Jaguars Justin Blackmon Issues Apologies After Second DUI Arrest

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon said Wednesday he doesn’t think he has a drinking problem.Blackmon spoke with reporters during an 18-minute news conference following a Sunday morning DUI arrest, which was his second in 20 months.“First off, I want to openly apologize to Gene (Smith, general manager) and Mr. (Shad) Khan and his family, coach (Mike) Mularkey, the whole organization, teammates, everyone that I, with my poor judgment over the weekend, that I brought bad press to,” he said.“I just want to apologize for that and just let people know that it’s not who I am, that’s not who I’m going to be.”Blackmon said the incident resulted from putting himself in a bad situation. Smith pointed out a common issue for athletes: who you hang out with may not actually be looking out for your best interest.“There are a lot of people that sometimes you associate with that don’t have the same goals you have,” Smith said. “You’ve got to say to yourself, ‘I’ve got to do things in a different way. I can’t keep doing this. This is going to take me down the wrong path and I’ve got to change.’ I think that’s what he’s got to do. I’ve expressed that him.”Blackmon said he plans to stop drinking.“People are going to think what they are going to think. Words are words. It’s my actions that are going to have to show,” Blackmon said.Source: Chicagotribune.com read more

Podcast Nate Silver On The Power Of Elo

How can the 2007 Patriots be the best NFL team ever when they didn’t even win the Super Bowl? Welcome to this week’s episode of Hot Takedown, our podcast where the hot sports takes of the week meet the numbers that prove them right or tear them down. On this week’s show (Sept. 22, 2015), Nate Silver joins for a special one-on-one discussion with Chadwick Matlin (Neil Paine and Kate Fagan are out of town). Nate and Chad talk about a Boston University report that raised an alarm about long-term brain injury in NFL players and what it says about sample size. Then, Nate offers a defense of Elo, the power rating we use at FiveThirtyEight to rank teams and athletes in nearly every sport. What is Elo? How does it work? Are the 2007 New England Patriots really the best NFL team of all time despite not winning the Super Bowl?And to close out the show, a Significant Digit on a new accomplishment by U.S. soccer midfielder Carli Lloyd.Stream the episode by clicking the play button, or subscribe using one of the podcast clients we’ve linked to above. Below is a video excerpt and links to some of what we discussed on the show:Concussion watch: ESPN’s list of injuries in the NFL.The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University announced that 87 out of 91 former NFL players who donated their brains for testing after their deaths tested positive for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).The 2007 Patriots have the highest Elo rating of any team in the history of the NFL.Significant Digit: 5 x 5. Carli Lloyd’s hat trick in Sunday’s U.S. women’s national team win over Haiti makes her the fifth American with five international hat tricks. Hot Takedown More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong. read more

The Warriors Odds Of Going 739

As things stand coming out of the All-Star break, the Warriors will probably catch Michael Jordan’s 1995-96 Bulls, which own the record of 72 wins, and are a little better than a coin flip to pass them.Last time we checked in on Golden State’s run to 73 was back in December, when the model gave the Warriors a 54 percent chance of getting at least 72 wins and a 44.1 percent chance of at least 73. A little more than two months later, the Warriors are 48-4 and those chances are 69.8 percent to hit 72 and an even 54 percent to reach 73. From where we sit, at least, the Warriors now appear likely to break the ’96 Bulls’ record. WINSSIMSCHANCE OF EXACTLY THIS MANY WINSCHANCE OF AT LEAST THIS MANY WINS 57880.299.9 593940.899.3 64530.199.9 72785715.769.8 68631712.631.2 591<0.1%100.0% 7112182.43.3 7028075.68.9 676341.398.9 6223724.794.0 64502210.082.2 611<0.1>99.9 75575411.520.9 582030.499.7 The Warriors are shooting 46.3 percent from three on “wide open” (defender more than 6 feet away) threes, best in the league. They also lead the league in “open” threes at 41 percent and “tight” coverage threes at 37.3 percent. They do fall to fourth in “very tight” threes (36.1 percent) but have taken only 36 of those all season. Curry’s 646 3-point attempts last season were more than those Miller and Bird seasons combined — and he’s on pace to demolish that number this year. 6321<0.1>99.9 7632076.49.3 782430.50.5 50,000 CARM-Elo simulations of the Spurs’ season with data through Feb. 18Before Thursday night’s loss, the Spurs’ chance for 70 wins was 19.4 percent. With the loss, it fell to 8.9 — still absurdly high, but well back of the Warriors.Andrew Flowers and Jay Boice contributed research. 723790.80.9 According to nbaminer.com, Curry has scored 10 straight points for his team 10 times, the most in the league (James Harden is second with nine); he’s scored 15 straight team points three times (Harden is second again, two) and 20 straight once (only Paul George has also done that this season). Curry has scored five straight unanswered points 55 times (Harden is second with 47, followed by George and Klay Thompson at 30).2Reggie Jackson is the only player to score 15 unanswered points this season. Only three players have done it since the 1996-7 season — Jackson this year, Jamal Crawford in 2013-14 and Brandon Jennings in 2012-13.Probably the most alarming thing about the Warriors this season is how thoroughly they are outpacing the Spurs, another omega-level team stalking around the league. Also according to nbaminer.com, the Warriors’ average first-quarter margin is +6.04. The Spurs are second at +2.98. The Spurs remain ahead of the Warriors on the overall marks, +12.7 to +12.5, but this difference is more than accounted for in the fourth quarter, where the Warriors are -0.12 and the Spurs are an NBA-best +2.56. The Warriors’ average margin per overtime period is +4.0, best in the league.And here’s the same display of possible records we generated for the Warriors above, but for the Spurs. 71599612.081.7 73855917.154.0 67710514.245.4 50,000 CARM-Elo simulations of the Warriors’ season with data through Feb. 18 5511<0.1100.0 74803116.136.9 542<0.1100.0 (While we’re digging out old charts, get a load of Draymond in these.) 73680.10.1 If the Warriors completely gave up the 3-pointer and shot none of them per game from this point forward, the Timberwolves, who take the fewest threes per game, would need 50 games to catch up in attempts and 83 games to catch up in makes, pulling even right around the 137th game of the season. Steph Curry is 11 for 24 on threes from 30 feet or more, according to nbawowy.com. Six of those shots (and one of the makes) were from beyond half court, meaning he’s 10 for 18 between 30 feet and the center line. (The rest of the Warriors are 1 for 14 from 30-plus.) Consider this a reminder that Ben Morris dug into Steph’s imperious shot selection in December. 7712242.52.9 651380.399.8 625<0.1>99.9 6925855.294.9 In order to match the best 3-point-percentage season of Reggie Miller’s career (42.9 percent), Steph Curry (45.4 percent from three on 10.8 per game) would have to miss 31 straight threes; to match Larry Bird’s best (42.7 percent) he’d need to miss 34 straight; to match LeBron’s mark this season (27.4 percent) he would have to miss 354 straight 3-point shots. 66715314.359.7 Oh, here’s a scatter plot of 3-point attempts vs. 3-point percentage since the 1979-80 season, the first year of the 3-pointer: 532<0.1100.0 This foolishness: The Warriors create 70.4 points per game through assists. The rest of the league has a fairly linear progression from the bottom on up — the Lakers are the worst, at 43.2, and the figure creeps up team by team until it stops with the Hawks, in second place, at 60.3. That isn’t adjusted for tempo (the Warriors play at the second-fastest pace in the league), but the Dubs are also comfortably in first in percentage of passes that are assists, are secondary assists or lead to free throws. 6114502.996.9 WINSSIMSCHANCE OF EXACTLY THIS MANY WINSCHANCE OF AT LEAST THIS MANY WINS 6335447.189.3 65622812.572.1 608091.698.5 56360.1100.0 7040088.089.8 Our colleagues at ESPN Stats & Info once again have a less optimistic outlook, today giving the Warriors a 37 percent chance of hitting 73 or more wins. The explanation for the difference in the two models is the same as it was in December, when we were also more bullish than our colleagues: We devised a different rating system, called CARM-Elo, which allows good (or bad) runs of play in the simulations to inform a team’s simulated strength through the rest of the simulated season. Basically, this means that it allows for extreme performance to be reflected in the results, and the Warriors are certainly extreme.Still, all of the back-and-forth over exactly how good the Warriors are is more than a little backward. Any serious debate over whether Golden State is an all-time team dried up months ago; all that’s left now is the dreary accounting of decimal points next to the team’s name. Screw that. NBA nerds slapfighting over some grandiose meaning of the Warriors is boring — it’s the spectacle that matters, the crossovers and no-looks and nonsense transition threes, and how those feats of skill translate to the stat sheet. That in mind, here’s a bunch of Warriors facts aimed at appreciating the wild mess they’re accomplishing this season, rather than simply measuring it.The Warriors would have to miss their next 545 3-pointers to bring their team mark of 42.4 percent down to the level of the league-worst Lakers, at 31.5 percent. 6813682.797.7 663140.699.6 521<0.1%100.0% 601<0.1>99.9 6947919.618.5 Remember that two-month stretch in the summer of 2009 when Steph Curry might have gone to the Knicks, before Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni went around telling anyone who would stand still long enough to hear it exactly why Curry would be a superstar? And remember how disappointing it was, then, when Curry landed on a Warriors team that didn’t use him at all in the way fans dreamed he might be used by the Pringles ‘stache? Well, Curry found his way into the seven-seconds-or-less offense anyway. By NBA.com’s count (which can lag a game or two behind), the Warriors have taken 299 threes in the first seven seconds of the shot clock and made 48.5 percent of them. The next closest by percentage is Indiana, at 42.5 on 167 attempts; Houston, first in attempts with 301 (in four more games than Golden State) has made 38.9 percent of its own; and the Thunder have found a way to make just 31.6 percent on 171 attempts. On all field goals in the seven-seconds-or-less window,1NBA.com doesn’t have free-throw data for these, for some reason. the Warriors have a 68 percent effective field-goal percentage — the next closest is the Cavs, at 63.4 percent. The Knicks, meanwhile, are last in the league at 51.4 percent. read more

