Wisconsin—18245%<1%<1% Iowa9122925%7%<1% USC—20530%4%1% Mississippi18171020%8%2% Texas A&M193016<1%<1%<1% Houston25233330%2%<1% Stanford1161346%19%3% Michigan State731915%22%3% Northwestern214257<1%<1%<1% Oklahoma1516315%14%5% Mississippi St.201917<1%3%<1% What to watch for this weekSECThe No. 4,1All the rankings I’m using in this article are the committee’s. one-loss Crimson Tide face No. 2, undefeated LSU in what is as close to a play-in game for the playoff as can be devised at this point in the season. Vegas has the Tide favored by about 6 points. That seems about right. After all, the game is in Tuscaloosa, and the FiveThirtyEight model gives home teams a 3.5-point advantage. But Alabama also has a slight edge over LSU according to FPI, despite its earlier loss to Ole Miss.The FiveThirtyEight model gives Alabama a 41 percent chance of making the playoff, largely because they’re favored in this game; LSU’s playoff odds are 30 percent. But let’s answer our first what-if question: How will those odds change after this game? My colleague Jay Boice ran additional simulations contingent on each team winning. In this thought experiment, if the Tide win, their odds would rise to 53 percent; but if the Tigers were to win, their odds would tick up to 45 percent. The Tigers’ odds are still lower, even if they beat Alabama, because their remaining schedule is so grueling. A road game against Ole Miss and a matchup with Texas A&M at home stand out on what is, going into this week, the toughest remaining schedule.(As a diehard fan who was born and raised in Baton Rouge, I’d like to be able to tell my fellow LSU faithful that these numbers favoring ’Bama are made up. But I can’t. What we Tiger fans do have going in our favor is Leonard Fournette, the Heisman Trophy favorite and, as Wright Thompson wrote, emerging legend.)Interestingly, though Alabama is favored to win and gets higher odds of making the postseason, because LSU is undefeated, the Tigers have higher odds (22 percent) of winning the conference, according to our model. (That’s because if LSU stumbles, Ole Miss is in position to win the SEC West with a tiebreaker over Alabama.) But beyond Alabama and LSU, Florida is waiting in the wings with an 18 percent chance of squeezing into the playoff. The Gators are looking like a good bet to win the SEC East, as they face only creampuffs for the remainder of their conference schedule; and if they emerge as a one-loss champion of the SEC, it will be hard for the committee not to include them.Big 12Baylor and TCU are putting up basketball scores each week. High-powered offenses drive the two highest-ranked teams according to FPI. Our model gives undefeated, No. 8 TCU the best chance of breaking into the playoff, even though Baylor is notionally better according to FPI. That’s because the Horned Frogs host the No. 6 Bears on Nov. 27 in what amounts to (assuming both teams are undefeated) a Big 12 championship game the conference never planned.The Big 12 is deep — very deep. Take this week’s biggest game: TCU faces No. 14 Oklahoma State. Although the Horned Frogs look strong according to our model — which gives them a 31 percent chance of making the playoff — the Cowboys can’t be ignored (they have a 6 percent chance themselves). The conference also includes a strong Oklahoma team, whom our model gives a 14 percent chance of making the postseason.Big TenThe FiveThirtyEight model gives No. 3 Ohio State the best odds of making the playoff: 61 percent. Furthermore, we give the Buckeyes a 16 percent chance of repeating as national champs. But look beyond them and you’ll see a strong conference, with the winner likely to be placed in the playoff.Ohio State has a difficult schedule ahead. Like the LSU vs. Alabama game this week, the Nov. 21 matchup against No. 7 Michigan State could be viewed as a de facto national quarterfinal game; Michigan State has a 22 percent chance of being in the final four. The winner likely will face currently undefeated Iowa in the Big Ten championship game.ACCAfter those three conferences, there’s a huge dropoff in quality. With the exception of Clemson, the ACC looks wobbly. That said, the undefeated Tigers are viewed favorably by the selection committee, which gave them their No. 1 ranking. Our model gives them a 51 percent chance of making the postseason (the best after Ohio State), but after them, Florida State is the next best ACC squad, with a 5 percent chance. That said, the Tigers face what is probably their toughest remaining challenge at home against the Seminoles on Saturday. If they survive, a what-if simulation we ran gives the Tigers a 61 percent chance of making the playoff. Furthermore, if they run the table in their remaining games, they’re likely to make the playoff (our model would put their chances at 99 percent), but if they don’t win out, the ACC champion won’t have a guaranteed spot. Why? Because if Clemson loses this week, our model would give both Clemson and FSU about a 15 percent chance.Pac-12What a total mess. Among Pac-12 teams, Stanford has the best chance of making the playoff, at 19 percent. Despite having just one loss, Utah does poorly in our model, registering a 6 percent chance — little better than unranked USC. FiveThirtyEight reckons that if Stanford does win out, it’s 90 percent likely to make the playoffs. In other words, the Pac-12 is not guaranteed a spot right now. To push the Cardinal’s odds up, Clemson would have to slip, and still a second team from the SEC or Big Ten might leapfrog the Pac-12 champ.Beyond The Power FiveThe best bet outside the five major conferences is No. 5 Notre Dame, with a 25 percent chance of making the playoff. Memphis and Houston, as impressive as they’ve been, stand only a 6 percent and 2 percent chance, respectively, of being included. In other words, the stellar mid-major teams should keep rooting for those in the major conferences to cannibalize each other. Baylor610132%31%13% RankingProbability of … Penn State—2741<1%<1%<1% Florida1091241%18%4% Temple22324541%<1%<1% Michigan1722187%6%<1% Clemson17756%51%12% Ohio State31447%61%16% TeamCFPEloFPIConf. TitlePlayoffNat. Title FiveThirtyEight can’t stop the CFP from screwing your team, but we’re going to try to use numbers and our football knowledge to prevent you from being blindsided.Each week, we’ll break down the latest CFP rankings, preview the big upcoming games and explore what-if questions. As we did last year, we’ll take an iterative and probabilistic approach to project which four teams the CFP committee will select into the playoff on Dec. 6.We’ll cover the Power Five conferences and make a special effort not to ignore the mid-major darlings. Translation: we’ll show Memphis and Houston some love. And as a born-and-raised LSU fan, I’m obliged to exhibit a cocky and blatant SEC bias intended to solicit all your angry emails.Before we dive into the new rankings and preview games by conference, a few nitty-gritty details about the model are worth reiterating from what editor-in-chief Nate Silver has written in greater detail elsewhere on FiveThirtyEight:Game predictions are based on a tweaked version of ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) for each team.Based on game results, each team is given an Elo rating that reflects, primarily, its strength of schedule and, to a lesser extent, the margin of victory in its games.Each team is given a new projected ranking based on the previous week’s ranking, the outcome of the game it has just played and its Elo rating.Then the model iterates through the season’s remaining games and, using past coaches’ polls as a guide, tries to predict what the CFP committee will decide.Latest CFP RankingsJust like last year, the CFP committee angered Big 12 fans. Baylor and TCU were ranked sixth and eighth, respectively, while Ohio State is third. One-loss Alabama sneaked in at No. 4 and LSU at No. 2, a clear sign that the committee respects an SEC schedule. But the committee really has a penchant for Clemson, the squad at No. 1. That also helps Notre Dame, whose only loss is to Clemson. The committee puts the Fighting Irish just outside the party at No. 5. Oklahoma St.14111415%6%1% Notre Dame589—25%5% Good gosh o’mighty, what a college football season so far. It’s early November, and fans have already witnessed:a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown as time expired;an eight-lateral kickoff return that was returned for a touchdown as time expired;a blocked field goal that was returned for a touchdown as time expired; andthe ongoing dominance of the next Herschel Walker.Amid all this excitement, in walks the selection committee to cut the ribbon on its first iteration of this season’s College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings. Unveiled over the next month, these CFP rankings will determine who plays in the second-ever four-team playoff. But reading the CFP tea leaves can be overwhelming.Confused by the CFP committee’s weird pronouncements? Fearful that Condoleezza Rice and her comrades will stab your team in the back? (Baylor and TCU fans, you know the feeling.) Trying to interpret the CFP rankings probably makes you feel like the Michigan guy who made his way around the Internet: UCLA2321225%1%<1% Memphis13143621%6%<1% Toledo24244328%<1%<1% Utah12152118%6%<1% Florida State16131513%5%<1% North Carolina—262323%<1%<1% LSU25822%30%8% TCU84237%31%11% Alabama42614%41%11% Arkansas—3926<1%<1%<1% Oregon—2532<1%<1%<1%
Finally, all the haggling came to an end and the Robert Griffin III era with the Washington Redskins began in earnest today with Griffin signing a contract worth $21,119,098 over the next four years. He can join his teammates in the final days of a five-day mini-camp.Griffin offered on Twitter: “Well people…. It’s Time to go to Work!!! off the unemployment line and oh yeah HTTR!!!!”The deal is very much like the one given to last year’s second-overall pick, Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller, and about $12 million less than the guaranteed figure given to St. Louis Rams offensive tackle Jason Smith, the last second-overall pick signed before the rookie wage scale went into effect. Smith signed a six-year, $61.775 million deal with $33 million in guarantees.Griffin’s contract, which includes a $13.8 million signing bonus, contains no “offset language,” according to one person with knowledge of the deal who spoke on condition of anonymity because all its aspects have not been made public. That provision had been a stumbling block in negotiations for many top picks.Without the language, the Redskins would owe Griffin the full amount of his guaranteed contract if they release him and he signs with another team, regardless of his salary from the new franchise.As with all contracts given to the top-10 picks, there is a team option for a fifth year. Should the Redskins exercise that option, they would pay Griffin the transition tag value in the fifth season, which is the average salary among the 10 highest-paid quarterbacks in that year.The highest draft pick to sign before today was Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, who was taken with the ninth overall pick and received a four-year, $12.58 million deal.The Redskins traded up with the St. Louis Rams from the sixth slot to the second to take the highly productive Baylor quarterback, and they paid a high price in doing so. Washington gave up their sixth overall pick in 2012, their first-round picks in 2013 and 2014, and a second-round pick in 2012 for the pleasure of ensuring their franchise quarterback.
