Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook has drawn criticism for his decision-making and shot selection that has contributed to the Thunder falling behind the Miami Heatin the first halves of Games 1 and 2.ABC analyst Magic Johnson said Westbrook had one of the worst performances for a point guard in the Finals that he’d seen, after the Heat built a 17-point lead in the first half of Game 2 en route to a 100-96 win, evening the series at 1-1. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith was just as critical, among others.“I’m not making no adjustments, regardless of what anybody says,” Westbrook said Saturday before the Thunder’s practice. “I’m going to play my game regardless of what happens.”Westbrook is averaging what would seem like an impressive 27 points, eight rebounds and nine assists in the Finals, but it’s his 40 percent shooting on a team-high 50 shots in the first two games that’s garnered more ire. Kevin Durant, who is shooting a remarkable 57 percent in the Finals, has taken eight fewer shots.Teammates and coach Scott Brooks, however, have been staunch in defending Westbrook’s play.“We need Russell to score. I know some (people) don’t like that,” Brooks said. “He got off to a bad start but he came back. Him and Kevin are both terrific players, they both have to score points for us to be successful. I don’t look at who gets more, who doesn’t get more. I look at the quality of the shots. Could Russell have taken two or three better shots? Absolutely. Going into (Game 3), hopefully that’s the case.”Said Durant: “Everyone thinks he should be a traditional point guard like a (John) Stockton. There’s a lot of people that cannot be like Russ either. Of course he’s going to make mistakes.”This is the continuation of an issue that has been a common talking point since the playoffs last year. The shot comparison between Durant and Westbrook is closely watched by critics. Westbrook’s attitude on the matter has remained mostly constant.“It’s just something that comes along with the territory,” Westbrook said. “We’re in the NBA Finals now and the more negative you hear, the better you’re doing. That’s how I look at it.”
Northwestern Dan Vitale en route to making his vote.In a historic vote, Northwestern football players cast secret ballots Friday on whether to form the nation’s first union for college athletes — a decision that could change the landscape of American amateur sports.“You got to give the people what they want!” one of the players shouted at reporters, who were kept away from them as they entered a campus building to vote. Some waved and another busted out dance moves.Results of the unprecedented vote won’t be revealed any time soon. After the vote, the ballot boxes will be sealed for weeks or months — perhaps even years — as the university challenges the effort to unionize the football team.The full National Labor Relations Board agreed Thursday to hear the school’s appeal of a regional director’s March ruling that the players are employees and as such can unionize. Ballots will be impounded until that process is finished, and a court fight could come after that decision.Supporters of the effort say a union would help college athletes obtain better compensation, medical care for injuries and other benefits. The NCAA endorsed a plan this week that would give big schools like Northwestern more autonomy to address such issues for its athletes.None of the players participating in an early round of voting stopped to talk with reporters, but the excitement of some was evident as they waved or thrust their arms into the air in view of TV news cameras. A second round of voting was scheduled for later in the day.Cheering them on was Fred Massey, a former high school basketball coach from Detroit, who is now an advocate for student-athletes.“These kids are afraid to rock the boat because as athletes … that big dream of the NFL and the NBA is being dangled in front of them with all the millions of dollars,” he said. “So, you just do what you’re told. They don’t want to jeopardize that.”Last month’s decision by NLRB official Peter Ohr sent shockwaves through the world of college sports, prompting sharp criticism from the NCAA, Northwestern and college athletic departments nationwide. While the ruling would apply only to private universities — they are subject to federal labor law while public schools are under state law — many saw the decision as a first step toward the end of the traditional “student-athlete.”The 76 scholarship football players eligible to cast ballots know the spotlight is on them, said Ramogi Huma, president of the College Athletes Players Association, which would represent the players at the bargaining table if the pro-union side prevails.Some of the pressure the players feel stems from dire Northwestern claims about the consequences of unionization, Huma said Thursday.“They’re looking at anything and everything to invoke fear in the players,” said Huma, a former UCLA linebacker. “We feel like some of the tactics are scare tactics.”Northwestern, which was required by law to let the vote proceed, denied applying undue pressure on players to vote “no.” It did send a 21-page question-and-answer document to the players outlining the problems with forming a union. In it, Northwestern said it hoped unionization would not lead to player strikes in the event of a dispute — but that if it did, replacement players could be brought in to cross picket lines.“The tension created in such a situation would be unprecedented and not in anyone’s best interest,” it said.The school also said divisions could emerge between scholarship players eligible for union membership and walk-ons, coaches and staff.
In a series with MVP candidates like Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard, or even a scorer like C.J. McCollum, Jrue Holiday wasn’t the most likely player to have the biggest impact on the first-round series between the Pelicans and Blazers. Yet that’s what is happening so far, and the New Orleans guard — who has put the Pelicans up 2-0 in the best-of-seven series with clutch play after clutch play — is on the cusp of giving Blazers fans the sorts of nightmares they haven’t had since the Greg Oden era.Perhaps the most fascinating element of Holiday’s performance, though, is how many of the little, often unnoticeable, things he’s done to help seal each victory. A handful of plays in these two games have shown just how underrated the 27-year-old has been at times during his career, one in which many of his best attributes haven’t always been captured by traditional box-score statistics.Take a look at this reel of eight plays from the first two games of the series. Each is an example of Holiday doing something to earn an extra possession for his team while taking one away from his opponent. Also take note of the time of some of these plays: Half occur in the fourth quarter, when the stakes are highest.So far, Holiday has had a hand in basically every facet of this series, which would mark the franchise’s first playoff-round victory since 2008, when it had Chris Paul and was still named the Hornets. Holiday is executing a scary two-man game with Davis, hitting nail-in-the-coffin jumpers and averaging 27 points and 5.5 assists. On the other end of the floor, he’s suffocating Lillard (0-for-4 for zero points and two turnovers when guarded by Holiday on Tuesday night) and McCollum. In fact, the team as a whole is shooting only 25 percent (6-of-24) for the series when guarded by Holiday, according to data from ESPN Stats & Information Group.And then there are the momentum-busting 50-50 plays you just saw in the video above, in which he’s blocking shots and winning crucial loose balls. He’s single-handedly responsible for enough extra New Orleans possessions to potentially tip the scales of the series.But here’s the thing: It shouldn’t be surprising that Holiday is doing all this. He’s basically been doing it all season, despite getting limited attention. Consider, for instance, that he finished the season tied for fifth in the NBA in loose balls recovered per game, with 1.6. He had active hands on defense, ranking seventh in the number of deflections per game he caused. And he blocked 64 shots this past season, more than anyone standing 6-foot-5 or shorter, according to Basketball-Reference.com. He ranks best in the NBA among starting guards in defensive efficiency in guarding pick-and-roll ball handlers, according to data from Synergy Sports Technology.“He’s been really, really good the whole season, so this is not a surprise or anything,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told reporters. “In my opinion, and I may be a little bit biased, but if you can tell me a better two-way player in the league right now — Kawhi’s not playing, and I understand that — I’m willing to listen. What we ask him to do, and the things that we ask him to do offensively? He was just great tonight.”This isn’t to say that Holiday hasn’t ever gotten credit for his play. Once upon a time, he was an All-Star in Philadelphia, before The Process began. And he was certainly paid like a star last summer, when the Pelicans signed him to a five-year, $126 million contract. And he at least figures to be in the mix for an All-Defensive team honor this season.Still, you aren’t alone if you weren’t familiar with his game until this past weekend. Injuries held him back for a couple of years after he needed two surgeries on his right leg. And he drew headlines and well-wishes throughout the league last season when he essentially took a leave of absence to be with his wife, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in the midst of a pregnancy.His offensive game took a bit of a backseat in the wake of the DeMarcus Cousins trade, which forced Holiday to figure out a way to adjust his game to fit with that of two post-oriented stars. (If he maintains this level of play, the Pelicans may be forced to make a difficult choice on whether to re-sign Cousins, the All-Star free-agent-to-be who ruptured his Achilles in the middle of the season.)But in a number of ways, this was a breakout season for Holiday, who shined in his role offensively. He was a fantastic finisher around the basket, ranking inside the top-10 in restricted-area field-goal percentage among guards. Holiday was one of the more accurate midrange shooters in the NBA. And despite playing alongside Rajon Rondo, who sometimes plays so unselfishly and records so many dimes that it can disrupt the flow of the offense, Holiday — one of the NBA’s most prolific long passers — was often the man setting up Rondo first, finishing in the top 10 in the league in secondary assists. That would get him recognized in the NHL but goes unnoticed in the NBA.So even though it has been a shock for many to see Holiday emerge before our very eyes, much of that may be because there weren’t enough eyes being directed on a player of his caliber in the first place.Check out our latest NBA predictions.
