In a scathing e-mail sent to Penn State alumni, Franco Harris and two other former Penn State football players say the report about Penn State’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal “is highly flawed, and factually insufficient.”Harris, Rudy Glocker and Christian Marrone sent the e-mail criticizing the Freeh report that they plan publish in The Wall Street Journal and other large publications.The email and letter were obtained by The Associated Press on Friday.The players claim there was a rush to judgment by the media, the board of trustees, university officials and the NCAA after the blistering report was released two weeks ago.The report compiled by a team led by former FBI director Louis Freeh accuses school officials, including late coach Joe Paterno, of covering up the abuse to avoid bad publicity.“A grave injustice has occurred over these past two weeks that began with the issuance of the Freeh report,” the email states. “After much review, it’s clear the report is highly flawed, and factually insufficient. Yet, the media, the Board of Trustees, University officials and the NCAA, seem to have read only the conclusions and not the content of the report and have failed to question the report’s evidentiary basis or lack thereof — they have rushed to judgment. As a result, OUR program has been brutally harmed and our Coach has been completely tarnished.”The email asks those who support its claims to sign the letter and return it by Saturday.Harris is one of Penn State’s greatest players. He played fullback for Paterno in the early 1970s and went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.Glocker graduated from Penn State in 1992. Marrone graduated in 1997.The letter, dated July 27, and titled “Rush to Judgment,” claims the “snap judgments reached by the Freeh report about what Coach Joe Paterno knew and what he did deserve further analysis. In short, we believe this report has irresponsibly impugned Paterno’s reputation without sufficient evidence.”The players criticize the thoroughness of the Freeh report because the investigators did not interview many of the central people in the case, including Paterno, who died in January, Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and university vice president Gary Schultz — who are both awaiting trial on charges of perjury and failure to report suspected child abuse — and former assistant coach Mike McQueary, who was a key witness in the case against Sandusky.The players say Freeh made what he deemed “reasonable conclusions” about Paterno’s alleged “cover-up” based on three emails. But the emails, two from 1998 and one from 2001, do not support that conclusion, the players say.
David Ortiz received a qualifying offer from the Boston Red Sox on Friday for $13. 3 million before Friday’s the 5 p.m. ET deadline set by MLB.The team and Ortiz are negotiating a two-year deal that is “very close” to being completed according to sources, but the exact amount of the contract is still being negotiated.“David is someone who we feel strongly about bringing back, and we’re trying to figure out a way to do that and we hope that happens,” Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said earlier this week.Ortiz will become a free agent by midnight Friday if they can’t come to an agreement, which will allow him to talk to other teams. The qualifying offer is less than the $14.48 million he earned in 2012, but has until Nov. 9 to accept the offer. The Red Sox strategically gave the designated hitter the qualifying to ensure if he signs with another team they can receive draft picks as compensation.One of the teams that has expressed interest in Ortiz is the Texas Rangers. They envision Ortiz as a left-handed hitter who could replace Josh Hamilton, who is a free agent and received a qualifying offer from the Rangers. The Rangers feel Ortiz could the clubhouse more of an edge.Ortiz will turn 37 on Nov. 18, missed the last 71 of 72 games due to a right Achilles strain he suffered on July 16. The eight-time All-Star finished the season with a 23 home runs, 60 RBIs, and a .318 batting average in 90 games.In 2003, Ortiz joined the Red Sox and was a central figure in helping the club win the 2004 and 2007 World Series. One-year deals are noting new to Ortiz, who has been in one each of the past two seasons. The Red Sox exercised his $12.5 million option for 2011, and Ortiz accepted arbitration in 2012, settling on a $14.575 million salary.Ortiz has made his desire to stay in Boston public and is fond of team’s new manager, John Farrell.“Something will get done,” Ortiz told the Boston Globe about signing a new deal with the team. “I feel good about it.”
