Month: September 2019

Where Cheerleading Ranks in Safety Among High School Sports

Cheerleading falls in the middle of the pack. The total concussion rate across all girls sports is 41 concussions per 100,000 competition athlete exposures; cheerleading has a rate that’s about three-tenths of that.But when we factor in concussions accumulated in practice, we see something interesting. In every sport except cheerleading, the rate drops steeply — concussions in practice happen about one-sixth as often as concussions in competition. Cheerleading was the only sport of the 20 surveyed that had a higher risk of concussion in practice (14 per 100,000) than in competition (12 per 100,000).“When we delve into the data more closely, we can actually find out where practice-related concussions are occurring,” Comstock said. “With cheerleading, they’re occurring all over the place. They’re occurring on asphalt, on grass, on tile. And if you think about it, if cheerleading isn’t considered a sport, [it] may not be afforded the same resources — even for practice — as other sports.”Here’s Comstock’s theory on why the injury rate is higher during practice: If cheerleading isn’t officially designated as a sport at a school, there are better odds that the team isn’t practicing on athletic mats and instead setting up in, say, a parking lot or school cafeteria. In competition, however, the students are likely to be on proper mats and therefore less likely to be at risk for getting a concussion. The reports from the 2011 catastrophic injury study at UNC seem to back this up; a high number of the injuries seem to occur both during practice and also as a result of contact with a hard surface.What does that mean? “Recognizing cheerleading as a sport may actually make the sport safer because they should then be given a designated space to practice,” Comstock said. Official sport status means that money, equipment and resources come from schools, not necessarily from the cheerleaders themselves or alternative sources.Is there a difference in concussion and injury rates between the 35 states that have made cheerleading a sport and the 15 that haven’t? We don’t know, because the data doesn’t exist for that kind of determination yet. But Comstock’s team is working on it.Although the raw-injury count in cheerleading may tell a headline-grabbing story, it’s important to look at those numbers in context. Yes, catastrophic injuries happen, as do concussions. But keeping in mind that a lot of kids are cheerleading — and that every day we may take risks that have even grimmer statistics — we can get a better picture of the actual risks involved. Think of a dangerous high school sport, and football is probably the first that comes to mind. You might not think of those students in uniform on the sidelines, cheering for the players.And yet cheerleading isn’t as safe as you might think, which was one of the reasons New York State — following 34 other states and Washington, D.C. — reclassified it as an official school sport last month.Media coverage of the New York decision largely focused on athlete safety — in some cases referring to cheerleading as one of the most dangerous sports. The raw statistic that cheerleading accounts for two-thirds of all catastrophic injuries among female high school athletes was repeated by news outlets across New York.1Consider: New York’s CBS Local, The Buffalo News, the New York State Sportswriters Association, The Wall Street Journal, MyFoxNY, The Suffolk Times, The Daily Gazette, the Times Union, etc. Some, like The Wall Street Journal here, showed an iteration of a chart similar to this:The data for this chart was pulled from the 29th annual report from the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, an independent research body at the University of North Carolina.2This 2011 report, written by Frederick O. Muller of UNC and Robert C. Cantu of Emerson Hospital in Massachusetts, contains a section on cheerleading. The center classifies catastrophic injuries as either “serious,” “nonfatal” or “fatal.” An injury is considered serious when it’s severe but has no ongoing functional disability. For example, a 17-year-old cheerleader in 1998 attempted a back flip, slipped on wet artificial turf and landed on her head, shocking her spinal cord and causing temporary paralysis. Nonfatal injuries lead to permanent disabilities. Fatal injuries need no explanation.But it’s not the raw numbers that should scare people. (These numbers are misleading, as I’ll explain in a bit.) Rather, it’s how these cheerleaders are getting injured that should warrant concern.Cheerleading is different from every other high school sport (for which there is injury-tracking data) in one critical way: More cheerleaders are getting injured during practice than in competition. And that’s why cheerleading’s official designation as a sport could go a long way toward reducing the number of injuries that make it risky.The earliest incarnation of high school cheerleading — think girls in school-letter sweaters and thick skirts encouraging a football team — has morphed into a hypercompetitive and acrobatic institution. And all the flips, throws, jumps and human pyramids have resulted in more injuries. A lot more injuries. That’s why it has been seductive for media organizations to report raw numbers.But it’s the rate of injury that matters.3To determine the rate, we can divide the number of injuries in a given period by the number of participants in that given period, and multiply by 100,000 to determine the injury rate per 100,000 participants.A rate makes a world of difference in how people interpret dangers and risks. For example, if I told you there were 179 unprovoked shark attacks in the U.S. from 2006 to 2010, you might get frightened. But when I turn that into a rate — by factoring in that 200 million people visit beaches every year, and they visit multiple times — it shows that the probability of being attacked by a shark is one in 11.5 million. That’s much less frightening.Similarly, when we factor in how many high-schoolers are participating in cheerleading, we get a different perspective on “the most dangerous sport” narrative.4Finding participation numbers for cheerleading isn’t easy, especially because for decades, it wasn’t considered a sport (and still isn’t in many states) and thus keeping a tally on athletes wasn’t necessarily required. The authors of the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research report admitted difficulty in finding an accurate number of competitive cheerleaders, which is crucial for determining a rate.The authors of the report I referred to earlier cited two participation numbers in cheerleading. A 2009 news release by the National Federation of State High School Associations said there were 400,000 high school cheerleaders in the U.S. (The number, however, didn’t distinguish between competitive and noncompetitive cheerleaders.) A 2010-11 high school participation survey showed significantly lower participation: 96,718 girls and 2,846 boys for a total of nearly 100,000 participants in competitive cheerleading squads.The authors decided to go with the 100,000 count in estimating the rate of injury. Because there was one catastrophic injury that school year, they said the effective rate was one catastrophic injury per 100,000 participants. Had they gone with the more inclusive estimate, they would get 0.25 catastrophic injuries per 100,000 participants. A couple of years earlier, study co-author Frederick Mueller told The Washington Post that he estimated the rate from 1982 to 2007 to be 2.68 catastrophic injuries per 100,000 high school participants, a figure derived by dividing the 67 known catastrophic injuries by an estimate of 2.5 million high school cheerleaders over the 25 years. Compare those rates with these other high school sports:It’s crucial to get perspective on these numbers. Let’s assume that Mueller’s estimate — 2.68 catastrophic injuries for every 100,000 high school cheerleaders — is accurate. In comparison, each year 17.9 of every 100,000 New York state residents are hospitalized for traffic-related pedestrian injuries — nearly seven times higher than the upper-bound catastrophic-injury rate for high school cheerleaders. So, even if cheerleading is the most dangerous high school sport, it might be less dangerous than walking to work.But what about more common, non-catastrophic injuries, like concussions?Dawn Comstock, a professor at the Colorado School of Public Health in Denver, runs High School RIO, a national database that has monitored 20 high school sports since 2005. She referred me to a 2012 paper published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. The paper, based on High School RIO data, looked at concussions among high school athletes — where they occurred (in practice or competition) and in what sport — as well as participation rates during the 2008-10 school years. The finding?“Cheerleading is not nearly as dangerous a sport as some of the previous research painted it to be,” Comstock said. “It has the 10th-highest concussion rate of the 20.”Concussions are a compelling data set for tracking the dangers of a sport because they’re relatively common, and yet they’re severe enough to be reported (as opposed to, say, sprains and strains). But they often don’t have long-term impact. Here are the competition concussion rates per 100,000 athlete exposures:5An athlete exposure is defined as one athlete participating in one game or practice. Boys Volleyball was not included in the chart because no concussions were reported. read more

