The State’s Emergency Board met today in Montpelier and approved a plan proposed by Governor Douglas and Treasurer Spaulding to make $135 million of low interest bonding authority available statewide for economic development projects through the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA). The bonds which are issued will be revenue bonds, and so the state’s credit rating is not affected by this issuance. Neither the federal nor state government nor VEDA provides any kind of credit guarantee for these bonds so the projects and applicants must be able to satisfy investors that they will be repaid. In general, bond funding must be used to acquire or construct new depreciable assets. VEDA will underwrite applications and assist borrowers in placing their bonds. All bonds must be issued by December 31, 2010 and the maximum bond issuance for any one project is $25 million. The bonds were initially allocated to eleven Vermont counties under federal law. However, the Vermont Attorney General opined that the counties did not have the requisite authority to use these bonds although the assistant judges do have the authority to waive their allocations, in which case the authority goes to the State. Treasurer Spaulding and Chief Recovery Officer Tom Evslin met with both interested parties and the Assistant Judges and, together with them, developed the plan which was presented to the Emergency Board today. Under this plan, half of the allocation which each county received from the federal government is reserved as a minimum allocation for that county through March of 2010. In addition $20,000,000 is reserved through March for the Vermont Telecommunications Authority (VTA). The unreserved $47.5 million and any reservation not used through March are available anywhere in Vermont.“This is an excellent use of stimulus funding,” said Douglas. “Not only will badly-needed short-term jobs be created while these projects are built, but the companies who take advantage of this will provide both future job and future expanded tax base for the state.”Treasurer Spaulding stated, “It is gratifying that all of the key players, from the Governor and County Judges to the Legislature and VEDA have worked so cooperatively and quickly to get this initiative off the ground. This is one piece of the stimulus program that I am confident will spur new economic development projects around the state.”“We’re very appreciative of the leadership the Assistant Judges showed in developing this plan, “said Evslin. “They have assured that the money is used for development that will benefit their counties and the state. In fact more than 25% of Vermonters cross county lines to go to work so projects in one county certainly help workers in the adjoining counties.”The largest original allocations under the federal formula were $63,347,000 to Rutland County and $32,695,000 to Chittenden County. Lamoille, Orleans, and Windsor County received no allocations. Projects anywhere in Vermont are now eligible to apply under the plan approved by the Emergency Board.Another $90 million of Recovery Zone bonds for municipal use were also made available and the Assistant Judges have also waived this to the state. A plan for its use will be presented to the Joint Fiscal Committee shortly.The Emergency Board is made up of the Governor and the Chairs of the four legislative money committees: Senators Susan Bartlett and Ann Cummings and Representatives Michael Obuchowski and Martha Heath. The bonding authorization is part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) better known as the stimulus bill. This authorization allows tax-exempt bonds to be issued for projects that would otherwise be required to use more expensive taxable bonding.Interested applicants are urged to contact a VEDA commercial loan officer at 802 828-5627 (JOBS) or click on Recovery Zone Facility Bonds at veda.org .Source: Governor’s office. 10.14.2009###
Moscow, Russia | AFP |World athletics’ governing body IAAF has ruled to maintain Russia’s suspension, a top Russian athletics official confirmed Friday, TASS news agency reported.“I can confirm, the suspension is upheld,” Mikhail Butov, general secretary of the Russian athletics federation, told TASS. “I cannot give any more comments for the time being.”Russia’s sports minister said the decision had been expected in Moscow and pledged to respond.“The suspension of the Russian athletic federation is an expected decision, we could have assumed this,” Vitaly Mutko told TASS news agency. “We will react.”“We are extremely disappointed by the IAAF’s decision to uphold the ban on all of our track and field athletes, creating the unprecedented situation of a whole nation’s track and field athletes being banned from the Olympics,” the sports ministry said in a statement. Pole vault star Isinbayeva to challenge IAAF decision in court Pole vault star Yelena Isinbayeva said Friday she would challenge in court the IAAF decision to uphold Russia’s suspension that would sideline Russian athletes from the Olympic Games in Rio.“This is a human rights violation. I will not remain silent, I will take measures,” she told TASS news agency. “I will appeal to the human rights court,” she said, without specifying in which court she planned to challenge the ruling. Share on: WhatsApp Pages: 1 2
