1. The Buckeyes picked up their first win over the Rainbow Warriors last year, beating Hawaii in five sets during the first round of the 2013 Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Invitational. Friday, OSU is set to take on UCLA at 9 p.m. The Buckeyes are set to finish the invitational Saturday against Penn State at 9 p.m.The Buckeyes are coming off a 2013 season in which they finished 19-8 overall and 9-5 in MIVA conference play, good for third.OSU hosted the first round of the MIVA Tournament, falling in five sets to Grand Canyon. To end the 2013 season, OSU lost seven seniors, including experienced middle blockers John Tholen and Grayson Overman.In coach Pete Hanson’s 28th season at the helm, the Buckeyes are led by a pair of experienced redshirt juniors in setter Peter Heinen, opposite Andrew Lutz, junior outside hitter Michael Henchy and redshirt-junior middle blocker Shawn Herron.Upon returning from Hawaii, the Buckeyes are scheduled to take on Lees-McRae in Columbus, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m.
Then-sophomore forward Peanut Johnson (3) advances the ball during a game against Indiana Oct. 26 at Buckeye Varsity Field. OSU lost, 6-5.Lantern file photoOhio State field hockey opened its 2014 campaign with a pair of tough losses against No. 5 Syracuse and unranked Albany.The Buckeyes hung tough with the Orange at home Friday, losing 3-2 in overtime following a fierce comeback. They couldn’t rebound Monday, however, as they were shutout, 4-0, on the road in Albany, N.Y.After trailing for most of the game Friday, the Buckeyes scored two goals within nine minutes to force overtime against the Orange. Syracuse junior forward Emma Russell then sealed the game with a shot from close range off a rebound in overtime.OSU appeared outmatched early, but managed to fight back late behind its veteran leadership.“I think the first half was our eye-opener,” senior midfielder Kaitlyn Wagner said. “But we’re a young team and realized we were getting bullied around.”The Buckeyes struggled to move the ball into scoring position in the first half when they were outshot 17-2 in the first 35 minutes of play.The majority of the action was played on OSU’s side of the field, but freshman goalkeeper Liz Tamburro kept her team alive in her debut, recording five first half saves, which allowed her teammates to strike back late.“She made some incredible saves, and every time a goalie makes a save like that, it gives the team a lot of confidence,” OSU coach Anne Wilkinson said. “As a freshman, that’s a lot to ask.”With 1:57 to play in the opening half, Tamburro’s shield finally cracked. Syracuse’s senior back Jordan Page broke free on the left side of the pitch and scored unassisted to give the Orange a 1-0 lead at halftime.Things changed in the second half when OSU went on the attack. Junior back Emma Royce said the team was determined to get to any ball in question during the second period.“We just decided that the 50-50 balls weren’t going to be 50-50 balls anymore,” Royce, a London native and team co-captain, said. “They were going to be our balls.”The Buckeyes trailed 2-0 after an early second half goal from Syracuse junior midfielder Alyssa Manley, but OSU countered quickly.Wagner scored on a penalty stroke after a Syracuse foul, and with more than 16 minutes to play, junior forward Peanut Johnson broke free and scored from seven yards out off a pass from freshman forward Maddy Humphrey.Tamburro finished the game with 11 saves, tying with the seventh most in single game school history since 2001. The Orange outshot the Buckeyes 37-11 overall, and had a 13-3 advantage in penalty corners.“Going into Albany, we need to attack more and dictate the tempo,” Wilkinson said after the loss.But the Buckeyes had no such luck, allowing two first half goals from Albany sophomore midfielder Paula Heuser and senior midfielder Amy Nicklin.Heuser converted on her second goal of the game in the second half, and freshman midfielder Anna Bottino scored on a fast break to cap the 4-0 shutout.The Buckeyes will try to pick up their first win of the season Friday when they’re scheduled to take on Miami (Ohio) at Buckeye Varsity Field at 5 p.m.