NEL. BlountD. Lewis3.94.4-0.5 DALE. ElliottA. Morris5.13.5+1.6 BALT. WestK. Dixon4.04.3-0.3 NYJM. ForteB. Powell3.75.5-1.8 PITL. BellD. Williams4.93.5+1.4 TEND. MurrayD. Henry4.44.5-0.1 YARDS/ATTEMPT SFC. HydeS. Draughn4.62.7+1.9 Not every running back is replaceableDifference between teams’ primary and secondary running options by yards per attempt, 2016 JAXT.J. YeldonC. Ivory3.63.8-0.2 NYGR. JenningsP. Perkins3.34.1-0.8 SDM. GordonK. Farrow3.93.2+0.7 ATLD. FreemanT. Coleman4.84.4+0.3 OAKL. MurrayJ. Richard4.05.9-1.9 The 25-year-old averaged 4.86 yards on 261 carries last season — or 1.36 yards more than Williams averaged in 98 attempts while running behind the same offensive line. That differential was the fourth in the NFL when comparing primary ball carriers to their best backup with 50-plus carries, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com. That means Bell gained 355 more yards on his 261 carries than his backup would have, and those extra yards are worth 23 points, based on the league rate of a point every 15.4 yards from scrimmage. That was bested only by the Chicago Bears’ Jordan Howard (1.98 yards better per carry), San Francisco 49ers’ Carlos Hyde (1.90) and Cowboys rookie Ezekiel Elliott (1.55). But in those three cases, the 2016 backups — Jeremy Langford, Shaun Draughn and Alfred Morris, respectively — are nowhere near the caliber of Williams, one of only three backs since 2000 who have matched Bell’s active streak of averaging at least 4.7 yards in three consecutive seasons (minimum 100 carries).2 The other two are Tiki Barber (2004 to 2006) and Jamaal Charles (2012 to 2014). No back this century has ever done it four straight years.If you look at the list across the league, you begin to see why an NFL front office might think twice about giving big money to a first-string running back. There were 11 teams in 2016 in which the difference in efficiency between the starter and the backup was separated by less than half a yard per attempt. What’s more, there were 16 backups who were actually more efficient in less work, perhaps because of fresher legs. And the four backs who averaged at least 1 yard more per rush than the man they were behind on the depth chart are backups again this year. That includes the best backup rusher last year, Oakland’s Jalen Richard (1.88 yards per carry more than the now-departed Latavius Murray, who was replaced by Marshawn Lynch). More mysteriously, the Jets’ Bilal Powell (5.51 per carry) is expected to back up the same starter, Matt Forte (3.73), as is Washington’s Chris Thompson (5.24) behind Rob Kelley (4.19).Bell’s teammates, at least, seem to appreciate his value. “We need him,” star wide receiver Antonio Brown told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler on Monday. “He’s a special piece.” But on Wednesday, prior to training camp, Brown expressed dismay on Instagram over Bell’s anticipated absence, saying the “First rule to getting better is showing Up!”Brown was rewarded for his stellar output with a four-year, $68 million deal in February. But Bell’s best offer from the Steelers didn’t approach that, according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, which is instructive in showing how much more the NFL values passing over the ground game. But Bell is arguably the team’s second-most important receiver behind Brown, too. Last year, he became the first player in NFL history to average more than 50 yards receiving per game in addition to 100 rushing yards. And his total of 157 yards from scrimmage per game was third-most in league history.Yet despite their arguably equal importance to the team, it’s Bell who is skipping camp while he waits on his payday. Brown, meanwhile, arrived at camp on Thursday chauffeured in the backseat of a 1931 Rolls Royce. HOUL. MillerA. Blue4.04.2-0.2 NOM. IngramT. Hightower5.14.1+1.0 WSHR. KelleyC. Thompson4.25.2-1.1 DEND. BookerC.J. Anderson3.54.0-0.5 BUFL. McCoyM. Gillislee5.45.7-0.3 CARJ. StewartF. Whittaker3.84.7-0.9 TEAMRB1RB2RB1RB2DIFF. RB2 is the teams’ best backup running back with at least 50 rushing attempts.Source: TruMedia CHIJ. HowardJ. Langford5.23.2+2.0 CINJ. HillR. Burkhead3.84.7-0.9 CLEI. CrowellD. Johnson4.84.9-0.1 Le’Veon Bell was born in the wrong decade. The Pittsburgh Steelers running back is the best player in the NFL at his position, but he’s playing at a time when that distinction has never been less valued. On Thursday, Bell didn’t report to camp (and was under no obligation to do so), having yet to sign his franchise tender for $12.1 million. Earlier this month, negotiations between the All-Pro and the Steelers broke down without Bell signing a long-term contract after he reportedly sought $15 million per year. Assuming Bell does sign the tender, he’ll still play this season for the Steelers as the game’s highest-paid back. But the Steelers can’t resume negotiations on a long-term deal until 2018, meaning Bell will be a free agent once again.Put another way: This could be Bell’s last season wearing black and gold. In another era, when running backs like Earl Campbell, Franco Harris and Walter Payton were the gods of the gridiron, this would be unfathomable. But in the modern NFL, any running back, regardless of his ability, may be viewed as replaceable simply because he doesn’t throw or primarily catch the football. Despite this new line of thinking, Pittsburgh could still be making a huge mistake.Local papers have noted that Pittsburgh has won at a higher rate without Bell the past two years (11-5 including playoffs) than with him (12-7). But Bell played in five games without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during that span, compared with just one for his backup the past two years, DeAngelo Williams, who is no longer with the team. The Steelers went 10-3, meanwhile, when Bell and Roethlisberger both played.1 This is excluding a 2015 game against the Bengals in which Bell suffered a season-ending injury early in the second quarter and January’s playoff loss against the Patriots when Bell left the game in the first quarter.In addition to durability risk, the knock on running backs is that they are interchangeable –that their success is based more on a team’s offensive scheme and run blocking than any innate ability. But that doesn’t seem to be the case with Bell. DETT. RiddickZ. Zenner3.93.8+0.1 PHIR. MathewsD. Sproles4.34.7-0.4 KCS. WareC. West4.33.3+1.0 TBD. MartinJ. Rodgers2.94.3-1.4 GBT. MontgomeryE. Lacy5.95.1+0.9 MINJ. McKinnonM. Asiata3.43.3+0.1
13Eli Manning2007Giants99.180.6✓ 2Matt Ryan2016Falcons132.692.5 16Nick Foles2017Eagles122.177.5✓ Goff’s been off in the playoffsSuper Bowl quarterbacks by passer rating and Total QBR for playoff performance through the championship round, 2006 through 2018 playerseasonteamRatingQBRWon SB? 3Peyton Manning2009Colts104.691.9 6Tom Brady2018Patriots91.585.6? 24Peyton Manning2015Broncos81.740.0✓ Most quarterbacks drive the bus to the Super Bowl. Their play is so sharp that it’s a major factor in their team’s advance through the postseason. A few, however, are merely passengers on the bus.Based on his performance so far in the playoffs, Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who will face off against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl on Sunday, may be a part of this second group. This is strange considering all that Goff accomplished in the regular season: He was top five in the league in yards per attempt and top 10 in passer rating, threw 32 touchdowns to 12 interceptions, was named to the Pro Bowl for a second straight year and was even a leading MVP candidate. But that Goff was absent from the divisional and championship rounds of the playoffs.Through the first three rounds of the playoffs, Goff’s overall performance as measured by Total Quarterback Rating is 62.8, according to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group.1Total QBR is a metric on a 0-to-100 scale that incorporates all of the quarterback’s contributions to winning on all of his plays, adjusting for opponent quality. Among the 26 postseason performances by quarterbacks who have played in the Super Bowl since February 2007 (including Brady’s 2018 postseason to date), Goff’s ranks 20th. That’s more than 10 points worse than the average Super Bowl quarterback over the same span (73.7). And it’s nearly 23 points short of Brady’s current postseason performance, the best of his six seasons in the sample. 