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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cricket: 1st ODI - Bangladesh v Pakistan Odds and Betting Preview

MIRPUR, BANGLADESH – Bangladesh face Pakistan at home in the first one day fixture of their three-match series on Thursday. Pakistan are currently four places ahead of their opponents in the ICC ODI rankings, and will be expecting to dominate in Mirpur. Unsurprisingly they start the game as strong favourites to win, and can currently be backed to do so at best odds of 1/6 (bet £6 to make £1 profit) with William Hill. For those punters anticipating an upset, however, Bangladesh are available at longer odds of 9/2 with Boylesports.

Pakistan enter the match on superb form, having recently defeated Sri Lanka 4-1 in their ODI series. Despite losing three of their most gifted players in disreputable circumstances due to the spot-fixing scandal, Pakistan can still boast a more experienced and more talented squad than their Bangladeshi opponents. It will take something very special from the hosts to outplay Pakistan over this three match series, but if they are to secure a famous victory then there would be no better way to start than by winning the first match.

Pakistani opener Mohammed Hafeez averages only 27.28 in his 87 international one day matches – a statistic that could certainly not be described as glaringly impressive – but nonetheless starts this match as 7/2 favourite with Ladbrokes to top score for his team. Hafeez’s opening partner Imran Farhat is also deemed to be dangerous by the bookmakers, and can be backed to amass the most runs for his side at 4/1 with Bet365. Younis Khan, on the other hand – who is undeniably the most experienced batsman in the Pakistani side – is on offer at an identical 4/1 with Blue Square.

Bangladesh’s most attacking batsman is opener Tamim Iqbal, whose explosive batting is capable of intimidating any bowling line-up in the world. Iqbal starts the match as joint-favourite to top score for the home side, and can currently be backed to do so at 4/1 with Stan James. Iqbal’s opening partner Imrul Kayes is on offer to hit the most Bangladeshi runs at the same odds with the same bookmaker, whilst Shakib Al Hasan can be backed at a slightly longer 5/1 with Coral.

In the absence of Mohammed Amir and Mohammed Asif, Shahid Afridi is the most dangerous bowler in the Pakistan side. Afridi has taken 328 wickets in his ODI career, and starts Thursday’s match as joint favourite to be his side’s most successful bowler at 7/2 with Ladbrokes. Umar Gul, who averages 27.28 with the ball in ODI cricket is on offer at the same odds with the same bookmakers.

Play starts at 07.30 GMT

Match Result

Bangladesh: 5.50
Pakistan: 1.16
Highest Opening Partnership

Bangladesh: 2.62
Pakistan: 1.50
Team of Top Match Runscorer

Bangladesh: 2.75
Pakistan: 1.40
Top Bangladesh Batsman

Al Hasan, S: 5.50
Hossain, Nasir: 17.00
Hossain, Nazmul: 101.00
Hossain, R: 101.00
Iqbal, T: 4.50
Islam, N: 9.00
Kayes, I: 5.00
Nafees, S: 6.00
Rahim, M: 5.50
Sunny, E: 17.00
Razzak, A: 51.00
Kapali, A: 9.00
Reza, F: 13.00
Mahmudullah, M: 13.00

Monday, November 21, 2011

The morning after the night before- Afridi Rocks

Walking to work this morning I was smuggly content. The streets were quiet and the day was gloomy, but I was happy. Happy and buzzing and still on a high, all because of one man.


Like him or loathe him, you've got to admire him. Cometh the hour cometh the man. Credit where credit is due. Playing for your country is an honour, playing for your country and scoring runs is a blessing, playing for your country and scoring runs and taking wickets is unbelievable, playing for your country and scoring runs and taking wickets and being man of the match is unthinkable, playing for your country and scoring runs and taking wickets and being man of the match and trending worldwide on Twitter and having your name chanted by thousands in the stadium and mentioned by millions and millions and millions of fans around the world and being the envy of all the males and being adored by all the females and the list can go on and on and on is just what dreams are made of; the dreams seen by you and me everyday.


There is no 'I' in team but try telling Afridi that. He was a one man team, a lone warrior, a lone hero, albeit some support from Ajmal. He was inspirational and made us proud to be Pakistani's. Last night he was trending worldwide on Twitter but for a long time after that he will still be trending in our hearts.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shahid Afridi 75 Runs and 5 Wickets Against Sri Lankas 2011 Sharjah



What a match it was!! But I know all of you are missing the girl in pink who dances much better than munni & sheela.We 'll try our best and upload her dance too.Till than enjoy lala's majestic balling and batting.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Women's Basketball: Set to Host NCCU

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – Going into the 2011-12 season, the West Virginia University women’s basketball team knew that the year wasn’t going to be easy.

The team suffered its first loss of the season to St.
Sophomore Jess Harlee posted her first career double-double against St. Bonaventure on Friday night with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
All-Pro Photography/Dale Sparks Photo
Bonaventure on Friday night at the Coliseum. It was a rough outing for the young team, as they struggled to stay out of foul trouble while trying to find a consistent scoring rhythm.

Coach Carey attributed the team’s loss to a lack of offense, not defense. The Mountaineers (1-1) held the Bonnies (3-0) to just 32.7 percent (16-of-49) from the field and to just 31.3 percent (5-of-16) shooting from beyond the arc. It was costly foul trouble and poor shooting on West Virginia’s end that allowed the Bonnies to stay ahead, as they took advantage by shooting 90.5 percent (19-of-21) from the charity stripe.

“Shoot 28 percent from the floor and 52 percent from the foul line, and you are probably not going to win,” Carey said after the game. “There is a good chance you are not going to win. We fouled them at the end and put them at the line, without that, we probably would have held them in the 40’s. Again, if you hold a team to 32 percent from the floor, that is pretty good as a team. They sagged on us and didn’t press us and we shot 28 percent.”

West Virginia has a chance to bounce back on Sunday afternoon when it plays host to North Carolina Central in a 2 p.m. tip.

Leading scorers for North Carolina Central include junior guard Chasidy Williams, who averages 16.0 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game. She’s followed by senior guard Blair Houston who averages 7.3 points per game and 4.3 rebounds per game. Junior guard Jasmine Alston rounds out the top three scorers, averaging 5.3 points per game.

"They are athletic," Carey said. "They are not going to be as patient, but they are going to drive you. They are going to get up and down the floor and they like to play mostly man. They get out into you, they don’t play soft and double in there. They will double the post some."

Last year, the Mountaineers saw five players post double-digit scoring performances against the Eagles (0-3) en route to a 71-39 victory. Liz Repella paced the team with 17 points, and was followed by Madina Ali and Korinne Campbell with 11 each, and Asya Bussie and Jess Harlee who each scored 10.

Despite being limited to only three points against St. Bonaventure, Taylor Palmer continues to lead the Mountaineers in scoring, averaging 18 points per game. She is followed by Christal Caldwell, who posts an average of 11 points per game.

On the defensive end, Ayana Dunning continues to pace West Virginia in rebounding, as she averages 12.5 boards per game. She’s followed by Asya Bussie, who averages 8.5 rebounds per game.

The first 500 fans at Sunday’s game will receive wristbands provided by EZToUse.com. Mini USA flags will also be handed out on a first-come first-serve basis as part of Military Appreciation Day.

Kentucky basketball downs Penn State 85-47

Penn State Kentucky Basketball
Kentucky's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, left, fights for a rebound with Penn State's Billy Oliver during the first half of their NCAA college basketball game at the Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament in Uncasville, Conn., on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Fred Beckham) / Fred Beckham/AP
UNCASVILLE, Conn. - The University of Kentucky basketball team trounced Penn State 85-47 in the Wildcats’ opening game of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic at the Mohegan Sun Casino.
Sophomore guard Doron Lamb led the way with 26 points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal, and freshman forward Kyle Wiltjer came off the bench to score 19 points as second-ranked Kentucky improved to 3-0 on the season.
The Nittany Lions (3-1) shot an abysmal 6 of 37 from the field in the first half, including just 1 of 15 from 3-point range. They also sank just 2 of 9 free throws in the first 20 minutes.
With 15:50 left in the game, Lamb was outscoring Penn State 24-23 by himself. The Wildcats led 56-23 at that point and eventually got the lead as big as 41 points.
Sophomore forward Terrence Jones had 15 points, nine rebounds, five assists, a block and a steal. Star freshman forward Anthony Davis had a quiet game – just three points, six rebounds and three blocked shots in 23 minutes – after his big night against Kansas earlier in the week.
The Wildcats blocked eight shots in the game and have swatted 34 in the first three games.

New Contract Will Enable Baseball to Test Blood for H.G.H.

