The Super Bowl Point Spread Has A Strange Strange History

I have almost no recollection of Super Bowl XXIX — and not just because the Super Bowl was terrible. It was January 1995, I was a junior in high school, and my debate team was busy preparing for the state finals. We had the game on in the background somewhere but between cutting cards and practicing our 2NRs, we weren’t paying much attention.But we didn’t miss much. The San Francisco 49ers, 19-point betting favorites, scored on the fourth play of the game when Steve Young tossed a 44-yard touchdown to Jerry Rice. They never looked back and beat the San Diego Chargers 49-26. It was, by one measure, the least exciting Super Bowl in history.If you were a teenager in the 1990s, the Super Bowl had been terrible for as long as you could remember. From Super Bowl XIX in 1985 (the first one I remember watching — the 49ers crushed the Dolphins 38-16) through Super Bowl XXIX, the average margin of victory was 22 points.The betting public undoubtedly noticed this too, which may have been why the point spread for the Super Bowl was often extremely large. The point spread for Super Bowl XXIX — 19 points — looks absolutely crazy in retrospect. You almost never see a line that wide in the NFL. Since 19781That’s as far back as Pro-Football-Reference.com’s point spread data goes for the regular season, only 14 other NFL games (regular season or postseason) have featured a spread that large. It happens about once every third season, and usually requires the absolute best team in the league to be playing the absolute worst one. This time it happened in the Super Bowl.But it seemed perfectly sensible at the time. Between Super Bowl V — the first one after the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 — and that 49ers-Chargers blowout in Super Bowl XXIX, the betting favorite covered the spread 18 of 25 times. Could this just have been random? Maybe, but an 18-7 record can’t be dismissed out of hand: If you flip a fair coin 25 times, the probability of coming up with heads 18 or more times is just 2.2 percent.We can show how handicappers were treating the Super Bowl differently through FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings, which we’ve run retroactively back to 1970. The Elo ratings are a simple formula — they account for only wins and losses, margin of victory, home field advantage and strength of schedule — but they usually match Vegas point spreads pretty well. While they can disagree with Vegas on the strength of particular teams, they aren’t routinely recommending that you bet on underdogs instead of favorites, for instance.But in Super Bowls, Elo-generated point spreads have been systematically different from Vegas lines. In Super Bowls since 1970, Elo would have recommended a bet on the Super underdog 40 times — and the favorite just three times.Because these underdogs were getting crushed up through the mid-1990s, Elo’s betting strategy would be getting crushed too. Its record up through and including Super Bowl XXIX — when it would have had the Chargers as only 5-point underdogs instead of 19-point ones — would be just 7-18.So maybe Super Bowl betting strategy is simple? Bet on the favorite, stupid.Except, maybe not. You can probably guess what’s happened since 1995. In the 19 Super Bowls since that time, underdogs have been on a tear, having gone 12-5-2 against the point spread. On average, underdogs have beaten the point spread by more than 6 points during this period. Lately, they’ve won quite a few games outright too, including each of the last three Super Bowls and five of the last seven.Here’s one chart that summarizes this history. It compares the Vegas point spread (in light grey), the Elo point spread2In generating the trendlines, cases where Elo disagrees with Vegas about which team should be favored are treated as negative values (in dark grey) and the actual result (in red), using a polynomial smoother to more clearly show the long-term trends.In the chart, you can see how favorites outperform Vegas point spreads in Super Bowls throughout the 1970s and 1980s. But Vegas is trying to catch up and keeps listing wider and wider point spreads for the games. (These increasingly wide point spreads are not justified according to Elo, which don’t see the Super Bowls of the era as featuring especially lopsided matchups.) By the mid-1990s, Vegas has fully caught up to the historical tendency of favorites to perform well in the Super Bowl. Right about at that time, however, underdogs go on a run instead.Perhaps Vegas bookmakers were just catering to the whims of the betting public? If the public was used to seeing lopsided Super Bowls — as it was in the 1990s — Vegas might need some very wide point spreads to tempt people to bet on the underdog and even out the betting action.3Are sportsbooks actually trying to split the betting action 50-50? Some people take this for granted, but it depends on the sportsbook and the circumstances — sometimes they’ll try to get the majority of the public on the wrong side of the bet.From Elo’s point of view, these point spreads became wide enough to seem almost irrational. On average for Super Bowls played in the 1990s, Elo would have expected to win a bet placed on the underdog 70 percent of the time.4This is calculated assuming that Elo point spreads have a root-mean-square error (RMSE) of 13.5 points. That’s a huge edge: even the best sports bettors in the world struggle to win more than 55 percent of the time.But we should be careful about asserting that bookmakers and the betting public were just being foolish. Indeed, pretty much any time you claim to have a 70 percent edge against Vegas, you’re the one who’s being foolish. (This holds especially true given Elo’s record against Vegas in Super Bowls: Just 16-24-2 overall, although better in recent years.)5They also have a higher RMSE: 16.8 points rather than 15.9 points for Vegas lines. Both systems have performed poorly in the Super Bowl as compared with the regular season, when the have an RMSE of about 13.5 points instead.. So don’t be so quick to lay down a bet on the Seahawks, whom Elo has favored this year.Besides, there are some entirely rational reasons why favorites might perform especially well in Super Bowls. Super Bowls are different from regular-season games in several important ways:They’re played after a two-week break, allowing more time for recovery from injury and fatigue. They also feature a much longer halftime, further reducing the effect of fatigue.They’re played at neutral sites, and almost always in warm-weather cities or in domes.They’re theoretically officiated by the best referees.They’re the last game of the season, so a team has no reason to leave anything on the table. Teams may be more inclined to run up the score.They’re the culmination of an elimination tournament. Both teams will go into the Super Bowl “hot” by virtue of having won earlier in the playoffs to get there.They’re contested between teams from different conferences, who are less likely to have played one another recently.They’re spectacular events. Perhaps only the World Cup and Champions’ League Finals and the Summer Olympics draw more worldwide spectator interest.Some of these factors, especially the first four, might help favorites by reducing the amount of luck in the game. Even great teams have trouble avoiding bad breaks from injuries, poor field conditions, or poor officiating decisions. But the impact of each of these factors is reduced in the Super Bowl.There’s also some evidence that favorites perform well in the playoff games leading up to the Super Bowl. In the chart below, I’ve run a regression on NFL games since 1970, where the independent variable is the difference in Elo rating between the teams (accounting for home-field advantage) and the dependent variable is the margin of victory or defeat. In the regular season, a team with a 100-point Elo advantage has won by about 4 points on average. (This edge is fairly consistent throughout the regular season; it doesn’t become larger in the final weeks of the year.6In regular season Weeks 14 through 16 — I ignore Week 17 since teams sometimes rest their starters — a 100-point Elo rating advantage has historically translated to a 4.3-point margin of victory, versus 4.2 points for the regular season overall.) In the postseason, however, the same 100-point Elo advantage has translated to more like a 6-point margin of victory. The difference is statistically significant.So perhaps those Super Bowl betting lines got a little bit carried away in the 1990s. No matter how mediocre the 1994 Chargers were, they probably shouldn’t have been 19-point underdogs to anyone.But postseason games differ from regular season games — and Super Bowls differ from regular playoff games. Even in the era of “Moneyball,” the postseason is an understudied topic — and stat geeks shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss what happens in the Super Bowl as luck. read more

