Imagine a tennis world in which Rafael Nadal never picked up a racket. Some of his rivals must have. Novak Djokovic could be excused for daydreaming about it after Nadal beat him in Sunday’s French Open final, 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4.Who would benefit most in a hypothetical world without Nadal? Well, let’s divvy up Nadal’s 14 Grand Slam titles. Although he might never reach Roger Federer’s record of 17 major titles, Nadal already leads Federer and all other Open-era greats in the ranking of biggest obstacle to a single Grand Slam title.To quantify this, I give you the “title block.” A title block isn’t an official tennis stat — I made it up. Here’s how it works: If Nadal beat a player in a final, I figure that given the next best possible opponent, the man who lost to Nadal would, on average, have a 50 percent chance of winning. So that win counts as half a title block. (This may undersell some blocked players’ chances of winning, but because this is hypothetical, treating unplayed matchups as coin flips is safest.) Similarly, a semifinal win cost the loser a quarter of a Grand Slam title and so on. Then I summed the title blocks for each Grand Slam tournament. I used data from Tennis Abstract, adding data from the just-completed French Open from rolandgarros.com. I ignored walkovers but included mid-match retirements.No matter how many times Nadal bites trophies, they don’t get broken up into pieces. But because this is a what-if exercise, these hypothetical titles come in fractions. If Nadal beats a player enough times, those fractional titles can start adding up. Nadal’s four wins in French Open finals over Federer, plus one semifinal ousting, count for two and one-quarter titles that Nadal has deprived Federer. Meanwhile, by beating Djokovic in two French Open finals, three semifinals and a quarterfinal, Nadal has cost him one and seven-eighths French Open titles.In a non-Nadal world, Djokovic would have one more U.S. Open crown in addition to those one or two French Opens. Federer would have another Australian Open title, along with those two or three additional French Open titles. And David Ferrer would no longer be in the running for best player never to win a major, because he’d have lifted a French Open trophy.We can expand this to other tennis greats. Let’s skim the cream off the top of the tennis world one great player at a time: Let’s get rid of each of the 12 men who have won at least six Grand Slam singles titles since the Open era of pro tennis began in 1968, one by one. We’ll add an unlucky No. 13 in Murray, who has had the misfortune to compete in an era dominated by three of those 12 men: Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.Nadal’s dominance of Federer and Djokovic rank first and second, respectively, among title blocks at the four Grand Slam tournaments, ahead of other famous blocks like Federer’s of Andy Roddick at Wimbledon, Pete Sampras’s of Andre Agassi at the U.S. Open and Bjorn Borg of Jimmy Connors at Wimbledon. Nadal’s defeats of Ferrer at the French Open the Top 10: By costing Ferrer one title, Nadal also takes the 10th spot on the list.Overall, Nadal has blocked Federer from three and three-quarters major titles; Federer would have 21 without Nadal. That’s No. 1 on the title-blocks list overall, and Nadal’s blockage of Djokovic from almost four major titles is No. 2 on the overall list.Don’t pity Federer too much, though: He did win the French Open in 2009, the one year in the past decade that Nadal didn’t. Djokovic still hasn’t won the clay-court major. Murray, meanwhile, would have more than triple his current total of two Grand Slam titles if not for Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, who each have cost him more than one.Nadal has had the better of all of his rivals, but he, too, could have won more majors without Federer, Djokovic, et al. By beating Nadal in two Wimbledon finals, Federer has cost Nadal a third Wimbledon title to go with the two Nadal has won. Djokovic, meanwhile, beat Nadal in the finals of three consecutive Grand Slam tournaments over 2011 and 2012, which cost Nadal one and a half major titles.
Houston Texans running back Arian Foster is fighting for college athletes’ rights. The pro player says he isn’t scared of the NCAA, and hopes that his admission that he was paid while playing in college at Tennessee will help change rules about paying college athletes.“I just feel strong about the injustice that the NCAA has been doing for years,” Foster said Friday. “That’s why I said what I said. I’m not trying to throw anybody under the bus. … I feel like I shouldn’t have to run from the NCAA anymore. They’re like these big bullies. I’m not scared of them.”In an interview posted on SI.com for a documentary called “Schooled: The Price of College Sports,” Foster said he took extra money so he could pay his rent and food while playing at Tennessee.“I don’t know if this will throw us into an NCAA investigation — my senior year (2008), I was getting money on the side,” Foster said in the video. “I really didn’t have any money. I had to either pay the rent or buy some food. I remember the feeling of like, ‘Man, be careful.’ But there’s nothing wrong with it. And you’re not going to convince me that there is something wrong with it.”Foster described a time when he had to beg his coach for a meal.“Either you give us some food or I’m gonna go do something stupid,” Foster told his coach. The coach bought him and three others 50 tacos, Foster recalled, laughing.Foster played at the University of Tennessee under former coach Phil Fulmer from 2005-08.