Yankees Alex Rodriguez Sidelined With Broken Hand

Eric Chavez suffered a broken hand and was out exactly eight weeks. That’s how long he expects to be the New York Yankees third baseman as Alex Rodriguez hand broken Tuesday night in Seattle heals.Two months is a long time for the Yankees, team with the best record in baseball, to go without Rodriguez’ bat in the lineup. He’s hitting .276 with 15 home runs and 44 RBIs, but is as explosive a batter as there is in the game. And just two days ago he talked about how great he felt at the plate.“It’s a tough blow,” a disappointed Rodriguez said about an hour after the game. His left hand heavily wrapped, he will fly back with the team after Wednesday’s game and be checked out by the Yankees’ medical staff on Thursday.“I never thought it was a fracture,” he said. “But it was.”It was the eighth inning of a 4-2 loss when Rodriguez grabbed his left hand with his right after being hit, and never let go even as he fell to the ground, writhing on the dirt near home plate.He was struck by a Felix Hernandez pitch, breaking the fifth metacarpal. It was one thing to have lost five of six games to start a road trip. It was quite another to lose their big bat in the 3 hole.“It’s non-displaced (fracture), which is good,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “But we’re going to have to make some changes, which is too bad, because Alex was just starting to feel good again.”The pitch from Hernandez was a 91 mph change up and was the third pitch of his to find a New York batter. Hernandez hit three of the final five batters he faced, hitting Ichior Suzuki in the seventh and Derek Jeter before Rodriguez in the eighth. read more

Larry Drew Out Spurs Assistant In as Hawks Coach

The Atlanta Hawks completed the embarrassing handling of Larry Drew by hiring San Antonio Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer to be their head coach, even as Drew remains under contract until the end of next month.General manager Danny Ferry, in an unprecedented maneuver,  told Drew that he could retain his job only if Ferry did not lure someone he liked better for the position. Drew, meanwhile, realized that meant he was out and has interviewed for the Milwaukee Bucks head coaching position.Budenhozler reunites with Ferry, who was an executive in San Antonio before becoming general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers and then the Hawks. The Spurs granted permission to the Hawks to negotiate with Budenholzer during the break between their Western Conference finals victory and the start of the NBA Finals on June 6.Given the relationship between Ferry and Budenholzer and their shared philosophies under Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, the talks moved rapidly to a conclusion on Tuesday.Drew and Houston Rockets assistant Kelvin Sampson are finalists for the Bucks head coaching job. Former Lakers assistant Steve Clifford also was a finalist, but Clifford agreed to terms with the Charlotte Bobcats for their head coaching vacancy on Monday.The Bucks are huddling this week to decide whether to expand their search to include Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins, who does not have a contract for next season. The Grizzlies’ season ended on Monday night with a sweep at the hands of the Spurs, who advanced to their fifth NBA Finals since drafting Tim Duncan in 1997.Ferry made a point of expanding his search beyond Budenholzer while the Spurs’ top assistant was unavailable as San Antonio was advancing through the playoffs. But in the final analysis, Ferry was most comfortable with Budenholzer as he attempts to incorporate the San Antonio way into his rebuilding project in Atlanta.The Hawks spoke with Drew, Stan Van Gundy, former Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan and CSKA Moscow coach Ettore Messina during their search. read more

