NFL commissioner Roger GoodellThe NFL Players Association is not accepting commissioner Roger Goodell’s harsh suspensions in the New Orleans Saints bounty program case — or his seemingly all-encompassing power. Indeed, the union is fighting back.The Players Association filed a pair of grievances Thusday challenging Goodell’s authority to suspend four players for their involvement in Saint’s bounty system.In the first, filed with arbitrator Shyam Das, the NFLPA argues that Goodell is prohibited from punishing players for any conduct prior to August 4, when the current collective bargaining agreement took effect.“In connection with entering into the 2011 CBA, the NFL released all players from conduct engaged in prior to the execution of the CBA, on August 4, 2011,” the grievance says.The section of the CBA cited by the union is a covenant not to sue — an agreement in which the NFL and its teams pledged not to file lawsuits against the union and its members “with respect to conduct occurring prior to the execution of this Agreement.”But the league said that section of the CBA was not intended as an agreement to excuse player conduct that put player safety at risk, or conduct detrimental to the NFL.The NFLPA further argues that even if that argument fails, the appeal of the player suspensions should be heard by Ted Cottrell and Art Shell, the hearing officers for on-field conduct violations, rather than by Goodell as an off-field conduct issue.In the second grievance, the NFLPA argues that arbitrator Stephen Burbank, who serves as the “system arbitrator” for the league and its players’ union, has the authority to rule on the players’ conduct, rather than Goodell.According to the NFLPA grievance, the bounties, as non-disclosed payments to players, are a collective bargaining issue under the jurisdiction of the arbitrator and not Goodell.
Photo by www.sports.esquire.netThe elbow that hampered Tiger Woods in the U.S. Open last month no longer does, he said, making him primed to break his string of 20 majors without raising the winning trophy.The British Open in Scotland, at Muirfield, starting Thursday, is Woods’ latest chance to make up ground on Jack Nicklaus, who has held an 18-14 lead in majors on Woods since 2008. The Open Championship promises to be a major challenge because of the swirling winds and tough greens.“I’ve been playing a lot at home,” Woods said. “But it’s Florida, it rains every day, it’s soft. It’s two totally different conditions.“I just wanted to make sure that I’m rested and feel fit and ready to go for the championship. I’ve done a lot of homework on the greens each day. And I’ve taken my time and really got a good feel for them. So that’s been good. I would just like to get another wind in, a little different direction. We’ve had it the same the last three days.”Woods has not played a competitive round since he tied for 32nd at the U.S. Open at Merion on June 16, when his elbow problem was apparent from the first hole of the tournament. Woods favored it when he hit shots from the rough and admitted Tuesday that it caused discomfort.“It didn’t feel good. It didn’t feel good, especially in the rough,” he said. “That rough was dense, and it was lush. You go from whatever it is, let’s say 100-some-odd miles an hour to virtually zero. And that was the tough part about it. I really couldn’t get through it. And it put a lot of torque on it, and it hurt.“Conversely, just stay out of the damn thing. Put it in the fairway and put it on the green and make your putts. It’s not like I was drawing bad lies on those tee boxes. You just have to stay out of it,” he said.