Ohio State redshirt senior pitcher Thomas Waning (14) prepares to throw a pitch during the game against Hawaii on March 23. Ohio State won 7-5. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorThe Ohio State baseball team will return to Bill Davis Stadium, the place where the Buckeyes have won seven of nine games in 2019, after beginning its Big Ten season against Rutgers on the road. On Wednesday, Cincinnati (10-16, 3-3 American Athletic) will take its struggling offense up against an Ohio State (16-12, 2-1 Big Ten) pitching staff that has been in a groove. The Bearcats are coming off a series loss to Tulane at home, in which Cincinnati was outscored 33-12 throughout the three-game series. Averaging 3.96 runs per game, the Bearcats have had trouble keeping up with opponents. The low run average can partially be explained by the team’s low batting average. Cincinnati has hit .227 as a team, with only one player hitting above .265. Cincinnati junior shortstop Joey Bellini leads the team with a .292 batting average. Bellini has started 17 games for the Bearcats, and is tied for sixth on the team with seven RBI. Cincinnati does not have the power to make up for its insufficient hitting. With only 11 home runs on the season, the Bearcats struggle to tally runs in quick fashion. The Bearcats do excel, however, in their ability to steal bases. With 48 stolen bags on the season, the Bearcats rank in the top 50 in the nation. Cincinnati redshirt junior center fielder Jeremy Johnson and junior second baseman Jace Mercer have combined for 25 stolen bases. Mercer also leads the team with 21 walks on the year. The Buckeyes have caught only seven of the 30 baserunners that have attempted stealing this season. Junior pitcher Jake Vance will likely receive the start Wednesday. Vance has allowed four steals on the season, the most of any Ohio State starter. Ohio State sophomore catcher Dillon Dingler has the arm to keep the Bearcats honest. The co-captain has thrown out 3 of 4 runners who have tried to steal on him. After allowing 15 runs in a loss to Hawaii, Ohio State has allowed only 12 runs in the past four games. In this same stretch, the pitchers have combined to strike out 40 batters. Cincinnati’s pitching has not been as successful, allowing 5.77 runs a game. Despite striking out more than eight batters a game, the Bearcats walk an average of 5.69 batters per contest.Ohio State will take on Cincinnati at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday at Bill Davis Stadium.
Effie Walker, who has been working as a lollypop lady for Colgrain Primary School since it opened in 1973, received the BEM.Willem Visscher received an MBE for services to parchment and vellum making, and Anjna Patel for services to the parking profession. In fact this year’s list is likely to be labelled as one of the least political of recent years with lower level awards only being handed out to a handful of councillors and political volunteers with no honours going to Westminster’s big beasts.This year’s Birthday Honours list comes after Mrs May signalled she wanted to overhaul the system amid fears Britons may be losing confidence in it after a series of scandals.Her plans were also seen as a sideswipe at David Cameron who was accused of “cronyism” for honouring aides and donors. “I’m the lucky one. I’m still alive. I’m representing the squadron and it is the squadron that is being honoured with this, not me. Tim Sayer, an art enthusiast who is leaving his collection to the nation, is awarded an MBE, along with Norman Veitch for services to glassblowing and Tommy Miah, nicknamed the “Curry King”, for services to the hospitality industry. Mr Kenny, a former miner had intervened to protect Mrs Cox after she was attacked outside her constituency surgery in Yorkshire.Two West Yorkshire Police officers, Pc Craig Nicholls and Pc Jonathan Wright, who arrested Thomas Mair, are awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal.Mrs Cox’s senior caseworker, Sandra Major, who witnessed the killing, receives an MBE for parliamentary services.Reward for EU talksJonathan Faull, who was director general of the European Commission in the lead-up to Brexit, is to receive an honour for “services to UK relations with the EU”. Theresa May David Walliams, children’s writer and comedian Pc Keith Palmer Britain’s last surviving Dambuster has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours, modestly saying he is “very grateful” to all those who had campaigned to win him a knighthood.George “Johnny” Johnson, 95, will be honoured by the Queen for services to World War II Remembrance and in his local community, more than 70 years after his heroics in the Royal Air Force 617 Squadron helped save Britain.Mr Johnson said he was “honoured” to be recognised, and hoped to ask the Queen’s permission to dedicate the award to the 59,000 bomber command personnel who gave their lives for their country. Tim Sayer, the art collector Jo Cox Julie Walters and June