College Athletics Is Selling Young Black Men a Lie

As the nation gears up for March Madness, a recent news report says college athletics is failing young Black men.The Associated Press reports that Black male student-athletes have lower graduation rates than regular Black male students. According to a study of the 2014-15 academic year by University of Pennsylvania researcher Shaun Harper, only 54 percent of Black student-athletes at Power 5 conferences achieved degrees within six years. The graduation rate for regular Black male students was 58 percent.Harper said the problem is widespread and not just localized at big schools.“It happens just about everywhere,” said Harper. “Generations of young Black men and their parents and families are repeatedly duped by a system that lies to them about what their life chances are and what their athletic outcomes are likely to be.”Black males are being recruited by big-time college programs because of their athletic prowess, not because of their academic abilities. Although they are called student-athletes, they are more athlete than student.“When coaches are looking for the best athletic talent, that’s what they’re looking for,” Harper said. “They’re not really concerned with academic talent.”And while many of the students are sold on the idea of using college as a springboard to a career in the NBA or the NFL, in reality few of them make it to the big leagues.According to data from the NCAA, only 1.2 percent of college men’s basketball players get drafted by the NBA, and only 1.6 percent of college football players are recruited by the NFL.Harry Swayne, who played for Rutgers University and in the NFL, told The AP colleges need to do a better job of telling student-athletes that most of them are not going to have careers in professional sports.“Statistically, more than likely, they won’t make it,” Swayne said. “We don’t want to talk them out of their dreams; we just want to give them some reality, too. We want to introduce them to some other possibilities for when football is over, because it is coming to an end sooner than they think and sooner than they’re ready for.”Dr. Boyce Watkins, a former business professor at Syracuse University, has been a long-time critic of college athletics. He said when you consider the billions of dollars college football and basketball generate, and how little money the players get, the system is exploitative.“The billions generated by March Madness rival the money earned from the post season of nearly every professional sports league in the world,” said Watkins in a Huffington Post article. “At $613 million, the NCAA is earning over 40 percent more ad revenue than the entire NBA playoffs and over 60 percent more ad revenue than the entire post season for Major League Baseball.”Watkins has called on schools to start paying college athletes a salary. He said by labeling players “student athletes,” the NCAA has created a system that denies them the rights of regular workers. College athletics operates, like many American businesses, on low labor costs and huge profits for corporations. The players only get scholarships, but the coaches and administrators get million-dollar and six-figure salaries.“Athletes and their families deserve labor rights,” said Watkins. “The truth is that college athletes in revenue-generating sports are treated as neither Americans nor college students. Their ability to enjoy college is stripped by the rigors of their professional sports schedules and Draconian training regimen, thrust upon them by money-hungry coaches who could care less about education. The idea that Congress has conspired with the NCAA to allow athlete labor rights to be taken away in a manner that would be illegal in nearly any other industry adds insult to injury. Keeping athletes and their families in poverty while coaches and administrators get rich is not only fundamentally un-American, it is an embarrassment to us all.” read more

