FNH combat instructors train fellow Hondurans By Dialogo October 23, 2015 Joint training is an important component of the ongoing cooperation between Honduras and the U.S. in the fight against organized crime. “The U.S. Marine team of instructors is satisfied because when they reviewed the instruction being offered by Honduran officers, they found nothing that needed improvement. The Troops, officers, and NCOs are relieved because the training they received is in new doctrine, with lessons from countries that have done battle in other lands. We, who are waging this symmetrical war against drug traffickers, have achieved a new instructional program, and we see how satisfied the institution is with the program.” Marines with Marine Forces-South (MARFOR-South), a component with the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), trained Honduran Navy (FNH Spanish acronym) combat instructors in martial arts from late August and early September so that the FNH service members could teach the self-defense technique and other skills to their Military colleagues. A physically demanding course Battling organized crime is physically demanding, and so was the training. The FNH combat instructors, who awarded certificates to the 80 members after completing the course, will train another 30 to 40 Honduran Navy service members in January 2016 and will continue to teach their colleagues for at least three years. “Some of the Honduran officers are naval specialists and others are combat divers. All have been instructors with a great deal of experience in fighting organized crime and drug trafficking.” Cooperating to fight organized crime The three-week course prepared FNH service members to engage in hand-to-hand combat with violent gang members from Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), Barrio 18 (M-18), and other criminal organizations. “The course was difficult, dynamic, and practical,” Lieutenant Reyes explained. “Our officers trained and studied during more than 14 hours a day. All of this falls within the instructional plan for the Marines who we are beginning to train in this country. This is an initiative of the Honduran Navy. We train at the level of the U.S. Marines.” Five officers and a physician with the U.S. Marine Corps taught the combat techniques to new unit of the FNH made up of 11 officers and non-commissioned officers at the Trujillo Colón Base in Puerto Castilla, said Lieutenant Álvaro Reyes Solano, director of Honduras’s Naval Training Center (CAN). Additionally, FNH Marines participated in 18 to 22 classes that included an instructor firearms course; an instructor course in machine guns; a class in urban operations; and a combat search and rescue course. The U.S. Marine Corps’ Marine Air-Ground Task Force for the Special Operations Command-South, which is led by Captain Juan Díaz, trained the Hondurans. “This is an example of how the Honduran Marine Corps is evolving,” Lt. Reyes stated. “The Marine Corps wants to grow because we are the ones who guard the rivers, lakes, and coastline – that is where we are focused and have projections for the war on terror and the war on drugs.” The Honduran combat instructors – all between the ages of 22 and 30 – sparred with each other and learned how to disarm the opposition, in addition improving their strength and endurance by engaging in long walks and exercises carrying logs. After the lessons, the Honduran combat instructors quickly put the martial arts training to use. In September, shortly after they had completed the SOUTHCOM course, the FNH instructors trained 80 members of the FNH at the CAN while being monitored by the U.S. Marines who had taught them. “The U.S. and Honduran Marine Corps working teams have managed an excellent working relationship, precise coordination, and a sense of brotherhood in raising the prestige of the Armed Forces,” Lt. Reyes explained. The FNH consists of 1,100 service members, according to the 2014 Comparative Atlas of Defense in Latin America and the Caribbean, published by the Latin American Security and Defense Network. It operates from five Navy bases: Puerto Cortes, Puerto Castilla, Amapala, Caratasca, and La Ceiba, while another naval unit, the 800-member First Marine Battalion, is at the La Ceiba Navy Base, according to the website Orden de batalla internacional.
TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man Utd draw up plans for four new signingsby Paul Vegas23 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United plan to make four new signings for the start of next season.The Manchester Evening News says United want to sign a full back, midfielder, a forward and a striker to add depth and quality to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad.United chiefs ‘held a recruitment meeting’ at the start of last month to begin drafting a shortlist of targets for the January transfer window and next summer.It is claimed that James Maddison, Jadon Sancho, Ben Chilwell and Declan Rice are principal targets as they look to continue their recent transfer strategy of purchasing young, British players.The club know that those deals would require significant negotiating and therefore the club is also drafting a longer list of targets.
Dozens of stars from TV, sports, music and film will ante up and bet big to support talented young cancer researchers and change the future of cancer at Tower Cancer Research Foundation’s (Tower) 3rd Annual Ante Up for a Cancer Free Generation Poker Tournament and Casino Night on Saturday, June 4, 2016 at the Sofitel Hotel, Riviera 31, 8555 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048.Samantha Harris, host of Entertainment Tonight, and former host of Dancing with the Stars, who is a breast cancer survivor, will be honored with the inaugural Cancer Free Generation Mission Award. Red carpet arrivals begin at 6:00 PM PDT.The evening will honor Samantha Harris, breast cancer survivor and host of Entertainment Tonight, and longtime former co-host of Dancing with the Stars. The event has attracted the support of numerous celebrities who are expected to attend including rock icon Gene Simmons of KISS, Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond), Joey McIntyre (New Kids On The Block), Jesse Spencer (Chicago Fire), Carl Weathers (Rocky), Gilles Marini (Sex and the City, Dancing with the Stars), Mekhi Phifer (ER/Torchwood: Miracle Day/White Collar), Samuel Hunt (Chicago PD), Sophie Tweed-Simmons (Gene Simmons Family Jewels), Tig Nataro (Comedian), Tito Ortiz (MMA/UFC Champion), Jason Collins (retired NBA player), Tony Denison (Major Crimes), WWE/E! Total Divas Maryse Ouellette and Eva Marie, Frank Kramer (The Heidi & Frank Show/ Dish Nation).Cancer Free Generation (CFG) is the young leadership division of Tower Cancer Research Foundation. CFG seeks to identify, among their peers in the Southern California region, visionary and innovative doctors, medical professionals and researchers and enable them to discover and implement new ideas and techniques to conquer cancer. Additionally, CFG’s efforts support young people and their families who have been impacted by cancer, so that they may approach life with renewed strength and optimism. With this dual approach, CFG’s goal is to help ensure that the next generation becomes the first cancer free generation. CFG’s executive committee consists of young professionals working in a variety of fields including finance, law, real estate, entertainment, and medicine. Many members of CFG’s leadership are, themselves, young cancer survivors. Their common vision is the desire to build a more inspired community via connecting fascinating and passionate young people who make a difference in the world.Top prizes include a seat in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event, January 2017 in the Bahamas; 5-Night Stay at the Trump Hotel Waikiki Hawaii; and a 3-Night Stay for Two at the Hilton Los Cabos.Tickets may be purchased at the Tower website or by calling 310.299.8477.
(Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated President Aluki Kotierk)Kent DriscollAPTN National News A controversial change to the way Nunavut handles Inuktitut was likely stopped in its tracks last week, but a message from the Minister of Education has the President of Nunavut’s Inuit worried.“People are celebrating, but I’m always a little more cautious,” says Nunavut Tunngavik President Aluki Kotierk, from her office overlooking Iqaluit’s Four Corners intersection. “We have to wait until the fat lady sings, and I’ve also seen Minister Quassa’s statement.”Bill 37 was a bill in the Nunavut Legislative Assembly that would have changed the territory’s Language and Education Acts, moving back target dates for full Inuit Language instruction in Nunavut’s schools. Right now, 100% Inuktitut instruction is only guaranteed for Kindergarten to Grade 4. Bill 37 would have pushed back the target date for 100% Inuktitut instruction to 2030.Last week, regular members of Nunavut’s Legislative Assembly – who act as an opposition in Nunavut’s consensus government – met in private and decided they wouldn’t support Bill 37. In a written statement, Rankin Inlet MLA Tom Sammurtok wrote, “Given the overwhelming lack of consensus in support of the bill in such areas as language of instruction, the role of District Education Authorities and increased employment of Inuit teachers, the standing committee is of the view that it should be allowed to fall off the order paper when the current Assembly dissolves later this year.”Typically in Nunavut, that would mean the death of the bill but Education Minister Paul Quassa may not be giving up the fight that easily. He responded to the regular members in his own written statement, “There is a process to follow when a bill is put forward to the Legislative Assembly, and it is very disappointing that standing committee has not provided the public with an opportunity to understand the pros and cons of their decision.”That statement from Quassa has Kotierk worried that the cabinet has not given up on trying to make Bill 37 into law. “For me, it will be when session happens, and then it will be really dead,” said Kotierk. In Nunavut’s consensus government system, the regular members outnumber the members of cabinet. Quassa would have to convince some of them to vote for the bill if it is to pass.Nunavut Tunngavik represents Inuit in Nunavut under the Nunavut Land Claim. Along with Nunavut’s three regional Inuit associations, they filed documents with the assembly to oppose the decision. Kotierk says the decision to fight came from the ground up, and was a long time coming.“I was very excited to see their (the regular members) statement that there was an overwhelming non-consensus, and an overwhelming quantity of submissions. That made me realize how much Inuit are getting comfortable rising their voices and being heard. That’s a good thing for our society to be going through,” said Kotierk.Nunavut’s District Education Authorities – school boards with local power, including hiring and firing principals – would lose power under Bill 37. They are locally elected school boards that have hiring and firing power over principals. They filed opposition to the bill, as did some of Nunavut’s best and brightest.“I’ve met with a number of people who have been on the DEA’s in the past and are currently on the DEA’s. The frustration that’s expressed is that they would say things, but they felt like they weren’t being heard. Then I got a message from Nunavut Sivuniksavut saying a number of their students had made submissions,” explained Kotierk.Nunavut Sivuniksavut is a program for Nunavut Inuit students, offering a study of the Nunavut Land Claim as a way to get their academic skills ready for post-secondary education. They’re Ottawa based, Kotierk credits the program for helping give the students a voice.“If you’ve lived outside of Nunavut, you feel a little bit more free to speak up, and you don’t feel so intimidated. But it’s not just that group, I think when people are aware of the issue, then they raise it,” sayd Kotierk. The issue was raised by 40 different groups and people filing statements with the Government of Nunavut in opposition of Bill 37.NTI represents Inuit, the Government of Nunavut represents everyone in the territory. Kotierk wishes the GN would view some simple math the same way she does. 85% of the public governed by that public government are Inuit, it is an Inuit government no matter how you divide it. There is a consistent push and pull between NTI and the Government of Nunavut, and the Language Act debate has highlighted those differences.“I would really like to see, it would be ideal if the public government, the Government of Nunavut, realized that they actually are an Inuit government. If they started taking that perspective, then things would be much different,” said Kotierk.Nunavut’s Legislative Assembly meets again on May 29th, where the territory will learn if Bill 37 is actually dead, or whether the Department of Education is going to bring the discussion to the floor of the assembly. If they do, the regular members of the assembly will have to reveal their positions in public. If not, it will be back to the drawing board for the next government, after October’s election.
