Southland Set to Host FCS Championship for 10th Consecutive Year

first_imgQ: How has the FCS Championship Game continued to grow and evolve over the last decade?A: Well, Team Frisco is dedicated to ensuring the following strategic imperatives – 1) Making the game a major first-class experience for the NCAA, the competing programs and their student-athletes, the larger Football Championship Subdivision, the attending fans and our local Frisco and DFW community, 2) Having a sellout event and, 3) Enhancing the NCAA’s FCS brand awareness.  We believe that this remains a great set of targets for our group, and believe the NCAA and the larger FCS community believes this is being accomplished.  No doubt that the success and following of the North Dakota State program has played a predominant role in what this game has become known for.  But even without NDSU, and there were a couple of games without the Bison, our local committee has always been laser-focused on conducting a one-of-a-kind event for our visitors.  In the last decade, Toyota Stadium has undergone millions of dollars in renovations with the addition of the new south endzone seating and multiple club areas combined with the National Soccer Hall of Fame facility, new suites, enhanced video, audio, Wi-Fi systems, and traditional expanded football locker rooms.  Teams and fans continue to receive a first-class hotel experience and the Frisco area continues to grow with more enhancements to come.  And let’s not forget, the game’s broadcast moves to ABC this year, and we’ve seen our partners at ESPN add a 30-minute preview show before kickoff.  People should also acknowledge that the success of this game helped lead to ESPN’s start-up of the Frisco Bowl three years ago. Q: Any regrets with hosting the game?A: Not enough Southland teams playing in it, but I know our coaches and athletic directors are working on correcting that! Q: So what happened between 2006 and when the game first arrived in Frisco in early 2011?A: Taking a few steps back first, the NCAA had occasionally discussed exploring other FCS championship sites.  And well before the new stadium construction and our office move to Frisco, I had actually been part of a formal NCAA bid presentation in early 2004 with San Antonio officials for the 2006 FCS Championship Game that would have been played at the Alamodome.  However, the NCAA stayed with Chattanooga for that game, and later committed to that location for games through the 2009 season.  Once we had moved the Southland headquarters to Frisco, I cold-called the only person I was aware of – Jim Gandy, then the head of the Frisco Economic Development Corporation.  Jim was appropriately focused on long-term business development in the city, not necessarily a small-staffed, non-profit educational association like us moving to town, or even attracting a one-off event like a football game.  But I knew he had played college football at Texas A&I, and I thought he might be interested in the idea.  He was very receptive to the concept, but it was too soon then because the NCAA wasn’t yet considering a move.  A couple of years later, the NCAA hinted again at soliciting other interested bidders, and I approached Jim again.  He introduced me to Frisco City Manager George Purefoy, and he and Jim listened to my pitch and the possibilities of a game in Frisco. I recall George not saying a word through my nervous proposal over lunch, which included me repeating that I wasn’t even sure the NCAA would move the game, but in the end, he said “yes, let’s pursue it” and things just took off from there.  There were immediate meetings with (then-Frisco) Mayor Maher Maso, who quickly embraced the idea and became the face and voice of Team Frisco, city council members, the Frisco Convention and Visitors Bureau and Frisco Chamber, and officials from the Hunt organization and the stadium, then known as Pizza Hut Park.  Once the NCAA formally confirmed a bid process for the championship following the 2010 football season, our local group, which quickly took the moniker of “Team Frisco” went to work.  John Wagner from Hunt really got us organized and appropriately turned our collective enthusiasm into a coherent, visionary plan.  We were named a finalist, hosted the NCAA football committee on a site visit in early 2010, then made a formal presentation shortly thereafter at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis where we were awarded our first three-year game contract.  Q: What have been the most satisfying aspects of hosting the FCS game?  Proudest moments?A: I strongly believe that Team Frisco has fully and consistently delivered on what we said we would.  Our local committee has mostly stayed intact with very few changes to provide consistency throughout the decade.  There are a lot of great people involved that mostly remain behind the scenes, including our Team Frisco leader John Wagner, Henry Hill of the Frisco City Manager’s office and many other city staff, Marla Roe and her staff at VisitFrisco, Tony Felker and his Frisco Chamber staff, and so many local volunteers that have been with us since day one.  