Can YOU Fix The NBA Draft

By Jody Avirgan The NBA draft could use some fixing. Whether NBA Commissioner Adam Silver admits it or not, teams are tanking in order to land a better chance at a top pick. On the most recent episode of our sports podcast Hot Takedown, we discussed a few proposals to fix the draft structure, from the “wheel” to closing the gap between the worst and second-worst team’s chances. Now, it’s your turn.When you’re sitting on your couch, daydreaming, what crazy scheme have you come up with to fix the draft structure? Tell us below — no idea is too weird. We’ll compile some of them on FiveThirtyEight and discuss our favorites on the show.We’ll also endorse one idea as the official Hot Takedown proposal and send it as a notarized letter (on fancy paper, too) to Silver. And that’ll solve everything! Embed Code More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed read more

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Replacing Evan Turner Buckeyes look toward life after NBAbound guard

When next season begins, the Ohio State men’s basketball team will return with four of its five starters from the 2009-2010 campaign. But the one missing, Evan Turner, left a gaping hole in the Buckeyes’ roster when he declared for the NBA Draft last week. Turner led OSU in points, rebounds and assists this season and, after winning the Wooden Award Saturday night, will carry six national player of the year awards with him to June’s draft. But when OSU tips off its 2010-2011 season, none of that will matter, and the team must find a way to fill his shoes. “Obviously losing him is going to change a lot for our team because he did so much on the court for us,” guard Jon Diebler said. “We know we have a lot to work on, as a team and individually, but even with Evan leaving, we’re still very confident with who we have coming back and who’s coming in.” Fortunately for the Buckeyes, as Diebler mentioned, they will welcome arguably the nation’s best recruiting class to Columbus next season. Highlighted by Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas, the six incoming recruits could go a long way to replacing Turner. However, with Turner gone, and with seniors P.J. Hill and Jeremie Simmons also leaving the program, there will be no returning point guard. One of the incoming freshmen, Aaron Craft, plays the point, but is probably the fourth or fifth-most heralded newcomer in the class. Diebler, who was coached in middle school by Craft’s father, said that while Craft might not be as talented as some other future Buckeyes, he can certainly hold his own.   “He’s a tough kid, just like all the kids coming in,” Diebler said. “He knows a lot about the game and his IQ is really high, and that’s something you can’t teach.” Regardless, it seems unlikely that Craft will be able to step right in and run the OSU offense as a freshman. That leaves the likely possibility of one of the current Buckeyes making a position switch. Just as Turner did a season ago, somebody will have to quickly adapt to a new position. Diebler and forward David Lighty seem to be the most obvious candidates. Lighty proved to be one of the few Buckeyes that can consistently beat people off the dribble and create his own shot, which would make the position switch somewhat seamless. Diebler played point guard almost exclusively in high school, and although his role has been much different in college to this point, he said he wouldn’t be opposed to returning to his roots. “I wouldn’t mind it,” Diebler said. “I just want to do whatever helps us win. It’s going to be my last year and Dave’s last year and I know we’re all going to work on our ball handling.” For Lighty, despite losing Turner and no matter who ends up playing point guard, the expectations are still high. “We never lower our standards here just because he’s leaving,” Lighty said. “I believe with him, obviously we’d be that much better, but without I believe we still have a great team.” read more

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Young Buckeyes prep for 1st road test

Ohio State played its first four games of the season in the shelter of Ohio Stadium with more than 100,000 cheering fans. This Saturday’s trip to play No. 20 Michigan State, however, will provide the team’s first road test. Some players think an unfriendly atmosphere will pose an obstacle. It’s the first time the Buckeyes have played in East Lansing, Mich., since a 45-7 OSU victory during the 2008 season. OSU is 13-5 all-time in games at Michigan State. Redshirt senior safety Orhian Johnson said the first road game of the year is always “a good test.” “Going up to Michigan State is definitely going to be a little bit tougher with that kind of atmosphere,” Johnson said, “but I think it’s something that we need right now and I think the guys on the team right now are looking forward to it.” Buckeyes first-year coach Urban Meyer said sometimes too much is made of contests away from home. “I think going on the road is sometimes overrated. I think it’s a quality opponent when you go on the road. Going on the road against a team that you’re far superior, that’s not a big deal. Going on the road against this outfit, this is a significant challenge for us,” Meyer said. MSU returns 14 starters from a team that went 11-3 in 2011 and represented the Legends Division in the inaugural Big Ten Championship game, losing 42-39 to Wisconsin. This season MSU is 3-1, and 2-1 at home, with its only loss coming to then-No. 20 Notre Dame. Their defense returns nine starters and has allowed 233.5 yards per game in the 2012 season, good enough for sixth in the country. The Spartans’ offense relies on the legs of junior running back Le`Veon Bell, who has rushed for more than 200 yards in a game twice this season. OSU co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Everett Withers made it clear that the key to preparing for a road game is to stay in the same routine as any other week. “I think the first thing you do, you have to understand that your practice should not change. Work on your practice schedule just like you normally do,” Withers said. “You prepare like you are going to prepare here, your practice days – Tuesday through Thursday – you go get on a plane and you go fly, you get in the hotel just like you’re going to get over in the Blackwell and you do the same thing on Friday night and you get up and go play a game.” When OSU visits Spartan Stadium, it will be in a venue and atmosphere only two players, redshirt seniors defensive lineman Nathan Williams and linebacker Etienne Sabino, have experienced. “It’s going to be exciting. Away games are always fun,” Sabino said. “It’s going to be a hostile crowd. Michigan State is a good team and we’re a good team.” That inexperience of playing at MSU might be amplified with the amount of freshmen on the Buckeyes’ depth chart. There are nine true freshmen and five redshirt freshmen listed in OSU’s two-deep. “We’re playing more freshmen than any school in America. And sometimes it looks awful at times, but it’s our job to coach them through that and get them to be sophomores real fast,” Meyer said. Senior fullback Zach Boren said this is a time where the veteran players have to support the younger Buckeyes. “It’s a lot different playing away from home, especially in a hostile environment like Michigan State. I think that’s where leadership takes over and that’s where some of us older guys have to really step in and be really be more hands-on with them because you only have 70 guys on away trips, you aren’t 105 strong,” he said. “So it’s one of those things where we just have to make sure those guys are ready and we have a good week at practice and those guys are mentally ready for the game.” Redshirt junior center Corey Linsley agreed. “We’re just going to mentor them through it. It’s a different mentality going into away games. It’s definitely going to be a great time for the young guys to learn how to prepare to go to an away game,” Linsley said. “It’s more traveling, it’s less meeting time and there’s more to handle.” The Buckeyes are scheduled to take their first road trip to East Lansing, Mich., and open Big Ten play Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
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Commentary Opposing coaches paint picture of uncertain Ohio State mens basketball