Within hours of LeBron James’s announcement that he’d be going home to Cleveland, Kevin Love was already musing about how “intriguing” it would be to play alongside James if the Minnesota Timberwolves traded him to the Cavs. In Minnesota, Love was opposing defenses’ chief concern. In Cleveland, next to James, he wouldn’t be. James has made terrifying strides in offensive efficiency and returns a better, more-dominant player than when he left.Earlier FiveThirtyEight analysis didn’t pick the Cavaliers as James’s ideal destination if his goal is to quickly win more titles, but Cleveland has some solid pieces already in place. And those pieces are going to get even better.In 2010, James left a Cavaliers squad that scored 102.1 points per game, tied for ninth in the NBA. That year Cleveland won 61 games en route to the Eastern Conference semis and featured a deceptively useful supporting cast; members of the squad who weren’t James shot a combined 48 percent from the field and 40 percent from beyond the arc. Nine players returned for 2010-11, the first season without James, and they all shot worse. The table below shows how these players’ true shooting percentage (which accounts for threes and free throws) performed in James’s absence:That’s an annihilation. Without James, all nine players saw a drop in true shooting and the team finished with only 19 wins. We can’t chalk up all that difference to James’s absence; the Cavs also dropped an old but effective Shaquille O’Neal, role players Delonte West and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and five bit players. But much of the core was still there; Mo Williams, Anthony Parker, Anderson Varejao and J.J. Hickson were second only to James in minutes played the previous year. If they were good enough to keep the team afloat, we would’ve seen it.Cleveland’s loss was Miami’s gain. The Heat squad that James (and Chris Bosh) joined included seven players from the previous season, who had accounted for 53 percent of that squad’s minutes. Here’s how these seven players improved upon James’s arrival:Although these improvements weren’t as dramatic as the Cavs’s losses, there was still an across-the-board bump in true shooting. Presumably, Kyrie Irving, Varejao and Tristan Thompson will get the same kind of help when James takes the court with them next season.But that change may be dwarfed by the one in Miami. Whoever’s left in Miami when the dust clears — as of now, the Heat only have Bosh and Norris Cole under contract — should expect more defensive pressure in James’s absence. If the 2010-11 Cavs are any indication, it might get ugly.
It happens every few years: a star-studded college team, fresh off a dominating performance, is compared favorably to the worst squad in the pros. A few years ago, it was the Anthony Davis-led Kentucky powerhouse vs. a pitiful Charlotte Bobcats outfit that set a new NBA low for winning percentage in a season. Now, it’s Kentucky’s 2014-15 team, which trounced fifth-ranked Kansas on Tuesday, vs. the tank-tactic Philadelphia 76ers.In a radio interview this week, former Kentucky guard Eric Bledsoe (now of the Phoenix Suns) said his alma mater would own the hypothetical matchup. “I’m definitely taking Kentucky,” Bledsoe said when asked who would win a best-of-seven series between the Wildcats and Sixers. “I think Philly would probably get maybe one game.”As others have pointed out, that’s absurd. As awful as they are — and boy, are they awful — the Sixers’ roster represents an All-Star team of college players from the past few seasons:Center Nerlens Noel was first-team All-SEC two seasons ago; if he were in college now, he’d likely be considered the best player in the country;Point guard Michael Carter-Williams was an honorable mention All-American as an NCAA sophomore; had he not left Syracuse, he would likely be considered the best guard in the college game;Guard Tony Wroten made first-team All-Pac 12 as a freshman two years ago;And rookie K.J. McDaniels was named to the All-ACC first team last season.These are all players who could still have NCAA eligibility if they had they not departed early for the NBA.To put these anecdotes in a more rigid framework, we can return to the same projection methodology we used for our NBA preview. The premise there was to take Real Plus/Minus data from last season, adjust for aging effects and regress to the mean to estimate each player’s true talent level. In this case, we also need to account for any information gleaned from the first three weeks or so of the NBA season; since RPM isn’t available for 2014-15 yet, I’m using a weighted average between a player’s current 2014-15 Statistical Plus/Minus (a box score-based statistic designed to emulate RPM in situations where RPM isn’t available) and our projected RPM ratings from the preseason.By this accounting, the 76ers are made up exclusively of below-average players. In fact, 54 percent of the team’s minutes have gone to players below the replacement-level RPM threshold of -2 points per 100 possessions. If we compute a minutes-weighted aggregation of ratings for Philadelphia’s 2014-15 roster (and adjust for the fact that the Sixers are usually trailing in their games), we’d expect them to lose to an average NBA team by 8.9 points per 100 possessions, which is ridiculously bad for a team’s true talent level. (Other teams have posted worse seasons, but that’s usually because they have bad rosters that perform below their talent levels.)But as bad as the Sixers are, Kentucky’s roster would translate to an even worse team at the NBA level. Looking at how well players’ draft slots predicted their rookie RPM performances (and, in turn, how well ultra-early mock draft rankings like these predict a player’s draft slot), and turning the clock back on those rookie-year RPM projections using an aging curve, we can also estimate an NBA-equivalent 2014-15 RPM talent level for every player on the Wildcats’ roster. Their top prospect, Karl-Anthony Towns (who sits at No. 3 in ESPN’s class-of-2015 draft rankings), would translate to a -2.6 RPM performance at the NBA level this season, worse than almost every player on Philadelphia’s roster. Every other Kentucky player, from Willie Cauley-Stein to Alex Poythress and the Harrison twins, grade out with various shades of putrid RPM ratings that would embarrass even