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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