In college basketball, and, perhaps, college sports in general, it’s the coaches from the smaller and less-known schools that are the most candid, and maybe the most truthful, too. It can be interesting and fun to hear a re-telling of the team you pay attention to through the mouth of opposing coaches. For Ohio State men’s basketball, the two coaches to most recently oppose the Buckeyes on the hardwood are the only two that have gotten it correct in their recounting of OSU hoops. The next two coaches after them could complete the picture of Buckeyes basketball in 2012. OSU’s season began with an 82-60 win against the Albany Great Danes. Albany coach Will Brown provided a season’s worth of lavish praise and hyperbole in the game by lauding OSU’s depth as well as starting junior guard Aaron Craft. “My guys go to McDonald’s to eat, they (OSU) have McDonald’s All-Americans coming off the bench,” Brown said of OSU’s depth before moving discussing Craft. “He’s (Craft) going to be in the NBA for 10 years, I’m sure,” Brown said. As the season has gone along, OSU has continued to receive acclaim for its convincing wins. The University of Kansas City-Missouri came to the Schottenstein Center on Nov. 23 and was sent packing with a 91-45 loss. Afterward, UMKC coach Matt Brown simply said that OSU is “a terrific team.” It would be fair to say that OSU was at least a somewhat unknown commodity prior to its first true non-conference test of the year at Duke on Nov. 28. The 73-68 loss at a rowdy Cameron Indoor Stadium was a kind of reassurance that the Buckeyes could hold their own against top competition. Upon returning home, OSU greeted more mediocre teams. The first was Northern Kentucky, another inferior out-of-conference foe that the Buckeyes throttled and in turn had more praise heaped upon them. Following his team’s 70-43 loss, Northern Kentucky coach Dave Bezold said it was a “great experience” for his players to just be on the same floor with the Buckeyes. “It is an absolutely tremendous opportunity for us to play with one of the most historical teams in the country,” Bezold said. “It is a special moment for our kids to be on this floor and play against such a great program.” Relative to other coaches that came to The Schott and were dealt a swift defeat, Savannah State coach Horace Broadnax was calculated in his post game remarks after the Buckeyes beat his Tigers, 85-45 on Wednesday. Broadnax had plenty to say about the game, but what stuck out was that he stopped at saying OSU was decent. That was it, nothing more. In OSU’s next game, all visiting UNC-Asheville did in its 90-72 loss on Saturday was end the Buckeyes’ streak of 14 consecutive non-conference home wins by at least 20 points. By comparison, Duke lost by 22 points last season at The Schott. Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach also had measured praise for OSU, stating that he thinks fellow Big Ten team Indiana still plays harder than the Buckeyes. “I think Ohio State is one of the top 6 teams in the country, it’s a little early talent wise,” Biedenbach said. “Indiana… I don’t think they’re more talented than Ohio State – I think they play harder.” After seven games, and a flatbed truck’s worth of homage paid to OSU coach Thad Matta’s program by opposing coaches, Broadnax and Biedenbach finally arrived at the accurate depiction of Buckeyes basketball – the jury’s still out about this team. If there is such a thing as a decent, or “blah” No. 7-ranked squad, OSU has to be that, as Broadnax said. And like Biedenbach said, OSU is a top team in the country and in the Big Ten, but, unlike last season’s Final Four team, there appears to be a gulf between America’s very best squads and the Buckeyes. The 2012 Buckeyes haven’t been tested with the frequency of the 2011 team, which played Florida in the second game of the season before hosting Duke in game No. 7. It certainly hasn’t been as successful either: The 2011 Buckeyes won both of those games whereas the 2012 Buckeyes came close at Duke and the team is now receiving only lukewarm praise from coaches of the mid-majors it beats soundly.  Next up is Winthrop, which upset Ohio University this past weekend, and Saturday is OSU’s marquee non-conference home match against Kansas. A win against Kansas changes the trajectory for the Buckeyes, or at least the outside perception of that trajectory.  Two losses in the big non-conference games doesn’t necessarily condemn OSU to a failed season, and certainly doesn’t rule the team out from a deep NCAA Tournament run. However, there was something about the way OSU fought for a win in a tight game against Florida last season, and then the way it cruised past Duke, that seemed to announce its intentions and demand recognition.  Two losses against Duke and Kansas this year? That only seems to demand recognition as a team that isn’t quite ready. So, listen to what Kansas coach Bill Self has to say after Saturday’s game – depending on the outcome and how the game goes down, you’ll likely hear comments that complete the picture of the 2012 Buckeyes. read more