Joely Lambourn is missing from a healing lodge in Saskatchewan.Dennis WardAPTN NewsThere’s been an escape from the Indigenous healing lodge at the centre of recent public outcry.Correctional Services of Canada says Joely Lambourn has escaped from the Okimaw Ochi Healing Lodge in Maple Creek, Sask.It’s the same healing lodge where convicted child killer Terri-Lynne McClintic was being housed until she was transferred to an Edmonton prison on Thursday.Correctional Service of Canada says more information will follow as soon as it’s available.McClintic pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in 2010 for her involvement in the murder of eight-year-old Tori Stafford.Tori’s father, Rodney Stafford, has called for an tougher rules for healing lodges during a recent appearance on APTN’s InFocus.Lambourn is 45 years old, stands 157 cm (5’2″) tall and weighs 57 kg (126 lbs). She has a fair complexion, brown eyes and brown hair.She is serving a sentence of two years, six months, and 17 days for dangerous operation of motor vehicle – cause death, and unlawfully at [email protected]@denniswardnews
New Delhi: Girls outshone boys in the ICSE Class 10 and 12 examination, with two students scoring 100 per cent marks.This is the first time that students have scored 100 per cent marks in the ISC exam. The results of the ICSE class 10 and ISC class 12 were announced on Tuesday by Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) chief executive and secretary Gerry Arathoon. While girls achieved a pass percentage of 99.05 per cent in class 10 examination as against 98.12 per cent by boys, the pass percentage achieved by girls in class 12 examination is 97.84 per cent as against 95.40 per cent of boys. Mumbai’s Juhi Rupesh Kajaria and Muktsar’s Manhar Bansal topped the class 10 ISCE examination with 99.60 per cent. The second rank has been shared by ten students with 99.40 per cent marks and the third rank has been shared by 24 students with 99.20 per cent marks. Kolkata’s Dewang Kumar Agarwal and Bengaluru’s Vibha Swaminathan topped the class 12 ISC examination with 100 per cent marks.
Alexandria — The family of a blogger whose death became a rallying cry in Egypt’s 2011 uprising called for the maximum jail term as a court readied to give its verdict Monday in the retrial of two policemen.Policemen Mahmoud Salah Mahmoud and Awad Ismail Suleiman are accused of torturing and killing Khaled Said in June 2010 after unlawfully arresting him at an Internet cafe in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.An initial trial sentenced the defendants to seven years in jail in October 2011 after finding them guilty of unlawful arrest and excessive brutality. Egypt’s Court of Cassation ordered the retrial after the defendants appealed, while angry supporters of Said felt the sentence was too lenient.“We have asked for the maximum sentence, which is 15 years in prison,” Mahmud el-Bakri Atifi, lawyer for Said’s family, told AFP, adding that the earlier verdict was an “injustice”.“Egyptians must be reassured that the police offer them security and are not a threat to them.”Police initially said that Said choked to death after swallowing a packet of drugs.Medics, however, said he died of asphyxiation after being beaten, and that the packet of drugs was thrust in his mouth when he was unconscious.Pictures of Said’s badly marred face after his death spread on the Internet and his case became synonymous with police brutality under then president Hosni Mubarak.His death became a flashpoint between Mubarak’s government and opposition activists, who vented their anger on a Facebook page called “We are all Khaled Said”.It was on this page that one of the first calls was issued for the revolt which toppled Mubarak.Said’s supporters and opposition activists have often clashed with security forces, in particular during the trial hearings.
The winners of these two matches will play each other on July 9 at 4 p.m. EDT. See our World Cup predictions for the latest probabilities.In DepthThe second- and third-lowest-scoring teams to make the quarterfinals of this World Cup square off against each other in Saturday’s early game (Belgium, with six goals, vs. Argentina, with seven), and then the lowest-scoring team (Costa Rica, with five goals) faces the highest-scoring side (the Netherlands, which has scored 12).Let’s look at Belgium vs. Argentina first.Since Argentina ignominiously exited the 2010 World Cup with a second consecutive quarterfinal loss to Germany, little Lionel Messi has been dominating the world of soccer like nothing we’ve seen in modern times.After scoring only one goal in both his previous World Cup tournaments combined, this year he’s taken the tournament by storm, scoring four goals (including a stoppage-time game-winner against Iran) in his first three matches, and recording the game-winning assist with just minutes remaining in the fourth.Stoking questions about whether it relies too much on Messi, however, the rest of his team has been awful on offense; Argentina’s other players have managed to put the same number of balls into their opponents’ nets (one) as those opponents have themselves (Bosnia’s own goal). Argentina’s shooting breaks down like so:Messi has scored on four of 16 shots (including converting three of 11 attempts from outside the penalty area).In the 18 shots set up by Messi (the highest number of chances created by any player going into the quarterfinals), Argentina has scored once (Angel di Maria’s game-winner against Switzerland).In the 46 shots Messi was not involved in, Argentina has scored only once, failing to score on all 42 attempts from outside the 6-yard box.Thus — despite having Messi, and despite Messi playing brilliantly — Argentina has only scored on 7.5 percent of its shot attempts, second-worst among quarterfinalists.Belgium, on the other hand, has seen six different players score. But that’s only six goals; even though Belgium has taken a tournament-leading 21 shots per game, the Red Devils have scored on only 7.2 percent of those shots, the worst of all quarterfinalists.Belgium has largely gotten by on excellent goalkeeping, with Thibaut Courtois allowing only two goals despite facing 13 shots on goal worth 