Andy Murray Wins Gold By Doing What He Couldnt

WIMBLEDON, England — Andy Murray stood with the Union Jack draped over his shoulders, an Olympic gold medal around his neck, flanked by the man he had just beaten, Roger Federer, and basking in the roar of the Centre Court crowd.No wonder the often dour Scotsman was grinning.Murray won one for the home team Sunday, beating Federer 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in the tennis final at Wimbledon.The victory marked a career breakthrough for Murray. He has lost all four of his Grand Slam finals, three against Federer, including Wimbledon a month ago.“It has been the best week of my tennis career by a mile,” Murray said. “I’ve had a lot of tough losses. This is the best way to come back from the Wimbledon final. I’ll never forget it.”For Federer, the drubbing marked another Olympic disappointment. Playing in the Games for the fourth time, he sought a victory to complete a career Golden Slam but settled for silver — his first singles medal.“Don’t feel too bad for me,” Federer said. “I felt like I won my silver, I didn’t lose it. So I feel really happy.”Murray swept nine consecutive games to take control, breaking Federer’s serve four times in a row, his inspired play a reflection of raucous crowd support. He erased all nine break points he faced.“He never looked back,” Federer said. “His credit for getting in the lead and using the crowd to come through. He did an unbelievable job.”The match capped the most memorable Olympics for tennis since it returned to the Games in 1988 after a 64-year absence. The event transformed staid Wimbledon into a more festive place.Murray became the first British man to win the gold in singles since Josiah Ritchie in 1908. Those games took place at Wimbledon, too.Read more: ESPN read more