5Spencer WareChiefs3,7691,07728.6 PLAYERTEAMTEAM YARDSPLAYER YARDSPLAYER SHARE Players with the highest share of team scrimmage yards, 2016 2Ezekiel ElliottCowboys4,5731,50232.8 5David JohnsonCardinals21026180.5 Receivers with the most first-down receptions per route run, 2016 1David JohnsonCardinals4,2901,53435.8% 1Mike EvansBuccaneers41013232.2% 9Greg OlsenPanthers4136211.3 More than in any other sport, in football, individual statistics reflect a player’s environment as well as that player’s individual talent. A running back can be hamstrung by a poor offensive line, and a wide receiver can’t do much if his quarterback can’t get him the ball. While there’s no one advanced stat that can perfectly contextualize individual performance within a team environment, there are a few that do a pretty good job. Today, we’ll look at four stats that help demonstrate a player’s contribution to his team.Yards from scrimmage … as a percentage of team yardsDavid Johnson has been remarkable this season: He was my midseason choice for Offensive Player of the Year, in part because he had gained at least 100 yards from scrimmage in every game to that point. He has maintained that streak since then and is now just the second player since at least 1950 to hit the century mark in each of his team’s first 11 games.Johnson leads the league in yards from scrimmage with 1,534, but he also leads the league in percentage of team scrimmage yards. He’s gained 35.8 percent of all Cardinals yards this year, making him one of only three players to gain at least 30 percent of his team’s yards: 11C.J. FiedorowiczTexans2320411.3 10Matt ForteJets3,78496125.4 The Colts’ Frank Gore and Patriots’ LeGarrette Blount are overshadowed by playing alongside star quarterbacks in Andrew Luck and Tom Brady, but don’t overlook how important those players are to their teams. Indianapolis has only given three carries per game to other running backs, while the Patriots are calling Blount’s number 81.9 percent of the time when handing off to a back. And Chargers second-year back Melvin Gordon ranks second in this category, after ranking third in our first metric. He’s having a remarkable bounce-back year after struggling as a rookie.Receiving share of targetsAntonio Brown and Julio Jones are the two biggest stars at the wide receiver position. Brown leads the league in receptions, and Jones ranks first in receiving yards, a year after the duo far outpaced the rest of the league in those same two categories. But the Steelers’ Brown and the Falcons’ Jones also benefit from playing with a pair of star quarterbacks in, respectively, Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan.The passing games in Pittsburgh and Atlanta revolve around their star receivers, of course: Brown has accounted for 28.8 percent of all Steelers targets this season, and Jones is at 27.6 percent for the Falcons. Those are great numbers, but not quite good enough for No. 1. 1Mike EvansBuccaneers6240615.3% 3Julio JonesFalcons4936113.6 10Christine MichaelPackers11816372.4 8DeMarco MurrayTitans22930176.1 5Jarvis LandryDolphins3218827.4 15Jordy NelsonPackers43210524.3 12Demaryius ThomasBroncos3629225.4 20Stefon DiggsVikings3718723.5 Among players with at least 20 receiving first downsSource: ESPN Stats & Information Group 18Amari CooperRaiders4089824.0 5Jordan ReedRedskins3829812.8 3Frank GoreColts17821184.4 19Greg OlsenPanthers3708823.8 7Le’Veon BellSteelers4,1361,13627.5 8Antonio BrownSteelers5042811.7 12Mike EvansBuccaneers4,1531,02024.6 Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group 8Odell BeckhamGiants40710726.3 21Jeremy Kerley49ers3457822.6 6Matt ForteJets20225280.2 11Jordan HowardBears3,9841,00825.3 9Terrelle PryorBrowns41510926.3 6Lamar MillerTexans3,6381,03228.4 2Melvin GordonChargers23427385.7 PLAYERTEAMFIRST-DOWN RECEPTIONSROUTES RUNRECEPTIONS PER ROUTE RUN 4DeMarco MurrayTitans4,7161,35228.7 12Jay AjayiDolphins16123369.1 Receivers with the highest share of team targets, 2016 7DeAndre HopkinsTexans38610226.4 11Isaiah CrowellBrowns14520271.8 Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group 10Brandon MarshallJets3719726.1 6Julian EdelmanPatriots3649927.2 6A.J. GreenBengals4133712.2 No wide receiver is a bigger part of his team’s passing offense than Mike Evans is for the Buccaneers. And you may have noticed his name on the first table too — he was the only wide receiver to rank in the top 12 in percentage of team yards (all the others are running backs). Evans had a dominant game in Week 12 against Seattle, helping Tampa Bay pull off the upset: He was targeted on 