4.84 expected goals (using ESPN/TruMedia’s Expected Goals model). His .22 “goals allowed below average” (GABA) per shot is the highest of remaining goalies (higher is better).Another team with good goalkeeping so far is Costa Rica, whose Keylor Navas has saved 14 of 16 shots on goal, with an average GABA of .21 per shot, good for second behind Courtois.Neither Costa Rica nor the Netherlands are what you’d call possession teams: Despite their impressive run, the Netherlands has held the ball just 44 percent of the time, and Costa Rica has held it 42 percent (the only other quarterfinalist with less than 50 percent possession was Colombia, with 46 percent). The flip side of playing this way is that these two teams also lead quarterfinalists in average pass distance (21.7 and 20.8 yards, respectively).But for the most part, Costa Rica seems badly overmatched. While they’ve shot a respectable 14.3 percent, that’s mostly because they’ve been unable to get shots at all — they’ve taken about nine shots per game, averaging only three on goal. Both those figures are by far the lowest of any remaining squad.The Netherlands, on the other hand, had one the most impressive runs into the quarterfinals. The Dutch faced the most difficult route (their opponents had an average Soccer Power Index rating of 80.0), but so far have the second-highest goal differential at +8.The Netherlands has been far superior on contested plays. When taking on defenders, the Flying Dutchmen have been successful a whopping 69 percent of the time. That compares to just 31 percent for Costa Rica. The Netherlands has won contested balls in the air at a 57 percent rate, compared to 36 percent for Costa Rica.In trying to find what, aside from good fortune and good goalkeeping, has driven Costa Rica’s gritty run (it’s scraped by against the second-hardest schedule), just about the only thing I could come up with was evidence of how well it’s run the offside trap. Costa Rica has drawn an enormous number of offsides calls: It’s pulled its opponents offsides 28 times (the next-most among quarterfinalists was 12, by Germany).Overall, our World Cup odds give Argentina a 14.9 percent chance of winning it all, the Netherlands an 11.8 percent chance, Belgium a 2.3 percent chance, and Costa Rica a 0.7 percent chance.YesterdayIn the first competitive match between France and Germany since the semifinals of the 1986 World Cup, Germany took the lead early with a headed goal by defender Mats Hummels. It was Hummels’s second goal of the World Cup, making him the first defender to score twice in this year’s tournament (he would get company later in the day). Both of Hummels’s goals have been headers, and both have been by assisted by Toni Kroos.For Germany, headers are nothing new: Over the past 50 years (as far back as ESPN Stats & Info’s data set goes), Germany has scored 37 headed goals in World Cup play, nearly twice as many as any other country (Italy has 19). Scoring first — by head or foot — has been Germany’s recipe for success in the World Cup, especially as of late. The Germans are 21-0-2 in their last 23 World Cup matches when scoring first, their last loss coming in the 1994 quarterfinals to Bulgaria.France, on the other hand, trailed for the first time at this year’s tournament, and still has never won in a World Cup match when trailing at halftime, losing all 11 times. Les Bleus made efforts to equalize, ending up with more shots (13) than Germany (8), and more chances created (10 to 7). But it was all for naught.In Friday’s second match, Brazil opened the scoring in the seventh minute, its fastest goal of the tournament. The goal came from a Neymar corner kick, his first assist of the tournament. It was Thiago Silva’s first career World Cup goal, and it was Brazil’s third goal from a corner, tied with France and Germany for the most in this World Cup.Brazil was in control for the remainder of the first half, completing seven of 15 passes into the attacking penalty area and creating seven total chances. Neymar created four chances, including the assist; Colombia, as a team, created two in the first half.Brazil extended its lead to 2-0 on defender David Luiz’s 34-yard free kick, the second-longest goal of the tournament. Luiz failed to score in his first 39 career international appearances, but he has found the back of the net in his last two. Brazil has now taken a two-goal lead in a World Cup match 49 times, and has won all 49.The breakout star in the tournament so far, Colombia’s James Rodriguez, converted a penalty to give his side hope; he scored in all five of his games in the tournament. It was his sixth goal, giving him a two-goal lead in the race for the Golden Boot. Colombia scored five goals combined in its last two World Cup appearances (1994 and 1998).Brazil and Germany’s semifinal meeting on Tuesday will, incredibly, mark only the second time these two countries have met at the World Cup. The other was the 2002 final, won by Brazil 2-0. — Jacob Nitzberg, senior statistics analyst, ESPNOff the PitchThe Netherlands and Costa Rica have been friends for a while. In fact, the Dutch were a big source of aid to the Costa Ricans until recently, when the latter ascended to middle-income status. The relationship has gradually shifted to focus more on trade and economic cooperation, but it’s still worth looking at the aid the Netherlands provided over the years.AidData reports that the Dutch sent about $362.5 million Costa Rica’s way between 1978 and 2010. The bulk allocation changed with time, and in the 1980s seemed to focus on industry growth, with $1 million going toward agriculture in 1981, $31 million toward imports to Costa Rica in 1984 and $7 million toward forestry in 1989. The ‘90s began a slow transition, with $17 million spent on multisector industry growth in 1994, $22 million on debt alleviation in 1996 and $21 million on general environmental protection in 1997. With this final pivot, it looks like Costa Rica found its stride — environmental protection continued to be the focus of Dutch aid through 2006, with a final peak of $17 million. Since then, Costa Rica’s tourism industry has boomed, and Dutch aid has all but completely ended.Further ReadingMohawks, Faux-hawks And Macklemores: The Top-Heavy Hairdos of the World CupThe World Cup USMNT Replacement Team Power RankingsStop Making Sense It’s Old Dutch Empire vs. Old Spanish Empire day, as Argentina (independent from Spain since 1816) takes on Belgium (independent from the Netherlands since 1830), and Costa Rica (independent from Spain since 1821) takes on the Netherlands itself.In BriefArgentina vs. Belgium: 12 p.m. EDTNetherlands vs. Costa Rica 4 p.m. EDT