Hakim Warrick.The aggregation of Kentucky’s NBA-translated RPM scores would predict an efficiency margin of -13.6 against an average NBA team. Even after accounting for the fundamental uncertainty surrounding projection models, such a team would lose about 88 of every 100 games against average NBA competition on a neutral court. The Sixers are far from average, of course, but even they would be expected to beat the Wildcats 74 percent of the time at home, and 56 percent of the time on the road. Using those probabilities to simulate Bledsoe’s hypothetical best-of-seven matchup, Kentucky would lose the series 78 percent of the time even if we gave them home-court advantage, most frequently falling in six games.It’s also likely those numbers vastly overestimate Kentucky’s chances. The NBA doesn’t let prospects who are not believed to be pro-caliber players take the court in games, so we don’t really know what kind of performance expectations to set for those Wildcat players who will never play in the NBA. This means the aforementioned translations are naturally biased toward inflating Kentucky’s rating. Furthermore, it’s probably not appropriate to assume the same uncertainty level around Kentucky’s rating that we would for an NBA team. Ironically, because we know they are a college team with no historical track record against NBA teams, we should probably be more certain that their horrible aggregated RPM rating is appropriate, because the sample of (NCAA) teams they’re being drawn from is known to be inferior to the NBA.Kentucky would not be favored against any NBA team, even one as horrid as the Sixers have been. The Wildcats look good when dismantling collegiate opponents, but the NBA is, quite literally, a whole different ball game.
You may have doubts, as some readers did, about whether Google searches are a reliable way to predict that an NHL expansion team would struggle in Las Vegas. But it’s actually a pretty good way to forecast this kind of thing, and there’s another way to prove it:It turns out that there’s a strong relationship between Google searches and an NHL team’s bottom line. How often fans are Googling the term “NHL” in a metro area reliably predicts how much they’re spending on hockey tickets.In the chart below, I’ve estimated how much fans spent on tickets at each NHL arena during the past regular season. The process is simple: I just took total home attendance and multiplied it by the average ticket price.1The average ticket price is estimated based on a 50/50 blend of face-value and resale-market prices. For face-value prices, I used data from Team Marketing Report. For resale prices, I used data from TiqIQ, averaging prices from the start of the 2014-15 season and its most recent report in February. Then I compared ticket spending against the estimated number of NHL fans in each market based on Google search traffic.2The only new wrinkle: I subdivided fans between the New York Rangers, the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils based on the relative Google search volume for each team in the New York metro area. The Rangers are more popular than the other teams and capture more than half of New York’s hockey fan base. I did the same in the Los Angeles area; the LA Kings are more popular than the Anaheim Ducks. As you can see, there’s a strong correlation. Nine of the 10 most popular teams based on Google searches also ranked in the top 10 in ticket sales this season, the exception being the Philadelphia Flyers.Further, there are huge differences in ticket sales between the top and bottom teams. Whereas fans spent only $27 million on Florida Panthers tickets this season, they shelled out more than $184 million (in U.S. dollars) to see the Toronto Maple Leafs play.Most of the differences are based on discrepancies in ticket prices rather than attendance. The NHL is a terrific live-spectator experience — I say this as someone who spends way too much on Rangers tickets — and most NHL teams can sell out their arenas if they charge the right price. But the right price varies. Whereas the average ticket cost $236 in Toronto, it was $74 in Tampa.The relationship is even clearer if we chart the data:You’ll notice that there are some diminishing returns to having more fans in your area.3I’ve used a logarithmic curve to fit the data, which tracks it more closely than a linear fit. Perhaps this is because there are only so many good seats available for each game or because larger markets like Toronto and New York have more non-hockey substitutes for the fan’s entertainment dollar.Still, the correlation is clear, and very strong. The size of the fan base, based on Google searches, accounts for 81 percent of the differences in ticket sales.4The 81 percent figure reflects the coefficient of determination of the regression line.You could undoubtedly do a bit better still by accounting for other factors, like how well the team has played recently. The on-ice success of the Chicago Blackhawks may explain why they do so well at the box office, for instance.But there aren’t a lot of exceptions, and there aren’t a lot of favorable precedents for a hockey team in Las Vegas. The Nashville Predators are a comparative success story — they’re a very good team that’s made some inroads in a highly non-traditional hockey market. And yet, while the Preds are usually selling out their rink, fans are paying comparatively little for tickets. So Nashville ranked just 24th in NHL ticket spending this year, and the Predators have barely been breaking even financially.Several other teams in non-traditional hockey markets — the Arizona Coyotes and Florida Panthers, for instance — are losing money. And most of them play in metro areas with considerably larger populations than Las Vegas.When should you be skeptical of Google Trends data? Sometimes ambiguities of language can cause problems. (Do you mean Kenny Rogers the singer or Kenny Rogers the pitcher?) And as the complexity of the analysis increases, so can the potential for error. It proved to be more difficult than Google expected to determine which searches predicted flu outbreaks, for example — although that was more an issue of flawed analysis than faulty data.In this case, though, Google is just stating the obvious: Putting an NHL team in a small market in the middle of the desert isn’t a good gamble.