The 10 Games That Shaped The NFL Playoff Picture The Most

Detroit72100+28 Denver4139-2 Green Bay70%100%+30 PLAYOFF CHANCES PLAYOFF CHANCES Washington37%51%+14 Houston44%74%+30 3. Tennessee 13, Denver 10 (Week 14) The most important game of the year came in Week 17, even though one of the teams — the New York Giants — had absolutely nothing to play for. Washington’s loss ended its playoff hopes and rendered the highly anticipated Green Bay-Detroit evening matchup mostly moot by guaranteeing playoff spots for both the Packers and Lions. Tennessee11%25%+14 After a tedious Week 17, the NFL playoff picture is finally set. Every week since Week 12, we’ve looked at which games could have the biggest impact on postseason chances throughout the league. Now, instead of dealing with hypotheticals, we can look backward to see which results from the entire 2016 regular season actually affected the playoff race the most.This is pretty easy to measure. Our NFL predictions update after every game, so the most important games are simply the ones that caused the largest net change in playoff probabilities. For example, when Buffalo beat Los Angeles in Week 5, the Bills’ playoff chances immediately improved from 50 percent to 64 percent (+14) while the Rams’ dropped from 49 percent to 34 percent (-14, with rounding). That’s a net change of 28 points. If we add to that number the impact the Bill’s victory had on Arizona, Seattle, New England and Oakland and its minor impacts on every other team in the league, we get an overall playoff swing of 57 points for that game.1The playoff swing totals in this article are lower than what we had listed in previous weeks. That’s because the scale has changed a bit, now that we’re measuring based on one actual game outcome instead of two potential game outcomes. An example: Going into their Week 17 matchup against New York, Washington had a 58 percent chance of making the playoffs. It would be eliminated with a loss and would more or less clinch with a win, so the team’s total potential range of outcomes, which we called its swing, was zero to 100 percent, or 100 percentage points. But Washington lost that game, so its actual, non-potential swing was from 58 percent to zero, or 58 percentage points.By this measure, the 10 biggest games of the regular season are below. Note that some of these results didn’t actually “matter” in the end. Going back to the example above: Buffalo didn’t make the postseason. But that game did make a significant impact on the playoff race at the time, so it was still important to the arc of the season. Miami55%92%+38 Game had 75.9 total “swing” points; only teams with a playoff swing of at least 2 percentage points based on the game outcome are shown AFFECTED TEAMBEFORE GAMEAFTER GAMECHANGE Detroit4650+4 Pittsburgh was an early favorite to make the playoffs, with a 62 percent preseason chance of advancing to the postseason that improved to 90 percent after a 4-1 start. But then the Steelers lost four straight, dropping down to 16th in our rankings, which are based on Elo ratings (a measure of team strength based on game results that we use quite a bit around here). They would go on to beat the Browns in Week 11, but this road victory against the Colts was when Pittsburgh really righted the ship. The Steelers closed the season with five more wins, easily making it to the postseason; they enter as the fourth-ranked team by Elo. Game had 58.5 total “swing” points; only teams with a playoff swing of at least 2 percentage points based on the game outcome are shown Dallas2623-3 Game had 76.0 total “swing” points; only teams with a playoff swing of at least 2 percentage points based on the game outcome are shown The game to watch for Week 16 was one of the best of the year. Buffalo came back from a 21-7 deficit, but the Dolphins hit a 55-yard field goal at the end of the fourth quarter to send the game into OT. Buffalo immediately drove 58 yards to Miami’s 17-yard line before moving backward 10 yards on two running plays and missing a 45-yarder. The Dolphins eventually won it on a chip shot field goal, sending their playoff chances skyrocketing to 92 percent at the expense of Denver and Baltimore. Washington1815-3 AFFECTED TEAMBEFORE GAMEAFTER GAMECHANGE Green Bay6269+6 Miami1626+11 Buffalo712+5 N.Y. Giants3429-4 AFFECTED TEAMBEFORE GAMEAFTER GAMECHANGE Philadelphia56%72%+16 AFFECTED TEAMBEFORE GAMEAFTER GAMECHANGE Denver7348-24 AFFECTED TEAMBEFORE GAMEAFTER GAMECHANGE Houston5855-3 Let’s take a moment to acknowledge Tennessee’s season. The Titans were one of the NFL’s worst teams in 2015 but rallied to go 9-7 this season, with a 5-2 record against eventual playoff teams. Their peak came in back-to-back wins against Denver (Week 14) and Kansas City (Week 15), giving them a serious shot at an AFC South title. Unfortunately, it was all for naught — the bad version of the Titans came out in Week 16 and lost 38-17 to the Jaguars, allowing the Texans to clinch the division. Tennessee’s victory over Denver did make a big difference for Miami, which eventually took the second AFC wild card spot. PLAYOFF CHANCES Houston7957-22 Based on the Cowboys’ terrible performance last season, our NFL predictions projected them to go 7-9 in 2016. And it took a little while for our model to figure out that Dallas was for real. This Week 6 drubbing of Green Bay improved the Cowboys’ record to 5-1 and sent their playoff chances shooting up 22 points to 78 percent; the suddenly struggling Packers saw an equivalent drop. Game had 57.2 total “swing” points; only teams with a playoff swing of at least 2 percentage points based on the game outcome are shown Remember Philadelphia? After a 3-0 start, capped by this shellacking of the highly rated Pittsburgh Steelers, the Eagles saw their playoff chances rise to over 70 percent. After a bye in Week 4, it was all downhill. Philadelphia went 2-9 over their next 11 games and were eliminated from playoff contention in Week 15. Game had 66.3 total “swing” points; only teams with a playoff swing of at least 2 percentage points based on the game outcome are shown Indianapolis11%21%+10 9. Philadelphia 34, Pittsburgh 3 (Week 3) Green Bay5434-20 The Texans ended the regular season with a 9-7 record, a -49 point differential and just the saddest kind of quarterback controversy (the kind where both quarterbacks are bad). So how did they find themselves in the playoffs, with room to spare? Houston’s secret weapon was a 5-1 record against its AFC South opponents, spoiled only by its final meaningless game against the Titans. Whenever Houston’s lead in its terrible division was challenged, the team rose to the occasion, getting a particularly large boost to its playoffs chances in this narrow victory over the Colts. Pittsburgh6870+2 4. Houston 22, Indianapolis 17 (Week 14) Pittsburgh55%71%+16 Indianapolis2311-12 5. Tennessee 19, Kansas City 17 (Week 15) Kansas City>9997-2 AFFECTED TEAMBEFORE GAMEAFTER GAMECHANGE N.Y. Giants4850+2 Houston7987+7 Baltimore3224-8 Game had 58.7 total “swing” points; only teams with a playoff swing of at least 2 percentage points based on the game outcome are shown PLAYOFF CHANCES Pittsburgh9388-5 Indianapolis73-4 1. N.Y. Giants 19, Washington 10 (Week 17) PLAYOFF CHANCES AFFECTED TEAMBEFORE GAMEAFTER GAMECHANGE PLAYOFF CHANCES After Green Bay’s late-season surge to make the playoffs (and the collapse of Washington and Tampa Bay), the Packers’ midseason foibles are all but forgotten. But they really almost blew it, going on a four-game losing streak that started at the end of October during which the Green Bay defense allowed 38 points per game and the team’s chances of making the playoffs dropped (at 4-6) to just 6 percent. This Week 9 loss to the Colts — the second loss in the streak — was one of the most damaging for Green Bay while simultaneously reviving Indianapolis’s hopes. Houston8682-5 2. Miami 34, Buffalo 31 (Week 16) Baltimore3841+3 6. Indianapolis 31, Green Bay 26 (Week 9) Houston5144-7 Cincinnati159-7 Baltimore2814-14 Washington2831+3 Tennessee16%44%+28 Game had 58.9 total “swing” points; only teams with a playoff swing of at least 2 percentage points based on the game outcome are shown AFFECTED TEAMBEFORE GAMEAFTER GAMECHANGE Dallas56%78%+22 Minnesota6164+3 Game had 116.6 total “swing” points; only teams with a playoff swing of at least 2 percentage points based on the game outcome are shown Philadelphia3835-3 AFFECTED TEAMBEFORE GAMEAFTER GAMECHANGE Miami4145+3 Baltimore5154+3 Indianapolis3934-5 8. Dallas 30, Green Bay 16 (Week 6) Denver177-10 Indianapolis344-30 Game had 65.0 total “swing” points; only teams with a playoff swing of at least 2 percentage points based on the game outcome are shown AFFECTED TEAMBEFORE GAMEAFTER GAMECHANGE Game had 59.7 total “swing” points; only teams with a playoff swing of at least 2 percentage points based on the game outcome are shown PLAYOFF CHANCES Pittsburgh8067-13 Washington580-58 PLAYOFF CHANCES The second ultimately meaningless late-season Titans victory that briefly shook the AFC South playoff race. Better luck next year, Tennessee! PLAYOFF CHANCES PLAYOFF CHANCES Tampa Bay29<1-28 Detroit7380+7 Tennessee4542-3 Green Bay7249-22 10. New Orleans 31, Tampa Bay 24 (Week 16) 7. Pittsburgh 28, Indianapolis 7 (Week 12) Going into Week 15, the 8-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a 54 percent chance of making the playoffs but blew it with back-to-back narrow losses to the Cowboys and Saints. Although this game didn’t technically eliminate Tampa Bay from playoff contention — the team had a very outside chance of making the playoffs in Week 17, if seven games broke their way — it more or less ended the Bucs’ playoff hopes.Check out our latest NFL predictions. read more