Ronjan Sodhi disappointed the large Indian gathering at the Royal Artillery Barracks as he succumbed under pressure and shot a 134/150 to finish 11th in the double trap event on Thursday.On a day when the elements had a say, with the light conditions changing, a strong breeze blowing across from the left and crowds cheering loudly, Ronjan began superbly by busting 48 out of the 50 orange targets.People had already begun speculating if he would be shooting in the final at 3 pm local time. However, in the eventual analysis, Ronjan’s inability to make the final was more than the proverbial miss by a whisker.As one who shoots with a cool head and does not let pressure affect him, Ronjan fumbled repeatedly on Thursday when he was on the first shooting station.”I don’t know what went wrong on station one as I repeatedly missing from there,” said Ronjan.With Britain’s Richard Faulds also shooting in the same group as Ronjan, the crowds were vocal. Shooting range etiquette demands that when the action is on, there is silence.Perhaps, in the name of cheering the local man, the Britons were a bit too loud. Despite the big ear plug, Ronjan was getting distracted.But the worst came from him in the third series where he slumped and shot a mere 42 out of 50. Had Ronjan been able to shoot two points more, he would have aggregated 136 and made the final.What was distressing on Thursday was how Ronjan dropped a double on the 23rd series. After that he again missed two singles and was done in.advertisementFrom sports minister Ajay Maken to former international shooter and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) secretary general Randhir Singh, everyone was disappointed.What was baffling on this day was how on eight occasions in the first station at the A, B and C ranges, Ronjan bungled. It’s a jinx which he alone can explain.Trap shooter Manavjit Sandhu was also watching the event from the sidelines. “This is a sport and it boils down to what happens on that day. I think Ronjan missing birds repeatedly on the first station was an indicator something was amiss,” said Manavjit.Manavjit will be shooting the trap event on August 5 and 6.Speaking to Mail Today, Ronjan’s personal coach Moraad Ali Khan said: “It was a day when Ronjan began well. But once you start missing targets, there is little you can do.”Moraad also said that as it was Ronjan’s first Olympics, the pressure was understandable.In the rapid fire event, where half course was completed, Vijay Kumar shot 293/300 and was placed fifth. The remainder 30 shots and the final will be held on Friday.
Steven Davis pushing to leave Southampton for Rangers returnby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveSteven Davis is set to leave Southampton for a return to Rangers.Davis is in the final six months of his contract and Steven Gerrard is keen to bring him back to Ibrox, says the Daily Mail. Gers will try to sign him for a small compensation fee this month.The 33-year-old, who has started just two times this season, is understood to be keen on the idea of returning to Ibrox to gain more regular playing time. The experienced Northern Ireland international is a firm favourite with the Rangers fans having made over 140 appearances for the club during a four-year spell between 2008-12. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday referred a batch of petitions challenging the changes in Jammu and Kashmir’s constitutional status by abrogating provisions of Article 370 to a five-judge Constitution bench. The apex court, which said the petitions will be listed for hearing in the first week of October, also issued notices to the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration on the batch of pleas challenging the presidential order abrogating Article 370 of the Constitution. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi did not agree with the Centre that there was no need for issuing notices in the matter as Attorney General K K Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta were marking their presence in the court. “We will refer the matter to a five-judge Constitution bench,” said the bench while not accepting the argument that the notices would have a “cross-border repercussion”. The bench also comprised Justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday The attorney general said whatever was being said by the court was sent before the United Nations (UN). As the counsel appearing for both sides were involved in arguments and counter-arguments, the bench said, “We know what to do, we have passed the order, we are not going to change.” The first petition challenging the presidential order scrapping Article 370 was filed by advocate M L Sharma, who was later joined by another lawyer from Jammu and Kashmir, Shakir Shabir. National Conference (NC), a prominent political party from Jammu and Kashmir, filed a petition on August 10, contending that the changes brought in the status of the state had taken away the rights of its citizens without their mandate. Arguing that the legislation approved by Parliament and the orders issued by the president subsequently were “unconstitutional”, the petition asked for those to be declared “void and inoperative”. The petition was filed by NC’s Lok Sabha MPs Mohammad AKbar Lone and Justice (retd) Hasnain Masoodi. Lone is a former speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly and Masoodi a retired judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. In 2015, he ruled that Article 370 was a permanent feature of the Constitution. There are other petitions challenging the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370, including a plea filed by a group of former defence officers and bureaucrats, who have also sought directions declaring the presidential orders of August 5 “unconstitutional, void and inoperative”. The plea was filed by professor Radha Kumar, a former member of the Home Ministry’s Group of Interlocutors for Jammu and Kashmir (2010-11), former IAS officer of Jammu and Kashmir cadre Hindal Haidar Tyabji, Air Vice Marshal (retd) Kapil Kak, Major General (retd) Ashok Kumar Mehta, former Punjab-cadre IAS officer Amitabha Pande and former Kerala-cadre IAS officer Gopal Pillai, who retired as the Union home secretary in 2011. A petition has also been filed by bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal, along with his party colleague and former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) leader Shehla Rashid. There are other petitions challenging the Centre’s decision on Article 370.