Defense key to Buckeyes success heading into Sweet 16

Coach Jim Foster usually attributed his team’s struggles during conference play to a lack of commitment to defense. Now, in the midst of an impressive 11-game winning streak and an upcoming game against top-seeded Tennessee in the Sweet 16, his team’s commitment to its play on the defensive end has been as key a factor as any. “I think we realize … how good we can be if we play (defense) really well, and then that opens up everything else,” guard Samantha Prahalis said after OSU’s second-round win against fifth-seeded Georgia Tech on Monday. Heading into that game, the Buckeyes were allowing opponents to shoot just 37.8 percent from the floor. During the rough patch of the season where the team lost nine of 15 games, its defense was allowing teams to shoot at a 44.7 percent clip in the losses. In contrast, OSU is shooting 45.6 percent from the field — good for 11th in the country. Its shooting numbers are thanks largely in part to Jantel Lavender, who accounted for 28.8 percent of her team’s field goal attempts while shooting 54.4 percent before Monday’s tournament win. The lowest point of the team’s season came Feb. 6, when the team suffered a 74-68 loss to conference foe Northwestern. It was the team’s ninth loss in 15 contests, and the psychological low point for Foster and his players. After that game, Foster mentioned how disappointed he was in his team’s lack of will, especially defensively. “We let them do what they wanted to do and needed to do, and we didn’t fight through it,” he said. “We aren’t a team that fights through adversity, and that’s how you win games. “Basketball is a game of stops. … In all of these games, there is a point where we just don’t get stops.” He went on to say that although his team was good offensively, it would not turn things around until it did a better job of guarding opponents. And now it has. During its current 11-game winning streak, OSU has clamped down defensively by only allowing opponents to shoot 36.8 percent — a nearly 8 percent decrease from its nine losses between Dec. 11 and Feb. 6. The team’s improved defense has allowed it to pick back up where it left off early in the season when it was ranked as high as No. 6 nationally. Accompanying the 11-game winning streak is a new type of self-confidence that was absent in conference play. “Our confidence level kind of boosted when we won our seventh game, eighth game, ninth, 10th,” Lavender said after her team’s first-round win against Central Florida on Saturday. “We know what we’re capable of doing. We realize who we are now, and everyone’s playing their role and they’re playing their role well.” The Buckeyes will play the Lady Volunteers, led by heralded coach Pat Summitt, in the Sweet 16 at noon Saturday in Dayton, Ohio. Tennessee shoots 47 percent from the floor, good for sixth in the country, and likely is the toughest team the Buckeyes have faced since squaring off against UConn, losing, 81-50, on Dec. 19 in the midst of the Huskies’ all-time record winning streak of 90. read more