18Eli Manning2011Giants103.174.8✓ 23Russell Wilson2014Seahawks81.953.0 Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group 5Aaron Rodgers2010Packers109.286.1✓ 12Joe Flacco2012Ravens114.780.9✓ 11Kurt Warner2008Cardinals112.182.3 15Tom Brady2011Patriots105.878.7 19Peyton Manning2006Colts66.872.9✓ 8Tom Brady2017Patriots105.083.3 Check out our latest NFL predictions. 9Cam Newton2015Panthers113.483.0 Goff’s performance isn’t quite as uninspiring as Rex Grossman’s in the playoffs following the 2006 season (30.6 QBR) or even Peyton Manning’s in the playoffs for the 2015 season (40.0 QBR). So the Rams clearly did not advance to the Super Bowl despite Goff. But they aren’t in Atlanta because of him, either. And for the Rams to claim the sport’s ultimate prize against the Patriots on Sunday, Goff will almost certainly need to raise his game to a much higher level, considering that nine of the last 12 Super Bowl MVPs have been quarterbacks.2Since the 2006 season, the only Super Bowl MVPs who have not been quarterbacks were on teams whose quarterbacks advanced to the big game despite playoff performances that were worse than Goff’s — Manning in the 2015 season, Russell Wilson in the 2013 season and Ben Roethlisberger in the 2008 season.It’s easy to write off Goff’s lackluster postseason to the small sample size of two games, but the problem for the Rams is that this is a continuation of a larger trend: Goff’s performance has been in a free fall during the second half of his season.Over the nine games that Goff played from Week 10 through the conference championship (a span that covers 358 dropbacks), his Total QBR was 54.6, which ranks 21st out of 31 qualifying quarterbacks.3The NFL requires quarterbacks to throw 14 passes per team game to qualify. Beyond that, the number of games played may vary by QB. Brady’s number over the same time period (76.9) ranks second, behind only Sam Darnold of the Jets.4Across just four games. Goff was barely better than Denver’s Case Keenum (53.3).Compare Goff’s second-half-of-the-season performance to his Total QBR in the nine games he played between Week 1 and Week 9 — 77.0 (323 dropbacks). That’s a decline of 22.4 points, which ties him with Cam Newton, who was playing with a throwing shoulder that has required surgery, as the biggest falloff since Week 10 among quarterbacks who qualified in both the first half and second half of the season: 10Tom Brady2007Patriots105.782.5 25Russell Wilson2013Seahawks89.135.6✓ 21Ben Roethlisberger2010Steelers75.562.1 22Ben Roethlisberger2008Steelers90.856.5✓ 17Tom Brady2016Patriots99.575.9✓ 20Jared Goff2018Rams79.562.8? 7Peyton Manning2013Broncos107.083.8 4Drew Brees2009Saints116.189.0✓ 1Colin Kaepernick201249ers105.994.7 26Rex Grossman2006Bears75.430.6 Goff’s yards per dropback, which factors in sacks and yards lost to sacks, has dropped a league-worst 2.32 yards. A good part of this decline can be explained by the inability to capitalize on what had been the bread and butter of the Rams’ passing game, the play-action pass. When passing after faking a handoff to the running back, Goff has averaged 7.39 yards per dropback since Week 10, which is a far cry from the 10.90 he gained in the first half of his season (on 112 and 107 dropbacks, respectively). Goff’s QBR on play action is down 20 points compared with the first half of his season.The big play that often came via play action is also lacking from the Rams’ offense. The team has managed 3.2 passing plays of 20 or more yards per game since Week 10, just under the NFL average. In the first half of their season, however, the Rams averaged 5.1 big passing plays per game, tied with the Chiefs for the league lead. In the playoffs, the Rams have been even less explosive, with just six big passing plays in two games, four fewer than the Patriots have.To be fair, Goff has not been operating with the same supporting cast. His best player, star running back Todd Gurley, has been hurt, limited or rusty since just before Christmas. And Goff has clearly missed his most efficient receiver this year in yards per target, Cooper Kupp, who tore his ACL in Week 10.On the sport’s biggest stage, Goff has a chance to silence critics who have been hounding him since his draft class. He has been called a system quarterback, to the great annoyance of the creator of that system, Rams head coach Sean McVay. (His argument wasn’t helped, however, when people started noticing that the Rams often rush to the line of scrimmage so that McVay can call audibles before the play clock cuts off his radio communication into Goff’s helmet.)Goff, just 24, has the opportunity to take Brady’s spot as the second-youngest quarterback in history to win a Super Bowl. But doing so will likely require Goff to again be the quarterback he was in the first half of his season. 14Tom Brady2014Patriots99.880.0✓
Dear NBA Diary (in video form!),With both NBA teams in L.A. making moves this summer, we wondered which team would dominate this upcoming season. Will the City of Angels bleed purple and gold? Or will it truly become #ClipperNation?Using our updated NBA projections for the 2019-2020 season, we took a look at how stars like Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard will reshape the West — and what L.A. fans can expect from their teams.
The Golden State Warriors are an insanely dominant team. To answer the question in this article’s headline: Yes, the Grizzlies have a chance — about a 6 percent chance according to our Real Plus-Minus-based projections. The Warriors projected Real Plus-Minus (RPM) of +15.8 points against the Grizzlies is easily the best of any team; Golden State has about a 10-point advantage per 100 possessions.So the Warriors are likely to win, yes, but the series has several interesting contrasts for the basketball geek.Take speed. If the Warriors do succeed against Memphis, they’ll probably do so playing their breathtakingly fast style. Golden State had by far the fastest pace in the league this season, at 98.3 possessions per game. The Grizzlies play at a lumbering gait: at 92.0 possessions per game, Memphis ranked in the bottom five of the league. The Warriors are also in the top four in total blocks and steals, which ignite fastbreaks. The Grizzlies are content playing solid half-court defense, forcing turnovers and limiting your total shots. It’s fast vs. slow.Shot selection is another difference. The Warriors, especially Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, excel behind the 3-point arc. The team led the NBA in both 3-point percentage (at nearly 40 percent!), and in the total number of threes attempted. The Grizzlies? They attempt the second fewest 3-pointers of any team in the NBA, with below-average success. Memphis’ strength is near the basket, where you’ll find their two big men, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. It’s outside vs. inside.Curry, who might just win the MVP award, leads the way for a stacked Warriors team; his projected +8.8 RPM is the second highest of any player (behind Cleveland’s LeBron James). At the other end, the Warriors will rely on defensive superstar Draymond Green, the runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year. Draymond will have a unique challenge against the two Memphis big men. If he can handle one of them one-on-one, the Warriors could cruise.For the Grizzlies, their (already slim) chances took a hit when point guard Mike Conley suffered a facial fracture. He’s projected to play only 15 minutes per game by these RPM calculations. But if he plays through the injury, and if the Grizzlies can slow the pace and prevent the 3-point-happy Warriors from blowing the roof off, Memphis could make this series interesting.