You Cant Opt Out Of Sharing Your Data Even If You Didnt

The Golden State Killer, who terrorized Californians from Sacramento to Orange County over the course of a decade, committed his last known murder in 1986, the same year that DNA profiling was used in a criminal investigation for the first time. In that early case, officers convinced thousands of men to voluntarily turn over blood samples, building a genetic dragnet to search for a killer in their midst. The murderer was eventually identified by his attempts to avoid giving up his DNA. In contrast, suspected Golden State Killer Joseph James DeAngelo, who was apprehended just last week, was found through other people’s DNA — samples taken from the crime scenes were matched to the profiles his distant relatives had uploaded to a publicly accessible genealogy website.You can see the rise of a modern privacy conundrum in the 32 years between the first DNA case and DeAngelo’s arrest. Digital privacy experts say that the way DeAngelo was found has implications reaching far beyond genetics, and the risks of exposure apply to everyone — not just alleged serial killers. We’re used to thinking about privacy breaches as what happens when we give data about ourselves to a third party, and that data is then stolen from or abused by that third party. It’s bad, sure. But we could have prevented it if we’d only made better choices.Increasingly, though, individuals need to worry about another kind of privacy violation. I think of it as a modern tweak on the tragedy of the commons — call it “privacy of the commons.” It’s what happens when one person’s voluntary disclosure of personal information exposes the personal information of others who had no say in the matter. Your choices didn’t cause the breach. Your choices can’t prevent it, either. Welcome to a world where you can’t opt out of sharing, even if you didn’t opt in.Yonatan Zunger, a former Google privacy engineer, noted we’ve known for a long time that one person’s personal information is never just their own to share. It’s the idea behind the old proverb, “Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead.” And as far back as the 1960s, said Jennifer Lynch, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, phone companies could help law enforcement collect a list of all the numbers one phone line called and how long the calls lasted. The phone records may help convict a guilty party, but they also likely call police attention to the phone numbers, identities and habits of people who may not have anything to do with the crime being investigated.But the digital economy has changed things, making the privacy of the commons easier to exploit and creating stronger incentives to do so.“One of the fascinating things we’ve now walked ourselves into is that companies are valued by the market on the basis of how much user data they have,” said Daniel Kahn Gillmor, senior staff technologist with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. A company can run along, not making a cent, but if it has a large user base and reams of private information about those users, then it’s valuable — and can be sold for millions. Companies that collect more data, keep that data, and use it to make connections between users are worth more. Sears, Roebuck and Co. may have been able to infer when you bought a gift from their catalog for a friend who lived in another town, but Amazon has more reason (and more ability) to use that information to build a profile of your friend’s interests.We all saw this in action in the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal. The privacy of the commons is how the 270,000 Facebook users who actually downloaded the “thisisyourdigitallife” app turned into as many as 87 million users whose data ended up in the hands of a political marketing firm. Much of the narrative surrounding that scandal has focused on what individuals should be doing to protect themselves. But that idea that privacy is all about your individual decisions is part of the problem, said Julie Cohen, a technology and law professor at Georgetown University. “There’s a lot of burden being put on individuals to have an understanding and mastery of something that’s so complex that it would be impossible for them to do what they need to do,” she said.Even if you do your searches from a specialized browser, tape over all your webcams and monitor your privacy settings without fail, your personal data has probably still been collected, stored and used in ways you didn’t intend — and don’t even know about.Companies can even build a profile of a person from birth based entirely on data-sharing choices made by others, said Salome Viljoen, a lawyer and fellow with the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard. Imagine new parents signing up for a loyalty card at their local pharmacy and then filling all of their child’s prescriptions there. The information collected every time they scan that loyalty card adds up to something like a medical history, which could later be sold to data brokers or combined with data bought from brokers to paint a fuller picture of a person who never consented to any of this.So does that mean that, in addition to locking down our own privacy choices, we need to police the choices of our friends and family? No, said Cohen, Gillmor and Viljoen. In fact, the privacy of the commons means that, in some cases, your data is collected in ways you cannot reasonably prevent, no matter how carefully you or anyone you know behaves.Take, for instance, Equifax, the credit-rating company that lost control of the data of 143 million people last year. Those people weren’t necessarily members of Equifax. Instead, the company collected data from other companies the people chose to do business with, and much of that business was stuff people can’t get by without, like renting or owning a home. Or, alternately, consider Facebook, again. That company has admitted it tracks the online behavior of people who never intentionally engage with it at all, thanks to partnerships with other websites. (Like many sites, FiveThirtyEight has this kind of partnership with Facebook. Our pages talk to the social network in several ways, including through ads and comments, and because of the embedded “Like” button.) If hounding every person you’ve ever cared about into adopting encryption tools like PGP sounded like fun, you’ll love living in a van down by the river with no internet access.1And I hope you’re prepared to buy the van with cash, because if you need credit, the credit check the dealer runs could hand your information to Equifax again.Instead, experts say these examples show that we need to think about online privacy less as a personal issue and more as a systemic one. Our digital commons is set up to encourage companies and governments to violate your privacy. If you live in a swamp and an alligator attacks you, do you blame yourself for being a slow swimmer? Or do you blame the swamp for forcing you to hang out with alligators?There isn’t yet a clear answer for what the U.S. should do. Almost all of our privacy law and policy is framed around the idea of privacy as a personal choice, Cohen said. The result: very little regulation addressing what data can be collected, how it should be protected, or what can be done with it. In some ways, Gillmor said, online privacy is where the environmental movement was back in the 1950s, when lots of big, centralized choices were hurting individuals’ health, and individuals had little power to change that. “I don’t even know if we have had our ‘Silent Spring’ yet,” he said. “Maybe Cambridge Analytica will be our ‘Silent Spring.’” read more