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Balanced Ohio State downs Campbell 9164

Freshman guard D’Angelo Russell (0) goes for a layup during a game against Campbell on Nov. 26 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 91-64.Credit: Ed Momot / For The LanternFor five minutes, the Campbell Camels kept it close.But five minutes later, the No. 16 Ohio State men’s basketball team held a 20-10 lead after going on an 11-2 run.The Buckeyes (4-0) held a 45-22 lead at halftime, but only outscored Campbell (1-3) 46-42 in the second half on their way to a 91-64 win Wednesday night at the Schottenstein Center.Sophomore forward Marc Loving said there were portions of the game — particularly in the second half — when the Buckeyes were lacking in energy.“We relaxed at times,” Loving said after the game. “Spurts in the game we needed to regroup and we didn’t. Definitely take care of that in practice.”Coach Thad Matta said OSU didn’t have “a lot of energy” or “juice” in the second half, and he didn’t see the same pace he had hoped for after a fast start to the game.“I told ‘em at halftime, ‘the biggest thing I’m looking for in the second half is claiming rebounds and running in transition,’” Matta said. “And we get it a couple times, but it was never the consistent push that we wanted.”OSU struggled with rebounding on the defensive side of the floor at times, leading to 13 offensive rebounds for the Camels, compared to just 13 for the Buckeyes.Two early 3-pointers helped the Camels keep it at 9-8 five minutes into the game, but OSU’s balanced attack helped the Buckeyes take a double-digit lead at the 11:01 mark in the first half that they never relinquished for the final 45 minutes of action.As a team, OSU shot 60.7 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point land in the game.Matta said he’s been “pleasantly surprised” by how well the Buckeyes have shot this season, but added that won’t necessarily be a given week in and week out.“You’re hoping that’s something that you can bank on, and we joked about it the other night, I don’t know how much longer you can keep shooting at this clip,” he said. “But I do think guys are taking more pride in their shots and seeing the ball go through the basket.”The second half started much like the first as Campbell opened the period on a 10-5 run. But the Buckeyes responded to take a 73-46 lead with 9:03 to play in the game.Starting with a 53-32 lead at the 16:43 mark in the half, OSU led by at least 20 for the rest of the game.Despite scoring one more point in the second half than his team did in the first, Matta said he wanted to see more push from the Buckeyes.“You still score 91 points, but I didn’t think we played as fast as we wanted to,” he said.All 10 OSU players to take the court scored, while all five Buckeye starters scored in double figures. The Buckeyes have scored at least 90 points in three of four games this season.OSU shot 60 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes while limiting Campbell to a 29.2 shooting percentage and just three 2-point field goals at the break. All five Buckeye starters scored at least six points in the first half, with freshman guard D’Angelo Russell leading the way with 12 points and sophomore forward Marc Loving adding 10.Russell said the Buckeyes were more focused on playing their own game than paying attention to Campbell heading into the contest.Sophomore forward Marc Loving (2) passes the ball during a game against Campbell on Nov. 26 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 91-64.Credit: Ed Momot / For The Lantern“We’re really not worrying about our opponent, we’re worrying about our team and we’re trying to get better as a team the best way we can,” he said.Senior guard Shannon Scott — who set a program record with 16 assists in a win against Sacred Heart on Sunday — had four of OSU’s eight assists before halftime.Freshman guard D’Angelo Russell led all players with 22 points while sophomore forward Marc Loving had 18. Russell also led all players with seven assists and shot four of six from 3-point range.After tallying his career-best scoring output, Loving said he wasn’t any more comfortable against the Camels than he was in the first three games of the year.“I wouldn’t say I get more and more comfortable each game,” he said. “I’ve been pretty comfortable this season.”Campbell redshirt-senior guard Andrew Ryan poured in 17 points on five-of-eight shooting from three to lead the Camels.The Buckeyes are scheduled to return to the court on Friday to take on James Madison at the Schottenstein Center. Tip is set for 4:00 p.m.With two games in three days, Matta said the Buckeyes are set to practice in the afternoon on Thanksgiving to prepare for Friday, and he said he’s hoping the team keeps its energy during the holiday.“I told these guys, there’s two types of teams over break, we’re on break right now,” he said. “There’s teams that play really, really well because they don’t have a lot to do and then there’s teams that kind of become lethargic, and I know which team I want us to be.” read more