When Did Sports Become So Political? Last week, only 298 days after Claudio Ranieri helped Leicester City win the Premier League title, a 5,000-1 triumph, Ranieri was sacked. But does sacking a football manager have an effect? Not very much of one, a growing body of evidence suggests. There is over a 90 percent correlation between teams’ wages and their results, according to analysis of teams’ spending and results from 1973 to 2010 in “Soccernomics,” a book by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski. That leaves less than 10 percent to be decided by other factors — who its manager is, injuries, scouting and plain old luck. In English football from 1973 to 2010, Kuper and Szymanski found, only 10 percent of top-flight managers consistently overachieved when wages were taken into account. A very select few managers do make a difference, but most have a negligible impact on how a club performs.Today, the average Premier League manager — except Arsene Wenger, in his 21st year at Arsenal — lasts a little over a year, slightly shorter than Ranieri’s reign. That doesn’t leave much time for a manager to leave a mark. Occasionally, innovations can help managers succeed immediately, as Antonio Conte has in reintroducing the 3-4-3 formation at Chelsea this season, to stunning effect. But in the overwhelming majority of cases, clubs’ complex systems of coaching, player analysis, scouting, youth development and training facilities far predate — and normally outlast — any new manager.Take Leicester and Ranieri. There were several crucial aspects of their success last year: the brilliant end to the 2014-15 season, winning seven of the team’s last nine matches under a previous manager; sophisticated use of data analytics (several members of Leicester’s backroom team have subsequently been poached); and a brilliant scouting network. All of it was in place before Ranieri took charge. While Ranieri tweaked the side’s tactics and elevated the midfielder Danny Drinkwater from the substitutes’ bench, overall he changed relatively little about Leicester’s method.What did change was Leicester’s luck, first for the better, and then for the worse. Last season, Leicester’s goal difference was 11.5 greater than predicted by a model of expected goals developed by David Sumpter, a sports economist, using Opta data that takes into account the location of shots; the team also benefited from the fewest total days lost to injury of any Premier League team. Until Leicester defeated Liverpool in its first match without Ranieri, it had been the unluckiest team in the league this season according to Sumpter’s model. When Ranieri was sacked, Leicester had conceded 9.6 goals more than expected, while scoring 0.8 fewer than expected, adding up to a goal difference of -10.4 compared to its actual figures, the lowest in the league.“Sacking Ranieri now is stupid. It’s falling into the trap of underestimating randomness,” said Sumpter, author of “Soccermatics.” “This season’s run of bad form is partly down to a run of bad luck.” Football is particularly prone to randomness, because it is so low scoring; underdogs win more than in any other major sport.So if Leicester continues to maintain its level of play for the remainder of the season, its results should improve, regardless of who the new manager is — or whether Ranieri had stayed.Ranieri’s sacking is likely to lead to an upswing in Leicester City’s results, just not because a new manager is better than him. New Premier League managers generally enjoy “a short honeymoon period,” a study of sackings from 1992-2008 by Sue Bridgewater, director of the Centre for Sports Business at the University of Liverpool Management School, found — but this is not because of the new boss. Managers tend to be sacked when a team is at a low point, after which they tend to revert to their former level: Bridgewater found that an average team earns 1.3 points a match, which is what they earn in the three months after a sacking. The “bounce” a new manager enjoys is just regression to the mean. Bas ter Weel, a Dutch economist, has found the same phenomenon in the Netherlands.In 2015-16, there were 58 sackings across the 92 clubs in the top four tiers in English football, a record. In most cases, teams would have been better off retaining their managers and using the saved cash on new players, or greater investment in scouting and youth development. Related: Hot Takedown In recent years several unglamorous teams have thrived while adopting strategies that limit a manager’s importance. As Kuper and Szymanski note, Lyon won seven consecutive titles in France from 2002-08, as well as reaching the quarterfinals of Champions League in three consecutive seasons from 2003-04, with four different coaches – Jacques Santini, Paul Le Guen, Gérard Houllier and Alain Perrin — who subsequently had undistinguished records. Lyon recognized that a previous manager, Bernard Lacombe, was exceptional at spotting talent, so moved him to a director of football role, focusing on player recruitment while insulated from day-to-day pressure. More recently, Southampton has excelled in the Premier League despite repeatedly losing its coaches to other clubs. Southampton’s success, like Lyon’s, has been underpinned by excellent youth development and a philosophy for player recruitment that changes little depending on who the manager is.Routinely branded the savior or destroyer of a club, the football manager is rarely either. Indeed, given how short his stints are and how many other staff members clubs now employ, perhaps the manager has never been less important. Ranieri’s unfathomable two years at Leicester might be best remembered as a reminder of the limits of a manager’s significance.Check out our latest soccer predictions.
The Ohio State men’s hockey team’s regular season ended with a shootout loss on Thursday and a 3-1 loss Friday to Ferris State — not how the Buckeyes wanted to wrap it up. OSU men’s hockey coach Mark Osiecki showed that with his discouraged look in Friday’s postgame press conference. Of their 14 games following a sweep of then-No. 7 Miami (Ohio) on Jan. 7–8, the Buckeyes (15-16-4, 10-14-4-2 CCHA) lost 10. “It’s a little frustrating knowing that we had a chance, had an opportunity and we didn’t make the best of it,” senior defenseman Chris Reed said. The chance Reed is referring to is the Buckeyes’ ability to get a first-round bye if they were to win both games against Ferris State. The Buckeyes could have moved up all the way into the fourth seed for the Central Collegiate Hockey Association Tournament. But that didn’t happen. Osiecki said he was unhappy with the way the offense performed. “We just didn’t generate enough offense,” he said. “We get offense from three players; we need to generate more from other players.” Scoring chances in Friday’s game became harder when the Buckeyes lost two defensemen who play significant minutes. Sophomore defenseman Devon Krogh was disqualified for a hitting-from-behind penalty, and freshman defenseman Curtis Gedig had to leave the game with a leg injury. But junior defenseman and captain Sean Duddy made no excuses, saying, “We just didn’t do a good enough job of putting ourselves in a position to create chances.” OSU will be the ninth seed in the CCHA Tournament and face Lake Superior State in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., this weekend. Look for the CCHA Tournament preview in Thursday’s edition of The Lantern.
The Ohio State men’s volleyball team dropped a pair of road matches over the weekend to teams that sit below the Buckeyes in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association standings. The losses dropped OSU out of the nation’s top 10 for the first time since Feb. 1, from No. 8 to No. 11. Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) defeated the Buckeyes, 3-2 (28-26, 17-25, 20-25, 25-22, 15-9), Saturday night. OSU’s defense combined for 16.5 blocks, led by redshirt senior middle blocker John Tholen, who notched eight blocks. Sophomore libero Brennan Anderson totaled a match-high 16 digs, and has now reached double digits in the category 15 times this season. On the offensive end, four Buckeyes finished with 10 or more kills. Redshirt sophomore setter Peter Heinen assisted on 51 of the team’s kills. OSU was forced to take an early timeout following an 8-3 IPFW run out of the gate. The Buckeyes responded soon after with a 6-2 run to bring the match within a point, 11-10. A back-and-forth set played out from there, ending in a 28-26 win for the Mastodons. A pair of late-set service aces from Tholen gave OSU the second set, 25-17. The Buckeyes went on to take the third set, 25-20 but were unable to finish off their opponents in sets four or five. Back-to-back errors by OSU gave IPFW the fourth set, 25-22, the fifth set, 15-9, and the match, 3-2. Ball State swept OSU (25-15, 25-21, 25-21) Friday night in Muncie, Ind. The winless road trip dropped the Buckeyes another game off the pace of league-leading Lewis, which went 1-1 across the weekend. OSU coach Pete Hanson’s squad remains in second place, 1.5 games behind the Flyers. OSU (15-5, 7-3 MIVA) returns home to St. John Arena on Friday for a non-conference match against Mount Olive at 7 p.m.