In the zone Johnsons 3point shooting keeps Buckeyes in Big Ten Tournament

INDIANAPOLIS — If the Ohio State women’s basketball team (20-9) goes on to win the Big Ten Tournament title, it will have senior guard Brittany Johnson to thank. During Friday night’s quarterfinal round game against No. 5-seeded Iowa (22-8), oft-relied-on sources of offense were less than reliable for the Buckeyes. It took senior center Jantel Lavender nearly 12 minutes to score her first points against the Hawkeyes. By game’s end, Lavender had made five of her nine field-goal attempts. She finished the night with 11 points — 11.6 points below her season average of 22.6 per game. OSU’s second-leading scorer, junior guard Samantha Prahalis, scored only seven points on 2-for-10 shooting from the field. Prahalis also fell short of her season average of 14.1 points per game. OSU coach Jim Foster said he wasn’t satisfied with the Buckeyes’ offensive output. “I thought we were a little careless with the ball,” Foster said. “We were forcing too much in the first half.” Johnson, however, was a scoring threat from the opening tip until the final buzzer. After opening up OSU’s scoring with back-to-back 3-pointers in the first half, Johnson put away the game with three more 3-pointers late in the second. There were a couple more threes in between as well. All told, Johnson made seven of 14 3-point attempts against Iowa and finished the game with a season-high 23-point performance. “I was just in the zone, I guess,” Johnson said. “I just wanted to step up and help my teammates out. That’s what I did.” After the game, Foster said Johnson played well on both sides of the court to lead OSU to the 71-61 win. “(Johnson’s) developed herself into being a great shooter,” Foster said. “I thought her defense tonight was every bit as exciting as the 3-point shots.” Even Hawkeyes coach Lisa Bluder had praise for Johnson. “(Johnson’s) a good player,” Bluder said. “You’ve got to know where she is all the time. She is a really, really good 3-point shooter.” Lavender might have summarized Johnson’s contribution to Friday’s victory most succinctly. “We have the utmost confidence in (Johnson’s) shot,” Lavender said. “She did a great job focusing tonight. That’s what we needed to win.” OSU continues Big Ten Tournament play with a semifinal round game against No. 1-seeded Michigan State (26-4) on Saturday at Conseco Fieldhouse. read more

OSU mens soccer embarrassed by Northwestern in 32 loss

In a game the Ohio State men’s soccer coach John Bluem said was embarrassing, the Buckeyes fell to Northwestern, 3-2, for their first conference loss of the year. After falling behind 3-0 with 32 minutes to play, the Buckeyes scored two goals in the final 16 minutes of the game. Junior forward Chris Hegngi scored on a penalty kick in the 74th minute, and added his second goal of the game in the 82nd minute off a crossing pass by sophomore forward Omar Vallejo. OSU had chances late to tie the game, but the Northwestern defense came up with the stops they needed to preserve the win. While OSU head coach John Bluem said he was happy to see his team rally late and score twice, he was not pleased with his team’s overall performance. “We were thoroughly outplayed today,” he said. “(Northwestern) just embarrassed us. That was one of the worst performances by an Ohio State team in my 15 years here.” The three goals scored by Northwestern tie a season high in points given up by the Buckeyes. Northwestern’s first goal came off a corner kick in the 35th minute. Sophomore forward Reed Losee received the ball to the left of the goal, headed it to junior midfielder Chris Ritter, who headed the ball past OSU’s junior goalie Matt Lampson. The Wildcats scored again in the 47th minute when senior forward Oliver Kupe took a cross from junior midfielder Kyle Schickel and headed it into the back of the net. Schickel scored their third goal in the 57th minute. The Buckeyes had multiple scoring opportunities throughout the game, but failed to finish. Hegngi had six shots, including two-in-a-row inside the Northwestern box that were blocked by Wildcats’ freshman goalie Tyler Miller in the 53rd minute. Hegngi said the Buckeyes left a couple goals on the field. “We know, especially with teams that work hard like Northwestern, we have to capitalize on our opportunities, and we failed to do so at the beginning of the game and the end of the second half,” he said. Chris Hegngi’s brother, senior midfielder Parnell Hegngi, also had a missed scoring opportunity. In the 14th minute, Parnell Hegngi broke free and got the ball to the top of Northwestern’s box and fired a shot, but it missed wide to the right. The loss was the first for the Buckeyes in Big Ten play this season. Senior defender David Tiemstra said the Buckeyes need to be better mentally in order to regain the momentum OSU built up during their first two Big Ten wins. “We really didn’t come out today with the intensity you need in Big Ten play,” he said. “It really let us down today.” Chris Hegngi is confident the loss won’t affect his team’s play going forward. “I don’t think we’ll lose any momentum. (Northwestern is) a good team and they had a good result today,” he said. “But as soon as the game is over, we forget about it and go back to working towards the Big Ten Championship,” The Buckeyes (7-5-1, 2-1) will travel to Indiana to play Valparaiso University (5-5-2) Oct. 16, before returning to Big Ten play to face Penn State Oct. 23 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at 2 p.m. read more