Everyone Wants To Go Home During Extra Innings — Maybe Even The

In the top of the 10th inning in Sunday night’s nationally televised contest between the Astros and Rangers — one that will most likely be remembered as the night a 44-year-old nearly no-hit the defending World Series champs — the visiting Rangers grabbed a 3-1 lead.In the bottom of the frame, the home team’s hopes rested on Jake Marisnick, who, with runners at the corners, two outs, and his team still trailing by a pair of runs, worked a 3-1 count against Jake Diekman. A Marisnick walk would load the bases for the Astros, bringing reigning World Series MVP George Springer to the plate, a hit away from tying or winning the game.On Diekman’s fifth pitch, it appeared that Marisnick had earned a walk. “This is not a strike, this is off the plate,” ESPN broadcaster Jessica Mendoza opined as the networks’ K-Zone showed the pitch a few inches outside. Home plate umpire Adam Hamari disagreed, however, calling the pitch strike two. Marisnick struck out swinging on the following pitch to end the game, and the outfielder slammed his bat in disgust.Umps miss balls and strikes all the time. But the strike two in that Marisnick at-bat is emblematic of a larger pattern of borderline calls, albeit one that umps probably produce unwittingly: In extra innings, umpires will vary ball and strike calls in ways that tend to end the game as quickly as possible.To find this pattern, we looked at pitches thrown in the bottom of extra innings, when the game could quickly end.1Data was grabbed using Bill Petti’s baseballr package, which scrapes pitch location information from Baseballsavant.mlb.com. If the away team scored in the top half of an inning and held a lead, as was the case in Marisnick’s at-bat, an umpire hoping for a faster exit would call more strikes, making it more likely that the home team will be sent down quickly. Alternatively, if the home team got a runner aboard, umps would be more likely to favor them by calling fewer strikes, giving the team more chances to get the runner across the plate and send everyone home.Here’s a chart showing how umps changed their behavior in these situations between 2008 and 2016, a sample of roughly 32,000 pitches. Each square shows the percentage increase or decrease in the likelihood that a pitch is called a strike in that part of the strike zone. The color of each square (green for more balls, pink for more strikes) corresponds with which side umps are favoring, while how darkly shaded the square is reflects the size of the change (in percentage points). The left panel shows the comparative rate of strike calls when, in the bottom of an inning in extras, the batting team is positioned to win — defined as having a runner on base in a tie game — relative to those rates in situations when there’s no runner on base in a tie game. When the home team has a baserunner, umps call more balls, thus setting up more favorable counts for home-team hitters, creating more trouble for the pitcher, and giving the home team more chances to end the game.The right-hand side of the chart shows squares at identical strike zone locations, but shaded according to changes in strike rates when the extra-inning scenario favors the away team. More specifically, any time the away team is trying to hold onto a lead in the bottom half of an inning after the ninth. Here, and as in the pitch to Marisnick, umps call more strikes, giving the batting team fewer chances to extend the game.Altogether, teams that are in a position to win get up to a 27 percentage point increase in the rate of called balls, while teams that look like they’re about to lose see increased strike rates of up to 33 percentage points. Differences are largest in fringe areas of the strike zone, where the opportunity for umpire discretion is the highest: 62 percent of these squares in the left panel are green, while 72 percent of fringe squares on the right panel are pink.2We’re defining the fringe area as squares within one square of the black line marking the edge of the strike zone. In both settings, umps are more likely to use whatever behavior gets the game over with the quickest. That may not necessarily be a bad thing. MLB games are already slow, and extra-innings play often comes late at night, which means smaller crowds and fewer television viewers.MLB did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the league has made no secret of its interest in shortening games. Even so, umpires may not be consciously deciding who should win. Humans are susceptible to various biases they may not be aware of, and even just a bit of fatigue could unintentionally push umpires in one direction or the other on borderline calls.Moreover, according to sources within the umpire union, umps don’t get paid more when games go to extra innings. In other words, MLB asks them to take on extra work without providing any extra compensation. That’s one more reason they may want the game to end early — their paycheck’s the same regardless. read more