Lantern file photoWhen Maurice Clarett and Jim Tressel started their respective football careers in a city in the heart of Mahoning County, each seemed destined for greatness.For Clarett, it was supposed to be a Heisman-worthy career at Ohio State before a lengthy and successful NFL journey. For Tressel, it was meant to be multiple national titles in Columbus and surpassing the shadow of Woody Hayes before riding off into the sunset.Both men fell short, but ultimately found purpose in their lives that could impact many other people in ways other than either of the aforementioned legacies. In the end, two Youngstown boys, known for their football prowess, could very well make their hometown proud for reasons that could never take place between the white lines of a football field.As part of its noteworthy documentary series “30 for 30,” ESPN released the latest chapter in the series Saturday, chronicling the lives of the former Buckeyes.The special program, called “Youngstown Boys,” portrayed the rise, fall and rebirth of the former OSU running back and his relationship with the former Buckeye football coach.As one could assume, the documentary offered a very in-depth profile of Clarett and his life, but took on a different theme as well. His relationship with Tressel took a large role in the film and made “Youngstown Boys” about much more than the trials and tribulations of one of the most iconic players in Buckeye history.Directed by Jeff and Michael Zimbalist, the film provides a look into the firm relationship between the two men, from their roots in Youngstown to their beginnings at Ohio State. As the film depicted, Clarett was leaning towards Notre Dame or Michigan before Tressel took over in Columbus in 2001. From that moment on, the running back knew he was meant to be a Buckeye.Although everything started off smoothly for the duo, their relationship — along with Clarett’s life — took a sharp negative following OSU’s 2003 National Championship victory against the Miami Hurricanes. Former OSU athletic director Andy Geiger took the brunt of the heat for Clarett’s suspension in 2003 after it was found he took illegal benefits, but the film also took an angle that portrayed Tressel as a sellout. Rather than being a father figure to the young and lost Clarett, Tressel followed the route of prestige and power, ultimately retaining favor and love from OSU and its vast nation of fans.From that point, Clarett’s life turned into a nightmare. He sued the NFL and was ultimately denied the right to enter the NFL draft early. He fell into a deep depression that sent him back into the streets he narrowly avoided as a child. He worked hard to impress at the NFL combine after two years away from the game, but failed miserably and didn’t receive a single NFL carry after being drafted in the third round by the Denver Broncos. Finally, it all hit a breaking point as Clarett was jailed for having multiple loaded weapons in his car after a high-pursuit police chase.That breaking point, as Clarett sat in jail, began to string together incidents that would bring the “Youngstown Boys” back together again.Tressel, seeing the result of his mishandling of the former running back, began taking responsibility for his actions and hold himself to a higher standard. Ultimately, that higher standard cost him his job at OSU, as Tressel defended his players, as “any father would,” and took the fall for their actions.Tressel resigned in 2011 after 10 seasons at the helm in the wake of the Tattoo-gate scandal, where some former players were found to be receiving illegal benefits. And in what seemed to be an ironic paradox, both “Youngstown Boys” saw such glory just years before, sat at the lowest points in their respective lives.In their misery, both men found their purpose in life beyond football. As Clarett sat in jail, enriching his mind in the way he had enriched his body for years before, both the running back and the coach reached out to each other and rebuilt a strained relationship.While OSU was certainly a glorious path along their journey, each of the “Youngstown Boys” said they believe there is a higher purpose to fulfill. Both are using their influence and experience to help people to better their lives.Tressel, now executive vice president at the University of Akron, is trying to provide a guiding light to a new generation of students while Clarett is using his life to help provide a way for others to avoid his mistakes. Through it all, they maintain a very loving and helping relationship in which they have forgiven and forgotten all of their past transgressions.
Ohio State’s Kyle Snyder stands during the national anthem prior to the the dual-meet against Iowa on Jan. 21 in the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorThe No. 2 Ohio State wrestling team (13-1, 8-1 Big Ten) beat No. 4 Michigan (9-3, 6-2 Big Ten) 18-15 Sunday evening in a closely contested dual meet, despite senior heavyweight Kyle Snyder losing his first collegiate match since 2015. Snyder dropped his first match of the season 3-1 against No. 2 Adam Coon, who is listed at 6-foot-6 and 285 pounds, 7 inches and 60 pounds larger than Snyder. The physical mismatch made this match interesting leading into tonight, but Coon stunned many by beating the Olympic gold medalist. Snyder had not lost in college since Iowa State’s Kyven Gadson beat him in the 2015 NCAA final at 197 pounds.In the third period of No. 3 Bo Jordan’s match against No. 6 Myles Amine at 174 pounds, he took the lead with a takedown, and gained the riding time advantage point after preventing Amine from escaping. Eventually, a stalemate was called before Amine got the escape. Jordan led 5-4, essentially because of riding time.As the clock wound down, Amine needed a two-point takedown to win, and he got it in the final seconds. Initially, the referee did not award any points, but Amine found the correct positioning for the takedown before the clock hit zero. This moment gave Michigan their first lead of the meet, 12-11, with three bouts remaining.Michigan remained close with the Buckeyes, but Ohio State received solid performances from two of its highly ranked heavyweights. Ohio State’s No. 2 Myles Martin won 5-3 against No. 5 Domemic Abounader.The Buckeyes’ No. 1 Kollin Moore bounced back after his first loss of the season against Penn State with a major decision win against No. 12 Kevin Beazley 17-6 at 197 pounds. Moore registered two takedowns late in the first period to take control, and dominated in the second and third with Beazley losing energy. Another undefeated Buckeye went down when No. 5 Stevan Micic upset No. 2 Luke Pletcher 11-4 at 133 pounds. Pletcher is now 22-1.Michigan’s No. 9 Logan Massa beat No. 14 Te’Shan Campbell 6-2 at 165 pounds to hand Campbell his sixth-straight loss. His last win was 8-2 against Maryland’s Brendan Burnham on Jan. 5.Ohio State’s No. 5 Micah Jordan also lost, falling 12-7 to No. 7 Alec Pantaleo in an evenly matched bout. No. 4 Nathan Tomasello won via technical fall against Michigan’s No. 9 Drew Mattin 20-5. Ohio State’s No. 7 Joey McKenna beat Sal Profaci 6-2 at 141 pounds in the only match in which both wrestlers weren’t ranked. Buckeyes’ No. 6 Ke-Shawn Hayes won 9-2 against No. 18 Malik Amine.Ohio State’s next meet will take place on Feb. 18 at No. 6 North Carolina State in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Dwayne Haskins (7) drops back to pass behind Brandon Bowen (76) and Michael Jordan (73) in Ohio’ State’s game against TCU. Ohio State won the game 40-28. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorDwayne Haskins has a ritual he goes through before each game he plays. The redshirt sophomore quarterback said he gets a text from his father each morning containing a Bible scripture and reads that. He said he calls his pastor before every game to pray. He said he prays with sophomore safety Brendon White before each game. This is what gave Haskins his mindset before each game he plays in. “It’s really about having faith and knowing that no matter what happens in the game or in life that you have God at the end of the day,” Haskins said. “Just knowing you are going to play football. It’s a game, just have fun with it.” Haskins started at the beginning of the season with a quiet confidence, as a pro-style quarterback trying to find his way to navigate head coach Urban Meyer’s spread offense. As the season continued, as records began to be broken, both at the school and conference level, the confidence blossomed.After Ohio State celebrated its second-straight Big Ten championship and prepares for a Rose Bowl matchup against Washington, Haskins has something to look forward to. This time, it’s not team related. Haskins is one of three finalists for the Heisman Trophy, awarded each season to the top college football player in the country. Haskins has travelled to New York for the ceremony along with Alabama sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Oklahoma redshirt junior quarterback Kyler Murray, all three first-time starters at their respective programs. For Haskins, he will end the 2018 season where he started: with three players vying for one thing. Haskins battled for the Ohio State starting quarterback job in the spring with redshirt freshman Tate Martell and redshirt junior Joe Burrow, a battle the redshirt sophomore confidently admitted he knew he was going to win. “I knew I was going to be the guy. It was just a matter of time before they made the decision,” Haskins said. “My family calls it prophesying and I was going to come to school here at 10 years old, I knew I was going to be quarterback here, knew I was going to do great things this year. I speak everything into existence. It’s possible.” As Martell stepped into the role he had previously held and Burrow transferred to LSU, Haskins thrived, leading the country with 4,580 passing yards and 47 passing touchdowns, seven more than Murray and 10 more than Tagovailoa. With Haskins at the helm, Ohio State went from leading the Big Ten in rushing in 2017, to leading the conference in passing, averaging 373 passing yards per game, No. 2 in the country behind Washington State. But Haskins did not make his national mark until the final two games of the season, the two games Ohio State tried to make a statement in to sneak into the College Football Playoff as the No. 4 seed. After a six-touchdown performance against the No. 1 defense in the country in Ohio State’s 62-39 drubbing of then-No. 4 Michigan, the redshirt sophomore quarterback completed 34-of-41 pass attempts for an Ohio State record 499 yards, throwing five touchdowns against Northwestern in the Big Ten championship. “It’s surreal,” Haskins said. “To say that it would happen to this detail, I wouldn’t say that. I knew that it was possible and I had to put the work in to go do it.” That win secured his trip to New York, becoming one of the three finalists for the nation’s top college football award, an award redshirt senior wide receiver Parris Campbell thought he proved to be in the category for all season. “Just his talent, it’s indescribable. He’s blessed, but he really became into a leader throughout the season,” Campbell said. “He’s worked his nuts off, man.” The Heisman is something Haskins believes is achievable, saying after the Big Ten Championship he has “a pretty good shot” at.But for Haskins, it’s not only because of his abilities. It’s in the abilities of the players around him. It’s the trust developed through offseason workouts, it’s throwing late into the night at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, developing a rapport with each of his receivers. Haskins will tell you the success of the season was not about his individual accolades, using his abilities to change an Ohio State offense that was very run-heavy to one of the best passing offenses in the nation. It was about developing a cohesion as a team, as a unit, a cohesion that learned from every game that was played. “We grabbed each learning experience from each game and then applied it to the next,” Haskins said. “And seeing them go to work last week and then this week, we are putting it all together. I’m just very proud of everyone.” Freshman quarterback Matthew Baldwin watched Haskins, throughout the season, through the highs like the win against Penn State and Michigan, and the lows like the loss to Purdue. He said Haskins just exudes confidence, something he hopes to emulate. “Dwyane has an elite level of confidence in himself and it’s for a good reason: it’s because he’s an elite player,” Baldwin said. “He’ll take any shot he thinks he can make.” Haskins has at least one more game with Ohio State, saying he will play in the Rose Bowl no matter what decision he makes regarding his professional career, something he said will come after the game against Washington. But his approach remained the same. The routine remained the same, something he likely will take with him to Pasadena, California no matter if he wins the Heisman or not. “I took it day by day and all season and just [made] the most of it this year,” Haskins said.
