Make College Football Great Again

9@ TBD@ TBDTBDTBDTBD 8W–IowaL–MinnesotaL–NebraskaW–N’Western 3W–NebraskaL–MarylandL–IllinoisL–Michigan Here’s what a schedule would look like with these rules in place: 2Ohio St.@ Mich. St.N’western@ Penn St.Minnesota Indiana3-1Ohio State3-1 7L–Penn St.L–WisconsinL–IowaW–IllinoisW–Michigan WeekMichigan St.MinnesotaNebraskaNorthwesternOhio State Michigan4-0Penn State4-0 5L–PurdueL–Ohio St.W–MarylandL–IowaW–Penn St. I’m going to proceed — fairly quickly — through a simulation of this schedule, in order to show you how the power-pairings would work. If a matchup was actually played in real life during the 2016 Big Ten regular season, I abided by the original result — so Ohio State still beats Michigan, for instance.3This holds even if there’s a different home team than in the original matchup. Otherwise, I simulated the result using ESPN’s Football Power Index, accounting for home-field advantage. Based on FPI, for instance, Iowa would have an 87 percent chance of winning a home game against Maryland, a matchup that didn’t occur in the actual Big Ten schedule but which could occur under power-pairing.We’ll zoom ahead to Week 5, when we encounter our first flex-scheduling week. (To see the simulated results for every game, scroll down to the big table toward the end of this article.) Here’s how it works: We take the 14 Big Ten teams and split them into pools of seven home teams and seven away teams based on where they’d been assigned to play ahead of time. We then have to pair the teams so as to give each one exactly one opponent for the week. There are, in theory, 5,040 possible ways to do this. An algorithm sorts through each of the combinations to find the best possible set of pairings, using the following rules:It eliminates all combinations that involve a game that was already played or which was already scheduled to be played. This cuts down on the number of legal combinations quite a lot — to about 600 for Week 5, for example.From among the remaining combinations, the algorithm finds those cases where the win totals match up as well as possible.4More specifically, it identifies cases where the average number of wins separating the paired teams is the smallest. It’s best to pair three-win home team Indiana against a three-win team from the road pool, for instance. If you can’t do that, then pairing Indiana against a four-win team or a two-win team is the next-best option.If several combinations are tied after Steps 1 and 2, the algorithm picks the set of matchups that are least likely to occur in the future, based on how the teams are assigned to home and away games in subsequent flex weeks.5For instance, Nebraska and Northwestern are both scheduled to play on the road in Week 8 and both scheduled to play at home in Week 9, so if they aren’t matched up against each other in Week 5, the only other chance is Week 6. The algorithm will prioritize that matchup before others in which teams have several more opportunities to face each other.If several combinations are still tied for being the most optimal after Steps 1, 2 and 3, the algorithm picks one of them at random.Here’s what the algorithm came up with for Week 5, for example: TEAMRECORDTEAMRECORD 9TBD@ TBDTBDTBD@ TBD 6TBD@ TBD@ TBDTBDTBD 9@ TBD@ TBDTBD@ TBD 1MarylandPenn StateOhio St.@ Rutgers@ Nebraska 4@ MichiganIowaWisconsinMarylandPenn St. WeekPenn StatePurdueRutgersWisconsin Wisconsin2-2Michigan State0-4 Nebraska1-3Northwestern1-3 2L–Ohio St.W–Mich. St.L–N’WesternL–Penn St.W–Minnesota That worked out pretty nicely — 12 of the 14 teams were power-paired against an opponent with the same win total, generating a key early matchup between 4-0 Michigan and 4-0 Penn State. Still, the home pool was slightly stronger than the road pool and some team had to draw the short end of the stick. It turned out to be 0-4 Michigan State, which was matched up against 2-2 Wisconsin.From there, Michigan beat Penn State in that matchup of undefeateds to go to 5-0. Meanwhile, a couple of overachieving 3-1 teams encountered a dose of reality against stiffer competition, as Indiana lost to Ohio State and Maryland lost to Iowa. That’s one of the benefits of power-pairing teams: The pretenders who benefited from quirky wins are fairly quickly weeded out because they face a tougher schedule.Since hearing about a hypothetical college football season is about as exciting as someone else’s fantasy football team, we’ll work through the rest of the schedule quickly. Ohio State ruined its chances by losing to Iowa in Week 6 (in a matchup that didn’t occur in real life). After Week 8, Penn State and Michigan both wound up at 7-1, with Michigan in the driver’s seat for the conference championship by virtue of having defeated Penn State in Week 5. However, Michigan drew a tough matchup against Iowa in Week 9, which it lost, while Penn State (having already defeated most of the good teams in the conference) beat Illinois to win the conference title. Here are all the simulated games in one chart, in case you want to see the dirty detail: WeekPenn StatePurdueRutgersWisconsin 4L–IndianaW–IllinoisW–MinnesotaW–N’WesternW–Mich. St. Minnesota1-3Rutgers1-3 3@ Nebraska@ MarylandIllinoisMichigan 4@ Ohio St.Rutgers@ Purdue@ Nebraska 5@ TBDTBD@ TBDTBD 6TBDTBD@ TBD@ TBD Big Ten simulated schedule with power-paired matchups 8L–IllinoisW–PurdueW–RutgersL–WisconsinW–Maryland WeekMich. St.MinnesotaNebraskaNorthwesternOhio State HOME POOLROAD POOL 1L–MarylandL–Penn St.L–Ohio St.L–RutgersW–Nebraska A Big Ten schedule with predetermined and power-paired games 7@ N’westernPurdueNebraskaRutgers@ Ohio St. 4L–MichiganL–IowaL–WisconsinL–MarylandL–Penn St. 1W–MinnesotaL–IowaW–N’WesternL–Indiana 9L–NebraskaW–MarylandW–Mich. St.W–PurdueW–Wisconsin WeekIllinoisIndianaIowaMarylandMichigan 5@ TBDTBDTBD@ TBDTBD For me at least, that feels a lot cleaner than having a conference championship game. Thanks to power-pairing, the top four finishers — Penn State, Iowa, Ohio State and Michigan in our simulation — all played one another, so a championship game wouldn’t have left a lot more to prove or disprove.It’s true that we got slightly lucky in this simulation by having a lone champion (Penn State) instead of a tie. But the bounty of head-to-head games between the top teams under power pairing makes potential ties easier to break, because the best teams would play each other more often.I hear what you’re saying: Penn State beat Ohio State in the real-life Big Ten and the committee chose to ignore that, or at least to de-emphasize it. I certainly don’t mean to suggest that power-pairing would remove every controversy. But in the spirit of a team debate, I have a couple of rebuttals.First, power-pairing would create a higher number of meaningful games, making it more likely that disputes would be settled on the field. In our simulated season, Penn State played (and defeated) Wisconsin, Nebraska and Illinois, a decent group of opponents whom they didn’t play in the actual regular season,6Penn State played Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game, but not in the regular season. but skipped games against mediocre Indiana, Purdue and Rutgers, whom they pointlessly faced in real life. That made Penn State’s schedule harder and made its one-loss conference record even more impressive. On the flip side, Ohio State’s schedule got tougher also,7Ohio State played Iowa and Illinois in our simulated season, sacrificing real-life games against Michigan State and Rutgers. but they couldn’t handle the heat, blowing a game against Iowa that they didn’t have to play in real life. This is the algorithm working as intended: It improves the résumés of the very best teams while also thinning out the crop with (at least theoretically) entertaining games against closely matched opponents.Second, power-pairing would make teams easier to compare, by eliminating divisions and the potential ambiguities created by conference championship games (such as if Florida had become the nominal conference champion despite having more losses because it beat Alabama in the SEC championship). The top teams would simply be those that won the most games from the start of the regular season to the finish. And under power-pairing, the top teams would usually play one another, further aiding comparison.And third, eliminating conference championship games would free up a week in the schedule, so we could tack on another round to the College Football Playoff without further bloating the college football schedule. That would make it easier for strong conferences such as the Big Ten to place two or three teams into the playoff when deserving.It isn’t a perfect system, and it’s easy enough to imagine what some of the complaints would sound like. A team’s partisans would curse “the computer” every time the algorithm came up with an opponent they didn’t like. Coordinating travel logistics would become mildly more annoying. But power-pairing would get the best teams in the conference to play one another more often and create more deserving conference champions. It might be a nerdy solution, but it would make for better football. 