Major League Baseball’s owners and players are close to completing a new collective bargaining agreement that for the first time will include blood testing for human growth hormone, according to two people in baseball briefed on the matter. The testing will be a significant step for baseball, allowing it to move ahead of other professional sports leagues, including the N.F.L., in confronting the troublesome issue of a drug that has long evaded detection.
The bargaining agreement, which could be announced early next week, calls for blood testing to begin in February, when players report to spring training. Players who test positive will face a 50-game suspension, which will be the same as the first-time penalty for a positive steroid test, according to the two people.
Baseball will be the first of the major North American professional sports to do any type of blood testing for drugs among their unionized players. In 2010, baseball introduced blood testing for H.G.H. on minor league players because the step could be taken without the consent of the union.
Commissioner Bud Selig, who is sensitive about his legacy and the longstanding criticism that he was too slow to react to the use of performance-enhancing drugs in his sport, will now be able to cite the H.G.H. testing as proof of how seriously baseball now treats the issue of drug use. And without mentioning the N.F.L. by name, he will be able to take satisfaction in accomplishing what his biggest rival has been unable to do.
Last summer, the N.F.L. and its union reached agreement on a new labor contract that included blood testing for human growth hormone, leaving the details of the testing to be worked out after the deal was signed. But the players have since refused to sign off on the testing, citing various reservations.
Members of Congress have become involved in the stalemate, but the N.F.L. players union continues to raise questions about the testing, in particular expressing concerns that the natural level of H.G.H. in football players might be higher than that of the general population, and that too many players would unfairly test positive as a result.
Although there is no urine test for H.G.H., Olympic athletes have been blood-tested for the substance for nearly a decade. Baseball officials and players had long expressed skepticism about the test, however, pointing to the fact that it was not producing any positives. Meanwhile, evidence mounted that the substance was being used in the sport.
In 2007, an investigation into a ring of pharmacies and doctors in Florida led to disclosures that tied numerous players to H.G.H. And at the end of 2007, George J. Mitchell, at the behest of Selig, produced a report on drug use in baseball that tied a number of players — including Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens — to the substance.
“Players who use human growth hormone apparently believe that it assists their ability to recover from injuries and fatigue during the long baseball season,” Mitchell said in his report. “This also is a major reason why players used steroids.”
Sentiment in baseball began to change in 2010, when a professional rugby player in England was suspended for testing positive for H.G.H. The blood test had seemingly worked.
Selig embraced the development and several months later implemented blood testing at the minor league level. This year, first baseman Mike Jacobs, who had played in the major leagues for a number of seasons, became the first minor league player to test positive for the substance.
Agreement on H.G.H. testing was not the only issue that the two sides in baseball had to wrestle with as they moved toward completion of a labor deal that would last for five seasons and will guarantee two decades of a peace in a sport that suffered numerous work stoppages before that.
In particular, the owners wanted a tougher financial slotting system for draft picks so that some teams with huge financial resources would not spend far more on players coming out of high school and college. In the end, the sides agreed on a luxury tax of sorts that would penalize teams that go over a threshold for spending on draft choices.
The agreement also makes official a new playoff system, in which an extra wild-card team will qualify in each league.
But most significant for Selig and everyone else in the sport is that an agreement was reached without public rancor in a year in which the N.F.L. went through a protracted lockout and the N.B.A. is in a labor standoff that could cost it the entire 2011-12 season. And that the agreement will have a drug-testing clause that will put baseball ahead of other sports.

The Joy of badminton

Sports Star Joy Lai holds her national trophies. PAUL LOUGHNAN N20DT211
Sports Star Joy Lai holds her national trophies. PAUL LOUGHNAN N20DT211

TEMPLESTOWE teenager Joy Lai has the makings of a future Olympic badminton champion.
Joy, 13, won the “triple crown” - the under 15s singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles - at the recent Australian championships in Perth.
The closest she came to being headed was by five points in the deciding set of the singles final, in which she defeated her doubles partner - and friend - Grace Ngiam, from Brisbane.
Joy, who also enjoys sculpting and painting, said she loved the “fun” sport.
Former Olympian and one of Joy’s coaches, Lenny Permana, said the Ivanhoe Grammar year 7 student, who trains with Badminton Australia, was probably the best player of her age in the country.
Ms Permana, who competed in badminton at the 2004 Athens Olympics, described Joy as “such a hard worker” and said she had the necessary drive to succeed at international level.
Joy’s mother, Kanny Lai, said she was proud of her daughter and would support her.
“We do whatever we can to make sure she succeeds,” Ms Lai said.
Joy, who has been playing badminton for six years, is this week’s Manningham Leader Sports Star.

I want to wrap it up in style: Djokovic

LONDON: It's as yet the unfinished sentence. For all the surprises the 2011 tennis calendar threw on its unsuspecting audience - Novak Djokovic's bruising dominance, Roger Federer's late season flourish, Andy Murray's gritty run in Asia and through it all some combative, rearguard action from Rafael Nadal - its statement is yet to reach a conclusive fullness.

The last touches, strokes of colour and character, will be applied at London's dazzling O2 Arena where the Barclays ATP World Tour Final, the season-ending championships, will be played.

After losing just one match in the first eight months of the year, Djokovic's body protested post the US Open. A fortnight ago he returned from a six-week injury enforced break only to discover a shoulder problem that hindered his service action, stalling his effort in Basel and Paris. Federer, on the other hand, has been in sparkling form, coming into London on the back of a 12-match winning streak. Murray has been no less impressive, winning three titles in the Asian swing of the Tour. The Spaniard, meanwhile, has been quiet, pulling out of successive tournaments after a shock, early-round loss in Shanghai last month.

Djokovic, slighter in person than he looks on television, heads Group A of the season-ending finale, which also has Murray, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych. The Serb, who opens his campaign against Czech Berdych on Monday, said: "I've been practicing here for the last two-three days, my shoulder feels good. I feel no pain while serving. I want to finish the year in style. Everybody would like to crown their achievements with this title. It's a tough tournament. You have to play well every single match."

Federer, who will take on Tsonga in his tournament opener on Sunday, said: "I feel the players ranked one to four are the favourites, from five to eight they all have the potential to upset the top guys and go all the way to the final and win it even. They have big games, they can beat anyone on any given day."

Nadal, who will complete Sunday's schedule, playing American Fish in the last match of the day, explained that his straight-sets loss against German Florian Mayer in the third round of the Shanghai Masters last month hit him hard, forcing him to reassess his schedule. "To lose in Shanghai was difficult because I felt I was in a positive frame of mind," he said.

Opening match crucial: Bhupathi For now India's doubles players - Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna - in action in the Barclays ATP World Tour Final, starting Sunday, are looking no further than the coming week's competition. Bhupathi and Paes, in Group A of the eight-team tournament, and seeded fourth, open their campaign on Monday afternoon against Sweden's Robert Lindstedt and Romania's Horia Tecau.

Kambli puts BCCI and Sports ministry at loggerheads

New Delhi: Sports minister Ajay Maken wants the match-fixing claims made by former cricketer Vinod Kambli investigated by the BCCI and says his Ministry might step in if the cricket board doesn’t order a probe.
But even though might have called for a probe, a defiant BCCI said it would not give any importance to the former cricketer’s allegations.
Kambli has created quite a flutter by claiming that something was “amiss” in India’s loss in the 1996 World Cup semifinal against Sri Lanka and Maken said the claim should be investigated by the BCCI or else his ministry might order a probe.
But, senior cricket board official Rajiv Shukla said Kambli’s claims are not worth investigating.
BCCI
The Sports Ministry also wants the BCCI to come under the ambit of the RTI. Reuters
“We are not giving any importance to the claims made by Kambli. If a person wakes up after 15 years and makes some allegations, that is not worth taking note of,” Shukla told reporters.
Shukla, the chairman of the IPL governing council, said the BCCI has acted tough on corrupt cricketers and has never forgiven such players.
“Many of the Boards have forgiven players after they were found to be involved in corrupt practices but BCCI has never forgiven such players,” he said.
Kambli has created quite a flutter by claiming that something was “amiss” in India’s loss in the 1996 World Cup semifinal against Sri Lanka and Maken said the claim should be investigated for all its worth.
“When a player of the team has made a charge, it should be thoroughly investigated. People of the country have the right to know what exactly happened. Whether the accusations made by the player are true or false, the people have the right to know,” Maken said on the sidelines of an NSS felicitation ceremony here.
The minister said if the BCCI doesn’t act, the sports ministry might conduct an inquiry of its own.
“We will see. As you know, the BCCI has not come to the Sports Ministry for any recognition so far but I would want, whatever agency is there, BCCI should order a probe into it. If the BCCI doesn’t conduct a probe, we will look at it,” he said.
ICC President Sharad Pawar entered the discussions, saying he would rather believe in what players like Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly have to say on the matter.
“I honestly feel that his allegations are irresponsible statements,” Pawar said on a day when a defiant BCCI refused to give importance to Kambli’s allegations despite call of a probe by Sports Minister Ajay Maken.
“I would rather believe in what Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar or Ajit Wadekar say,” Pawar said. Pawar, a former BCCI chief, said if Kambli was an honest and committed cricketer, he should have made the allegations after the mega tournament in 1996, instead of raking it up
now.
“If he was an honest and a committed cricketer he should have spoken about it then. But he kept quiet, so I hold him irresponsible,” said Pawar.
Kambli’s claims have, however, been rejected by the then skipper Mohammad Azharuddin, the then coach Ajit Wadekar and Sanjay Manjrekar.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by 21 runs in third one day International- Cricinfo Pakistan