Buckeye brainteasers 5 questions for Ohio State vs Toledo

Here are five pressing questions regarding No. 15-ranked Ohio State football (1-0) as it prepares for its Week 2 matchup against the Toledo Rockets (1-0), which opened its season with a 58-22 win against New Hampshire of the NCAA’s Football Championship Subdivision. 1. Four previously-suspended players return for the game against the Toledo. What role will these players have in the game? Ohio State coach Luke Fickell confirmed Tuesday that junior running back Jordan Hall, sophomore defensive back Corey Brown, junior defensive back Travis Howard and redshirt sophomore linebacker Jordan Whiting will be available for Saturday’s game. Expect each of the players to see game action, but don’t expect them to play a significant role in the contest. Not in the first half, anyway. For starters, OSU running backs coach Dick Tressel said Wednesday that sophomore Carlos Hyde will start Saturday’s game. Hyde rushed for 93 yards on 19 carries during the Buckeyes’ 42-0 win against Akron. Redshirt freshman Rod Smith also rushed for 74 yards on 18 carries with one touchdown. Considering all that, Hall might find himself as OSU’s No. 3 running back at the start of this weekend’s game. In attempting to earn his job back, Hall will also be competing with sophomore Jaamal Berry who, according to Tressel, is 100 percent recovered from a hamstring injury and will see an increased role as the weeks pass. Sophomore defensive back Dominic Clarke isn’t likely to relinquish the starting job to Howard, either. “(Clarke) competes everyday,” senior linebacker Andrew Sweat said. “I think he’s a great player. He got an opportunity on Saturday and took advantage of it.” The four previously-suspended players will take the field on Saturday, but it might not be early and it might not be for extended periods of time. Keep in mind that these players are returning from punishments, not injuries. They’ll have to earn their jobs back. 2. Who is Toledo and how do they compare with Akron? Both Toledo and Akron are members of the Mid-American Conference, but that’s about all they have in common. The Rockets are 10-time MAC champions and are expected to be at or near the top of the conference again in 2011. Toledo also returns 22 seniors and is looking to extend its streak of five consecutive seasons with a win against a team from an automatic BCS qualifier conference. Don’t expect this Rockets squad to be awed and intimidated by the sight of a sold-out Ohio Stadium either — members of this team have enjoyed road victories at Michigan in 2008 and at Purdue last season. 3. Which Toledo players could hurt OSU on Saturday? Let’s start with Rockets’ senior running back Adonis Thomas. Thomas rushed for 115 yards and one touchdown on just 15 carries last weekend against New Hampshire. There’s a tendency to roll your eyes when you hear that an FBS player put big numbers up against an FCS team, but he did what you’d expect a talented player to do against less-skilled players. Thomas also rushed for 1,098 yards in 2010 and earned second-team All-MAC honors. He is legitimate talent at running back that could burn the Buckeyes if they don’t give him his due respect. The most dynamic player on Toledo’s roster is junior Eric Page, a dual threat at both wide receiver and kick returner. Page, whose name is already littered throughout Toledo’s football record book, caught more than 1,100 yards in each of his first two seasons with the Rockets while also grabbing 16 touchdown receptions in his 26-game career. As a kick returner, Page has collected 1,389 yards, three touchdowns and averages 28.9 yards per return in his career. The Buckeyes could have their hands full with both Thomas and Page on Saturday. 4. Who is the most important OSU player or coach going into the Toledo game? Luke Fickell. Toledo is a talented team that travels well and, with a trip to play the Miami Hurricanes at Sun Life Stadium on the horizon for the Buckeyes, this weekend’s contest is a classic “look ahead” game. Fickell will need to keep OSU focused its present task — beating a Toledo team that it should beat. The Buckeyes are bigger, faster and stronger than the Rockets. The difference between a blowout win, a tight game or a loss will be how focused Fickell has his team. “We’re definitely nit-picking,” Fickell said at a Tuesday press conference. “We’re definitely going to make sure (our) guys know we’re never satisfied with where we are. We have to find ways to get better.”  5. Will Toledo be the first in-state opponent to beat OSU in 90 years? The Buckeyes’ last lost to an in-state opponent in 1921 when Oberlin College upended OSU, 7-6. Toledo will have a better chance of ending OSU’s unbeaten streak against in-state rivals than Akron did, but by game’s end, it won’t have accomplished the feat. Toledo has the athletes and the experience to make a game of it at the ‘Shoe this weekend, but do not expect an upset win. OSU is still too focused on proving its doubters wrong — one win against Akron won’t change that. Final prediction: Ohio State 49-10 Toledo read more

Ohio State womens volleyball captures Maryland Invitational title moves to 51

They may be nothing quite like sweeping a mid-season tournament to keep momentum rolling for the Ohio State women’s volleyball team.OSU (5-1) took the Maryland Invitational tournament by storm, defeating both Binghamton and Seton Hall, 3-0, before clinching a tournament sweep in come-from-behind fashion by defeating Maryland, 3-2, on Saturday. While the Buckeyes swept their first two matches over the weekend, they struggled early in its third match against Maryland. The Terrapins took the first two sets, but the Buckeyes fought back and eventually won.“After the (first) game, everyone was just kind of frustrated, but we wanted to stay optimistic and be fired up,” senior outside hitter Emily Danks said. “We realized that we are in this for the long haul and that this game wasn’t over. We weren’t going to go down without a fight.”OSU coach Geoff Carlston said he understood that trailing on the road isn’t an easy obstacle to overcome. So, when his team refocused its energy in the last three sets, he said he was very proud of the way it handled adversity.“It takes a lot of energy and a lot of concentration to come back down 0-2 on the road,” Carlston said. “It’s not easy to do. I’m very, very happy for our team that we were able to come back.”Danks, senior outside hitter Mari Hole and junior defensive specialist Davionna DiSalvatore were named to the all-tournament team, with Danks being named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.“Emily was a stud tonight, an absolute stud,” Carlston said. “Mari also played very well for us tonight. They are our senior leaders. They are the ones who we look to, who the team looks to and they’re vital. If they don’t play or keep their head up, there is no way we come back and win tonight.”Danks and Hole said they were honored by their awards, but gave most of the credit to their teammates.“Oh yeah, it was a huge honor, there were a lot of talented players at this tournament,” Danks said. “I’m so proud of this team, I can’t even tell you. I look around at every player and I wouldn’t pick anyone else to be on my team in terms of talent, leadership and work ethic.”Hole agreed.“It’s always an honor to be recognized,” Hole said. “This is a confidence booster to our team because three of us got recognized, and without our teammates, we wouldn’t have gotten this honor.”Danks had 24 kills to lead all attackers against Maryland, which is a career-best, and contributed three blocks and eight digs. Hole had 13 kills and 13 digs, as she recorded her first double-double of the season.Next weekend, the Buckeyes will compete in the Western Kentucky Tournament, where they will face in-state rival and No. 10 Dayton, along with games against IUPUI and host Western Kentucky.Hole said the team’s 5-1 start gives it confidence for its upcoming tournament and the rest of the season.“We all know that Coach scheduled a tough season because we are such a strong team,” Hole said. “So coming up with such a great start and getting this fifth win is such a confidence booster.”Danks also credited the team’s success because of the Buckeyes’ bench, which consists of sophomore middle blocker Anna Faul and freshman outside hitter Katie Mitchell.“We had great help off the bench, and they set the world on fire when they came into the game,” Danks said. “It just kind of shows how good our team is with so much depth at every position.” read more