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Fox News Host Tells LeBron James to Shut Up

A Fox News host thinks LeBron James should nix the political talk.Laura Ingraham dissed the Cleaveland Cavaliers forward’s recent remarks about President Donald Trump, calling them “R-rated,” “barely intelligible,” and “ungrammatical.”“The number one job in America, the point person, is someone who doesn’t understand the people,” James said on the Cari Champion-hosted web series, “Rolling with the Champion.” “And really don’t give a f— about the people.”Ingraham didn’t only lash out on James. She unleashed on Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant, who also appeared in the episode. Durant, James and Champion all remarked on Trump — from the country not being “ran by a great coach” to the president’s “laughable” racist remarks.“It’s also scary because I shouldn’t be numb to your racist comments,” Champion said. “I shouldn’t be numb to your behavior.”“I’m numb to this commentary,” Ingraham quipped on the Thursday, Feb. 15 edition of her show. “Must they run their mouth like that? Unfortunately, a lot of kids and some adults take these ignorant comments seriously.“Look, there might be a cautionary lesson in LeBron for kids: this is what happens when you attempt to leave high school a year early to join the NBA,” she continued. “And it’s always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball. Oh, LeBron and Kevin, you’re great players but no one voted for you. Millions elected Trump to be their coach. So, keep the political commentary to yourself or as someone once said, shut up and dribble.” read more

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Beside The Points For Monday Sept 25 2017

Things That Caught My EyeTrump vs. the NFLPresident Trump spent the weekend arguing that players shouldn’t take a knee during the national anthem to protest police violence against African-Americans. Trump also urged NFL team owners to do something to stop them. Trump may be reading the results of polls showing that most Americans disapprove of the players’ protests, and believes he can take political advantage of a cultural divide. And he may be right — for now. [FiveThirtyEight]NFL shocker: Bengals score touchdownSunday the Cincinnati Bengals scored three touchdowns, which is huge news for them: In the first two games of the season they scored no touchdowns, leading to their offensive coordinator getting promptly sacked. Prior to 2017, only 23 other offenses in NFL history failed to obtain a touchdown in their first two games. [FiveThirtyEight]Carmelo to Oklahoma CityCarmelo Anthony has been traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder by the Knicks in exchange for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a 2018 second round draft pick. Oklahoma City is spending a small fortune on the acquisition indicating they think they seriously have a shot this year. [FiveThirtyEight]Not ready for prime time playersWith Washington beating Oakland and New York suffering a humiliating defeat in Philly, the Giants are down to a 4 percent chance of winning the NFC East. Isn’t ii delightful we got already got two primetime games out of New York? I root for these guys and am sick of seeing them televised nationally. The Eagles are up to a 41 percent chance of winning the inevitably contentious division, Cowboys have a 32 percent shot, and Washington’s got a 23 percent odds. Enjoy primetime, jerks! [FiveThirtyEight]Canucks vs. Kings vs. FogThe Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings played a preseason game in Shanghai, the first such NHL event held in China. Kings won 5-2, but the game was lightly attended and Shanghai humidity plus ice-based sporting events meant lots of fog in practice. Hey, they managed to jam NHL franchises in Tampa and Arizona of all places, this league will make this sport work in any climate. [The Globe and Mail]Mess with the frog you get the hornsIt’s college football upset time: Texas Christian University (ranked 12th) beat Oklahoma State (ranked 6th) 44-31 on Saturday. [ESPN]Big Number32 percentThe Jets can’t even tank right: their win Sunday means that San Francisco is now the favorite to get the number one pick in next year’s draft, roughly a one in three chance. [ESPN]Leaks from Slack[This transcript of a private conversation between NFC East rivals lightly edited to remove extensive use of profanity]neil:How on earth did the Giants find a way to not score on that drive???neil:Not even trolling…. that was crazywalt:I hate this teamwalt:Also, lol, this was the first thing I read after landing in Los Angelesneil:Eagles both had no business winning and had no business losingneil:Today was just a weird day. Jags crush the Ravens at 9AM in London, go figure that one outThen Browns almost win in a huge comeback on the road, Pats almost lose at home to TexansEagles win on the 4th longest game winning/tying FG everWeirdest of all, Bengals actually score a TDPredictions MLB See more MLB predictions We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆  Join the squad. Subscribe Oh, and don’t forgetNeutral zone infraction, #45, offense See more NFL predictions All newsletters NFL read more

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Ohio State synchronized swimming aims to win honor memory of former Buckeye

Members of the OSU synchronized swimming team compete in the U.S. Collegiate National Championships on March 28 at McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion. The Buckeyes clinched their 29th national title in program history.Credit: Lantern File PhotoThe Ohio State synchronized swimming team is continuing its quest for a second consecutive national championship and 30th overall on Saturday by competing in the Jessica Beck Memorial, its final home meet of the season.The Buckeyes, who finished first out of four teams in their season-opening meet, the OSU Invitational, are set to host another three opponents at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion: Michigan, Miami (Ohio) and Wright State.After starting the 2016 season on a good note, the Buckeyes are hoping to keep their successful ways going. The team has previously been successful in the Jessica Beck Memorial, winning nine consecutive times.The Buckeyes have several members of their 2015 national champion squad competing, including junior Emma Baranski.Baranski had a major contribution to the Buckeyes’ win in their first meet this season by sealing a victory in both a solo routine and a duet alongside teammate, Monica Velazquez-Stiak.“Team unity is a large contributing factor to the success of the team,” Baranski said. “Before we swim, we come together and do a big team cheer. Throughout the entire meet, whether you are swimming a duet, a trio or a solo, you are staying with your team.”Along with the unity of the team, Baranski said the team’s general hard work is key in its ability to win.“Before competition, we train even harder,” Baranski said. “We push ourselves every day because we are striving for perfection.”OSU coach Holly Vargo-Brown stressed the importance of that conditioning, saying all the unity in the world can only get you so far if you’re not up for the task at hand physically.“At this point of the season, it’s really a competition against yourself,” Vargo-Brown said. “Are you going to remember what you are supposed to be doing? Are you going to be there for your teammates?“We are just making sure that we are doing the work that we have prepared for.”Baranski emphasized the importance of home meets and how the energy of the crowd benefits the team.“Synchronized swimming isn’t a popular sport around the country, but at Ohio State we have so many fans,” Baranski said.“There is so much support and it is absolutely amazing.”Unfortunately for the team, Saturday’s meet marks just its second and final one in Columbus this season. As a result, the team’s two seniors, Amrian Johnson and Julia Toro, are set to be honored before the meet as part of the traditional senior day festivities.While winning is a goal, there is a deeper meaning going into the weekend’s event, which began in 2007 to honor Jessica Beck, a former OSU synchronized swimmer who died in September 2005. Beck, who was a 21-year-old senior at the time of her death, passed away in her sleep. The cause was later found to be acute cardiac arrhythmia, an irregular heartbeat. “I think when we swim at this meet it is not just about winning,” Baranski said. “It is about being a part of something bigger than ourselves and the opportunity that we have to swim together every single day.”The Jessica Beck Memorial is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion. read more