The process elimination is all but complete. Only the process of extinction remains for the champion Miami Heat. The San Antonio Spurs put them there. Resoundingly.Functioning at an efficiency that stunned most observers for the second straight game, San Antonio cut and spliced the Heat, embarrassing them again in a 107-86 shellacking in Game 4 for a commanding 3-1 series lead.A victory in San Antonio in Game 5 Sunday would avenge last year’s collapse to the Heat and give the Spurs their fifth championship.“I’m pleased that they performed as well as they did while we’ve been in Miami, and that’s about as far as it goes,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “Now we’ve got to go back home and play as well or better.”The Spurs smoked Miami in every conceivable fashion. LeBron James had 28 points, but they were inconsequential. Dwyane Wade looked beaten and had just 10 points. Meanwhile, everyone in a Spurs jersey scored, with Kawhi Leonard leading the way with 20 points and 14 rebounds. He was the best player on the floor again, after scoring 29 points in Game 3.“They smashed us,” James said. “Two straight home games got off to awful starts. They came in and were much better than us in these last two games. It’s just that simple.”Tony Parker added 19 points, and Tim Duncan had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who shot 57 percent from the field and are hitting 54 percent in the series. Boris Diaw was spectacular off the bench with 9 assists, and Patty Mills had 14 points off the bench.James, who battled cramps in Game 1, left the court and briefly returned to the locker room midway through the first quarter Thursday. But he had 10 quick points in the third quarter to bring Miami within 13. However, San Antonio pushed it to 81-57 after three and never looked back.
Finau is an incredible athlete who turned down Division I basketball scholarships to go professional in golf, and his sturdy 6-foot-4, 200-pound frame no doubt has a great deal to do with his eye-widening drives. The top four drivers on tour this season are all at least 6-foot-2. Plus, as Finau has said, before he learned how to hit the ball straight, he first learned how to hit it far.But what has changed this season? Like any dexterous big-hitter, Finau starts with a wide base and balance as he approaches his ball. Despite possessing cable-like arms — “arms like an orangutan,” as he put it — Finau has an extremely compact swing, unleashing his lower body through the ball. Drives don’t exist in a vacuum; there’s a whole host of factors that play into distance off the tee, including launch angle, club head speed and spin rate. Last season, Finau’s average club head speed was 123.1 miles per hour, but that figure has dropped to 122.2 mph this season. His spin rate also dropped: He ranked ninth a season ago, but this season he ranks outside the top 80, meaning his ball is generating more carry — 1.1 yards more, in fact. Finau is also showcasing a higher launch angle this season.An obscene 90.9 percent of Finau’s officially measured drives this season2 Because there’s no formal tracking of club selection, the tour measures only two drives per round, on specific holes, to safely assess driving capability. have eclipsed 300 yards, a mark that would obliterate Hank Kuehne’s record of 85.8 percent since PGATour.com began tracking the statistic in 2001. Consistency has been key for Finau: His longest drive this season, 391 yards at the Farmers Insurance Open, ranks outside the top 100 among all players. So he isn’t raising his average with a few bombs here and there — he’s doing this every time he tees it up.It’s worth noting that Finau’s marks are based on only 44 drives this season, around the same number you get when you purchase a medium bucket of balls at the practice range. The season doesn’t end until late September, so a lot could change; regression to the mean is always possible. But right now, if nothing else, Finau is swinging for history — and transcending our understanding of consistency at the tee box while he does it. Finau still has only one tour victory in his career. If that number changes in the coming weeks and months, people might forget about Johnson’s drives and take more notice of Finau’s. Tune into any PGA Tour event, and it won’t be long before the broadcast team comments on Dustin Johnson’s can’t-miss power off the tee.This is for good reason: Johnson is a 6-foot-4 freak who hasn’t finished worse than second in average driving distance since 2012 or worse than fourth over the past decade. He’s also presently the No. 1 golfer on the planet. Last season, he won four tournaments, claimed $8.7 million in earnings and accounted for four of the 15 longest drives on tour, including a tour-best 439-yard bomb at the Bridgestone Invitational.But nearly five months into the PGA Tour season, the biggest hitter on the links isn’t Johnson. It’s Tony Finau, the first golfer of Tongan and American Samoan descent to hold a tour card. While he gets far less attention than DJ, he’s currently on pace for the longest driving season in PGA Tour history.Finau’s entire game has turned the corner this season. He’s already finished in the top two twice and inside the top 20 in six of nine starts.1 The current PGA Tour season began in October 2017. Finau ranks seventh in the FedEx Cup standings and has raised his world ranking to No. 32 — up from No. 88 at the end of 2016 and No. 40 at the end of 2017.But while he’s playing better everywhere on the course, Finau is putting on a show in the tee box. With 327 yards per drive, the 28-year-old is smashing the tour average by 32 yards.It goes without saying that a lot has changed in terms of technology and training since Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan and Arnold Palmer were marquee figures — or even since John Daly was pounding beers during rounds and wowing fans with his long drives. In 1980, the first year for which data is available, Dan Pohl led the tour with an average driving distance of 274.3 yards. In 1997, Daly became the first man on the PGA Tour to average at least 300 yards per drive; this season, 65 players are on pace to do so.