39.3 percent of Tampa Bay’s 28 pass attempts and caught eight passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns.The Broncos’ Emmanuel Sanders beat out Jones for third on this list, despite playing with an inexperienced passer in Trevor Siemian, the 250th pick in last year’s draft. Denver doesn’t pass very often, but when they do, Siemian tends to look toward Sanders, who is quietly having a phenomenal year. Sanders, like Evans, was one of the stars of Week 12: In a losing effort, he caught seven of 10 targets for 162 yards and a touchdown.First downs per route runGaining a first down is one of the most important things a wide receiver can do, and he has a chance at it whenever he runs a route. Yards per route run is the wide receiver version of yards per pass, but by replacing yards with first downs in the numerator, we can focus on a less-popular (but very important) statistic that shows us which guys move the chains.Evans ranks first in this category1Among players with at least 20 receiving first downs.: He has picked up a first down on a remarkable 15.3 percent of his routes. One reason for that is that Evans runs deeper routes, and he easily leads the league with 62 first-down receptions (no other player has more than 50). 3Melvin GordonChargers4,2251,27330.1 16Michael CrabtreeRaiders4089924.3 8Todd GurleyRams3,43188225.7 11T.Y. HiltonColts40210325.6 2Antonio BrownSteelers41712028.8 7Ezekiel ElliottCowboys24331178.1 4LeGarrette BlountPatriots21225981.9 9Lamar MillerTexans21128474.3 Some other players stand out here despite less impressive raw totals. Kansas City’s Spencer Ware plays on a low-octane Chiefs offense, but he’s a big driver behind any success the offense has. Ware is averaging 4.7 yards per carry; all other Kansas City backs are averaging just 3.5 yards per rush. And Ware has averaged 12.4 yards per target, compared to just 6.5 on passes to all other players.Also note the presence of Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell high on the list, despite the fact that he missed the first three games of the season. Since returning from suspension in Week 4, Bell has gained an impressive 37.6 percent of all Steelers yards from scrimmage. When he’s active, no team relies on one player like the Steelers do with Bell, who’s been used heavily in both running and passing plays — he ranks third in the league in receptions per game and second in rushing yards per game.Percentage of team carriesHow many yards a player averages per carry is subject to a lot of random variation, making yards per carry one of the most overrated stats in football. And the number of carries a team has in a game is often the result of what’s happening on the scoreboard. But how often a team chooses to hand off to a particular running back — as a percentage of all handoffs to running backs — says a lot about how much his team trusts him relative to the other backs on the team.While L.A.’s Todd Gurley has had a frustrating year, he leads the league in this metric. Rams running backs have rushed 227 times this year, and 200 of those carries were given to Gurley. The Rams aren’t a good team, so they can’t afford to run as frequently as teams like the Cowboys, but the Los Angeles coaches still have a ton of faith in Gurley (or perhaps they just have very little faith in the other Rams backs): 17Allen RobinsonJaguars43010424.2 24Kelvin BenjaminPanthers3708121.9 25Kenny BrittRams3678021.8 9LeSean McCoyBills3,87799425.6 2Cole BeasleyCowboys3928113.9 13A.J. GreenBengals3829524.9 23Jordan MatthewsEagles3828522.3 1Todd GurleyRams20022788.1% 10Kelvin BenjaminPanthers3732811.3 7Stefon DiggsVikings3932112.1 4Tyreek HillChiefs2317113.5 Running backs handed the highest share of team rushes, 2016 22Golden TateLions3778422.3 PLAYERTEAMTEAM TARGETSPLAYER TARGETSPLAYER SHARE TEAM RUSHES Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group PLAYERTEAMHANDED TO PLAYERHANDED TO ANY RUNNING BACKPLAYER SHARE 14Larry FitzgeraldCardinals44210924.7 12Michael ThomasSaints4338311.2 3Emmanuel SandersBroncos36210428.7 4Julio JonesFalcons37010227.6 But a few other players are worth mentioning. Cole Beasley plays on a run-heavy offense, but when the Cowboys pass, the team is extremely efficient. One reason for that is Beasley, who is adept at getting first downs.Jordan Reed and Stefon Diggs have each missed two games this season, depressing their raw numbers, but both players fare well in this metric. Reed leads all tight ends, while Diggs ranks seventh overall despite suffering from poor quarterback play.Check out our latest NFL predictions.