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Sullinger weighs in on OSU basketball

As the only college All-American on the roster, in addition to living a mere two hours away, Ohio State freshman forward Jared Sullinger attracted a larger crowd than most when players met with the media during this past week’s LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio. “How much do you weigh?” one of the gathered reporters asked the Buckeye big man. Sullinger scanned a nearby official camp roster as a smile came to his face. “According to this, I’m 280,” he said with a laugh. The humor of Sullinger’s answer was obvious. Anyone who’d watched him play in Akron over the past couple of days saw that he’s slimmed down significantly from the 285 pounds he played at during the 2010-11 season. Sullinger said he’s lost between 10-15 pounds since the season ended and that his weight now hovers around 272 pounds. He attributed his recent weight loss to his offseason workout routine that includes a heavy boxing regimen. “A minute jabs, a minute hooks, a minute body blows,” Sullinger said, explaining his routine in the ring. Despite his noticeable weight loss, Sullinger still has some work to do, as he stated a desire to drop even more weight and drop to between 255 and 260 pounds by the time the 2011-12 season starts. The sophomore-to-be said that a slimmer Sullinger does not necessarily mean a less-powerful Sullinger. “My butt’s not going nowhere,” he said. “That’s where most of my power is.” If Sullinger’s weight wasn’t the subject he was asked most about this week, it was his decision to return to OSU for his sophomore season, as opposed to entering last month’s NBA Draft, where he would have likely had been a top-5 pick. “You can only be a kid once in your life,” Sullinger said. “I don’t want to rush into worrying about taxes, and apartments, and cars. I don’t want to deal with that just yet. I just want to have fun, play basketball, and be a kid and be able to live that college experience.” Sullinger’s been living that college life over the summer, where he’s been taking summer courses at OSU between attending basketball camps and working out.. He was invited to participate with Team USA’s U-19 national team over, but declined in order to stay in Columbus to get to know the five players who comprise the Buckeyes’ incoming freshmen class. Thanks to the significant minutes that they played last season, Sullinger said that he and classmate Aaron Craft are viewed as upperclassmen on the team. “Coach Matta basically told me he’s not looking at me as a sophomore. I’m a junior,” Sullinger said. “We’ve been through of the roughest times with last year, and they lean on us to push them through and show them how hard work really pays off.” Sullinger hasn’t just limited his advice to his new teammates, as he’s also taken on a leadership role at this week’s LeBron camp. “When we’re playing each other, he’ll be like, ‘Hey, do this,’ and it really helps you out. So he’s really been teaching me throughout the camp and helping me out to become a better player,” incoming Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis, a projected top-5 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, said. Although he’s improving others, Sullinger’s also working on his own game. He said he’s added a face-up game and he showed the ability to hit a midrange shot with consistency throughout the week in Akron. With the arrival of freshman center Amir Willaims on campus, Sullinger could spend more time playing the power forward position than he did last season. “That’s for Coach Matta to decide,” Sullinger said. “I would love that, because that would mean we shouldn’t be getting out-rebounded.” OSU has not released its full schedule for the upcoming season yet. However, it has already announced dates against Kansas, Duke, and Florida. read more

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Ohio State volleyball looks to pull upset over No 6 Penn State

OSU junior outside hitter Elizabeth Campbell (14) defends a hit by Michigan State on Oct. 24 at St. John Arena. Credit: Taylor Cameron / Lantern photographerWith a No. 17 ranking in tow, the Ohio State women’s volleyball team has a chance to reverse a losing streak more than a decade old.The Buckeyes (16-6, 7-3) are set to travel to No. 6 Penn State (20-3, 8-2) to face a Nittany Lions team that has a history of dominance at home.Over the past 10 seasons, the Nittany Lions women’s volleyball program has lost just five matches at home, including postseason play. And the Buckeyes’ last win in State College, Pa., came more than a decade ago on Oct. 20, 2004, in a five-set match.However, Buckeye senior setter Taylor Sherwin said she believes that the Buckeyes can end their losing streak this week.“They are a great team and it’s going to be a battle out on the court,” Sherwin said.Senior outside hitter Erin Sekinger said the team this year has a type of confidence that was lacking in years past.“I feel like our team has the confidence this year to walk into that gym and feel like we can beat them,” Sekinger said. “It all depends on how we take their atmosphere.”The Nittany Lions will be led by Big Ten Setter of the Week senior Micha Hancock and Big Ten Freshman of the Week outside hitter Ali Frantti. Hancock is first in service aces in the Big Ten with 1.06 per set and second in the Big Ten in assists per set with 11.38.Defensively, Penn State ranks first in all Big Ten categories except for hitting percentage by opponent, as they’re second to Michigan State. It ranks first in kills by opponent at 10.08 per set, assists by opponent at 9.51 per set, service aces by opponent at 0.45 per set, blocks by opponent at 1.51 per set and digs per opponent at 10.81 per set.After Tuesday’s contest, the Buckeyes are scheduled to head back to St. John Arena for their next three matches as they’re set to face the same Nittany Lions team and Big Ten newcomers Maryland (9-12, 2-8) and Rutgers (7-16, 0-10). The Buckeyes are scheduled to play Penn State on Friday at 7 p.m., followed by the Terrapins and Scarlet Knights on Nov. 7 and 8 at 7 p.m. read more

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Mens basketball NCAAcoms Joe Boozell breaks down Ohio States hire of Chris