With apologies to the ESPYS and the WNBA, Wednesday was what has come to be known as the deadest day on the sporting calendar. That’s because the day after Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game (which was held Tuesday) traditionally sees no activity whatsoever from North America’s “Big Four” sports leagues (the NFL, the NBA, the NHL and MLB). This barren day doesn’t always occur on the same date, but the All-Star Game has taken place during the week between July 10 and 16 for more than a decade.In honor of the occasion, we thought we’d chart the average number games per day in those leagues on any given date in a typical year:That noticeable dip in July is what we’re in the midst of, but there’s another time that is, on average, every bit as vacant as ESPYS day: Dec. 24. Christmas Eve is usually an off-day for the NBA and NHL; aside from a stray Friday game in 2004 and Monday Night Football in 2007, the only thing keeping it from complete emptiness is that it fell on a Sunday in 2006 (meaning it had a full compliment of NFL games) and a Saturday in 2005 and 2011 (both years in which the NFL shifted its Week 16 games to Saturday to avoid playing on Christmas Day). Even so, Dec. 24 averaged only four contests per year, lower than any other date over the past 10 years.Christmas itself is always the date of a few notable NBA games, but it has averaged only 4.7 games over the past decade. Combine that with the fact that the MLB All-Star Game is not held on a constant date (July 12 was the most common, seeing an average of 5.1 games), and the holiday season is, statistically, the time in which the fewest games are played per day.
See more NBA predictions All newsletters Oh, and don’t forgetDisgusting, Washington We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆 Join the squad. Subscribe Things That Caught My EyeTanks for playingAccording to FiveThirtyEight’s Elo projections, there are eight teams in the MLB on track to lose 90 games, four of whom are on track to lose in the range of about 100 games. That is the most potential 90-game losers at this point in the season since at least 1969. This is exactly what Major League Baseball needs to win the next generation of baseball fans: a season where more than a quarter of the league is not even trying to succeed. [FiveThirtyEight]Is there a better way?This uniquely dismal state of baseball has prompted some serious introspection, and ESPN’s here with some wild ideas to fix the mess. One idea: what if every team made the playoffs? By restructuring the MLB postseason the league can make every game count for every team. This is important, because literally 14 out of 30 teams entered the 2018 season with a 10 percent or less chance of making the playoffs. When roughly half the fans of the sport have absolutely no reason to tune in, maybe the MLB needs to be worried. [ESPN]Maria Konnikova finds true callingMaria Konnikova is a New Yorker writer who is writing a book about the world of professional poker. In reporting out the book, it turns out Maria Konnikova is outstanding at poker, winning $57,519 in an Asia Pacific Poker Tour Macau event where she finished second. The book writing is reportedly on hold, and is planned for summer or fall of 2019. [Deadspin]Try out our interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?Derby day!The Kentucky Derby is this Saturday, in case any readers were reaching for a valid excuse to get drunk in the middle of the afternoon. The favorite is “Justify,” a horse with 3-1 odds of winning the Derby. Is horse racing a sport? Tonight I will find out based on your emails in response to this item. [The New York Times]Fountain of youthSeventeen of the 32 players selected in round one of the NFL draft will be aged 21 or younger come the start of the season, the highest number in this century. It’s just the latest in a trend where the average age of a first round pick has fallen from 22.6 in 2000 to 21.7 today. [FiveThirtyEight]England did fine I guess despite their enormous advantagesLiverpool made the UEFA Champions League finals after kind of sort of dispatching Roma. An English team hasn’t made the final in six seasons, which is crazy, because the English Premiere League has 14 of the 30 richest clubs in the sport and is the richest football league on the planet. [FiveThirtyEight]Big Number(s)3 reportersThe New Orleans Pelicans have an extremely small professional press corps, with generally just Scott Kushner of The Advocate, Will Guillory of NOLA.com and the Times-Picayune, and Jim Eichenhofer of the Pelicans’ own website showing up to cover home games. With their success in the playoffs, New Orleans has seen some national reporters parachute in, but three professional conventional press reporters is quite low for any professional sports league. [The Ringer]Leaks from Slack: walt:Shaq Appears To Have An Insane Method For Saving Money On Gasolineandrea:hahahareminds me of a cartoon I read a million years ago where a waiter asks a customer whether she’d like the pizza she just ordered cut into 4 or 6 pieces and she says “Four! I could never eat six slices of pizza.” If I were better at google I would just find the thing.neil:Shaq is like, this close, to stumbling across the Banach–Tarski paradox and having his mind truly blownPredictions NBA