Michael Sam, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year for Missouri, revealed to several news outlets that he is gay, setting the way for him to become the first openly homosexual player in the NFL.In interviews with ESPN, The New York Times and Outsports that were published Sunday, Sam, a defensive end, said his teammates and coaches at Missouri have known since August.“I am an openly, proud gay man,” he said. “It’s a big deal. No one has done this before. And it’s kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be. . . I want to be a football player in the NFL.”Last year, NBA player Jason Collins announced he was gay after the season. Collins, a 35-year-old backup center, was a free agent and has not signed with a new team this season. MLS star and U.S. national team player Robbie Rogers also came out a year ago. Division III Willamette kicker Conner Mertens, a redshirt freshman, said last month he was bisexual. There have been several NFL players who have come out after their playing days, including Kwame Harris and Dave Kopay.The 255-pound Sam is projected to be a mid-round NFL draft pick.“We admire Michael Sam’s honesty and courage,” the NFL said in statement. “Michael is a football player. Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the NFL. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014.”Sam said many people at the Senior Bowl all-star game for NFL prospects seemed to know that he was gay. His team has known since August, he said.“I didn’t realize how many people actually knew, and I was afraid that someone would tell or leak something out about me,” he told ESPN. “I want to own my truth. . . No one else should tell my story but me.”Before coming out to all his teammates and coaches, Sam said he told a few close friends and dated another Missouri athlete who was not a football player.“Coaches just wanted to know a little about ourselves, our majors, where we’re from and something that no one knows about you,” Sam said. “And I used that opportunity just to tell them that I was gay. And their reaction was like, ‘Michael Sam finally told us.’ ”Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said in a statement Sunday night: “Michael is a great example of just how important it is to be respectful of others. He’s taught a lot of people here first-hand that it doesn’t matter what your background is, or your personal orientation, we’re all on the same team and we all support each other. If Michael doesn’t have the support of his teammates like he did this past year, I don’t think there’s any way he has the type of season he put together.”Missouri linebacker Donovan Bonner has been a teammate of Sam’s for five years.“We knew of his status for five years and not one team member, coach, or staff member said anything says a lot about our family atmosphere,” Bonner tweeted.