6L–NebraskaW–MarylandW–Ohio St.L–IndianaW–Purdue Purdue1-3Illinois1-3 3@ RutgersMinnesota@ Mich. St.Purdue@ Wisconsin 9W–IllinoisL–N’WesternL–IndianaL–Ohio St. 1L–MichiganW–WisconsinW–PurdueW–Mich. St.W–Illinois 2Indiana@ Michigan@ Purdue@ Iowa@ Illinois 8TBD@ TBDTBDTBD WeekIllinoisIndianaIowaMarylandMichigan 7@ Penn St.@ Wisconsin@ IowaIllinoisMichigan 7Mich. St.@ Indiana@ MarylandMinnesota 8@ TBD@ TBD@ TBDTBDTBD 8TBDTBD@ TBD@ TBD@ TBD 9L–Penn St.W–RutgersW–MichiganL–MinnesotaL–Iowa 6TBDTBD@ TBD@ TBD@ TBD 2MarylandNebraskaWisconsin@ Rutgers Ohio State somewhat embarrassed the Big Ten in getting shut out by Clemson 31-0 in the College Football Playoff semifinal last week. Still, hindsight is 20/20, and I don’t necessarily begrudge the playoff selection committee for having turned down Penn State, which won the Big Ten championship, in favor of the Buckeyes. Ohio State was probably the better regular-season team and had fewer losses against a tougher schedule. Penn State — which for its part blew a big lead to lose the Rose Bowl to USC — had a head-to-head win against Ohio State and the conference title, two factors the committee explicitly says it considers in ranking the teams. It was a tough decision.My point is simply this: Conference championships, as currently devised, don’t make much sense. Because of imbalanced divisions, championship games often don’t pit the two best teams in a conference against each other (Big Ten championship participant Wisconsin was probably the fourth-best team in its league, for instance). They’ll sometimes result in an awkward rematch of a game that was already played during the regular season. And conference championship games waste a weekend that could be better spent on something else, such as expanding the College Football Playoff to six or eight teams.And now we have pretty good evidence that the playoff selection committee doesn’t really care one way or another. So let’s get rid of them! Imagine a world in which we’re spared the annual indignation of having to watch Florida lose to Alabama 59-2. Imagine a world in which historical rivals always play each other every year and yet, by almighty Rockne, the best teams in a conference always play one another, too. Imagine a world with no divisions. By which I mean: a world in which we eliminate divisions such as the ACC’s perplexingly named Atlantic and Coastal divisions, and all teams within the same college football conference compete as one.Not only have I imagined such a world, my friends, but I have seen one. I have seen it in the hallways of a high-school debate tournament.High-school debate tournaments — all of you will be shocked to learn that I was a master debater in high school — face some of the same constraints that college football conferences do. In any given tournament, there are lots of teams of radically varying quality levels, and there’s not nearly enough time to have them all play one another. A typical debate tournament, for example, might involve 60 teams but only six rounds of competition, with the best eight or 16 teams advancing to the playoffs (or what debaters call the “outrounds”). Each round is precious, and you don’t necessarily want to watch some some pimply-faced sophomores from a Class D school debating a Class A juggernaut like my alma mater, East Lansing High School, any more than you want to watch Rutgers lose to Michigan 78-0.The solution that debate tournaments devised is something called power-pairing. Power-pairing just means that teams with the same record are paired off against each other, so that a team that starts off the tournament 2-0 will face off against another 2-0 team, for instance. It usually works by drawing the first two rounds of a tournament at random,1Alternatively, the teams may be seeded somehow, such that everyone starts out with one matchup against an experienced team and another matchup against an inexperienced team in their first two rounds, for example. and after that, everything is power-paired.This turns out to be a surprisingly elegant solution. It helps to make the matchups relatively even, which not only helps students to learn more but also usually tells you more in determining the best teams. Furthermore, the pairings are somewhat self-correcting. Suppose a good team happens to randomly draw very tough opponents in its first two rounds and gets off to an 0-2 start. They’ll receive some compensation by being paired with easier opponents the rest of the way out — an 0-2 team and then a 1-2 team, and so forth. As another bonus to this system, the best teams are put through the gantlet and really earn their keep. A team that finishes its tournament undefeated or with just one loss will have beaten a lot of very good teams along the way.What would power-pairing look like in the context of a college football season? Here’s an example that I drew up involving this year’s Big Ten. I experimented with a few different setups, and happen to like this one, but feel free to disagree with the particulars (this is more a proof-of-concept than anything I’ve thought all that much about).It works like this: Each team plays nine conference games, the same number they play under the Big Ten’s current rules. Five of these are scheduled in advance, while four are power-paired or “flex” matchups determined only once the season is underway. To be more specific:Teams play rivalry games in weeks 2, 4 and 7. These matchups are the same every year. Week 7 features the most storied rivalries such as Michigan vs. Ohio State — the games that the Big Ten currently plays in the last week of the season. The games in weeks 2 and 4 involve secondary or tertiary rivals, such as Ohio State vs. Illinois or Michigan vs. Minnesota. Granted, this doesn’t always work out perfectly, since some teams (such as Michigan) have lots of Big Ten rivals and others (here’s looking at you, Maryland) don’t really have any. In real life, you might retain some of these games but have others chosen on a random or rotating basis.The matchups in weeks 1 and 3 are based on the previous season’s standings. Week 1 is a high-low pairing (the best teams from the previous season play the worst teams) while Week 3 is a high-high pairing (the best teams play the best teams and the worst teams play the worst teams). In theory, this gives each team one relatively tough and one relatively easy matchup within the first few weeks of the season.Weeks 5, 6, 8 and 9 are flex or power-paired matchups, where teams are paired against others with similar records that they haven’t played previously and that they aren’t already scheduled to play against in the future. (I’ll describe the procedure for pairing teams in a moment.) Each team has two home flex games and two away flex games, with the weeks designated in advance: For instance, Penn State has away games in weeks 5 and 9 and home flex games in weeks 6 and 8. Home and away weeks are set up such that every team has the opportunity to play every other team at least once.2For example, since Michigan State and Ohio State weren’t originally scheduled to play one another, there has to be at least one flex week where one of them is scheduled to be on the road and the other is scheduled to be at home. 3L–IowaW–IndianaL–Penn St.L–Ohio St.W–N’Western 4Indiana@ Illinois@ Minnesota@ N’westernMich. St. 5L–WisconsinW–RutgersW–N’WesternL–NebraskaW–Indiana 3W–RutgersL–MinnesotaW–Mich. St.W–PurdueW–Wisconsin 7W–Mich. St.L–IndianaL–MarylandW–Minnesota Iowa3-1Maryland3-1 7L–N’WesternW–PurdueW–NebraskaW–RutgersL–Ohio St. 4W–Ohio St.W–RutgersL–PurdueW–Nebraska 5@ TBDTBDTBD@ TBD@ TBD 1MichiganWisconsinPurdue@ Mich. St.@ Illinois 6W–RutgersW–N’WesternW–IllinoisL–MinnesotaL–Iowa 3Iowa@ IndianaPenn St.Ohio St.@ N’western 5L–MichiganW–IllinoisL–MinnesotaW–Mich. St. 6W–WisconsinL–MichiganL–Mich. St.L–Penn St. 2W–MarylandL–NebraskaL–WisconsinW–Rutgers 1@ Minnesota@ IowaN’western@ Indiana 8W–Mich. St.L–MichiganL–Penn St.L–Ohio St.W–Indiana Power-paired Week 5 matchups in hypothetical Big Ten schedule 2L–IndianaL–MichiganW–PurdueW–IowaW–Illinois read more