Friday, Feb 27, 3:28 p.m.The panel: “Commissioner’s Perspective: 1 on 1 with Rob Manfred”The panelists: Brian Kenny, Rob ManfredRob Manfred has a long history with Major League Baseball. And Major League Baseball has long tried to avoid letting its history weigh it down. In a wide-ranging interview at Sloan on Friday, one month into his tenure as league commissioner, Manfred sounded like a man trying to make sense of how to reform a game without hollowing it out.A few days ago, Manfred said that there was a universe in which baseball could shave eight games off its regular-season schedule “sometime down the road.” A reduction in the current 162-game schedule could make the sport’s playoff timing a little more flexible, and might increase fan interest in each game. At Sloan, Manfred said he chose the 154-game mark because it would take the majors “back to a number that’s already in our record books.” Could he see MLB going even lower, to 150? No, because then “you’re going to go have a record book with 150, 154, 162 …” Only in baseball, a sport hallowed enough to get the Ken Burns treatment, could the record book be more important than the ledger. Integrity is paramount. (Or as Manfred, who has worked for the league for nearly two decades, put it when talking about whether to reform gambling laws around sports betting: “Integrity, it’s Rule One.”)Yet this is a commissioner who clearly wants to find ways to change the game. Manfred has introduced rules to speed the pace of play, and said Friday he’s very happy with the replay system MLB added last year. He said that in the future — “past Rob Manfred” — the league could have a team outside North America, and before that, maybe even one in Mexico. Now that would be historic. — Chadwick Matlin Sunday, March 1 12:17 a.m.After what conference co-organizer Jessica Gelman said was a “heated discussion,” voters for the top research paper at Sloan reached a split decision and split the $30,000 prize pool between two papers. The winners:Who is Responsible for a Called Strike? by Joe Rosales and Scott SprattCounterpoints: Advanced Defensive Metrics for NBA Basketball by Alexander Franks, Andrew Miller, Luke Bornn and Kirk GoldsberryRosales and Spratt, both of Baseball Info Solutions, presented work suggesting that pitch framing, which has traditionally rewarded most of the credit to catchers alone, is actually a function of three independent participants: the catcher, pitcher, and umpire.Franks, Miller, Bornn, and Goldsberry — all members of Harvard’s XY Hoops group — used player tracking data to quantify individual defensive play in the NBA. The academic version of this group’s paper has been accepted at the statistics journal Annals of Applied Statistics.The groups behind the winning papers each received $15,000 for their efforts. Additionally, Bornn and Goldsberry, along with co-authors Alex D’Amour and Dan Cervone, received the conference’s top poster prize of $1,000 for “Move or Die: How Ball Movement Creates Open Shots in the NBA.” — Mike Lopez Friday, Feb 27, 11:55 a.m.Daryl Morey has been as instrumental to the rise of the Sloan conference as he has been to the rise of the Houston Rockets. Morey, the general manager of the Rockets, has steered the team to third place in the Western conference — behind MVP-candidate James Harden, whom he acquired in a now-legendary 2012 trade — and helped start the Sloan conference in 2007. At Sloan on Friday, I boxed him out to ask a few questions about advanced basketball analytics, specifically player-tracking data from companies like STATS’ SportVU technology. While he can’t divulge the details of the Rockets’ private statistics, Morey’s remarks about the publicly available numbers are especially insightful because the Rockets are one of the most stats-savvy teams — not just in the NBA, but in all of sports. — Andrew FlowersAudio Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/flowers_morey.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. Saturday, Feb. 28 3:15 p.m.Will sports betting inevitably become legal in the U.S.? It sure seems like it.Momentum behind legalization has grown since NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times in November 2014 explicitly endorsing legal sports gambling. The facade of professional sports leagues that oppose sports betting is beginning to crack. And it’s clear why: money.Silver estimated the market for illegal sports wagering is currently $400 billion per year, though it’s likely that figure is inflated. But even lower-end estimates of around $80 billion still represent a huge market. Sports betting is already enormous in Europe, Australia and many other regions. State governments want in because of the potential revenues.Professional sports leagues are intrigued because they see gambling interest as a ratings driver, much like fantasy sports have been. (And, coincidentally, daily fantasy sports sites – with cash prizes – bear an eerie resemblance to gambling anyway.) Gambling is already inherently analytical; but the appetite of stats-savvy fans for geeky coverage about odds is growing. Jeff Ma, a contributor to ESPN’s new sports-betting site, Chalk – said gambling analytics would meet the demand from those with a “high-brow” interest.But there are major risks to legalization. The revelations that former NBA referee Tim Donaghy owed gambling debts and bet on games he officiated was a reminder of the long, scandalous history of how gambling can challenge the integrity of sports. Here, too, analytics can help. Ryan Rodenberg, a professor at Florida State University, suggested statistical scrutiny of betting markets would combat fraud and fixing. Several private European firms already specialize in such analytics.The panelists were asked that if they had to bet