OSU junior forward Yaw Amankwa (23) kicks the ball during a game against Louisville on Sept. 29 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU won 1-0. Credit: Breanna Williams / Lantern PhotographerThe Ohio State men’s soccer team will look to improve upon its five-game unbeaten streak against its third in-state rival of the season on Wednesday as the Buckeyes are scheduled to face Bowling Green at 7 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU has completed a major turnaround from the beginning of the season when the team went on a four-game losing streak. The Scarlet and Gray now sits at 4-4-2 overall and 1-1-1 in Big Ten play.The Buckeyes have found different ways to attack their opponents in order to win.“At the moment, we have a good rotation up top that’s allowing us to stay fresh and be able to attack pretty well,” OSU junior forward Danny Jensen said. “With the rotation, we are able to press a little more.”Not only do the Buckeyes have a good offensive rotation going, but their defense has been a weapon as well.OSU sophomore forward Marcus McCrary said Bowling Green is a solid defensive squad, which will be one of the challenges the Buckeyes will face.“We know they won’t be easy, and we know they will not be the toughest competition we play all year, but we just need to focus and be confident and just keep going,” McCrary said.The Falcons have lost three straight heading into Wednesday’s tilt.“We know they’re a solid team and we know that they are an organized team,” Jensen said. “More ways to get by that is to play our game and stay fresh.”Although OSU has had only one day of practice to prepare for the battle against Bowling Green, the Buckeyes are confident they can continue their unbeaten streak.“They’re just a good team and we’re going to take care of business on Wednesday,” McCrary said.Previous encounter with the FalconsRevenge might be the only thing on the Falcons’ minds after a shutout loss to the Buckeyes in the 2014 regular season.OSU earned a 3-0 victory over Bowling Green at home. OSU then-junior defender Liam Doyle scored the Buckeyes’ first goal of the game in just three minutes off a penalty kick. Then-sophomore Christian Soldat added to the lead after he scored off a rebound originally shot by then-junior midfielder Kyle Culbertson midway through the first half.OSU then-senior midfielder Yianni Sarris sent in a shot in the 64th minute that gave the Buckeyes their final goal of the game.By the end of the match, shots were a lopsided 20-6 in favor of the Buckeyes.Clean sweepThe Big Ten’s weekly awards for offensive and defensive player were swept by Buckeyes.Jensen took home the award for Offensive Player of the Week after netting a pair of game-clinching goals over Louisville and Michigan State last week. The last player from OSU to win the award was Jensen, in October 2014.The Defensive Player of the Week crown was captured by redshirt senior goalkeeper Chris Froschauer. The transfer from Dayton saved six shots in the two Buckeye victories last week, including his third clean sheet of the season in the win against Louisville. It is the first time in Froschauer’s career that he won a defensive award.Next upFollowing Wednesday’s action, the Buckeyes are scheduled to visit the Hoosier State to face Indiana at 7:30 p.m. in Bloomington, Indiana.
OSU redshirt senior Johnni DiJulius (left) sizes up his opponent during a match against Arizona State on Nov. 20 at St. John Arena. OSU won 28-9.Credit: Mason Swires | Lantern reporterAfter sustaining a tough upset loss last Saturday, the Ohio State wrestling team has a quick recovery on its mind on Sunday.That matchup will feature No. 11 OSU (5-2, 2-1) playing host to No. 7 Nebraska (9-1, 3-1) at 2 p.m. in St. John Arena.Last week, the Buckeyes fell to the now-No. 10 Michigan by a score of 21-11.The upset loss was one that OSU did not take lightly.“There were seven weight classes where we didn’t score any offensive points,” OSU coach Tom Ryan said. “It’s critical this week that we are putting ourselves in scoring positions.”Redshirt senior Hunter Stieber fully agreed with his coach that the team needs to be more aggressive in the coming matchup.“We didn’t really shoot that much, and when we did, they capitalized on it more than we did,” Stieber said.Sunday will mark the first time the Scarlet and Gray face off against the Cornhuskers this season.The team will try to right the wrongs from last week and move forward.“I think we just need to get back to just wrestling how we want to wrestle and not let our opponent dictate the match,” Stieber said.Nebraska is a unit that is well-respected in the Big Ten, as well as throughout the entire NCAA.Through the last five matchups with OSU, the Cornhuskers have been victorious in four.Led by the likes of junior T.J. Dudley and senior Jake Sueflohn, Nebraska has amassed 205 points so far, and a record of 9-1 overall.Also over the span of the last five years, Nebraska has finished nationally ranked inside the top 15 every season.So, with the high pedigree of their opponent, Ryan and the Buckeyes know exactly what the Cornhuskers bring to the table.“They’re a tough, gritty team,” Ryan said. “I think every one of their guys is ranked in the top 15 or so.”All of the probable starters for Nebraska are, in fact, ranked in the top 25 in the InterMat polls.The Cornhuskers unit will be a test for the OSU team, but Ryan said he is confident in his wrestlers.“They’ve got a really tough dual-meet team, and it’s going to be one heck of a match,” Ryan said.A healthy lineupIn the 2014-15 season, the OSU wrestling team sustained a few setbacks in terms of injuries to key members of the team.“Last year we struggled to put a healthy team on the mat all year,” Ryan said.This year, the team seems to be in peak shape, and ready for a run at repeating as NCAA champions.One of the most notable injuries from last season was sustained by Stieber.At the start of the year, Stieber was one of the top-ranked wrestlers in the 149-pound weight class before a knee injury limited him to participating in just 10 matches.Now, the redshirt senior has had time to heal, and is ready for the season ahead.“I haven’t wrestled healthy in, like, two years,” Stieber said.Although there are still small hiccups here and there, Stieber returned to the starting lineup last week.He will likely draw a tough opponent in Sueflohn on Sunday.Looking aheadAfter Sunday’s showdown with the Cornhuskers, OSU is scheduled to continue its Big Ten portion of the season, squaring off against Michigan State on Jan. 24.The two teams met in the Michigan State Open earlier this season, where both teams performed well.The match is set to take place at Walsh Jesuit High School in Cleveland at 2 p.m.
Members of OSU women’s volleyball team celebrate after a point during a match against Nebraska on Oct. 14 at St. John Arena. Credit: Jenna Leinasars | Assistant News DirectorThe Ohio State women’s volleyball team was selected for the NCAA tournament draw and will play Missouri State in the first round of postseason competition in Manhattan, Kansas at 6 p.m. on Friday.The tournament selection tallies 22 NCAA appearances for the Buckeyes during the program’s history. In 2016, OSU advanced to the regional semifinal game before falling to Washington in five sets. The Buckeyes will be going into the match with the Missouri State Bears carrying a 20-10 overall record and 10-10 within the conference. OSU experienced all the emotions that playing in the Big Ten brings during the regular season. Upsets were common on both sides of the net, referred to by senior middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe as “the nature of the beast” that is the conference’s competition. The Buckeyes stunned the No. 1 Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln on Oct. 1 with a 3-1 victory. OSU also broke a decade-long losing streak to Penn State when they defeated the Nittany Lions in five sets in front of the fourth-largest crowd in St. John Arena history. On an individual scale, Sandbothe and fellow senior Valeria León made their own marks when they broke the career blocks record and career digs records, respectively.Amidst the victories, the Buckeyes also were surprisingly unraveled by other Big Ten foes. They split the series 1-1 with both Maryland and Indiana, two teams ranked at the bottom of the conference standings. OSU faced a tough schedule draw that required the team to adjust to life on the road. The Buckeyes went weeks without seeing the floor of St. John Arena, and on many occasions, the team members said that being away from home was an exhausting factor. Friday won’t be the first time that OSU has battled with the Bears. The Buckeyes traveled to Springfield, Missouri, early in the season and lost a tight five set match to Missouri State as part of the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational tournament. The Bears are currently hitting .238 as a team, led by outside hitter Lily Johnson with 596 kills this season. This marks 12 NCAA tournament appearances for Missouri State. Last year, the Bears were knocked out in the first round by Missouri, 1-3. If the Buckeyes can secure a win against the Bears, they will move on to the next round to face the winner of the Lipscomb and No. 14 Kansas State match.