Few clubs came into this season with grander ambitions than Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain. Both clubs were among the top contenders to win the Champions League when the competition began. Now, one will be eliminated from competition after the two face off Tuesday in the second leg of their round of 16 matchup. And the problems run deeper than just elimination — PSG is looking to survive an injury to its superstar Neymar, and Real Madrid has already fallen out of title contention in La Liga. Whichever team fails to advance from the match will have questions to answer about what went wrong.So how did we get here? Let’s start with the summer transfer window after the 2016-17 season. Real quite reasonably avoided making major changes to its roster after winning three of the last four Champions League trophies. PSG, having once again been eliminated from the Champions League before the semifinals, embarked on an unprecedented spending spree — laying out hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire Neymar from Barcelona and Kylian Mbappe from Monaco.Despite these purchases, PSG is once again struggling in the Champions League. A 3-1 first-leg defeat in Madrid has left the French with a roughly 25 percent chance of advancing to the quarterfinals, according to FiveThirtyEight’s club soccer predictions. To reach the quarterfinals, PSG must win by three or win by two while holding Real scoreless. If PSG wins 3-1, the teams will be tied in both aggregate and away goals over the two legs, and the match will go to extra time and possibly penalty kicks to decide who will advance. For PSG, the Champions League appears to be slipping away. And worse, Neymar recently broke a bone in his foot, which will sideline him for at least six weeks.For both ball progression through midfield and shot creation around the penalty area, PSG runs through Neymar. He has scored 19 goals and assisted 13 in Ligue 1, with a non-penalty scoring and assist rate of 1.34 per 90 minutes played. These numbers are no fluke: Neymar hasn’t benefited particularly from good fortune in either his own or his teammates’ finishing. Neymar has taken shots valued at around 13 expected goals, a statistical estimate of the quality of scoring chances, and created chances worth about 11.5 expected goals. His expected goals and assists rate of 1.18 per 90 minutes is the highest of any player in the top five European leagues1The English Premier League, German Bundesliga, Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A and French Ligue 1. (that means he’s doing better than Lionel Messi).Neymar also moves the attack forward through midfield or into the penalty area before the shot more effectively than anyone else in the top leagues. He has provided about 7.7 progressive passes and runs per 90 minutes, just edging out Messi, who has provided 7.2. (Progressive passes and runs occur when a player either moves the attack forward by 10 or more yards beyond its furthest point of progression or moves the ball into the penalty area for the first time in a possession. A progressive run must also include a successful take-on of an opponent.)These comparisons to Messi are not superfluous — Neymar’s production at PSG has reached such a high level that Messi is his only peer. This chart shows the company that Neymar is keeping this season. It displays all 9,000-plus player-seasons in the top five leagues in which a player had at least 1,500 minutes. There are 10 seasons in the top right corner, where players have more than 0.9 expected goals plus expected assists per 90 minutes and more than five progressive passes and runs per 90 minutes. Eight of them are Messi, starting with his 2010-11 season and running through the current one. And nestled among them is Neymar’s current season. This analysis might suggest that Paris Saint-Germain should abandon hope — the attack has been totally dependent on Neymar, and now he’s out. However, PSG may be the only club in the world that is rich enough to have a reasonable Neymar replacement sitting on the bench. Angel Di Maria, who played in Neymar’s wide forward position this weekend against Troyes, put up similarly huge numbers for PSG in 2015-16 (before Neymar’s arrival). While that season was a career-best for Di Maria, he has consistently put up more than 0.5 expected goals and assists per 90 minutes (averaging over 0.7) and 4 to 6 progressive passes and runs per 90 minutes. Most clubs would have to reshuffle their tactics upon losing Neymar, transferring some of his scoring load to one player and some of his ball progression work to others. But PSG can plug in Di Maria and keep everything else roughly the same. If PSG is to get the big win it needs on Tuesday, the man in the center of it is likely to be Di Maria.Scratching back from a two-goal aggregate Real Madrid lead might normally seem like an insurmountable task, but Real hasn’t been the same team this season. Los Blancos have already fallen 15 points off Barcelona’s pace at the top of the La Liga table, effectively conceding the league title with months to go in the season. Real’s defense has been unusually permeable this season, conceding 