SMU And Louisville Are Two Of The Best Teams Ever Banned From

2016Louisville238+19.65 YEARTEAMWINSLOSSESRATING 2003Georgia198+18.94 2016SMU255+19.65 SMU and Louisville are among the best teams to be banned 1992UNLV262+20.74 Any shining moments for Louisville and Southern Methodist will come and go before the NCAA Tournament begins. Although the Cardinals and Mustangs each rank among the nation’s top 20 teams according to Ken Pomeroy and others, both were barred from the 2016 postseason amid scandal.(SMU’s ban, for academic fraud, came from the NCAA; Louisville banned itself in an attempt to avoid harsher sentencing when the NCAA finishes investigating allegations that the team used strippers and prostitutes in its recruiting efforts.)By the numbers, these are two of the best teams ever to be banished from postseason play. Since the NCAA tourney expanded its field to 64 teams in 1984-85, only one banned team has had a better statistical profile, the 1991-92 Runnin’ Rebels from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. (We used adjusted differential between offensive and defensive Pomeroy ratings for seasons since 2001 and estimated the differential for earlier teams using Daniel Myers’s research on schedule-adjusted historical team ratings.) 1991Kentucky226+18.87 Sources: Kenpom.com, Daniel Myers, Sports Reference That UNLV squad wasn’t at quite the same level as the version that went 69-6 over the previous two years under the leadership of future NBA talent such as Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon and Greg Anthony. But its best player was J.R. Rider, a future NBA 20 PPG scorer,1Granted, also a chucker and anti-glue guy. and a few of his teammates had brief stints in the pros. Louisville and SMU, by contrast, each carry only one top-100 NBA prospect apiece — Chinanu Onuaku (No. 56) and Shake Milton (No. 87), respectively — and even those guys are at the fringes of the mock draft universe. (The Cardinals’ fifth-year senior transfers Damion Lee and Trey Lewis may eventually get a shot at the NBA but are by no means locks.) Rick Pitino and Larry Brown can punch weight with the towel-chomping Jerry Tarkanian, but in terms of record, efficiency and roster, the ’92 Rebels were probably the best of the three.Still, it’s a relatively close contest. And let’s emphasize again that two of the top three banned squads in recent memory both hail from the 2015-16 season. In what seems destined to be a wide-open NCAA field this year, the Mustangs and Cardinals could have seized upon that opportunity and produced deep tournament runs. But by running afoul of the NCAA, they’re here instead, hypothetically runnin’ with the ’92 Rebels rather than taking the court against present-day teams in the real-life tourney. read more