Blue Jackets still getting accustomed to new coachs uptempo offense

Talk in Columbus during the Blue Jackets offseason often focused on new coach Scott Arniel’s up-tempo, high-octane offensive system. Meanwhile, fans wondered if a new coach would turn the team around after one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history. After 15 games, it’s clear that the transition from former coach Ken Hitchcock’s read-and-react style to Arniel’s is still a work in progress. Ideally, Arniel would like to push a defender up the ice to help on the attack, creating offense by controlling the puck and limiting the opponent’s space. “It’s kind of meat and potatoes, get the puck deep and get the puck on the net,” Blue Jackets center Kyle Wilson said. “The way the NHL is these days, sure you see the pretty goals on the highlight reels every day, but 95 percent of them are goals in and around the net. These days, that’s how you’re going to win hockey games.” Former Buckeye and current Blue Jackets center R.J. Umberger said the system can be fun as long as the team gets up the ice without turning over the puck. “I think that we have a lot more responsibility, and as long as we’re making smart, sound plays with the puck and protecting it, we get a leash and can go out there and do a little bit more with it,” Umberger said. The Jackets’ defense has been turning in the most impressive performances in the first 15 games. The worry with Arniel’s system is that it can lead to two-on-one breakaways for the opposition, especially when the defenders are moving up the ice and into an attacking position. Yet the team ranks 20th in the league in goals per game, with 2.7, and 10th in the league in goals against, with 2.5 per game. The Jackets are 9-6, good enough for fourth place in the competitive Western Conference Central Division. Right wing Jakub Voracek said the wins column will fill up if the team is more consistent. “We’ll play well for two or three games and then we’ll just have a blowout game,” Voracek said. “We’ve just got to figure this system out and we’ve got to play even better.” Jackets defenseman Anton Stralman agreed with Voracek’s assertion but said he likes where the team is headed under Arniel. “I think the system has been good, you know, obviously it’s getting results,” Stralman said. “We’re a better team this year than we were last year, so we just have to be more consistent and put the effort in every game.” The Jackets will start the week by traveling to Los Angeles, where they will play the Kings on Wednesday at the Staples Center. read more