Whitfield are to become dames, while June Spencer, who has played Peggy Woolley in the Archers since the show began, has been awarded a CBE. Pc Palmer, who was stabbed to death when he confronted attacker Khalid Masood outside the Houses of Parliament in March, “paid the ultimate price for his selfless actions”, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said.She added: “Keith acted that day with no thought for his own safety, intent simply on doing his job and protecting members of the public and Parliament.”Jo CoxBernard Kenny, the pensioner who was stabbed in the abdomen as he tried to save the life of Jo Cox, is to receive the George Medal for his actions. Supporters of Mr Johnson, who had led a campaign to see him knighted after he was snubbed in previous honour lists, maintained he should have instead received the highest honour, arguing that his achievements and sacrifice were greater than any celebrity, sportsman or businessman to be elevated to a Sir.Mr Johnson said it was “amazing” that so many people had invested time in campaigning for him to be honoured, adding he is “very grateful to all those people that signed the petitions and made it possible”.Asked about not being given a knighthood, Mr Johnson added: “I think the MBE is as much honour as I could really expect and I thought, if a knighthood comes up, I’m going to having difficulty not only in accepting it but pointing out to all and sundry that it’s not me. Sir Billy admitted he is “very pleased”with the honour but had “never been big on bragging”. “I feel like I should be called Lancelot or something,” he said. “Sir Lancelot, that would be nice. Sir Billy doesn’t quite have the same ring.”Rowling said she was “deeply honoured and proud” to be made a Companion of Honour, while Sir Paul McCartney pronounced the news “colossal”.Raymond Briggs, the children’s author, has been awarded the CBE, while Judy Murray, Gloria Hunniford, Sarah Lancashire and Patricia Hodge will each receive OBEs. Miss Olivia de Havilland, Hollywood royalty Mr Faull retired after 38 years, following what has been described as a “high-profile but unsuccessful attempt to keep his country in the EU.” The End of Political Cronies?Theresa May stepped away from any involvement in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list to avoid accusations of a conflict of interest during the General Election campaign.Knighthoods and damehoods for Westminster politicians are usually a fixture of the honours list but in this edition there are none because of the timing of the snap poll on June 8. Westminster PolicemanPc Keith Palmer has been posthumously awarded the George Medal for bravery, for his heroic actions in the Westminster terror attack. The Last Dambuster JK Rowling, the author Mr McNab, who rose to fame under a pseudonym in 1993 with his controversial book Bravo Two Zero, said he was “delighted” to have been told he would be recognised.Mr McNab’s CBE is in recognition for his work with the military and in disadvantaged schools to encourage reading.Speaking to the Telegraph , he joked that he was especially pleased with his CBE after fearing the official-looking envelope it arrived in was an invoice.Everyday HeroesMichael Tuohy, a father who has sacrificed his own Christmas for more than 35 years to help the homeless, is among the previously unsung heroes in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.Sheila and Trevor Fairhurst, who dedicated their lives to campaigning against domestic violence after the death of their daughter, receive an MBE. But The Telegraph understands Mrs May chose to take no part in the final honours approvals process because of the timing of the election. Olivia de Havilland David Cameron, who was accused of cronyism Dame Olivia, who is approaching her 101st birthday, said she was “extremely proud” to be made a dame for her services to drama, in recognition of her glittering Hollywood career.The Gone With the Wind star, a double Oscar winner, who will celebrate her birthday in July, is 11 months older than the Order of the British Empire itself, which was founded in 1917 by George V.“I am extremely proud that the Queen has appointed me a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire,” Dame Olivia said. “To receive this honour as my 101st birthday approaches is the most gratifying of birthday presents.” ‘Johnny’ Johnson, the last Dambuster in Britain David Walliams, OBE, said: “The news made me happy, but nobody is happier than my mum.”Delia Smith, the chef who joins Dame Steve Shirley, Dame Beryl Grey, Sir Mark Elder, Sir Terence Conran, Lord Stern and Sir John Sulston as companions of honour, said: “From day one I received so much encouragement and enthusiasm from the people who responded to what I was trying to do. This honour is an even deeper affirmation.” 