The Broncos And Chiefs Are Still Running The AFC West

How will your favorite NFL team do this year? See all of our predictions for the 2016 season » Kansas City ChiefsYou know what else Elo doesn’t know? The crushing, numbing experience of an Andy Reid playoff meltdown. Three seasons ago, Reid’s Chiefs blew a 28-point lead to Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts in the wild-card round. After going 9-7 in 2014, the Chiefs sprang to life in the second half of 2015 and entered the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in the league. With their win in the wild-card round, their Elo rating spiked to 1699, the highest it’s been since they beat the Vikings in the 1970 Super Bowl. And then, of course, disaster. Trailing the New England Patriots 27-13 with six and a half minutes remaining, the Kansas City offense snapped off a five minute, 16 second 16-play drive to get within one score. It was astonishing and horrifying to watch it play out in real time, and all too familiar to anyone who’d watched Reid’s Philadelphia Eagles over the years.It’s conventional nerd wisdom that results in close games are a matter of luck, not skill, but that refers to the generic scoreline — “games decided by 7 or fewer points” or whatever cutoff you like. There are, in fact, diagnosable maladies for teams, such as having difficulty stringing two scoring drives together in a short period of time. For teams with such issues, the saving grace has been the corresponding maxim: Good teams don’t play close games; good teams win in blowouts. But what comfort is that to a fan base that was only just recovering from somehow losing a playoff game it had been winning by four touchdowns? To Elo, the Chiefs lost two close playoff games to two very good teams and come into 2016 as the fourth-strongest team in the league. This is a good team with a very good chance of making the playoffs. If they do, we’ll know a good bit more than Elo does about what’s waiting in store.San Diego ChargersThe Chargers were bad last season. The team went 4-12, ranked 24th in overall team Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) and 28th in defensive DVOA, and finished the season with its lowest Elo rating since the 2004 draft in which it acquired Philip Rivers. The Chargers haven’t bought themselves much leeway off the field. After holding fans hostage all of last season, playing what many thought would be their final game in San Diego, they ended up in a madcap push to drum up support for a hugely unpopular $1.8 billion stadium/convention center proposal. If (when) the vote fails, the Chargers will have to decide by January if they’ll move to Los Angeles. In the meantime, the team chased off Eric Weddle, one of its best defensive players, and turned the good fortune of getting Joey Bosa — by many accounts the best player in the draft — into a sideshow. The Chargers engaged in an all-out assault on Bosa over contract provisions that are standard practice with every other team, which resulted in a 31-day holdout by Bosa.Elo predicts that the Chargers will see six to seven wins this season. That’s a little ungenerous, considering the number of injuries the Chargers have had the past few seasons (and with the re-addition of Ken Whisenhunt as offensive coordinator potentially jazzing up the passing game), but generosity is hard to come by after an offseason like San Diego’s.Oakland RaidersThe other team trying to pack up and leave town is, shockingly, in considerably better condition than San Diego. With Derek Carr and Amari Cooper, the Raiders have a proven backbone of a functional offense for the first time in a decade. And the defense, which finished the season in the bottom half of DVOA, came on late, with negative ratings (on defense, that’s good) for the final six games of the season. Things are looking up for the Raiders.Unfortunately, they’re looking even upper for the rest of the division. The AFC West is stacked, and Elo gives Oakland just a 19 percent chance of making the playoffs, with 6.8 projected wins. And that seems about right in the cadence of the NFL — it’s the inverse of the Broncos, in a way. The foundational elements of a good team are all here, but it takes a long time to stock a roster with the talent needed to contend at the highest rungs.VIDEO: How one spurned Rams fan found a new team To go with our 2016 NFL predictions, FiveThirtyEight is previewing each division. Denver BroncosThere are a lot of things Elo doesn’t know. Coming into the season, it didn’t know that the Broncos lost their Hall of Fame quarterback and replaced him with the most deliberately uncertain QB situation we’ve seen on a contender in recent years. After Thursday night, it didn’t know that Denver escaped with its Week 1 win thanks to a missed kick in the waning moments and a night of Panthers QB Cam Newton taking illegal hits that pretty clearly sapped the life out of him in the second half. It just knows that the Broncos were a fabulously good team last season, and they beat a very good team in Week 1. And actually, that might be all it needs to know.The Broncos had a lively offseason. They let last season’s backup quarterback, Brock Osweiler, abscond to Houston, drafted Paxton Lynch out of Memphis in the first round, brought in Mark Sanchez to compete for the job, and eventually gave the Week 1 starting job to Trevor Siemian, a seventh-round pick in 2015. They lost standout defensive end Malik Jackson to Jacksonville, and Von Miller took his sweet time signing his contract. But in the end, the defense is mostly intact. And to hear the Broncos tell it, that’s all that really matters:“We feel like we don’t care if George Bush was playing quarterback — we’re going to win because you can’t score,” says safety T.J. Ward. “You can’t score, you can’t win. That’s our mentality.“So, you want to come play quarterback for the Denver Broncos? That’s how we feel — it doesn’t matter who’s back there. We’re going to carry this team, and we’re going to get it done like we did last year.”This would obviously be a different story if Peyton Manning had provided more production last season, but he was terrible, so Elo’s blind spot was mostly about whether Siemian could hang against a good NFL defense. A lot of things go into an NFL team’s fortunes, enough that outside of a seismic catastrophe at the quarterback position, there’s a good chance a team’s fundamental level will carry over from year to year, with less regard to offseason moves than fans might think. Now that we know Siemian isn’t a lump, we have a pretty good idea what the Broncos are as well: the same terrifying defensive team as last year, just with George Bush lining up under center. read more

Oprah Next Chapter For LeBron James Dwyane Wade Chris

The new kings of the court will meet the long-time queen of talk.Yes, newly crowned NBA champions LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh play to sit down with none other than Oprah Winfrey.Winfrey will interview Miami’s Big 3 “about the challenges leading up to their historic win, their friendships on and off the court and the women in their lives,” according to a press release.The interview will air Sunday at 8 p.m. EST on the Oprah Winfrey Network.The Heat stars are busy talking about their title this week. James sat down for an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols and will do David Letterman’s show. The team held its championship parade today in Miami and Chris Bosh will appear on “LIVE! with Kelly” on Tuesday, among other media obligations.