OSU coach Urban Meyer speaks at a press conference on April 11. Credit: Ashley Nelson | Social Media EditorSpring camp is nearing its end for the Ohio State football team, as the Buckeyes have just three practices left on the schedule, including the annual spring game, which is set for Saturday at 1:30 p.m. OSU coach Urban Meyer spoke to the media on Monday after the team’s workout, and here are three of the most important things he addressed. Rule changes Meyer has never been one to mince words about rules he feels are unjust in college football, notably blasting the NCAA and College Football Playoff two seasons ago for not helping defray travel expenses for players’ families trying to attend the bowl games. His advocacy was instrumental in getting the NCAA to help fund a program. The three-time national champion coach was at it again Monday, chastising a pair of recent rule changes that he said are bad for student-athletes. The Division I Council ruled Friday to end limits on electronic communication and to forbid programs from hosting satellite camps. Satellite camps, which have increased in popularity in the last year, are when coaches appear as guests at schools in the South, or other areas laden with prospective recruits. OSU’s staff worked with Florida Atlantic at a camp in Florida in June. Meyer said his frustration with the decision on satellite camps will have a negative impact on lesser-known recruits and smaller programs. Because players have to pay for camps on their own dime, the rule change could stop a player from Mississippi, for instance, from traveling to Columbus for a camp put on by OSU. But if Meyer and his staff were guests at a camp in South, it would be easier for said player to attend. The same logic applies to smaller schools that work in conjunction in powerhouse programs. Since the rule mandates FBS schools host clinics and camps at their own facilities, Meyer said it hurts staffs at schools like Bowling Green in the Mid-American Conference, which before could have partnered with Meyer at an OSU camp. Now as a result, a lesser-valued recruit might not get the necessary exposure to have MAC schools offer scholarships. Meyer said he thinks “probably hundreds of scholarships have come out of (Columbus)” to those nonblue-chip recruits. “I hope they revisit it,” he said, adding, “Think about the student-athlete first.” The coach took an even harder stance on the lift of texting regulations, which, in theory, could mean coaches could constantly bombard recruits with text messages.“That’s the most ignorant thing I’ve ever heard,” Meyer said. “If they’re making a decision because coaches are upset about it, that’s not the point here … do you really want text messages from a hundred universities on your phone when you come out of school?” Committees making these decisions should be consulting the student-athletes before making some changes, Meyer said. “I think we learned our lesson on the (family travel expenses),” Meyer said. “Whoever has that checklist, No. 1: student-athlete.” Making a markMeyer offered high praise about four early enrollees from the 2016 recruiting class: wide receiver Austin Mack, running back Antonio Williams, offensive tackle Michael Jordan and defensive end Jonathan Cooper.“They’re much more than we ever thought they would be,” Meyer said. “Because you never know what you get. Sometimes high school coaches and people tell you, ‘They’re the greatest people in the world,’ then they get here and they’re not … But those kids are doing great.” The coach’s praise stems from the recruits’ efforts beyond just the practice field. Meyer said they are excelling in the classroom, with GPAs above 3.0. “They do everything right,” Meyer said.Still talking about quarterbacks? Redshirt junior J.T. Barrett is obviously the guy behind center this year for the Buckeyes, but there is still chatter about the other quarterbacks on the roster, namely about who will be Barrett’s backup. Meyer said redshirt freshman Joe Burrow, after improving his release “night and day,” is “close” to being game ready. Burrow is also becoming a “much better runner,” Meyer said. During the spring game on Saturday, Meyer said Burrow and redshirt sophomore Stephen Collier will play live a little bit, meaning contact, at least for some snaps, will not be off-limits. Barrett, on the other hand, will wear a black jersey, although how much he plays is still up in the air, Meyer said.