DUBAI: Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by 21 runs in the third one-day international between the two South Asia cricket giants at the Dubai Cricket Stadium. Pakistan now takes a 2-1 lead in the five match series.
Pakistan had earlier set Sri Lanka a target of 258 runs off the allotted 50 overs. Sri Lanka got off to a shaky start with Tharanga being bowled out by Umar Gul for four. However, captain Dilshan and wicket-keeper batsman Kumar Sangakkara stabilised then innings.
Good performances from bowler Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal with Shahid Afridi pitching in helped Pakistan restrict Sri Lanka to 236 in the penultimate over of the match.
Openers Mohammad Hafeez and Imran Farhat hit attractive half-centuries before Sri Lankan bowlers checked Pakistan’s progress in the third day-night international at Dubai stadium here on Friday.
Hafeez made a 101-ball 83 and Farhat notched an 82-ball 70 to give Pakistan, who won the toss and batted, a sold 151-run start before Sri Lanka grabbed four quick wickets to restrict the innings to 257-8 in their allotted 50 overs.
Pakistan, aiming to bounce back in the five-match series after losing the second match by 25 runs here on Monday, lost track of a big total after losing four wickets in the space of 26 runs.
Pakistan won the first match, also played here last Friday, by eight wickets.
Hafeez, who took 26 balls for his first ten runs, hit paceman Dilhara Fernando for four boundaries in the 18th over to step up the tempo before he was finally bowled by spinner Seekkuge Prasanna in the 30th over.
Hafeez hit nine boundaries and a six during his 11th one-day half century.
Ten runs later Farhat followed, caught at long-on off Tillakaratne Dilshan. He hit six boundaries and a six.
Pakistan’s decision to promote Abdul Razzaq backfired as the allrounder hit Prasanna straight into the hands of long-on after scoring just six off 16 balls.
Pakistan was forced to take the batting power-play in the 36th over and managed just 22 runs losing Umar Akmal and Misbahul (seven each) but Younis Khan hit a fighting 52-ball 42 to ensure Pakistan cross the 250-mark.
Prasanna and Malinga finished with two wickets apiece.

Pakistan thrashed Srilanka by 23 runs in 3rd ODI

Dubai- Cricinfo , Pakistan beat Srilanka by 23 runs in 3rd ODI. Batting 1st Pakistan set a target of 256 runs losing 7 wickets.Both openers scored 50s and provide a 100+ start.In reply Srilanka all out 233.Shahid bhai balls well.Now series is lead by Pakistan 2-1.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Kent State Women's Basketball Battles Morehead State In 2011-12 Home Opener


The Kent State women's basketball team welcomes Morehead State to the M.A.C. Center Friday (Nov. 18) for the 2011-12 home opener. Tip time is slated for 7 p.m. The first 750 fans to enter the building will receive magnet schedules. Stop by the Athletic Ticket Office in the M.A.C. Center or call             (330) 672-2244       for more information.

The Golden Flashes (0-2) are taking aim at their first win of the 2011-12 campaign after dropping road contests at Marshall and Robert Morris to open the season.

Friday's game against the Colonials will feature live stats and free live web video. The provided links will activate at the start of Friday's game.
 
Friday's contest will be aired live on both ESPN Radio 990 AM and KentStateSports.com, with Dave Wilson providing play-by-play commentary for a second straight season. Click the link above to listen live on your computer.

IN A FLASH

• Kent State is 25-11 in home openers, including a 17-5 record under Bob Lindsay's guidance. The Golden Flashes are 8-1 in last nine seasons in their first M.A.C. Center game of the season.

• Kent State is 2-0 all-time on Nov. 18, rolling to victories over Southern (85-71) in the Fifth
Third Classic in 2006 and at Youngstown State (70-55) in 2009.

• Morehead State is the only school out of the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) Kent State has
ever faced.


FLASH FORWARD

The Flashes fly west to Flagstaff, Ariz. for the Hilton Garden Inn Thanksgiving Classic. Kent State battles Utah Valley State Nov. 25 at 4:30 p.m. before taking on host Northern Arizona Nov. 26 at 4 p.m.

SCOUTING THE FLASHES

Kent State fell to host Robert Morris, 78-44, Tuesday (Nov. 15) in a non-conference game at the Sewall Center.

Junior guard Trisha Krewson (Sandusky, Ohio) reached double figures for the second straight game, totaling a game-high 18 points to lead the Golden Flashes. She also led Kent State with eight rebounds (two offensive, six defensive) and three steals. Junior guard Tamzin Barroilhet (Sainte Maxime, France) finished with six points while freshman guard Jamie Hutcheson (Ancaster, Ontario) and junior center Leslie Schaefer (Verona, Wis.) each added five.


KREWS CONTROL

Krewson has emerged as Kent State’s top offensive threat so far in 2011-12. The Sandusky, Ohio, native is averaging 18 points a game and is shooting at a 59% clip -- including knocking down five-of-nine from behind the arc. During a nearly 11-minute stretch in the second half of Kent State’s loss to Robert Morris, Krewson accounted for 16 straight Kent State points -- including three straight treys. The junior guard sat out the 2010-11 campaign after transferring from Bucknell. She earned First Team ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District II recognition as a sophomore in 2009-10, one of just three sophomores nationwide to earn first-team academic all-district honors. A McDonald’s All-America nominee as a high school senior, Krewson scored over 1,000 points for the Perkins Pirates and was named First Team Sandusky Bay Conference three times and Second Team All-Ohio in 2008 after an honorable mention nod following her penultimate prep season.


NOBODY’S BETTER THAN BODNAR

Kent State 24th-year associate head coach Lori Bodnar was recently named as CollegeInsider.com’s “Top Mid-Major Women’s Basketball Assistant Coach.” She headlined a top-25 that featured six Mid-American Conference assistant coaches. Bodnar has helped tutor the Golden Flashes to 12 20-win seasons and four NCAA Tournament appearances.

AROUND THE WORLD

Barroilhet and freshman Itziar Llobet (Sant Cugat de Valles, Spain) both prepped for the 2011-12 campaign overseas last summer. Barroilhet, who i s a dual citizen of France and England, represented Great Britain at the World University Games in Shenzen, China. Llobet competed for Spain at the 2011 FIBA U-18 European Championship in Oradea, Romania. In the team’s quarterfinal win over the Netherlands, Llobet scored eight points and added four rebounds and two assists.


REPRESENTING OVERSEAS

Former Kent State all-conference performer Taisja Jones thrived in her first season as a professional basketball player, averaging over 18 points and 11 rebounds per game for Aguas Buenas Tigresas of the BSNF.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENT

MOREHEAD STATE EAGLES (1-1 overall, 0-0 OVC)
All-time series: Morehead State leads, 3-2
KSU's Lindsay vs. Morehead State: 2-0
Current Streak: W2

• Morehead State shook off a 96-60 season-opening loss against then-15th-ranked Kentucky to pull off a 62-57 win over Ohio Sunday. Senior guard Courtney Lumpkin poured in a career-high 23 points, including two free throws with a second left to ice the victory, and fellow senior Linda Dixon contributed a career-high 20 points. The Eagles have made pressure defense their trademark in the early part of the 2011-12 campaign, forcing Kentucky into 27 turnovers and the Bobcats into 29 floor mistakes.

•Head coach Tom Hodges is in his second year at the helm.

• Junior forward Ashar Harris ranked third in the nation in rebounding (12.3 per game) in 2010-11 and was selected to the 2011-12 All-Ohio Valley Conference Preseaon Team.