Clemson 12-015757%77% ▲ 2114% Ohio State 11-16230%16% ▼ 6a4% Iowa 12-04122638%40% ▲ 213% Oklahoma 11-1331100%99% ▲ 2142% North Carolina 11-11091543%14% ▲ 212% Stanford 10-2761148%13% ▲ 212% College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings as of Dec. 1. Playoff probability changes are since Nov. 29; only changes greater than 5 percentage points are shown. The top five teams were unchanged in Tuesday evening’s College Football Playoff committee rankings. Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma, Iowa and Michigan State remain entrenched in the No. 1 to No. 5 spots, and all control their own destiny. So no news there. But shifts in the rankings of Stanford, Ohio State and North Carolina sent important signals as to how the committee thinks.First, though, the four major conference championship games must be played Saturday. And FiveThirtyEight is here to provide some probabilistic guidance, if not omniscient assurance, as to how the playoff picture will be affected come Saturday night. Here are our projections of which teams the committee will include in the playoff with its final rankings on Sunday: TeamCFPEloFPIConf. TitlePlayoffNat. Title RankingProbability of … The playoff picture is quite simple if Alabama and Clemson win the SEC and ACC titles, respectively. Both are locks for the playoff if that happens. So is the winner of the Big Ten championship game between Michigan State and Iowa; that game amounts to a quarterfinal. Oklahoma, which won the Big 12 championship and is done with its regular season, is a shoo-in, by our model’s estimation.But should either Alabama or Clemson (or both) lose on Saturday, it’s anyone’s guess who gets in.Ohio State, which moved up to No. 6 in the latest rankings, saw its playoff odds decline to 16 percent from 22 percent. (Our model has consistently liked the Buckeyes better than the committee has, in part because of their high Elo rating, so they’ve tended to fall slightly when new committee rankings are released.) Still, Ohio State remained ahead of Stanford in the committee standings.In theory, that would make Ohio State next in line in the event of a Clemson or Alabama loss.1Ohio State is ranked sixth, but either Iowa or Michigan State will lose next weekend, which would presumably move the Buckeyes up to No. 5. Thus, by this simplistic math, they’d be in the top four if Clemson or Alabama also lost. The problem is that other schools have more of an opportunity to impress the committee this weekend. Although our model gives Stanford a 13 percent shot at the playoff — slightly lower than Ohio State’s — that’s because the Cardinal face a tough opponent in USC for the Pac-12 championship. Stanford is more likely than Ohio State to make it in if it wins that game, however; another quality win plus a newly minted conference title would probably be enough for it to leapfrog the Buckeyes, according to the model.A trickier case is North Carolina, which is hanging around with a 14 percent shot. Even if the Tar Heels beat Clemson, they’re not assured of much; our model gives them only about a one-in-three shot at the playoff if they win the ACC title. UNC, ranked No. 8 in the AP poll, didn’t receive any favors from the committee, which slotted it in at No. 10 because of concerns over its weak schedule. The committee will have an opportunity to reconsider if the Tar Heels win, but the team may need to beat Clemson convincingly to up its odds.Finally, don’t write off Clemson — which could have an opportunity to make it in even with a loss. In the event that it falls to UNC, Clemson would have a résumé similar to Ohio State’s as a one-loss non-champion — but with a stronger schedule, an additional win (Clemson would be 12-1 to Ohio State’s 11-1), and victories over Notre Dame and Florida State.For those of you who want more nitty-gritty details about our projections, check out our original methodology manifesto, as well as last month’s methodology update. Florida 10-218222326%<1% ▲ 21<1% Alabama 11-121274%79% ▲ 2125% Michigan St. 11-1541462%61% ▲ 217%
Baseball14.7%43.1%29.4%12.8% Kyler Murray, a student-athlete at the University of Oklahoma, is facing a very good dilemma right now. Murray plays outfield for OU’s baseball team, and he was taken ninth overall in the MLB draft by the Oakland Athletics on Monday. Murray also plays quarterback for Oklahoma’s football team — and he’s currently the heir apparent to the No. 1 overall pick in April’s NFL draft, Baker Mayfield, under center.Murray won’t have to choose between baseball and football right away, but eventually, he will have to pick a path for his athletic future. (Or at least, the immediate future.) What’s a two-sport star to do?Murray is already in lofty company as a multi-talented athlete, since few players have ever been good enough to potentially start at