NBA Free Agency Diary The Nets Got Their Stars But Will They

Joe Harris07180025+0.8-1.5-0.6 Dear NBA Diary, it’s been two days since the Brooklyn Nets hauled in three of the biggest free agents on the market (Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan), and I’m still adjusting to the reality of those stars suiting up for the franchise that used to call the swamps of New Jersey home.But once we all get used to the idea of KD and Kyrie in Brooklyn black-and-white, their team will actually have to take the court (well, sans Durant for likely all of 2019-20). And how good will they be? According to our metrics, Brooklyn’s work has just begun. A preliminary version of our 2019-20 CARMELO depth chart projections thinks the Nets will have the NBA’s 10th-best offense but its sixth-worst defense, which adds up to a 1497 CARMELO rating (or roughly 40.2 wins of talent). Caris LeVert00210021+0.0-0.9-0.9 Dzanan Musa020507-1.3-0.5-1.8 PLAYERPGSGSFPFCTOTALOFF. +/-DEF. +/-TOT. +/- Team total Garrett Temple01360019-2.1+0.0-2.1 Kyrie Irving35000035+4.2-0.93.3 DeAndre Jordan00062228-1.0+2.01.0 Keep track of the chaotic NBA offseason with our Free Agency Diary. Rodions Kurucs01211014-1.2-0.2-1.4 EXPECTED MINUTES PER GAMEPLAYER RATING Nicolas Claxton000011-3.0+0.8-2.2 CARMELO team rating:1497 Jarrett Allen00002525-0.9+1.40.5 Alan Williams000404-2.3+1.2-1.0 Taurean Prince00122023-0.4-0.9-1.3 Spencer Dinwiddie42500029+1.6-1.40.2 How good are the new-look Nets?Projected opening-night depth chart for the 2019-20 Brooklyn Nets, based on CARMELO plus/minus ratings 240+1.2-1.5-0.2 Jaylen Hands900009-1.8-1.6-3.4 Expected wins:40.2 That’s … probably not the projection you might expect after the free-agent coups the Nets pulled off over the weekend. But truth be told, our model never liked Brooklyn much last season, either: Even as the Nets were making the playoffs (as the No. 6 seed!), we never once rated them as a league-average team. If Coach of the Year candidate Kenny Atkinson had them overachieving with less talent than they will have next season, then maybe he can squeeze more wins — and better defense — out of this roster than our numbers would predict.Plus, it’s important to remember that this is the version of the Nets without Durant. The version with him won’t take the court until the following season, most likely. If KD were to be on the Nets’ opening-day roster, though, our algorithm would give Brooklyn the NBA’s second-best offense and an improved (but still below-average) defense. That team would have a CARMELO rating of 1583 (49.1 wins of talent), which probably still sounds low given the Nets’ newfound star power.One note: Some of you noticed that my depth chart for the Sixers on Monday contained a player (Jonathon Simmons) who was, um, no longer on the Sixers. Sorry about that! As we rebuild our team depth charts over the summer, we’re trying to cobble things together across multiple sources of contracts and rosters, but it’s still a work in progress. Please let us know if you see a player who should be on a different team. read more