A small group of beer-drinking, soccer-loving friends have managed to use their love for a sport to create a growing, nationally known fanbase in just five years. The Hudson Street Hooligans have grown into one of the best-known supporter groups in the country, using their love of soccer to create their own traditions with the hopes of making the Crew a household name in Columbus.The Hooligans began in 2006. Their goal was to create a passionate fanbase for the Crew. They have done just that.For every home game, you will usually see the northeast part of the stadium filled with the Crew’s loudest and most loyal fans. It is the Nordecke section, which opened in 2008. It features the Crew’s supporter groups. The Nordecke section has about 3,000 fans, which include the Hudson Street Hooligans, the Crew Union (which is the older crowd) and La Turbina Amarilla, the Latino fanbase.The passion of the Crew’s supporter groups has been rewarded. Memberships for each, especially the Hooligans, are constantly growing, and they have become known throughout the nation.The Hooligans are more than just about supporting the Crew. They also do events that support their local community and beyond.Denis de Verteuil has used his position as a Hooligan to contribute to society.On May 29, 2010, before Columbus played the Los Angeles Galaxy, Verteuil held a fundraiser at Ruby Tuesdays to raise money to help him bike ride across America in the summer.With Bike & Build, Verteuil will lead 30 cyclists for 40,000 miles to raise money and awareness for affordable housing. One day each week they will help build at a Habitat for Humanity site, according to the Help Denis de Verteuil Bicycle Across America! Facebook page. The Hooligans are always looking for new members to recruit.“You basically have to show a little bit of enthusiasm for the Crew,” Blake Compton said. “And if you like drinking beer that’s a major plus.” Joining is simple. Anyone can either go to the online store at hudsonstreethooligans.com, go to the Hooligan Club House on the corner of Hudson and Summit or to Ruby Tuesdays during game days.It costs $20 to join and members get discounts on tickets, drinks at Ruby Tuesdays and a buy-one-get-one-free coupon at Chipotle on game days. Memberships last for a year.A typical game day for a Hooligan begins at Ruby Tuesdays, a bar on the corner of 19th and Summit. They begin drinking a couple hours before the game. An hour or so before kickoff, they begin their march toward the stadium, heading up Summit then right on Hudson over the train tracks, with Crew and checkered black-and-yellow flags waving.While at the game, the Hooligans, along with the rest of the supporter groups, make their presence felt with their cheering, chants and singing.The Hooligan Club House is another aspect of the club members will get to enjoy. It offers another place for fans and members to get together to watch soccer.“It’s welcomed to any Hooligan members. We offer a social membership to watch soccer,” Jon Winland, vice president of the Hooligans, said. “Our goal is to try to create a fanbase here in Columbus for the sport. Obviously it’s not a big thing here in America, but we’d like to make it one.”
The wide-ranging topics that were discussed at first-year OSU head coach Luke Fickell’s Tuesday press conference included a season-ending injury for one defensive player, the role of a previously suspended player in Saturday’s game at Illinois and the battle among quarterbacks for the backup job. After the press conference, a former Buckeyes coach spoke to The Lantern about the NCAA violations committed by OSU players. “Coop” isn’t content Former OSU head coach John Cooper, who led the Buckeyes to a 100-34-4 record from 1988-1999, sat among members of the media during Fickell’s remarks. Afterward, Cooper had some pointed remarks about the state of OSU football, saying he was troubled by the program’s recent run-ins with the NCAA. “It’s unfortunate,” Cooper said. “That doesn’t have to happen. It shouldn’t happen at Ohio State. This is too good of a school. It is too good of a program to have that happen to us. “It’s embarrassing, to be honest with you.” Injury update Senior defensive lineman Nate Williams, who has missed the Buckeyes’ last five games after sustaining an injury to his left knee on Sept. 3 against Akron, is likely done for the season. “Nate probably won’t be with us for the rest of the year,” Fickell said. “I think he’ll probably have another surgery. It’s a part of the game.” Freshman quarterback Braxton Miller is listed as the No. 1 quarterback on the latest OSU depth chart. Fickell said the most important thing is how Miller practices this week. “I think (Miller) is going to be OK,” Fickell said. “We’ll see how he feels when he runs around today.” Captaincy carousel slowing down Senior center Mike Brewster will make his fourth appearance as an OSU game captain at Illinois this Saturday. Senior linebacker Andrew Sweat will make his third appearance as a game captain as well. Junior tight end Jake Stoneburner, who caught his fifth touchdown pass of the year last Saturday at Nebraska, is first-time captain and will join Brewster and Sweat at midfield Saturday for the pregame coin toss at the Fighting Illini’s Memorial Stadium. “Boom” is back“ After being suspended for the first six games of the 2011 season due to two separate NCAA violations, Dan “Boom” Herron will dress and play for Buckeyes at Illinois this weekend. “Dan will get some touches,” Fickell said. “You might see Dan initially on special teams. Dan is a big part of who we are.” Quarterback shuffle The battle among Ohio State’s quarterbacks is still on, but now they’re competing to be the No. 2 option behind freshman Braxton Miller. Fickell said that sophomore quarterback Ken Guiton will get more reps in practice and have a shot at being the backup. “Kenny will get some more reps (this week),” Fickell said. “He showed the team and everyone how much it means to him. He’ll get more and more opportunities in the weeks to come.”