29 league goals. That’s the club’s worst defensive record through 27 matches since 2010-11. Real has conceded 43 clear scoring chances — defined as a situation like a one-on-one in which a player is expected to score — also its highest number since 2010-11.On the attacking side, the team appears to be reeling as well — but these numbers are a little misleading. Typically, the very best teams in the world outperform expected goals. After all, these teams have the best strikers, and the best strikers convert the easy chances and also score more often in situations when goals are not expected. Real Madrid is getting their normal amount of chances this season: The team has 63 expected goals and has averaged 61 through 27 matches over the past seven seasons. What has changed then is that the finishing has gotten worse. This year, Real has converted only 58 nonpenalty goals from those chances. Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been uncharacteristically unproductive with his chances, accounts for most of the gap, with 13 nonpenalty goals and 17 expected goals.These statistics provide the context for Real Madrid’s disappointing position in La Liga. The weakened defense is enough to make Real fall short of first-place Barcelona, but it is uncharacteristically poor shooting from superstars like Ronaldo that has dropped Los Blancos out of title competition entirely.The stakes could not be higher for this match. PSG is desperate and missing its star. Real Madrid appears more vulnerable than usual — even if the attack is most likely better than its relatively disappointing top-line numbers show.Neither team has much to play for this season other than Champions League glory, and both clubs were constructed precisely for this task. The stage is set for a great European clash between two of the richest and most successful clubs — even if it’s not what these two heavyweights envisioned when this all started.Check out our latest soccer predictions.
Tuesday night’s 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks was the Columbus Blue Jackets’ first regulation defeat in their last six games — and it hurt. Goals from left winger captain Rick Nash, who has scored in the Jackets’ past eight games, and center Derick Brassard were not enough to overcome early power-play goals by Anaheim at Nationwide Arena. In the first period, Jackets winger Derek Dorsett unleashed a dangerous hit on Ducks winger Corey Perry, sending him headfirst into the boards. Perry fell to the ice, and players from both teams exchanged shoves behind the Anaheim goal before referees separated the players and assessed a five-minute boarding penalty to Dorsett. “It was a hit from behind,” Jackets coach Scott Arniel said. “It’s the referee’s judgment call. When you give (Anaheim) a five-minute major, that gets them off to a pretty good start.” That judgment call produced a two-goal lead for the Ducks. Anaheim wingers teamed up for the first tally. Bobby Ryan fed a pass across the slot to a streaking Teemu Selanne, who had no trouble scoring his 15th goal of the year to give Anaheim a 1-0 lead. Defenseman Cam Fowler’s fifth goal of the year gave the Ducks a 2-0 lead just more than a minute later. After being fed by defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky and center Saku Koivu, Fowler snapped a long-range shot that snuck past Jackets goalie Steve Mason. Before Columbus fans had settled into their seats, the Ducks had scored their first two shots of the game. But the Jackets responded with a power-play goal of their own just before the first intermission. Nash cut the Ducks’ lead in half with a wrist shot from the slot. Brassard assisted on Nash’s 23rd goal of the season, which made the score 2-1. A quiet second period saw the teams exchange scoring opportunities, but Mason and Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller denied everything. Mason and Hiller finished the night with 19 and 35 saves, respectively. But the game had more goals in store, as Ducks winger Jason Blake would give the Ducks breathing room early in the third period. Blake scored his 10th goal of the season on an uncontested backhand shot, extending the Ducks’ lead to 3-1. Mason was left helpless and hunched in the lower, left-hand corner of his goal when Blake emerged from behind the net. Brassard later narrowed Columbus’ deficit to 3-2 after a redirected shot from the blue line fell to him just outside Hiller’s crease. The tap-in goal, assisted on by winger Jakub Voracek, was Brassard’s 12th of the season. Thanks to Hiller, who extinguished a late surge by the Jackets, the Ducks eventually held on for a 3-2 win. Despite Tuesday’s loss, Columbus will enter the NHL All-Star break with a 3-1-2 record in its last six games. Brassard focused on the Jackets’ recent improvements following the loss to Anaheim. “I think we had a good push tonight,” Brassard said. “In the third, we competed really hard. We are just going to take some rest right now and make sure we are ready to make a big push.” Coach Randy Carlyle’s Ducks head into the midseason break in fifth place in the Western Conference. Carlyle commended his players for their effort. “The guys are putting it on the line,” Carlyle said. “Our guys have worked extremely hard to get themselves in the position we are in. We’re having some fun right now.” Arniel managed to stay upbeat about his team’s current standing after the game. “What we’ve done in the last two weeks has been very good,” Arniel said. “I like the way we’re working and competing.” The Blue Jackets will host the Chicago Blackhawks at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