on legalization sweeping the country, when it would happen. The lines offered by the panelists ranged from 2-to-10 years. Dan Spillane, the Assistant General Counsel for the NBA, didn’t offer a timeline, however. He just said “years, not months.” — Andrew Flowers Saturday, Feb. 28, 1:00 p.m.The session: “Analytics of the Tommy John Injury Epidemic”The speaker: Glenn FleisigWe’re in the midst of an epidemic of elbow injuries among major league pitchers. Twenty-five percent of current MLB pitchers have had an ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (“Tommy John surgery”) and 15 percent of minor league pitchers have undergone the procedure. Over the last decade, the problem has trickled down to high school and little league players. In 1990, none of the baseball players coming to the Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center clinic Tommy John surgery were kids. Today, one third of them are high school age or younger, said Fleisig, the research director at the American Sports Medicine Institute.What’s to blame for the epidemic of torn elbow ligaments? Are more players getting hurt? Or are we just better at diagnosing these injuries? Are doctors more willing to do the procedure? Or are patients more eager to have it?The answer, said Fleisig, is all of the above. Some players assume they should go in for surgery at the first sign of elbow pain, just “to get it over,” but that’s the wrong attitude. Best case scenario, the surgery can return a player to the career trajectory he was on before he got injured, but it won’t improve performance and not every player makes it back to play, Fleisig said.About 80 percent of major league players who get Tommy John surgeries make it back to the mound, but only two thirds of those who undergo the procedure make it back and stay there.Most elbow ligament injuries occur due to overuse. During the middle part of the pitch when the elbow is held upright at a right angle, the joint experiences severe torque. “It’s like holding a string with five 12-pound bowling balls,” Fleisig said. (That’s why doping raises the risk of an elbow injury — “If you’re on the juice you’re making your muscles too strong for your tendons and ligaments to handle.”)There’s a common notion that curveballs are dangerous, but the research doesn’t bear that out, Fleisig said. “We expected the curveball to have more torque than the fastball, but it turns out it has less.”Four things determine which players get injured — biomechanics, how much a player pitches, training and recovery. “It’s not one of these things or the other, it’s all of them,” Fleisig said.Wear and tear on the elbow is one of the most important factors, and when Fleisig’s group followed a group of 500 kids over a ten-year period, they found that pitching more than 100 competitive innings more than tripled the risk of needing a Tommy John surgery. Likewise, more than 80 pitches per game quadrupled the risk of injury, and kids who pitched when fatigued had 36 times the risk of having surgery.In an effort to cut the rates of elbow injuries among young pitchers, Fleisig and his colleagues have teamed with Major League Baseball to create Pitch Smart, age-appropriate guidelines to avoid injury. Suggestions include limits on the number of pitches thrown and not pitching when fatigued. “The best computer we have is right here,” Fleisig told me, pointing to his head. — Christie Aschwanden Saturday, Feb. 28 4:05 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, 11:20 a.m. Friday, Feb 27, 12:21 p.m.The Panel: “Valuing Franchises: How Sports Teams Break the DCF”The Panelists: Lyle Ayes, Aswath Damodaran, Joe McNulty, Randy Vataha, Abe Madkour (moderator)The recent sales of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Clippers for over $2 billion have opened up a new paradigm in sports franchise valuations. As shocking as the price of those transactions may have been, the mood at this Sloan panel was buoyant. In fact, panelists seemed to be most worried about prices getting so high that billionaires would be priced out of the market. As Lyle Ayes, managing director of the investment bank Evercore’s sports advisory practice said, “how many people can pay $4 billion for an asset?”Panelists thought the seemingly inexorable rise in franchise valuations was driven by the increasing value of media and content rights. Aswath Damodaran, an NYU professor who focuses on valuation (and FiveThirtyEight contributor), commented that across the entertainment industry, owning content is becoming king. Ayes cited the NBA’s massive new TV deal as evidence of this trend. He noted that advertisers put a large premium on live content like sports because viewers are relatively captive during the event. Interestingly, none of the panel members thought that a team’s performance had a large impact on valuation. The most important factor, according to the panel, was metro area population and GDP. The New York Knicks can command significantly more from their local TV rights for bad basketball than the San Antonio Spurs can command for good.Despite the increase in the real earnings of teams as media deals improve, panelists (with the exception of Ayes), broadly agreed that sports franchises still do not make sense as actual businesses. While they are relatively low-risk and uncorrelated with other potential investments, almost any analysis of the current cash flows — or lack thereof — will not find them to be great investments. As Damodaran noted, the supply of franchises is relatively fixed, while demand has been growing. The panelists did not see this dynamic changing any time soon. — John Ezekowitz Friday, Feb 27, 2:20 p.m.The panel: “Basketball Analytics: Push the Tempo”The panelists: Shane Battier, Mike Zarren, Sue Bird, Mike D’Antoni, Pablo TorreAre basketball teams now so saturated with data and analytics that it’s hard to use them for a competitive advantage?Mike Zarren, assistant general manager for the Boston Celtics, raised an interesting point about what qualifies as analytics in an analytics age. “If I know how well a player slept last night, is that analytics?” The breadth of topics discussed — injuries, biometrics, pace, traditional positions, rest, incentives, shot