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. As a result there are no high-level awards for parliamentarians and the recommendations from the main honours committee were simply forwarded through Number 10 to Buckingham Palace.Andy McNabAmong more than 1,000 others to receive an honours this year is Andy McNab, who receives a CBE not for his service with the SAS but for his work for literacy charities. “In fact, I got to the stage where I felt that I would have to ask – probably the Queen, if necessary – if I might be permitted to dedicate it to the memory of the now 59,000 bomber command personnel that gave their lives during World War Two and have got little or no respect for that.”Oldest DameActress Olivia de Havilland has become the oldest recipient of a damehood at the age of 100, in the centenary of the honour itself. Andy McNab George ‘Johnny’ Johnson She joins an illustrious group of older recipients, with Dame Vera Lynn last year made a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour at the age of 99. Billy Connolly, the comedian, has been knighted in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours, as he ponders changing his name to Lancelot because “Sir Billy doesn’t quite have the same ring” to it”. Sir Billy is joined on the honours list by JK Rowling, Sir Paul McCartney and Delia Smith, who have been elevated to the prestigious Order of Companions of Honour. Sir Paul McCartney
“It is clear that the company have every intention of spreading full automation as far and wide as they possibly can in a move that takes us another step along the road to a faceless railway.“This isn’t about improving reliability and service quality for the public, it’s about maximising the profits of the private rail operator.”Aslef, the train drivers’ union, has supported the use of the system as long as a driver is retained on all services but warned against using the technology on parts of the Victorian network outside central London.Mick Whelan, Aslef’s general secretary has said: “Trains have to be driven; they don’t drive themselves, whatever science-fiction writers think. Even with increased automation, we will still want, and need, a trained driver at the pointy end of the train.” Self-drive trains can accelerate and brake more efficiently than those operated by a driver which the company hopes will lead to trains running every two to three minutes, similar to the frequency on the Tube, a 60 per cent increase in services at some of the busiest stations in the capital.The project, part of a £7 billion Thameslink Programme, involves rebuilding stations and adding new tracks and signalling as well as the introduction of 115 new trains. It will eventually result in 24 trains an hour running at peak times. Mick Cash, the RMT general secretary, said: “Not content with throwing the guards off their trains Govia Thameslink Railway is now determined to diminish the role of the driver when the service enters the ATO zone. Gerry McFadden, engineering director at Govia Thameslink Railway, said: “We are embracing digital technology to boost capacity through the heart of London, a historical bottleneck that has held back rail expansion across the south of the country.”Self-drive technology also has great potential for the rest of the country’s rail network, particularly on congested routes, and could in future reduce the need for costly infrastructure projects.”Passengers, meanwhile, appeared more concerned about the state of the trains than who was in charge of the controls.One, Neil Cole wrote on Twitter: “Self-driving, yet still unable to maintain a bearable carriage temperature.” Another, Ben Plummer, said: “If they can’t even sort out a thermostat how are we supposed to trust a driverless train?”Russ Hewitt branded trains on the Thameslink line “an absolute joke.”View latest offers from Railcard The ATO (Automatic Train Operation) centre yellow button of three in marked boxCredit:John Stillwell/PA Wire The UK’s first automated mainline train made its debut on a London track yesterday but unions warned they would oppose any move to dispose of drivers.Some 150 people were on board the 9.46am Thameslink service from Peterborough to Horsham which made a historic switch from manual to computer control as it sped through the capital.The rail company, possibly wary of alarming passengers following the recent death of a pedestrian in the US at the hands of a self-drive Uber car, did not announce the change, meaning most remained none the wiser.Govia Thameslink Railway, Thameslink’s parent company, later stressed the driver had remained in the cab at all times to carry out safety checks and close the doors at stations and would take full control of the trains outside central London.It was the first time that self-drive “automatic train operation” (ATO) has been used on the mainline rail network, although such trains are in use on several London Underground tube lines.Unions have urged caution on the project, warning they will not support any rollout beyond London and stressing that a driver must be retained on all services. 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.