It’s time for Jaamal Berry to leave the Ohio State football program. Not for a couple days, games, or weeks. He needs to go. Permanently. After being charged for assault, battery and disorderly conduct Wednesday, based on an Oct. 21 incident in Columbus, Berry was suspended from the team. But head coach Luke Fickell needs to set a precedent for the post-Jim Tressel era of football at OSU and kick Berry off the team. This isn’t Berry’s first run-in with the law. He was allegedly involved in another assault as recently as Sept. 28 and was arrested for marijuana possession before even enrolling at OSU. The bottom line is he can’t stay out of trouble. I’m all for second chances. Young adults are going to make mistakes, but at some point somebody needs to draw the line. And the line at OSU should be a little stricter than at other schools because of everything the program has been through. With Tat-gate and all the ensuing insanity it caused for the program, OSU has had enough negative headlines for a lifetime. Berry and any other distractions just add fuel to the already negative image OSU has attached itself to. OSU has always portrayed itself as a program of integrity. Ever since Woody Hayes, OSU football was at least perceived as a program that won and won the right way. The mentality has been a core facet in OSU’s success ever since. It brought in talented recruits and created a product people wanted to cheer for. Tressel carried on the image, but with his tumultuous exit, that image was destroyed. Now the program is in a transition period. It’s up to Fickell to rebuild the image and restore the luster of the program. By kicking Berry off the team, Fickell takes the first step in the rebuilding process. He tells the rest of the college football world that OSU will not stand for bad behavior and actions that embarrass the program and compromise what it represents. But more important than telling everyone else, Fickell would be sending a message to his team. The sturdiest structures are solid at their foundation and the foundation of a football team will always be the football players. If Fickell can send a message to the most fundamental level of the program, the larger and more complicated matters will take care of themselves. I’m sure it’s difficult to look a kid in the eye and tell him he’s no longer wanted. You’re about to change the player’s entire life, but playing football for the Buckeyes is a privilege. It sounds cliché, but there are hundreds of other athletes who would love the opportunity to run out of the scarlet tunnel into Ohio Stadium on a fall Saturday afternoon. If someone compromises their opportunity, not just once, but multiple times, that player obviously doesn’t value it and should be dismissed. Suspending Berry from the team was a good first step and makes sense legally, but Fickell needs to finish the job and show Berry out.
Redshirt-senior defensive lineman Kosta KarageorgeCredit: Courtesy of OSU AthleticsMoments before coach Urban Meyer addressed the media on Monday, an Ohio State spokesman said the school is unable to comment on the investigation surrounding the death of walk-on senior defensive lineman Kosta Karageorge or the medical treatment he received at OSU.Karageorge’s body was found Sunday afternoon near his apartment in Columbus after being reported missing on Wednesday. Columbus Police said the cause of death appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.The Columbus native had last been seen around 2 a.m. on Wednesday. According to The Columbus Dispatch, Karageorge’s family was concerned his disappearance had something to do with concussion-related injuries, of which he reportedly had a history.During his Monday press conference, Meyer said Karageorge’s death is an “incredible tragedy.”Meyer added that Karageorge “loved” his time as a football player at OSU. He joined the team in August after competing as a varsity wrestler for three seasons for the Buckeyes.On Friday, the OSU Department of Athletics released statements from Meyer and team physician Dr. Jim Borchers. Borchers’ statement said he was “not able to discuss or comment about the medical care regarding our student-athletes.”After police confirmed Karageorge’s body had been found, OSU athletics released a statement expressing the shock and sadness of learning of the player’s death.“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Karageorge family, and those who knew him, during this most difficult time,” the statement said.When asked about how the OSU handled Karageorge’s health, Meyer said he could not comment but expressed his faith in the medical staff.“This is the best group of medical people I’ve ever been around,” Meyer said.