Two of hockey’s Original Six are alive and well in the Eastern Conference finals, which began Saturday with the New York Rangers’ 7-2 rout of the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1.1The Chicago Blackhawks, another Original Six team, are also leading the Western Conference finals 1-0. The series is an interesting case study in the rebuilding of once-great clubs. No matter which of the two historic franchises prevails, the victor will have made it to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since it won hockey’s ultimate prize roughly two decades ago.2The Rangers haven’t been back to the Final since winning the Cup in 1994; the Canadiens haven’t been back since winning it in 1993. Their long road back saw 19 different head coaches between them,3A tally that includes Alain Vigneault, who has coached both teams. payrolls both desiccated and bloated, and years of mediocrity that flouted expectations. But their twin decades in the wilderness taught them the value of drafting well and committing to smart spending.North of the border, Les Habitants play the central role in Canada’s ongoing, agonizing Stanley Cup drought. The Canadiens are unaccustomed to going this long without a championship, and that’s putting it mildly. Over the course of the 77 postseasons between 1916 and 1993, Montreal hoisted the Cup once every 3.2 seasons on average. They won 24 titles; to this day, no other NHL team has won more than 13.4The Toronto Maple Leafs own that second-place distinction, despite not having won any Cups themselves since 1967.The 1992-93 Canadiens won the franchise’s first Stanley Cup since 1985-86.5At the time, Montreal fans would have considered that seven-year gap — and the seven-season void before that — an alarming dry spell. That championship team was good — and lucky. According to estimates of score-close Fenwick percentage (a team-possession stat), the 1992-93 Canadiens were the NHL’s eighth-best team at controlling possession, and they finished sixth in save percentage thanks to Patrick Roy, one of the rare goalies who could truly be said to possess consistently elite puck-stopping skills. Their luck often came in overtime, when the Canadiens won the majority of their playoff games; they went an incredible 10-1 in overtime during the 1993 postseason,6Setting the record for most overtime wins in a single playoff year. including victories in Games 2, 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. (Historically, there’s essentially no correlation between how a team does from one overtime playoff game to the next, so Montreal’s overtime record undoubtedly meant the Canadiens were the beneficiary of good fortune during their ‘93 Cup run.)The 1992-93 Canadiens were the fifth-youngest Cup-winners since the dawn of the Original Six era in 1943.7As weighted by the Modified Point Shares of each player on the roster. Modified Point Shares is an offshoot of Hockey-Reference’s Point Shares re-scaled to give forwards 60 percent of the league’s total value, defensemen 30 percent and goalies 10 percent, per research I conducted for analytics guru Tom Tango last summer. Despite carrying over much of the same core of players into subsequent seasons, Montreal declined sharply, soon missing the playoffs for the first time in a quarter-century. Habs GM Serge Savard wasn’t able to wheel and deal his way to a new championship-caliber group,8To the contrary — he dealt away Roy in one of the most one-sided trades in NHL history. and aside from the 1987 and 1993 drafts9The latter of which yielded Saku Koivu. the team did not restock well. According to a measurement of picking efficiency similar to one I used to evaluate NFL teams’ performances in the draft,10Using Modified Point Shares. the Canadiens were the league’s fourth-worst drafting team from 1988 to 1995.11And its fifth-worst over the larger 1988-2001 period.Making matters worse, the Canadiens were facing a weak national currency at a time before the salary cap. Because Montreal had to offer more money than U.S. teams did in order to get the same amount of talent, they found themselves at a competitive disadvantage. The Habs fell out of the league’s top 10 in payroll spending for the 1994-95 season,12According to Rodney Fort’s archived NHL payroll data, which spans the 1989-90 through 2011-12 seasons (save for missing data on the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons). dropping to 16th out of 26 teams that season and 17th in each of the next two years. Unable to compete financially (they’d been a top-five payroll team as recently as five years earlier) and having strung together a series of mostly poor drafts, the Canadiens fired Savard in 199513Although they didn’t do much better under Rejean Houle, either. and spent the next decade mired in mediocrity.Meanwhile in Manhattan, the Rangers were suffering much the same fate. Their 1993-94 Stanley Cup championship team had broken the Curse of 1940 and given Rangers fans their long-awaited redemption. The team was an incredible collection of talent, posting the fourth-best record and fifth-best estimated Fenwick close of any pre-2008 Cup winner,14Going back to the 1987-88 season, the first year of Hockey-Reference’s game log data. but also had the fifth-oldest roster in the league15Weighted by the Modified Point