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Urban Meyer Nick Saban matchup brings memories of past meetings between Ohio

Left: Coach Urban Meyer hoists the Amos Alonzo Stagg Big Ten Championship trophy after the Big Ten Championship Game against Wisconsin on Dec. 6 in Indianapolis. OSU won, 59-0.Credit: Chelsea Spears / Multimedia editorRight: Alabama coach Nick Saban hoists the trophy following a 42-14 win against Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami Gardens, Fla.Credit: Courtesy of TNSPaul “Bear” Bryant and Wayne Woodrow “Woody” Hayes.The first time the Ohio State Buckeyes and Alabama Crimson Tide took the field against each other, the two legendary coaches squared off in a battle for the — wait for it — Sugar Bowl championship in New Orleans.Now, almost 37 years to the date, two more legendary football coaches will roam the sidelines in the 2015 installment of the Sugar Bowl.While they don’t have nicknames like “Woody” or “Bear,” OSU’s Urban Meyer and Alabama’s Nick Saban know each other all too well. They’ve squared off three times as members of the Southeastern Conference when Meyer was at the University of Florida and are set to meet again in a College Football Playoff semi-final game in the first season of the new system.Saban said during a Sunday conference call that returning to the Sugar Bowl for a second year in a row is a “great opportunity,” especially against the Buckeyes.“(It’s) a real honor for our team to be able to come back to the Sugar Bowl, to be a part of the first-ever playoff system playing against an outstanding, very traditional, a great traditioned program like Ohio State, with a great coach like Urban Meyer,” Saban said.Meyer, who is 1-2 against Saban head-to-head, said he can remember his lone win against Saban.“The 2008 game was just one of the great games in college football history, in my opinion,” Meyer said Sunday. “Where evenly matched teams were going back and forth, back and forth. And obviously we got, scored right at the end to take a two-score lead.”Meyer’s Florida Gators defeated Saban’s Crimson Tide, 31-20, in that game to earn a spot in the 2009 BCS National Championship, which they won over the Oklahoma Sooners.Combined, the two coaches have recorded six national titles, a far cry from the combined 11 that Hayes and Bryant combined for in their coaching careers.Adding to the intrigue is the fact that both Saban and Meyer were not only OSU assistants in the 1980s, but also both played their college football in Ohio with Saban at Kent State and Meyer at Cincinnati.Meyer, who was a graduate assistant at OSU from 1986-87, coached his first game against the Crimson Tide, a 16-10 loss.Just six years prior, Saban was on the same Buckeye staff as a defensive backs coach under then-head coach and Meyer mentor Earle Bruce.During a fundraiser in Mason, Ohio, back in April, Saban spoke about one particular coach who made an impact on him when he was an up-and-coming football coach.In Saban’s second year at OSU, the unranked Buckeyes entered a game against Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., as significant underdogs with the Wolverines ranked No. 7 in the nation.Saban said Hayes, less than three years removed from his final game at OSU, came back for the first time to address the team.“He came to Senior Tackle and he talked to the team and he says, ‘You can have no great victories in life unless you can overcome adversity. The War in the Pacific was the greatest military victory of all time because of Pearl Harbor, and the adversity we had to overcome because of that,’” Saban told Cleveland.com. “We won the game, 14-9, you can look it up, and they didn’t score a touchdown.”Now, all these years later, the Buckeyes are once again facing adversity.During a 42-28 victory over Michigan, redshirt-freshman quarterback and then-Heisman hopeful J.T. Barrett fractured his ankle, forcing the Buckeyes to go to their third-string quarterback, redshirt-sophomore Cardale Jones.A day later, OSU learned that missing teammate Kosta Karageorge had been found dead off-campus from what police said was a potentially self-inflicted gunshot wound.Despite all of that, OSU was able to dismantle the Wisconsin Badgers in the 2014 Big Ten Championship Game, 59-0, catapulting the Buckeyes into the first-ever College Football Playoff.Through the crazy ride that has been the 2014 season, senior cornerback Doran Grant said Sunday that the strides the Buckeyes have made are because of this year’s challenges.“Handling the adversity, just coming together as a group. I feel the same way because I think we improved a lot because of how close we became over every week,” Grant said. “Overcome the obstacles, adversity, and we just remained together. And I think that’s a big part of our improvement.”Grant will now be faced with a challenge of his own, as he will likely be matched up with Heisman finalist and junior Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper.Cooper ranks second in the nation in receiving yards with 1,656 to go along with 14 touchdowns. His 115 receptions equal exactly half of Alabama starting senior quarterback Blake Sims’ completions.Grant said while he isn’t sure what the game plan is for the Crimson Tide just yet, he knows what to expect from Cooper.“I know he’s a great receiver. A very polished receiver. He has big play ability. Looking forward to the matchup, honestly,” Grant said. “Not sure how we’re gonna handle everything, but looking forward to going against a great team period.”While Grant isn’t looking at film on Cooper just yet, Meyer did say he might look at some film from some of his previous matchups against Saban.“We’ll probably look at the last two. Or maybe we will.  Because our offense has adapted and changed somewhat, but I think I always like to go back and see because a lot of times there’s some fundamentals or coverage concepts or front concepts that we’ll look at,” Meyer said. “That will be mostly on that side of the ball that I’ll check out a little bit what they did in the past. But that’s about it.”While Meyer has beaten Saban before, the Buckeyes currently hold a 0-3 record against the Crimson Tide all time, something OSU will look to improve upon as it is set to take on Alabama on New Year’s Day in the Allstate Sugar Bowl for a chance to play for a national championship at 8:30 p.m. read more