This MLB Offseason Has Been Eerily Quiet

Something strange is happening with the baseball hot stove this winter. Not only is it not hot, it almost seems like it’s off.Available stars who would ordinarily have been snapped up long ago are still sitting on the shelf, which has the MLB Players Association panicking — and looking for answers. Is this simply a weak class of free agents? Have all 30 teams finally figured out that spending boatloads on veterans is usually dumb? Is the gap between contending and tanking teams to blame? Or is it just — gasp! — collusion, like the kind owners engaged in three decades ago?It’s difficult to pin down exactly why this offseason has proceeded so slowly. But the sluggish pace it has taken is quantifiable — and eye-catching. I gathered data on ESPN’s top 40 free agents1For all players ranked 40th or better on ESPN’s yearly free-agent rankings. In some years, the rankings skipped numbers, presumably because some players were ranked but did not actually hit free agency. This means that the top 40 doesn’t always include a full 40 players. for each winter going back to the 2006-07 offseason and tracked how many days it took after the end of World Series before those top players were signed. (Players technically become free agents the morning after the World Series ends.) For instance, today is Day 82 since the Astros beat the Dodgers in Game 7 of the Fall Classic, and only 43 percent of the top 40 free agents — including only two of the top 10 — have put pen to paper. How abnormal is that? Between 2006 and 2016, the average offseason saw 76 percent of the top 40 free agents inking deals by Day 82 of the offseason.Here’s what this offseason looks like so far compared to how long it usually takes for top free agents to sign: The freeze on this year’s class of free agents is alarming. For one thing, it took much longer than usual for a team to break the free-agent ice. And, aside from a brief acceleration during the winter meetings in mid-December, the pace of signings has been markedly slower than normal — particularly early in the offseason, when the biggest flurry of signings usually takes place.Only the 2008-09 offseason, when just 53 percent of top-40 players were signed by this stage of the winter, came close to lagging as much as the current slowdown. And even then, most of the biggest available names had already been signed by this point in the offseason. Granted, three of those (Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett) were all picked up by spendthrift Yankees. By contrast, the current Yankees made their big splash in the trade market, where they acquired Giancarlo Stanton, and the team is now trying to squeak in under the luxury-tax threshold rather than adding free agents. Perhaps in the past, slow free-agent classes could always count on the Yankees to open the pocketbook and keep the money flowing — but not this year.Before we jump to any conclusions about the owners being in cahoots, it’s worth noting that many of the explanations for this year’s issues contain at least a kernel of truth. This class of free agents is indeed mediocre — in terms of wins above replacement2Using an average of the WAR metrics found at FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference. produced by top-40 players in their previous three seasons, this is the worst crop of available talent since at least 2006.3Looking only at the most recent previous season improves this group’s standing slightly, bringing it up to sixth out of the 12 free-agent classes I examined. At the top of ESPN’s free-agent rankings, ace starter Yu Darvish is as good as any prized free agent from yesteryear, but many of the names further down the list come with legitimate issues, including Jake Arrieta’s declining value, J.D. Martinez’s inconsistent defense and Alex Cobb’s durability.It’s also true that more teams are tanking now than in years past. And the proliferation of statheads in MLB front offices over the past decade could explain why teams are no longer scrambling to offer big free-agent contracts to players who are already past their primes.As Yahoo’s Jeff Passan wrote in an excellent column last week, that final point is part of a bigger issue with the fundamental way baseball’s economics works, particularly as younger players generate more and more of the game’s on-field value. But if teams are suddenly realizing the folly of free agency, it’s also worth asking why they’ve chosen to simultaneously make their stand this year. (Bad deals still got made last season, though perhaps not as many as in the past.) The alternative explanation — collusion — is notoriously difficult to prove, however, and seems like an unbelievable risk for a group of owners who are already making money hand over fist.But the simple truth is that we don’t really know why the market for free agents is so sluggish this year. We can only prove that it is indeed historically slow-moving — and that fact alone demands an explanation. read more