Maryland to join Big Ten as 13th member

The University of Maryland is the 13th team in the history of the Big Ten Conference. Maryland’s Board of Regents voted “overwhelmingly” to approve the university’s application to the Big Ten, and current conference university presidents assembled for a Monday conference to unanimously approve the school’s admittance. Maryland’s move to the Big Ten will take effect July 1, 2014. Maryland athletics, which bears the nickname “Terrapins,” a kind of turtle, will abandon the Atlantic Coast Conference after nearly six decades of membership. Maryland is expected to negotiate down the ACC’s $50 million exit fee to help facilitate the conference switch. Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith welcomed Maryland and its fans to the conference during a Monday press conference at the Fawcett Center. Elsewhere on campus, OSU students are split when it comes to the Big Ten’s latest addition. Maryland President Wallace D. Loh said talks about the school’s move to the Big Ten began to heat up about two weeks ago. The Big Ten move, Loh said, will help stabilize its athletics department’s finances. “This is, today, a watershed moment for Maryland,” Loh said during a Monday press conference at the university’s student union in College Park, Md. “Membership in the Big Ten is in the strategic interest in the University of Maryland. As members … we will be able to ensure the financial stability of (Maryland athletics) for decades to come.” As Loh spoke, he was joined on an elevated platform by coaches from 15 of the university’s 20 athletics teams, as well as athletic director Kevin Anderson, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany and university Chancellor William E. “Brit” Kirwan, a former OSU president. Smith extended a welcome to the entire University of Maryland community. “We look forward to having you as a member of our family and embracing your rich tradition and everything that you mean to higher education and intercollegiate athletics,” Smith said. “It’s a great move for our conference. When you think about where the landscape is today (and) what is happening in intercollegiate athletics, there is going to be, and, I think, as we move toward the future and years out, there will continue to be some change. Maryland is a great addition to our conference, so we’re looking forward to getting down to the details of trying to deal with the scheduling issues.”   Rutgers could be added as the Big Ten’s 14th team Tuesday, according to multiple reports. Smith did not comment on that possibility, however, saying instead, “today is about Maryland.” Delany also declined to comment on the possibility of a Rutgers addition during the press conference in College Park. The president of Maryland since Nov. 1, 2010, Loh spoke of having to face student-athletes after a commission decided to cut teams from the university’s athletic department. Maryland cut seven of its sports programs were cut earlier this year due to a multimillion-dollar deficit, according to a Washington Post report. Men’s tennis, men’s and women’s swimming, competitive cheer, women’s water polo, men’s cross country and men’s indoor track and field were the casualties of Maryland’s financial troubles. Loh said he hopes no Maryland president will ever have to cut a Terrapins team again, a sentiment echoed by Anderson. “For me, the most important thing today is that no future Maryland athletic director will ever have to look in young men and young women’s eyes and say that you can’t compete anymore,” Anderson said, “that you can’t wear the colors for this school.” Anderson confirmed that the school would reinstate the commission to determine which of the seven previously-cut sports can be brought back. The positive effect of Big Ten inclusion on the College Park community came to light quickly, but OSU students said they were skeptical of the Maryland addition. Travis Opritza, a first-year in civil engineering, said he has little faith that the Terps will be able to play with the Big Ten’s football elite. “I don’t really think they’re on par with a lot of the Big Ten schools, particularly like Michigan State, Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin,” Opritza said. “There’s a lot of tradition with football in the Big Ten and I don’t know if Maryland will be able to keep pace with that more than anything else.” Nicole Baitt, a third-year in human nutrition, said the continued addition of teams dilutes the Big Ten and sacrifices tradition. “The Big Ten should only be 10 teams. The conference is about tradition. Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan – those are all teams we play every single year so when you start diluting it, there’s more teams to play in the season (and) we’re no longer going to be playing those teams every year and it ruins the tradition of the Big Ten and the competition and rivalries.” The super-conference theory Stated simply, Smith thinks the idea of intercollegiate athletics morphing from a fragmented system of many smaller conferences to a system of significantly fewer larger conferences is possible. A mega- or super-conference featuring upwards of 16 athletic programs could be in play down the line, Smith said. “I can’t project other conferences’ thinking, but as I think through the geography of what’s going up and trying to set yourself up for legitimate opportunities to win championships, and you look at the revenue opportunities, I think you’ll see more expansion down the road by other conference(s) and getting to larger conferences.” A neighbor for Penn State Penn State University received consideration in the Big Ten’s discussion about adding Maryland. PSU was the Big Ten’s first-ever expansion project when it became the 11th member of the conference in 1993. As the new member of an already established conference and the eastern-most school on the Big Ten map, PSU teams lacked rivals. Smith said that by adding Maryland to the fold, PSU will finally have a geographic rival. “We have a member in Penn State University that, in some of our views, needed to have, geographically, some colleagues, and I think Maryland offers that,” Smith said. “They offer a neighbor.” Stagnation elimination Standing pat wasn’t an option for the Big Ten, Smith said. The conference needed to continue expanding and Smith used the Big 12 as the case study to prove his point. Smith said that expansion would continue, both for the Big Ten and elsewhere, and stabilization in the current market place would not have been achieved by holding at 12 members. “I don’t think we could have sat still for that goal, reaching stability,” he said. “We added Nebraska (in 2011) – that was one team. That didn’t cause (other conferences) to add just one team. They added multiple teams. “(Conference) consortiums are going to look at what’s in their own best interest relative to positioning themselves to be the best that they can be, regardless of the Big Ten or regardless of the Big 12, who is sitting at 10 (members).And my thought  (the Big 12) probably won’t last a whole lot of years at 10.” Todd Avery contributed to this article. read more