• Kent State looks to even the all-time series against Morehead State at three wins apiece in the first matchup between the programs in nearly 20 years. The Eagles won the first three meetings in the late 70s and early 80s before Bob Lindsay and the Flashes earned victories over the Eagles two years in a row during the 1990-91 and 1991-92 campaigns.

Bo Hodge Named Men's Tennis Assistant

Bo Hodge
Bo Hodge
Nov. 17, 2011


NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma men's tennis coach John Roddick announced the addition of Bo Hodge as an assistant coach Thursday. Hodge, formerly one of the nation's top collegiate and junior players, was formerly the assistant with the University of Alabama for the past three seasons.
"I'm excited to have Bo onboard," John Roddick said. "He is going to be a big asset to the program. He brings a wealth of experience, from both a playing and coaching aspect. He was a part of a national championship team at the University of Georgia. His experience is going to bring a ton to our program."
A former star for the University of Georgia before pursuing a career on the professional circuit, Hodge earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communications at UGA where he returned to complete his studies after several years on the professional tour as a player and coach.
"I'm excited," exclaimed Bo Hodge. "So far, it has been a great experience. I have met a lot of great people and am getting settled into Norman. I'm excited about working with John. He has been a friend and coach of mine for a long time. I learned a lot at Alabama under head coach Billy Pate, but I'm excited about the opportunity here to be able to come to the Big 12. I have been an SEC guy my whole life. I'm going to hit the ground running and am looking forward to getting started."
During his coaching stent at Alabama, Hodge was selected as one of two coaches in 2010 and 2011 to lead the USTA Men's Summer Collegiate Team. The USTA Summer Collegiate Team provides an elite training program for the top American collegiate tennis players and gives them exposure to the USTA Pro Circuit.
In addition, Hodge boasts an impressive resume that includes serving as a coach and hitting partner for Venus and Serena Williams in 2005-06 and coaching ATP professional Mardy Fish in 2007. Hodge served as a volunteer coach at Georgia under head coach Manuel Diaz from August 2006 to May 2008, helping lead the Bulldogs to consecutive NCAA national championships.
As a player for the Bulldogs, Hodge was a four-time All-American from 2001-04 while playing on three Southeastern Conference championship teams (2001, 2002 and 2004) and one national championship team (2001). Hodge was the No. 2-ranked collegiate player in the nation in both 2001 and 2004 and was consistently ranked in the nation's top five in both singles and doubles. In 2004, he and teammate John Isner reached the NCAA Doubles finals.
Prior to attending Georgia, Hodge had an outstanding career in junior tennis where he led Athens Academy to the 1998 Class A High School state title as a sophomore. After helping the Spartans win the title, Hodge moved to Boca Raton, Fla., to study under famed South African coach Stanford Boster while attending Boca Prep, where he was teammates with John's brother, Andy Roddick.
A native of Athens, Ga., Hodge is the son of Mark and Suzette Hodge. His father is a former Georgia football star and was a tight end and offensive captain of the 1978 Bulldogs.

Roebuck ruined my life, says 'victim'

Peter Roebuck's Zimbabwean Facebook friend, whose police complaint allegedly triggered his suicide, has claimed that the celebrated cricket writer lured him with money to meet him before sexually assaulting him in a Cape Town hotel.

As mystery continues to shroud the suicide of Roebuck,
26-year-old Itai Gondo, a refugee student from Zimbabwe, said the celebrated journalist “groomed” him on Facebook with promise of money for his college fees before sexually assaulting him.

The cash-strapped Gondo's claims were the subject of a South African police investigation on Roebuck's suicide, according to London tabloid 'The Sun'. Gondo alleged that former Somerset captain spent days on Facebook luring him into a meeting, signing himself “dad” and offering to help with college fees. Gondo came in contact with Roebuck through a university friend who knew one of 17 “adopted sons” who live at the cricket expert's 10-bedroom home in Pietermaritzburg.
He claimed that Roebuck agreed to meet him after a series of chats on the social networking site and signed off saying, “OK my boy, bring stick in case I need to beat you!”
The duo then allegedly met in a hotel suite in Cape Town during Roebuck's visit to South Africa to cover the first Test against Australia.
Gondo said they spoke for long hours before Roebuck allegedly sexually assaulted him on a bed.
 “I was in shock and told myself that it couldn't be happening,”  Gondo said, adding that the alleged attack stopped only when his mobile phone rang.
The horrified student fled, but received a Facebook message from Roebuck next day saying, “Worried bout u, hope u ok,” to which Gondo replied, “One day the long arm of the law will catch up with your evil misdeeds.”
Gondo said he disclosed everything about the incident to police. “He has ruined my life,” Gondo said.

Better marketing to survive for test cricket

A friend of mine, now about forty, wistfully remembers the time when he was much younger and was taken to watch a Test match at the Eden Gardens (“obviously...all five days!”). It was quite an event for him as indeed it was to all of us when our turn came. You waited for it, you analysed the opposition, you picked the players you wanted to follow, got excited if one of them fielded at the boundary in front of you and told your dad what you liked and what you didn’t over dinner.
Another friend recalls the time his father told his teacher that it was more important that his son went to Chepauk to watch Venkataraghvan bowl than it was to attend just another day at school. He didn’t tell me what the teacher’s reaction was, presumably the father hadn’t bothered (anyone who objected to a young boy watching cricket couldn’t be right anyway!).
Just to put the era into perspective, my elder brother used to study in Kolkata; it took a couple of days, sometimes more, to ge there from Hyderabad and we didn’t know he had reached safely until an inland letter arrived.
As you can imagine, much has changed since and yet when the Eden Gardens had just a few spectators dotting its vast stands this week, there was widespread despair. “Not in Kolkata” they spluttered into their Darjeeling tea but I’m afraid an occasion that was a rite of passage, an initiation into the endless world of sport and joy for a young man, was largely ignored. Dravid and Laxman, on whom ballads might be composed in Kolkata, hit centuries and must have searched for fans to raise their bats to. This wasn’t Kanpur or Mohali....this, sadly, was the Eden Gardens.
Yes, you could say the Test match started on a Monday (any further proof that cricket is now largely a television sport?), that there had been holidays earlier, that there has been far too much cricket to follow, that the Kolkatans too needed to go to work..you could say all that and more. But the Eden Gardens is one of the homes of cricket and it was at home that Test cricket had been spurned.
It was also a week in which Haroon Lorgat formally announced that the World Test Championship had been put back to 2017. Poor Peter Roebuck said a lot could change in a week and this is five years away. The ICC is disappointed, many players are disappointed, the romantics are disappointed and yet, as the Eden Gardens showed, they don’t count.
Outside of certain pockets, people don’t want to watch Test cricket. They know the scores, they follow the game on the internet, glimpse at the television from time to time but that’s it. I am increasingly fearful of the fact that people talk about the glory of Test cricket like they talk about world peace and Mother Teresa; because it is a nice thing to be heard saying.
There are still a few marquee series left but those are too few. If half the Test-playing world doesn’t interest audiences then there is a problem and it has to be addressed by looking it in the eye rather than through romantic, wistful writing that all of us have indulged in at one time or another. Maybe Test cricket is only played by fewer teams, maybe, as has been suggested by some former Australian cricketers, you play lesser, but better, Test cricket or maybe you seek to market it more humbly.
In India, maybe we could start by making the act of going to a cricket ground pleasant. Security is something we cannot wish away, it is a grim fact of life in our part of the world where distributing hatred doesn’t seem too difficult, but maybe we can make everything else easier. Like buying tickets, getting parking, organising public transport otherwise, providing decently priced food and, the most difficult, providing clean seats to sit on.