What can often get overlooked is the impactful community service project with the Frisco Miracle League that our two teams are involved with.  Very proud of that!  Also, after the initial three-year agreement with Frisco, the NCAA has extended the contract three additional times, without considering competing bids, through the 2025 game (and an option for 2026).  By that time, Frisco will become the longest-serving FCS Championship host site.  Many NCAA sports become known partly by the location they play their championships – the College World Series in Omaha, the Track and Field Championships in Eugene, the Softball World Series in Oklahoma City, and yes, I’m proud to say the FCS Championship Game in Frisco.  And proudest of the effort of our Southland Conference staff and our institutional staffers that have come in to work during game week over the past decade, especially in the first couple of years when they managed much more than people think they did.  Bruce Ludlow and Jenny McGhee of our staff have been with us since we started exploring this venture. They still do so much, as does the rest of our staff, and that’s allowed the event to prosper and remain the special event it’s become. This is a terrific Division I championship event, and I’m maybe most proud that we have affiliated our Southland brand with this premiere game. Q: What’s the future of the game in Frisco?A: I think the future is great!  We know we have a terrific foundation laid for this event, and honestly, it has become a very different game and team experience since the first one in 2011. Moving into our second decade of hosting the game, we are continually focused on what can change for the better. How can we improve the student-athlete experience?  How can we ensure these players, coaches, staffs are receiving a top-notch Division I postseason experience? How can we best leverage our location, our market, and our lodging, hospitality and entertainment opportunities to enhance game week? We are actively listening to the NCAA staff and the participating teams before and after each game to ensure we’re in tune with their concerns, needs and wants, all with the idea that this feedback helps improve our future hosting efforts. While we’re now heading into another five- or six-year cycle as the host of the game, I’m sure we’ll soon start itching to initiate discussions about the future of the game as it approaches a possible third decade in Frisco!   Q: What was unique about the first FCS Championship Game in Frisco between Delaware and Eastern Washington?A: There was plenty!  We had only one chance to make a first impression, and we decided early on that we would do everything imaginable to make it a special experience for the two teams.  That started with the team hotel welcomes and continued through their departures after the game.  Everything was focused on hospitality and making this a memorable, high-quality national championship experience in every way for all visitors.  While we were confident in our ability to serve as a great local host organization, there were many unknowns in having this event for the first time. If things didn’t go well, who knows how long we would have kept the event?  Then it got really complicated once Delaware advanced to the game, and we learned that Vice President Joe Biden would attend, as well as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, both UD graduates and avid Blue Hens fans.   Two things I’ve never seen – first, the Dallas North Tollway was completely shut down at rush hour to accommodate the VP’s motorcade (remember, the first game was played on a Friday night), and secondly, there were snipers positioned throughout the stadium for the same reason.  We sat through a three-hour security meeting the day before with White House staff, Secret Service officials, and other area law enforcement agencies going through every detail numerous times.  We realized this was going to be different. The game was a lot of fun, as there was a big lead by one team, a tremendous rally by the other team, and some controversy toward the end of an eventful night.   And of course, Vice President Biden was actively moving through the stadium during the game, so it was interesting to watch his entourage and the Secret Service.  We even had to provide a hotline telephone location for the VP in the press box in case of any emergency situation!  The other unique thing was it was the only Frisco game that was not sold-out, but the approximately 14,000 in attendance enjoyed a great show. Q: Why was this important to the Southland Conference?A: Well, if it were only about the Southland, we would have never seriously pursued the possibility of hosting the game.  We certainly weren’t staffed or resourced well-enough to take something like this on by ourselves, nor would our membership have likely allowed that.  