Senior track athletes compete for the final time at Ohio State

For the senior athletes on the Ohio State men’s and women’s track teams, the 27th annual Jesse Owens Memorials Track Classic was a last opportunity to compete on their home track and leave their best efforts at the Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium where their collegiate careers began three seasons ago. All-American senior Christina Manning, who was named Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week for the ninth time in her career April 2, said the final home meet led to reminiscing upon her career at OSU. “It means a lot. It’s bittersweet actually,” Manning said. “I just get so many memories of when I was a freshman, to sophomore year, junior and right now. I just want to leave something here on this track. So hopefully I have.” Manning won the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.06, the ninth best in Division I this season. Manning, senior Madison McNary, sophomore Chesna Sykes and junior Christienne Linton also took home the victory in the 4×100-meter relay with a time of 44.55. Senior sprinter Shaniqua McGinnis said that since this was her last home meet, she was glad her relay team, which included McGinnis, freshman Aisha Cavin, freshman Alexandria Johnson and junior Nyjah Cousar, would win the 4×400-meter relay with a time of 3:45.12. “I just wanted to bring it home as a win,” McGinnis said. “This is my last time running on this track as a collegiate athlete at a meet, so I’m just glad I can bring this win in. It means a lot. To be able to win it like this with the race, it’s something I’ll always remember.” Senior Ashley Galbraith’s high jump of 1.70 meters claimed the win during her final day of competition in the Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Senior Maggie Mullen was first in the hammer throw, with a personal record throw of 59.84 meters/196-04, the fifth-best in school history. The men’s team earned wins in six events, including the 4×100-meter and 4×400-meter relays. The Buckeyes competed in the 4×400-meter relay without senior All-American Thomas Murdaugh, and claimed a win with a time of 3:12.66. Interim coach Ed Beathea said redshirt junior Cory Leslie’s performance in the mile run was one of the standout performances for the Buckeyes. All-American Leslie finished first with a time of 4:01.99, the third-best in OSU outdoor history. Senior Dan White finished sixth for the Buckeyes in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:52.15. Adam Green, a redshirt senior who placed eighth in the men’s one mile run, said he hoped the Jesse Owens Classic will give him the push he needs for the rest of the season. “It’s a great meet, we love having it. We love competing here. Hopefully this will spring me forward for this season,” Green said. In his first meet of the year, All-American senior Michael Hartfield placed second in the long jump with a jump of 7.45 meters. Women’s coach Karen Dennis said seniors play an important leadership role on the team. “This is what I need our senior and our juniors to understand … there’s a significance in beginnings and endings,” Dennis said. “How you begin something is important, as well as how you end something. And that’s what I’ve been trying to impress upon our juniors and seniors. We need you to leave here leaving everything that you can on the track for the team, so that our freshmen and sophomores see how to leave and how to lead when they become juniors and seniors.” The women’s track and field team’s next competition is the Florida Invitational, set for April 20 in Gainesville, Fla. The men’s team will compete at the Mt. SAC Relays April 19-21 in Walnut, Calif., and at the All-Ohio championships in Oxford, Ohio, April 20-21. read more