Mens basketball preview Ohio State versus Fairleigh Dickinson

OSu freshman center Micah Potter grabs a rebound against Navy on Nov. 11, 2016. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorThe Ohio State men’s basketball team will look to get back on track this Saturday as they take on Fairleigh Dickinson at the Schottenstein Center.The Buckeyes are coming off a tough fought match in which they fell to No. 6 Virginia, losing by a final score of 63-61, in a game in which they once held a 16-point lead.“Obviously we were disappointed that we lost and in the way that we lost,” said sophomore guard C.J. Jackson. “I feel like we are encouraged as a team and we know how much better that game made us and how much closer we got. We connected more than we have ever since I been here and it was good to see.”The biggest issue OSU faced in the game was turnovers. The Scarlet and Gray turned the ball over 20 times compared to the Cavaliers 10. There was also a big discrepancy when it came to fouls, with the Buckeyes committing 20 to Virginia’s 11.“With the turnovers we had the other night, we have to play smarter,” said OSU coach Thad Matta. “I don’t want guys to not take risks but they have to be more calculated. When you have 20 turnovers and you shoot 50 percent, I am trying to explain to these guys that it is problematic.”OSU will hope to correct these issues as they take on Fairleigh Dickinson.The Knights enter the game with a 2-4 record. They are currently riding a two-game losing streak, coming up short against both Saint Peter’s and Army.Fairleigh Dickinson is led by guard Darian Anderson. The junior out of Washington, DC is averaging 19.7 points per game on 54 percent shooting. Anderson also leads his team in steals, averaging 1.7 a game.The Knights also receive valuable play from their big man, forward Mike Holloway. The 6-foot-7 sophomore is averaging 14.7 points per game and six boards.“We are going to see a team that is going to try and push the basketball,” Matta said. “We are going to see a ton of ball screens. We are going to see handoffs. They are going to change up defenses and press a little bit. It will be a good gauge to see how we take care of the basketball.”Despite the loss in their last time out, the Buckeyes did have some positives that they hope will give them something to build off of moving forward.“It just shows how good we really are right now and how much better we could become,” said freshman center Micah Potter. “We were down a starter, we had some silly mistakes and just didn’t execute our offense. If we can get it to where we can execute the entire game and play Ohio State basketball the entire game we will be really good. We can compete with anyone in the country.” read more

Tressel Rested Buckeyes ready for grueling November schedule

Time off has not been advantageous for Ohio State in the past.   The Buckeyes have dropped three of their last four contests following a bye week, but coach Jim Tressel said he thinks the week off could pay dividends this time around when OSU hosts Penn State on Saturday. “I thought we used our time wisely,” Tressel said. “Hopefully we will be back on the field with a lot of enthusiasm and pep in our step. We did work out on Sunday for about an hour and guys seemed to be refreshed.” As the Buckeyes prepare for the home stretch of the season, Tressel said it’s also important to recover emotionally. “I think if there’s anything that you can accomplish during an open week, it’s perhaps to fill your emotional gas tank back up,” he said. “We’re going to need every ounce of emotion we can get as Penn State comes in.” Injury report Plagued by injury this season, the banged-up Buckeyes got the chance to rest and heal during their break. After suffering a foot injury in the team’s lone loss at Wisconsin, captain Ross Homan has been making strides toward full health, Tressel said. “The key will be how does he do two days in a row to see if there’s any issues,” Tressel said. “But based upon after Sunday, I would say no doubt” he’ll be ready. Tressel said he expects both Homan and fellow linebacker Dorian Bell to play Saturday. Revived running games A key to each squad’s success of late has been a resurgence from the running back position. For the Buckeyes, junior Dan “Boom” Herron eclipsed the 100-yard mark on the ground for the first time in his OSU career against Minnesota on Oct. 30. “I think ‘Boom’ has raised us through his play,” Tressel said. “I think his play has been excellent, and if he’ll play like he did this last month and like he did last November, we have a chance this November because I think he is a difference-maker.” The Nittany Lions’ leading running back, Evan Royster, has regained form from his First-Team All-Big Ten selection a year ago. Achieving 100-yard performances in each of the last two games, Royster is now PSU’s all-time leading rusher, with 3,652 yards. “Evan Royster is a guy that now has hit it into gear,” Tressel said. “I think at the beginning of the year, he probably wasn’t himself, and as the year has gone on, just like most tough backs do, he got himself back to where he’d like to be.” Featuring two of the conference’s elite rushers, dominance on the ground could be the key to victory on Saturday. “We’ve never been bashful about saying if you do well with the run game, you’ve got a chance to win,” Tressel said. Penn State quarterback duo The Nittany Lions will come to the Horseshoe with two quarterbacks who have thrown for at least 500 yards and five touchdowns: redshirt sophomore Matt McGloin and freshman Rob Bolden. Tressel said the Buckeyes expect to see both under center. “They’ve now played two quarterbacks, and I would expect that we may, perhaps, see both of them. That’s the way we would prepare,” he said. Despite having to prepare for two signal-callers, Tressel said the duo’s styles don’t differ much. Mr. November The Buckeyes are 26-4 under Tressel in November, including 14-1 since 2005. Tressel said his team knows the importance of improvement in the last month of the season. “I think they’ve done a pretty good job of believing you have to keep working to get better, and if you keep working to get better, you probably will,” he said. “Then it gives you a chance in November.” Tressel said his players understand the importance of the team’s final three games. “When I saw these schedules about four or five years ago when they said, ‘You’re going to have Penn State to start your November for a few years,’ I thought, ‘Oh,’” he said. “Not to mention you’re going to have Iowa and Michigan right after them, that’s going to put a challenge on any November record anyone would ever have. “I think our guys believe that this is a very important time.” read more

Football Ryan Day talks TCU matchup in Big Ten coaches teleconference

Ohio State redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) fakes a handoff to sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins (2) in the first quarter of the Ohio State-Oregon State game on Sept. 1. Ohio State won 77-31. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorBefore his largest game as acting head coach for Ohio State, Ryan Day faced many questions on the preparation going into Saturday’s matchup against No. 15 TCU during the Big Ten coaches teleconference on Tuesday.Day said the Horned Frogs are a “veteran group whose played big games before,” while also saying that the neutral-site game is basically an away matchup for No. 4 Ohio State, considering AT&T Stadium is “right down the street” from his opponent.Day also complimented TCU’s deep and diverse defense group, which was ranked No. 16 in 2017 in points allowed.“It’s hard to find matchup problems when they have guys that can do multiple things,” Day said.A comparison was made to last season’s matchup against then-No. 5 Oklahoma that Ohio State lost to 31-16 in Week 2, hurting the Buckeyes’ chances at the College Football Playoff at the end of the season.Day said the game against TCU is entirely different, because “that was a different team last year and that was a long time ago.”“Last week if we lose to Rutgers, that could have been the reason too,” Day said. “We know that every time we go out and play we are on the line, and that’s no different this week”Progress in the quarterback roomAfter redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins threw for at least four touchdowns for the second straight game, Day said that he has done a great job at finding receivers in his two starts thus far.But, when talking about where Haskins has improved the most, Day said that it has been in two areas off the field: in the classroom and in the weight room.Though Haskins has proven himself as a threat through the air, Day said he expects that Haskins will continue to improve his run game as the season progresses.“He’s a big guy back there,” Day said. “I do think as the season goes on he will run more.”Day was also asked about redshirt freshman quarterback Tate Martell, who completed all 10 of his passes, both throwing and running for touchdowns of more than 40 yards.Day said that Martell “has improved significantly in the last couple of months,” and that the more he can improve the pass game, the more his running ability will open up opportunities.Praise for OkudahFollowing the 52-3 win over Rutgers, where the Buckeyes allowed only 11 completions on 30 attempts, and 65 yards through the air, Day had nothing but praise for sophomore cornerback Jeffrey Okudah.Okudah finished the game with two tackles, including one solo tackle, but Day said he is “one of the best kids you can be around,” and complemented his work ethic in practice.Day said that Okudah has really developed over the year, and that “he’s got a lot of great football ahead of him this year.” read more