OSU freshman goalie Jill Rizzo saves a shot against Vermont Credit: Walt Middleton – Courtesy of OSU AthleticsThe Ohio State women’s lacrosse team (6-5) has dropped four of their last five games, three of which came on the road to Notre Dame, Holy Cross and Harvard. The latest loss came in a one-goal, overtime contest at home against Michigan. The Buckeyes now head to New Jersey on Friday to take on Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights were responsible for ending OSU’s 2016 campaign, when they beat the Buckeyes for the second time in the Big Ten tournament. “After last year we kind of have a rivalry,” senior attacker Molly Wood said. “They ended our season last year and no matter who ends your season you have a chip against them in the next year.”OSU will need to come out and find a source of offense as they’ve only averaged 8.75 goals per game over their last four contests. The offense has not been at full strength for the last couple games, as freshman attacker Liza Hernandez has missed the previous two games.“She’s working hard to back on the field,” OSU coach Alexis Venechanos said. “We’re going to continue to work together as a unit. I think our offense, midfield, defense and goaltending is picking it up and that’s all you’ve gotta do is control what you can bring.”While the Buckeyes have hit a rough patch, they could not have been a better spot in the season for a slump to occur. Their last four losses have been by an average of just 2.75 goals against some very tough competition on the road. That coupled with the fact that Big Ten play is still young bodes well for OSU (0-1 Big Ten) if the team is able to come out on the right end of this swing in New Jersey.“With Big Ten play, we all know how important this part of the season is,” sophomore midfielder Baley Parrott said. “I think we’re all going to come out really fired up for the rest of the season.”Rutgers (5-4, 0-1 Big Ten) are coming off an 18-7 loss to the Penn State Nittany Lions, but were riding a three-game win streak prior. Their leading points getter, senior attacker Amanda Turturro, has 14 goals and 11 assists, and will look to continue to be a steady stream of production for her team, but the Scarlet Knights are able to find goals from many different players. Their leading scorer, junior attacker Nicole Kopyta, has found the back of the net 17 times coming off of the bench.“We all have some of our closest friends that pgo and play lacrosse at Rutgers so I think it makes it a friendly rivalry in a way,” Parrott said. “I think we’re all that much more motivated with the way our season ended last year. We’re that much more motivated to come back this year and beat them.”The Buckeyes will remain in New Jersey over the weekend to take on the University of Southern California on Sunday. The No. 10 Trojans are 6-2 on the season and will also arrive to the Northeast on Friday, when they take on Stony Brook. The game between OSU and Southern Cal will take place at a neutral site — Mountain Lakes High School. “We love playing in the Northeast,” Venechanos said. “A majority of our players are from there … so I think it’s an opportunity for both of our programs to play in front of some friends and family but also play against a strong opponent.”The first game of the weekend is set for a 7 p.m. face-off against Rutgers, with the second game scheduled to start at noon on Sunday.
“We were therefore interested to know if techniques for metabolic profiling of saliva to identify physiological stress from exercise – developed by Loughborough – could be applied to asthma diagnosis. “We were very excited to discover that they could.”The findings were published in the journal Analytical Methods.Researchers said further large and long-term studies are needed before the tests can be offered in a clinical setting.If successful, the tests could be used to provide an early diagnosis of asthma, and to monitor patients being treated for the disease, they said. ‘Unlike other sampling methods … saliva can be collected from the very young to the very old without causing distress’Professor Colin Creaser from Loughborough’s Department of Chemistry Earlier this year a study suggested that half a million children who have been diagnosed with asthma may not actually have the condition.More than one million children have been diagnosed with asthma in Britain, but the British Journal of General Practice study suggested more than half may not have the chronic lung condition and could be at risk from the side effects of their medication.Last year the NHS watchdog warned that around one third of ‘asthmatic’ adults showed no clinical signs and had probably been misdiagnosed.Research published earlier this month suggested that a daily dose of Vitamin D could help treat the disease.Dr Samantha Walker, Director of Research and Policy at Asthma UK, said: “There is no single, simple test to diagnose asthma because it is such a complex condition with many different causes which we are yet to fully understand. This research suggests a saliva test could potentially be a simple way to diagnose asthma in the future.”However, this research into saliva tests was carried out with a relatively small group of only 30 people, and it will need testing in much larger numbers before we have a good picture of how effective it could really be in diagnosing asthma.” A simple saliva test could diagnosis asthma and tell doctors how severe condition is, researchers say.Around 5.4 million people currently receive treatment for asthma in the UK, including more than 1 million children.Diagnosis usually means measuring a person’s airflow lung capacity.However, such tests can be inaccurate, while other measures – such as blood, urine and sputum analysis can be distressing, especially for children, experts say.Researchers from Loughborough University say the new test, developed in collaboration with Nottingham City Hospital, could offer a “one stop” diagnosis, which is completely painless. The study collected saliva from 30 patients, with and without asthma.Researchers performed liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) analysis on the samples to find metabolic biomarkers which showed the presence of the disease.They said the sampling methods also had the potential to pinpoint the severity and progression of the disease.Professor Colin Creaser from Loughborough’s Department of Chemistry said: “Unlike other sampling methods, such as expired breath analysis, saliva can be collected by passive drool from the very young to the very old without causing distress.” Children can find current tests for asthma distressing, experts sayCredit:PA 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.
