JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Sitting on the far side of the dais and surrounded by an International team that just endured a four-day drubbing at the Presidents Cup, Ernie Els struggled for answers. Brought in as an assistant captain and seen by many, including current captain Nick Price, as the probable skipper for the 2019 event in Australia, he will likely be tasked with turning around a trend that only grew more lopsided this week in the shadow of Lady Liberty. “The future of the cup is important. We want to have it as competitive as we can,” Els said. “So we have to go back to the drawing board.” It’s a common goal, one shared by the other 16 men sitting at the podium who at times seemed helpless in the face of an American juggernaut that won 19-11 and nearly clinched the biennial matches a full day in advance. The International team’s overall record now drops to 1-10-1, and 21 years will have passed since their lone victory the next time the cup is up for grabs at Royal Melbourne. In all likelihood, it’s also a goal shared by many PGA Tour executives. This event, after all, is the Tour’s property, created as a complement to the PGA of America-run Ryder Cup. Blowouts like the one seen this week do little to alter the perception that this event pales in comparison to the high-octane spectacle played in the even-numbered years. But while the goal is shared by several parties, creating productive change for the International squad is easier said than done. Consider the uphill battle Price faced simply to get the total points trimmed from 34 to 30. It took nearly two years of lobbying to Tour officials before the change was administered for the 2015 matches, leading to a narrow American victory. It appeared to be a step in the right direction for an event desperate to create any hint of a truly back-and-forth rivalry. Presidents Cup: Articles, video and photos Presidents Cup: Match-by-match scoring But this week at Liberty National, the cup could have been contested across three points or 30, and the outcome likely wouldn’t have wavered. The Americans were the better team, playing the better golf, from the first man on the roster to the 12th. “I think we went up against one of the best teams that’s been put forward,” said Adam Scott, who has now been on eight squads without tasting team victory. “I think we have to do even more before we play again in two years.” What’s more daunting for the likes of Els, Price, Scott and others is the fact that this U.S. team likely won’t slow down anytime soon. The youthful nucleus of Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed and Rickie Fowler have decades ahead of them and should only gain more experience and poise in the intervening years. The International core, by comparison, is only getting older. Scott will be 39 for the matches at Royal Melbourne while veterans like Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman will all be on the wrong side of 35. Reflecting on his third straight loss as captain, Price went back to familiar refrains: shortening the available points, putting lineups in secretly rather than allowing captains to plot one matchup at a time. “We play these team events every second year, and the U.S. team plays every year. So they are a little bit more, I don’t want to say prepared, but they kind of – there’s not as big surprises on their team,” Price said. “I think to put pairings together with a very diverse group as we have, is our challenge.” Unfortunately for Price, or whoever takes the earpiece from him, that challenge likely won’t get any easier in the coming years. The language barriers in play, especially with Hideki Matsuyama who struggled this week despite being the top-ranked player on his team, won’t disappear overnight. The depth issues aren’t going away, either. While all 12 on this year’s team are PGA Tour regulars, captain’s pick contenders like Hideto Tanihara and Yuta Ikeda play most of their golf elsewhere, making it difficult to rely on any qualification system beyond the Official World Golf Rankings. While the Americans have promising prospects on the horizon like Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele and Ollie Schniederjans, the International cupboard seems much more sparse in comparison. It’s unlikely that any of the players ranked in the top 100 left off this year’s squad – a diverse group that includes guys like Haotong Li, Byeong-Hun An and Dylan Frittelli – would have done much to slow down the American onslaught. “That’s the hardest task for us, new guys in and out every two years with less and less experience in