Ohio State club tennis Scarlet Team tournament delayed due to Hurricane Matthew. Credit: OSU club tennisThe Ohio State club tennis team was originally scheduled to travel to Hilton Head Island, S.C. for the United States Tennis Association Tennis On Campus Fall Invitational this weekend, but concerns over the proximity of Hurricane Matthew have delayed the event until Oct. 28-30.The delay has caused a few changes for the team and vice president Sigrid Schoerner has acknowledged that the delay affects the state of the team.“Because it’s been moved, our roster is currently under construction,” Schoerner said. “Some people were going to be able to go this weekend, but then some of them can’t go during the week we’ve been moved to.”Despite the roster shake-up, Schoerner is confident that the team will be ready to compete.“We were prepared to go this weekend, but this just means that we have more time,” Schoerner said. “If it had been moved to next weekend, that would have been one thing. I just think that it’s been (moved) pretty far ahead (and) it gives us time to practice with the whole new group of people and get them ready to go.”This invitational is quite exclusive, allowing only 48 intramural and club tennis teams to compete. Alongside OSU, only two other schools from the Big Ten will be represented at the event. The Wisconsin Badgers will be sending their club team, as will the Maryland Terrapins. Scarlet Team Fundraising Chairwoman Isabelle Nejedlik believes that it is an honor for the team to be invited to the tournament given its limited number of entrants.“It means a lot to our team to be invited to some of the bigger events in the country,” Nejedlik said. “Ohio State prides itself on its tennis and since we have such a good varsity team, they are one of the best in the country, both men’s and women’s, we always have expectations to have a really good club team as well.”The reward for winning the upcoming tournament is huge for the teams, with first and second place receiving automatic bids for the 2017 USTA Tennis On Campus National Championship in Orlando, Florida, in April of 2017.With such high stakes on the line, Nejedlik believes that the talent and preparation on her team can help them advance to nationals.“We have pretty intense tryouts at the beginning of the season,” Nejedlik said. “Most of the girls currently on our top team were former college tennis players but transferred here. So the level every year has gotten higher and higher.”
The Cincinnati Bengals have the opportunity to demonstrate a power shift in the AFC North this Monday night when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers. Despite losing their season opener, the Bengals’ chances of beating their longtime rivals are the best they have been in a while.The Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1) are a wounded animal, and are the most vulnerable they have been in over a decade. As if missing the playoffs last year wasn’t enough, in 2013 so far they have suffered injuries to key players. The storied franchise that had experienced a renaissance as of late (three AFC championships and two Super Bowl wins since 2005) lost its home opener for the first time in 11 seasons to the Tennessee Titans, a team that finished 6-10 last year.In the offseason, the Steelers allowed speedy wide receiver Mike Wallace to sign a $60 million contract with the Miami Dolphins. A few days earlier they cut a former Defensive Player of the Year in linebacker James Harrison in an effort to get under the salary cap. In their opener, they lost Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey (knee) and starting linebacker Larry Foote (biceps) to injuries, likely sidelining them for the year.In their first game this season, they did little to show that they were the same old Steelers and immune to the problems most franchises face when losing key players. Traditionally known for its ability to run the ball, Pittsburgh ran for a mere 31 yards. They also only managed nine points against a Tennessee team that allowed 29.4 points a game last season, worst in the NFL.Meanwhile, the Bengals (0-1) lost on the road to the Chicago Bears in their season opener. After taking a 21-10 lead in the second half, Cincinnati allowed the Bears to steal a win due to mental errors. But the Bengals are considered to be one of the most talented teams in the league and are expected not only to make the playoffs but to make some noise when they get there. The disparity in talent between the Bengals and the Steelers should have Pittsburgh worried, particularly because of injuries, but it does not.The Steelers have no reason to believe