At that time, we were already in the process of re-starting a neutral site basketball tournament format, developing a new television broadcast venture, and were still settling in after the office move.  So, we had much more we could say grace over at the time, and I was likely piling on much more than our staff needed.  However, as Southland commissioner, I also wear an FCS hat, and the overall well-being of Division I FCS football always remained at the forefront of my role.  We knew hosting this championship game with more of a bowl-week type of experience in this kind of growing community could be outstanding with the right partnerships.  When our partners started at “Yes” and then asked what else they could do to make it bigger and better, I knew we were on to something special We now have a decade of exactly that.  I would also add that as an active FCS stakeholder, I knew the Southland and its membership would take ownership in serving as the host conference of this game, and that’s also been proven repeatedly.  I cannot stress enough that this game needs invested local ownership, no matter where it’s played.  If not, then it is just another football game. This Saturday, Jan. 11, the Southland Conference and its Team Frisco local organizing committee partners, the City of Frisco and Hunt Sports Ventures, will play host to the 2020 NCAA Division I Football Championship Game at Toyota Stadium — the 10th-straight national title game at the multi-purpose venue.  The game is officially sold-out for the ninth consecutive time, and this year’s game will be televised live nationally on ABC. Southland Conference Commissioner Tom Burnett, a Team Frisco founding member, recently answered a few questions about the national championship game’s successful decade in Frisco, including the origins of securing the contest, maintaining a championship quality to the event, the dynamics of North Dakota State’s frequent participation, and the game’s future. Q: There’s always been the story that Frisco ran out of beer during the first NDSU visit.  Is that true?A: It was at North Dakota State’s Friday night pep rally, which was actually held at a hotel in Plano, not Frisco.  That being said, there may have been multiple locations that the Bison fans drank dry.  They are very accomplished in this area, and it makes for a great story every year.  They are terrific fans, maybe the nicest, most respectful fan base out there.  We should all be so fortunate to have such a following.  We believe that outside the stadium and in local watering holes are thousands of other Bison fans that never get a ticket, and are just here for the larger party.  Certainly, Frisco’s economy welcomes this, and establishments cater to the NDSU visitors.  Q: How did things change the following year with the arrival of North Dakota State in its first game?A: It got different real fast with North Dakota State, but a big part of that was also having Sam Houston State from our league in that game, and SHSU’s campus is located only three hours south of Frisco.  NDSU was in the initial stages of becoming the program we now know, and the sell-out crowd might have been dispersed 50/50, although Sam Houston fans had advance opportunity to buy tickets since its semifinal win came on Friday night before North Dakota State’s win the following day.  The more dramatic change came in the third year – the second NDSU-SHSU game — when NDSU fans didn’t “wait and see,” securing game tickets and hotel rooms well in advance, an annual tradition also known as the “Fargo South” takeover.  As is the case every year, it is expected that Bison fans will begin reserving hotel rooms for the 2021 game as soon as this game ends, and will buy most of the available game tickets when they go on sale in September.   Q: What’s the importance of FCS football, and how does the championship impact the sport?A: Since the FBS conferences control their own postseason, this is the highest level of football sponsored as an official NCAA event, one of the 90 national championships.  The NCAA was founded because of football, and the Division I governance system remains primarily defined and subdivided by football sponsorship.  Current FCS programs were involved in the earliest days of the sport 150 years ago.  ESPN’s College Gameday goes to FCS destinations like Fargo, Harrisonburg, Brookings and the Harvard-Yale game or the Bayou Classic because the sport is a big deal at this level, and is worthy of the national spotlight.  I believe that there were 150 or so FCS players on NFL opening day rosters this season, enough to fill three pro teams.  FCS conferences have committed to full instant replay in recent years, are constantly expanding their football television offerings, and continue to invest in officiating programs, some partnering with FBS leagues to improve consistent training methods.  I’ve told people that college football in Lake Charles, La., and Huntsville, Texas, holds the same importance as it does in Baton Rouge and College Station, only the scale is different.  