Young Buckeyes fight through early losses remain determined to win

First-year Ohio State baseball coach Greg Beals insists that the Buckeyes (1-2) not set specific goals as they progress through this season, though he will demand a “fighting mentality.” “We’re too young and too inexperienced to have these expectations of, ‘We should win all our games,’ or, ‘We should do this, this and that,’” Beals said Wednesday. “We need to go out and establish ourselves as a baseball team before we start setting up what our goals are.” Beals has emphasized an approach that he says will help build a great team. “We have expectations about going through the process (of improving) the quality of our at-bat, the quality of our pitches,” Beals said. Redshirt senior right fielder Brian DeLucia has already bought into his new coach’s thinking. “For right now, our expectations aren’t very extensive in terms of where we want to be at the end of the season,” DeLucia said Wednesday. “We’re gonna take it game by game.” With 19 underclassmen on its 33-player roster, OSU is a young team. DeLucia said the team’s youth is part of the reason for tempering predictions about wins and losses. “We’ve got a lot of young guys on this team,” DeLucia said. “We’ve got a lot of learning experiences, a lot of obstacles to overcome.” DeLucia also said his only expectation for the season was that he and his teammates would “fight like dogs.” Having already played their first three games, Beals’ players have proven to be resilient. While competing in the Big Ten/Big East Challenge in Florida on Friday and Saturday, OSU dropped its first two games, losing, 11-5, and, 2-0, to Cincinnati and No. 20 Louisville, respectively. The Buckeyes then eked out an 8-7 win on Saturday against No. 23 St. John’s in a game that lasted 11 innings. Beals pointed to Sunday’s win, his first as OSU’s coach, as evidence of the Buckeyes’ unwavering effort on the field. “It’s gonna take all of us, and a great example of that was the Sunday win,” Beals said. “We had to go deep into our bullpen. It took a lot of guys, and we ended up laying down a bunt to win a ball game.” In Beals’ eyes, the path to success is very simple. “Anyway, anyhow, anybody,” Beals said, “we gotta get that mentality to just fight and claw to get every success we can.” There is no set number of wins that the team is striving for, but redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Paul Geuy said the outlook is positive. “Expectations are quite high,” Geuy said Wednesday. “It’s going to be a good year, definitely.” read more

Scott Barnes falls short in Clippers 42 loss to Louisville

Left-handed pitcher Scott Barnes made his first career Triple-A start for the Columbus Clippers on Tuesday night, after starting twice for the Double-A Akron Aeros. Barnes began the season for the Aeros by giving up just two runs in 11 innings pitched, but he wasn’t quite as impressive in Columbus. He gave up four runs in five innings in his Clippers debut and, despite his team losing, 4-2, to Louisville, manager Mike Sarbaugh said he liked what he saw from Barnes. “It was a good first outing for him,” Sarbaugh said. “He gave us five good innings … definitely something to build off of.” The first runs Barnes gave up came after he walked two of the first three batters he faced in the top of the second inning, before Bats center fielder Dave Sappelt sent a hit down the right-field line to give Louisville the early 2-0 lead. Columbus battled right back and scored its first run of the game when first baseman Wes Hodges drove in shortstop Luis Valbuena in the bottom of the third, cutting Louisville’s lead to 2-1. The Clippers scored only one run in the third inning, despite having the bases loaded with no outs. Sarbaugh said it was a lost opportunity. “We had our chance in the third with bases loaded and no outs and only came up with one (run),” he said. “It had a chance to get us back in the game or even get ahead.” Barnes walked the first batter he faced in the top of the fourth, Louisville second baseman Chris Valaika. The next batter, right fielder Michael Griffin, made Barnes pay by sending a triple down the right field line to give Louisville a 3-1 lead. Center fielder Kristopher Negron grounded out in the Bats’ next at-bat, but Griffin scored to extend his team’s lead to 4-1. The most physical play of the night came in bottom of the fourth inning. After leading off with a base hit to center field to start the bottom of the fourth, Columbus center fielder Bubba Bell took second base on a wild pitch, and then third base on a ground ball. Catcher Paul Phillips was up to bat next and sent a fielder’s choice to Louisville shortstop Zack Cozart, who fired the ball to his catcher, Devin Mesoraco, as Bell sprinted toward home plate. Cozart’s throw skipped in the dirt before Bell lowered his shoulder and pummeled over Mesoraco, knocking him on his back and the ball out of his mitt for the Clippers’ second run of the night, this one unearned, again cutting the Louisville lead in half, 4-2. But following six runs in three innings, the bats stayed relatively quiet for the rest of the night. Bell was walked by Louisville reliever Carlos Fisher to start the ninth inning, and then Luke Carlin came up to pinch hit in place of Phillips for the Clippers. Carlin hit into a double play, and the next batter, Valbuena, grounded out as well. The Clippers lost back-to-back games for the second time this season. Louisville improved to 10-3 and remains in first place in the division, while Columbus fell to 8-5, two games behind the Bats, but still good enough for second place. The Clippers will have the opportunity to redeem themselves, as they play Louisville at home each of the next three nights. read more