QB for a top college team while also hearing their name called among MLB’s top 10 draft picks. But if you were in Murray’s position, which path — baseball or football — tends to offer the most success, historically speaking? This decision could mean the difference between Murray becoming the next Russell Wilson or the next Drew Henson.To help do the math on Murray’s decision, I used wins above replacement1In this case, an average of the versions found at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs.com. to measure the careers of similar baseball players and Approximate Value2Pro-Football-Reference.com’s rough gauge for NFL productivity. to measure the careers of similar football players.3Specifically, I used a weighted sum of a player’s value produced in the first 10 years of his career, giving a player 100 percent credit for his value in his best season, 90 percent credit for his second-best season, 80 percent credit for his third-best season, and so forth.Who counts as “similar”? For baseball, I looked at college hitters since 19654The first year of MLB’s amateur draft. who were drafted between picks No. 5 and 15 overall. For football, I gathered data since 19905Roughly when the modern era of college offenses really began. on college quarterbacks who started6By which I mean, played regularly enough to be the team’s QB of record on Sports-Reference.com’s seasonal passing leaderboards. for a team that ranked in the preseason top 10 going into the year. (AP hasn’t released its preseason rankings for 2018 yet, but the Sooners seem like a safe bet to be included.) Because I looked at the first 10 years of a player’s career, those who were drafted by MLB or started at QB in college after 2008 were not included in the study.Broadly speaking, these groups represent Murray’s current status in each sport. I then broke their careers down into four categories based on their WAR/AV: “never made it” (players who never played a game in the big leagues),7According to Pro-Football-Reference.com’s data, this includes players who were on rosters or practice squads but never actually set foot on the field for a down of a regular-season or playoff game. “scrubs” (guys who played in the bigs but weren’t regulars and had little impact), “decent” players (those who were regulars but not stars) and “good/great” players (generally All-Star level players and above). Here’s how the players comparable to Murray ended up panning out in the pros: Football43.2%39.1%13.0%4.7% SportNever made ItScrubDecentGood/Great Which sport should Kyler Murray choose?Probability of reaching various performance levels in MLB or NFL for players similar* to Kyler Murray, by sport chance of reaching level * Similar players in baseball are college hitters selected between no. 5-15 in the draft (since 1965). In football, they are starting QBs for a team ranked among the AP’s preseason top 10 going into the season (since 1990).Performance metrics cover the first 10 years of a player’s career.Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, Fangraphs, The Baseball Cube, Pro-football-reference.com, sports-reference.com/CFB Neither path to stardom is guaranteed; in both cases, more than 50 percent of comparable players either failed to play in the big leagues at all or made a minimal impact once there. But the chance of washing out completely are much lower — by a factor of about three — for highly drafted baseball prospects than for college quarterbacks at top programs. Likewise, the odds of stardom, or simply having a solid career, are much higher for baseball players like Murray than for football players like him.As my research has shown in the past, college hitters (like Murray) tend to be very reliable picks relative to the rest of baseball’s draft crapshoot. Meanwhile, top-level starting college QBs can range from Tom Brady and Peyton Manning to Gino Torretta and Thad Busby. Add in Murray’s MLB draft signing bonus (the No. 9 slot carries a value of about $4.8 million), the higher average salary for MLB vs. the NFL in general (even the average QB makes only about a half-million dollars more per year than the overall MLB average) and the concerns that Murray’s height — he’s 5-foot-10 — might prevent him from playing quarterback in the NFL, and it seems obvious that Murray should pick baseball.In fact, to cut down on the injury risk, perhaps Murray should forgo football next season, even though the NCAA does allow players to retain their amateur status in football after signing in baseball. (I realize the temptation to put up ridiculous, Mayfield-esque stats in Oklahoma’s offense is difficult to resist.)Of course, if he doesn’t want to choose, Murray can always take the Tim Tebow path — the Mets are always looking for former QBs who are turning back to baseball in the twilight of their athletic careers.