The Ohio State women’s hockey team lines up prior to the start of the game against Minnesota on Jan. 19. Ohio State won 3-2. Credit: Will Sharp | For The LanternThe Ohio State women’s hockey team is struggling through a season-long three-game losing streak. But its competition won’t get any easier, for it is tasked with taking on Minnesota this weekend.No. 7 Ohio State (15-9, 9-7 WCHA) will face No. 2 Minnesota (22-3-1, 12-3-1 WCHA) on Friday and Saturday for the teams’ second series of the season.The Buckeyes were swept 5-2 and 6-3 last weekend at Minnesota Duluth in losses to an unranked opponent that they had dismantled twice earlier in the season.Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall said the Buckeyes’ frequent stints in the penalty box and lapses in defensive fundamentals have been instrumental in allowing opposing teams to gain advantages.“We, right now, are the No. 1 team in the WCHA with penalties per game,” Muzerall said. “We have to make sure we’re doing the smart things defensively. The little things we tend to forget. We can’t be giving up 16 goals like we did the last three games.”Minnesota has been no stranger to offensive opportunity this season. It has scored 111 goals, 286 points and hold a scoring margin of 2.62, all of which are the top national marks.The Gophers did not lose a game in November or December, but broke its 14-game winning streak on Jan. 18 with a 2-1 loss to No. 1 Wisconsin.Ohio State freshman goalie Andrea Braendli is familiar with Minnesota’s prolific offensive output. She made 84 saves against the Gophers in their Oct. 19–20 series that helped reward the Buckeyes with a split series on the road and earned her WCHA Goaltender of the Week honors.The high volume of goals allowed during Ohio State’s current losing skid has raised questions about who will start in goal moving forward.Sophomore goalie Lynsey Wallace replaced Braendli and notched her first career start on Saturday after Braendli allowed four first-period goals in Friday’s loss. Braendli had started the previous 20 games for the Buckeyes.This week’s starter will have to earn her spot during the week of preparation in order to take the ice against the Gophers, Muzerall said.“We’re evaluating them every day in practice,” Muzerall said. “Every Monday is a reset. At the start of the week, you have to fight for your position.” Muzerall said whoever is in goal for Ohio State will have the challenge of facing Minnesota sophomore forward Grace Zumwinkle, the Gophers’ leading scorer, who is tied at No. 5 in the nation with 18 goals.“That kid can shoot the puck about 75-80 mph,” Muzerall said. “If you don’t want to take one of those off the ankle, you better gap up and you better play smart defensively.”Muzerall said Minnesota’s weakness is in its back end and goaltending, and Ohio State hopes to generate more offense against the team that outshot the Buckeyes 89-45 in their previous series.Ohio State freshman forward Gabby Rosenthal, who scored her first career goal Friday at Minnesota Duluth, said she hopes to continue providing an offensive spark for the Buckeyes.“I’m focusing on getting shots on net and crashing to the net and getting those rebounds,” Rosenthal said. “It’s really important to beat girls, pick up sticks, get shots on net and bury.”The Buckeyes are 10-2 in Columbus this season, and Ohio State senior forward Erin Langermeier said a return to home ice is just what the Buckeyes need for a turnaround performance.“We have our home crowd, our family, all that,” Langermeier said. “Going into this weekend, I’m very confident our energy level will be there, and we’re just going to be so pumped to play the No. 2 team.”Game 1 of Ohio State’s home series begins with a 6:07 p.m. puck drop on Friday, and the WCHA rivals will face off again at 3:07 p.m. Saturday.
Speaking to 72-year-old Ken Morgan and Alison Perks, 73, William said: “I’m sorry I brought the hospital to a standstill today, it wasn’t my intention.”I hope you’re not waiting for anything important.”Mr Morgan, who said he was happy to have met the Duke, replied: “You’re the only thing that’s important.”William also spoke to seven-year-old Anna Kape who was in for an X-ray after breaking her arm when she slipped at school.Her mother Stephanie said: “We had no idea, he would be here. It was very unexpected but great that he stopped to speak to Anna.” The Duke of Cambridge tours Basingstoke and North Hampshire HospitalCredit:PA The Duke of Cambridge joked that he unintentionally brought a hospital to a standstill when he paid a visit to learn more about a scheme supported by his Royal Foundation.William arrived to a warm welcome from dozens of nurses who gathered to greet him at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital – and the excitement continued inside as workers stood along the corridors, watching eagerly with their camera phones.Patients told of their delight at meeting the surprise royal visitor, who stopped to chat at various points as he walked through the building. William was at the hospital to meet ex-military who are now working in healthcare.He met both veterans who have gone on to work in health as well as those preparing for life outside the Forces by attending information days run by Step Into Health.The scheme, supported by the Royal Foundation of which he, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry are patrons, aims to recognise the transferable skills possessed by those in the military – which can be useful for a career in the NHS.The programme provides placements in sectors ranging from catering to administration as well as clinical roles. 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.
Church of England bishops have called on the Government to end indefinite detention and accused politicians of “dehumanising” migrants.A group of 17 senior church figures signed a letter to the Telegraph which called on the Government to change its detention policies in the wake of a Panorama documentary which captured detainees being abused and mistreated.The documentary, which was broadcast on Monday evening, was secretly filmed by G4S worker turned whistleblower Callum Tulley, 21.The letter is also signed by Nathan Ward, who worked for G4S as a manager for more than 14 years before becoming a priest in the parish of Holy Trinity South Chatham.The letter, signed by 17 bishops as well as former chief inspector of prisons Lord Ramsbotham and representatives from the Church of Scotland and Methodist and Baptist churches, says the documentary “raises questions about our immigration policy and practice in this country”. The detainee system in the UK can hold up to 3,500 migrants at any one time. According to Oxford-based analysts the Migration Observatory, 28,900 migrants entered UK detention last year.Only 1 per cent are held for more than a year, while 81 per cent are held for less than two months.Its data shows that in the final quarter of last year 2,573 of the 7,078 migrants released from detention had been held for more than 28 days. 53 had been held for over a year.Mr Ward told the Telegraph: “I wasn’t surprised to hear that there were allegations being made about Brook House but I was shocked and appalled to see the extent of the abuse taking place. It says the Government should cap detention periods at 28 days and require judicial permission to keep someone detained for more than 72 hours.”We fear that this treatment is symptomatic of a rhetoric fostered by some politicians and sectors of the media that dehumanises immigrants and paints the public as ‘victims’ of immigration”, the letter adds. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, was among those who signed the letterCredit: Martin Rickett/PA “It is right that G4S took swift action as soon as the allegations were brought to their attention and we will continue to work with them and the police to ensure all necessary action is taken.”Detention and removal are essential aspects of effective immigration control and Home Office policy makes clear that detention is only used for the short period necessary. There is a presumption of liberty for all individuals.”Home Office policy is clear that detention will only be maintained while there is a reasonable prospect of removal within a reasonable period of time.” “Periods of indefinite detention cause extreme distress to people’s mental health. We’re the only country in the EU not to have a time limit on detention, and actually it’s against the core fundamental principles which British law is based on.”Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said: “The Panorama footage is extremely disturbing and the sort of behaviour on display is utterly unacceptable. The dignity and welfare of all those in our care is of the utmost importance and we are taking this very seriously. We fear that this treatment is symptomatic of a rhetoric fostered by some politicians and sectors of the media that dehumanises immigrants and paints the public as ‘victims’ of immigration
The Sunday Telegraph understands that Nick Hardwick, the chairman of the Parole Board, is considering publishing the rationale behind a three-member panel’s decision to release taxi rapist John Worboys from prison. It comes as justice minister David Lidington pledges to introduce “greater openness” around the decision-making process for future parole cases to ensure “full confidence” in the justice system. Mr Lidington said he had held talks with Prof Hardwick, “about what changes we could make to help victims of crime and provide… Victims of one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders may learn why he was released from prison as ministers promise today to end secrecy around parole hearings.