this kind of format is hard,” Scott said. “We struggled in the team aspect of the matches this week. But we also played maybe the most on-form United States team that I can remember.” Team golf tends to be a cyclical venture, and after the competition closed many compared the current International struggles to those faced by U.S. Ryder Cup teams earlier this century. But there is no infrastructure in place to create an International task force, nor could they easily identify one singular factor that might unite a diverse contingent in the face of an opponent that seems only to be growing stronger. As a result, a table full of players and assistants sat next to Price and talked about the need for change and reform, the ethereal desire to make this thing competitive after yet another lopsided loss. But they also struggled to pinpoint the concrete factors that might spark formative change. At one point, Els was again asked what could be done to turn around the fate of the Internationals. But before he could answer, Scott cut him off. “Win,” Scott said. Perhaps it is that simple. But the Internationals won’t get another crack at the cup for two more years, and right now they certainly seem further from victory than they appeared to be when they first boarded a ferry for Liberty National.
Brooklyn-based psychedelic indie rock band Rubblebucket returned to New Orleans, LA last Wednesday night to rock the stage at One Eyed Jacks in the French Quarter. The eclectic group of musicians put together a set list featuring older favorites like “Sill Fathers” and “Came Out Of A Lady” from 2011’s Omega La La, newer hits “Carousel Ride” and “Origami” from 2014’s Survival Sounds, and even some brand new tunes, including “Donna”, just released on SoundCloud in September.Many can talk about the quality, talent, and craft that go into Rubblebucket’s songs until you run out of breath. A truly unique aspect of their live shows is that fans tend to leave the venue feeling like they’ve spent the last two hours among close friends, even if they came in knowing no one. Frontwoman and saxophonist Annakalmia Traver and bandleader and trumpeter Alex Toth–along with Adam Dotson on trombone, Daniel McDowell on bass, Ian Hersey on guitar, Jacob Bergson on keys, and drummer Max Almario of fellow New York experimental rock group Celestial Shore–create a world of positive creation and self-expression that breeds happiness and love which stays with the audience long after the performance.The band took plenty of time to interact with the audience, tell jokes, and dance their faces off, but as anyone who has been to a Rubblebucket show before knows, the best is always saved for last. This performance did not disappoint. Members of the crew and opening band ELEL dumped a purple balloon octopus–yes you read that correctly–off the venue’s balcony into the audience and the gang ended the show with a second line into the audience, telling everyone to meet them at the Hi-Ho Lounge for a late night DJ set.Rubblebucket and co. captured the essence of true New Orleans fashion, and we can’t wait until their next trip down here.[Photos by Katie Sikora Photography]
Latvian women ‘s volleyball team Photo: Latvian Volleyball FederationThe Latvian women’s volleyball team in the Estonian city of Paide on Tuesday suffered a loss in the first of three test matches with the Estonian national team.The Latvian national team conceded to the Estonian national team with 0-3 (21:25, 21:25, 18:25).Elvita Dolotova, Inese Jursone, Lāsma Ozola, Anija Jurdža, Liene Šimkuse and Terēze Hrapāne, as well as “libero” Kristīne Kramēna and Elīna Zvaigzne started the game for the Latvian national team, but 13 of the 16 players entered in the minutes were allowed to speak during the game.The most productive Latvian team with 15 points was Vladas Pridatko, who scored four points in the block. 11 points for Anija Jurdza, two points less for Jursone, but Šimkuse and Ozola scored seven points.Nete Peita scored 16 points, Kertu Lāks 15 points and Kristīne Mīlena – 11 points.In the first set, a similar fight lasted until the middle of the set, when at 11:10 after Juržža’s attack, Latvia was in the lead. At the end of the set, the misunderstanding of Latvian players played in Estonia’s favor, the housewives won the set with 25:21.In the second set, Latvia took the lead with 4: 1, but lost four points in a row and was no longer in the lead – 21:25.The start of the third set did not give up – 7: 1 and 17: 7 in favor of Estonia. We managed to approach the gap of six points, but also the third set with 25:18 and the whole game was won 3-0 by the housewives.After three sets played, both teams played another set, in which Latvians were superior with 25:20.In the fourth set, the Estonians put conditional reserves on the field, and the Latvian team, after reaching 7: 2, did not allow the opponents to get an equalizer, allowing them to approach only the point deficit and winning the set with 25:20.The Estonian national team could not be helped in this match by the sick captain Julia Monakme, Kadi Kulerkana and Hanna Pajula.