Tweet from Cheshire Police after armed officers were called to report of gun incident that turned out to be a historical reenactmentCredit:Cheshire Police Historical re-enactment enthusiasts were accosted by armed police when officers received reports of a gang carrying machine guns.Officers were called to Chester city centre on Monday evening after a member of the public reported seeing men dressed in combat clothing and carrying weapons.But they turned out to be a group of war history enthusiasts – dressed as American soldiers – promoting a Royal British Legion event. Their weapons, which included several machine guns commonly used in World War Two, had been deactivated.Cheshire Police tweeted a picture of the guns, with a force spokesperson saying they had received a report of two men dressed in military uniforms and carrying replica firearms.”Officers quickly established there was no danger to the public and the men were promoting an re-enactment event thought to be taking place next week in Chester.” 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.
He went on: “Cyberspace is the new battleground and making Nato cyber ready, well-resourced, well-trained, and well-equipped-is a top priority as we look towards the Nato summit in London in December and beyond.” A cyber strike similar to the computer hack that crippled NHS hospitals in 2017 could trigger a revenge attack from all Nato allies, its general secretary has warned.Jens Stoltenberg cited the WannaCry ransomware attack as an example of a “serious cyber attack” that would be viewed by Nato as requiring a response from all members of the alliance.The attack in May 2017, which exploited a weakness in some Microsoft Windows operating systems, forced the NHS to cancel non-emergency operations.It is estimated to have affected 70,000 devices including computers and MRI scanners.The attack, in which the perpetrators demanded payments to fix infected computers, spread to dozens of countries and cost hundreds of millions of pounds to put right.The US and UK have publicly accused North Korea of being behind the attack. But other state actors including Russia, China and Iran have been blamed for other cyber attacks in the West. 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. He also praised action by the Netherlands, with the help of British intelligence agencies, in foiling an attack by Russia on the Organisation for the Prohibition for Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague.At the time, the OPCW was investigating the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury in a chemical weapons attack using a military-grade nerve agent.Mr Stoltenberg said collaboration was vital, explaining that “no single country alone can secure cyberspace”, adding: “But by cooperating closely, sharing expertise, we will not only survive, but thrive in the new digital age.” In an article for Prospect magazine, Mr Stoltenberg wrote: “We have designated cyberspace a domain in which Nato will operate and defend itself as effectively as it does in the air, on land, and at sea.“This means we will deter and defend against any aggression towards allies, whether it takes place in the physical world or the virtual one.”Mr Stoltenberg added: “The 2017 WannaCry virus crippled computers in hospitals across the country, cancelling thousands of scheduled operations and costing the National Health Service millions of pounds.“Even Nato is not immune to cyberattacks and we register suspicious activity against our systems every day.”The Nato chief said the alliance was establishing a new Cyberspace Operations Centre in Belgium, and could also now “also draw from allies’ national cyber capabilities for Nato missions and operations”. Mr Stoltenberg said a similar attack could in the future trigger Article 5 of the Nato founding treaty, which commits member nations to treating an attack on one member as an attack against all.The collective defence commitment has been invoked only once in Nato history – by the US after the al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001.