selection, team chemistry — reveal what a truly broad spectrum of questions and answers fall under the umbrella of basketball analytics. However the field is defined, it all serves the same master: talent. Shane Battier, the poster boy for the adoption of analytic ideas at the player level, summed up the mission perfectly: “It’s about creating space to allow talent to do what they do.”Zarren returned to a well-worn focus at this conference — communication of insights — and defended that arena as the place where a competitive advantage still exists: “You have to use it, it has to affect the decisions you make. I don’t think there is a saturation of that yet.” — Ian Levy Friday, Feb 27, 10:40 a.m.The panel: “Innovators and Adopters”The panelists: Shane Battier, Michael Lewis, Daryl Morey, Jeff Van Gundy and Jackie MacMullanPity Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant. Out for the season with injuries after performances well below their high standards, they’re now punching bags in Boston, at least according to the first session of the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on Friday.The other panelists treated the retired Battier more or less as Lewis depicted him in a New York Times Magazine article in 2009: the platonic ideal of the intelligent NBA player, one who incorporates insights from advanced statistical analysis to optimize his game for team success. (Battier initially resisted that framing, saying “it was about winning,” before eventually letting on that yeah, he was a pretty smart player.) LeBron James, with whom Battier won two titles in Miami, was the more typical player, open to occasional tastes of analytics-based tips.Anthony and Bryant, though, were depicted as the anti-Battiers, in a question by moderator MacMullan (who, like Battier, works for ESPN, which owns this website and sponsors Sloan). MacMullan noted their selfishness and focus on scoring over other ways of contributing to their teams. (To which my boss, Nate Silver, would respond that Anthony’s shooting makes his teammates better.) Battier made clear how much he relished having those two stars as foils, learning their tendencies so that he could neutralize their strengths when playing defense. MacMullan pointed out that Battier blocked more of their shots than any other player’s. Anthony also topped the Battier leaderboards for balls stolen and offensive fouls drawn. And the pair led another personal leaderboard Battier innovated: They gave him the most “looks of disdain” when they found out he’d be guarding them. — Carl Bialik Friday, Feb 27, 4:35 p.m.At last year’s Sloan conference, Dean Oliver was our ESPN colleague, leading analytics at the Stats & Info Group. This year, he’s here as the Sacramento Kings’ director of player personnel and analytics. I spotted him Friday huddled with a few of his peers from other NBA franchises. Oliver has been in the sports analytics business for three decades, and has seen it grow from a field wrestling with a lack of data to one with more data than it knows what to do with. He spoke with me about the similarities in working for teams and working for sports media, and about what it takes for a franchise to succeed at using analytics. — Carl Bialik Friday, Feb. 27, 6:10 p.m.Walking into a conference at Sloan today I walked by yet another guy in a sports coat — and then did a double take, because this guy’s blazer sleeves were rolled up…and he was a 13 year-old. There are some teenagers running around Sloan but none looked younger than Sam Hafetz and his friends, Manu Hurskovitz, 14, and Jonah White, 14. After calling their parents for permission (hi, Mr. Hurskovitz!), I dragged them to our podcast table. There, Jody Avirgan asked what brought them to Sloan (it’s their second year attending), why they love sports analytics, and what they’d do if they became GMs of the Celtics. — Chadwick MatlinAudio Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/kidsatsloan.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Friday, Feb. 27, 4:43 p.m.The panel: “Commissioner’s Perspective: Growing Soccer with Don Garber”The panelists: Don Garber, Grant WahlMLB and MLS share two letters and the pickle of how to balance tradition and innovation. Baseball’s struggle comes from within, as Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred showed earlier Friday. Major League Soccer isn’t as conflicted about changing rules and trying new technologies, MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. Its burden, unlike MLB’s, is its peripheral place in a global game.Garber said he wanted goal-line review technology, extra time put on scoreboards (instead of only a ref with a “Timex that probably cost 20 bucks” knowing how much time remains) and a whole lot more. “If I were king, we would have instant replay, we would have cameras on our players, we would be putting them on goalposts.” He’d put a microphone on the field. Players would wear GoPro cameras. He watched hockey players wear GoPros at the NHL All-Star Game and thought it was cool.But Garber can’t have all those things. Other sports’ U.S. pro leagues just need to get the owners to agree, but MLS needs the approval of IFAB, the International Football Association Board — or, as Garber called it, the International Federation of Somebody Who Has Something To Do With the Rules That’s Not Me. Garber’s message to IFAB: “Let us be the Guinea pigs.” He worries that the world’s most popular sport could lose its lead “just because of our structure. We should be able to use the power of our influence to lead.” — Carl Bialik Saturday, Feb. 28, 9:50 a.m.There are bold-faced names headlining the ninth annual Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, sure. But for academics like myself the real action is in the research paper contest, where academics and researchers are hoping to create the kinds of insights that the bold-faced names one day treat as gospel. For these researchers, Sloan marks the culmination of what can be more than a year’s worth of work. The stakes are high: top prize is $20,000, with second place worth $10,000. For some of the PhD students submitting papers, that may equal their annual salary.But until now, the mechanics of how