In 2006, the NBA implemented an age limit of 19, ending the era of high school basketball players going directly to the pros. While this rule has treated the fans of college basketball to the likes of Greg Oden, Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley, Derrick Rose and John Wall, the truth is that the rule hurts the growth and quality of college basketball. This is why I propose the NBA change its age-limit rule and follow the lead of the NFL and MLB by mandating that if a player chooses to attend college, he must stay three years. However, if a player wants to enter the NBA straight out of high school, he should be allowed to have that choice.The aforementioned names had no business playing college basketball. Instead, they should have been in the league in which basketball is a business — the NBA. The fact is that it was in the best interest of these superstars to get to the NBA as fast as possible, not only because they had NBA-ready skill sets but because they would have been high draft picks.Chances are that Kevin Durant did not vastly improve his jump shot during his brief stint at Texas and I doubt John Wall will learn the art of the pick and roll in what will likely be his only year at Kentucky.In fact, many players who spend just one year in college end up being more trouble than they are worth.Early last month, USC announced it would penalize itself by forfeiting victories and money, forgoing postseason play and limiting recruiting in response to allegations that former player and current NBA star O.J. Mayo received improper cash and gifts during his only year as a Trojan.Last August, the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions declared that the University of Memphis must vacate its ‘07-‘08 NCAA runner-up finish and 38 wins because Rose was ineligible, thanks to an invalid SAT score.Apart from attracting serious NCAA infractions, the so-called “one-and-dones” have put college basketball programs in quite a bind. Ohio State is no exception.The last three seasons, Ohio State has lost three big men to the pros, each of whom spent only one year in college. The defections of Oden, Kosta Koufos and B.J. Mullens have left a major void in the post for the Buckeyes this season. Adding insult to injury were the departures of freshmen guards Mike Conley and Daequan Cook after Ohio State’s run to the National Championship Game in 2007.While it is true that coaches make the decisions on whom they recruit, the fact is that with my rule coaches would not have to choose between a potential “one and done” or a four-year player. Coaches could convince their high-profile recruit with potential “baggage” to come to campus, thereby securing the player for three years. Or, they could recruit a guy like Evan Turner, and watch the player potentially blossom from role player to National Player of the Year candidate.Not only does my rule improve college basketball on the court, but off the court as well. Forcing players to stay for three years would almost certainly increase graduation rates since most college basketball players take classes year-round, allowing them the opportunity to graduate in three years instead of four.Last March, for the first time in as long as I can remember, the consensus amongst my friends and I was that the quality of the NCAA Tournament paled in comparison to the NBA playoffs. By putting my rule into action, college basketball can improve as a whole and fans of both the NCAA and NBA can enjoy a better brand of basketball.
The Ohio State women’s volleyball team advanced to the regional semifinals of the 2010 NCAA Tournament on Saturday. The Buckeyes opened tournament play with a 3-1 win over Lipscomb (24-7) on Friday in the Frericks Center at the University of Dayton. Senior outside hitter Katie Dull led the Buckeyes in scoring with 16 points, including 12 kills against Lipscomb, while sophomore outside hitter Emily Danks added 15.5 points with 13 kills. The Buckeyes returned to action in the Fredericks Center on Saturday and earned a victory over 13th-ranked Dayton (24-8), winning 3-2 and snapping the Flyers’ 23-match winning streak. Dull led the Buckeyes with 26.5 points and tied a career-high with 25 kills in the upset. Senior outside hitter Anna Szerszen and junior middle blocker Kelli Barhorst each added 17 points for the Buckeyes with Barhorst recording a career-high 16 kills. With the wins, the Buckeyes (24-11) advance to the Dayton regional semifinals in the University of Dayton Arena on Friday against second-ranked and third-seeded Stanford (26-3). This marks the 12th regional semifinal appearance in OSU history. The Buckeyes have a record of 3-8 in regional semifinal matches.
With two games remaining in Ohio State football’s 2012 campaign, Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller is considered one of the top candidates for the Heisman Trophy, college football’s highest individual honor. Miller joined the media on a Monday evening teleconference to talk about his Heisman chances and the improvements he’s made this season. Miller on personal improvement With a trip to Wisconsin on Nov. 17 and the home finale against Michigan remaining on OSU’s schedule, Miller’s sophomore season is already statistically better than his freshman campaign. With 1,166 yards and 13 touchdowns, Miller is just the third different Big Ten quarterback to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a single season. Miller said, however, that his greatest improvement can’t be found in a box score. “(I think it’s my) leadership,” Miller said. “Coming from last year, I didn’t really know how to take that role. But this year I’m building on it and getting better at it each and every week.” Troy Smith on Miller During a sideline interview with an ESPN reporter during last weekend’s Illinois game, Smith, who won the Heisman in 2006, said that Miller had potential to be the best quarterback in program history. On Monday, Miller said he was flattered by Smith’s praise. “Before I came here, I was watching (Smith) play all the time,” Miller said. “He was an all-around quarterback, he was a complete quarterback. Coming from him, it means a lot.” Miller has accounted for 27 touchdowns this season, four shy of the school record shared by Smith. He is also on pace to set a new OSU record for total offense per game. The sophomore quarterback modestly said that he tries to avoid paying attention to his numbers individual accolades. “I really don’t pay attention to that,” Miller said. “I try not to talk about it, I don’t really like talking about myself.” Kickoff for OSU’s Nov. 17 game against Wisconsin is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