The Police have been called in to investigate fraud unearthed at the Mahaicony Abary Rice Development Scheme (MARDS).This publication understands that two A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Regional Councillors attached to the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) are at the centre of the probe.Reports are that one of the Councillors, who is a Board Member of MARDS, had three cheques written in the name of her niece. The cheques were valued $1 million, $500,000 and $200,000. According to reports, the Board Member had reported to the then Secretary that she had money in her account on a fixed deposit and did not have access to it until the specified period was up.Police were called in to investigate if the Councillor put the money to personal use. Police have received a statement detailing the plot used to get the funds to be released in her niece’s name.Meanwhile, a fourth cheque was issued to an employee of the Hugo Chávez Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintegration located at Onverwagt, West Coast Berbice. Notably one of the very Councillors is on the management team of the Centre.Police were called in by MARDS head Allison Bourne and were given information to substantiate the allegations. One of the Councillors was asked to visit the Mahaicony Police Station. However, the Councillor opted to visit the Cove and John Police Station, which is in the same division.Additionally, another official, who was fired last year, is under investigation for allegedly having issued to himself monies to the tune of $2,108,000.The money was allegedly used to repair an Agriculture Ministry vehicle and a businessman’s fence, which were both damaged. However, this newspaper was told that the vehicle and fence were damaged after the very employee had crashed the former into the latter last year. The official was later charged for being an unlicensed driver, dangerous driving and breach of insurance. That official is also a Board Member of MARDS and Police are investigating whether he used his position to get the money to repair the damaged Government vehicle and the businessman’s fence.Meanwhile, as the investigations commenced, Police arrested the former company secretary; however, after providing a statement, he was released on $100,000 station bail. (Guyana Times) Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedPolice probing $941M fraud at local bankApril 1, 2017In “Crime”Gold Board probe: File to be sent to ‘DPP or Police legal advisor’- SOCU HeadSeptember 6, 2017In “Crime”$956M local Bank fraud: Fingered Manager in custody, assisting investigationsApril 5, 2017In “Business”
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedBandit arrested hours after robbing Mahaicony coupleJune 26, 2017In “Crime”Murder suspect nabbed after 18 years on the run May 27, 2018In “Crime”‘Known’ Smuggler arrested for shooting GRA Officers – PoliceJuly 19, 2014In “Crime” A Mahaicony farmer who was wanted by police for several weeks was on Monday afternoon arrested. His 36-year-old brother was also detained after he attempted to bribe ranks.The wanted man has been identified as Bishomit Rajkumar of Champagne, Mahaicony, East Coast Demerara.On May 12 2017, he failed to return to court after being arraigned and was sentenced in absentia for the act of unlawfully wounding Asif Alli of Champagne, Mahaicony, East Coast Demerara.Police, acting on intelligence information, swooped down on him at his residence at around 16:00hrs yesterday.Shortly after being arrested, Rajkumar’s brother approached ranks and offered them a bribe of $150,000 to have his brother freed. He was also detained and is expected to be arraigned soon. The bribe money was lodged.Rajkumar is expected to be escorted to the Georgetown Prison to begin a two year sentence for unlawful wounding.