What Would Happen If The English Premier League Had Playoffs

Wimbledon00.00.0 Leicester City10.20.1 CHANCES OF … TEAMACTUALEXPECTED UNDERPLAYOFF SYSTEMEXPECTED UNDERXG SIMULATIONS Manchester United137.5-5.5 West Ham United00.00.0 Newcastle00.9+0.9 SEEDTEAMMAKING SEMISMAKING FINALWINNING FINAL Tottenham Hotspur00.6+0.6 Queens Park Rangers00.00.0 Aston Villa00.4+0.4 Southampton00.1+0.1 The final weekend of the English Premier League is upon us and the league has scheduled all 10 matches simultaneously on Sunday in order to maximize excitement. The problem is that there’s not much excitement left — and there hasn’t been for awhile. Chelsea has been the runaway favorite to win the title for a few months now, and the team officially clinched a week ago. This isn’t uncommon. Even Leicester City’s shocking run to a league title last year, one of the most exciting outcomes in league history, was clinched two weeks before the end of the season. And in the 2014-15 season Chelsea clinched the title a full three weeks before their final match. Awarding the EPL trophy to the team atop the table at season’s end eliminates most of the debate about England’s best team, but it also can eliminate fun.It doesn’t have to be this way. Imagine for a moment that after this weekend’s mostly meaningless matches,1 we were headed for the inaugural round of Premier League playoffs to decide the league champion. What would happen if more than a century of English soccer tradition was thrown out in favor of a shamelessly Americanized format?As an experiment, I set up a mock six-team playoff for the Premier League and forecasted the results using our SPI ratings. There are a variety of playoff formats that could be used, but six teams feels right; it’s a small enough number that teams would have to compete to get in, but big enough that it would widen the pool of potential champions. Also, to reward teams that do well during the regular season, the top two teams in the table would be awarded byes. The next four teams would be seeded and would play one other team in a home-and-home aggregate, similar to the Champions League. From there the semifinals would follow the same format. Also similar to the Champions League, the final would be played as a single match at a neutral site such as Wembley.If you applied that playoff set-up to this season’s standings, the playoffs would give us two more Manchester Derbies in the first-round and would pit Liverpool against Arsenal. Chelsea and Tottenham would be waiting to play the winners.Chelsea would still be favored to win the playoffs — their first round bye and top seed helps quite a bit — but every team would have a reasonable shot at the title. Here’s how it would look: Ipswich Town00.00.0 Arsenal01.11.4 TEAMACTUALEXPECTED UNDER PLAYOFF SYSTEMCHANGE Liverpool00.40.6 Nottingham Forest00.1+0.1 Chelsea54.4-0.6 Bolton00.00.0 Arsenal34.8+1.8 6Manchester United36146 Leeds United00.6+0.6 Impact of playoff system on league titles, 1992-93 through 2016-17 TITLES Assumes the order of the top six teams will not change during the final weekend of matches. This playoff structure has six teams, with the top two seeds receiving byes. Tottenham Hotspur00.50.3 Newcastle00.00.0 Expected titles under playoff system vs. xG simulations, 2010-11 through 2016-17 Southampton00.10.1 1Chelsea✓70%38% NUMBER OF TITLES 4Liverpool58198 5Arsenal42114 Chelsea21.51.3 Includes all teams that would have qualified for the playoffs since 1992-93. This playoff structure has six teams, with the top two seeds receiving byes.Sources: ESPN, James Curley 2Tottenham Hotspur✓5226 Manchester City22.1+0.1 3Manchester City64%3418 Everton00.2+0.2 Liverpool02.6+2.6 Norwich City00.00.0 Manchester City22.02.6 Mock 2016-17 Premier League playoff forecast Blackburn10.5-0.5 Leicester City10.2-0.8 Everton00.10.0 Chelsea’s chances of winning the league would drop from 100 percent to 38 percent, and the five other teams that have been eliminated from the title race would still have hope.I also set up playoff forecasts to see how our system might have affected the number of titles won by each Premier League club since 1992-93. Liverpool and Arsenal would likely have benefitted the most, while Manchester United likely would have won fewer than their league-leading 13 titles in that time span. Includes all teams that would have qualified for the playoffs since 2010-11.This playoff structure has six teams, with the top two seeds receiving byes.Sources: ESPN, Opta Manchester United21.20.7 Playoffs, of course, inject luck into a championship but there are indications that a team still needs a significant amount of luck to win the league outright.You can see how luck infiltrates league titles by looking at teams’ goal tallies. Goals scored and conceded will get a team to the top of the standings but they aren’t necessarily the best indicator of a team’s underlying talent, nor are they the most predictive of future performance. Expected goals, a metric we use in our SPI ratings, are a better gauge of each team’s quality of play. We can also use expected goals to approximate how likely each team was to win the league based on the shots it took over the course of the entire season.2These expected goal simulations indicate that Manchester City have been unlucky not to win the title this year; if we rerun the season thousands of times, they win the league 61 percent of the time given the shots they took and conceded. Last year’s Leicester City team was fortunate to win the league according to these simulations; they only had a 9 percent chance of winning the league based on their expected goal numbers.Finally, if we look at the projected number of titles won over the past seven seasons3 based on these expected goal simulations, the number of titles each team is projected to have won is quite similar to the number of titles we expect them to have won if the league had playoffs. In other words, this implies that there may be just as much luck involved in winning the league outright as there would be in a playoff system. Players have incredibly busy schedules already with some juggling league and cup play, the Champions League and their international team responsibilities, so any playoff system probably shouldn’t add more matches to their already packed schedules. Perhaps the size of the league could be reduced by a team or two, or some regular season matchups could be a single match on neutral ground rather than home-and-away to allow for the extra playoff matches.I don’t know if playoffs are the right thing for the Premier League. I do know that I haven’t watched many matches during the second half of the season, but I’d watch these playoffs.Check out our latest soccer predictions. read more