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Big Ten Media Days Ohio State looking to quash possibility of postchampionship

OSU coach Urban Meyer addresses the media on July 30 in Chicago during the 2015 Big Ten Media Days. Credit: Kevin Stankiewicz / Asst. Sports EditorCHICAGO — As a coach who had already won two national championships at Florida before adding a third with Ohio State last season, Urban Meyer knows the potential pitfalls from returning off the high of a title.Players can get lazier on the field or in the weight room, or get full of themselves and get into trouble. Or, oftentimes, the spark that drove the team during the title season can be absent in the next.So after OSU completed “The Chase” by defeating Oregon in the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship Game in January, Meyer’s new quest began: to steer his team past the possibility of the next-season hangover.“Every coach is concerned about (complacency),” Meyer said on Thursday during his opening press conference at the 2015 Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. “There’s no perfect team. There’s no perfect program. Everyone deals with ‘stuff.’ When you’re Ohio State or some of these other big-time programs, ‘stuff’ becomes a major deal.”After Meyer’s first national championship with Florida in 2006, in which the Gators compiled a 13-1 record, the team came back the next year with a 9-4 regression.“Maybe it was a mistake in ‘06, after we won it, we were like ‘Well, we’re playing with house money now, it’s all going to get really easy,’” Meyer said. “It actually gets more complicated.”Senior linebacker Joshua Perry said one of his jobs as a leader of the team is to make sure the Buckeyes avoid that trap of lacking the spark that winning teams need, but he is confident that they will be successful because they overcame the other side of that situation last season.“If we start at the bottom, there’s human nature where you’re always complaining about some of the things that never go your way, and then on the way there, things get tough, and there’s that human nature of ‘Man, it would be really easy to just kind of be here and be average,’” Perry said Thursday. “And then when you get to the top there’s the human nature of getting complacent.“But I think we fought through all these things and we’re able to get to a certain point, so I think you’ll see us continue to fight, continue to do what we did.”Meyer cited three indicators that he and his coaching staff keep an eye on to make sure the players are staying focused and driven: academic, training and social.“We had the highest graduation rate in the history of Ohio State football,” Meyer said about the academic aspect. “I don’t want to just buzz right over that. So that’s one indicator that our guys are locked in.”“The second thing is the weight room,” Meyer said. “I have the best coach in America (in strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti). We evaluate everything.“And then the social element, that’s obviously the one that you keep one eye open, and we’ve been relatively good.”However, the team’s “relatively good” mark took a hit when earlier on Thursday it was announced that four players — junior defensive end Joey Bosa, H-backs redshirt sophomore Jalin Marshall and junior Dontre Wilson and redshirt senior wide receiver Corey Smith — were suspended for the opening game at Virginia Tech for a violation of an OSU Department of Athletics policy.Perry said while he is disappointed in the actions of his teammates, he does not think it has any relation to the “top of the world” feeling from being national champions.“I don’t think that has to do with losing an edge, I think it just has to do with guys being guys and making a mistake,” Perry said. “There’s no lost edge. We’re all hungry. Guys are getting after it.“We worked so hard this summer; (the coaches) got after us harder than they’ve gotten after us in a while. And we responded to it, and I think that’s the important thing, so moving forward we’re going to be prepared for a lot of these things up ahead.”Despite the infractions, Meyer remained upbeat on Thursday about the place his team is in heading into fall camp in August.“The indicators other than (the suspensions) has been not good, it’s been great, and tomorrow’s another day, so we’ll just keep pushing forward,” he said.OSU will look to continue pushing forward to Sept. 7, when it is set to travel to Blacksburg, Va., to open the regular season against the Hokies. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. read more

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Football Ohio State lacks frontrunner at quarterback with Spring Game on horizon

