Commentary Decision to elect game captains unfair to Buckeyes proven leaders

Luke Fickell hasn’t even endured his first game as the head coach yet, but he’s already made his first mistake. After a summer full of speculation about which players would lead the team onto the field as OSU’s captains this fall, Fickell announced Tuesday that he would be departing from the program’s tradition of selecting season-long captains. Instead, Fickell said that the team will be choosing captains on a game-by-game basis. The reasoning behind Fickell’s decision is pretty clear; it would be tough to select OSU’s typical four to six captains without including one of four Buckeye seniors who are suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for receiving impermissible benefits. The decision to select captains on a game-by-game basis essentially rewards DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, Daniel “Boom” Herron and Solomon Thomas by giving them the opportunity to be selected after they return from their suspensions, but that’s not where I have a problem. My issue with Fickell’s decision is the indirect punishment for players who would likely have been season-long captains, regardless of the transgressions committed by the aforementioned players. Even if Posey, Adams, Herron, and Thomas had not been suspended for the start of the 2011 season, it’s almost certain that senior center Michael Brewster would be representing the Buckeyes at midfield for each coin toss this upcoming fall. Brewster committed to OSU during his junior year of high school in Orlando, Fla., but even before then, he was helping recruit a top-rated 2008 recruiting class to Columbus that would go on to be nicknamed the “Brew Crew.” Upon arriving at OSU, all Brewster has done is become a four-year starter and the face of a team who was in desperate need of one when turmoil struck last December. He could have been named a captain as a junior and nobody would have batted an eye. Now it appears he won’t even be a captain for all of his senior season. The absence of season-long defensive captains is even more absurd considering that the only suspended Buckeye on that side of the ball — Thomas — happens to be a back-up. So, thanks to the transgressions of a player who’s played sparingly throughout his time at OSU, a player like sixth-year defensive back Tyler Moeller, who’s bounced back from being the victim of an assault that cost him all of the 2009 season, and a torn pectoral that cost him most of the 2010 season, from being a season-long captain. Or what about senior linebacker Andrew Sweat, who is entering his second season as a starter at OSU and, despite having roomed with former quarterback Terrelle Pryor, has managed to keep his name out of the press for negative reasons?   You mean to tell me that he doesn’t deserve to be a season-long captain? I’ll grant Fickell that allowing players to vote for four (or in the case of last season, six) captains would have likely resulted in one of the suspended players — most likely Posey — being selected a captain, but that doesn’t mean that there weren’t better alternatives than electing game-by-game captains. One option would have been for Fickell to simply select Brewster, Moeller, and Sweat as the team’s three captains and say “that’s that.” Just because former coach Jim Tressel allowed his team to vote for captains doesn’t mean that Fickell needs to do the same. Another option would have been to allow the players to vote on captains and if a suspended player were to be selected, he could either be absent or replaced by a rotation of players for the first five games. There’s even a precedent for this —  during the 2009 season, three defensive captains were named and were then joined by a rotating offensive player each week. Now more than ever, the Buckeye football program needs stability in its leadership. Not just in its coaching staff, but in its players too. The idea of different captains on a game-by-game basis is anything but that. Fickell said that season captains will eventually be named, possibly at the team’s postseason banquet, which will be a nice moment for deserving players like Brewster, Moeller, and Sweat, even if it comes a few months too late. read more

The Freshman Connection

Ohio State football’s current freshman class might hold a go-to offensive duo that Buckeye Nation could enjoy for years to come in quarterback Braxton Miller and wide receiver Devin Smith.Miller and Smith have combined for three touchdowns through the Buckeyes’ first four games, and at least one OSU coach expects the first-year duo’s productivity to continue.In both players’ first game in Scarlet and Gray on Sept. 3 against Akron, Miller found Smith in the end zone late in the contest for his first career touchdown pass. Smith’s catch, which went for 14 yards, was his first career touchdown as well.The two freshmen didn’t stop there.On Saturday against Colorado, Miller linked with Smith on a 32-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.Smith described that play as “too easy” for he and Miller.“(Colorado) played a little outside on me,” Smith said. “And I ran a post on that play and I was wide open.”The next time the players connected for a touchdown — a fade by Miller in the third quarter, which required Smith to catch the ball and drag his feet in the end zone — was evidence enough to suggest that the two players might be developing an on-field relationship, which players and fans alike can rely on.“(Smith and I are) comfortable in practice in the things we do,” Miller said. “We take time out to throw the ball.”Offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Jim Bollman said he hadn’t initially considered the burgeoning relationship between Smith and Miller.Bollman said it makes sense that the two players would be helping each other succeed.“Well, it’s interesting because I hadn’t thought about that at all,” Bollman said. “Naturally, both players coming in together at the same time, you can see that situation evolving between receivers and quarterbacks who are getting some opportunities to play early.”Of the five passes Miller completed against the Buffaloes, Smith caught three for a total of 64 yards.Smith said the relationship fans see between he and Miller on the field extends far beyond Ohio Stadium and the practice fields.“(Miller) is sort of quiet, funny a little bit,” Smith said. “We walk to class. Everybody’s asking him questions and stuff like that, he’s real cool about it. I think that’s what makes him a great kid.”After Smith’s three catches for 64 yards on Saturday, he is now tied for the team lead in receptions with eight and leads in team in receiving yards with 183.And how’s this for a relationship — the night before the Colorado game, Smith even said he dreamt about catching touchdown passes from Miller.“That’s what I was thinking about the whole time,” Smith said.Other freshmen, including receiver Evan Spencer and linebacker Ryan Shazier, have seen playing time for the Buckeyes, but Miller and Smith have set themselves apart from their classmates.Bollman is optimistic the Miller-Smith partnership will evolve as the team moves into conference play.“It’s good to see, no question about it,” Bollman said. “We hope (they) continue to improve.”Miller agreed.“We (Smith and Miller) are getting a connection on the field,” he said. “(We’ll) just keep working for the next game.”Miller and Smith will attempt to continue their shared success on Saturday when OSU hosts Michigan State in its Big Ten opener. Kickoff at the ‘Shoe is set for 3:30 p.m. read more