The NBAs Southeast Division Is Historically Awful

2013-14AtlanticRaptors0.585 12014-15Atlantic-3.6-3.924 The worst division ‘winners’NBA division winners (or leaders for the 2018-19 season) with a win percentage of less than 0.600, since the league expanded in 2004 32005-06Northwest-3.4-3.134 92005-06Atlantic-2.3-2.382 72015-16Atlantic-2.5-2.572 72013-14Atlantic0.422 62004-05Southeast-2.4-2.646 There are also signs that this year’s Southeast might be among the worst overall divisions we’ve seen during the 30-team era. The current combined record of the Hornets, Heat, Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks is just 119-159. That works out to a 0.428 combined winning percentage — worse than all but eight other divisions since the 2004-05 season. So in terms of the ability of its teams to actually win basketball games, the 2018-19 Southeast ranks among the bottom 10 percent of all divisions since the most recent league expansion. 52004-05Southeast0.417 2005-06NorthwestNuggets0.537 For the most part, divisions in the NBA have become more a formality than anything else. It’s been four years since the league last guaranteed division winners home-court advantage during their first-round playoff series, and it’s been 12 years since division winners were guaranteed a top-three seed regardless of their record.1A division winner was still guaranteed at least a No. 4 seed until the 2016 playoffs. These days, the top team in a division is not guaranteed to make the playoffs at all — the top eight teams from each conference advance to the postseason regardless of division alignment.If we’re being completely honest, it sure seems like the only real use the league has for divisions these days is scheduling.2The NBA schedule works the same way every season: Each NBA team plays each of the 15 teams from the opposite conference twice a year, the four other teams from its own division four times a year, and the 10 teams from the two remaining divisions in its conference either three or four times in a given season, with the determination being made seemingly at random, though it is in actuality largely based on arena availability. The only other benefit appears to be the occasional excuse to make fun of the lonely division winner banners that hang in the rafters of Madison Square Garden.But this season, one of the league’s six divisions really stands out — and not for a good reason. Not a single one of the teams in the Southeast is above .500, with the Charlotte Hornets sitting in first place at 27-28.No division winner has finished below .500 under the NBA’s current alignment, which was established in 2004 when the league expanded to 30 teams and split them into six divisions to accommodate the then-expansion Charlotte Bobcats. Since Charlotte re-entered the league, the worst division winners were the 2005-06 Denver Nuggets, the 2006-07 Miami Heat and the Southeast’s winner from a year ago, the 2017-18 Heat, which each finished with 44 wins and a 0.537 winning percentage.Only 14 division winners (including this year’s Hornets and Houston Rockets, who are leading their divisions) since 2004 have finished with a winning percentage south of 0.600 — otherwise known as the teams that won fewer than 50 games (or the lockout-shortened season equivalent) and still managed to win their division. 12009-10Atlantic0.385 2016-17SoutheastWizards0.598 32015-16Atlantic0.407 Source: Basketball-Reference.com 52004-05AtlanticCeltics0.549 102013-14Central0.0-2.314 12018-19SoutheastHornets0.491 2006-07SoutheastHeat0.537 Top 10 worst collective records among NBA divisions since the league expanded in 2004 82005-06Northwest0.424 92018-19Southeast0.428 The Southeast is even worse when you account for scheduleThe worst NBA divisions by Simple Rating System and point differential since the league expanded in 2004 62017-18Southeast0.420 Source: Basketball-Reference.com Despite the truly historic nature of the Southeast’s horribleness, the division is pretty much guaranteed to get at least one playoff team this season, sparing it the ignominy of being the first NBA division in history to entirely miss the postseason. The dreadful Bulls, Cavaliers and Knicks will surely finish with the three worst records in the conference, which means the worst the Southeast champ can do is finish eighth in the East and earn the right to be smoked by the Bucks or Raptors in the first round of the postseason. (Even with the newly flattened lottery odds, those three awful teams also have a considerably better chance to land the No. 1 pick and the right to select Duke superstar Zion Williamson, while the Hawks, Magic and Wizards will more likely be left picking in the mid-to-late lottery, possibly dooming the Southeast to even more mediocrity in the future.)Meanwhile, only one of the Clippers, Kings and Lakers is likely to be headed to the postseason in the West, despite all three teams being projected to finish with better records than every single team in the Southeast. If the season ends with the 38-win Hornets in the playoffs and, say, the 41-win Lakers staying home, perhaps the NBA will finally decide to move to an open-seeded playoff system — with the best 16 teams making it to the dance regardless of conference alignment.Check out our latest NBA predictions. 