Holtmann speaks at his introductory press conference. Credit: Sheridan Hendrix | Oller ReporterOhio State introduced Chris Holtmann as its new men’s basketball coach Monday, the last domino to fall in the hiring process. As the former Butler coach enters the early stages of his efforts to revitalize the Buckeyes, The Lantern spoke with Joe Boozell, the lead college basketball writer for Turner Sports’ NCAA.com, to break down the hiring and talk about what Ohio State fans can expect on the court next season. Boozell also graduated from Butler, so he has watched the team at length. In fact, his senior year was Holtmann’s first as head coach, and he offered a personal anecdote about Holtmann. The conversation has been edited for clarity and length. The Lantern: When you heard that Ohio State fired Thad Matta, did you think of Holtmann right away as a potential target? Joe Boozell: Yeah, definitely. I had an idea of jobs that he might leave for, and I knew Ohio State was one of them. When Indiana opened, about a month beforehand, I figured he might be a candidate but I also thought they might shoot a bit higher. They got Archie Miller, who I think is similar to Holtmann, but he’s just done what he’s done for a longer period of time than Holtmann has. So, yeah, I wasn’t surprised, and frankly, I was a little worried (he might leave Butler) when Ohio State opened up. TL: What do you remember about Holtmann’s early career? JB: There was the gap year between (current Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens) and Holtmann with Brandon Miller, and that was the worst year Butler has had in a long time. I think they won like four Big East games. It was also their first year in the Big East. Then Miller had to leave because of health concerns, and Holtmann was hired out of necessity. He wasn’t anyone’s choice to take over. No one had high hopes for his first season after they won four Big East games the year before, no one was projecting them to make the tournament. They got Roosevelt Jones back, who was their best player who redshirted the year before because of injury, and then they just took off. I think they got a No. 6 seed in the tournament that year. TL: What qualities about Holtmann as a person stand out? JB: To me, he always struck me as Brad Stevens-lite, and I mean that to be a compliment. He’s just a super nice guy. I have a fun anecdote. Butler has a Starbucks on campus. It’s a small campus, and that’s like the only restaurant there. Everybody was in line. It was during finals week, and Holtmann was there and he decided to buy every student their Starbucks that day. That’s just the kind of guy he was. That speaks to his character. Also, Butler has had a lot of tragedy in the Butler basketball family. There was the Andrew Smith death; he was on those Final Four teams. A former staffer’s infant son died. And Holtmann, he’s not really an insider in the fact that he didn’t play for Butler and he was new to the school, but everyone spoke so highly of how he handled those situations. He was there for all the families and for all the people who needed to grieve. You couldn’t find a person who said a negative thing about him.Butler head coach Chris Holtmann celebrates after Butler’s 71-61 victory over Texas Tech in the first round of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship at PNC Arena on March 17, 2016 in Raleigh, N.C. Credit: Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer/TNSTL: What qualities as a coach stand out? JB: He’s a great X’s and O’s coach. He might wow you with recruiting at Ohio State, but at Butler, he recruited three- and four-star guys that usually outperformed their star ranking. And I think my biggest thing about Holtmann, the best thing, is that he doesn’t really have one tangible weakness. He is just very competent in every area. I don’t remember a game as an alumni walking away after a loss thinking they lost this game because of Holtmann. It sounds simple, but I think that’s something really good to have as a coach.He’s definitely willing to embrace the small-ball movement. He loves to have a stretch power forward. He loves to have at least four shooters on the floor. I think he’s one of the best after-the-timeout coaches. When I referred to him as Stevens-lite earlier, whenever Butler called a timeout in the second half of a close game, I always felt good about what was going to come out of that possession. He’ll fit his style to his personnel, and while it may not be very good that first year, I can’t say enough good things about him. One thing that stands out is the guys he recruits, like Kelan Martin, Kamar Baldwin. They’re probably Butler’s two best players. They were unheralded three-star guys who way, way outperformed their rankings, and I think as an Ohio State fan or follower, you can probably expect the same thing, and that’s huge. I don’t know if I called this a weakness, but it’s probably biggest weakness in the sense that he only coached at Butler for three years — nobody he coached went onto the NBA. Could that be a drawback in recruiting? Yes, but I think he’s going to recruit better at Ohio State than he did at Butler, and he won quite a bit at Butler. It’s hard to say if he’s going to get the Greg Oden, Evan Turner classes. We just don’t know yet. There’s not enough of a sample size, but I think he’s also proven that he can win without those guys against high competition. I’m not saying he can’t get those guys, but he just hasn’t proven it. I guess we’ll learn. TL: Considering Ohio State’s current roster construction, do you think Holtmann will have to make changes to his preferred schemes? JB: Here’s what I would expect, with his three Butler teams, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the less talented the team, the slower they played. I think that’s very intentional, and I would expect Ohio State to play slowly next year. I wouldn’t expect that once he gets players he likes. I think he just knows that the slower the pace, that gives the least talented team the chance to win. And that let’s his set-plays and whatnot take over. I think he can fit to any style, but if there really is no identity, expect him to try to grind it out his first year. They’re going to take a lot of 3s. They’re going to take a lot of layups. They’re not going to take a lot of midrange shots. They’re going to play hard-nosed defense, primarily man-to-man. He’ll get a little daring with zone, but I guess now that I think about it, I didn’t really like when he played zone. I feel like it never really worked. I would say he’s about 85 percent man, 15 percent 2-3 zone. I think ideally he’d like a free-flowing, somewhat faster paced style. But in that first year, which was sort of the case with Butler, he deliberately slowed the game down and hoped to win it in a tight battle.Chris Holtmann being introduced at a press conference to take over Ohio State men’s basketball head coaching job. Credit: Sheridan Hendrix | Oller ReporterOne thing I’d add, and this isn’t really like his playing style, more his recruiting style, but he definitely loves to have a playmaking four to initiate the offense. Not Draymond Green, but someone in that ilk. I don’t want to compare (6-foot-7) Andrew Chrabascz to Draymond Green, but he sort of played that role. He led Butler in assists last year. He just likes to have that power forward be someone who can shoot, pass, run the offense if needed. It wouldn’t surprise me if that was one of his first big recruiting snags. You know, 6-foot-7, 6-foot-8 combo forward, like Kyle Young, which is what he’s recruited to be. So if it’s not Kyle Young as a transfer, I think he’s going to get that guy in Year One and he’ll be a really good player.TL: What do you think would be reasonable expectations for Ohio State fans next year?JB: I think, even though last season was relatively disappointing for Ohio State, they still won what like 19 games? TL: I think they won like 17 or 18. First time under Matta they didn’t win at least 20 games. (Editor’s note: Ohio State finished with a 17-15 record). JB:OK, well I think that’s actually kind of reasonable given what they lost and what they didn’t add. I mean, it could change if they take some Butler guys, but given what they won’t be adding — and I know that contributed to Matta leaving. They didn’t get any grad transfers of note. I think Holtmann can get you to the NIT, and that doesn’t sound sexy, but given everything that happened that would actually be a pretty good outcome. TL: Given the competitiveness in the Big Ten and other slumping programs like Indiana and Illinois adding new coaches, what do you think a reasonable long-term forecast is? JB: I think a reasonable trajectory would be as I said, Year One, NIT, hopefully a guy pops that you didn’t expect, maybe two guys. Year Two, I think definitely make the (NCAA) Tournament with a good class. Holtmann has also shown willingness to add grad transfers, which Butler hadn’t really done. He got some really good guys in Avery Woodson and Kethan Savage last year. I think a No. 7 or No. 8 seed by Year Two is totally doable. By Year Three, I could see them atop the Big Ten. I don’t see why not. Michigan State, Indiana, Michigan, those are all really good programs but they’re not Duke or Kentucky or Kansas. So if everything goes right, I think they could absolutely win the Big Ten by Year Three. That’s a lot of speculation but I think that’s a totally realistic trajectory, and I think you should be excited about that if you’re an Ohio State fan. read more