they cannot win Monday night. Since the 2007 season Pittsburgh is 4-0 against the Bengals in prime time games. They also eliminated Cincinnati in the Wild Card round in 2006 on their way to a Super Bowl Championship.The Steelers will try not to let last season or the struggles in week one convince them that the Bengals are the better team after years of domination. The Steelers will try to find the strength to reclaim their place atop the AFC North, even if it is just for one game. After all, with all four teams losing last week, the division is wide open.Cincinnati is still favored in the Monday night showdown. It is hoped that they learned from last week’s loss and will play more disciplined football to complement the flashes of brilliance they put on display. And, though the Steelers held Tennessee quarterback Jake Locker to only 125 yards passing and number one receiver Kenny Britt to only 15 yards receiving, they are unlikely to find similar success in week two.The Bengals have an offensive arsenal that can put the Steelers in a huge hole early. Quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green continue to develop their chemistry, as evidenced by Green’s 162 yard, two touchdown performance last week. Two rookies, tight end Tyler Eifert and running back Giovani Bernard, showed a lot of promise and could be more involved. Playing at home and with an opportunity at redemption, look for the Bengals to come out ready.On defense, Cincinnati’s front line against Pittsburgh’s uncertainty on the offensive line is a matchup the Bengals’ favor. Rookie center Kelvin Beachum will be making his first start against the likes of Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins (12.5 sacks in 2012). Also, Harrison should be highly motivated to show his former team that he is still a premier player.When it comes to these two teams, numbers and hype mean very little. The Steelers, those battle-tested warriors who have managed to defeat the odds numerous times over the years, will try to dishearten a promising Cincinnati squad yet again.
Senior defender Megan Fuller (20) attempts to clear the ball during a match against Illinois Sept. 20 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The teams tied, 1-1.Credit: Michele Theodore / Copy ChiefThe Ohio State women’s soccer team played to a 1-1 draw in double overtime with Illinois in its Big Ten opener.A late goal in the 84th minute by sophomore forward Michela Paradiso helped OSU recover from an early deficit against the Fighting Illini.The Buckeyes allowed a goal in the seventh minute when redshirt-junior forward Jannelle Flaws buried a strike to the upper left corner from 20 yards out.Captain and senior defender Megan Fuller said the Buckeyes could do better out of the gate.“It’s disappointing we didn’t come out with a goal,” Fuller said. “So there is room to improve.”OSU’s slow start cost them, as the Illini outshot the Buckeyes 9-8 during the first half.After the break, OSU came out with a new attack and it seemed to work, playing with three forwards as opposed to two. Freshman midfielder Alexis Degler fired three shots and junior forward Kayla Varner recorded two, but narrowly missed scoring each time.Varner said she was just happy the Buckeyes could attack so much.“Getting there, for me, is good right now,” Varner said. “Obviously, I need to work on finishing, but I’ll keep working on that.”In the 84th minute, Paradiso received a through ball into the box from junior midfielder Ellyn Gruber. Paradiso one-touched the ball into the back of the net, tying the game.“It was my first career goal so it was great to get it out of the way,” Paradiso said.The Illini attack had come to a halt as they were out-shot by OSU 13-5 in the second half.In overtime, the best opportunity for the Buckeyes to score came in the 97th minute when freshman forward Nichelle Prince headed the ball toward upper right corner of the goal. Illinois’ senior goalkeeper Lauren Parkin came up with the diving save, though, to keep the game alive.This was the third match this season for the Buckeyes that went into overtime. Paradiso said the extended matchups are challenging.“It’s tough to play 110 (minutes) in the Big Ten,” Paradiso said.Varner said the team’s youth will help it grow as the team moves forward with its Big Ten schedule.“We have a young team, (for) some of them it’s their first time playing (in the Big Ten),” Varner said. “We’re just going to get better from here.”The draw drops the Buckeyes record to 6-1-2 overall. The team’s next match is scheduled against Indiana and is set for 3 p.m. Thursday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.