Test cricket is in a buyer’s market and the sellers are struggling to come to terms with that.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Salaries for college football coaches back on rise

Jimbo Fisher got a raise of roughly $950,000 after last season, his first as head football coach at Florida State, boosting his pay to about $2.8 million.
So, at a time of tightening budgets, how does a public employee get a 50% raise of nearly $1 million after one year on the job?
"You're always looking at whether or not you have the potential to lose a good coach and end up having to pay more in order to get the next one," Florida State President Eric Barron says.
That sort of inflationary reasoning is a factor in the rapid rise in salaries of major-college head football coaches. An analysis by USA TODAY found that in 2006 the average pay for major-college coaches was $950,000 — coincidentally, about the amount of Fisher's raise after last season.
The average compensation in 2011 is $1.47 million, a jump of nearly 55% in six seasons.
In the six conferences with automatic Bowl Championship Series bids, the average salary rose from $1.4 million in 2006 to $2.125 million in 2011. That's a jump of about 52% — meaning salaries at schools in the other five major conferences are going up at roughly the same rate as they are at higher-profile schools.
"The hell with gold," higher education lawyer Sheldon Steinbach says. "I want to buy futures in coaches' contracts."
Critics find it troubling that this rapid rise for coaches comes at a time when instructional spending at many schools has slowed or declined amid economic struggles and shrinking state education budgets.
"Athletics has gotten so disproportionate to the rest of the economy, and to the academic community, that it is unbelievable," says Julian Spallholz, a professor in the department of food and nutrition at Texas Tech, where coach Tommy Tuberville got a $550,000 raise. "This kind of disproportion in the country is why people are occupying Wall Street."
This season, at least 64 coaches are making more than $1 million. Of those, 32 are being paid more than $2 million, nine are making more than $3 million, and three are making more than $4 million. Texas' Mack Brown tops the list; he's being paid more than $5 million. The analysis is based on contracts or other documents showing compensation from 110 of the 120 schools in the NCAA's top-tier Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).
Average pay for major-college head coaches rose 7.3% from 2010. Average pay for those coaches was flat the year before, the only time there was no increase since USA TODAY began these analyses in 2006.
Gene Chizik's $1.4 million raise was this season's biggest, but he led Auburn to the national championship last season. Fisher's Seminoles didn't achieve as much, winning an Atlantic Coast Conference division championship before losing to Virginia Tech in the ACC title game and beating South Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen got this season's second-biggest raise — $1 million. Mullen earned $1.2 million in his first season at the school in 2009, got a $300,000 raise for his second year, and the latest raise jumps his pay to $2.5 million. Last season, he led the Bulldogs to a 9-4 record, their best since 1999, and a victory against Michigan in the Gator Bowl. He also was mentioned as a candidate for head-coaching vacancies at Miami (Fla.) and Florida.
"It's all market-driven," Mississippi State athletics director Scott Stricklin says. "When we hired Dan, we paid him $600,000 less than our previous coach … with the understanding that you know when you do that, you're saving money today but if he's successful you're going to catch him up to where the market is."
Mullen moves up from last in compensation among the 11 public schools in the Southeastern Conference to ninth. The high-price contracts of the SEC, where Chizik's $3.5 million salary ranks fourth, also influenced Fisher's raise.
Barron says Florida State conducted a market analysis and found Fisher's 2010 pay "was in the middle of the ACC pack and low for the SEC" and that he deserved a raise for coaching the Seminoles to a 10-4 finish in his first season after they went 7-6 the year before.
"That is very much the traditionalist argument for raising salaries of coaches," Steinbach says. "And the argument has some merit. That's the way the market functions."
Fisher's raise, this season's third highest, boosts him past the icon he succeeded, Bobby Bowden, who made $2.3 million in 2009, his last season.
Fisher declined to comment on his contract through a spokesman. Athletics director Randy Spetman also declined to comment other than a two-sentence e-mail statement that said Fisher's package is competitive and no state money is used to pay coaches.
It is common for schools to say that coach pay is pooled largely from TV, media and marketing contracts. But in 2010, only about 20% of FBS athletics departments were able to pay all their bills without help from university or state funds or student fees, according to a USA TODAY analysis of universities' financial records.
Chizik, Mullen and Fisher weren't the only coaches to receive big raises. About one-quarter of the 82 public schools that retained their coaches after last season gave raises of $200,000 or more; some of those raises were built into contracts that remained unchanged. However, nine schools provided boosts of $500,000 or more to incumbent coaches via new, or amended, contracts.
The 7.3% increase in the average pay for this season would have been more than 10% if such highly paid, high-profile coaches as Jim Tressel at Ohio State, Butch Davis at North Carolina and Urban Meyer at Florida had stayed in their former jobs and retained their former salaries, rather than leaving unexpectedly. (Tressel and Davis exited amid NCAA investigations; Meyer left on his own.)
Tressel made $3.9 million last season; his successor, Luke Fickell, is making $775,000 on an eight-month contract. That works out to $1.162 million on an annualized rate, the smallest number for an Ohio State football coach since Tressel earned $1,095,750 in guaranteed compensation in the 2003-04 contract year, according to Tom McGinnis, OSU's assistant athletics director of administration and human resources.
Fickell's annualized rate is slightly less than what Indiana is paying first-year coach Kevin Wilson and it's more than what Purdue guarantees third-year coach Danny Hope.
Ohio State athletics director Gene Smith declined to comment. "Considering my coach situation, I am not interviewing on these topics," he said by e-mail.
Reaction from faculty
Richard Lapchick is a social critic and coach's son who is director of the DeVos Sport Business Management program at the University of Central Florida.
"When you see the continuing escalation of coaches' salaries, I think the typical person has resentment about that," Lapchick says. "Misery is not the right word, but the lack of economic progress for most people, or the regression from where they were, makes it doubly frustrating when they see these kinds of salaries.
"I'm teaching in the Florida system. So, while I feel fairly compensated, I know there are a lot of faculty members who haven't really seen raises, or had tiny ones the last couple of years, who like everybody else are frustrated by what's going on."
Even so, there hasn't been much faculty criticism of Fisher's raise on the Florida State campus.
"I have not heard any talk about the football coach's contract," says Sandra Lewis, president of FSU's faculty senate.
Spallholz was among some members of the faculty senate at Texas Tech who questioned Tuberville's $550,000 raise to $2.059 million last winter after going 8-5 in his first season, including 3-5 in the Big 12.
"When this came out I stood up and said if I were Tommy Tuberville, I would be very embarrassed to accept such an increase, given the fact the faculty and staff had received nothing," says Spallholz, a former member at large of the faculty senate.
Florida State pays football coaches' salaries out of funds raised by its booster club. Even so, taxpayer money is affected at least indirectly. Federal tax subsidies are involved, as are state corporate tax subsidies since the university, athletics department and booster club are exempt from the state's corporate tax structure. (State subsidies for individual returns are not involved as there is no state income tax in Florida.)
"That's not any different than any other philanthropic contribution, as far as I can tell," FSU's Barron says.
For all of the TV money that flows to athletics departments in the best-known conferences, only 22 athletics departments are self-supporting, according to the USA TODAY analysis. The majority get subsidies from the university, often through student fees.
"The students pay more tuition, the faculty pay by not having a pay increase, and the football coach gets a half-million-dollar raise," Spallholz says. "And this goes on in a lot of other places, not just here.
"I think it speaks for itself, doesn't it? It says football is much more important on a lot of campuses than academics."
'It's a highly valued position'
The $525,000 pay raise for Utah coach Kyle Whittingham was as simple as Utah's move from the Mountain West Conference to the Pacific-12.
"We felt that as we made that move, we had to take people who do a good job and get them at least somewhat in the middle of the league," athletics director Chris Hill says.
Whittingham's compensation of $1.7 million is now fourth highest of the 10 public universities in the Pac-12, and Lane Kiffin at Southern California, a private school, almost certainly makes more.
Hill says Whittingham's raise is not really as large as it appears, because he says about $200,000 comes from an existing apparel deal that was outside his contract and now is included.
Hill makes $400,000, meaning Whittingham makes more than four times as much as the man he works for. Hill says that's fine by him.
"It happens in a lot of professions," Hill says. "The person who runs the hospital doesn't make as much as a top surgeon. And a top salesman often makes more than somebody else. I accept that as it's just the way it is."
As does Stricklin, the Mississippi State athletics director.
"All of us are paid based on what our value is within the context of the job we do," he says. "You can make a lot of comments about society and what football coaches get paid, but the fact of the matter is it's a highly valued position. … College football coaches, especially in the South, are some of the most high-profile citizens in each of our states."
Until recent days, Joe Paterno was among the most revered citizens in Pennsylvania. Critics suggest his larger-than-life legend contributed to an atmosphere in which his program could seem to function above the law. One consequence of football coaches who make more money than the athletics directors and presidents they nominally answer to is that the coaches can come to seem more important than their bosses.
"In the case of Joe Paterno, I don't think money was as much of a factor" in the mythology that grew around him "as his longevity and the reputation he built, partly as a philanthropist," Lapchick says. "But I do think coaches' salaries can play a role in distancing them from those they report to."
Barron, the Florida State president, says he makes $400,000 and got a bonus last year that raised his pay to $500,000. Fisher, of course, made almost two times that much in his raise alone.
What's it like to be the boss of a football coach who makes more than five times what the president does?
"I suppose it would be easy to sit there and think about that on a personal level, which is kind of the way that you've asked the question," Barron says. "I'm frequently amazed at what coaches get. … And then I Google the number of news stories about any university in the country and I realize that the top 20 stories for any university will all be about athletics. And that one mention of conference realignment will put 3,000 news stories out there.
"You can get a Nobel Prize at your university and you won't get anywhere near that attention. And so I think between the public and the media, they are telling us what they value."
 