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Shrewsbury Folk Festival bans blackface Morris dancers

first_imgWomen with blacked up faces Morris dancing at Skenfrith village fun day in 2010 Morris men at a Folk Festival Yorkshire England UK One of the UK’s biggest folk festivals has banned Morris dancers from performing with black paint on their faces after complaints that the centuries-old tradition is racist.Shrewsbury Folk Festival bosses announced it will no longer book acts who wear full black face paint.And this weekend’s event will be the last where Morris dancers will be allowed to showcase the 500-year-old custom.But the decision has sparked anger among folk fans who accused bosses of “trampling on our culture” by failing to dismiss claims of racism. Morris men at a Folk Festival Yorkshire England UKCredit:Alamy Stock Photo Equality group Fairness, Respect, Equality Shropshire (Fresh) said the ban showed sensitivity “to a changed social climate”.But Morris dancers say there were “no racial connotations” and they had “never wanted to upset people”.The festival’s organisers said it was “a national issue that should not be focused solely on the Shrewsbury Folk Festival”. Jonathan Hyams from Fresh said the group had contacted festival organisers after a complaint from a member of the public.The groups had met to discuss the issue and Fresh suggested the dancers use another colour of face paint or patterned make-up instead.Festival director Sandra Surtees said they had found themselves “caught between two sides” of the argument.She said: “The use of full face black make up is an age old tradition, particularly within Border Morris.“The Morris movement has always evolved over time and some sides have taken their own decisions to move away from using full face black make up to other forms of colour and disguise. “We have been approached by one group that has requested we no longer book sides that use full face black make up and another that has asked us not to change our policy and to continue to book these sides.“The festival finds itself caught between two sides of this opposing argument.“The festival has never wished to cause offence to any person and as such, from 2017, we will no longer book sides that use full face black make up. “This will only impact on a small number of dance sides and festival visitors will still be able to enjoy a wide range of traditional dance from the UK and beyond.”Ms Surtees added that two of the three Morris groups booked for this year’s festival had “already moved away from wearing full face black make up of their own volition”.Jonathan Hyams said: “From Fresh’s perspective, it is good news.“We entirely understand the argument from Morris dancing communtities that this is something that goes back to tradition.He added: “However there are other ways of celebrating this other than blacking up, which has very strong connotations of racism.” We entirely understand the argument from Morris dancing communtities that this is something that goes back to tradition. However there are other ways of celebrating this other than blacking up, which has very strong connotations of racismJonathan Hyams The decision, however, has sparked public outrage from Morris dancers and Shropshire residents.Jon Roads said: “It’s terrible that PC nonsense is being used to repress our traditional customs in this way. These ancient traditions are at risk of dying out completely. Just disgusting.”David Bearne wrote on social media: “Disappointed is an understatement. This is a very weak response to ill-informed criticism.“They could, at least, have brokered some dialogue between Fresh and, say, the Morris Federation so that there was a better understanding of the issues and concerns on both sides and a possibility of reaching an outcome acceptable to all concerned.”The history of black faceMorris dancers have performed with black face make-up since the origins of the dancing tradition – which is thought to date back to the 16th century.Known as ‘Border Morris’ the tradition sees performers wearing a full-face of black paint in order to disguise themselves. But it has no racial connotations.One theory is that it started when impoverished 16th century farm workers had to conceal their faces to avoid being recognised while begging during winter, as asking for money was illegal. Women with blacked up faces Morris dancing at Skenfrith village fun day in 2010Credit:Alamy Stock Photo Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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Charity fundraisers face collapse after backlash against cold calls

first_imgPell & Bales was one of the biggest players in the charity fundraising sector Credit:Alamy  Pell & Bales was accused of bombarding elderly people with phone callsCredit:John Stillwell Pell & Bales was one of the biggest players in the charity fundraising sector  Pell & Bales was accused of bombarding elderly people with phone calls Cold calling charity fundraisers accused of targeting vulnerable people for donations are being forced out of business by tougher rules and an increasingly hostile public attitude.One of the largest telephone fundraisers in the country went bust last week amid a collapse in profits.Pell & Bales, which was accused of bombarding elderly people with phone calls and disguising the fact its fundraisers were paid employees rather than volunteers, is to go into liquidation with the loss of 20 full-time jobs.It blamed “the challenging market place” for its collapse, saying: “Following a period of intense media scrutiny and government measures to regulate the activities of telephone donation agencies, the management team of Pell & Bales have been forced by creditors, to place the company into liquidation.”It is the latest in a growing number of fundraising agencies to go to the wall as a result of stricter rules and an increasingly hostile public attitude to their work.Around 10 telephone fundraisers have gone into liquidation in the past 12 months, including GoGen, whose clients included the British Red Cross, Macmillan Cancer Support and the NSPCC.center_img This follows increasing complaints about the tactics used by the agencies, with claims vulnerable elderly people have been persuaded to sign over significant amount of money after being pestered with repeated phone calls.Insiders said the increasingly hostile attitude of the public towards cold-callers, along with the resulting new rules limiting the number of people fundraisers could call, had made it difficult for agencies such as Pell & Bales to operate.But that has also raised questions over the ability of charities to raise funds for vital projects to help the needy.In July 2015, the Information Commissioner banned fundraising organisations from calling existing charity supporters who were registered with the Telephone Preference Service, used by households to stop unsolicited sales and marketing calls.Another firm forced to close in April as a result of the changes, Personal Telephone Fundraising, said it lost 75 per cent of its business overnight as a result of the ruling.Pell & Bales was one of the biggest players in the charity fundraising sector and the third largest player in the market in terms of revenue.But in 2014 an investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches programme found that recruits at Pell & Bales, which was raising funds for Oxfam, Unicef and Barnardo’s at the time, were told that they should pretend they had “children to feed” if potential donors asked why they were not unpaid volunteersIt was also reported that staff were given scripts in which potential donors were only to be told that they were being paid after donors had made a decision to donate.The programme spoke to an 82-year-old woman who hid her telephone to avoid the six calls a day she received from fundraisers  and a daughter who said her late father, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, set up direct debits to several charities after being targeted. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Emma Frost, from Bedfordshire, said she was shocked to discover how many charity direct debits were being taken from the bank account of her late father Joseph.An undercover reporter was also expected to meet targets.A Pell & Bales spokesman said at the time that its employee scripts, which were also questioned in the programme, were written “in line with legal requirements and best practice guidelines”.Pell & Bales’s collapse comes just two months after it was sold by its parent company Parseq to a group of investors led by the financier Gerry Hoare.Mr Hoare told The Third Sector magazine that his investment in Pell & Bales had proved to be a “very big mistake”.A statement issued by the investors said: “The challenging market place has meant it just is not possible to maintain the Pell & Bales business.”The firm’s profits fell by almost 80 per cent to £267,000 in 2014, and its turnover fell by more than 30 per cent to £7m, according to its latest accounts.It appears that Pell & Bales’ fundraisers and operations staff first became aware that the company was in serious trouble when they received text messages last week telling them not to come into work.Staff were unable to access their emails or log in to the company’s IT system. Others received telephone calls from one of the company’s investors, in which they were told they would not be paid for the month of August.They were told to make a claim to the insolvency firm Moorfields Corporate Recovery, which would handle the liquidation process.Pell & Bales’s sister company Pure Fundraising will continue to operate, with what it called an emphasis “on quality rather than quantity fundraising”.last_img read more