Army Hoping to Avoid OutofPocket Housing Costs for Soldiers Living OnPost

first_imgThe Army has directed its private housing partners to look for ways to trim the cost of operating their projects as a response to the reduction in basic allowance for housing (BAH) payments Congress has authorized to alleviate the Defense Department’s fiscal constraints. By slowing the rate of increase in the BAH, out-of-pocket housing costs for service members are slated to rise by one percentage point a year until they reach 5 percent in 2019, under the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. This year, personnel living off-base are paying 2 percent of their rental and utility costs out-of-pocket. But the belt-tightening move is hurting the finances of the owners of privatized family housing as their rents are tied to the BAH payments received by service members. In January, the Army informed its housing partners that it would not issue a “blanket consent” allowing them to charge soldiers rent in excess of their BAH payments in 2016. Instead, the service is encouraging the companies to cut back on amenities and other optional services to offset the drop in their revenue stream.“The first thing they’re doing is taking a hard look at the services they provide on our bases, and they’re going to stop doing some of those services,” Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary for installations, energy and environment, said last week during an Association of the U.S. Army conference.“Maybe they’re not going to mow lawns as frequently, maybe they’re not going to run a water park or a swimming pool or community center in the summer. But we’re asking them to cut optional services without affecting their prime service, which is quality housing for our soldiers,” Hammack said, reported Federal News Radio.Officials, however, are willing to consider individual requests to increase rents charged by privatized housing operators above the BAH if “necessary to ensure the project’s long-term financial viability,” according to a Jan. 21 memo from Paul Cramer, deputy assistant secretary for installations, housing and partnerships.“We really don’t want that to happen. But we also can’t afford to force any of our housing partners into bankruptcy because of this situation,” Hammack said.“We’ve asked them to come back to us and justify where there’s a financial need to charge a service member for on-base housing. We’re reviewing that very carefully to ensure that optional services are cut first before service members pay out-of-pocket,” she said.To date, the Army has not allowed any of its housing partners to increase rents above soldiers’ BAH, according to the story.The Army surveyed on-base residents to determine what services provided by housing managers should be considered optional, said Lt. Gen. David Halverson, assistant chief of staff for installation management. “Part of this is the expectation management that we must do, and it’s a tough issue,” Halverson said. “We’re looking really hard to make sure the soldier and the family is not being impacted and maintaining the fiscal viability of our housing partners at the same time.” Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more

17 World Class Swimmers to Compete at TYR Derby Pro Swim Meet

first_img The fourth annual TYR Derby Pro Swim Weekend is set to kick off on Thursday, April 25, 2019 with a Drowning Prevention Clinic at the Ralph Wright Natatorium in Louisville, Kentucky. Following the clinic, athletes will gather on Friday, April 26 to compete in the TYR Derby Pro Swim Meet presented by Churchill Downs.  Swimmers expected to compete in the meet include Mallory Comerford, Ryan Held, Bruno Fratus, Shinri Shioura, Michael Chadwick, Dylan Carter, Roland Schoeman, Lia Neal, Margo Geer, Farida Osman, Kendyl Stewart, Madison Kennedy, Amy Bilquist and Zach Apple.On Thursday, April 25, the UofL Swimming and Diving team will host the Fourth Annual Drowning Prevention Clinic at the Ralph Wright Natatorium. This clinic helped  hundreds of kids lose the fear of water and gain the ability to learn a life skill. The clinic is open to the public from 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.On Friday, April 26, the swimmers will compete for prize money beginning at 6:30.  The professional swimmers will race a 50 long-course meter freestyle in a preliminary, semi-final, final format, all within one hour. The last two finishers will be eliminated after each round with the final four racing for prize money and for the honor of being the fourth TYR Derby Pro Swim Meet Champion.At the conclusion of the swim meet on Friday night,  athletes, sponsors, and guests will be invited to join for an exclusive VIP dinner with NBA and UofL Basketball legend, Darrell Griffith, who will host the 16 elite athletes at his restaurant, Griff’s (133 W Liberty St.) on April 26, for a VIP dinner from 8:30-11:00 p.m. There are 150 VIP tickets available to purchase for the Live in Lou Derby Pro VIP Night. A part of the proceeds will benefit Sigma Gamma Rho. Sigma Gamma Rho is committed to diversity, inclusion, and to the increase the swim participation and decrease drowning rates in our community. Their motto is “Greater Service, Greater Progress”, and UofL Swimming and Diving and Sigma Gamma Rho come together to affect change and influence the community.On Saturday, April 27, 12x Olympic medalist, 65x World championship medalist and World record holder, Ryan Lochte, will host a swim techniques clinic followed by an autograph and photo session at Ralph Wright Natatorium from 1:30-3:30pm. That evening swimmers will enjoy the best of Louisville with a bourbon tour at Old Forester Distillery and will then head to Opening Night at the tracks to help kickoff the 145th Kentucky Derby.For tickets and information, please head to www.derbyproswim.com or connect with us on Instagram at @tyrderbyproswim. Tickets are on sale now. Story Links Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more