Dr Amanda Doyle, GP, co-chair of NHS Clinical Commissioners, said: “Clinical commissioning groups are led by GPs whose first priority is always to the patient. Wherever possible we want to give them what they need, including fertility treatment.”Unfortunately the NHS does not have unlimited resources and ensuring patients get the best possible care against a backdrop of increasingly squeezed finances is one of the biggest issues CCGs face.”As a result there are some tough choices that have to be made, which we appreciate can be difficult for some of our patients.” CCGs in Bedfordshire, Basildon & Brentwood, Ipswich and East Suffolk, and West Suffolk are all currently consulting on whether to withdraw all funding for IVF.Bedfordshire CCG yesterday announced that it would defer a decision until November, amid public outrage at the plans.South Norfolk CCG has already stopped funding such treatment, as has Mid-Essex CCG and North East Essex CCG, except in isolated medically complex cases, the charity warned.And eleven more areas have recently drawn up or introduced plans to limit treatment to just one cycle, despite guidance recommending that three cycles of IVF are offered.Sarah Norcross, co-chair of Fertility Fairness, said: “The picture is looking bleak and I’m deeply concerned on behalf of fertility patients that there is a sustained disinvestment in fertility treatment. I would urge the Government to take action to turn this around.” Fertility campaigners say IVF is seen as a ‘soft target’ because many of those coping with childlessness do not want to speak upCredit:Andrew Matthews/PA The NHS has stopped funding IVF, or drawn up plans to axe or drastically scale back provision in one in 10 parts of the country, amid deepening rationing.Fertility experts said swingeing cuts across the country meant a “bleak picture” for couples struggling to conceive, with current provision already at levels not seen since 2004.Thirteen clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are consulting on plans to stop funding any IVF treatment, or to dramatically reduce what is on offer, while six areas have already taken such decisions.Charity Fertility Fairness said couples across the country were being left to suffer stress and anxiety as funding pressures caused NHS bodies to draw up restrictions “out of the blue”. 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 approach was tested in the lab on bovine and human sperm, with live animal tests due to start within three years.Prof Howl said it was “too early to say” if the end result would be a pill, a nasal spray or a sub-skin implant, but said all were possibilities.Research has suggested that around half of sexually active men would consider taking the male contraceptive pill.Other studies are examining the use of injections to block sperm, using polymers.John Guillebaud, emeritus professor of family planning and reproductive health at University College London, said a reversible male contraceptive would be “of enormous benefit to many couples” including when women could not take the pill for medical reasons. Lead researcher Professor John Howl, of Wolverhampton University, said the new compound, made in the lab, had shown immediate results.“The results are startling – and almost instant. When you take healthy sperm and add our compound, within a few minutes the sperm basically cannot move,” he said .Working with scientists from Portugal, the team made a compound called a cell-penetrating peptide. So far, male contraception has been limited to condoms and vasectomies Credit:Alamy 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. “This is a totally unique approach,” said Prof Howl. “Nobody else has ever done this before,” he told The Mail on Sunday.Peptides are short chains of amino acids which influence how human cells work. They occur naturally but can also be created synthetically.The breakthough came after scientists in Wolverhampton demonstrated that particular peptides could penetrate sperm cells. Then fertility experts at Aveiro University in Portugal, who had identified the crucial protein which drives sperm to swim, created a bespoke compound which turned the protein off. Scientists have made a breakthrough which could be key to developing a male contraceptive pill.The discovery uses a peptide which changes the way human cells work, “switching off” sperm’s ability to swim, to render men temporarily infertile.Scientists hailed the results as “startling – and almost instant.”It raises the prospect of a fast-acting pill or a nasal spray that a man could take hours or even minutes before sex.Women are typically advised to stop taking the Pill weeks or even months before trying to conceive.But researchers believe the effects of a male pill would happen almost instantly, with effects wearing off within a matter of days.Family planning experts said a reversible male contraceptive could help men control their fertility, and benefit couples where the woman does not want to take the Pill. He added: “It would also help men who want to have control over their own fertility – for example, to ensure they do not get trapped into having a child by a woman who says she is on the Pill, but isn’t.”
“We are looking … at whether trusts should do upfront identification,” he told the committee.“There are individual trusts like Peterborough who are doing that, who are reporting that it makes a big difference.” Currently the NHS only attempts to recoup charges for non-urgent care. But ministers are drawing up plans to introduce charges for overseas patients who use Accident & Emergency departments, ambulance services, maternity units and GPs.Mr Wormald said the NHS had “a lot further to go” in ensuring that treatment costs were recouped.Last month the National Audit Office found NHS Trusts collected just £255 million of at least £500 million spent providing treatment to foreign patients last year. Eight trusts failed to collect payment from a single overseas visitor who received free treatment to which they had not been entitled. We are looking … at whether trusts should do upfront identificationChris Wormald Mr Wormald told the public accounts committee the Government was considering rolling out plans which were “controversial” and would mean a significant change to the culture of the health service.The committee heard that Britain has paid £4.3 million towards treatment for Britons in Poland – but received just £1.5 million for the cost of treating Poles in NHS hospitals.Mr Wormald said the Department of Health was examining whether passports would be suitable for every part of the country.It was possible that schemes could be targeted in areas with high immigrant populations, he suggested. MPs said the taxpayer was being “taken for a ride” by the failure to charge health tourists Credit:Alamy Every NHS patient could be asked to show their passport before they receive healthcare, a senior official has said.The Department of Health’s top civil servant said a national scheme could mean the entire population is expected to bring two forms of identification before receiving treatment.Chris Wormald, the permanent secretary, disclosed the proposals as MPs said the taxpayer was being “taken for a ride” by the failure to charge health tourists and those who fall sick while visiting the UK. The proposals could apply to hospitals in certain parts of the countryCredit:Peter Byrne /PA “We are looking at whether more trusts should go down that route, as has been done in London and elsewhere, on people having to prove their identity,” he said. “And whether that is proportionate – whether in just some places or whether you want to apply it to the whole country. “Those are the questions that we are looking at.”The Department of Health has yet to announce its decision on plans to extend charges for overseas patients beyond non-urgent care, but is expected to do so within weeks.Mr Wormald said significant changes were needed to recoup costs from overseas patients who are not eligible for free treatment. Charlie Elphicke, a Conservative MP, highlighted figures showing how much more money Britain pays out than it receives. “Poland claimed £4.3 million from the UK in 2014-15 but the UK only claimed £1.5 million from Poland,” said the MP, suggesting that the taxpayer was “being taken for ride” by “political correctness and a non-charging culture in the NHS”. Last year research suggested that the UK is now paying out £15 for the healthcare costs of Britons who fall ill abroad for every £1 it gets back for the NHS treatment of European visitors.Those from outside the EU are supposed to pay for care. Meg Hillier, the committee chairman, expressed concern about British residents who would struggle to find suitable ID. “I have constituents who have no photo IDs,” she said. “Because they have never travelled they have no passport, they have no driver’s licence because they have never driven, they still live at home because they can’t afford to move out so they’ve never had a utility bill in their name.”[They are] perfectly entitled to health care – British born, British resident – how are you going to make sure that people have access easily to the NHS without having to go through a very humiliating and impossible-to-meet set of demands?”Mr Wormald said the Government had yet to decide whether it was “proportionate” to ask every patient seeking treatment for identification. 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.