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Scottish farmer refuses to make way for landmark £250million film studio

first_imgNick Gibsone, an advertising executive who owns the land, wants the Telfers to leave the farm so that he can turn over his own property to the Hollywood studio development.But the two sides have been locked in stalemate for almost a year. Sources told The Guardian that any move to evict the family would have to be approved by the Scottish land court, which can rule over disputes between tenant farmers and landlords.Mr Telfer said : “I’m not moving. No, no, no. There are other places to go for the film studio.”His daughter, who lives on the farm with her mother, father and her daughter Nicolle, added: “At the end of the day money doesn’t mean anything to dad. He’d rather keep on farming and keep the farm for the community.“To lose it would be devastating, hugely to ourselves but to the community – and for something that could be built elsewhere.” A Scottish tenant farmer whose family has worked rolling farmland outside Edinburgh for more than 100 years is refusing to make way for a landmark £250million film studio.Jim Telfer, 82, said he and his daughter Mary Begbie, 52, were ready to fight all the way to the Supreme Court to thwart any bid to build on their rented 60-acre plot.Ministers have approved in principle a plan to build Scotland’s first film studio on the land in a bid to attract Hollywood stars to the country, but Mr Telfer is refusing to make way for the development. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The farmhouse was first occupied by Mr Telfer’s grandfather in 1915. The family own the farmhouse and buildings, but not own the land, which belongs to the Gibsone family.Mr Gibsone said in a statement: “This has been a difficult period for all concerned but we maintain we have acted in good faith and tried our best to reach a compromise that can work for everyone concerned.“We are not a wealthy family and it is now a necessity that we sell the site which we own. A proposal has been made that would allow the tenants, Mr and Mrs Telfer, to remain in the farmhouse, with some alternative land to farm plus substantial compensation.” I’m not moving. No, no, no. There are other places to go for the film studioJim Telferlast_img read more

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Statins could soon treat multiple sclerosis as momentous trial begins

first_imgStatinscould soon be prescribed to treat multiple sclerosis after a groundbreaking trial began to see if the cheap cholesterol busting drug could delay symptoms.The £6 million project is being led by University College London and involves 1,180 people at 30 centres across Britain.It follows a successful small trial in 2014 which showed a significant reduction in the rate of brain shrinkage and an increase in mobility after two years for people on high doses of simvastatin , which usually prescribed to lower cholesterol. Charities said the trial was a ‘momentous step’ forward which offered hope to thousands of people with relapsing MS.The trial is scheduled to last six years, but because statins are already known to be safe and widely used, the treatment would quickly pass through regulators if it was deemed to be successful. Lead researcher Dr Jeremy Chataway from University College London’s Institute of Neurology, who led an earlier study into the drug, said: “This drug holds incredible promise for the thousands of people living with secondary progressive MS in the UK, and around the world, who currently have few options for treatments that have an effect on disability.”This study will establish definitively whether simvastatin is able to slow the rate of disability progression over a three year period, and we are very hopeful it will.” MS affects more than 100,000 people in the UK.The majority of people who are diagnosed with the condition are told they have relapsing MS and around half of those patients will develop secondary progressive MS within 15 to 20 years.If simvastatin is found to work it could offer a cheap way of improving the condition, as statins only cost a few pence.Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of the MS Society, which is part-funding the trial, added: “This is a momentous step forward in our quest to find an effective treatment for progressive MS.”More than 100,000 people in the UK are living with MS and this research will offer a huge amount of hope to the majority of them.” The pills have already passed through regulation so if the trial is successful they could be available immediately Credit:Jack Sullivan / Alamy Stock Photo  The pills have already passed through regulation so if the trial is successful they could be available immediately center_img MS is a condition of the central nervous system. People typically start experiencing symptoms in their 20s and 30s, which include fatigue, sight loss, incontinence and disability.Secondary progressive MS patient Stuart Nixon added: “At the moment people like me are living with the prospect of our condition getting worse each day. This is the most exciting opportunity to change how we manage progressive MS.”It would be amazing if this trial can show that an existing drug, costing just a few pence a day, can help with MS.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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Adele thanks Chelsea firefighters with a tea and a cuddle after Grenfell

first_img“It’s fantastic that she stopped by to see you all,” one Facebook user commented.”I know you are back on duty today, and my thoughts are with you all. Thank you for your dedicated service, all of you!”The surprise visit comes after the Hello singer comforted those affected by the tragedy at a vigil held less than 24 hours after the blaze ripped through the 24-storey building.  A minute’s silence was held on Monday in honour of those who died, with some of the firefighters appearing close to tears during the tribute. Adele is among a number of celebrities to show support in various ways following the tragedy.On Monday, it emerged that tennis star Andy Murray is planning to donate his entire prize money at Queen’s Club this week to the families who lost everything in the fire. Adele has shown her support for the firefighters who tackled the Grenfell Tower blaze last week by popping into a fire station for a “cup of tea and a cuddle”. As the death toll from the Kensington tragedy rose to 79 on Monday, the pop star showed her appreciation for those who fought the fire by paying a visit to Chelsea Firestation.”Not everyday the wonderfully grounded and caring Adele pops into Chelsea Firestation for a cup of tea and a cuddle,” Rob Petty wrote on Facebook, alongside pictures of the 29-year-old singer posing with the firefighters. “I believe there are 79 people that are either dead, or missing, and sadly I have to presume are dead,” Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy said.He said five of the dead had been formally identified and it would be a slow and painstaking task to identify the others. Because of the intensity of the blaze some may never be identified. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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Thousands of rail passengers to miss out on full compensation over Waterloo

first_imgDavid Sidebottom, passenger director at Transport Focus, the passenger watchdog, said: “Current season ticket holders receive no compensation and other passengers have to be an hour late to qualify. We are calling on the government and industry to review this arrangement. Providing nothing would be completely unacceptable.” A South West Trains spokesman said: “Passenger compensation will be available against the published timetable, as specified in the Passengers Charter. Thousands of passengers across the South of England facing a month of rail disruption because of the partial shutdown of one of London’s busiest railway stations will be denied the right to full compensation.Almost half of the platforms at London Waterloo are being closed for more than three weeks leading to queues and disruption across South London, Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire and Dorset.Seven stations across the South West Trains network will be shut altogether during the work while a further 20 will be running significantly fewer trains. In total 190 stations will be unusually busy at peak times. Despite the scale of the disruption it yesterday emerged that many passengers will be unable to claim full compensation because of rules that allow operators to run a significantly reduced service as long as they have warned passengers in advance.It means season ticket holders, including those paying up to £10,000 a year, and normal ticket holders will only be able to claim compensation for delays against the reduced timetable.It has also emerged that enhanced compensation measures will be suspended amid concerns that it would cost the line’s new operator too much money. Current season ticket holders receive no compensation and other passengers have to be an hour late to qualify.David Sidebottom, passenger director at Transport Focus Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Passengers using Waterloo, the UK’s busiest railway station, are braced for three weeks of disruptionCredit:Philip Toscano/PA Wire “South West Trains and Network Rail have carried out an extensive 12 month communication campaign encouraging customers to consider their journeys ahead of the major works at London Waterloo between the 5 and  28 August . “This has included extensive activities in stations, on trains and in regional and national media.”During the works, more than 1,000 extra staff will be on hand across the network to help customers travel and a wide reaching ticket acceptance agreement will be in place, including local buses, London Underground and other neighbouring train operators.”Following discussions between South West Trains, the incoming operator First/MTR, and the Department for Transport, it has been decided that current Passengers Charter compensation arrangements will apply for the duration of the works.” Passengers using Waterloo, the UK's busiest railway station, are braced for three weeks of disruptionlast_img read more