Barcelona launch first European football school

WARSAW: Football icons Barcelona on Wednesday launched their first European training school outside Spain in Poland, aiming to spread their "tiki-taka" style among kids dreaming of becoming the next Lionel Messi.

Only 620 boys from the 3,000 "FCB Escola Varsovia" hopefuls made the final cut for a programme teaching the fluid passing play that earned Barcelona the 2011 Champions League title and helped Spain win Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup.

At Wednesday's debut a forty-strong pick of the crop were put through their paces by coaches including Carlos Alos, sent by the Catalan powerhouses to run the school.

"It's kids that are the most important thing," said Warsaw's sports director Wieslaw Wilczynski.

"But it's also important for Polish football," added Wilczynski, who as deputy sports minister in 2005 played a key role in launching Poland's successful bid to host the 2012 European Championships along with neighbouring Ukraine.

The youngsters are aged from six to 12.

"These could be the players who could represent Poland on the global stage in the future," Wilczynski said.

Polish fans pine for the glory days when Poland won Olympic gold in 1972, silver in 1976, and finished third at the World Cup in 1974 and 1982.

With the current squad failing to shine, realists are already looking well beyond Euro 2012.

In another effort to boost football, the government-run "Orlik" programme - "Little Eagle", in a nod to Poland's avian emblem - has built hundreds of artificial pitches in communities across the nation of 38 million.

The school does not have a building, but instead involves regular sessions run by Barcelona-trained Poles at four Warsaw community pitches.

Monthly fees are 190 zloty (43 euros, $58). Poland's average net wage is 2,300 zloty.

Barcelona do not have a financial role - their input involves supplying know-how - and the remaining costs are covered by Warsaw council via sponsors.

Barcelona already have six similar schools across the globe, in Egypt, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Peru, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.

"We are here because we know that Poland has a lot of fans of Barca. They have good installations here, and we received a good project from here," Alos said.

They do not aim to use the school to cherrypick young Poles for their club, he underlined.

"For us, the goal is to develop football, the kids, to put the focus on training the kids, like a person and not only like a player. We're here to work with our philosophy, our mentality, our methodology and the most important thing for us is to show our philosophy around the world," he said.

"If, after that, some of the kids can play in international teams, we'll be very, very happy," he added.

Barcelona - whose slogan is "more than a club" - and its players are a global brand.

Asked to name their favourite player, the Warsaw youngsters yelled: "Messi".

Over 70 percent of Barcelona's players are home-grown.

Even though Messi, now 24, is Argentinian, he joined Barcelona as a youngster.

Also said it was "too early" to speculate whether similar talent could emerge in Warsaw.

Pressed to assess the quality of Polish football, he said: "I think there are good Polish players in different, good leagues. Maybe not now in Spain, but some Poles played in La Liga before."

"I think the level here is like in other places," he added.

America's obsession with college football helped obscure Penn State scandal

WASHINGTON - In a country where college football is sacrosanct, the alleged conspiracy of silence in the horrifying sexual abuse scandal rocking Pennsylvania State University is leading to criticism about the culture of a sport that's now a multibillion-dollar industry.
Jerry Sandusky, the former defensive co-ordinator of Penn State's football team, is facing 40 counts of sexual abuse against eight children over 15 years, an indictment that has already prompted the removals of university president Graham Spanier and revered coach Joe Paterno, although neither has been charged with a crime.
Mike McQueary, an assistant coach, is also on indefinite leave amid allegations he walked in on Sandusky raping a young boy in the locker room showers and failed to speak up. In emails McQueary sent to friends and obtained by a Pennsylvania newspaper on Wednesday, however, the star witness in the case against Sandusky insists he did, in fact, put a stop to the assault.
Sandusky, for his part, said in a televised interview earlier this week that he's innocent, adding that his penchant for showering with underprivileged young boys and engaging in "horseplay" was simply a matter of poor judgment.
While Sandusky's alleged demons likely had little to do with the college football system, Spanier, Paterno and McQueary are all accused of keeping the events quiet for purely mercenary reasons — to protect the reputation of Penn State and prevent prestige, power and cash from drying up in the face of terrible scandal.
"Spanier did many splendid things for PSU as president," Carol Harter, the former president of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, wrote in a recent editorial in the Las Vegas Sun.
"But his Achilles' heel, or tragic flaw, or whatever one calls this sad professional demise, is surely a product of the 'football culture' that has so dominated major university life nationwide and seems to get more out-of-control every day."
She suggested Spanier counted on revenue from the football team to support other university programs, "thereby becoming beholden to coaches — even iconic ones — and their staffs."
To have a winning college football team in the United States means lucrative television packages, mammoth payouts for bowl games, a boost in alumni donations and thousands more high-school graduates chomping at the bit to attend. It also means head coaches can negotiate salaries that often soar into the seven figures.
The University of Texas, in fact, will reportedly net as much as US$15 million annually from ESPN to broadcast all of the school's sporting events on the college's new Longhorn Network. Notre Dame will soon follow suit.
"It all centres on money — they have professionalized college football in a way you won't find anywhere else in the world when it comes to amateur sports," Geoff Baker, a Canadian-born football reporter at the Seattle Times, said Wednesday in an interview.
Canadians might fixate on hockey, he said, but America's obsession with college football goes far beyond anything that exists in Canada.
"Canadians are obsessed with professional hockey, and with the juniors during the World Championships," Baker said.
"But that's the kind of fervour you see here every single weekend in the United States, even at the high school level. In Canada, you see it once a year and even then, I doubt you'd be able to pack a stadium with tens of thousands of people once a week, even when the team is winless. Football is deeply ingrained in the culture here."
Buzz Bissinger, author of the non-fiction "Friday Night Lights," has been scathing about the so-called football culture in recent days. The TV adaptation of his book about a Texas high school football team frequently detailed the tireless efforts of Coach Eric Taylor to ward off predatory college recruiters as they targeted his players with promises of fame and riches.
In an interview on CNN on Wednesday, Bissinger compared college football teams to mafia members who fervently honour the "code of omerta" — a pledge to keep quiet when the going gets tough.
"Penn State football is God, you don't touch God, you don't touch football, you don't touch Zeus, which is Joe Paterno. Everybody — everybody — abdicated their moral and public responsibility," he said.
"You name me one football scandal ... where someone from the inside, a coach, actually turned in his program. It will never happen. They protect their own at all costs."
But Baker also believes the Penn State conspiracy of silence was given a helping hand by the U.S. sports media, which provides blanket coverage of college football and assigns "god-like" status to winning coaches. Dictatorial coaches often shut out the media entirely and no one complains, he added.
"You have to look at what gave them their power in the the first place, and it's the media that allows them to keep this status without seriously questioning them," he said.
"Very little investigative reporting of college sports teams goes on down here, and if it does, it's investigative reporters from other areas of the newsroom, not sports reporters, because then they'd lose their precious access to the team."
Penn State's scandal is by far the most extreme example, but there have been other cases of colleges covering up misdeeds by everyone from players to boosters and recruiters.
The University of Miami was recently on the hot seat for a "lack of institutional control" for failing to rein in team booster Nevin Shapiro. Currently in jail for orchestrating a US$930 million Ponzi scheme, Shapiro also allegedly provided cash, goods and prostitutes to the college's football players and paid for at least one abortion for one of the team members.
The National Collegiate Athletics Association has said that if the claims are true, it will ban the University of Miami Hurricanes from competing for a year.
At San Diego State University, former coach Chuck Long was replaced after it emerged he tried to conceal a 2008 incident that resulted in a lineman pleading guilty to assaulting a teammate.
Penn State, for its part, is creating a special committee to investigate how the culture of silence contributed to the events in the wake of allegations that Sandusky used the school's reputation and football program to lure young boys.
The U.S. Department of Education has also launched an investigation into whether Penn State broke the law by failing to report sexual assaults on campus. A long road of civil lawsuits and additional indictments also loom ahead.
Will that change anything?
"I doubt it," Baker said.

The hottest wives and girlfriends in sports

Sports stars are known for their ability to score on and off the field ... New York Rangers player Brad Richards has nabbed one of Hollywood's hottest ladies - funny woman Olivia Munn, reports UsWeekly. 'Olivia has become the Rangers' good luck charm as they've been on a 6-0 winning streak since they first started dating two weeks ago,' a source told Just Jared.