But just like at the highest levels of the FBS, Division I FCS football is a tremendous economic and enrollment driver in over 120 university communities, and it helps define campus culture and branding, student involvement, alumni giving, fan interest, media coverage, and other general connections to a community and region.  Further, FCS brings such a broad spectrum of institution types, including the historical success and culture of HBCU institutions, top academic performers such as the Ivy and Patriot Leagues, large Tier I research and flagship universities, faith-based institutions and incredibly effective regional colleges.  All told, we have well over 100,000 student-athletes involved in FCS football programs across the country, and we owe them and their followers a championship event worthy of their devotion to the sport.   The championship playoff event and final game must properly represent the investment so many of us have in the sport, bring meaning to our university communities, and provide lasting value to these campuses, many of which have committed over a century of participation in this sport.  I know the Southland staff and our Team Frisco partners are thinking about all of this when we put in the collective effort to host the FCS Championship Game in Frisco. Q: Take us back to the earliest idea of playing the FCS Championship Game in Frisco?A: Like others in our area, I was an interested observer in Frisco’s new Major League Soccer stadium under construction in 2004 and into 2005.  However, I didn’t have much of a soccer background, and since the Southland was then based in nearby Plano, we had no relationships with any officials in Frisco at the time.  After relocating our office to Frisco in 2006, I was beginning to drive by the new stadium every day, so I was naturally curious about what was happening there besides soccer matches.  I knew there was high school football, some concerts and the NCAA’s national soccer championship, the College Cup, in the venue.  Due to my involvement with FCS football, including the beginnings of some informal discussions among other conference commissioners about the future of our championship game location, I then started to wonder about Frisco as a possible FCS site, but it was very, very early, and something I kept to myself.  I then attended the 2006 MLS Cup at the stadium in November, and as I sat in the stands with my young soccer-enthusiast son, I hardly watched any of the game.  Instead, I examined the physical structure of the stadium, eyeballed the press box and suites, watched the teams enter and exit the field, checked out the concessions and merchandising areas, watched the video boards and listened to the quality of the public address system.  At the end of the day, the only thing on my mind was if the stadium could play host to college football, specifically the FCS Championship?  The full vision wasn’t there yet, but it was definitely on my mind from that moment. However, the NCAA was still committed to playing its game at its longstanding location in Chattanooga.  Q: What were the main selling points for Frisco?A: At the time, Frisco was still an unknown for those outside our area, although the community was already among the fastest growing U.S. cities and acknowledged as a great place to live and raise a family.  But we also had to initially explain that this was in Texas, not the City by the Bay.  So, there was the hurdle of explaining who we were to others.  But once we got our foot in the door, things really fell into place, and that started with the stadium.  It was the ideal size, at around 20,000 capacity, and even though it had some soccer-specific peculiarities that college football teams might be puzzled by initially, you knew it could work for a championship game.  The venue was fully-staffed, led by Nick Shafer and crew, that managed a year-round event schedule, so you knew everything would be handled appropriately no matter what.   We have two major airports in Dallas-Fort Worth, with two airlines headquartered here, and our central location could be reached easily by any destination within a few hours.  Further, while we can have some weather extremes at that time of year, and we may be due a snow and ice event at some point, the climate is usually moderate.  While we were still a bit short on quality full-service hotel properties in Frisco at the time, you knew we could minimally accommodate the teams and officials, and that more hotels would be coming on-line in a matter of time.  We also knew this was a destination location with so much to offer like unmatched shopping, outstanding restaurants, more entertainment and recreation options, and family-friendly fare throughout the area.  We also knew we just had to get the football committee here for a visit, and let the city really speak for itself.  We knew that would be key, and that’s what happened.last_img read more