Defensive struggles cost Buckeyes in loss to Spartans

Junior linebacker Ryan Shazier (2) and redshirt-junior cornerback Bradley Roby (1) make a tackle during the Big Ten Championship Game Dec. 7 in Indianapolis. OSU lost to Michigan State, 34-24. Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorINDIANAPOLIS – The Ohio State defense allowed six touchdowns and 603 total yards to the Michigan offense in the two teams’ regular-season finale Nov. 30, but that didn’t cost OSU its chance at a second consecutive undefeated season.One week later, the 34 points it gave up to the Michigan State offense in the Big Ten Championship Game did.That defense allowed 438 total yards, four touchdowns and two field goals Saturday as OSU (12-1, 8-1) fell to the Spartans (12-1, 9-0), 34-24.Although the Buckeyes were able to score 24 consecutive points and put up 374 total yards against a Spartans defense that came into the game allowing just 11.8 points and 237.7 total yards per game, the plays allowed by its own defense proved to be too much.OSU gave up five plays of 20 or more yards to the Spartans on Saturday. Three of those — a 72-yard pass from Michigan State redshirt-sophomore quarterback Connor Cook to redshirt-junior wide receiver Keith Mumphery, a 33-yard pass from Cook to redshirt-junior wide receiver Tony Lippett and a 26-yard run by redshirt-junior running back Jeremy Langford — were touchdowns. A 48-yard pass completion from Cook to sophomore wide receiver Macgarrett Kings Jr. set up the Spartans’ other touchdown, while a 34-yard run by Langford set up one of the Spartans’ field goals.“It is what it is,” defensive coordinator Luke Fickell said of his unit’s struggles. “Guys got to make plays. We got to put them in situations where they can make plays. There’s no finger-pointing.”For the second straight week, the OSU defense allowed its opponent’s quarterback to have a career-best performance. After giving up 451 passing yards and four touchdowns to Michigan redshirt-junior quarterback Devin Gardner Nov. 30, the Buckeyes allowed Cook to throw for 304 yards.“Disappointed with our pass defense,” coach Urban Meyer said after Saturday’s loss. “We have to get this fixed. We’re going to get back to work.”Junior linebacker Ryan Shazier said the defense’s struggles to defend the pass against Michigan State were a result of miscommunication.“We just got to do better,” Shazier said. “Everybody did their best out there, and we just got to rally up and just get ready for the next week, just keep practicing.”That struggling pass defense’s cause was not helped when redshirt-junior cornerback Bradley Roby went down with a knee injury in the third quarter. He would eventually return to the game, but Meyer said it hurt the OSU defense not to have him on the field for a stretch.“Take a great player off the field, that’s an issue,” Meyer said of Roby, adding that sophomore cornerback Armani Reeves “didn’t screw it up” and played fine when he entered the game in Roby’s place.Although the Michigan State offense ranks just 83rd nationally with 384.6 total yards per game and 60th nationally with 29.8 points per game, Fickell said the quality of that unit was another factor in OSU’s defensive struggles.“You got to give (Michigan State) credit,” Fickell said. “They did a good job. (Cook) threw the ball in the right spots and guys got to cover, guys got to rush, guys got to get there when they pressure.”Still, as OSU prepares to finish its season in what will likely be a BCS bowl game, its defense has to bounce back. After giving up 34 or more points just twice in its first 11 games, OSU has allowed that many points in each of its last two games.Fickell said the defense has to “get better as a group.”“Football’s the greatest team sport known to man because it takes 11 guys,” Fickell said. “You have 10 (defensive players playing well) out there and they’re going to find that one guy. That’s what we got to make sure we do a better job (of) is all stick together through those adverse situations.” read more

Opinion Lack of medal in Sochi disappointing shows need for improvement for

US forward Joe Pavelski (left) and goalie Jonathan Quick greet each other following their loss to Finland in the men’s Bronze Medal hockey game at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Feb. 22. Finland defeated the US, 5-0.Courtesy of MCTIt wasn’t supposed to end this way, was it?That’s the question every U.S. hockey fan was asking themselves after the men’s team was shut out by Canada Friday and then Finland Saturday to depart Sochi empty-handed.After three awesome performances in Group A of the Olympic Games — highlighted by a shootout win over host Russia — the Americans overpowered the Czech Republic to reach the semifinals against the Canadians. Everything was going according to plan.Then it all changed: two losses, no goals scored and an overwhelming sense of unfulfilled expectations.First came the frustration of Friday’s game against Canada, where those pesky neighbors to the north played a nearly flawless game, nullifying that esteemed American attack to win 1-0. Less than 24 hours later, with the disappointment of the semifinal defeat still clear for all to see, the U.S. sleepwalked through a 5-0 loss against Finland in the bronze medal game.A promising Olympic adventure ended in failure, with not even a consolation prize to help ease the pain. The chance was there. They just couldn’t take it.All of this seems that much more dispiriting because of the team’s incredible run four years ago in Vancouver, one that seemed like a seminal moment in U.S. hockey. Here was a youthful American team standing toe-to-toe with everyone it faced, even beating Canada in group play before losing to the same opponents in the gold medal game. Those silver medals the players received were more than just a reward for their efforts, they represented the growth of the American player in the NHL, a talented player on par with those produced in any other country.Naturally, many people saw this year’s games as another stepping stone in the United States’ ascent to the top of the international hockey mountain.This was supposed to be another memorable journey — and for the most part it was — but the margin between success and victory at the top level proved to be thin, and instead of the heroic exploits of 2010, it was the thwarted glory of 2014.Though, when viewed through the lens of history, the fourth place finish isn’t entirely surprising. Team USA men’s hockey team has only won two gold medals (1960, 1980) and hasn’t made it to the Olympic podium in consecutive Olympics since that win in Squaw Valley in 1960. The entire men’s ice hockey competition is also somewhat unpredictable, with Finland being the only country to medal in it each of the last three Olympics (Sochi, Vancouver and Turin).But none of those facts makes the reversal in fortunes of this year’s American team any harder to swallow. Neither does seeing Canada breeze past Sweden to win back-to-back gold medals.In the end, Team USA was still a misplayed puck or a goaltending error away from the gold medal game, but the reality is that they didn’t do enough to get there.Hopefully we will look back on Sochi as an anomaly, a time when things just didn’t click into place for the Americans. Or we could see it as indicative of the improvement Team USA still needs to make. Either way, expectations will once again be high when the men in red, white and blue take to the ice in PyeongChang, South Korea, in four years time.I see no reason as to why things won’t be better, but the uncertain nature of Olympic hockey makes me hesitant to make any predictions. All I know is that if you see someone watching the games with a look of pained anticipation, it will be me. I wouldn’t have it any other way. read more

JT Barrett off to recordsetting start for Ohio State

Redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett waits for the snap during a game against Cincinnati on Sept. 27 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 50-28, behind 409 yards of total offense from Barrett.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorWhen senior quarterback Braxton Miller went down with an injury during fall camp, the Ohio State football team turned to a redshirt-freshman who hadn’t taken a meaningful snap since high school.While there have been bumps in the road, that young quarterback — J.T. Barrett — has already accomplished things Miller never did for the Scarlet and Gray. Miller’s name could nearly fill its own record book, but Barrett ranks ahead of the veteran on multiple fronts just four games into his career.OSU coach Urban Meyer left some credit for the coaching staff when it comes to Barrett’s quick improvement, but also praised the signal caller’s ability to learn.“I think (I’m) not surprised by his development,” Meyer said after OSU’s 50-28 win against Cincinnati on Saturday. “I think (co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman) is an excellent coach and he’s a very good student.”Barrett tied the school record for touchdown passes in a game when he threw six against Kent State — and had more than 300 yards in the air — before adding to his accomplishments with another record-setting night against Cincinnati. The Wichita Falls, Texas, native threw for 330 yards and four touchdowns and added 79 yards on the ground.That makes two consecutive games Barrett has thrown for more than 300 yards — something Miller hasn’t done in three seasons. Barrett’s 409 yards of total offense rank as the second-best in school history behind Art Schlichter’s 412 yards gained against Florida State in 1981. He also led the OSU offense to a school-record 45 first downs and the third best total output in OSU history of 710 yards.After his record-setting night, Barrett saved more of the praise for his offensive line, which gave him time in the pocket to complete 26 passes out of 36 attempts.“All the credit goes to the offensive line,” he said after the game. “They got it started for us and that’s what coach Meyer always talks about in relying on them to keep the offensive going.”Barrett said he still has a room for improvement, but recognized the strides he has made since first taking the field against Navy on Aug. 30.“I think coming into Navy I was trying to make sure everything was right,” he said after the Cincinnati game. “Knowing I make mistakes and then just learning from them throughout the game.”He went on to say he’s more worried about trusting his instincts instead of worrying about making mistakes, something Herman said he wanted the quarterback to focus on in practice before taking on the Bearcats.“Trusting what you see and pulling the trigger, it’s better to be early than to be late,” Herman said after the game. “I thought he did — just from my vantage point — better, (but) still could probably get better at that.”Barrett set personal career-highs for passing attempts, pass completions and passing yards in the game, and did it all without throwing an interception for the first time in his career.Regardless of those numbers, Herman said Barrett can improve on making quicker decisions, but added he saw a “vast improvement” in another part of the quarterback’s game.Herman said given Barrett’s 6-foot-1 frame, the signal-caller needs to hang back in the pocket more in order to be able to see over the line and make the correct decisions.“So we really worked on keeping him a little bit deeper in the pocket on some of our drop-back throws and I thought he did that tonight,” Herman said.Despite his big day, Barrett said he recognized the spots where he needs to improve, and added he is ready to get back to work to keep getting better.“There’s certain things that you know you need to execute on during the game and so you think about those more than the big plays,” he said. “Definitely going in (to practice Sunday) trying to correct the mistakes we made.”Through four games, Barrett has completed 70 passes out of 110 attempts for 1,087 yards and 13 touchdowns. He’s thrown five interceptions — three of which came against Virginia Tech on Sept. 6 — and gained another 205 yards on the ground with one additional touchdown.After a bye week before the Cincinnati game, the Buckeyes are set for a typical game week before taking the field again. OSU is scheduled to play Maryland next Saturday in College Park, Md., and kickoff is set for noon. read more