Paul Daniels son accuses Debbie McGee of failing to support him after magicians death

first_imgThe TV star died of a brain tumour in March aged 77, leaving his £1.5 million estate to his wife.However, his son said that because of a series of bad investments Paul owed £1 million in taxes when he passed away.Speaking to the Sun on Sunday, Paul Junior claimed that two months after his father’s death Ms McGee told him she was closing the Paul Daniels Magic Party Shop in Wigan where he was working. Paul Daniels and Debbie McGeeCredit:Paul Howard/REX/Shutterstock Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee Ms McGee worked as the magician’s on-stage assistant between 1979 and 1994, and married Daniels in 1988. She lives in the couple’s £2.5 million Berkshire home, which was transferred into her name before her husband’s death.Paul Junior said: “I’ve put up with her for years for the sake of my dad but now that he’s gone I want nothing to do with her.”A spokesperson for Ms McGee described the claims as “inaccurate”. He said: “She had told me I could keep the shop going, because my dad had always enjoyed keeping it alive. We opened it together.”She told me she would look after me and help pay my rent and bills afterwards. But, like my inheritance, I’m yet to see a single penny.”I had no money to pay my rent.”He also claims that he was left without a phone after she cancelled his £38-a-month company contract, but said she agreed to give him a £3,500 redundancy pay out.center_img He added: “She promised that she would look after me and my brothers. But the only person she has looked after is herself.”Paul Junior is the eldest of three children from Daniels’ first marriage to Jacqueline Skipworth, and spent ten years working with his father as an assistant stage manager in the 1970s and 1980s.However, in the mid 1990s he said that he and his father became estranged, only reconciling a few years later when he was convicted of cultivating marijuana worth £89,000 and given a 12-month community order.He said: “It became something that brought us closer together again. Rather than wash his hands of me, he brought me back into the fold. We became father and son again.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Paul Daniels’ son has accused his stepmother Debbie McGee of failing to support him after the magician’s death.Paul Junior, 56, says Ms McGee told him she would “look after him” and his two brothers after his father left his entire estate to her.But he claims that she cut off his phone contract and left him jobless after closing the magic and fancy dress shop in Wigan that he and his father had set up together.last_img read more

Noel Gallagher snubbed Trainspotting soundtrack as he thought film was about railway

first_imgMacdonald also revealed that Lou Reed, whose song Perfect Day was used in the soundtrack, never liked the film.The producer has also worked with Oscar-winner Boyle on the Trainspotting sequel, T2, which is due to be released in cinemas in January 2017.He said the film was very different to its original as the characters had moved on from drug taking, but said he thought fans would enjoy the sequel. T2 was shot on various locations across Scotland during the summer and is currently being edited ahead of its release.It is loosely based on writer Irvine Welsh’s 2002 follow-up novel Porno and the author will feature in a cameo role. Noel Gallagher missed out on featuring on the soundtrack for Trainspotting because he thought the film was about railway enthusiasts, it has emerged.Director Danny Boyle was said to be desperate for Gallagher and his band Oasis to do a song for the 1996 movie starring Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle and Ewen Bremner.The soundtrack of the film became a huge hit and featured fellow Britpop bands Blur and Pulp as well as US music stars Iggy Pop and Lou Reed.However, the singer-songwriter turned down the chance to feature in the film about Edinburgh heroin addicts as he did not want to be associated with a film he thought was about train spotters. The story was revealed during a question and answer session with Trainspotting producer Andrew Macdonald and costume designer Rachel Fleming at a 20th anniversary screening of the film.Macdonald said: “Danny is from near Manchester and he was very keen to have Noel Gallagher do something but there was a reason why he didn’t do it.”He came to the launch party in Cannes, but I don’t know why he didn’t do a piece of music.”Fleming then said: “I met Noel at a thing the other week and he said to me: ‘I would have done something, but honestly I thought it was about train spotters. I didn’t know.’ That’s what he actually said.” Macdonald said: “It’s 20 years later and they have all moved on, they are at different places in their lives and some of them may even have children.”I think because of the integrity of it and Danny insisting it was the same actors, people will be okay with it.”It is working out to be its own thing. But the characters aren’t 20-years-old anymore and you’re not going to become 20-years-old by watching it.” I would have done something, but honestly I thought it was about train spotters. I didn’t knowwhat Noel Gallagher told costume designer Rachel Fleming Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Car parking app shares 2000 customers private details after company suffers glitch

first_imgThousands of users of a parking app may have had their personal details shared with other customers.Around 2,000 customers of the parking app RingGo were presented with other people’s details when they logged into the service.Many took to Twitter to complain of seeing people’s names, vehicle registrations, email addresses and even credit card details.The app allows users to register several cars and pay to park them in hundreds of locations across the country.One customer, John Rust, tweeted: “Just got a call from a guy who logged into @RingGo_parking app and it loaded my personal info – he phoned my mobile number that was revealed.”Another, Thomas Bathurst, branding the incident “awful”, reported seeing credit card information and car details.The company confirmed the problem occurred after a new version of the app was released in on Tuesday and said a full investigation was being launched and a report had been submitted to the Information Commissioner’s Office.But on Thursday a glitch in the database meant some drivers were able to see details from other accounts during peak rush hour.A spokesman from RingGo yesterday confirmed the data breach.He said: “As soon as the issue came to our attention we ran a fix and by 0930 no additional motorists’ info could be viewed.”We believe the actual number of people who have been directly impacted is around 600.”This error is totally unacceptable and we apologise sincerely to those affected.”The spokesperson said a further 1400 accounts had potentially been affected because they were parking at the time the incident began. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. They added: “We can assure customers that no useable payment card information was displayed – only the last 4 digits are shown.  Some personal data could have been visible, eg name, vehicle registration.”last_img read more