SaberCat clawing his way back Former Buckeye Jamario ONeal is back in

If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again. That goes for former Buckeye safety Jamario O’Neal as he continues his career in the Arena Football League with the San Jose SaberCats. A native of Mansfield, Ohio, O’Neal moved to Cleveland and played his final two years of high school at Glenville High School. O’Neal was the first commitment of the Buckeyes’ 2005 recruiting class. His career at Ohio State, however, never panned out. “I didn’t do the little things and stay on the grind that got me to that point,” O’Neal said. “I had a lot going in my life with school and everything, and I just kind of lost my passion for football.” O’Neal was an All-Ohio team selection his junior and senior years of high school. His senior year garnered him a Parade All-America honor before he came to OSU. Four years later, after splitting time at safety and cornerback with the Buckeyes, O’Neal amassed 49 tackles, one forced fumble, one interception and two passes defended. His recruiting class also included Kansas City Chiefs’ safety Donald Washington, New Orleans Saints’ cornerback Malcolm Jenkins and Washington Redskins’ defensive back Anderson Russell in the secondary with him. “Just thinking about all the times I could’ve done extra films, gassers (and) time in the weight room, I had talent but didn’t work hard,” he said. “You had guys like Malcolm and Donald who worked hard and had talent.” After being suspended for the Spring Game and first two games of 2008 for a team violation, O’Neal didn’t make it back into the starting rotation. O’Neal worked out during Pro Day, but no one offered him a contract during the NFL Draft. He spent the next two years out of football, until he got a phone call from his agent in October 2010 regarding the SaberCats and another chance on the field. “I had time to reflect while I was away,” he said. He immediately began to study the team playbook and prepare for the faster pace of the indoor game. “I was out of football for damned near two years,” he said. “Adjusting to the mental aspect was easy. With the physical aspect, that is something that you have to work on everyday.” After missing the first four games of the season with a strained hamstring, O’Neal had an immediate impact with a forced fumble and recovery in his first game against the Tulsa Talons. “Jamario brought real good enthusiasm,” teammate Mervin Brookins said. “He turns it on when he gets on the field.” In week seven, O’Neal had an interception return for a touchdown in a 68-61 win against the Philadelphia Soul. Since then, he’s had 11.5 tackles, nine of which were solo in three games for the 5-3 SaberCats. Having proved his playing abilities to everyone who said he was a bust, O’Neal is confident when talking about his future after football. “After this: big things. I just need to stay focused,” he said. read more