this contest is judged have largely been cloudy (see an overview of the 2015 contest here, or my personal experience submitting a paper to the 2014 contest here). On Friday, conference co-lead Paul Campbell helped clarify how Sloan makes its picks. “We try to be consistent about what we solicit,” said Campbell. “We kind of have our perspective on the validity of the method, and making sure that the academic and mathematical rigor is there. Also, do the results make sense?”The 2015 research paper contest began back in September, when Campbell and this year’s judging committee, comprised of various MIT student organizers and academic advisers, received 189 abstracts. Of that total, 68 were invited to turn in a formal paper for submission in mid-December. Paper submissions were placed into one of four tracks: basketball, baseball, other sports or the business of sport. The top two submitted papers from each track were given the opportunity to present at this year’s conference. In addition, 11 papers were given a poster in the halls of the convention center.Each of the eight finalists were allotted a 20-minute presentation on Friday. The judging committee identified the top presentation in each of the four categories based on a 50-50 split of the presentation itself and the originating paper.“We have an idea of what the best analytically rigorous paper is, but we want to see if it is presented well. It’s an equal weighting with [the presentation] and the paper,” said Campbell. The four papers still in the running for the top prize, are:Baseball: Who is Responsible for a Called Strike? by Joe Rosales and Scott SprattBasketball: Counterpoints: Advanced Defensive Metrics for NBA Basketball by Alexander Franks, Andrew Miller, Luke Bornn and Kirk GoldsberryOther Sports: Assessing the productivity of NHL players using in-game win probabilities by Stephen PettigrewBusiness of Sports: Diamonds on the Line: Profits Through Investment Gaming by Clayton Graham.Those four finalists are given an additional 10 minutes with which to make their case, this time in front of a larger and more general audience, including Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey and FiveThirtyEight’s own Nate Silver.Those judges, according to Campbell, are asked to judge by something different than the last committee. “Which of these [papers] seems like the most applicable or potentially transformative within the industry?” $20,000 rides on the answer. — Mike Lopez Saturday, Feb. 28, 1:46 p.m.The panel: “Beating the Shift: Baseball Analytics in the Age of Big Data”The panelists: Sandy Alderson, Dan Brooks, Dave Cameron, Ben Lindbergh, Jonah KeriSloan’s flagship baseball panel largely focused on teams’ reactions to sabermetric findings. Alderson, the general manager of the New York Mets, spoke about the proliferation of defensive shifts, and how it has led to changes in the way certain players are valued — specifically right-handed power hitters.Along the same lines, no discussion of baseball analytics would be complete without some mention of strike zone analysis and catcher pitch-framing metrics. Despite the volume of research on the subject in recent years, the consensus of the group was that the market may still not be properly valuing catchers who “steal” strikes on the edge of the strike zone at a higher rate than their peers. Then again, part of that may relate to a theory that pitch-framing is a taught skill. (We’d have liked to hear more thoughts about how umpires doing better at calling an accurate strike zone has led to baseball’s aforementioned drop in run-scoring.)Finally, Keri asked the panel their thoughts about wins above replacement (WAR). The panel agreed WAR was a valuable framework, even if its individual parts can always stand to be improved. For his part, Alderson confirmed that teams use at least some version of it, even with its imperfections, because the idea of creating a cumulative statistic is appealing. — Harry Enten and Neil Paine FiveThirtyEight’s delegation made the pilgrimage to this year’s Sloan conference, a kind of mecca for anyone who’s obsessed with sports, data and retelling how they first felt when they read “Moneyball.” We updated all of Friday and Saturday from Boston, where Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and our own Nate Silver roamed the halls. Read on for highlights from the weekend. CORRECTION (Feb 28, 9:47 a.m.): A previous version of this article misstated the ages of Sam Hafetz and Jonah White.
Christian Bryant, safety C.J. Barnett, safety Kenny Guiton, quarterback Corey “Pitt” Brown, safety Bradley Roby, cornerback Jordan Hall, running back Andrew Norwell, offensive lineman Jack Mewhort, offensive lineman Corey “Philly” Brown, wide receiver Marcus Hall, offensive lineman Chris Fields, wide receiver Former quarterback Kenny Guiton (13) celebrates a touchdown with former wide receiver Chris Fields (80) and former center Corey Linsley (71) during a game against California Sept. 14, at California Memorial Stadium. OSU won, 52-34.Credit: Eric Seger / Sports editorOhio State is set to hold its Pro Day Friday, and a total of 17 former Buckeyes are on the docket to show their skills.Per an OSU press release, 69 NFL scouts and team personnel are scheduled to attend the Pro Day at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center to get a look at the former Buckeyes — 16 of which were part of last season’s 12-2 squad.The one player who wasn’t on the team last year is Etienne Sabino, a linebacker who played for OSU from 2008-12. Sabino went undrafted in the 2013 NFL Draft, and last played professionally with the New York Giants where he signed April 27 as an unrestricted free agent.According to the release, the NFL allows players to participate in pro days a year after leaving the school.OSU’s Pro Day is likely the final chance former Buckeyes will get to make an impression on NFL teams before the 2014 NFL Draft begins May 8.Below is list of the players scheduled to compete at Pro Day, although the events each will be participating in is unknown: George Makradis, long snapper Etienne Sabino, linebackerRyan Shazier, linebacker Drew Basil, kicker Carlos Hyde, running back Corey Linsley, offensive lineman