Noel Conway with his wife Carol. He is terminally ill with a form of motor neurone disease and is going to court to challenge the law on assisted dyingCredit:Annabel Moeller/PA Omid when he was younger Omid told the BBC: “Even animals live better than me. Even animals, when they can’t do anything, they put them to sleep. Don’t I have the right for this?”The Iranian-born 54-year-old, who is married and has three children, could have a life expectancy of more than 15 years. MPs voted down an assisted dying bill in 2015 with a two-thirds majority after a four-hour debate. 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 father-of-three who is not terminally ill is fighting for the right to take his own life with help because “animals live better” than he does. Omid, whose surname cannot be revealed because of a court order, is crowdfunding a High Court bid to change the law on assisted dying. He has multiple system atrophy which means he is bedbound and must use a catheter. His speech has deteriorated and his muscles continue to weaken. Following a failed suicide attempt in 2015, he is now trying to change the law so that assisted suicide can be made available to anyone who is suffering, not just the terminally ill. As of Monday afternoon he has raised £2,480 of his £10,000 target. On his fundraising page he says: “Remember that suicide is legal – it’s just that I cannot end my life as I have lost control in my arms and hands.”I could have several miserable years ahead of me. I have lost the will to carry on with a wretched existence without joy and pleasure. I cannot do anything for myself. What sort of life is this and who would want it?” Another man, Noel Conway, is also mounting a High Court bid to change the law. Mr Conway’s case is different because he has a terminal illness, a form of motor neurone disease. He is trying to legalise assisted dying only for terminally ill people with less than six months to live. Dignity in Dying, a campaign group which is supporting Mr Conway’s case, said it would not support Omid’s case. Chief executive Sarah Wootton said: “Noel’s legal challenge is about the right, when dying, to die well.”Without the right to make decisions about the manner and timing of his death, he faces the impossible choice between travelling abroad for an assisted death at great financial and emotional cost, or taking matters into his own hands at home.“Noel’s case is distinct from that of Omid, who does not have a terminal diagnosis.”Omid, who has recently sought permission to join Noel’s case, is calling for assisted suicide to be made available to anyone who is suffering unbearably, not just those who are dying.”Both cases were heard by a panel of three High Court judges last week. They are due to pass down a decision this week. The current law, under the Suicide Act 1961, says it is an offence to encourage or assist a suicide or a suicide attempt in England and Wales. Anyone found guilty could face 14 years in jail. However, the Crown Prosecution Service should only mount a prosecution if it would be in the public interest.
Figures show that in some cases, patients have been forced to wait more than five hoursCredit:Alamy In Boston, in Lincolnshire, a case classed as life-threatening waited almost two hours for an ambulance, later the same month, figures from East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) show.Dr Chris Moulton, vice president of the RCEM, said such delays were “absolutely unacceptable”.But he said ambulance services were under unprecedented pressure, with the whole healthcare system “struggling at every pinch point”. But some extremely lengthy waits involved red 1 patients.One patient, classed as “red 1” waited 58 minutes for an ambulance in Spalding, in Lincolnshire on 20 January, amid a shortage of EMAS ambulances. The trust said the case had later been found to have been incorrectly coded, though it was thought to be more serious at the time.A further 87 red 1 cases were forced to wait at least 30 minutes for a response, even though the category is focussed on those with cardiac arrests and breathing difficulties.And 8,140 red 2 patients waited at least 30 minutes for a red 2 response, including those left for several hours. The A&E consultant said too many ambulances were being forced off the road, because paramedics were stuck in casualty units, as patients faced long waits to see a doctor or nurse.But he also urged the public to do more to reduce pressures on ambulances, with too much reliance on 999 for minor cases.Liz McAnulty, Chairman of the Patients Association, said the findings were “alarming” and a signal that the NHS was facing a major crisis.“Ambulance services must respond in a timely and effective way – this can be literally a matter of life or death,” she said.“We are profoundly concerned that people with life-threatening medical needs are apparently increasingly likely to face unacceptably long waits,” she said, calling for a boost for health service funding. We are profoundly concerned that people with life-threatening medical needs are apparently increasingly likely to face unacceptably long waitsChairman of the Patients Association SCAS said it was experienced “increased demand” on 2 January, resulting in the five hour delay.The trust said the call, which involved a fall at home, was initally categorised as lower priority, but reasssed by call-handlers to become red 2.“Throughout this delay our clinical support desk was in contact with the patient to discuss their care and to apologise for our delay to them,” the trust said. Her family called 999, when she began to experience chest pains and breathing problems, and the call was categorised as category A – with an eight minute response target.But it took 42 minutes for the NHS to send out a single paramedic to her home in Monmouth, despite two more calls from her desperate daughter and sister. By then Mrs Davies’ heart had stopped, after a series of violent fits. Even once it was restarted, with adrenaline injections, it was over an hour before an ambulance arrived from across the border in England to take her to hospital. She died nine days later after suffering from irreversable brain damage.Her son Mathew, a secondary school teacher, said his mother had died as a result of “systematic failures” by the Welsh Ambulance Service, which he said attempted to cover up its errors.A coroner said “significant failings” by the service contributed to Ms Davies’ death, in January 2011.The delays reaching the mother of two were exacerbated because the battery of a rapid response vehicle was not charged, the inquest heard.The coroner only became aware of the errors, when the trust accidentally sent him a draft report into the incident, in addition to a final version which made no mention of the failing.Mr Davies, 32, from Shrewsbury, said the loss of his mother in such circumstances had been “emotionally and mentally traumatising” for the family.“The shocking thing is there has been no accountability for this,” said Mr Davies, who has since campaigned to improve provision of ambulances in Wales. The figures show that in some cases, patients have been forced to wait more than five hours – even though their case has been classed as “life threatening” by 999 call handlers.In total, more than 8,000 such cases waited more than 30 minutes for a response over a six week period, Freedom of Information disclosures reveal.The longest wait was in Portsmouth, on January 2, when a call to South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) resulted in a wait of five hours five minutes for an ambulance, even though the case was classed as life-threatening.The greatest delay among such cases at North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) trust came three days later, when a patient from Accrington in Lancashire waited almost three and a half hours for a response. An NHS England spokesman said: “The ambulance service is facing significant pressures partly because too many ambulances are dispatched to simply hit targets rather than attend to patients in need. For this reason we have been testing a change to the way in which ambulance services respond.“These trials – an idea that has come from doctors and paramedics – are designed to get to the most urgent patients in the quickest possible time, and improve the service for all patients who dial 999.” The new figures, which cover the first six weeks of this year, come amid attempts to reform the system of ambulance responses, with trials which allow call handlers longer to assess calls. Ambulance services in England have not hit the eight minute target since 2013/14, official figures show, with just 68.6 per cent of red 1 calls receiving a response in eight minutes in 2016/17, along with 62.3 per cent of red 2 calls. A lower 65 per cent target has been met in Wales since it abandoned all other ambulance time targets. 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. Pilot schemes are underway in the NHS that give call handlers longer to assess cases before sending out an ambulance Credit:Alamy Jacqualine Davies, 49, died after waiting more than an hour for an ambulance, even though her case had been classed as “life-threatening”. A spokesman said a large number of ambulances were waiting to hand over patients at the local hospital, with paramedics caring for patients in the backs of vehicles.NWAS apologised for the delays for the patient who waited almost three and a half hours.“In many of the red 2 cases identified, patients’ conditions will have changed and warranted an upgrade from the less serious ‘green’ category, for which there are no national performance standards, to the ‘red’ category which requires a quicker response,” a spokesman said.Ben Holdaway, deputy director of operations at EMAS said: “We are sorry that some of our patients have had to wait for an ambulance. The patient who waited for 58 minutes was conscious, breathing and alert as such other calls to patients who were unconscious had to take priority.Pilot schemes are underway in the NHS that give call handlers longer to assess cases before sending out an ambulance response. Health officials say too many ambulance are being sent out when it later turns out they were not needed. 999 patients classed as “life threatening” are being forced to wait hours for an ambulance, with delays of up to five hours in some cases, an investigation has found.Under NHS targets, patients in the most grave emergencies – which include cardiac arrests, airway obstructions and strokes – are supposed to receive a response within eight minutes, in 75 per cent of cases.But the target has been repeatedly missed in recent years, amid growing pressures on emergency services.Now Freedom of Information disclosures reveal that thousands of patients are being forced to wait far longer, with desperately time-sensitive emergencies being left for hours.Last night patients’ groups described the disclosures as “alarming” while the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) said the delays were “unacceptable”. Under the NHS system of ambulance prioritisation, life threatening calls are sub-divided into two categories: Red 1 – the most time critical – covering cardiac arrests, breathing difficulties – and Red 2, covering other serious urgent cases, such as strokes.All are subject to the eight minute time target, because the chance of survival depends on a speedy response.Many of the longest waits – including the delay of over five hours – fell into the Red 2 category. The ambulance service is facing significant pressures partly because too many ambulances are dispatched to simply hit targetsNHS England