Sports stars are known for their ability to score on and off the field ... New York Rangers player Brad Richards has nabbed one of Hollywood's hottest ladies - funny woman Olivia Munn, reports UsWeekly. 'Olivia has become the Rangers' good luck charm as they've been on a 6-0 winning streak since they first started dating two weeks ago,' a source told Just Jared.

Cricinfo: India's blind cricket team in Pakistan

LAHORE: India's blind cricket team arrived for a 12-day tour, their first to Pakistan in five years, in what many expect would help in restoration of full sports ties between the two countries.

Shortly after the 17-member delegation crossed into Pakistan via the Wagah land border, Indian blind cricket team captain Shekhar Naik Lachma told reporters: "I am very happy that we were given such a great welcome on crossing the border".

A team led by Pakistan Blind Cricket Council chairman Syed Sultan Shah welcomed the Indian players.

"Despite security concerns and other issues, they have come to our country. A good message will go to the world that Pakistan is safe for sports," Shah said.

Ramakant, the coach of the Indian team, said the three T20 matches and as many one-day internationals to be played in Pakistan would help his side prepare for the 2012 World Championship to be held in India.

The Indian side will play the T20 games in Lahore during November 18-20 and the one-day matches in Islamabad during November 22-26.

The Indian blind cricket team is touring Pakistan after a gap of five years and officials have said they expect the series to help in the restoration of full sports ties between the two countries.

'We're going to have baseball for a long time': Cavemen owners announce Clemens Field upgrades

HANNIBAL, Mo. -- Historic Clemens Field should feature more of a new-age look this summer when the Hannibal Cavemen take the field for the 2012 Prospect League season.

Cavemen owners Rick DeStefane and Bob Hemond and general manager John Civitate announced at a Wednesday press conference plans for new additions to the ballpark, which serves as home to Hannibal's baseball organization in a 12-team wood-bat summer collegiate league.

Included in the plans are:

º A new Daktronics electronic scoreboard and message center that will replace the existing manual scoreboard beyond the wall in right-center field.

º A radar gun/pitch speed board that will be positioned on the visitor's dugout and visible to fans.

º A canopy to cover the press area next to the Clemens Club, which is close to being completed.

º Installation of a mesh shade canopy on the northwest side of the grandstand and oscillating fans in the grandstand.

º Planting of trees near the Clemens Club.

Many of the planned upgrades are designed to provide a more comfortable viewing environment for fans.

"The message (with the planned upgrades) is that we're here to stay and that we're going to have baseball, and we want to have the best place to play baseball," DeStefane said.

DeStefane sees the upgrades as the continuation of a process of rebuilding the organization's reputation following an ownership transition last summer.

DeStefane, a nursing home executive, is president and the CEO of Hannibal Cavemen Baseball LLC, which took over ownership of the Cavemen last June. DeStefane is a 50/50 owner with Hemond, who is also a minority owner of the Sacramento River Cats, a Class AAA affiliate of the Oakland Athletics.

Hemond and Larry Owens were majority owners of the prior ownership group and ended up at odds. The Hannibal City Council authorized F&M Bank to sell off team assets in mid-May, and less than a month later, the Prospect League approved the sale of the team to DeStefane and Hemond. Owens is not part of the current ownership group.

DeStefane said the organization is financially stable under the current ownership group.

"I hope and encourage (the public) to trust us and look at this new regime as a new regime, that we're going forward," DeStefane said. "We have strong financial capability, so even if we have a bad year, we're not going to be hurting. We're committed to it."

Hemond said an electronic scoreboard was important to improve fan experience and to allow Clemens Field to continue to host American Legion and Hannibal-LaGrange University baseball games when a manual scoreboard operator can't always be present.

"What we really wanted to do was bring out another level of excitement and enjoyment for the fans to be able to follow the Cavemen games," Hemond said, adding that the organization plans to try to find a way to continue to incorporate the manual scoreboard somewhere in the ballpark that was built in 1938.

Hemond said it's still to be determined how much all the upgrades will cost, and he would not offer a cost estimate. DeStefane said some of the of the cost will be picked up by multiple sponsors, and some will be covered by the owners.

Hemond said the upgrades will not affect season ticket or single-game ticket prices.

"Right now we're in very good financial condition, ... and we're going to have baseball for a long time," DeStefane said.

AP source: MLB forcing Astros out of NL

HOUSTON (AP) — Major League Baseball told Houston businessman Jim Crane it would not approve his purchase of the Astros unless he agreed to move the team to the American League, The Associated Press has learned.
Crane was forced to agree to move the sale along, a person familiar with the negotiations said Wednesday on condition of anonymity because no official announcement has been made by MLB or the Astros. Approval of the sale could be announced as early as Thursday at a meeting of baseball executives in Milwaukee.
Crane reportedly agreed to the move in exchange for a drop in the sales price valued earlier this year at $680 million. The person who spoke to the AP could not confirm the sales price.
The MLB Players Association believes two 15-team leagues would create a more proportionate schedule and has urged baseball to make the switch. With schedules for next season already completed, the earliest such a move could take place is 2013.
Time is running out for approval of the deal: Crane has said that his offer, which was announced on May 16 expires Nov. 30.
An MLB spokesman did not immediately return messages seeking comment, though Commissioner Bud Selig addressed an Astros' move during a Twitter chat on Monday.
"For 15/15 realignment, Houston would be the team moving to AL West. Would create more fairness in baseball," Selig tweeted via the Colorado Rockies Twitter feed. He also added that "15 teams in each league would necessitate interleague play every day but it will be better schedule overall."
The Astros currently play in the six-team NL Central. The AL West is the only league in the majors with four teams (Rangers, Angels, Athletics and Mariners).
The Astros would be in a division with in-state rival Texas. But fans are unhappy that the other three teams are all on the West Coast, meaning many road games would routinely end past midnight Central time.
Drayton McLane bought the team in November 1992 for about $117 million and put the franchise up for sale in November. He turned down an offer from Crane to buy the team in 2008.
The $680 million sale price is the second-highest in major league history, trailing the $845 million purchase of the Chicago Cubs by the Ricketts family two years ago. The $660 million sale of the Boston Red Sox in 2002 currently is second. Like the Astros' deal, the Cubs and Red Sox transactions included related entities.
A major selling point in Houston was the Astros' share in a new deal with the NBA's Houston Rockets to create a regional sports network that will begin airing Rockets games in 2012 and the Astros in 2013. Crane has said the team's 30-year lease at Minute Maid Park, which is owned by the Harris County Houston Sports Authority, will remain intact under his ownership.
Crane, who founded a Houston-based logistics company in 2008, is also the chairman and chief executive of Crane Capital, a private equity fund company. In 2009, he was in the running to buy the Cubs and last summer teamed with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in an unsuccessful bid to buy the Texas Rangers.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