Shares of each player on the roster. and was the 23rd-oldest Cup winner since 1943.Instead of seeking out younger players, New York GM Neil Smith put the league’s oldest squad on the ice over the next three seasons (even recruiting a 36-year-old Wayne Gretzky to join a 36-year-old Mark Messier in the summer of 1996). While the Canadiens were struggling to contend with the NHL’s new financial realities, the Rangers had no such issues; their $44 million payroll in 1997-98 was the highest in NHL history at the time. But they were also committed to an old, overpaid roster that wasn’t producing — and, like Montreal, New York had compounded matters by drafting poorly over the previous decade.16The Rangers were the league’s third-worst drafting team from 1992 to 1999.A number of key players on the Rangers’ 1993-94 championship squad had been acquired in the draft during the late 1980s and early 1990s, including Brian Leetch, Mike Richter, Sergei Zubov, Alexei Kovalev, Sergei Nemchinov and Tony Amonte. But the subsequent batch of Rangers drafts produced first-round busts like Jeff Brown (No. 22 overall in 1996), Stefan Cherneski (No. 19 in 1997) and Pavel Brendl and Jamie Lundmark (No. 4 and No. 9, respectively, in 1999).The lack of decent prospects made it difficult for New York to avoid extending its aging stars’ contracts or overpaying for veterans on the free-agent market. From 1997-98 to 2003-04, the Rangers never fell outside the NHL’s top four teams in payroll dollars spent, yet never had a season with a winning record. Smith was fired after a disappointing 1999-2000 campaign that saw New York finish 12 points out of the playoffs, but his successor, Glen Sather, didn’t fare better, missing the postseason himself in each of the next four seasons.Both the Canadiens and Rangers were afterthoughts in the 2000s. But both teams began to turn their fortunes around after a lockout wiped out the entire 2004-05 schedule and radically shifted the game’s economic landscape.Under the league’s new salary-cap system (and with the loonie gaining strength), Montreal steadily began to spend more on payroll, cracking the top 10 once more in 2006-07, and the top five in 2008-09. And while the Rangers initially spent huge sums of money on their players,17They led the league in payroll during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. Sather began reducing the team’s payroll in 2010 — dropping out of the top five for the first time in at least 20 years, followed by a 14th-place payroll ranking in 2011-12 and a 19th-place ranking this year.The Rangers’ sudden, unprecedented reduction in payroll coincided with a newfound commitment to youth. After ranking among the league’s oldest teams each season going back to the early 1990s, New York transitioned to become one of the youngest squads in 2008-09, jettisoning aging stars like Jaromir Jagr, Brendan Shanahan and Martin Straka. This year, the Rangers’ only major contributors over 3018According to Modified Point Shares. are Henrik Lundqvist, 31, and Brad Richards, 33. And the team’s recent draft classes have supplied the Rangers with a host of talented youngsters such as Derek Stepan, Michael Del Zotto, Chris Kreider and Carl Hagelin. (Undrafted free-agent gems like Mats Zuccarello help, too.)In a similar vein, one of the biggest ingredients of Montreal’s turnaround has been a successful series of drafts by general managers Andre Savard, Bob Gainey and Pierre Gauthier, beginning in 200219Hey, Chris Higgins was a solid No. 14 pick. and cresting with strong hauls in 2004, 2005 and 2007. Under their stewardship, the team made a number of shrewd selections, like P.K. Subban at No. 43, Max Pacioretty at No. 22, Brendan Gallagher at No. 147 and Carey Price at No. 5. (Other 2013-14 Habs key players procured via the draft include Andrei Markov — a relic of the Houle era — and Tomas Plekanec.) All those players’ careers have exceeded what could reasonably have been expected from their draft positions.Those picks may have been plain old luck — the year-to-year correlation for teams’ per-pick draft efficiency is very nearly zero, suggesting drafting skill is largely random in hockey, just as it is in football. Regardless, Montreal and New York still brought themselves back into relevance.None of this guarantees a Stanley Cup this year. The winner of the Eastern Conference finals will face either the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks, or the Los Angeles Kings, who are the best possession team in hockey. Neither the Canadiens nor the Rangers has looked especially dominant in the playoffs thus far, aside from the Rangers’ pasting of the Canadiens in Game 1. Both teams needed Game 7s to squeak past their opponents in the conference semifinals, and the Rangers needed that many to top the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round, too. During the regular season, the Canadiens were not a strong possession team, still a major leading indicator of future team success.Despite all of those caveats, it’s notable that one of these two teams is guaranteed a place in the final. Each lost its way during the previous decade, but by successfully rebuilding through the draft and not throwing good money after bad, they’ve provided a road map for once-proud franchises to get back on the path to the Stanley Cup.