“It simply came to our notice then. We managed to win one set, maybe not with the best team in Estonia, ”the second pace player Inese Jursone briefly commented on the result.“The first pace was trying to do its job. It also depended on the reception of the service. We tried to go up and hit the ball much faster and hit it higher – as we had planned with the coaches. In the block, we tried to “gather” all the players and block them, “said Terēze Hrapāne, the first pace player of the Latvian national team, after the match. “In the third set, I think we fell a little into the reception of the service, because the Estonians started to serve more aggressively and more stably. As a result, the players in the fourth zone and the “diagonal” had a lot more work to do. ”The next two games in Paide for the Latvian national team are expected on Wednesday and Thursday. On Wednesday, the match in Paide will start at 18, but a day later at 12.The live video of the third game will be shown on the “Facebook” page of the Estonian Volleyball Federation, while the second game will be shown on the internet portal “postimees.ee”.The Latvian women’s volleyball team, led by Inguna Minus, went to the test matches in Estonia with 18 players, among them the talented Marta Kamēlija Levinska. She has already gone to study in the USA.In the last three days of July, the Estonian national team has already played three test matches with the Finnish national team right there in Paide, accumulating the experience of this summer’s games before the matches with Latvia. In two of the three games, the two teams exchanged victories in five sets, but in another match, the Estonians were superior in three sets.The opponents of the Latvian national team in the European Championship qualification tournament are Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The two-round games are scheduled to take place in January.The final tournament is scheduled for August and September 2021 in Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania. Four home teams and the top eight teams from previous European Championships, Turkey, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, Germany, Russia, Belgium and Azerbaijan, have already secured a place among the top 24 teams in Europe. The remaining 12 places in the final tournament will be taken by the winners of the six groups and the second place winners.The composition of the Latvian women’s volleyball team for test matches with Estonia:Raisers – Elvita Dolotova (“Jelgava”), Elza Reknere (RVS), Rūta Linde (Rovaniemi “Wovo”, Finland);The first tempo attackers – Terēza Hrapāne, Lāsma Ozola (both – RVS), Darya Tarasenko (“miLATss”), Kristīne Dzierkale (“Jelgava”);Diagonal players – Vlada Pridatko (both – RVS);The second pace attackers – Elza Smilškalne, Anija Juržža, Evelīna Rutkovska (all – RSU / MVS), Inese Jursone (“Jelgava”), Paula Nēchiporuka (Virginia Commonwealth University, NCAA), Ingrīda Schiger (“Salzburg”), Liene Šimkuse SC);Libero – Kristīne Kramēna, Elīna Zvaigzne (both – RVS), Linda Šteinberga (RSU / MVS).
Online payment giant PayPal is warning customers about a new online scam being sent to mobile phones.Text messages are circulating urging PayPal customers to remedy a problem with their payment information.Customers will be advised to insert up-to-date payment details through a link. One woman, who received the text this afternoon, has posted the link on Facebook to warn others not to be taken in.She said: “If anyone is on Facebook there is a scam going around. They send you a message saying they are going to close your account unless you go to the link.“It’s not from PayPal. This is what was sent to me and the number. Do not click on the link if they contact you this way.”Another woman targeted by the scammers has warned people not to respond to the text. She said: “If you respond, they know your mobile number is active and belongs to a real person. So delete delete delete without opening up.”Donegal PayPal customers warned over new online scam was last modified: December 29th, 2018 by Shaun KeenanShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:online scampaypal