Then-redshirt sophomore quarterback Joe Burrow (10) runs the ball in the fourth quarter against Nebraska in Memorial Stadium on Oct. 14. Ohio State won 56-0. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorDwayne Haskins and Joe Burrow have been through this before — just last year, in fact.Last March, the quarterbacks went back and forth, battling each practice to become J.T. Barrett’s backup. Neither won. They both played well in the Spring Game and entered the summer tied in the race to be second in line for playing time.But a broken hand near the end of fall camp submerged Burrow’s chances of becoming Barrett’s backup and handed Haskins the backup role.Even when Burrow returned to action, he entered after Haskins late in blowout games. Then later in the year, Haskins took advantage of the opportunity and completed a comeback win in Ann Arbor, Michigan, against the Wolverines after being thrust into action in the second half after Barrett suffered an injury.Despite this season’s quarterback battle having immeasurably higher stakes than last year’s, Haskins and Burrow seem to be stuck in the same place — a tie. But this time, they are tied atop the depth chart. And this year, a third quarterback — redshirt freshman Tate Martell — has engaged them in competition.Head coach Urban Meyer said he is taking the quarterback competition “day-by-day.” He said Martell had a better practice Monday, Burrow had a better performance in an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday, then Haskins “came back” and played better.Despite the offense not having a set leader at quarterback, Meyer seemed unconcerned with the ongoing uncertainty behind center.“You’d wish one would take it,” Meyer said. “But then again, you like having the day-to-day competition, which is what I’m seeing.”In order for someone to separate themselves and earn the starting job, Meyer said Haskins, Burrow or Martell have one simple job: to “lead the team.” Thus far, he feels that has not happened.“There’s got to be a separation at some point, and right now there is not that separation,” Meyer said. “Just when one starts going, the other one comes up, and the other one drops a little bit.”As each practice passes and no quarterback separates himself from the pack, the Buckeyes get one day nearer to ending spring practice without naming a starter. Ohio State has just five more practices in the next two weeks before playing the Spring Game on April 14 at Ohio Stadium. If Meyer does not name a starter, it would be the first spring game since 2015 that Ohio State does not have a quarterback cemented atop the depth chart. Meyer said he does not know whether he will have a starter by the end of spring.However, the timeline has major implications on the position for Ohio State. Both Haskins and Burrow have shown, in limited time, they possess the requisite skills to start at a major college football program. But Burrow could transfer if Haskins, the assumed favorite, earns the nod.Burrow is on track to graduate from the university in May, meaning he would not have to sit out if he decided to transfer like most college athletes. Instead of backing up Haskins or Martell, he could transfer and compete for a starting job on a team without Ohio State’s high-end talent at quarterback. A month ago, Meyer said his first obligation is Ohio State, but “probably, yes” he has an obligation to tell Burrow his status by the end of spring practice. Given the lack of separation between the three quarterbacks, the probability of Meyer not offering Burrow a solid answer by the time he graduates seems more possible than ever.The last time Meyer did not make a decision on quarterback after spring practice, Ohio State’s disastrous circus of Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett flip-flopping starts and snaps led to an offense that could never seem to find a rhythm in 2015. Meyer said he has moved on from that situation and did not learn anything from it. But the clock is ticking, and the day-to-day competition that Meyer enjoys will end after the Spring Game in less than two weeks. Without naming a starter, Ohio State will not have a leader behind center during the summer with whom the offense can build a rapport. That might not worry Meyer yet, but the uncertainty could do irreparable damage if he does not make a decision until the fall. read more

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Suburban pond owners are inadvertently spreading deadly frog disease scientists warn

first_imgGarden ponds create an important habitat for wildlifeCredit: Heathcliff O’Malley for The Telegraph Lead author Dr Stephen J Price said: “Ranavirus is one of the most serious health threats currently facing the UK’s amphibian population, so our findings that humans seem to have helped move the virus around, facilitating its rapid spread, could be translated into some straightforward ways to manage the risk of disease outbreaks.”It seems that well-meaning homeowners stocking their garden ponds with frogs, fish or spawn translocated from neighbouring ponds or beyond could inadvertently be fuelling the spread of this serious amphibian disease.”We certainly don’t want to discourage people from adding ponds to their urban gardens – this remains one of the most positive steps we can all take to support wildlife – but equally we would strongly urge people to try to limit how much potentially infectious material they’re moving into and out of their gardens in the process.”The study was led by the Zoological Society of London and Queen Mary University of London, along with University College London and Herpetofauna Consultants International. Garden ponds create an important habitat for wildlife Gardeners could be spreading a lethal frog disease by stocking suburban ponds with exotic species or moving frogspawn around, scientists have warned.A study into the rapid spread of the infectious disease ranavirus – characterised by ulcers, red spots, breakdown of limbs and death – found genetic analysis suggested at least two separate introductions of the disease into the UK.The research, which draws on data reported by the public in a long-running “citizen science” project, showed localised spread of ranavirus which could be down to natural movement by frogs and newts.But the risk of disease was also higher in areas with more people, the study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B said. The findings point to humans also playing a role, by moving frogspawn and tadpoles or even silt from other ponds or buying animals from commercial aquatic retailers.Outbreaks tended to be recorded in more affluent areas, where people have gardens, and the scientists suggested the fashion for introducing exotic or wild animals into ornamental ponds could be fuelling the spread of the disease.The UK now has a number of non-native amphibian species, such as the alpine newt, which has become established in Britain having been released into gardens and parks.Experts said they did not want people to stop creating garden ponds, which were an important habitat for wildlife, but urged gardeners to limit potential transfer of infected material and garden in ways – such as reducing use of pesticides – that benefited native species. Well-meaning homeowners stocking their garden ponds with frogs, fish or spawn translocated from neighbouring ponds or beyond could inadvertently be fuelling the spread of this serious amphibian diseaseDr Stephen J Price 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