The OSU baseball team celebrates during a game against Northwestern on March 27 at Bill Davis Stadium. OSU won 5-4. Credit: Lantern file photoThe Ohio State baseball team is coming off its most successful season in years. For the first time since 2009, the Buckeyes were in the NCAA tournament and won their first Big Ten tournament since 2007.But repeating that success will be a challenge. The Buckeyes’ lineup will be returning just two hitters from that group against Iowa in the final tournament game — senior co-captain Jalen Washington and junior outfielder Tre’ Gantt — and both players are changing positions.The team also will return only two of its regular starting pitchers with redshirt junior Adam Niemeyer and sophomore Ryan Feltner. Friday night starter Tanner Tully, who was drafted by the Cleveland Indians, and Saturday night starter John Havird, who graduated last season, have left the program, leaving big shoes to fill.Replacing impact players like Nick Sergakis and Ronnie Dawson will be a combination of 17 junior college baseball players and freshmen joining the club, making for plenty of uncertainty.“We’re a very talented ball club. I say that with a little caution because we haven’t proven it,” said OSU coach Greg Beals. “There’s a lot of guys that are going to get their first shot to be everyday players here at Ohio State.”Arguably the biggest change for the team comes from behind the dish. Washington, who caught 62 games last season for the team, will leave the role of catcher and shift to shortstop, his natural position. Taking over at catcher will be sophomore Jacob Barnwell, a player Washington has worked with while in preparation for the new role.“We’ve had a lot of dialogue with me and Barnwell, (sophomore catcher Andrew) Fishel a little bit,” Washington said. “Just how to get comfortable, how to handle the pitchers. Majority of the game is understanding the pitchers, making the pitchers comfortable, making their job as easy as possible.”The remainder of the infield appears penciled in with a pair of junior college transfers likely to start on the right side of the infield, and one returning player. Beals said junior transfers Bo Coolen and Noah McGowan are favorites to start at first and second base, respectively, while sophomore Brady Cherry looks to start at the hot corner for the ball club.The outfield, however, is much more in question. Gantt, the primary right fielder last season, will be shifting over to center field to man his natural position. But he is the only player with a potentially guaranteed spot.One outfielder Beals has his eye on is freshman Dominic Canzone, a Louisville Slugger High School All-American praised for his promising hitting ability.“Dom Canzone — just a knack for hitting,” Beals said. “He’s got a hit tool that’s hard to teach. He puts barrel on ball at a high rate.”The pitching staff will see changes occurring within the rotation, but the bullpen figures to remain roughly the same as last season. Junior Seth Kinker, who led the team in appearances, returns to the club as will senior left-hander Joe Stoll, redshirt junior Kyle Michalik and redshirt junior Austin Woodby, who served as a spot starter and reliever.An interesting case is redshirt junior Yianni Pavlopoulos, who served as closer in 2016. He might be headed towards a role as a starting pitcher in 2017.“Yianni Pavlopoulos, we moved out of the closer’s spot into starting rotation potential,” Beals said. “The potential exists for him to be in the rotation, the potential exists for him to go back in the closer’s spot. But we’re training him with an increased pitch count so that he is ready to be a starter if need be.”Though Pavlopoulos will be competing for a spot in the rotation, the only known weekend starters are Niemeyer and Feltner, while the Sunday night starter and weekday starter remain unknown.“I think right now, all the positions are pretty open from a pitching standpoint,” Niemeyer said. “It’s kind of an open competition right now, so we’ll see how all the pieces fit in these next few weeks before the season starts.”The team still has some positions left to fill, but the ball club is optimistic about its chances in 2017. The team is young and lacks experience, but Niemeyer believes this is a club that can compete now.“We want to keep building on that culture we created last year,” Niemeyer said. “I think everyone in this locker room, the coaching staff, everyone expects us to be in the hunt for another Big Ten Championship and we all believe we can accomplish that goal.”