U.S. offense awakens in 3-2 win at Slovenia

The United States won for just the second time since Jurgen Klinsmann took over as coach, with Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore scoring in a two-minute span late in the first half to lead the Americans over Slovenia 3-2 on a foggy Tuesday night in Ljubljana.
Tim Matavz scored twice for Slovenia, and Edson Buddle got the opening goal for the Americans, who had been outscored 5-2 in going 1-4-1 since Klinsmann replaced Bob Bradley in late July. The former German star and coach switched to a more attack-oriented 4-4-2 against the Green Dragons, who played another exciting match against the U.S. following their controversial 2-2 tie in the first round of last year's World Cup.
"It looked much better,'' Klinsmann said. "It's a process, and that process, besides results, is going really well.''
The Americans, who have dropped to 34th in FIFA's world rankings, finished a disappointing year 6-8-3, their worst record since going 7-9-11 in 1994. But this was their first victory in Europe 3 1/2 years, having gone 0-5 since winning at Poland in March 2008.
"It's always good to come over and win on European soil,'' Dempsey said.
On a night when the fog prevented players from seeing clearly for more than 10 or 20 yards, Buddle put the U.S. ahead in the ninth minute off a pass from Dempsey after a defensive mixup.
Matavz tied the score in the 26th as an American offside trap failed. Dempsey scored with a header in the 41st and Altidore made it 3-1 when he converted a penalty kick two minutes later, giving the U.S. its highest-scoring first half since June 2008 against Barbados.
But Slovenia, ranked 27th in the world, responded with a furious rally after halftime, and Matavz cut the deficit in the 61st, just after Bostjan Cesar's corner kick had bounced off the crossbar.
U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra became the 12th American to make 100 international appearances, but Klinsmann made three changes from Friday's 1-0 loss at France.
"It was a special night,'' Klinsmann said. "The team was pumped up all day, and they wanted to do well for him.''
Buddle and Altidore started up front as Klinsmann went to a two-forward formation. Michael Bradley - son of the former coach - and Buddle got their first starts since Klinsmann's debut in August.
"It was kind of coming over the last couple of months,'' Klinsmann said. "We've been working on that.''
Fabian Johnson, who started for Germany in the 2009 European Under-21 final, began in midfield, four days after making his American debut as a second-half substitute.
Johnson nearly put the U.S. ahead in the first minute, with goalkeeper Samir Handanovic just tipping his volley over the crossbar.
Buddle scored his third goal in 10 appearances, and his first since June 2010 against Australia, after Handanovic's attempted clearance was stripped by Dempsey from Rene Krhin. Dempsey tipped the ball to Buddle, who scored from 25 yards.
Two minutes later, an open Altidore skied one over the crossbar from Johnson's cross.
With the defense playing a high line, Zlatan Ljubijankic split the center backs and Matavz broke in alone, scoring from about 15 yards over Howard's outstretched right hand.
Dempsey broke the deadlock with a header from about 8 yards off Michael Bradley's corner kick. With his 24th international goal, Dempsey tied Joe-Max Moore for fourth place on the U.S. scoring list, trailing only Landon Donovan (46), Eric Wynalda (34) and Brian McBride (30).
Miso Brecko then tripped up Johnson in the penalty area, and Altidore converted the penalty kick for his first goal under Klinsmann and 13th overall.
Slovenia had a chance to tie in second-half injury time, but Valter Birsa - who scored the opening goal when the teams met in South Africa last year - put a 25-yard free kick over the crossbar.
"We'd liked to have finished game a little bit stronger than we did,'' Dempsey said. "But we're happy with the win.''
NOTES: The U.S. is planning exhibitions at Panama on Jan. 25 and at Italy on Feb. 29. The second is a FIFA fixture date, meaning most of the player pool should be available.

No. 10 Memphis clobbers upset-minded Belmont - CNN

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Will Barton scored 23 points and Wesley Witherspoon added 22 as No. 10 Memphis defeated Belmont 97-81 on Tuesday.
Joe Jackson added 20 points and seven assists for Memphis (1-0). Freshman Adonis Thomas scored 12 for the Tigers, who shot 59 percent, including 7 of 14 from 3-point range.
Belmont, coming off a 77-76 loss at No. 6 Duke last Friday, was led by J.J. Mann with 18 points, while Ian Clark had 16. Kerron Johnson scored 13 and Mick Hedgepeth added 10.
Johnson and Hedgepeth each had eight rebounds as the Bruins (0-2) outrebounded Memphis 42-29.
Belmont was limited to 39-percent shooting and committed 18 turnovers to nine for Memphis.

Doubles rivals get Scottish International off to a tasty start

TWO-TIMES Yonex Scottish National men's doubles champions Jamie Neill and Keith Turnbull will be keen to make their mark at the Scottish International Championships, starting at the Kelvin Hall International Sports Arena a week tomorrow (Wed, Nov 23). And they were today given a great incentive to make an immediate impact when the draw paired them against rising Scotland star Paul Van Rietvelde and England's Ben Stawski, the recent Turkish International winners, in the opening round on the Thursday.
Scotland's other doubles hopes Martin Campbell and Angus Gilmour, who narrowly missed out on a seeding in the doubles, face a tough opening test against Austria's fourth seeds Juergen Koch and Peter Zauner. Russia's top seeds Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov start against Taipei's Lin Yu Hsien and Germany's Kai Waldenberger.
Peter Mills and Marcus Ellis, England's defending champions, are only seeded sixth and must face New Zealand's Kevin Dennerly-Mintum and Oliver Leydon-Davis in the first round. Their first real test should come against Koch and Zauner.
In the men's singles Rajiv Ouseph is out to recapture the title he won in 2008. The four-times English National champion and Commonwealth silver medallist, starts his bid against Germany's Richard Domke. But his first real test should come against old rival Scott Evans, the 12th seed from Ireland.
Ukraine second seed Dmytro Zavadsky starts against Denmark's Flemming Quach and could face Russia's 13th seed Ivan Sozonov in the last 16, whilst Scottish National Champion Kieran Merrilees faces a tough opening match against ninth seed Petr Koukal of the Czech Republic. England are also out to recapture the women's singles with 2008 winner and 2010 runner-up Elizabeth Cann seeded fourth and opening with a bye before meeting England's Holly Smith or Estonia's Saar Getter. But the title favourite is Bulgaria's Linda Zechiri. The top seed begins her bid in the second round against England's Jo Dix or Scotland's Carol Nicoll.
Zechiri is seeded to meet Larissa Griga in the final but the Ukraine player's first test is a second-round clash with Austria's Simone Prutsch or Ireland's Sinead Chambers.
Russia's third seed Anastasia Prokopenko and Dutch fifth seed Judith Meulendijks are two players also capable of making their mark on the women's singles, whilst Scotland’s Commonwealth Youth Games bronze medallist Kirsty Gilmour opens up against Japan’s Kusuhose Yuka.
In the women's doubles Mariana Agathangelou and Heather Olver will be out to improve on last year's runners-up spot. Agathangelou won the 2008 title with Scotland's Jillie Cooper and her main threat next week with Olver will be Sweden's second seeds Emelie Lennartsson and Emma Wengberg, who were runners-up in 2008. Both pairs start with first-round byes. One outside pair to watch for is the Anglo-Malaysian partnership of Sara Milne and Anita Rauj Kaur, who start against England's Hayley Rogers and Helena Lewczynska.
In the mixed doubles Poland's Wojciech Szkudlarczyk and Agnieszka Wojtkowska are the pair to beat and they open up against Scotland’s Jakob van den Berg and Fiona Bain, while Scotland fans will be eager to see Watson Briggs back in action after his absence from the game. He partners Cooper in a first-round clash with France's Sylvain Grosjean and Emilie Lefel.
Switzerland's Anthony Dumartheray and Sabrina Jaquet are the second seeds and open their title bid against Sam Dobson and Emily Westwood in an event won last year by Scotland's Imogen Bankier and England's Chris Adcock when the Anglo-Scottish pair lifted their first title together.
Anne Smillie, Chief Executive of BADMINTONscotland, said today: "The draw has been quite tough on Scotland players but that's only to be expected in this Olympic qualifying period and with so many players from all over the world chasing vital ranking points in the race to qualify.
"Certainly the opening-round contest involving Paul, Jamie and Keith will give fans something to shout about once the main draw gets under way."
Qualifying rounds in men's singles and doubles and mixed doubles start the third oldest tournament in world badminton next Wednesday (from 12 noon) with first-round action getting under way at 10am next Thursday. There is a full day's play on the Thursday and Friday with morning quarter-finals and afternoon semi-finals on the Saturday. The five finals on the Sunday commence at 1pm.

Federer drawn with Nadal in World Tour final



(Reuters) - Old foes Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer will meet in the group stage of the ATP World Tour finals starting in London Sunday while world number one Novak Djokovic will clash with number three Andy Murray.
The round-robin competition which ends the men's tennis season is made up of two groups of four with the top two from each pool going through to the semi-finals.
Defending champion Federer has not won a grand slam singles title this year for the first time since 2002 but has bounced back to form with triumphs in his last two tournaments including last week's Paris Masters.
"Anyone can beat anyone," said Federer before the draw ceremony in London.
"I'm really looking forward to it. It's a strong year."
Nadal and Federer are joined in Group B by Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who beat Federer in this year's Wimbledon quarter-finals but lost to the Swiss in Sunday's Paris final.
American Mardy Fish completes the pool despite being troubled with a hamstring strain.
Spaniard Nadal, who beat long-time rival Federer in the French Open final in June, missed the Paris Masters in order to focus on the World Tour finals -- which includes the eight best players this year.
Djokovic, who has enjoyed a scorching year including winning the Australian Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open, also pulled out of the Paris Masters because of a sore shoulder but should be fit for the week-long London showpiece.
The Serbian has been drawn in Group A alongside Briton Murray, Spaniard David Ferrer and Czech Tomas Berdych.
Murray's 17-match winning streak was ended by Berdych in the Paris quarter-finals last week.
Tsonga will face Federer for the seventh time this year but is looking forward to the challenge.
"Obviously it couldn't be an easy draw but it's a very good group for me, I'll be playing against Roger once again," the Frenchman told a news conference in Paris.
"I'll play Rafa on a (hardcourt) surface that suits me really well and I'll be expecting to beat Mardy Fish. Having played there three years ago will help me because I won't be looking around telling myself 'oh it's great to be here'. I'm not going there just to participate."
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