82015-16SoutheastHeat0.585 2005-06AtlanticNets0.598 RANKSeasonDIVISIONWIN pct. 62006-07AtlanticRaptors0.573 72018-19SouthwestRockets0.582 22013-14Atlantic-2.7-3.212 102011-12AtlanticCeltics0.591 RANKSeasonDIVISIONPt Diff.SRS 102008-09Pacific0.429 112017-18NorthwestTrail Blazers0.598 22017-18SoutheastHeat0.537 42009-10Atlantic-3.0-3.066 52018-19Southeast-2.6-3.050 42005-06Atlantic0.415 22014-15Atlantic0.395 82008-09Pacific-2.3-2.428 The season isn’t over yet, though, which means there’s still time for the Southeast to get even worse. Washington just traded away Otto Porter and Markieff Morris at the deadline after its star, John Wall, suffered a torn Achilles tendon that will keep him out for at least a year. Miami, likewise, shipped away rotation player Tyler Johnson and received very little on-court help in return. The Hornets did not add Marc Gasol, as had been heavily rumored, while the Hawks are finalizing a buyout with Jeremy Lin, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, and could potentially do the same with Dewayne Dedmon. The Magic added former No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz but dealt away Jonathon Simmons to do it, and Fultz is more of a future asset than a present one, anyway.Accordingly, the FiveThirtyEight NBA predictions expect this division to fall off slightly: The division’s combined projected winning percentage is just 0.420, which would rank sixth-worst among the group of 10 teams listed above. Additionally, the Hornets are projected to win the division with a record of just 38-44, which would fall an incredible six wins short of the 44-win 2018 and 2007 Heat and 2006 Nuggets.What’s remarkable about the Southeast, though, is that each one of these teams has managed to post a losing record despite the opportunity to rack up wins against other Southeast teams. As a result, the win-loss records might actually undersell how bad the division really is. Consider two more reliable indicators of team quality: point differential and Basketball-Reference.com’s Simple Rating System (SRS). Point differential has been shown time and again to be more predictive of a team’s future performance than actual win-loss record, while SRS takes point differential and adjusts for strength of schedule, then scales that adjustment so the league average is 0 and every point represents one point above or below average.The 2018-19 Southeast division has the fifth-worst combined per-game point differential of the 30-team era. And when you adjust for those five teams’ relatively soft schedules, they’ve actually been outscored by 3.050 points per game, seemingly confirming this as the fifth-worst division (out of 90) since the then-Bobcats and now-Hornets came into the league. And given the aforementioned roster realities, it’s not at all difficult to see the Southeast sinking further into the depths of despair. Source: Basketball-Reference.com RANKSeasonDIVISIONWinnerWIN pct. 2014-15AtlanticRaptors0.598 read more

NCAA Michigan football out of compliance

The NCAA has determined that the Michigan football program was out of compliance with practice time rules under coach Rich Rodriguez, who incoming athletic director David Brandon declared would remain the school’s coach.Brandon announced the NCAA’s findings Tuesday, but stated that there were “no surprises,” despite the fact that the report stated that the Michigan athletic department failed to ensure that the program was complying with NCAA regulations.The university has 90 days to respond to the results and will appear at an NCAA hearing in August.The NCAA has been investigating allegations that Michigan players exceeded NCAA limits with practice time or other football-related activities.The allegations came about after the Detroit Free Press reported the claims of a handful of Michigan players who said the players exceeded the limits during practices and workouts in 2008 and 2009.The university conducted an internal investigation and is looking into self-imposed sanctions. The internal audit revealed that Rodriguez and his staff failed to file forms that kept logs on the amount of time players spent on football.Michigan’s report did not find issues of noncompliance. Brandon attributed the dicey situation to a “breakdown of communication.”Michigan has finished 3-9 and 5-7 in Rodriguez’s two seasons at the helm. read more