The athletic bench lost the opportunity to claim

first_imgThe center had minutes again after not playing since December 14. And as he has become accustomed to Cholo, he responded well by highlighting mainly for his ball out. Beautiful met very well during the absences of Savic and Giménez due to injury, but with the return of the two plants (although the Uruguayan has relapsed) and Felipe’s enormous level, he has been relegated to the bench. Arias for his part I had in Copa the opportunity to cut ground with Trippier, undisputed holder on the right side on arrival. He currently has two games in eleven for the pubalgia of English, but he is expected to return soon, returning to eleven. For its part Llorente did not play as a starter since November 23 and in Copa it was a propitious place to show its virtues to Cholo. Saponjic debuted after 29 games without minutes and played well on his back, being able to score twice. But the elimination copera closes a door of minutes, since it is the only competition where Simeone has had him. Simeone opted for an eleven with news in León, although without changing the block completely leaving players of the weight of Felipe, Saúl, João Félix or Correa in eleven. However, the elimination of the first exchange against a team of Second Division B leaves touched some of the players who had his opportunity before the Cultural, since the absences of Oblak and Morata They were too remarkable and nobody could cover their gap. Although Atlético could do many more goals if not for Lucas Giffard, Cultural goal that became the hero of its classification, several of the rojiblancos players lose with the elimination of Copa the opportunity to have minutes and be seen by Simeone. Players like Beautiful, Arias, Llorente or Saponjic they are some of the most punished players for the defeat, since in the Cup they could find the hole that they cannot have in the League. Adam, Herrera and VitoloOther players who missed an opportunity to take a step forward and in their case were more marked were Adam, Herrera and Vitolo. The goalkeeper was the first starter in the course, since sitting Oblak in the League or Champions League is an impossible mission and made a serious mistake in clenching fists that it ended up culminating in the first goal of the Leonesa Cultural. Herrera is accumulating entitlements with the loss of Koke, but is not able to provide a ball out or criterion in the mattress game. It seems that during a section of the season he did not have opportunities when he deserved them and now that he is having them he is not taking advantage of them.Finally, in the case of the Canary, his baggage in the team is much greater, since he is not a newcomer in summer. In León, his best version could not be seen, that unbalanced that is thrown to the team behind his back. Vitolo had two hand in hand with the local goal and could not win in any of them, finishing off the first one and the second marking his choice to the goal, which drew a great hand. He left replaced with the possibility of being the hero without success. Atletico B players will also be affected. Manu Sánchez started for the second time this season, his debut had come in league and Riquelme and Camel were the options from the bench of Simeone in search of the goal. Although the squad is very short, elimination takes over the playing options of the youth players.last_img read more

Odriozola before his long-awaited debut at Bayern’s eleven

first_imgÁlvaro Odriozola continues to be ostracized at Bayern. Since his arrival at the Allianz Arena club on loan until the end of the season he has played a total of seven minutes of 450 possible with the shirt of his new team. Of course, everything points to the San Sebastian finally live his long-awaited debut on the eleven next Friday against the Paderborn. It’s not that Hansi Flick, coach of Bayern Munich, has changed plans for the right back and wants to bet on the Spanish international, the possible ownership of Odriozola is due rather to the casualties of the Bavarian cadre. In addition to the absences of Niklas Süle and Javi Martínez due to injury, Flick cannot count on Benjamin Pavard and Jerome Boateng by accumulation of cards, so that everything points to Odriozola who replaces the world champion on the right side. Of course, the safest thing is that the prominence on the pitch remains scarce after the clash against Paderborn. Next Tuesday the Champions League returns for Bayern, which will play the first leg of the round of 16 against Chelsea at home, sufficient reason for Flick to return to his starting defense and the former Real Madrid, therefore, to the bench. It remains to be seen also where he will find his place Lucas Hernandez, who has already fully recovered from his ankle injury, but at the same time remains far from his best level. The good performance of Alphonso Davies and Pavard on the sides and the progression of David Alaba in the left center position they caused Flick to give him minutes on the right parcel of the center of the back this past Sunday in Cologne (4-1), but the former Atlético still needs to recover his physical tone to return to being a defender of guarantees for Bayern. Flick will have to make decisions.last_img read more