Religious liberty is a fundamental right, but recently we have seen it being downgraded compared to other human rightsDavid Burrowes MP Instead of setting out a list of competing rights, as the Human Rights Act effectively does, there should simply be a new duty on employers or businesses to make “reasonable accommodation” for people’s beliefs, the report suggests.It follows a string of high-profile cases in which the rights of Christians to manifest their beliefs came up against other rules, ranging from company uniform policies to laws preventing discrimination against gay people.In perhaps the most high profile example, Nadia Eweida, a British Airways check-in clerk who was sent home because her cross contravened the airline’s uniform policy at the time, took her discrimination claim to the European Court of Human Rights and won.But as part of the same case, the court ruled that Shirley Chaplin, a nurse who was forbidden from wearing a cross at work had not suffered discrimination because in her case the reason given by the hospital was a “health and safety” issue. 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. While the Strasbourg court also threw out a challenge by Lillian Ladele, a registrar who asked not to conduct civil partnership ceremonies because of her traditionalist beliefs, two judges offered a dissenting minority judgment warning of the danger of Christians’ rights being sidelined.Last month the Court of Appeal in Belfast upheld a discrimination finding against Ashers, a bakery run by an evangelical Christian family, for cancelling an order for a cake bearing the political slogan “Support Gay Marriage”. The case is now set to go to the Supreme Court.The report argues that, in the English courts at least, there is mounting evidence of a “growing preference” for putting the right to manifest a religious beliefs second to the right not to be discriminated against for sexual orientation.It argues that such cases are part of a wider trend towards the “relentless privatisation of religious beliefs”.Other faiths too, especially little known minority sects, are being mistreated or even branded “insufficiently British” for sticking to traditional ways of life, it adds.But it argues that a new rule of “reasonable accommodation” – similar to principles already applied in catering for people with disabilities – could sidestep such bitter confrontations.“Examples of reasonable accommodation might include public swimming-pools reserving special hours for women whose religion prohibits mixed swimming; or a hospital offering menus without pork to accommodate the dietary practices of Jewish and Muslim patients; or an employer making reasonable effort to rearrange work timetables to permit religious employees to observe religious holidays,” it explains.“What distinguishes the doctrine from indirect discrimination is that the employee would no longer bear the burden of proof – he would not need to show that a rule or requirement puts him at a disadvantage.“Instead, the employee need only make a request that his religious beliefs or practices be accommodated, and the burden of proof rests with the employer to assess whether reaching an accommodation would impose an unreasonable degree of hardship.”David Burrowes, the Tory MP and Chairman of the Conservative Christian Fellowship, said: “Religious liberty is a fundamental right, but recently we have seen it being downgraded compared to other human rights.“This ResPublica report delivers a strong set of recommendations for Government in light of the future British Bill of Rights, which would be the perfect vehicle for underlining the UK’s commitment to reasonable accommodation of religious belief.“I encourage the Government to consider these recommendations carefully.” Christians and followers of others faiths should have new protections enshrined in law to enable them to “reasonably” opt out of tasks at work which go against their beliefs, a new report published in Parliament concludes.The paper, by the influential conservative-leaning think-tank ResPublica, blames existing equalities legislation for stirring up divisions between different minority groups and even spreading “political extremism”.It urges ministers to use a Tory election manifesto pledge to scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a new “Bill of Rights” as an opportunity to develop a new way to protect religious believers at work.