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NHSs longest serving chief executive sacked

first_imgSir Leonard told the BBC: “I am not a bully but I can show some measure of intolerance on some occasions when you have 14,000 staff and you are endeavouring to deliver best in class, but I would be proud to bring all the trade unions and other staff with me into this studio and I am sure they would give unanimous support.”I look at outcomes and quality and that includes at a high level in the clinical side of care and treatment.” Sir Leonard had moved to suspend the two consultants but Mr Smith and  Bryan Dodson, a non-executive director, decided the pair could keep their jobs following a 20-minute disciplinary hearing, a source told the Daily Telegraph.  The Royal Victoria Infirmary where the consultants said to be involved in a sex ring were working The NHS’s longest serving chief executive has been sacked for gross misconduct, but he has claimed he was dismissed for suspending senior consultants who used hospital premises to have sex. Sir Leonard Fenwick, who joined Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in 1965, said he had been the victim of an “orchestrated witch-hunt”. He told BBC Look North: “I have referred to this as an orchestrated witch-hunt and there is a great deal of evidence to demonstrate that throughout 2016 and into 2017 there has been pressure on me to retire or strike an arrangement to leave the organisation.”My face doesn’t fit and 2016 was a year when I did step across the board in one or two areas. As the accountable officer to parliament, in particular to the behaviour of senior staff.”He was asked: “This is the sex scandal?” and replied: “Indeed it is.”In March, sources at the hospital told the Daily Telegraph that Sir Leonard was forced out of his job after he exposed a sex ring involving two married consultants at the Royal Victoria Infirmary who were said to have arranged illicit trysts during work hours using code words such as “capuccino”.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The Royal Victoria Infirmary where the consultants said to be involved in a sex ring were workingCredit:Alamy Stock Photo Sir Leonard was put on gardening leave in January and when news of the sex ring went public the Trust “strongly refuted” that the matters were linked. The Trust said in a statement yesterday that “allegations relating to inappropriate behaviour, use of resources and a range of governance issues” had been proven against Sir Leonard. A leaked letter to the trust’s chair Kingsley Smith seen by the Health Service Journal​ claimed that Sir Leonard had bullied and abused staff in public, “interrogated” staff emails and made inappropriate comments about a colleague’s daughter. The Trust said that the decision to dismiss Sir Leonard “was not taken lightly, but made after very careful, lengthy and detailed consideration of the investigation report and Sir Leonard’s response to the allegations.”The statement added: “Due to the serious nature of the issues the Trust was required to report a number of concerns to NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Services, known as NHS Protect. As a result it would be inappropriate for the Trust to make any further comment on this matter.”last_img read more

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Government orders investigation into public school cheating scandal as regulator considers change

first_imgWinchester College, Oxfordshire, is among the schools investigated by CIE Ofqual is thought to be assessing whether teachers should be allowed to set exams for boards used by their schools, or be given knowledge of which questions will appear in the tests before they are sat. Robert Halfon, the chair of the Education Select Committee, last night said: “What appeared initially to be a few ripples in the water now seems to be becoming a tidal wave. What started off in one or two schools is now in danger of becoming a scandal.“Clearly this is a potentially a scandal for those exam boards affected and the private schools involved. Parliamentarians and the Government need to find out what has been going on and, with utter urgency, the exam boards and the private schools need to get their houses in order so that the integrity of examinations is respected.”Eton headmaster Simon Henderson said he had been “appalled” at the actions of teacher Mo Tanweer, but stressed that students had not been found guilty of any wrongdoing and had been “inadvertent recipients” of the leaks.He also admitted that the school was aware that confidential information might have been passed to a pupil at another school, and that this had been referred to the exam board.“If we become aware of further allegations, then we will pass these immediately to CIE as Eton would never condone or ignore any suggested breach of exam security,” he added. The scandal began last week when it emerged that teachers at Eton and Winchester had passed information to pupils about upcoming exams.Both teachers were also working as examiners at CIE. The practice led to suggestions that there was a conflict of interest in the dual roles. This is something Ofqual will now be investigating.Meanwhile, The Daily Telegraph can reveal that Cambridge International Examinations -the exam board the teachers worked for – refused to rule out that the exam material had been shared among pupils from other schools.The two academics, Mo Tanweer, head of economics at Eton, and Laurence Wolff, head of art history at Winchester, faced disciplinary action by the schools following investigations by CIE, which found that they had shared confidential information about papers they helped administer.Mr Tanweer was dismissed for gross misconduct, whilst Mr Wolff was suspended and later agreed to take early retirement.Students sitting a Pre-U paper in art history at Winchester College have now had their marks for the test voided, as have students entered for the economics exam at Eton. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Last night Charterhouse school said its pupils may have received information about the economics exam before sitting the test. It has reported its concerns to CIE.“Cambridge International Examinations thoroughly investigated allegations of maladministration on Pre-U Economics and Pre-U Art History,” a CIE spokeswoman said.“We took decisive action where we found maladministration had occurred at two schools to protect the integrity of our examinations and to ensure our examinations are fair for all students.“Students directly affected also received an appropriate and valid grade. If anyone has evidence that maladministration has occurred in any of our examinations they should contact us direct.”The Daily Telegraph understands that the information leaked by the academics to their students may also have been shared with others via social media and email exchanges.According to a source familiar with the investigations, suspicions of malpractice were raised with Winchester College after a female student at  Downe House, an independent school for girls, learned on social media that boys sitting art history had obtained advanced knowledge of the exam. Winchester College, Hampshire, is among the schools investigated by CIE A spokeswoman for Charterhouse said: “After an Economics examination, pupils anonymously raised a concern regarding a prior communication with revision advice received from a pupil at another school.“Charterhouse immediately reported the matter to CIE. CIE then took the action it decided to be appropriate in the circumstances.“Charterhouse pupils who sat the examination papers were all awarded their marks in the normal way, whereas pupils at the school where malpractice was adjudged by CIE to have occurred had their marks for one of the economics papers concerned estimated according to an established procedure.”Ofqual issued a statement on Thursday night saying it will “conduct a review of the rules under which serving teachers take part in writing and reviewing question papers, and the safeguards in place to prevent disclosure of confidential information.”The exam regulator’s statement went on: “The involvement of serving teachers in the process of exam setting has many benefits and exam malpractice by teachers is rare.”However, access to live materials must be appropriately controlled and risks to security minimised. We will investigate whether the safeguards in place are sufficiently robust and whether changes are needed.” It is unknown how many students were involved, and whether students from other schools aside from Eton and Winchester were passed advanced information about the paper. An investigation was tonight ordered into the private school cheating scandal as ministers suggested that teachers could be banned from setting exam questions.Schools minister Nick Gibb confirmed that Ofqual had begun an inquiry following revelations reported by The Daily Telegraph which saw at least four leading public schools investigated over allegations of malpractice.It came as the exam board at the centre of the disclosures admitted that the scandal could have involved other schools as it urged parents or teachers with information to come forward.It also admitted for the first time that pupils had passed on the inside information to friends at other schools, raising fears that the true scale of the cheating is greater than originally thought.Announcing the inquiry, Mr Gibb said: “The public must have confidence in the integrity of the exam system and cheating of any kind is unacceptable.“The exam regulator Ofqual is now reviewing the rules under which teachers take part in writing and reviewing question papers and have confirmed to me that they are considering whether action is needed.“The overwhelming majority of teachers act appropriately when working with exam materials but where they do not schools have a responsibility to report it to the exam board for investigation.” What appeared initially to be a few ripples in the water now seems to be becoming a tidal wave.Robert Halfon, Chair of the Education Select Committee Winchester College refused to comment, but said in an earlier statement that it had taken the investigation “very seriously” and “greatly regrets what happened”. The exam board has also voided marks for Eton students that completed the art history paper, after it found they had been passed details of the exam by a friend at Winchester.CIE is now appealing for anybody with information about cases of malpractice to come forward, amid fears that leaked exam details were shared more widely than originally thought.last_img read more