Commentary Buckeye pride survives winters cold at Frozen Diamond Faceoff

Ohio State’s alma mater “Carmen Ohio” states that the bond between Buckeyes and this university lasts through “summer’s heat or winter’s cold.” Never has this been more true than at Sunday’s Frozen Diamond Faceoff. OSU fans have been known to travel to support their team, but rarely does such travel involve braving frigid temperatures for hours at a time. Yet temperatures in the mid-20s didn’t deter Buckeye fans from traveling to Cleveland from across the state and beyond to cheer on the OSU men’s hockey team as they took on Michigan in Ohio’s first-ever outdoor college hockey game. Even as the Wolverines cooled the Buckeyes off on the ice, 4-1, fans stayed put through wind and cold at Progressive Field. And it wasn’t just the fans who showed their dedication to the team. The OSU athletic band performed throughout the game, even performing “Script Ohio” on ice. Though they faced some challenges playing their instruments in freezing temperatures, their enthusiasm never deflated as they performed OSU staples throughout the game. Some band members even opted to keep their mouthpieces in their pockets to keep them warm when they weren’t playing, but when I spoke with them, there were no complaints about the cold. There was only excitement to be playing at such a historic event. The cheerleaders, likewise, trudged through a snow-covered baseball diamond to lead cheers and keep the crowd engaged as the sun set and temperatures continued to drop. The game itself was a spectacle unlike any other I’ve experienced during my time at OSU. The players, it seemed, were in awe of the experience, but their play didn’t have the same fire that many OSU hockey fans have come to expect from the No. 2-ranked team this season. But what the team lacked, the crowd made up for. As Michigan answered OSU’s only goal with two goals of its own in a 28-second period to cap the scoring, the crowd stayed put even though OSU’s hopes for a win had deflated. The final buzzer signaled an OSU fan’s worst nightmare ­— a Michigan victory, but the band still sounded the starting notes of “Carmen Ohio.” In perhaps the only appropriate finale to such an event, the team, the cheerleaders, the band and the fans linked together and sang out the words to the alma mater that they had lived out firsthand. OSU fans have proven their loyalty through “summer’s heat” time and time again. But Sunday, despite a loss to an archenemy, despite the fact that their mouths froze to their instruments and despite the fact that many probably couldn’t feel their toes, OSU fans proved their loyalty through “winter’s cold.” read more

Last OSU womens lacrosse player set to leave hospital

The last of six Ohio State women’s lacrosse players hospitalized for a rare but potentially dangerous muscle disorder is set to be released from the hospital at noon Wednesday, Christopher Kaeding, the head team physician for OSU’s athletic department, told The Lantern in an email.  OSU assistant director of athletic communication Alissa Clendenen was not sure whether the six athletes would play in the team’s next game, scheduled for Sunday, but she did say in an email, “once released, players are not expected to miss any time because of their condition.”  On Friday, six OSU women’s lacrosse players were admitted to the Wexner Medical Center at OSU to be evaluated after showing symptoms of rhabdomyolysis, OSU assistant director of athletics communication Alissa Clendenen confirmed to The Lantern. Rhabdomyolysis, a muscle disorder that causes a breakdown of muscle fibers and releases a protein called myoglobin into the bloodstream, can cause kidney damage and in extreme cases, kidney failure. Trainers evaluated the team for symptoms after one athlete complained of not feeling well, according to the release. None has kidney damage, according to media reports. The names of the six players have not been released. In January 2011, 13 football players at the University of Iowa developed the disorder after overexertion during a squat-lifting workout. A report cleared coaches, players, physicians and trainers for wrongdoing but recommended the strenuous workout that contributed to the hospitalizations be dropped from training. All 13 players made full recoveries. The women’s lacrosse team did not have games this past weekend. They next play at Canisius in Buffalo, N.Y., Sunday at 1 p.m. read more