The Wright View; Much hope for Rio

first_imgFour years after the London Olympics, the hype regarding the safety of the next venue, Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil, seems to have died down, particularly where track and field is concerned. The start of the lucrative Diamond League series has heralded the onset of several other meets all over the world, giving fans and indeed athletes an opportunity to discover who are the potential finalists in the many events to be contested this summer. Jamaicans got an opportunity, up close, to witness one such early contest with the staging of the Jamaica International Invitational (JII) meet last Saturday at the National Stadium. The meet was well attended and the usual World leading and personal best performances of some of the athletes on show added to the general satisfaction of those who attended or who watched on television. The late withdrawal of some of the big name stars seemed not to have dampened spectator enthusiasm except when it was announced – just before the start of the women’s 200-metre event – that double Olympic sprint champion and Jamaican sprint queen, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce would not be running. The Jamaican hopefuls who did compete, however, gave fans confidence that the prophesy of Olympian and new Member of Parliament, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, would be fulfilled. Mrs Cuthbert-Flynn predicted that the nation would surpass the 12 medals garnered at the event in London in 2012. Elaine Thompson (10.79), Kemar Bailey-Cole (10.01) in the 100-metre races, Danielle Williams (12.55) in the sprint hurdles, Janieve Russell (54.61), Jaheel Hyde (49.16) in the 400m hurdles races, Javon Francis (44.85) and Novlene Williams-Mills (50.87) in the flat 400m, all showed signs of being in the finals of their events in Rio. This is not to say that the other Jamaicans who competed last Saturday night have no chance in reaching the finals or even medalling in Rio. Asafa Powell looked very good in the early stages of the men’s 200m and his time of 20.45 is not to be sniffed at. However, with his history of groin and hamstring injuries, I am confident that his handlers will encourage him to concentrate on the 100m and the second or finishing leg of the 4x100m relay, of which the nation seems to be a sure pick for the gold in Rio. There were other very notable performances at the JII last Saturday. Bahamian Shaunae Miller, who ran what seemed to be an easy 22.14 in the women’s 200m, was the standout performance of the night. Miller is better known as a 400m runner, who uses the 200m to sharpen her speed in the first 200m of the race. Her body type is reminiscent of another top world class runner (a male) and if she continues to progress (as it now appears), Marita Koch’s very suspicious world record of 47.60 seconds may be in danger. Well, maybe not this year, but definitely before the following Olympics.last_img read more