Simple pill can end symptoms of gluten intolerance scientists say

first_img“Since even small amounts of gluten can affect gluten-sensitive patients, this supplement can play an important role in addressing the residual gluten that is often the cause of uncomfortable symptoms.”Our results suggest that this enzyme can potentially reduce the side effects that occur when gluten-sensitive individuals accidentally eat a little gluten.”We are not suggesting that AN-PEP will give these individuals the ability to eat pizza or pasta, sources of large amounts of gluten, but it might make them feel better if they mistakenly ingest gluten.”She stressed that the enzyme was not tested on coeliac disease patients, who can be seriously harmed by even small amounts of gluten. Coeliac patients should not consume any gluten, even with the enzyme, Dr Konig warned. The findings were presented to experts attending the Digestive Disease Week 2017 meeting in Chicago.Dr Konig added: “This substance allows gluten-sensitive patients to feel safer, for example, when they are out with friends at a restaurant and can’t be sure whether something is 100% gluten-free. Shelves of gluten, dairy and nut free food on shelves in a Tesco storeCredit:Alamy Lead researcher Dr Julia Konig, from the University of Orebro in Sweden, said: “Since even small amounts of gluten can affect gluten-sensitive patients, this supplement can play an important role in addressing the residual gluten that is often the cause of uncomfortable symptoms.”Studies show that even when following a gluten-free diet, unintentional gluten intake can still occur, depending on how strict a gluten-free dieter is.”For the study, 18 gluten-sensitive volunteers were given a porridge made with two crumbled wheat biscuits containing gluten. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.center_img Gluten intolerance can partly be overcome by swallowing an enzyme pill with food, research has shown.The simple measure can allow people sensitive to the wheat protein to consume small quantities of gluten without experiencing bloating, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.Scientists say the discovery could be a “game-changer” for gluten-intolerant individuals who have to be super-careful about what they eat. They also took high or low doses of the enzyme AN-PEP, or a “dummy” placebo pill. Both doses of the enzyme were found to break down gluten in the stomach and small intestine.Gluten levels in the stomach were 85 per cent lower in participants who swallowed the enzyme than in those given the placebo.Compared with the placebo, taking the enzyme lowered gluten levels by up to 87 per cent once food had reached the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine. Shelves of gluten, dairy and nut free food on shelves in a Tesco storelast_img read more

Thousands line streets for Bradley Lowery funeral

first_imgMourners line the streets ahead of the funeral of Bradley Lowery The cortege for the funeral of six year old Sunderland FC fan, Bradley Lowrey makes it's way to St Joseph's Church Bradley Lowery, as family and friends wear football shirts for the funeral of the six-year-old mascot Mourners dressed in superhero costumes followed the funeral procession.Defoe, now signed for Bournemouth, left training in Spain to attend. Some released balloons as the cortege passed and a spontaneous round of applause broke out. Premier League footballer Jermain Defoe wore an England shirt for the funeral of his six-year-old “best friend”, Bradley Lowery, whose cancer battle captured hearts around the world. Footballer Jermain Defoe arrives for the funeral of six year old Sunderland FC, fan, Bradley Lowrey Thousands of people lined the streets of Blackhall, County Durham, ahead of the service at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, where the youngster was baptised six years ago. A piper lead the horse-drawn carriage carrying his coffin through the village, which came to a halt to pay tribute to the little boy with the beaming smile. The hearse departs St Joseph's Church Defoecenter_img The hearse departs St Joseph’s ChurchCredit:Getty Bradley Lowery, as family and friends wear football shirts for the funeral of the six-year-old mascotCredit:Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire Footballer Jermain Defoe arrives for the funeral of six year old Sunderland FC, fan, Bradley LowreyCredit:Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images Bradley died a week ago in his parents’ arms at home following a battle with the rare childhood cancer neuroblastoma. Former Sunderland FC manager David Moyes was also among the congregation.Defoe struck up a remarkable friendship with Bradley after the little boy appeared as a mascot for his beloved Sunderland. Credit:Getty Mourners line the streets ahead of the funeral of Bradley LoweryCredit:Owen Humphreys/PA Wire The cortege for the funeral of six year old Sunderland FC fan, Bradley Lowrey makes it’s way to St Joseph’s ChurchCredit:Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Donald Trump hails new chapter for stronger trade with UK amid controversy over

first_imgThe US President predicted a strengthening of the “special relationship” after Liam Fox  insisted the issue was just a “detail” of trade negotiations.  The International Trade Secretary wants to allow the import of poultry after Brexit but is being opposed by Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, who has insisted food standards must not be downgraded…. Donald Trump has hailed a “new chapter for stronger trade” with Britain amid concerns about the import of chlorine-washed chickens in the UK after Brexit. center_img Theresa May is facing a Cabinet split over the import of poultry treated with the chlorine wash process from the US, which is currently banned under EU rules but a fifth cheaper than British chicken.last_img

Parents at cheating public schools should ask for a refund

first_imgHe echoed calls from education experts for teachers to be barred from setting exams that their own students will sit after both Winchester and Eton College suspended staff accused of telling their pupils about questions which would be in the test.   Parents at the leading public schools caught up in a “cheating” scandal should ask for  their money back, the Chair of the Education Select Committee has said.   Students are “completely disadvantaged” by advance knowledge of the exams and therefore their families could consider demanding a refund of part of the up to £38,0000 a year fees, Robert Halfon MP told the Daily Telegraph.center_img Both schools were forced to nullify the exams in question and the…last_img

Poisoned spy Sergei Skripals pets died in wake of nerve agent attack

first_img“This decision was taken in the best interests of the animal and its welfare.”Russia’s UN envoy, Vassily Nebenzia, on Thursday asked at a Security Council meeting about Mr Skripal’s two cats and two guinea pigs.  “What happened to these animals? Why doesn’t anyone mention them? Their condition is also an important piece of evidence,” he said.No information has been given about the second cat.  The property was a focus of police activity in the aftermath of the attack, with other sites in the Wiltshire city combed over for clues.A government spokeswoman said: “The property in Wiltshire was sealed as part of the police investigation.”When a vet was able to access the property, two guinea pigs had sadly died. A cat was also found in a distressed state and a decision was taken by a veterinary surgeon to euthanise the animal to alleviate its suffering. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.center_img Two guinea pigs were found dead at the home of poisoned spy Sergei Skripal after the property was sealed off for investigations.The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs added a cat was also found in a distressed state at the house and a decision was taken to euthanise the pet.Tensions between Russia and the United Kingdom have been high since Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a park bench in Salisbury last month.Scotland Yard said Mr Skripal and his daughter first came into contact with the nerve agent at his home after detailed forensic testing showed the highest concentration of the substance was found on the front door.last_img read more