Mens Volleyball Ohio State regroups before road trip against No 5 UCLA

Freshman outside hitter Sean Ryan (10) attacking the ball against Loyola on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019 at St. John Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Credit: Kaycie Golic | For The LanternAfter splitting a home series with McKendree this past weekend, the Ohio State men’s volleyball team heads to Los Angeles having brought back a few key players in preparation for weekend matchups against No. 5 UCLA and No. 11 USC. The Buckeyes (6-12, 2-6 MIVA) enter the road trip having reinserted sophomore outside hitter Jake Hanes into the lineup. Hanes has accrued 47 kills in his first two matches since coming back from injuring his foot in the Jan. 26 match against Ball State. Also back for the Buckeyes are junior setter Andrew Hillman, who returned on Sunday from an injury he sustained in December during training, and sophomore outside hitter Martin Lallemand, who missed Sunday’s match against McKendree due to illness. Ohio State head coach Pete Hanson said trying to find consistency has been extremely difficult with a lineup that seems to change every weekend. “It’s been a real challenge, but I think the guys have handled it as well as they could,” Hanson said. “Not to let them off the hook and say, ‘Hey, it’s a real anomaly,’ but at the same point and time, we’ve also tried to tell them, ‘Hey, there aren’t many teams that are down three or four starters, let alone, sometimes just one starter,’ and that’s what we’ve had to deal with.” Among the starters still injured, junior outside hitter Reese Devilbiss is working through an undisclosed injury, while senior setter Sanil Thomas is working to return to the lineup after injuring his hand in late January. While the Buckeyes have struggled with consistency for much of this season, UCLA (14-4, 6-0 MPSF) has been drowning in it. The Bruins are on a four-match winning streak and their Jan. 19 loss to No. 1 Long Beach State is their only loss at home this season. Junior middle blocker Daenan Gyimah leads the Bruins offensively, totalling 234 points on 190 kills, 17 aces and 48 total blocks. Defensively, senior setter Micah Ma’a is a top contributor, providing 129 digs and 35 total blocks in support. On the other hand, USC (9-7, 3-3 MPSF) has had an up-and-down season thus far. After opening the year with a 7-4 record, three-straight losses to then-No. 9 Stanford, then-No. 8 BYU and then-No. 6 UCLA brought the Trojans even before winning their past two matches against Concordia and then-No. 4 Pepperdine. The Trojans are led by redshirt senior outside hitter Jack Wyett with 181 kills, adding 10 aces and 44 digs. Senior Ryan Moss leads the team defensively with 34 total blocks and 76 digs. Ohio State is hoping the offensive production from Hanes and Lallemand, with 180 kills and 137 kills, respectively, can power the Buckeyes to a couple of road victories. But to have success, they’ll have to get used to being set by Hillman, who has taken over as Ohio State’s full-time setter in the absence of Thomas. Despite the tough competition and the constant lineup changes, Hillman said the team will be ready to play this weekend. “We’re excited,” Hillman said. “We really have nothing to lose right now. We’re going to go out there and play as hard as we can.” Ohio State will face No. 5 UCLA at 8 p.m. Friday and No. 11 USC at 11 p.m. Saturday in Los Angeles. read more

Man with a brain tumour killed when he ran across a motorway

first_imgMrs Duplain said that she then returned home and picked up her husband and returned to the motorway, finding him waving his jacket at passing cars.She said that he did not recognise them but they persuaded him to get into the car where he lay on the back seat kicking at the windows forcing her to stop the vehicle again.Mr Kaiser got out of the car and ran across the motorway and was struck by a Volkswagen Polo being driven on the northbound carriageway. He died from severe head injuries at the scene.Mrs Duplain said: “I said to Andy ‘He’s going to get killed’ and then I heard him being hit by the car.”Mrs Duplain said that she later found out from Mr Kaiser’s family that he had been diagnosed with a brain tumour, was signed off sick but had carried on working. I said to Andy ‘He’s going to get killed’ and then I heard him being hit by the carSue Duplain Her husband, Andrew, said they had called the NHS number 111 but had not been given any advice on what to do.He said: “They really couldn’t do much. The way he was talking it was clear he wasn’t in control, he couldn’t be trusted, he needed to be locked up to be fair.”Later that evening, as Mrs Duplain was driving work colleague Mr Kaiser to the hotel where he was staying, he grabbed the steering wheel forcing her to stop on the hard shoulder of the A3(M) near Clanfield where he jumped out of the car.She told the Portsmouth inquest: “There was no warning whatsoever. He had got his phone, his passport, keys, wallet and everything and was stuffing everything between my knees. I screamed at him and swore at him and said ‘Are you trying to kill the both of us?’.” Recording a verdict of accidental death, coroner David Horsley said to Mrs Duplain and her husband: “It seems he did have some underlying problem with his brain which had recently caused his behaviour to become extremely erratic.”He was a highly stressed and nervous person but his behaviour that day and night was beyond anything you could have contemplated.”It must have been a dreadful experience for you both. It was a nightmare situation. His behaviour was totally irrational and I think we have an explanation why it was irrational.”He did not know what he was doing and things were further complicated by the fact he was German and they drive on the other side of the road. I do not think he was aware a car was coming at him.” It was a nightmare situation. His behaviour was totally irrational and I think we have an explanation why it was irrationalDavid Horsley, coroner A German man who came to the UK to visit friends ran was killed when he ran across a motorway after a brain tumour he was suffering from caused him to behave “erratically and out of control”, an inquest has heard.Alexander Kaiser, from the Westerwald region of Germany, had flown to the UK on June 5 after suffering stress in his relationship with his partner of 10 years.But after friend Sue Duplain had picked the 35-year-old up from Heathrow airport he began to behave “bizarrely” including repeatedly asking her to give him high-fives, trying to escape from the garden of their home in Horndean, Hampshire, and asking for a beer before throwing it away. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