GTU’s books not audited since 1989 – AG

first_img…“We have nothing to hide” – Union’s PresidentAs the countrywide teachers’ strike over wage increases enters its fourth straight day, attention is simultaneously being placed on the financial status of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU), after a request was made for Auditor General Deodat Sharma to conduct an audit of the union’s finances.Auditor General Deodat SharmaThis request was made after the union announced that it cannot pay full strike relief to all teachers.While the probe has not started, Auditor General Sharma told Guyana Times on Wednesday that, based on the information obtained so far, the GTU’s books have not been audited in almost 30 years. He pointed out that his office had written the GTU in the past to submit its records.“The last audit was since 1989. We had written them to submit their records. I don’t think they’ve got it for those years, but I have to double-check my records. Normally, based of financial statement audits, unless we get the financial statement, we don’t really go in, unless there is some inquiry or accusation,” Sharma observed.GTU President Mark Lyte speaking after the breakdown on talks in salary increasesSharma cautioned that the audit would move forward once the records are present. On those grounds, he pointed out that at this point he could not say how long a probe would last.“I don’t know. First of all, it’s due to the availability of the records. Once we get the records, within two to three weeks we should be able to have something,” the official surmised.GTU not afraidMeanwhile, at least two executives of the GTU, while responding to disclosure of the possible probe, questioned the timing of the request and pondered if the letter has truly come from a concerned teacher. GTU President Mark Lyte told this newspaper that the union is focused on advancing improved wages.“It (the letter) says it’s coming from a teacher, but I believe it’s coming from a certain office that everyone knows where,” Lyte said.He told this newspaper the GTU’s books were audited, and maintained that the union has no issue with being re-audited.“Why does the media have to be tracking us down for this? The issue at hand is teachers’ livable wages and salary, and that is the focus right now. If the books have to be audited, the people who have to audit, come and audit; we don’t have anything to hide,” Lyte disclosed.Even as the possibility of an audit probe looms, the union President stressed that the teachers’ 50 percent strike relief would not be affected.“It affects nothing; we’ve already said to the teachers that strike relief would be provided,” he asserted.No distractionLyte’s fellow executive, GTU General Secretary Coretta McDonald, declared that the union has been a transparent one, having suggested that there continues to be regular internal audits.“We have no difficulty with [an audit]. Our books are always opened. Our teachers at any time can come and peruse our books. At every General Council meeting, we have a report from the treasurer, with audited statements coming from our auditors,” McDonald declared.“If you check history, every time a union decides to call industrial action, whichever Government in power always wants to threaten you that your books are not audited; so we will not be distracted by them,” she added.Guyana Times, in trying to ascertain when the last audit was done, the executive stressed that the GTU auditing is ongoing.“Auditing is a process, so our process is ongoing. In 2016, we had our elections, and we had audited statements that were issued.Our focus is to move this matter to arbitration, end this fiasco and ensure that our nation’s children are being taking care of before we fight to see if our books are up to date,” she noted.In the August 23, 2018 letter, the “concerned” teacher requested that an audit be conducted in the management of funds paid to the Guyana Teachers Union. It related union President Mark Lyte initially saying that the union could not provide relief benefits as the union had other financial commitments, such as bursaries, death benefits, and buildings to maintain.Teachers had been concerned that there would be cuts to their salaries, and were not sure if the union would provide strike relief; but the GTU General Council held a meeting on Tuesday and decided to offer partial strike relief to teachers amounting to 50 percent of their salaries. However, Lyte also cautioned that the relief fund could cover teachers for up to one month. Teachers are seeking increases of some 40%. (Shemuel Fanfair)last_img read more

UCLA ready to put early exit behind No. 1 seed out West.

first_imgUCLA will learn today whether the NCAA Tournament selection committee will punish one poor week of play when measured against four very good months, and with it the Bruins will learn their destination and opponent for the first round. However, it will still be a few more days before UCLA learns something much more vital to its long-term prognosis – if it is mentally strong and mature enough to tune out a bad week, or whether the absence of a senior on the roster will hurt in a tournament where senior leadership is often a determinant of games. Several projections still have UCLA as the top seed in the West, meaning the Bruins would open in Sacramento, with the opportunity to play the regional semifinals and final in San Jose. And even if the selection committee penalizes UCLA (26-5) for finishing the season with losses to seventh-place Washington and Cal, and falls to a No. 2 seed, the Bruins are still expected to be placed in Sacramento, with a chance to go through San Jose on the way to a possible Final Four appearance in Atlanta. However, talk of seeding and potential opponents is a non-issue for the Bruins. What matters is whether they can learn, and flourish, from the adversity. “I think that will be a reflection of myself,” said Bruins all-American junior guard Arron Afflalo, who scored three points and fouled out in the loss to Cal. “I think if I’m mature enough to handle this situation &because there’s no mystery about it, the way I played (against Cal) is the majority of the reason why we lost. “I think it will be a reflection on how I bounce back, and I think the other guys will do a great job leading along with me.” Still stung by an unforeseen first-round exit at the hands of eighth-place California in the first round of the Pacific-10 Tournament, league winners UCLA will gather this afternoon at the school’s Morgan Center to watch the selection show with more questions than how the brackets shake down. “We have some soul-searching to do in terms of what we need to do to get back to playing as well as we were last Thursday,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said. “We won the league championship (March 1), so we’re not that far away from playing good. It’s the really small things that are the difference between winning and losing.” center_img During the run to the national title game loss to Florida last season, the Bruins relied heavily on experience. Although Afflalo and Jordan Farmar were the regular season stars, center Ryan Hollins and wing Cedric Bozeman played big roles on and off the court in the NCAAs. Hollins, an enigma much of his career, was the most outstanding player of the Oakland regional. Bozeman’s quiet, calm demeanor served as a reassuring presence, and he played well defensively in the tournament. The current collection of Bruins lack such experience. Afflalo is a third-year starter, but beyond that the Bruins are sophomore- and freshmen-laden. So how does UCLA show its maturity to get through its lack of senior leadership? “Hard work,” Howland said. “It’s basic. It’s fundamental.” Players said poor effort was the primary reason for both losses, though such reasoning never sits well with Howland. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Slayings at Cal State remembered