Ohio State football squeaks by California 3528

Smith’s fourth-quarter score gave the Buckeyes (3-0) their third lead of the game. Miller, who finished the game 16-of-30 for 239 yards, four touchdowns and one interception, opened the game’s scoring with a 55-yard highlight-reel touchdown run. The Buckeyes eventually took a 20-7 lead into halftime, but fell behind, 21-20, after a 1-yard quarterback keeper touchdown run by Maynard to help put his team on top. Prior to that, it was Cal sophomore running back Brendan Bigelow’s historic, 81-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that tightened the gap at 20-14 with 9:34 to play in the third. It was the third-longest rushing play ever against the Buckeyes. OSU fired back immediately following Maynard’s go-ahead score when Miller threw a jump-pass two yards to redshirt senior receiver Jake Stoneburner to retake the lead. Miller also dove headlong for a successful two-point conversion to extend the lead to 28-21 with 8:31 to play in the game. “That was a jump pass,” Meyer said. “Really good execution by Jake Stoneburner – blocking and releasing to the back of the end zone.”  Stoneburner agreed. “We’ve been working on that play since coach Meyer got here and he said he was going to use it this week,” Stoneburner said. “It’s obviously a great play and it came at the perfect time.” Bigelow tore through OSU’s defense on a 51-yard run to tie the game on Cal’s next possession. The game, as it had been for most of the second half, remained in doubt. Both teams might have been looking at a different situation were it not for Cal junior kicker Vincenzo D’Amato, who left nine points on the field as he was 0-3 on field goal tries, missing one from 40 yards out and two 42-yard attempts. The last of D’Amato’s misses would have put Cal ahead late in the game. OSU took advantage of the miss and, on the very next possession, Miller found Smith for the vital score. That late touchdown was a return to an efficient OSU attack that existed in the first half. OSU and Cal combined for 57 total yards with less than 5:30 to play in the first quarter, but that didn’t last long. Miller broke the defensive stalemate at the 5:11 mark of the first quarter with a 55-yard touchdown run to put OSU up, 6-0. The Ohio Stadium crowd gasped as Miller juked his way to the hash marks on the west side of the field. Junior kick Drew Basil’s extra point attempt was unsuccessful. By the end of Cal’s next drive, the defense seemed to have gone out the window for both teams. The Buckeyes’ defense cracked on Cal’s third possession of the game, a six-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 19-yard touchdown reception by Golden Bears’ freshman receiver Chris Harper. The Buckeyes went back on the offensive on their next possession, which lasted just 1:25 and ended in a 25-yard touchdown catch by Smith, who outmuscled his defender for position and hauled in the catch in the front, left-hand corner of the north end zone to restore OSU’s lead at 13-7. Now, OSU’s offense was in business. Ninety seconds into the second quarter, Miller completed a touchdown pass to Stoneburner that put OSU up, 20-7. Stoneburner’s 1-yard reception was set up by a 35-yard completion from Miller to a diving Smith. Stoneburner finished the game with 3 catches for 44 yards to go along with the two scores.  First-year OSU coach Urban Meyer has repeatedly said he wants his team to “play angry” and the Buckeyes did so – angry to the tune of seven first half penalties a week after committing 10 against Central Florida. Some penalties were nullified but three on a single Cal drive helped move the Golden Bears into scoring position. OSU’s defense held, though, as D’Amato missed a 40-yard field goal attempt with 5:21 to play in the first half. The 20-7 score line held until half. OSU outgained Cal 234-181 in the first half. The Silver Bullets’ defense, which was slow to pressure UCF one week earlier, tallied four sacks and six tackles for loss in total in the opening 30 minutes. Redshirt sophomore defensive back Bradley Roby, sophomore linebacker Ryan Shazier, senior nose tackle Garrett Goebel and Sabino each tallied a sack in the half. By game’s end, OSU had tallied two additional sacks and and nine tackles for loss.  Offensively, Miller was 10-of-14 in the half for 129 yards, and three of the four incompletions were drops. Buckeyes senior running back Jordan Hall made his 2012 debut after missing OSU’s first two games recovering from surgery on a torn ligament. Hall finished the game with 87 yards on 17 carries. OSU linebacker Storm Klein also made his 2012 debut in the first half. Klein was arrested late on July 6 after allegedly striking the mother of his child. A day later, Meyer dismissed the linebacker from the team and said in a released statement that the charges against Klein “violate the core values of the Ohio State football program.” The player was then reinstated Aug. 24 after charges against him were dropped. Cal came out of half and announced it wasn’t done yet – a Bigelow touchdown run of historic proportions served as the rallying cry. Bigelow spun, and spun again, to elude OSU tacklers before escaping to the hash marks in front of the Golden Bears bench and raced to an 81-yard score in the south end zone at 9:34 in the third quarter. “I initially took the handoff and thought don’t slow down. I spun off a few people and just tried to stay on my feet, keep pumping and keep running,” Bigelow said. “My eyes got big when I turned the corner. I just try to take what I learn in practice and apply it to the game.” Bigelow’s run, in addition to being the third-longest rushing play any team had ever made against the Buckeyes defense, was a career long and brought Cal to within six points at 20-14. Bigelow would, of course, be heard from again as Cal fans began to make noise, perhaps sensing an impending upset.  The Cal rally was delayed temporarily by D’Amato, who pulled his third-quarter, 42-yard attempt field goal try left of the goal posts as time would down in the third quarter. Cal kept coming, though, entering the red zone early in the fourth quarter and finally taking a lead OSU could no longer hold back.  The Golden Bears drove 46 yards on eight plays and scored on Maynard’s quarterback keeper from a 1-yard line. D’Amato made good on the extra point attempt to put Cal up, 21-20, with 12:26 to play. Then came Miller’s second touchdown pass of the game to Stoneburner, which gave the quarterback his first three-touchdown game of his career. Bigelow had a response to OSU’s response – the 51 yard touchdown scamper that allowed the Golden Bears to pull even with the Buckeyes. Bigelow finished the game with two scores and 160 yards rushing on just four carries.  With the teams back on level terms, Miller threw an interception to Cal junior corner Steve Williams, which gave the Golden Bears the ball in OSU territory. All the ensuing Cal drive held for the Golden Bears fans in attendance was D’Amato’s third field goal miss of the game, this one coming from 42 yards out. Two plays later, Miller found Smith for the eventual game-winning score. Bryant’s interception polished off the victory.  “The best part about 3-0 is the chance to go 4-0,” Meyer said after the game, “and that’s about it. We’ve enjoyed a win against a very quality opponent.” OSU will continue the non-conference portion of its schedule next Saturday at noon in the Horseshoe against the University of Alabama-Birmingham. California threatened to make Ohio State football the Pac-12 Conference’s latest Big Ten Conference victim, but the Buckeyes wouldn’t allow it. It was wild one, a true shootout, but one week after Pac-12 teams posted three wins against Big Ten opposition, the No. 12-ranked Buckeyes denied the unranked Cal Golden Bears, 35-28, Saturday at Ohio Stadium. OSU won despite being outgained in total yardage by Cal, 512-412.  With the score tied at 28, OSU sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller found sophomore receiver Devin Smith with 3:26 remaining in the game and wide-open space in front of him. Smith scampered into Ohio Stadium’s raucous south end zone for a 72-yard touchdown to put his team up, 35-28. It was his second touchdown of the game. Driving to attempt to pull level with OSU again, Cal senior quarterback Zach Maynard was intercepted by OSU junior safety Christian Bryant. Maynard had thrown for 280 yards on 26-of-37 passing with a touchdown, and OSU’s defense, which allowed  but the pick by Bryant put the game out of reach. Fans began to head for the exits after Bryant’s interception and OSU lined up in the victory formation. You could almost hear the collective exhale from Buckeye Nation. “Cal is a good team. They came in here and really gave us their best shot,” OSU redshirt senior Etienne Sabino said after the game. “They know how to fight. We have to get better at tackling. At the same time you need to give Cal credit, they are a good football team.” read more