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. “He has a fracture in his skull – but they still don’t know why the bleeding from his ear is not stopping yet,” the Somali-born man said.He added that Mr Sharif “does not remember anything” of the attack and kept asking immediately after the incident “what was wrong”.The man said: “I have been living in London now almost eight years – it is a good place, a safe place, but after what happened it doesn’t seem to be as we thought it was.”He added: “Hopefully we won’t see what we saw again.”Man sustained knee injury It is unknown whether he was killed by the van or not, but he did die at the scene after the van veered into the group.The brother in law of the deceased wrote on Facebook on Monday night: “Thank you for all your calls, support and prayers throughout last night and today. Just to give you a quick update, from last nights attack at Finsbury Park, the police has confirmed that the description of the deceased person matches my brother in laws. However we still have not seen the dead body to confirm that it is him, we are awaiting on met police to arrange this.”Thank you for keeping my brother in law and his family in your prayers.”I will update as soon as I get further info.” Man seriously injured with a fractured skull A relative of a victim of the attack has said his uncle is in hospital with a fractured skull and doesn’t remember what happened.Hamza Sharif is one of the people taken to hospital having been hit by the van and he was seen in a video posted to Facebook bleeding out of his ear.During a visit to his uncle in hospital, the relative told the Evening Standard: “He is bleeding out of his ear, but in general his health was stable. A deaf man was mildly injured outside the mosque, according to someone who claims to be his close friend.Nabil Makilm wrote on Facebook: “In London Finsbury Park Mosque.. The white man drove a van and went passed me very close by shoulder my Deaf friend was in small injury but he’s fine. A man has sustained a knee injury after being hit by the van, according to a relative on Facebook.It is unclear how serious the injury is, or whether he is in hospital.Abdishakuur Ducaale Caadle wrote: “My uncle was praying in Finsbury park mosque last and was run over by a terrorist guy but mashallah he didn’t die his got knees injury”.Deaf man mildly injured Mr Ali, was pronounced dead at the scene over half an hour later, while at least eight others seriously injured, with some lodged under the vehicle’s wheels. “I and other men grab the driver and hold him. While holding him most men got angry and kicked punch him. Now police has arrested him. Lucky my close friend and I are ok.” Ten people were injured and one killed after a van drove into pedestrians exiting a mosque after late-night Ramadan prayers in the early hours of Monday morning.Eight of these were taken to hospital, and some people are understood to have been seriously injured.Here is everything we know about the victims of the attack.Markram Ali After the congregation finished their nightly Taraweeh prayers at the Muslim Welfare House mosque in North London’s Finsbury Park, the crowd stood around chatting in the balmy summer air.Eventually one small group of men said goodnight and moved off along the still busy Seven Sisters Road towards their homes on the nearby Andover Estate.But after a short distance 52-year-old Markram Ali, who had earlier complained of feeling unwell, suddenly collapsed to the ground clutching his chest.As his 26-year-old daughter rushed to look after him, and he was tended to by his worried fellow worshippers, a 3.5 ton Luton Van, which had been travelling east along the three lane Seven Sisters road suddenly veered violently across the carriageway and ploughed at high speed into the group at 12.20am.
A grammar school boy who had just abandoned a Ramadan fast drowned during a rugby trip to Canada after a teammate pushed him into a lake as a prank, an inquest has heard.Abdul Jamal Ottun, 17, disappeared below the surface without anyone noticing as a parent rugby coach who was meant to be watching the group of around 25 pupils was busy taking photographs.Senior Coroner Andrew Harris lashed out at Dus Sotoriou, saying: “If you are taking photos you cannot be supervising boys at the same time.”Jamal and had been observing Ramadan for almost a month but had abandoned his fast some 24 hours earlier when they left the UK over concerns he might struggle with physical activities.He was a year 12 pupil at Wallington County Grammar School in Surrey and the two two-week trip marked the end of term after completing AS levels.The group had gone swimming in Shawnigan lake on Vancouver Island ahead of a planned match against a local school.Jamal’s friend Brume Umukoro struggled to fight back tears as he described how he pushed him off the jetty for a joke. Jamal Ottun Brume Umukoro, who pushed Abdul Ottun into the lake David Johnson, director of sport at the school, defended his risk assessment and insisted that further scrutiny of boy’s swimming was not necessary.Coroner Harris said Jamal’s death, on July 12 2015, raises the need for a lifeguard at Shawnigan Lake.The inquest continues. “He handed his phone over and he was standing by the edge talking to someone and then I pushed him into the water,” he said. 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. “There was no noise, no splashing. he wasn’t saying anything,” he said.“There was no obvious struggle. One of the boys noticed very quickly that he was not there, he shouted and we asked all the boys to search for him.”Mr Sotoriou, one of three adults looking after the group, took more than 50 photos of the boys swimming on his phone.”I do not know how much quicker we may have noticed if I had not been taking the photos,” he said. “When he came up I think he had a frown on his face. I think he wiped his face to get rid of the water and he asked who pushed him in.”He was then pushed into the water himself and did not realise his friend had disappeared until he climbed back out.A desperate search was launched and Jamal was eventually discovered beneath the jetty. Emergency services conducted CPR for around half an hour.Games teacher Alasdair Roberts said he thought Jamal was ‘sculling’ – lying on his back and paddling. “I think as there was 25 boys in and out of the water I wouldn’t have been able to observe Jamal struggling on his own even if I didn’t have the camera.” Jamal Ottun
South Yorkshire Police at the scene of the crashCredit: Dave Higgens/PA One man, who did not want to be named, said: “It’s come and hit two cars and then just crashed right into the house.”It hit the woman near the cars and it’s just terrible.”The police were following it and it was obviously going too fast.”Another man said: “I was standing outside that house earlier. I just can’t believe it.” A pedestrian in her 50s was killed, and three people were injured, by a stolen lorry which then crashed through the wall of a house in Yorkshire.An eyewitness said police cars had been following the large vehicle, which was “obviously going too fast” in the residential area.The vehicle – the cab section of an articulated lorry – had been stolen earlier in the day, a spokesman for South Yorkshire Police said.Four men were arrested after the lorry knocked down and killed the woman, hit two parked cars and smashed into the side of the house in Brierley, near Barnsley.The incident, which happened at about 1.40pm on Friday, has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).South Yorkshire Police said the lorry had previously been reported as stolen. 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 dead woman’s family has been informed. The four arrested men were being held in custody.The driver suffered minor injuries.A large area remained cordoned off around the newly-built house, which has suffered severe damage at the back, with beds and other household items hanging precariously from the wrecked gable end.People living close to the scene said they were alerted by a loud bang.People who gathered to watch a large number of police, engineers and gas contractors working at the scene said police cars were there very quickly and men were seen leaving the cab of the tractor unit and running away.They said no-one was in the semi-detached home, which had only been built in the last six months.Some of the people who lived in the property returned shortly after the crash to find their new house wrecked. A spokesman said: “It was travelling along Common Lane, towards Grimethorpe, when an officer in a marked patrol car, travelling in the opposite direction, turned around to follow the vehicle.”The HGV then travelled on to Park View, where it was in collision with a pedestrian, a woman in her 50s.”The vehicle then hit two parked cars before colliding with a house on the road and coming to a stop.” Four men have been arrested over the incidentCredit:Dave Higgens/PA An IOPC spokesman said: “We were notified by South Yorkshire Police about this incident at around 3pm and sent our investigators to the scene and to the police post-incident procedure to gather information and assess the level, if any, of our future involvement.”Anyone with information is asked to call 101.