SNP urged to drop indyref2 threat as figures confirm Scotlands trade with

first_imgRe export figures, it is bogus to say Indy Scotland would not trade with rUK – and runs completely counter to arguments UKG making elsewhere— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) January 25, 2017 Nicola Sturgeon has been urged to abandon her repeated threats of a new independence referendum after official figures confirmed Scottish exports to the UK were worth four times as much as sales to the European Union.Statistics published by the Scottish Government showed sales to other parts of Britain were worth almost £50 billion in 2015, while exports to the EU were worth £12.3 billion. In both cases, exports grew by 4.4 per cent that year.David Mundell, the Scottish Secretary, said the figures, which do not include offshore oil and gas, showed that “the UK union is the vital union for Scotland”.Mr Mundell said export statistics showed “businesses in Scotland sold £37.5 billion more in goods and services to their own market in the UK than they did to all 27 EU countries put together”.He added that the export figures highlighted the importance of preventing any new barriers to doing business across the UK as Britain leaves Europe. David Mundell David Mundell with Nicola SturgeonCredit:Getty “Scottish Labour will not support any SNP plans for another referendum and if Nicola Sturgeon wants to stand up for Scotland’s economy she will take that threat off the table.”The Liberal Democrat MP and former Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael said the statistics showed the critical importance of keeping Scotland in both the UK and the EU, and said anything else would cause “real harm”.center_img “We know the Scottish Government’s constant talk of a second independence referendum is creating damaging uncertainty for the Scottish economy,” said the minister.”I again call on the First Minister to end that uncertainty by taking her threat of another referendum off the table and working with us to get the best deal for Scotland and the whole of the UK.”Kezia Dugdale, the Scottish Labour leader, said that while the Tory plans for a hard Brexit risked damaging Scotland’s economy”, the SNP’s own figures showed that independence would be “considerably worse”.She added: “These figures confirm that the UK single market is four times more important to Scottish jobs and the economy than the EU single market.”It is simply a reckless nationalist gamble to put access to the UK single market, and all the jobs that depend on it, at risk. That’s why the SNP must drop plans for a second independence referendum. 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. Nicola Sturgeon took to Twitter to claim it was “bogus” to say that an independent Scotland would not trade with the rest of the UK and that argument ran “completely counter to arguments UKG making elsewhere”.She has repeatedly warned that Theresa May’s plan to remove Britain from the single market “undoubtedly” makes a second independence referendum more likely. The First Minister said on Tuesday, after the Supreme Court ruling, that the need for a new vote on separation was becoming “ever clearer”.In the wake of the Brexit vote, the Scottish Government has published a paper suggesting it could stay in the single market, even if the rest of the UK leaves.Overall, Scottish international exports, excluding oil and gas, increased by £1 billion in 2015, to be worth £28.7 billion.Keith Brown, Scotland’s economy minister, said that rise was “hugely encouraging”, adding: “It is clear that since the vote to leave the European Union, we must continue to be seen to be a country that is outward facing and open for business.”The EU market is eight times the size of UK market, which highlights the importance of remaining in the single market. I want to be clear that Scotland should not face a choice between exporting to the EU or UK. We can do both.”last_img read more

Julian Fellowes reveals he has started working on a film version of

first_imgJulian Fellowes has revealed that he has started working on a film version of Downton Abbey.The creator of the ITV series, which finished in 2015 after six series, said he had done some work on the project in case producers suddenly turn round and give the idea the go ahead.It comes after speculation that there would be a big-screen version of the popular show following the admission by Jim Carter, who plays butler Carson, that cast members had been told to keep themselves free for filming.   Lord Fellowes was speaking at the launch of his new musical The Wind in the Willows 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. Lady Mary at dinner during series six of the period drama  The final episode of Downton Abbey was watched by nearly 7 million people.After it aired, it was praised on social media for giving many of the characters happy endings, including Lady Edith, who finally tied the knot, and Lady Mary, who announced she was expecting her second child.But for the past 12 months, there has been fervent speculation about the possibility of a Downton film.Laura Carmichael, who plays Lady Edith, added fuel to the rumours when she admitted she thought a script existed during an appearance in October last year.center_img Lord Fellowes was speaking at the launch of his new musical The Wind in the WillowsCredit: Rii Schroer for the Telegraph Lord Fellowes, speaking at the launch of his new musical The Wind in the Willows, told the Evening Standard: “I’ve done some work on it because I don’t want want to be caught out if [the producers] suddenly say yes and then it’s all go.”But the 67-year-old admitted there were still a lot of uncertainties. “Can we round up all the cast? Can we get them?” he questioned. “Also we just need the green light at the beginning. So I don’t know anymore than that at the moment to be honest.”No other details – including information about a possible plot or when the film would be set – were revealed in the interview. Lady Mary at dinner during series six of the period drama Credit:Nick Briggslast_img read more

Absolute disgrace Tim Farron under fire for refusing to answer when asked

first_imgProblem with people saying it’s Tim Farron who’s talking the most sense is: he’s a fundamentalist Christian homophobe. #notsurehowwegothere— David Baddiel (@Baddiel) April 18, 2017 Not exactly “liberal”🤔He may be “tolerant”of #LGBT people, but this doesn’t make me want 2 vote @LibDems @timfarronpic.twitter.com/X363I3w3hJ— Prossy (@Pkakooza) April 18, 2017 The leader of the Liberal Democrats has been branded a “bigot” and “absolute disgrace”  for evading a question on whether he thought being gay was a sin.Sue Perkins and David Walliams were among the celebrities who criticised Tim Farron for failing to answer the question.He finally answered the question on Wednesday afternoon when asked in Parliament if being gay was a sin. He said “no I do not [think that]”.On Tuesday night, Channel 4’s Cathy Newman asked the Liberal Democrats leader about his views on LGBT rights and gay people. She asked: “A while back I asked you if you thought that homosexuality was a sin and you struggled to answer. “Now you’ve had a while to consider that question, what is the answer?”He replied: “I don’t think I struggled to answer it at all, Cathy. I think I’m not in the position to make theological announcements over the next six weeks. “I’m not going to spend my time talking theology or making pronouncements.”She reminded the Lib Dem leader that in 2015 she had asked him three times if homosexuality was a sin “and you said ‘we’re all sinners’. Is that still the answer?”  Writer Owen Jones said: “This is an absolute disgrace. But hey, I’m just some sinning gay, what would I know.”Tim Farron has said his abstention on the same-sex marriage bill does not mean he doesn’t support it.He, along with nine other Lib Dem MPs, abstained at the third reading of the same-sex marriage bill, despite previously voting for the legislation. This is an absolute disgrace. But hey, I’m just some sinning gay, what would I know. https://t.co/nzu1PU7YLB— Owen Jones (@OwenJones84) April 18, 2017 Tim Farron on C4 news failing to clarify his views on the gay community. ‘We’re all sinners’. It’s 2017.— Sue Perkins (@sueperkins) April 18, 2017center_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Comedian David Walliams tweeted: “Mr @timfarron you are definitely a sinner for your continued intolerance & prejudice. Please try and join the rest of us in the year 2017.” Bake Off’s Sue Perkins said: “Tim Farron on C4 news failing to clarify his views on the gay community. ‘We’re all sinners’. It’s 2017.”David Baddiel wrote: “Problem with people saying it’s Tim Farron who’s talking the most sense is: he’s a fundamentalist Christian homophobe”. Farron replied: “As a Liberal, I’m passionate about equality, about equal marriage and about equal rights for LGBT people, for fighting for LGBT rights, not just in this country but overseas.“Just because I’m Christian, it would be a bit boring for everybody to spend the next weeks asking me to make theological announcements that I’m not going to make.” Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said on Good Morning Britain that it is “appalling” if Tim Farron believes homosexuality is a sin urged him to clarify his position. Come on @timfarron It’s time to be honest https://t.co/rxjL4HtlZ2— Jonathan Bartley (@jon_bartley) April 19, 2017last_img read more