The normally resolute Urban Meyer paused, carefully considering the ramifications of the next few words to come out of his mouth. His Buckeyes had just dispatched their most hated rival, Michigan, 26-21 in Meyer’s first taste of The Game to complete an undefeated season. No ties, no losses, the Buckeyes record stood at 12-0, but now the coach, staff and players were forced to face what they had been putting off all year. Due to NCAA sanctions dating back to infractions committed under former coach Jim Tressel’s tenure, there would be no postseason for Meyer’s Buckeyes. No conference championship game – the Big Ten Leaders Division would send a 7-5 Wisconsin team in OSU’s place – no BCS bowl bid and certainly no national championship game. The question that had been asked all year could no longer be sidestepped with “We’re just focusing on the next game,” or “We’ll worry about that at the end of the year.” No, the time had finally come for an answer, and even then Meyer didn’t seem completely sure how to phrase his response. If OSU is the last unbeaten team at the end of this season, should Ohio State be No. 1 in the Associated Press Poll? “Just trying to picture the headline here,” Meyer said after his long pause. “You know, I don’t know enough to – I think we’re at this point – like I said, the quote I’d like out there is I think this team could play and compete with any team in the United States of America as of now. I didn’t say that several weeks ago because we couldn’t. I understand, but I’m not going to get into the what if’s and can’t control what you can’t control.” What Meyer can’t control is the perception of his team and the conference it plays in, and right now that perception is that the Buckeyes had a relatively easy road to an unblemished record – especially with no bowl game to use as a final measuring stick. The Buckeyes are ranked No. 4 in the latest edition of the AP poll, which is a collection of 60 sportswriters from across the country that rate what they believe are the best 25 teams in America. Ranked ahead of the Buckeyes are, in order, Notre Dame, Alabama and Georgia. Out of that group, only Notre Dame is undefeated and Alabama and Georgia each have one loss. Seventeen voters ranked OSU as the No. 2 team in the country, and 24 voters ranked the Buckeyes fifth or worst, with the lowest ranking being No. 12. Pete DiPrimio, an AP voter who covers college football for the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel in Fort Wayne, Ind., ranked the Buckeyes No. 11 in his poll, the second lowest of any voter. “They had a fairly weak non-conference schedule and the Big Ten this season is, maybe, historically weak,” DiPrimio told The Lantern. “Now, if there is a playoff, life is different, but there’s not … Through no fault of their own they haven’t beaten any top-10 caliber team, not even close.” OSU’s players, who were muzzled from talking about the issue throughout the season, weren’t as hesitant as their coach to express where they think the team fits into the national picture. “Yeah I think we should be No. 1,” said junior running back Carlos Hyde. “I feel like we’re the best team in the nation, so yeah, I feel like we should be No. 1 at the end of the season.” Hyde wasn’t alone in his opinion. Redshirt senior receiver Jake Stoneburner, redshirt senior linebacker Etienne Sabino and junior receiver Corey Brown also said they believed OSU should be at least considered for the No. 1 ranking if they are the only undefeated team at the end of the season. More players probably share that opinion as only about a dozen players were made available to speak to the media after the game. But no matter how the rest of the season pans out, the Buckeyes’ chances at being crowned national champions are slim, maybe impossible. “I just don’t think it’s going to happen,” said Joe Walljasper, the sports editor of the Columbia Daily Tribune in Columbia, Mo., who ranked OSU No. 6 in his rankings. “I think there’s too many teams between them and not enough of the right teams could possibly lose.” Clearly, the players on OSU’s team believe their resume is better than the AP voters think it is. The Buckeyes beat two teams currently ranked in the top 25 this season in No. 14 Nebraska and No. 21 Michigan compared to Georgia, which has beaten one (No. 4 Florida), and Alabama, who’s beaten two (No. 6 LSU and No. 21 Michigan). Notre Dame has beaten three (No. 8 Stanford, No. 12 Oklahoma and No. 21 Michigan). Not playing a team ranked in the top-10 in or out of conference is something holding some voters back. “It’s not like (OSU is) playing in the WAC or something,” Walljasper said. “Normally between Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska you’d have a top-10 team in there and you just don’t this year.” OSU beat seven bowl-eligible teams (including 8-win Penn State) compared to Notre Dame’s nine, Alabama’s five and Georgia’s four. Georgia and Alabama play next Saturday in the SEC Championship with the winner presumably going to play Notre Dame in the BCS Championship Game. Many fans have taken issue with Georgia being ranked ahead of the Buckeyes because the Bulldogs suffered a 28-point loss to South Carolina. “They played an SEC schedule,” DiPrimio said of his reasoning. “An average SEC team this year is stronger than most of the Big Ten. I think Georgia gets credit for its SEC schedule.” Walljasper said OSU would probably lose “two or three games” in the SEC. Though the players believe otherwise, they’re satisfied with their accomplishments. “Hey, we’re 12-0. That’s all I can say,” Sabino said. “People can talk what they want. (There are) a whole bunch of what-if’s now. I know we took care of what we had to do. We set out to win every single game this year and that’s what we did. It wasn’t pretty but it happened. We’re happy.”