Ohio State overpowers Michigan State advances to Big Ten tournament championship

CHICAGO-The quest for a Big Ten tournament championship lives on for Ohio State. After routing tenth-seeded Nebraska by 21 points Friday night, the No. 2-seeded Buckeyes (25-7) used a second-half surge to eliminate No. 3-seeded Michigan State, 61-58, at the United Center in Chicago. Like he did in a Feb. 24 win against the Spartans (25-8), junior guard Aaron Craft slashed and charged his way to the basket for 20 points-18 of which came in the game’s final 20 minutes. Junior forward Deshaun Thomas added 16 and sophomore forward LaQuinton Ross came off the bench and chipped in nine points on 2-of-3 shooting from behind the arc. It was Craft’s play, though, that ultimately guided the Buckeyes to their seventh straight win since a 22-point loss to Wisconsin on Feb. 17 in Madison, Wis. OSU coach Thad Matta said it’s a evidence of a team playing its best basketball at perhaps the best time. “I think that when we stay connected, both offensively and defensively, when we don’t panic, when things don’t go well-I think we can play with anybody in the country,” said Matta, who improved to 7-0 in Big Ten tournament semifinal games. “I mean, to win whatever we’ve won in a row right now in this league and some of the things we’ve had to do, I think that’s probably the thing that I’m most proud of. And we’re not done yet-I know that. But as I told them when our backs were against the wall, you’ve answered the call for a while here.” And, rather coincidentally-perhaps even bizarrely-OSU will play the Badgers Sunday for the conference’s tournament championship. But it might’ve not been that way if not for Craft. “He got his shot going, really. And when he gets his shot going, he’s impossible to stop,” said sophomore guard Shannon Scott. “He got to the middle, hit some jump shots, hit his threes. The defense couldn’t guard him after that.” But before that, the game’s first act unfolded in a manner fitting of a heavyweight bout featuring two teams ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll. OSU and MSU traded 3-point shots before Tom Izzo’s squad mobilized its attack away from the perimeter and closer to the basket. There, the Spartans, led by senior forward Derrick Nix, bullied sophomore center Amir Williams en-route to 20 points in the paint in the first half. Nix, who finished the day with 17 points, spent the period posting up Williams before rolling past him to lay the ball in overhead. The veteran’s ability to control the glass helped the Spartans withstand a half that saw the lead change six times by no more than six points. “They’re always a physical team for us,” Scott said. “They got a lot of big athletes, so we just know we got to match their physicality.” For some time, it appeared the Buckeyes would struggle to do that. While MSU found traction underneath the basket, OSU struggled to find a similar footing and opted to continue a 3-point barrage that connected 36 percent of the time. But without a solid presence in the paint, the Buckeyes struggled to do much of anything else, as Thad Matta’s crew shot just 34 percent from the floor-including a 4:26 scoring drought to end the first half. MSU headed into the game’s intermission with a 29-28 advantage, but it didn’t last long. Behind largely the play of Craft, the Buckeyes quickly rallied past their one-point deficit and flipped the script on the Spartans in the paint, tallying a 14-6 advantage in the second half. “I think we really focused on trying to keep them out of the paint, we knew they were going to try and go in there all game like the first two times we played them,” Scott said. “We made it a part of ourselves to keep (them) out of there.” On the other end of the floor, rather than sniping from afar at MSU’s veneer, OSU started started to attack it from within. “I think we just needed to have that better understanding of what’s a good three and what’s a three we can pass down to maybe get another pass and really try to find ways to get into the lane,” Craft said. “At times we have really good spacing that really opens up avenues and lanes for myself and others to drive in, and those are good threes, kind of outside looking in type threes, and knock down some pull-ups.” That blueprint Craft articulated after the game was nearly identical to the one executed about 30 minutes earlier. After a shaky outing in the first half, OSU finished the day shooting 42 percent and 29 percent from the 3-point line. Aside from their ability to outscore the Spartans in the paint in the second half, perhaps most notable was how the Buckeyes helped force 12 MSU turnovers while limiting their own miscues to five. And in a game that ultimately came down to clock’s last seconds, OSU outscored the Spartans in points off of turnovers, 11-0. At the 11:42 mark of the second half, the Buckeyes established a lead it would not surrender. But it didn’t stop the Spartans from trying to reach their second-straight Big Ten tournament championship game. After falling behind as many as eight points down the game’s stretch, MSU would cut the Buckeyes’ advantage to four thanks to a 3-pointer from Spartan junior guard Keith Appling with 2:52 to play. A minute later, Nix would complete a three-point play after being fouled on a layup to pull within one. On the ensuing possession, though, Nix was whistled for a flagrant foul on Craft. The junior guard made 1-of-2 free throws to extend the Buckeyes’ lead, 58-56. Still with the ball, a line-drive jumper from Thomas with 18 seconds to play would all but seal OSU’s second win against MSU this year. It’s why Scott said the Buckeyes have confidence in their leading scorer-even when he’s having what could be deemed an off day. “The thing about Deshaun is like he could miss two or three shots but we know-we trust him enough to make the next shot,” he said. Now, said junior guard Lenzelle Smith Jr., OSU’s attention turns to the team that last defeated it. “I’m kind of mad and pissed off that we lost like that at their home,” he said. “So now that we get another crack at them, it’s game on.” OSU is set to play Wisconsin for the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at the United Center in Chicago. read more