Some students were bound and determined to get the best seats in the house for the Ohio State men’s basketball team’s game against No. 2 Michigan. So they camped out at the Schottenstein Center – for two days. Students started showing up outside the Schott Friday morning, but the game, which the Buckeyes won, 56-53, didn’t tip off until 1:30 p.m. Sunday. “We got here at 1:30 in the morning to make sure we were here first,” Marcus Otte, a first-year in exercise science, said Friday. Their efforts didn’t go unnoticed. Members of the men’s team paid a visit to those gathered outside the arena Saturday afternoon. Freshman guard Amedeo Della Valle even gave the students, who dubbed their tent city with a sign that read, “MATTARITAVILLE,” a box of Buckeye Donuts. Junior guard Aaron Craft said the team definitely took notice. “I saw them,” Craft said Friday. “Those guys stick by us no matter what we’re going through.” The team wasn’t the only group of people to take notice of the students, either. “A cop showed up around 10 a.m. (Friday) and asked us what we were here for too,” Otte said. Neither the officer, nor the rain showers that passed through campus Friday morning, were enough cause for the students to pack up and head home, though. “The wind was blowing pretty hard this morning, and all the water was going to my side of the tent,” said Benjamin Kleppel, a second-year in business. “I took my second tent out around 5 or 6 a.m. just so I wouldn’t get wet.” In fact, camping out is something that some of the students hope will become a regular occurrence. “My uncle works at Duke, so I see those students camping out for every game and want to do it too,” said Jake Johnson, a second-year in business education. “I plan on pretty much doing it the second half of the season and for most of the weekend games.” Otte said employees of the Schottenstein Center were shocked to see students camping out two days prior to the game. “Some guy came out here because he didn’t believe it,” Otte said. “It’s my first game doing this, so I’m staying here the whole time and they better get used to it.” A security guard at the venue opened the building every two hours to let the students in so they could use the bathroom. Otte said he made sure to stockpile food. “I grabbed like five of these subs from campus before I came here today to stock up,” he said. “I know I’ll need it.” The group also set up a series of extension cords to the power outlets on the side of the building in order to charge their electronics and pump up air mattresses inside their tents. “It’s always fun to show support,” Kleppel said. “Even though we are not undefeated this year, we are still good, and it is a big game.” Andrew Holleran contributed to this story
OSU freshman linebacker Raekwon McMillan jogs onto the field during practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center Aug. 6.Credit: Tim Moody / Lantern sports editorWith just three weeks to go until Ohio State kicks off its 2014 football season, The Lantern is down to its final three players in its rundown of the top 10 most important Buckeye football players.No. 3: Raekwon McMillan, freshman linebackerThe OSU football program and its “Silver Bullets” defense always boasts one key part: a stud linebacker.Of course, always probably isn’t the best word to use lately, as that stud linebacker has been missing from the field for the Scarlet and Gray for a few years.Don’t get me wrong though, Ryan Shazier, who was drafted in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, was a very, very good player at OSU. His 143 tackles last season led the team by almost 60 and his 22.5 tackles for loss were out-of-this-world impressive, but he still had his knocks.A true stud OSU linebacker is even more than Shazier ever was. He will dominate every time he steps on the field, and he will do it for more than a season, which is really what Shazier did, and what McMillan has a great chance of besting.It’s a list of names that includes the likes of Chris Spielman, Randy Gradishar, Andy Katzenmoyer, A.J. Hawk and James Laurinaitis. Fast forward four years, and we could very well be adding McMillan’s name to that list.He’s come to OSU amidst a whirlwind of hype as a five-star recruit, and has impressed the coaching staff ever since he arrived in the spring. McMillan, along with running back Curtis Samuel, was part of the first pair of newcomers to lose the black stripe on their helmet.According to an OSU press release, the black stripe comes off when the player “displays actions and efforts that prove they understand the Ohio State culture on the field of ‘4-to-6 seconds’ and go as hard as you can from ‘point A to point B.’”Every time a coach or player is asked about him, it’s clear McMillan is here for a reason: to step on the football field and play, early and often.He’s not a candidate to redshirt, I doubt that is a thought to even once cross coach Urban Meyer’s mind. McMillan is here to make an impact, and not two years down the line.At the annual OSU media day Aug. 10, McMillan made it clear what he wanted to achieve coming in as a freshman.“This spring my goal was to prove myself,” he said. “I was highly recruited but that doesn’t mean anything if you can’t go out and perform.”So far, McMillan has gone out and performed.With more experienced players like senior Curtis Grant, junior Joshua Perry and sophomore Darron Lee ahead of him, McMillan might not slot into the starting lineup from day one. Just remember that neither did Spielman or Hawk, yet they still had big impacts early in their career. All in all, you can expect McMillan to be a key cog on this Buckeye defense by seasons end.OSU is scheduled to open its 2014 season Aug. 30 against Navy at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Kickoff is set for noon.