Illegal raves are on the rise as traditional nightclubs have been forced to close their doors, new figures reveal.The number of planned unlicensed music events in London recorded by the Metropolitan Police nearly doubled between 2016 and 2017, according to figures obtained by the Sunday Telegraph using freedom of information legislation.The rise has has been linked to the decline of traditional licensed venues, with half of the capital’s nightclubs having closed in the past decade, according to City Hall.The rising cost of drinks in legitimate venues has also been blamed for the return of rave culture.Plans for 133 illegal raves were identified by the Met in 2017, up from 70 the previous year. In September the consumer rights group CAMRA, which publishes the Good Pub Guide, said the average price of a pint of beer in the UK had hit a new high and warned that drinking in pubs was becoming an “unaffordable luxury” for many.Kate Nicholls, the Chief Executive of the UK Hospitality, a non-government body that represents clubs and restaurants said: “If nightclubs are being forced to close or increase their prices then customers will naturally gravitate towards the alternatives that come in the form of illegal raves.Mark Davyd, founder and CEO of the Music Venue Trust, a charity that works to prevent the closure of UK music venues, said the high cost of maintaining a license and paying business rates can drive innovative music underground and increasing the allure of unlicensed events.On top of other challenges for nightclubs, business rates in London have risen by an average of 26 per cent since April 2017, according to research company Nordicity. Increased security at nightclubs has also been blamed for driving interest in unlicensed events. Chris Knowles, a former illegal rave organiser and one of the founders of the record label Stay Up Forever, said punters are put off by “humiliating and dehumanising” airport-style security in order to listen to their favourite genre of music.The Metropolitan Police has changed its tactics on identifying unlicensed music events since 2015, with a new emphasis on the surveillance of individuals suspected of organising illegal raves. Police tactics were changed after the illegal Halloween rave in 2015Credit:Mark Richards “Using covert tactics, we try and understand who the organiser is and where they live,” said Detective Chief Inspector John Oldham, the Head of Crime at the Met’s Public Order Command. “We’ve woken up to the problem and put out a much higher intelligence requirement to identify these things.”Covert tools used by the Met’s Public Order Command include online surveillance and the use of intelligence collection officers that are sent into venues.“If you are dealing with something like drug dealing you need to put someone in to buy the drugs or to pretend to be a drug user,” said Oldham.The new tactics were adopted by the Met after efforts to shut down Scumoween, an illegal rave in Lambeth in 2015, resulted in “pitched battles” between partygoers and police officers. A total of 26 officers and a police dog were hurt in the clashes and 54 people were arrested.In July 2016, three people, including a police officer, were stabbed in Hyde Park as officers in riot gear attempted to shut down an unlicensed music event. In June last year a similar operation to shut down an unlicensed music event in Stanford Hill led to hundreds of revellers spilling out onto the streets and clashes with police.Roads were closed while a helicopter, dog units, and riot officers were used to try and subdue the crowd. During the violence car windows were smashed, one person was stabbed, and another was arrested.Also last year, police shut down an illegal rave in a sewer in Newcastle that was attended by around two hundred people. Attendees had to wade through water to access the party where organisers had set up a sound system and lighting. Destruction was left after the illegal rave in 2015Credit:Mark Richards
Really hope that friends in USA realise that my Civilisations episodes on PBS are very different from original BBC versions, have been drastically changed The originals were far from ‘anodyne’ I promise https://t.co/xnzAL710Yi BBC versions will be available on PBS digi channel.— mary beard (@wmarybeard) April 17, 2018 She added: “Can’t help think that there is something about a creaky 63 year old grey haired lady that doesn’t quite fit the bill. But I am probably smelling a rat where there isn’t one!” David Olusoga, Mary Beard and Simon SchamaCredit:BBC Responding to the review, Prof Beard said: “Really hope that friends in USA realise that my Civilisations episodes on PBS are very different from original BBC versions, have been drastically changed. “The originals were far from ‘anodyne’ I promise.”Saying the experience had left her grateful for the BBC’s treatment of Civilisations episodes, she told the Telegraph: “Whether people liked them or not, my BBC episodes were at least what I wanted to say!”The BBC and PBS versions were made by the same production company, but the two broadcasters were each responsible for their final chosen edits. A spokesman for PBS said: “From its initial stages, the PBS version of Civilizations was conceived to be distinct from the BBC version. aruments changed, talking heads added, my religion programme was made much more Christian focussed than it was originally— mary beard (@wmarybeard) April 17, 2018 Yes I noticed I hardly appear (not to mention, more important, the disappearance of most of my actual argument!).. cant help think that a slightly creaky old lady with long grey hair isnt ideal for US TV??— mary beard (@wmarybeard) April 17, 2018 Professor Mary Beard has accused a US broadcaster of editing her own episodes of Civilisations to make them more anodyne, saying her on-screen appearances as a “slightly creaky old lady with long grey hair” had been cut.Prof Beard, who hosts two episodes of Civilisations for the BBC in Britain, said the American edits of the show had seen her central arguments erased, her on-screen contributions reduced, and an episode on religion re-edited to focus more closely on Christianity.Suggesting she could not help thinking her appearance “isn’t ideal for US TV”, in a series of wry asides on Twitter, she admitted she felt “a bit shifty” reading criticism of a show she did not fully approve.Prof Beard, who has regularly spoken of the abuse she has received as an older woman on television, said she was “rather sad” about the changes, urging viewers to watch the full BBC version online.She aired her criticism on Twitter, after a Wall Street Journal’s review called the new series of Civilisations on American channel PBS as “anodyne”, with a viewer observing she “virtually disappears from the PBS version”. While the British version had three hosts, Prof Beard, David Olusoga and Simon Schama, lead their own programmes, the American edits see them join a number of “contributors” to each show including expert “talking heads” and narration from actor Liev Schreiber.Asked on Twitter why the changes were made, Prof Beard wrote: “I wish I knew .. to make it better for an American audience, people say…???? I am rather sad about it. Hope people will look at the originals when they are available.”Questioned on whether she had approved edits, she said: “Put it this way, if that’s how I had wanted to make the programme, I would have done it that way!” “The PBS series intentionally broadens the perspectives presented in each episode by including a wider range of interviews with international artists, art historians and subject experts who have a direct connection to their areas of expertise.“We value Ms. Beard’s contributions to the series, and regret to learn of her criticism, however the PBS version was always intended to be a different presentational style from the BBC version.” 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.