Woman in critical condition after being punched by robber riding pillion on

The robbers made off on the vehicle in the direction of Stag Lane and no arrests have been made.Detective Sergeant Richard Lewsley said: “This was a horrific attack, the victim had her bag on her shoulder when the males approached her. “She resisted for some time until the pillion passenger punched her, causing her to fall backwards.”She is currently in a critical condition and we need to catch these males before they strike again.”Anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting CAD 7898/04 June. You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. A scooter inside Watches of Switzerland on London’s Regent Street after raiders on scooters armed with knives and hammers entered the store and stole several items of propertyCredit:PA/John Stillwell A woman is in a critical condition after she was punched when a moped gang stole her mobile phone in north London. It was the second moped-related crime of the day on the streets of the capital Monday after comedian Michael McIntyre was a victim of a similar gang when the windows of his Range Rover was smashed by two men wielding hammers in Hampstead. In a separate incident on Tuesday, a gang armed with knives stormed Watches of Switzerland on Regent Street and stole several items. The woman, 24, was walking along a tree lined residential street when she was approached by two thugs on a moped in north London just after 9pm Monday.They tried to grab her bag and phone and in the struggle the pillion passenger punched the lone woman knocking her off her feet.During the incident she suffered a head injury and was taken to a central London hospital where she remains in a critical condition. A scooter inside Watches of Switzerland on London's Regent Street after raiders on scooters armed with knives and hammers entered the store and stole several items of property Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Schoolboy 14 in court over moped robbery spree

A 14-year-old boy robbed seven people of their mobile phones and other gadgets in just one hour while on the back of a moped being driven around London, a court has heard.The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, went on a crime spree with an accomplice around Hornsey, Crouch End and Muswell Hill in north London, it is claimed.Between 1.15pm and 2.15pm on 7 June, seven people had their phones stolen before police identified two suspects on a moped. Officers seized the defendant from the pillion seat but the driver of the moped rode off.When the youth was searched, police found 13 mobile phones – nine of which have since been returned to their owners.The boy, from Tottenham, appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on Saturday morning, charged with seven counts of robbery relating to six mobile phones and an iPod. The court heard that he was likely to be placed back with his family until trial but under strict supervision by the local youth offending team.He was ordered to abide by a curfew between 7am and 7pm, attend meetings with the youth offending team four times a week and barred from riding on any two-wheeled vehicle such as a pushbike, moped or motorcycle.Judge McPhee made the defendant repeat his bail conditions back to him before releasing him from the courtroom.Neither of the defendant’s parents was present in court, and Judge McPhee ordered that they attend on the next occasion. Dressed in a grey tracksuit, he indicated that he denied all charges against him.Because of his age, he sat in the well of the court flanked by two officers rather than in the dock. Listing the case for a management hearing, District Judge Robin McPhee remanded the defendant into the care of the local authority. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Horsedrawn carriage smashes into designer clothes shop by Ascot racecourse

Racegoers speak to police at the sceneCredit:David Mirzoeff/PA He said that one of the horses slipped over as the carriage charged round a mini roundabout, knocking over one of its teammates and sending it sliding into a glass shop front.”The horse ended up going straight off the pavement and into the glass front of a big clothing shop,” he said.”At least one of the horses was jammed into the window.”Mr Copeland, 52, said the accident happened at around 6pm on Thursday evening as racegoers left at the end of the day.”I think the people in the carriage were in some sort of VIP section at the race course.” A policeman at the scene said he understood the incident involved four horses, while a taxi driver who saw it happen said one horse looked particularly injured.Taxi driver Mohamad Amjad said it appeared that the carriage was coming down the road and potentially was panicked by a horn blowing.He said it seemed to be the case that the front two horses “slid” into the shop front, adding that one horse appeared badly injured. “People put towels on to try to control the blood,” he said.Eyewitness Gary Copeland was driving behind the four-horse carriage when he saw the driver lose control and go careering down the road with guests dressed for the races clinging on.He said: “I was driving past the race course when the carriage was let out in front of me, I was right behind it and then another car slotted in between me and it.”The horses must have bolted and went off straight down the high street. The driver had clearly lost control.” Racegoers speak to police at the scene A horse-drawn carriage has smashed into the window of a designer clothes shop in Ascot after the animals were spooked and bolted down the high street.One horse is understood to have been seriously injured in the collision after losing its balance as the carriage went straight over a mini roundabout near Royal Ascot, where Ladies’ Day had just finished.A section of the front window of Nataliya Couture on London Road was smashed after the incident on Thursday evening, which is said to have involved four horses.Shards of glass and manure remained on the pavement within a police tape outside the shop which was not opened when the crash happened.Blood also appeared to be visible on a section of the smashed front, while glass was lying around the mannequin displays and a shutter at the back of the space was buckled. Four horses were pulling a traditional coaching carriage when it slipped at a roundabout on Ascot High Four horses were pulling a traditional coaching carriage when it slipped at a roundabout on Ascot High Street There were white marks on the road and pavement going towards the section of the front that got smashed. It’s understood no people were hurt.The shop sells formal wear, including fascinators, like the style showcased by women on Ladies’ Day. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Ryanair passengers complain of being stranded across Europe during 24hour strikes