India’s matman Satbir Singh pins England’s Amrik Singh Gill during their bout in Edmonton – wrestlers salvaged India’s standing in the Commonwealth GamesSports are a nation’s guarantee for survival. If that adage were strictly true, India would be extinct. Nonetheless, the dismal record of Indian sport is exposed by one,India’s matman Satbir Singh pins England’s Amrik Singh Gill during their bout in Edmonton – wrestlers salvaged India’s standing in the Commonwealth GamesSports are a nation’s guarantee for survival. If that adage were strictly true, India would be extinct. Nonetheless, the dismal record of Indian sport is exposed by one grim statistic: India has not won a single gold medal (besides hockey) in the history of the Olympics.Never before has Indian sport been so bedeviled by intra-organization quarrels, bureaucratic interference and political intrigue. And never before have Indian sportsmen, already laboring under severe physiological and psychological handicaps, been so utterly demoralized by their own athletic ineptitude and their managers lack of concern. Whereas countries like East Germany and Kenya have moved, in the last decade, from athletic obscurity to the very pinnacle of sporting achievement, India has slid gradually and, given all the recent factional squabbles, gracelessly into athletic oblivion.The recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Edmonton were saved from being a total disaster by our plucky wrestlers and weightlifters who picked up 9 out of the country’s total tally of 15 medals. A laudable performance if the following statistic is not considered: In the entire history of the Commonwealth Games India has won 19 gold, 20 silver and 17 bronze medals; in just the Edmonton Games, Canada (by no means a top-notch sports nation) won 45 gold, 31 silver and 33 bronze medals. Several events during the 1978 Games, both on and off the field, confirmed growing suspicions in recent years that the cancer affecting Indian sport has spread so far that only drastic reconstructive surgery can cure it.advertisement”Sport,” says Jal Pardivala, a member of the technical committee of the International Amateur Athletics Federation and a world renowned authority on athletics, “is just not in our blood.”Pardivala, 67, is unique in Indian sport in that he is respected equally by both sportsmen and officials. But the winner of the prestigious Helms award and the Kennedy plaque is today clearly a dispirited man. He told India Today: “Honest observations are not palatable to those in power. Indian sport today stinks. There is nothing but politics, politics and more politics.”Shivnath Singh running barefoot on Edmonton’s tartan track – flopped badlyPolitical Interference: Political interference has indeed been a major bane of Indian sport. Bemoans a senior hockey official in Bombay: “There is nothing we can do these days without the prior permission of the government.” Highly placed sources in the city’s hockey circles reveal that just before the hockey team for the ’78 Buenos Aires World Cup was to be selected, Union State Education Minister Dhanna Singh Gulshan trunk called the chairman of the Indian Hockey Federation selection committee, Luis Cordeiro. His brief message: the Indian team was not to be chosen without his being consulted.”Between them,” laments a former international hockey star, “officials and politicians have ruined Indian sport.”While political caprice plays havoc with the organization of national competitions and the selection of teams, it is only a part of the larger affliction. Says one athlete dryly: “When it comes to playing political games, our officials can put even the central leaders to shame.”Gulshan is quickly becoming one of the most outspoken and controversial ministers “in charge” of sports (India, incidently, is one of the few countries in the world where sports is handled by the Education Ministry. Most other countries have separate sports ministries).After India’s hockey debacle in Buenos Aires earlier this year, Gulshan rapped Cordeiro, manager Kartar Singh and coach R.S. Gentle for staying on in London instead of accompanying the defeated team back to India. His acerbity was also reserved for the IHF’s businessman-cum-sports administrator boss M.A.M. Ramaswamy who had “resigned” after the World Cup disaster. As Gulshan rightly said, “commercial minded” people should not be permitted to take up sports leadership in the country. Curiously, Ramaswamy’s resignation was not accepted by the authorities.Controversial Start: The All-India Council of Sports (AICS), an advisory body which has the power to vet and