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Couple fined £100 for overstaying at car park because they got stuck

first_imgA couple was fined for overstaying at a car park because the queue was so long they could not leave.Donna and Darren Jacques were back at their car in the Stockton car park with time to spare, but they could not leave for another half an hour due to grid-locked traffic.They appealed against the £100 fine but it was upheld by the independent ombudsman POPLA, which said the couple was still using the car park despite them trying to leave.It said they should have bought a new ticket to cover the time they spent queuing. Car park operator ParkingEye had fined the couple, producing CCTV photos of them leaving the car park late.The couple, from Billingham, had taken their two children to a firework display on Bonfire Night last year. Mrs Jacques said: “We have never disputed we were half an hour late, but you don’t pay to sit in a car park. “We couldn’t physically leave.”There’s CCTV on the entrance, which is the same as the exit. I don’t know if they’ve seen us coming back to the car.”It feels like they’re pushing you as far as they can so you will just give up and pay.”POPLA said the couple were still using the car park’s facilities “regardless of whether they considered themselves to be parked”. Acknowledging the couple had paid for two hours parking, it added “this does not detract from the fact that they were 34 minutes over the time paid for.””The parking operator, as stated on the signage, allows motorists to pay for additional time if required before leaving.”It is reasonable to believe the appellant was aware they would not leave the car park within the timeframe they paid for and therefore was able to purchase more time but failed to do so.”Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham has called for action on parking companies after receiving complaints from constituents. ParkingEye has since cancelled the Jacques’ fine as a “goodwill gesture”.A ParkingEye spokeswoman said the company followed the British Parking Association’s “strict” code of practice and welcomed any legislation that aims to “drive consistency and improve processes”.”ParkingEye operates an audited appeals process and encourages people to appeal if they feel there are mitigating circumstances.”If a motorist disagrees with our decision they have the option to appeal to the independent appeals service (POPLA).”In this case the parking charge has been cancelled as a gesture of goodwill.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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Labour MPs deny spys claims they were paid £10k each by Czech

first_imgLabour MPs were paid up to £10,000 for secret meetings with Cold War spies, a former agent has claimed as he revealed they threw him a “farewell party” when he was kicked out of Britain. He has now claimed that those in Parliament who acted as informants to his secret service – the Statni Bezpecnost or StB – were paid between £1,000 and £10,000. Jan Sarkocy, a Czech spy based in London in the 1980s, says he was in contact with 15 of the party’s representatives including Jeremy Corbyn and Ken Livingstone, while John McDonnell was regularly meeting a KGB agent. The claims have been vigorously denied and Mr Corbyn has labelled him a “fantasist”.center_img He said that the payments were made in “cash on an…last_img read more

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Councils plan to ban dogs from sports pitches falls foul of the

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Dog walkers face being banned from exercising their pets on sports pitches under a plan to tackle fouling and anti-social behaviour, in a move that has drawn the ire of the RSCPA.The public space protection order (PSPO) would include a ban on dog fouling in any open spaces owned or maintained by Cardiff Council, such as playgrounds, sports pitches and school grounds, and increase on-the-spot fines from £80 to £100.However, RSPCA Cymru has said it is “troubled” by the move.“We’re proud to work closely with Cardiff Council and urge them not to forbid dogs from marked sports playing pitches, particularly where adequate space for exercise may not be available nearby,” said spokesman Paul Smith.Cardiff Council said that it received 500 complaints over the last year about dog fouling, and that it was concerned about the safety of children and adults playing sport.Under the plan, which is out for consultation, dog owners would also need to keep their pets on a lead in cemeteries, and people who failed to pay a fine could face court action and costs of up to £1,000, the BBC reported.A Cardiff Council spokeswoman said: “Every year we receive a significant number of complaints about dog fouling and out-of-control dogs in public places and, while the majority of dog owners are responsible and do the right thing by cleaning up after their dog and keeping them under control, there is a minority who cause significant problems. “The introduction of a PSPO would allow the council to tackle this nuisance so that our public open spaces can be enjoyed safely by everyone.” read more

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Woman called 999 over annoying bus driver who wouldnt stop whistling

A woman complaining that her bus driver was whistling, and a disgruntled diner, angry that his breakfast had not been served quick enough, were among some of the time-wasting 999 calls made to the Metropolitan Police over the past year.Scotland Yard has released recordings of the most ridiculous and inappropriate calls it received in 2018.Among them are a woman who dialled 999 on New Year’s Day to wish officers a happy New Year.In March a male caller phoned up because a fast food restaurant had run out of chicken.Between 1 January and 30 November 2018, the Met’s Command and Control call centre took more than two million calls. During that same period, the Met recorded 21,733 calls as hoax calls to the 999 number.Chief Superintendent David Jackson, who is in charge of call handling for the Met, said: “Whilst some people will find these calls funny, they take away police resources at a time that police numbers and funding are stretched, and we must continue to make savings across the service.“During the time that our call handlers are dealing with these time-wasting calls, a member of the public could be in real danger or have built up the confidence to call with an important piece of information that could take a dangerous person off the streets. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “Imagine if one of your friends or loved ones was in need of the police as quickly as possible and it turned out we could not help because we were having to deal with one of these hoax calls – I’m sure that you, like us, would be devastated and extremely annoyed.”Whilst we do not want to deter or scare people from calling us, we must remind you that the use of the 999 system is for emergencies only. “If you need the police, and it is not an emergency, please call 101. Alternatively, all crime, anti-social behaviour and other incidents can now be reported online 24/7 via our website.“We also have a Twitter account, @MetCC, which people can tweet any non-emergency enquiries to 24/7.” read more

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