Sase Singh,M.Sc. – Finance, ACCA Dear Editor,Dr. David Hinds may be tugging at straws when he asked in the press for a meeting between the WPA and President Granger. There is no need for such a meeting. This Granger Government marketed the APNU+AFC brand in 2015 for deceptive purposes and nothing else. In actual substance, this government is a PNC led Granger Administration. Everyone else is a “tag along” to this PNC government. In such circumstances, the now much discredited WPA and AFC should understand their roles today; they are nothing else but political window dressing to this PNC led Granger Administration.It is unfortunate that Dr. Hinds and his colleagues in the WPA did not take on board the Guyanese proverb “ When two large rum bottle deh ah table, quarter bottle nah gat business deh”. A government is constructed with a Constitution, not some “rum shop Accord” mashed together over drinks.Both the WPA and AFC had power in their hands and they threw it away all because a few opportunistic human wanted Prados, Perks and FAT Pay and were unprepared to be the balance of power.The rest is history and Guyana is now back to square one, where we only have two large rum bottles on the table – PNC and PPP. There is no place in 2020 for the WPA, AFC, KFC, JFAP, LFC or any third force period! The people will reject them all convincingly after observing how “YELLOW BELLY” the AFC and WPA has turned out to be. In 2020, Mr. Granger can campaign with a 50 party coalition, the Guyanese people will recognize it for what it really is – a PNC dominated, controlled and led electoral machinery with some opportunistic individuals stitched on as window dressing.It is clear as day that the WPA and AFC have now played out their trump cards and they have no choice but to accept their new roles as the 5th wheel to a coach that can do without the 5th wheel. Would Walter Rodney or Shiela Holder accept this political abuse? The WPA and AFC will have to accept the wisdom of my ancestors who advised: “When yuh play out all yuh trump cards, yuh gat to lose till game done”.It is deeply sad on the occasion of the anniversary of my soul brother Dr. Rodney, (whose ideas form the intellectual soul of the WPA), was chosen by the PNC as the date to formally devour and deflower what was left of the WPA in Government. There are positions and there are positions.The facts will show that Dr. Roopnarine was transferred from a portfolio (Education) that was valued at G$43 billion in the 2017 budget to a role that is worth 1/20th or 5% of what he previously managed. Further, he moves from a portfolio in which he had his own Budget, his own Ministry, and his own Permanent Secretary. Now he is nothing but a Department Head in Mr. Harmon’s Ministry, is part of Mr. Harmon’s budget and have to work along with Mr. Harmon’s Permanent Secretary. He is in no better a position than Moses Nagamootoo who is also subject to similar rules in Mr. Harmon’s Ministry.If that is not a demotion then what is? I like and respect Dr. Rupert Roopnarine, singularly for his intellect and gentlemanly attitude. When he became the Minister of Education, I was proud because here was a man who served education all his life at all levels and was being given a chance to make policies to change the way we educate our people. Yes his successes were limited but do we think his intellectually inferior, inexperienced, and underskilled replacement is any better?Why was Dr. David Hinds not asked to be the new Minister of Education? Why was someone who cannot measure up to Dr. Roopnarine or for that matter Dr. Hinds, on the policy front, on the organizational front, on the intellectual front, and on all other fronts, being asked to carry a portfolio that I thought was reserved for the WPA?But then again, with all things considered, this is a PNC led Granger Administration.Regards, Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedNo decision made on recalling Roopnaraine, Trotman from Govt posts yetMarch 23, 2018In “Local News”‘We’re being sidelined’, says WPA on removal of Dr Roopnaraine from Education MinistryJune 19, 2017In “latest news”WPA calls on President to clarify Govt’s position on recent “act of censorship and victimization”March 14, 2018In “latest news”
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Related’Difficult to see success in anyone of them’- Jordan on State-owned entities performanceApril 16, 2018In “Business”Revenue for State agencies on downward spiral – AliAugust 12, 2018In “Local News”GuyOil records reduced profits for 2017— ReportDecember 24, 2018In “Business” Dear Editor,The Honorable Finance Minister in his Budget 2018 speech forecasted a deficit of $12.8 billion in the overall performance of the Public Enterprises (PEs). He further pointed out that even though GNNL, GRDB, MARDS, GPOC, GUYOIL, GNSC and GNPL had a combined surplus of $2.5 billion, this was effectively eroded by GUYSUCO and GPL. Some of these entities such as GUYSUCO, GRDB, GPL and GPOC are virtual monopolies yet they are generating deficits.However, it was reported in the press on August 9th 2017, under the