recommend sports policies to the Government, has often been used as a tool by vested interests. The newly constituted AICS under the chairmanship of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw has got off to a controversial start. A member of an athletic association in Bombay says: “The constitution of the AICS clearly stipulates that no council member can in any way be associated with other national sports bodies. Why then have Bhalindra Singh and S.K. Wankhede been appointed on the AICS. Singh is connected with the Indian Olympic Association and Wankhede is vice-president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Both should have been disqualified from membership if fairness had been the criterion.”advertisementSuresh Babu’s dismal showing in Edmonton was capped by his dropping out of his pet event – the decathalonWhether Wankhede will now resign from the cricket board and Singh sever his official links with the IOA is being keenly debated in sports circles. Interestingly enough, one of the new AICS members is a former athlete who was banned by the Education Ministry from travelling abroad for three years in any sports capacity. The case was hushed up and sports administrators decline to comment on it. However, one commentator wondered how the Government could appoint any person, who had earlier given the authorities even the slightest cause for punitive action, on such an influential advisory body.On the eve of the Indian contingent’s departure for Edmonton, Gulshan had said: “It is my earnest appeal to the national sports federations to strongly guard against regionalism, casteism and other petty considerations in the selection of not only sportsmen but also managers and coaches.” That such a plea should be necessary is an indication of the sorry pass that Indian sport has reached. And nowhere is the shadow of parochialism more evident than in hockey.It has been alleged (and so far official refutations have been unconvincing) that during the hockey World Cup in Buenos Aires the players were kept in rooms on a regional or communal basis-the managers and coaches did not deign to eat with their wards injured players were not attended to and other similar complaints of maltreatment. While some of these allegations may be exaggerated and others ‘motivated’, there is more than a kernel of truth in them.Hockey Imbroglio: The whole hockey imbroglio is an offshoot of the bitter North-South rivalry that has been growing more virulent with every passing year. A couple of years ago the leader of the Southern block, M.A.M. Ramaswamy, appeared to have finally won the battle for control of Indian hockey against the North’s Ashwini Kumar and Jimmy Nagarwalla. But Ramaswamy had reckoned without the Northerners’ tenacity. Using its influence in the Indian Olympic Association, the Northern camp succeeded in persuading the IOA last January to suspend the IHF from its membership. The charge: mismanagement of the nation’s hockey affairs. Within a few days the IHF moved the Madras High Court and had the suspension order suspended!It was against this background that India sent a makeshift and demoralized team to the Buenos Aires World Cup last March. Not surprisingly, the side suffered several humiliating defeats and finished seventh – barely qualifying for the next World Cup.The IOA and the newly constituted AICS are now using the Buenos Aires debacle to justify their gradual throttling of the IHF’s power. Though the latter deserves little sympathy – Ramaswamy’s reputation as a wheeler-dealer and ruthless autocrat, has won him many enemies – the IOA’s interference is totally unwarranted, most impartial observers feel. According to a senior hockey official in Bombay, “The IOA is concerned solely with the Olympic movement in this country and therefore its intervention in the IHF’s World Cup plans was out of order.”advertisementLeft to right: Gulshan, Ramaswamy, Buta Singh and Ranga Ramanujan – intra-organization quarrels and political intriguesMore recently the IHF has been hit by internal squabbles. First the Punjab Hockey Association objected to the shifting of the venue for the recently concluded Nationals from Ludhiana in the North to Madurai in the South. The PHA threatened not to send a team, but ultimately did.The dispute between the Maharashtra Hockey Association (MHA) and the IHF has deeper significance. A senior hockey official in Bombay narrated the inside story: “The MHA broke up into two factions nearly a year ago. The rebel group was led by V.K. Murthy, a confidant of Ramaswamy.” The “official” MHA President, Dr S.W.V. Fredricks, then infuriated