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Council leader faces calls to resign amid fiasco after Grenfell Tower meeting

first_img“I have not been confident about the outcome of this, a lot of people from the tower have concerns about the transparency and integrity of it.”  After meeting residents earlier in the day, the judge said he was “doubtful” all of their concerns could be addressed by his inquiry.  Responding to his comments, Mr Miller said: “That goes against what the Prime Minister has said, that has gone against the official statement, that it would ‘leave no stone unturned’.”  On the night their home was ravaged by fire Mr Miller had received a call from his partner as she escaped from the building.“I was outside the building, I had just got back from my mum’s and my partner called me and told me the building was on fire, which didn’t really penetrate,” Mr Miller said.  Ms Jones, who was marking her 32nd birthday on Thursday, added: “I came out just before 1am, when I came out one side of the building was on fire.”  Since then, the family have been living in a hotel and unable to begin the process of rebuilding their lives.   Mr Miller said: “It has been very stressful, we are stuck in a hotel, we cannot purchase new items like kids’ bunk beds and the trauma has been extended because we cannot really grieve.   Labour councillor Robert Atkinson speaks to the media outside Kensington Town HallCredit:PA Mr Paget-Brown told councillors: “I’ve been advised that if there are others present we cannot have an open discussion. “We can’t have an unprejudiced discussion  in this room with a public inquiry that’s about to take place if journalists are recording and writing our comments.”I’m told the press are here because of the result of legal intervention and that therefore means we cannot have the discussion that we intending to have because that would prejudice the public inquiry.  Fire consumed Grenfell Tower near Latimer RoadCredit: Guilhem Baker A couple left homeless by the Grenfell Tower fire have said failure to invite all survivors to a consultation about the public inquiry was “disrespectful”.   Fire consumed Grenfell Tower near Latimer Road Sir Martin Moore-Bick said it was ‘doubtful’ his inquiry would satisfy survivors and admitted it would be “pretty well limited” in its scope. Sir Martin, 70, who was a former lord justice of appeal, also suggested his inquiry would not be quick, saying he hoped an interim report could be produced within a year. Sir Martin Moore-Bick was at the scene on ThursdayCredit: Photoshot The leader of Kensington and Chelsea council was facing renewed calls to resign after he scrapped a public meeting on the Grenfell Tower disaster because journalists were present.Nicholas Paget-Brown took the astonishing step of dissolving the meeting when he realised newspaper reporters were in the council chamber.The move was branded “anti-democratic” while Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, called it “disgusting”.Earlier in the day, the council had announced the cabinet meeting would be held behind closed doors because of a claim of a risk of violence to councillors and staff.But a High Court order was obtained by newspapers giving the media the right to attend the cabinet session. Reporters were finally let into the meeting shortly after it began but when Mr Paget-Brown, who is a Conservative, was made aware of the presence of reporters, he called it off. “That is the legal advice I have received and therefore have to declare the meeting closed.” He said that inquiry “did not consult with the families and the survivors” and “the same thing seems to have happened all over again”. Theresa May said she expects one “as early as possible”. It emerged yesterday that ​Sir Martin previously ruled in favour of Kensington and Chelsea council, which is at the centre of the Grenfell Tower scandal, in an appeal court case in which an Iranian asylum seeker objected to accommodation she was being offered because it resembled her jail cell in Iran.Sir Martin’s appointment was announced by the prime minister at 9.30am yesterday but within three hours he had angered local residents in North Kensington on a tour of the site and at a meeting with survivors.Sir Martin said after his discussions with victims: “I’ve been asked to undertake this inquiry on the basis that it would be pretty well limited to the problems surrounding the start of the fire and its rapid development in order to make recommendations about how this sort of thing can be prevented in future.“I’m well aware the residents and the local people want a much broader investigation and I can fully understand why they would want that – whether my inquiry is the right way in which to achieve that I’m more doubtful.”Sir Martin refused to put a timescale on the inquiry, immediately prompting concern it could go the way of Mrs May’s other ill-fated inquiry into child sexual abuse, which is now expected to cost more than £100 million and will take at least six years. Sir Martin Moore-Bick was at the scene on Thursday Labour councillor Robert Atkinson speaks to the media outside Kensington Town Hall Jason Miller and Corinne Jones escaped the 17th floor of the burning block with their two children and have since been living like “refugees” in emergency accommodation.   On Thursday morning Sir Martin Moore-Bick, the judge leading the forthcoming probe, met a handful of residents to discuss the investigation.  Many who lived in Grenfell Tower were unaware of the meeting and few had confidence in the outcome of the inquiry, Mr Miller said.  The 37-year-old told the Press Association: “The first we heard about the meeting was when my partner spoke to someone from a law firm who said the judge would be visiting the tower and she asked fellow residents if they knew that and no-one knew about it.  “Not being aware as residents of the tower, we found that a bit disrespectful.   “We have reservations about the judge as well and previous cases he has presided over because it has related to people in social housing.”  Controversy about Sir Martin’s appointment to the role began brewing when it emerged he had ruled a mother-of-five had to move 50 miles away from her home in 2014.  “Hearing that was like salt in the wounds,” Mr Miller said.   Downing Street said it wanted all parties involved in the aftermath of the fire “to be as open and transparent as possible, both with residents and the wider public, to ensure full confidence in the response effort”. A spokeswoman said: “We would encourage everyone involved to respect this wherever possible.” “We are out every day just getting items such as driving licences and passports.  “We feel like refugees at the moment.”   