Ohio State athletics selfreports 24 minor NCAA violations

Coach Pete Hanson sent letters to two prospective student-athletes in March 2013 that promised them athletically related financial aid. At the time each athlete received said letter, they had not yet reached their senior years in high school. The Compliance Office determined there to be seven impermissible phone calls to prospective student-athletes and/or their parents after an April 2013 review of phone records between Aug. 1, 2012, and March 1, 2013. The report states they were the result of inadvertent “pocket dials.” A coach inadvertently sent recruiting materials to a 2016 prospective student-athlete. Men’s GymnasticsReported Nov. 5 Two incoming prospective student-athletes — one in men’s soccer and the other in women’s volleyball — participated in voluntary workouts conducted by an OSU strength coach while not being enrolled at OSU. Program engaged in seven hours of out-of-season conditioning activities involving gymnastics equipment. Members of the synchronized swimming team posted photos of prospective student-athletes they were hosting to both Facebook and Instagram on Oct. 21, 2012. The photos that were posted were then commented on by the student-athletes and coach Holly Vargo-Brown. Coach Geoff Carlston made an impermissible telephone call to a prospective student-athlete who was a sophomore in high school on Oct. 8, 2012. On April 24, an assistant coach replied to an email from a prospective student-athlete who was a sophomore in high school. Reported Nov. 4 Women’s LacrosseReported July 23 Two private camps in spring 2013 impermissibly used the names of an OSU coach and two student-athletes to advertise the camps. A women’s hockey volunteer coach was involved with a local sports club that had multiple prospective student-athletes residing outside a permitted 50-mile radius of the university. On May 7, the coach provided a private lesson to a current member of the women’s team, and while also serving as a volunteer coach for the men’s ice hockey team from 2009-11, the coach provided three student-athletes a combined total of four private lessons during summer vacation. Women’s SoccerReported July 25 Synchronized SwimmingReported July 9 Click to expand.The Ohio State athletic department self-reported 24 minor violations in the second half of 2013, including nine for “impermissible” phone calls, text messages and emails to prospective student-athletes, as well as three violations for various involvement in conditioning and summer camp activities.The figures are a result of an open records request submitted Thursday by The Lantern and released Friday by the OSU public records office.None of the violations are considered major, but the report included 19 violations that included “prospective student-athletes.”The last 2013 violation was reported Nov. 6.In each case, the school proposed its own corrective action to either the Big Ten or NCAA, who accepted the proposals but at times, offered further recommendations to each sport. Common resolutions include issuing a letter of education to the respective coaching staff and restraining them from contacting the prospective student-athletes for a period of time, usually two weeks. The football program, however, was only restricted to one week of no contact for impermissible phone calls.OSU athletic director and Vice President Gene Smith said the school typically has “about 40” self-reported secondary violations annually during an interview with The Lantern May 15, 2012.“On an annual basis, we have about 40 (violations),” Smith said. “It ranges in that area we’re sitting at. In that 40 range is where we always hang.“Our whole thing is if we have 10 (violations), I’d have a problem. I mean, I really would because people are going to make mistakes. And that means if I only have 10 out of 350 employees (and) 1,000 athletes – something’s not right.”FootballReported June 27 WrestlingReported July 11 Carlston replied to a text message from a prospective student-athlete in February 2013 who was a junior in high school. Carlston mistakenly thought it was an email, not a text. Reported July 19 On Jan. 10, 2013, the Compliance Office approved and provided what was determined to be an official visit for a prospective student-athlete who had not yet been registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center. Reported July 29 On Oct. 17, 2012, coach Alexis Venechanos made an impermissible phone call to a prospective student-athlete in the 2015 class. An assistant coach made an impermissible phone call to a 2015 prospective student-athlete March 26. A total of three incoming student-athletes were employed as volunteers at the LiFE Sports Camp June 26. All three were enrolled in summer school, but were still considered prospective student-athletes in terms of employment. On both March 25 and May 7, coach Tom Ryan made two impermissible phone calls to 2014 prospective student-athletes. The field hockey program received approval from the OSU Compliance Office that allowed it to put an image of a current member of the team on an institutional brochure. Women’s VolleyballReported July 15 BaseballReported July 29 A member of the coaching staff was reported to have used a smokeless tobacco product during a game, violating NCAA bylaws. An assistant coach made an impermissible phone call to a 2015 prospective student-athlete April 25. An assistant coach and an assistant director of compliance distributed camp postcards at a soccer tournament May 4. Reported Nov. 6 Field HockeyReported July 24 Men’s SoccerReported July 29 The baseball director of operations participated in an off-campus baseball league against prospective student-athletes. Women’s GolfReported Sept. 12 On June 25, coach Therese Hession accepted a Facebook friend request from a 2016 prospective student-athlete. Two incoming prospective student-athletes — one in women’s volleyball and the other in men’s soccer — participated in voluntary workouts conducted by an OSU strength coach while not enrolled at OSU. Men’s and Women’s Ice HockeyReported Aug. 1 Men’s VolleyballReported July 15 Men’s and Women’s Swimming and DivingReported July 15During a dead period, then-men’s and women’s diving coach Vince Panzano flew to The Woodlands, Texas, April 15 and observed several unknown prospective student-athletes practice. read more