Ohio State golfer Josh Wick finishes on a shot from the fairway. Credit: Courtesy of OSU AthleticsJosh and Justin Wick, brothers separated by two years on the Ohio State men’s golf team, enjoyed sports from a young age. But they never expected to become Division I athletes.When Ohio State came calling it might have been a surprise to Josh, but his mom knew it was coming.Then-Ohio State head coach Donnie Darr, now an assistant coach with the Oklahoma State golf team, asked to meet with the Wick brothers’ parents about extending Josh, the elder brother, an offer.“The coach actually asked to meet with my husband and I outside of Josh just to make sure that if he extended Josh an offer would it be an issue with Justin,” Sarah Wick, the brothers’ mother said.Justin was also highly regarded by the Buckeyes at the time, and Darr didn’t want Josh’s offer to cause Justin to press too hard and try to impress them.However, he didn’t need to impress them with words. His talent spoke for itselfJustin described his high-school golf career as “full of ups and downs,” but, despite the rough patches, he was able to win the Central District Division I Player of the Year Award, which ultimately led to his offer from Ohio State two years after Josh received his offer.Josh said he actually knew Justin was going to receive an offer a couple of hours before him and it was “awesome” to get the news.Josh asked Darr at the time to offer Justin a scholarship because he wanted to attend college with his younger brother and knew he had several other opportunities.Justin, a decorated golfer and lacrosse player, had many offers to play both sports in college.“I played a large part in trying to persuade the coach to an extent to get him on the team and offer him a scholarship,” Josh said. “I really wanted him to be here and he had several other opportunities in other places, but I think he always wanted to play here.”Ohio State golfer Justin Wick attempts a putt from the green. Credit: Courtesy of OSU AthleticsJosh and Justin’s mother, who is also a dietitian for Ohio State athletics, recalled her two sons playing any sport they could when they were young.“They started golf at five or six, they played rec lacrosse, they did basketball, and football, so I mean … young,” Sarah said. “They always did sports.”The boys grew up in Upper Arlington, a Columbus suburb. As most brothers are, they were competitive with each other from a young age. Sarah reminisced about the two playing football against each other at the house.“They played this little football game where they pretended the driveway was the touchdown and for some reason they got into a fight and sometimes it was verbal and sometimes they would actually just kind of wrestle around and I would literally just let them do it,” Sarah said. “They would fight it out and everything would be fine.”Although the boys don’t wrestle to settle arguments anymore, they remain extremely competitive. Ohio State head coach Jay Moseley, who was hired in 2015, said the boys love to compete on a daily basis.“They are super, super competitive,” Moseley said. “They push each other really, really hard and they do not like to lose at all to each other.”Josh had pride in Ohio State growing up so close to the university and knew if the school came calling, he would commit.“People would say that I am as crazy an Ohio State fan as they come and always wanted to go there,” Josh said. “Within my recruiting process, I definitely looked at other schools, but I always knew that once Ohio State came calling, that’s where I was going to go.”Justin also said Ohio State was his favorite school and it was a “dream come true” to have the opportunity to play at the university he admired as a little kid.For Josh, golf wasn’t really his first love, it was lacrosse. But as he began to play competitive golf in middle school, his love for the game took off.As his game progressed into Josh’s high school years, he was pretty sure he would be able to become a Division I golfer, but Justin faced a few more challenges in high school.“When I was a junior in high school, when you want to play well and show off for the colleges, I was not playing well at all,” Justin said. “There was a point in time where I thought that I wasn’t going to have a chance to play golf.”But now, he’s doing it at the top collegiate level, not far from home — with his brother by his side.