His partner added they simply wanted to “go back home”, saying: “We will never be able to sit back in our front room, we just want a permanent house.”  The judge also addressed concerns that his ruling on a housing case in November 2014 would cause issues for the inquiry.In the proceedings he had sided with Westminster City Council’s decision that mother-of-five Titina Nzolameso should be rehoused 50 miles (80km) away.  His ruling was later overturned in the Supreme Court.   With permanent accommodation for the Grenfell Tower residents being an urgent concern, there were fears that his involvement in the case could inflame sensitivities.  Sir Martin said: “I was rather surprised to see myself described as controversial.  “The case is one of many that I have decided over my time as a judge. I have been a judge for over 20 years and, particularly in the Court of Appeal, one deals with an enormous range of work, much of which involves local government or central government.  “One simply reaches the conclusion that you think is right, applying the law as you see it, and that is the work of a judge.   “You can’t pretend to get every case right, at least in the eyes of the Supreme Court.” The ruling, condemned as ‘social cleansing of the poor on a mass scale’ – was overturned by the Supreme Court.  The Telegraph can disclose that in a 2015 appeal court hearing, he ruled in favour of Kensington and Chelsea council against Vida Poshteh, an Iranian asylum seeker who was refused accommodation after rejecting the council’s offer of a two-bedroom flat because it reminded her of her prison cell in Iran. Sir Martin said: “The purpose of this independent inquiry is to discover the truth about what happened at Grenfell Tower, so that we can learn lessons for the future and ensure that a tragedy of this kind never happens again.  “It is vitally important that the inquiry be open, transparent and fair to all those whose involvement with Grenfell Tower comes under scrutiny.  “It is important for everyone that the inquiry should establish as quickly as possible the cause of the fire and how it was able to spread so quickly to the whole of the building.  “I understand the desire of local people for justice; justice for them, and for all those involved in whatever way, will best be served by a vigorous inquiry that gets to the truth as quickly as possible.”   Sadiq Khan, London’s mayor, said: “One of great things about our country is we believe in open democracy. Kensin and Chelsea needs to reflect on the way its behaved since Grenfell.”    In a statement released after the cabinet meeting was dissolved, Mr Paget-Brown said: “We are under sustained media criticism for a slow reaction to the fire, non-visibility and for failing to invest in North Kensington.  “I believe that many of these criticisms need to be challenged and over time they will be, but I can think of nothing more demeaning to the memory of those lost and missing in the fire than seeking the resolution of political scores.”The row came on a dramatic day with the retired judge chairing the Grenfell Tower inquiry angering residents within hours of his appointment yesterday, admitting he was “doubtful” his investigation would satisfy them. The announcement prompted chaotic, angry scenes. Mr Paget-Brown was furiously confronted by opposition councillor Robert Atkinson who stood up to demand the cabinet’s resignation.”An absolute fiasco, this is why I am calling for your resignation,” he said.”Our reputation is absolutely in the gutter,” another councillor in the room said.Ahead of the meeting, the council had posted on its website: “Please note this meeting will be held entirely in private session, pursuant to Standing Order 31.01, in the light of the risk of disruption (as witnessed on Friday 16 June) and consequent security and public safety concerns.”The council had been stormed shortly after the fire with residents and others furious at the council’s slow response to the catastrophe – and blame for it happening in the first place.   Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said in reaction to the announcement: “It was a young MP called Margaret Thatcher who changed the law to allow the public to attend council meetings and it is utterly shameful that a Conservative council is trying to stop democracy. This is frankly disgusting.” The terms of reference of the inquiry are still to be decided but one legal source said Sir Martin will be ‘efficient’ and that would likely mean not giving a platform to every resident of the tower to tell their story at public hearings. Scotland Yard has said 80 people died in the blaze but the final toll may not be known until the end of the year. Mrs May said “no stone will be left unturned” by the inquiry as she confirmed Sir Martin’s appointment. She said: “I am determined that there will be justice for all the victims of this terrible tragedy and for their families who have suffered so terribly.”Sir Martin’s appointment was recommended by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd.Downing Street denied claims it had some unease over the choice because Sir Martin had presided over a 2014 appeal court case in which he ruled in favour of Westminster city council in a dispute with a tenant facing homelessness after she refused to be rehoused near Milton keynes. Sir Martin said: “I think it’s impossible to say how long it’s going to take; I have said on other occasions a matter of months, some people have talked about two or three months.”I don’t think that’s realistic; on the other hand I would be very disappointed if we couldn’t get a preliminary report out in under a year.“I would rather not say with any precision now when that is likely to be.” Residents who met Sir Martin at a church close to Grenfell Tower told of their concerns, including his background as a commercial lawyer, who had specialised in shipping and insurance law. Joe Delaney, 37, who worked with Grenfell Action Group, said: “He seems to want to keep the scope very narrow, to do with why the fire spread so quickly, while we are more looking at why was it started in the first place, why were residents ignored?“Can a technical insurance man like that deliver those answers?”Oluwaseun Talabi, who fled Grenfell Tower with his partner and four-year-old daughter, said: “We need a criminal judge.A well-placed source told The Telegraph: “The judge’s comments are very problematic.”Michael Mansfield QC, who has met survivors of the fire, said it was “unbelievable that lessons are not learned” from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, which is now on its fourth chairman. 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

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