Ramaswamy by taking in arch-enemy Jimmy Nagarwalla as vice-president of his association. Nagarwalla was chairman of the IHF selection committee till a few months before the Buenos Aires World Cup and president of the Bombay Hockey Association till 1973. He was replaced by Cordeiro in both positions at the instigation of Ramaswamy.When both factions of the MHA turned up at Madurai last month, Ramaswamy wanted to ‘punish’ the Fredricks’ group for installing Nagarwalla as vice-president of the MHA. He decreed that either the two factions field a mixed team (which he knew Fredricks would never agree to do) or return home. Fredricks, however, obtained an order from the Pune High Court compelling Ramaswamy to accept his association’s participation.Politicking has blighted athletics, too. Joe Crasto, a former National 200 metres champion and now a coach-cum-journalist, says: “Officials are interested only in grabbing the first opportunity to go on a foreign tour. And when they’re there, they think more about drinking, shopping and sightseeing than about their athletes’ performance and well-being.” The well-publicized incident during the 1972 Munich Olympics of a coach asking an athlete to sleep on the floor as there was only one bed in the room is, unfortunately, not an isolated one.While misconduct and highhandedness on the part of officials are bad enough, carelessness is worse: it can rob the country of a gold medal. That is precisely what happened at Edmonton. Weight-lifter Munnuswamy Selvan missed a certain gold because of a bloomer made by his coach, J.P. Telang. Selvan was made to lift 5 kg more than necessary in his third and final effort. He failed and New Zealand’s Precious McKenzie pipped him for the gold.Prakash Padukone – Commonwealth Games Badminton gold medallistAccording to a former member of the AICS, “It is incredible that a coach of national repute could make such an elementary mistake.” However, some observers point out that Selvan should have been able to decide on the weights himself: “If he needed to lift an additional 2.5 kg in his third effort to win the gold and his coach told him to lift 7.5 kg, he should have used his own discretion instead of following the coach’s advice blindly.”Wranglings: Says Crasto disgustedly: “Fifty per cent of our problems are caused by wrangling among officials and the resulting factionalism in sports organizations. It demoralizes sportsmen completely.”According to a senior athletics coach, “Bhuta Singh, who was deputy railway minister in the Indira government, should have vacated the presidentship of the Amateur Athletic Federation of India (AAFI) automatically when he ceased to be a minister. But powerful vested political interests came into play. He was reinstated as president by the strategem of making him the representative of the Delhi Athletic Association.”Similarly, AAFI secretary Colonel Kripal Singh should have resigned his post when he retired from the army a couple of months ago. Now Colonel Singh is postponing calling a meeting of the AAFI to avoid a confrontation on the issue. L.R. Khanna, a former secretary of the AAFI, is fighting this politicking, but to little avail.”According to a member of a local athletics federation who has been fighting corruption and politics in sport for as long as he can remember, “Our athletes, instead of participating in foreign meets like the World Athletics Championships in Dusseldorf last year, should concentrate on national and inter-state competitions.” Pardivala goes a step further: “We should have a moratorium on all foreign sports tours for 10 years and build up our standards by having many, many more internal competitions.”Edmonton Performance: The performances of several athletes at the Edmonton Commonwealth Games provoked caustic comments from sports observers. Sprinter Ramaswamy Gnanasekharan clocked a sluggish 10.93 seconds in the 100 metres heats and was eliminated. He had been timed at 10.4 seconds in India. “This disparity is difficult to explain,” says Crasto. “In India he runs on cinder or grass tracks. At Edmonton, the super smooth tartan track should have helped him register a better timing.”Manekshaw meeting NIS coaches in Patiala – a reputation to maintainLong distance runner Shivnath Singh also flopped badly. On Edmonton’s tartan track and under ideal wind and field conditions he clocked 30 minutes 26.7 seconds – a good one minute and 26 seconds slower than his best recorded time at home.Shot putters Bahadur Singh, Jagraj Singh and Gurdeep Singh finished seventh, eighth and ninth respectively. Bahadur registered a 16.50 metres heave while his best