caption, ‘GUYOIL earns $18 billion in first half of year’, that the Finance Minister said that GUYOIL is expected to post a deficit of $328.4 million from an originally projected surplus of $813.1 million. On the other hand, in May of this year Mr Jordan had said that GUYOIL is projected to earn a surplus of $3 billion.This is not illuminating at all, he should have given more details since earlier, the said Minister had boasted that GUYOIL stands ‘like a financial beacon in an ocean of economic woes’ while noting that the entity had always enjoyed an operating surplus. It must be noted that it is not very enlightening to have all these entities bundled together in his presentation since it is difficult to gauge the loss makers. From all indications nearly all of these entities made losses.In another article dated August 10th, 2017, under the caption, ‘Public Enterprises show mixed performance at end of mid-year’, it was reported that there was an 8.7% decline in the total revenue of the PEs and this would have included GPL,GUYSUCO, GNNL,GRDB, and GPOC.It was stated that employment costs are more than 40% of total revenue and there was an increase of operating costs of 12%. GPL and GUYSUCO were forecasted to record deficits of $5 billion and $8.4 billion respectively. These two alone would have given a total deficit of $13.4 billion which would be above the $12.8 billion that he forecasted in his Budget speech. It is very disappointing that the clarity of his pronouncements is compromised by his contradictory statements as well as his skeletal report of the PEs performance.It is important to note that even though the decline of Guysuco began under the previous Government this downward slide was greatly accelerated from the time this Government took office.In December 2015 the CEO, Dr Clive Thomas boasted about the achievement of Skeldon Estate and Guysuco as a whole. Skeldon achieved its target of 30,594 tonnes and exported 1,184,000 kilowatts of electricity to GPL yet in 2016, the same person said that it was a ‘ticking time bomb’. Furthermore, the COI in 2015 never reported that the factory was ‘falling apart’ even though the COI team included Mr John Dow who is responsible for Guysuco’s Factory Operations.Now the entire Guysuco is falling apart with the lowest output predicted for 2018. Having given this illustration, I will agree with Mr Gobin Harbhajan who in his very insightful letter concluded that Guysuco’s management from the Board of Directors downwards is responsible for the failure of Guysuco. However, he failed to address the high degree of political interference and direction.It is quite evident that the other Public Enterprises are rapidly following in the footsteps of GUYSUCO and it manifests the fact that governments should not run business. All of the entities were doing better until the Coalition Government took over and this was pointed out by the Finance Minister.There is a strong belief that these losses will increase since the increased wages and inefficient spending will drain the resources of the Government. These entities are a dumping ground for rewarding political patronage.This is not unlike what happened in the 1970s when political interference resulted in the bankruptcy of many PEs. Political considerations impact heavily of these entities. What will eventually happen is that the government will continue to inject monies to keep these entities afloat. Therefore, the government will have to continue to depend on raising taxes and implementing new tax measures to meet its budgetary allocations as in evidenced by the 2018 Budget.Public enterprises must be capable of generating surpluses and from the evidence submitted by the Finance Minister, deficits are forecasted. Furthermore, it is expected that from these surpluses generated the Government will have at its disposal fresh capital to invest and improve the production and productivity of these PEs. In addition, this will create employment. However, this is now an elusive dream. It is evident that political interference and political patronage will always take precedence over pragmatic business decisions.These entities should be divested and the Government should utilize the funds garnered to do investments in infrastructural works to boost private investments. A point to note is that this is also lacking in the 2018 Budget. The 2018 Budget though bigger is showing a reduction in the Public Infrastructure and Agriculture allocations by $5.2 and $1.3 billion respectively. This does not bode well for encouraging private sector investment. Why?Once the divestment is done in a structured manner it is more than likely that it will be successful. Transparency and accountability should be ingrained in the process. It should not be allowed to generate the confusion generated by the Guysuco’s divestment.Drastic surgery should be done to these PEs before it’s too late. It simply defies logic that monopolies can fail so miserably but public enterprises have an ingrained political culture which acts as a catalyst for failure.Yours sincerely,Haseef YusufRDC Councilor-Region 6