first_imgFULLERTON – A gunman’s massacre at Virginia Tech on Monday resonated at a college campus in California where a janitor shot seven people to death 30 years ago. On July 12, 1976, Edward Allaway opened fire with a .22-caliber rifle in the Cal State Fullerton library. He killed two custodians, a photographer, a retired professor, a library assistant, a graphic artist and an audio technician. Two other people were wounded. A woman whose father, Frank Teplansky, was among the Fullerton dead, told The Orange County Register that the shooting at Virginia Tech will scar those victims’ survivors. “The ripple effect is going to last forever,” Patricia Almazan said in a story posted on the newspaper’s Web site. “And it’s not something that most people can achieve closure on. It’s always going to be there – always.” “You can’t conceptualize how a human being can do something so horrific,” Almazan said. Allaway told authorities he killed his co-workers because they teased him about his belief that pornographic movies were being made on campus. At his trial, he testified that homosexual men were using the school’s library for sexual liaisons and were plotting to kill him. A judge found him innocent by reason of insanity in 1977 after a jury was unable to reach a verdict, and he was remanded to a state mental hospital. In 2001, he testified that he had cured himself of schizophrenia but his last bid to be released from Patton State Hospital was rejected by an Orange County Superior Court judge. In 2003, the California Supreme Court rejected without comment his appeal for release. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Arsenal target Xhaka: Decision over future will ‘definitely be made before Euros

first_img1 Arsenal will have to fork out over £30m to land Swiss star Granit Xhaka this summer Arsenal target Granit Xhaka insists his future will be decided before Euro 2016.The 23-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to north London in recent weeks as a part of a deal which could be worth over £30m.And as speculation continues to rumble on, the midfielder has urged Borussia Monchengladbach to sort out his future before he heads to the Euros with Switzerland.“I’m the wrong person to say something, you might need to check that with Max Eberl [Borussia Monchengladbach’s director of sport],” Xhaka told RP.“It is so that the season’s over now and there might be discussions over the next few days. Whatever decision is made, we will make it together.“There will definitely be a decision before the Euros.”last_img read more


first_imgStudents at one Inishowen school have shown that school doesn’t have to be boring!Pupils from Crana College in Buncrana rolled up their sleeves to take part in their Science Fair this week. All sorts of experiments were undertaken and a great day was had by all involved.Simply click on the video to see how exactly how much fun and enjoyment was had.DDTV: INISHOWEN STUDENTS PROVE SCIENCE CAN BE FUN! was last modified: November 19th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:buncranaCRANA COLLEGEScience Fairlast_img read more


first_imgTwo young Donegal companies have been chosen to take part in the final of RTE’s Junior Dragon’s Den.Donegal companies The Easy Grower and Donegal Pens are among just 20 young firms from across the country to qualify for the final.The company owners, from Rosses Community School in Dungloe and St.Columba’s College in Stranorlar, will appear on RTE when the series starts in 2013.  TWO YOUNG DONEGAL COMPANIES CHOSEN FOR JUNIOR DRAGON’S DEN was last modified: December 10th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:DONEGAL PENSJunior Dragon’s DenThe Easy Growerlast_img read more