Ryanair pilots on strike at Dublin AirportCredit:Aoife Moore/ PA One of these was Lara Cohen, who had her holiday disrupted by the delays, and claims she was left on a hot, grounded plane for two hours without water.She told The Telegraph that she was supposed to be on a morning flight on Friday from Stansted to Nuremburg – but strikes meant this was changed to 7.30pm. This flight was then delayed, she claimed, with the gate not opening until 9. Another customer claimed she would miss work meetings and a doctor’s appointment due to a cancelled flight. She wrote: “Many thanks to @Ryanair for cancelling my flight home + ensuring all of the de-stressing I have done on this trip is cancelled out in an instant.”Emily Dutton, 27, told the BBC that she was going to have to miss her friend’s wedding in Gothenburg because of the strikes.She said she was due to fly from Stansted Airport for the “once in a lifetime” chance to see her close friend get married – but her flight was cancelled and she was told there were no available flights that day.Ms Dutton claimed: “”I spent about four hours [yesterday] calling them and trying to find my own travel options to see how to get to Sweden. Ryanair pilots strike at Dublin Airport in the fifth strike day against the airline amid a row over pay and conditions Ryanair passengers claimed they faced chaos during a 24-hour strike which left British travellers stranded across Europe.Many complained they had missed weddings or lost over a day of their holiday thanks to flights being cancelled, with waiting times of up to 10 hours in airports.Once they managed to get to their destinations, airports faced a backlog of passengers, some of whom claimed they had to wait hours to pick up their luggage and get through immigration and security.Staff in Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands are staging a 24-hour walkout over pay and conditions.The airline said 396 flights have been cancelled as a result, forcing passengers who planned to travel on Friday to rebook or take different routes. Ryanair planes have a capacity of 189, meaning more than 74,000 passengers could be affected. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Ms Cohen said: “We then sat on the HOTTEST plane for two hours – many of us escaped and stood on the stairs. They would not give us any water or let the majority of people off the plane. By 11/11.30ish they cancelled the flight completely.”Kristie Rigby claimed her close friends will not be able to make it to her wedding because of the delays. She tweeted: “No thanks to @Ryanair 3 of my most amazing friends won’t be making it to my Wedding in Gothenburg this Saturday.”Ms Rigby alleged their flight had been cancelled – and that they could not afford to re-book with another airline.Nico Ferreres tweeted a video of dozens of frustrated passengers lying on luggage carousels, waiting for their bags.He wrote: “Hi @Ryanair @RyanairFlights @Ryanair_ES @ryanair Can you explain all of us (people from 7 DIFFERENT FLIGHTS) why, after a + 2 HOUR DELAY, we have been waiting for ANOTHER 1h30 for our luggage? At 2am? Are you serious?” A Ryanair spokesperson commented; “This flight from London Stansted to Nuremburg (9 Aug) was initially delayed due to handling delays at Stansted which led to our crew going out of hours and the flight being cancelled. All affected customers were contacted by email and SMS text message and advised of their options of a full refund, free transfer on to the next available flight or alternative routing. Ryanair sincerely apologised to customers for this cancellation. One customer described the airline as a “headache”, complaining they had had difficulty getting a quick response after contacting the firm on their live chat. They tweeted: “Ryanair cancelled my flight in the last min because of pilots strike. They offer me to change my tickets online which it’s not possible because of their system crash. No one is on the phone and livechat. They even don’t do a refund. Ryanair is an headache.” “Weather disruptions at Stansted this week forced us to cancel a number of flights on Tues (7 Aug) and these weather cancellations coupled with ATC staff shortages and slot restrictions had a knock on effect on operations and resulted in some delays at check-in desks and baggage areas at Stansted. Ryanair sincerely apologise for these weather and ATC disruptions which are entirely beyond our control.”In relation to today’s strike action, all flights were cancelled in advance and all customers were contacted and notified of their options. Despite the regrettable and unjustified strike action taking place in 5 of our 37 markets on Friday (10 Aug), over 2,000 Ryanair flights (85% of our schedule) will operate as normal today carrying almost 400,000 customers across Europe. Ryanair took every step to minimise the disruption and we notified our customers as early as possible advising them of their free move, refund or reroute options. Over 90% of affected customers have already been re-accommodated (or refunded) on other flights. We again apologise to customers affected by this unnecessary disruption and we ask the striking unions to continue negotiations instead of calling anymore unjustified strikes.” read more

Dwarf wrestlers slam charity that succeeded in banning freak show tour

In 2011 Martin Henderson was left paralysed after a man threw him into the air outside a pub in Somerset. She has also criticised the company for using the term “midget”.”It has strong historical associations with the Freak Shows of days gone by at which people with dwarfism were paraded and ridiculed. It is widely considered to be deeply offensive to most people in the dwarfism community,” she said. A spokesman for the show said it would be “first time a show of its kind will be seen in the UK since the Victorian times”.He said that in the USA, “the term Midget Wrestling is perceived by those that partake in the sport to offer a proud lineage. “However, in the UK the term is seen as degrading, so the term was not used in the posters or marketing here in the UK.” Lorenzo Jordan said: “I kinda feel hurt by it, because this is a choice, and I love to do it.”Another wrestler, Michael Stone, said: “We’re going out there, working, providing for our families. We’re just trying to have fun and do our jobs.”Michael Colitti, another wrestler, said: “I am deeply upset with why one of the venues in England has decided to cancel our show calling it grotesque and horrific. “I was under the impression that the UK as a whole had moved away from the Victorian pitch-fork mentality, waiting at castle gates telling people like myself are not welcome around these parts.”  The shows include elements which "encourages violence in real life" such as picking up and throwing people with dwarfism Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. A row has broken out after a charity succeeded in banning “freak show” dwarf wrestling events. At least two shows in a planned UK tour by “Dwarfanators” performers, based in Texas, USA have been cancelled after protests from British charity the Restricted Growth Association. Performers have protested that they will lose two weeks of earnings if the tour is cancelled and called the criticism from the RGA “rude”. And a local politician has backed the wrestlers, arguing that the performers will lose money. James Lusted, an actor and county councillor in Rhos-on-Sea, north Wales, who has dwarfism, said he was “really frustrated” at the cancellation. “If they want to wrestle then let them crack on. If you don’t agree with it don’t go,” he told BBC Radio Wales.”That’s how they’ve chosen to live, that’s how they’ve chosen to support their families, pay their bills. Why don’t we just encourage and support them in that.”These professional entertainers, they’re well trained and fit but they’re actually going to lose finances now. I feel sorry for them.”The events in Leicester and Ferndown, near Bournemouth were pulled by the venues after the criticism. But Mr Luster said planned shows in Cardiff and Swansea should go ahead.  He added: “Many of the wrestlers in the show have not left the USA and have invested time, money and in some cases, their life savings to be able to tour the UK.”Mr Luster’s comments came as the wrestlers themselves defended their show. One performer, Ashley Waterhouse, said not working for two weeks would “hurt me, bad”, adding: “nothing about it is a freak show”.  Events in Leicester and Ferndown, near Bournemouth were pulled by the venues after the criticism. The shows include elements which “encourages violence in real life” such as picking up and throwing people with dwarfism On Wednesday Gillian Martin, from the RGA, said: “We remain resolute in our belief that such events are primarily about encouraging audiences to laugh at people with dwarfism and the spectacle of violence against dwarf bodies as entertainment for average height people.”She said the shows include elements which “encourages violence in real life” such as picking up and throwing people with dwarfism. Events in Leicester and Ferndown, near Bournemouth were pulled by the venues after the criticism. read more

Physics teacher accused of having sex with teenage boy begged blackmailer not

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The unnamed student threatened to expose Eleanor Wilson's alleged relationship unless she had sex with him, Bristol Crown Court was told The unnamed student threatened to expose Eleanor Wilson’s alleged relationship unless she had sex with him, Bristol Crown Court was toldCredit:facebook A physics teacher accused of having sex with a teenage boy begged a fellow student trying to blackmail her into sex not to “ruin my career over a nasty rumour”, a court heard.The unnamed student threatened to expose Eleanor Wilson’s alleged relationship unless she had sex with him, Bristol Crown Court was told.He sent her a series of messages to her school email account in February 2016, and threatened to send an anonymous note to the school’s head teacher.The first email, which was sent from an anonymous Gmail account on the evening of February 16, said: “I know about you and (the boy) and do you want that coming out?”A short time later, Wilson received a second email, titled re: sexual activity, which said: “Reply in 24 hours or it will slip out. We wouldn’t want that, would you.”The defendant replied: “I think you have got the wrong person’s contact details.” The trial continues. Wilson, 29, of Dursley, Gloucs, denies four charges of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust.She is accused of having sex with another boy pupil, who cannot be named for legal reasons, in the toilets of an aeroplane. read more