Courtesy of OSU athletic departmentIt took nearly the entire first quarter, but once things got started for the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team they never looked back.Trailing 2-1 in the opening quarter of their first round NCAA lacrosse tournament matchup against the Towson Tigers the No. 3 Buckeyes found their scoring touch, and scored 15 of the game’s final 19 goals on the way to a 16-6 victory.The game, played in Ohio Stadium, was the first time the Buckeyes have hosted a home playoff game in program history. Senior midfielder Dominique Alexander said he understood the importance of the moment, and was not willing to let his team lose.“It means a lot to play a home game in ‘the Shoe.’ We are truly honored to play there and we want to thank everyone who made that happen,” Alexander said. “As seniors, we didn’t want to go out with a loss at home. The whole team bought into that mentality and we worked to have a win for our fans.”OSU’s leading scorers this season were the difference in the match, with sophomore midfielder Jesse King scoring four and senior attacker Logan Schuss and freshman attacker Carter Brown both adding three goals of their own.“In the first quarter we struggled,” King said. “We weren’t really playing our game. Once we started setting up our offenses, we started clicking like we usually do.”Senior midfielder Trey Wilkes continued his successful season by winning 18 of 23 face-offs and preventing the Tigers from sustaining significant spells of possession.Coach Nick Myers thought that the domination of the faceoff statistics was a huge part in turning the game in OSU’s favor.“For me the turning point in the game and I think for the men was the third quarter when Trey (Wilkes), Michael (Italiano) and Darius (Bowling), our wing play, really got hot. We started to stack possessions on top of each other,” Myers said. “I think offensively we found a rhythm and defensively we didn’t really feel like we needed to play as much defense as we were in the first half.”A lot of OSU’s success this season has been given to their star players, but Schuss said that it is much more about playing as a team rather than individual performances.“We’re definitely feeding off each other,” Schuss said. “It’s a great feeling when you can go into a game and know that it’s not one guy doing it all. You have six to seven guys who are scoring.”King said he understands the contributions that Schuss brings to the team, but sees how other players can capitalize on having a player of his caliber on the field.“We have Logan out there and he draws a lot of attention,” King said. “That makes it a lot easier for the rest of us to find open spots or seams. Other guys are now stepping up and becoming bigger threats so that opens him up as well.”With the win, the Buckeyes are set to take a trip next week to College Park, Md. to take on Cornell, who beat No. 6 Maryland 16-8 in their first round matchup.Even though the Ivy League school didn’t earn one of the top eight seeds in this year’s field, Myers will not allow his team to overlook Cornell.“Cornell has been at the top of the rankings all year. They have a great coaching staff and they have a lot of top players too,” Myers said. “We have our hands full but we’ll continue to focus on us. We’ll just rest tonight and get right back to work tomorrow and focus on the next challenge.”The Big Red have two of the nation’s top scorers, as Rob Parnell and Steve Mock are both in the top 10 in points per game, and boast an offense that scores over 14 goals a game.OSU is scheduled to take on Cornell in College Park, Md. on May 18 at 12:30 p.m. for a spot in the final four.