Rick Lewis and Ohio State lacrosse set sights on matchup with Rutgers

Rick Lewis and the Buckeyes are set to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, his fathers former team on Saturday.Credit: Molly Tavoletti / Lantern photographerRick Lewis took the lacrosse field in Piscataway, N.J., 29 years ago to lead the defense for Rutgers in the 1986 NCAA tournament. Now his son, Rick Lewis Jr., prepares to step onto that same field, as the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team looks to bring home a win this weekend in the Buckeyes’ final regular-season matchup of the inaugural Big Ten lacrosse season.“I’ve always looked up to my dad,” Lewis Jr. said. “So it’ll be really special to have my last regular season game … where he played his first.”Now a senior midfielder and captain for OSU, Lewis Jr. grew up with a lacrosse stick in his hand, receiving his first one from his dad’s friends at the hospital just hours after he was born. From there, his dad became his coach and the rest is history, Lewis Jr. said.The midfielder grew up playing in Cumming, Ga., earning All-American honors at St. Pius X Catholic High School, and also spent time playing in leagues in New Jersey, making him no stranger to Rutgers territory.“I know a lot of those guys,” Lewis Jr. said. “With the team in New Jersey, I was actually coached by my dad’s college roommate. I even lived at his house for the summer.”And while his old summer coach might be supporting Rutgers this weekend, Lewis Jr. said his dad will be on OSU’s side.“He’s rooting for the Buckeyes, definitely wearing scarlet and gray,” Lewis Jr. said.For the Lewis family, Saturday’s matchup might be “a fun rivalry game,” but for OSU, the stakes are high to bring home a final conference win for the regular season. And while Rutgers has already lost its chance at an NCAA tournament berth, OSU coach Nick Myers said he expects the Scarlet Knights to be ready to win.“These are two tough teams that are both hungry for a final Big Ten win,” Myers said. “It’ll be a battle.”OSU is coming off its only home loss this season, a 10-9 overtime heartbreaker against Maryland on Saturday at Ohio Stadium. The Terrapins locked up at least a share of the Big Ten title, and a win would have done the same for the Buckeyes. But instead of dwelling on the disappointment, the team used the loss as motivation through practices this week, Myers said.“It was the closure we needed,” he said. “We looked at what we did well, and the situations throughout the game where we need to improve. We’re focused on how to be successful against a formidable team this weekend.”Senior midfielder Christopher May said OSU focused on its efforts at the face-off X in particular, hoping to secure regular possession to kick-start the offense against Rutgers.“Maryland had a super talented faceoff unit. They communicated well and were good at causing loose balls, so we took that as a learning experience,” May said. “Rutgers likes to create offense off the faceoff. We’re going to try to limit the transition and put ourselves in a better position to win this game.”The loss against Maryland dropped OSU to No. 2 in the Big Ten. Even if the Terrapins lose against Johns Hopkins this weekend, the Buckeyes would share the No. 1 spot heading into the conference tournament, but would fall short because of the tiebreaker, as long as they win against Rutgers on Saturday.“We come out every game (at) full speed. They’re a very dangerous team so we’re preparing and ready to go,” Lewis Jr. said. “We’re focused on playing a full 60 minutes. If we do that, we can play with anybody in the country.”The game against Rutgers marks the end of the inaugural Big Ten regular season, one that, regardless of record, has been an honor for the team, Myers said.“It’s been everything we could’ve hoped it would be,” he said.Saturday’s game is set for noon in Piscataway, N.J. read more

Opinion Dualthreat Tate Martell provides Ohio State best option as starting quarterback

Ohio State freshman quarterback Tate Martell warms up prior to the Buckeyes’ season-opening 49-21 win over Indiana on Aug. 31 in Bloomington, Indiana. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports EditorRarely in the recent history of Ohio State has the team not started a mobile quarterback under center.A program that takes Woody Hayes’ iconic quote, “Three yards and a cloud of dust” to heart, Ohio State historically won national titles on the shoulders of running backs, but has since relied on mobile quarterbacks as another option to run the ball and pass only when needed.Dwayne Haskins is not that type of quarterback. Tate Martell is.Martell was listed as the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the 2017 recruiting class, having flashed a powerful enough arm to complete passes downfield while also demonstrating an elusive running style that is more similar to the style of Braxton Miller rather than J.T. Barrett.Coaches have spoken of Martell with nothing but praise, acknowledging the progress he has made both in maturity and skill set since stepping foot on campus in the spring 2017. Martell embraced his role as scout team quarterback last season, helping the defense prepare while also working to improve his game during practice.The knock on Martell is that he lacks the experience of both Haskins and redshirt junior Joe Burrow. Haskins appeared in several games in 2017, including carrying the team in its win against Michigan. Martell has never appeared in a collegiate game, but that has not stopped quarterbacks in the past. Barrett began the 2014 season as the starting quarterback lacking college experience, admittedly filling in for the injured Miller. His predecessor started games in his true freshman campaign, taking over under center in just the fourth game of the 2011 season.Experience should be a factor, but it shouldn’t always be the deciding factor when examining how to maximize a team. Head coach Urban Meyer has leaned on mobile quarterbacks throughout his coaching career, ranging from Alex Smith to Tim Tebow to Miller to Barrett. The only time he had a pocket-passing quarterback at Ohio State was when Cardale Jones began the 2015 season as the starting quarterback, replaced later in the year by Barrett.Martell offers the Buckeyes an explosive runner who can make things happen even when the pocket collapses around him. If no one is available downfield, Martell has the ability to move. And while Martell might not be able to connect on as many deep passes as a quarterback like Haskins, he should still be effective enough passing to keep teams wary of his throwing ability.Martell is not viewed as the favorite to win the job and his legs give him the option to play other positions. But in a typical Ohio State offense, there is no better fit than a player like Martell. read more