Ms Fitzpatrick claimed that over a period of almost 10 years she had been subjected to behaviour including being mocked about having a miscarriage, being told certain staff didn’t want “a foreign woman”, and subjected to racist language.One of the men allegedly involved, who has left the agency, told the Corporation: “These are false allegations. I can’t remember the event you mention, but if it did happen, it would have been office banter. Just a craic. Certainly nothing to do with abuse.”Ms Fitzpatrick, of Janetstown, near Thurso, is understood to have been signed off from work since her father died in November 2016.She is understood to be facing a disciplinary hearing from her employers at the end of May, over charges of being “overzealous” in her job and rude to clients. A whistleblower who complained of a racist and misogynistic culture in a Scottish Government agency claims she was taped to a chair and gagged by two male colleagues.DeeAnn Fitzpatrick said the restraint took place during years of bullying and harassment at Marine Scotland’s Scrabster office.The fisheries officer has taken her case to an employment tribunal and claims she was taped up as a warning to keep quiet.The photograph, said to have been taken by one of the two men allegedly responsible, was obtained by BBC Scotland.Ms Fitzpatrick, 49, a Canadian national, said the incident happened in 2010 as a result of her speaking out about a threatening and misogynistic culture at the quango’s office in Scrabster, on the north coast of Scotland. In evidence to the tribunal, she said that one of the men told her: “This is what you get when you speak out against the boys.”However, the employment tribunal in Aberdeen is unable to consider the restraint incident as it occurred more than three years before the case was brought.The Scottish Government is responsible for the agency which acts as the watchdog for the fisheries and aquaculture industries.Rhoda Grant, a Labour MSP for the Highlands and Islands, said the photograph was “horrific”, adding: “I’m kind of speechless. It would have been office banter. Just a craic. Certainly nothing to do with abuseone of the men allegedly involved A spokesman for the government said it had “clear standards of behaviour which apply to all staff”, adding: “Any concerns raised by staff are taken seriously and investigated fully.” It also said that in addition to the ongoing tribunal there were “internal procedures” underway, and it would be “wrong to pre-empt the outcome”. DeeAnn Fitzpatrick has been giving evidence at a tribunalCredit:BBC “In some of my dealings with DeeAnn it’s very clear that there is a culture in that office that people can get away with what they say and what they do. It seems to me that it’s out of control.”In an email from a manager after Ms Fitzpatrick raised the alleged incident, it was claimed that it was a case of “boys just being boys”. 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.
However Richard Raybould, 59, is still waiting for his house to be connected on the edge of the village – and said he cannot wait.He said: “It is amazing what skills people in the community have. There are it experts and farmers who dig trenches. I have met at least 30 people who I had never spoken to before.”Michaelston y Fedw roughly translates as Michael’s church in the birches. Hundreds of villagers frustrated with their terrible internet connection took matters into their own hands by digging miles of trenches to install their own cables.The tiny village in Michaelston y Fedw, population 300, clubbed together after being unable to download films, stream music or connect to online banking.Pensioners, farmers, teachers and even the village pub landlords put in thousands of hours of volunteering to dig miles of trenches – and now have superfast broadband.The project cost around £250,000 with villagers stumping up £150,000 of their own money to secure their superfast connection speed.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––They were also able to obtain £100,000 from EU funding and the Welsh Government Access Broadband Cymru scheme. Richard Raybould and Jim Dunk, who are long time residents of the village, with the fibre cabinetCredit:Mark Lewis/Wales news service “Communities have tended to be more distant and detached but not here anymore. Sometimes we have to take a step back and pinch ourselves at what we have done.”Anyone can do it, it is not rocket science.”A year after the project begun most of the 300 villagers are now hooked up to a 1,000mps broadband connection. One of the organisers, Carina Dunk, 61, said it was fantastic what the village had achieved. She said: “It used to take a few days to download a film, now it takes less than a minute. The tiny village in Michaelston y Fedw, population 300, clubbed together after being unable to download films, stream music or connect to online bankingCredit:Mark Lewis/Wales news service Ben Longman and Caroline Hill, who had fibre installed at their pubCredit:Mark Lewis/Wales news service Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The idea was sparked in the local pub when moaning villagers were complaining about their WiFi connections.Ben Longman, landlord of the Cefn Mably Arms, said: “We were in the pub and we were all moaning about how bad the wifi was.”I had just paid for high speed broadband and realised it would not work.”
Homosexuality is no longer the taboo it once was. But figures suggest that young people are even more open to experimentation than previously thought.Only two thirds of Generation Z identify as solely heterosexual, in stark contrast to previous generations, a study has found. Research by Ipsos Mori found that 66 per cent of young people, aged between 16 and 22, are “exclusively heterosexual” – the lowest figure of any generation.Among millennials, 71 per cent say they are exclusively heterosexual, as do 85 per cent of those in “Gen X”, and 88 per cent of baby boomers. –– ADVERTISEMENT ––The research group suggested that social media was playing a part, with young people more likely to be aware of different sexualities because of the availability of such information on the internet. Researchers said the statistic showed that the youngest generation were “being affected by more open and fluid attitudes”. Hannah Shrimpton, one of the authors of the report, said there was a “hugely greater exposure to communications on the variety of lifestyles available to young people today through social technology.”In particular, this generation of young has grown up at a time when gender as a simple binary and fixed identity has been questioned much more widely – this is new, and will affect wider views of gender, sexuality and much broader aspects of identity,” she told the Daily Telegraph. The figures suggest a much higher level of openness to non-heterosexuality than previous polls had suggested, with the most recent ONS figures showing that in 2016 just two per cent of people aged 16 or over identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual, with the number rising to four per cent among 16-24 year-olds. The overall number had risen from 1.7 per cent the year before. In a speech on Tuesday Equalities Minister Penny Mordaunt called this idea “abhorrent”, and also said the Government would introduce school materials in the relationships and sex education curriculum which were catered to LGBT people. Figures also released on Thursday suggest that older people are less likely to believe that same-sex relationships could be as fulfilling as heterosexual ones. Almost half of over-55s think heterosexual relationships are more fulfilling than others, compared to less than one in three 18-34 year-olds, Opinium, a market research agency found. Other figures published by the researchers suggest that more than 70 per cent of those in Gen Z and 69 per cent of millennials had no problem with homosexual relationships, compared to 43 per cent of baby boomers.However, it added that in some ways the lives of the youngest adults in society “hark back to the 1940s”. “Many more are staying at home with their parents past the age of 18, and families are closer,” it said, pointing to a statistic showing that the proportion of children aged 11-15 who talked to their parents about something that mattered to them each week had increased by 14 percentage points between 2002 and 2015.The organisation said its research also showed that trust in news outlets had fallen. Among 12 to 15 year-olds in a 2017 survey, half felt that the news they see on news websites and apps was either entirely or mostly true, compared to 87 per cent of young millennials who said the same in 2008. The figures come as the Government launches an LGBT action plan, in which it commits to banning conversion therapy, a controversial practice designed to change someone’s sexuality from gay to straight. The report suggested that an increasingly “liberal context” in which gay relationships are seen as acceptable has led young people to have a “less binary view of sexuality”, in which there is no need to identify as exclusively gay or straight. Its research also shows that three in five of British 15 to 16 year olds think sexuality is a scale and that it is possible to be somewhere in the middle. 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.