Government warns parents not to tweet answers to SATs exams because some

first_imgA spokesman said: “It is part of routine business. We have done posts on Facebook and Twitter, so they are there for people to see.  The Government has warned parents not to tweet about SATs exams because the tests are staggered over two weeks.The Department for Education has tweeted parents and teachers who have complained about aspects of the test to warn them not to spoil the questions as some children may be taking the test later than others. Though the tests are officially scheduled for this week, children who are ill on the day of a SATs exam can take the test up to five school days later.Schools can organise this themselves for pupils on a case-by-case basis. The Department for Education’s Twitter account, @educationgovuk, has been replying to tweets since Monday asking users to remove tweets which include details about questions. A post on its Facebook account read: “Please help us ensure the smooth administration of the tests by ensuring that test content is not discussed online and that all test materials remain secure until 22 May to allow children who are absent this week to take the tests next week using timetable variations.” “It’s just a polite reminder not to share those questions. “Where the team has been asked about it or it has popped up in a feed, they have occasionally reminded someone directly.”He added that the team was not “tracking people down” who were tweeting about the questions by searching for them on Twitter.Several parents continued to discuss English and Maths questions on the social media platform on Thursday afternoon. The exams are currently taken by children in Year 2 and Year 6. The Government is consulting on plans to axe the tests for seven-year-olds after this year.  One of the tweets, sent to Twitter user Matt Thrower, who complained about a maths question, said: “Hi, can you please remove the tweet referring to SATs? We’re trying to maintain the confidentiality & integrity of ongoing tests.”Mr Thrower had not tweeted the department directly, but had used the hashtag #SATS2017. center_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. @MrOCTeach @_MissieBee Hi, can you please remove any tweets referring to SATs?We’re trying to maintain the confidentiality & integrity of ongoing tests.— DfE (@educationgovuk) May 10, 2017last_img read more

UK terror plot thwarted within minutes of execution Met chief reveals

first_imgPressed on exactly how many attacks have been thwarted, she said that in “just the last few weeks”, five have been averted.”Overall I think it is well into the teens in the last couple of years, where we know people were intent on attacking and that has been stopped,” she said.”In addition, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of arrests of people who are radicalised, and are either spreading hatred or supporting terrorism, or want to carry out a terrorist attack. Police have thwarted five terror attacks in the last few weeks including some which were “very close” to being carried out, Britain’s most senior police officer has said.This year alone, the UK has been targeted by four terror attacks – three of which happened in London in busy and popular areas – which killed and injured scores of people.Speaking on Nick Ferrari’s show on LBC on Friday, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said a “very large number of plots” have been foiled over the last few years. “Some of them were very close, we would say, to an attack – very close,” she said.When asked if they were “within minutes” of being carried out, Ms Dick replied: “Yes.” “We have had a huge number of successful operations, together with the intelligence agencies and we work very closely with them and with colleagues overseas.”Quizzed on how far-progressed the thwarted attacks were, Ms Dick suggested some of them were within minutes of being executed by terrorists. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Cash pours in for bargain hunter as £15 broken teapot fetches £575000

first_img“Bartlam made a fair amount in America but no pieces survive over there. We don’t know how the tea service came to Britain but it might have been when Bartlam visited in 1769.” The teapot marks the birth of American porcelain. At the time the US was saying ‘we don’t need British porcelain anymore’porcelain expert Clare Durham The find confirmed that Bartlam was the first producer or porcelain in America. In 2010, these fragments helped confirm the bowls sold in Britain in 2002 were in fact made by Bartlam. Miss Durham said: “The teapot marks the birth of American porcelain. At the time the US was saying ‘we don’t need British porcelain anymore’.”It means so much more to the Americans than it does to us hence why it ended up being bought by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2002, four unmarked tea bowls and two saucers that sold at auction in the Midlands were later confirmed to be by Bartlam and the patterning on those matched that on the teapot.It is thought the teapot and bowls formed part of the same tea service made by Bartlam at his factory in South Carolina and brought to Britain by him during a visit in 1769.The unnamed middle-aged vendor was told the pot might sell at auction for anywhere between £20,000 to £50,000. Woolley and Wallis Auctioneers in Salisbury A broken teapot bought for £15 has sold for £575,000 after it was discovered to be one of America’s first pieces of porcelain.A bargain hunter thought the blue and white item, which was missing its lid and had a broken handle glued back on, was common pearlware.But the hobbyist dealer’s pot turned out to be the work of John Bartlam, a British potter who took his trade across the Atlantic 250 years ago.Bartlam’s enterprise was cut short by the American Revolution and hardly any examples of his work exist today.Expert Clare Durham, of Woolley and Wallis Auctioneers in Salisbury, Wiltshire, suspected the teapot might be non-English porcelain and further research established it was the work of Bartlam. But interest took off, especially from America, with bids going up by £5,000 and then £10,000 at a time at the auction. It eventually sold for a hammer price of £460,000. With all the fees added on the overall price came to £575,000.It was bought by a London dealer Rod Jellicoe on behalf of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where it will end up.Bartlam was a potter in Staffordshire who relocated to South Carolina in around 1763 to mine china clay in the area and meet the desire of colonial Americans to dine in the English style.It is not known what or how much porcelain Bartlam made there, but in 2007 the site of his factory was found and fragments of three blue decorated tea bowls. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The teapot was sold by Woolley and Wallis Auctioneers in SalisburyCredit:Woolley and Wallis/BNPS last_img read more