performance at home is 18.35 metres. For the other two the figures are 15.74 m against 18.05 m and 15.54 m against 17.52 m. In his pet event, discus thrower Parveen Kumar managed a distance of 49.10 metres – almost 7 metres below his recent best in India. Satveer Singh finished last in the 110 metres hurdles with a time of 15.33 seconds. In India he had recorded 14.4 seconds.Says veteran sports commentator A.F.S. Talyarkhan coldly: “Our measurement tapes and stop watches are all wrong – perhaps deliberately wrong.”Comments Pardivala: “In the past, coaches who doubled up as time-keepers are known to have manipulated times just to ensure that their boy anyhow reaches the qualifying standard.” The coach or manager has a vested interest. If he can somehow fudge times and convince the authorities of his boy’s ‘chances’, he will be assured of a free foreign jamboree. (Olympic rules stipulate that every athlete should have a coach or manager).”A senior coach in Bombay narrated an interesting story: “During a selection trial for the long jump, a judge tried to cheat by ‘over-measuring’ the distance jumped by an athlete whom he had trained. Ulal Rao, a former athlete and now a coach, was the referee. Rao walked up to the judge and saw the manipulation. He immediately overruled the judge and measured the distance himself. Sure enough, the difference was almost 0.1 metre.Such manipulation is easier in running events. The timekeeper is supposed to start his stopwatch on seeing the flash of the starter’s gun. But some timekeepers are known to start their watches only after hearing the gun’s report. The gap between the two is around 0.3 sec which for the 100 metres sprint is enough to make all the difference between selection and rejection.India’s ace long jumper T.C. Yohannan in a hospital bed and at the zenith of his careerSome Indian discus throwers and shot putters are known to take a certain drug well known for its ‘invigorating’ properties. “When these boys go abroad to take part in international meets,” says Crasto, “they dare not touch any drug for fear of being disqualified. And their performance is usually inferior than it is back home.”Shivnath Singh’s dismal showing in the 10,000 metres can be attributed to poor guidance from his coach and manager. Says a veteran trainer: “Shivnath ran barefoot on the tartan track. He can get away with that on our grass or cinder tracks which are rough and offer traction. But on a smooth tartan surface, bare feet simply cannot provide enough traction. The manager should have advised him on this.”The sportsmen are not blameless either. At Edmonton, athletics team captain Suresh Babu stunned his colleagues and accompanying officials by declaring on the opening day of the Games that he would not compete in the decathalon – the event for which he had been selected. Babu first explained his extraordinary decision by saying that he “was out of practice”. Later he ‘clarified’ that “ever since I landed here I have had a heavy cold which developed into flu”.Says Crasto: “If I were the manager, I’d have asked him to go home immediately. The fact that Babu’s coach, Chimu Muthaiah from the NIS didn’t, shows weakness on his part.”A major charge levelled against Indian athletes is that they don’t work hard enough: “Compared to sportsmen of other countries, our boys are soft. For relaxation they prefer lounging around listening to music. In contrast a German hockey player, would work out on the squash court during his leisure hours to keep one hundred per cent fit.”But can one blame them? “After all, what is the advantage of going into sports,” asks a 45-year-old former athlete, now a coach who holds camps every summer for promising youngsters. “There are few financial rewards (except in cricket and tennis), very little national prestige and not much glamour.”Flying Sikh Milkha Singh and (inset) the spikes he wore in the Rome Olympics now enshrined in NIS Sports museum – but he only came fourthThere is also a growing fear among sportsmen that the authoritarian style of functioning of some federations makes it impossible for a player to give of his best.For example, the player vs official battle in table tennis has set the sport back by several years. The players, increasingly conscious of their rights, formed the Indian Table Tennis Players’ Association (ITTPA) last year to safeguard their interests. The move was resented by the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) boss T.D. Ranga Ramanujan who has ruled the world of Indian table tennis for as long as anyone can remember with an iron fist and did not take kindly to the players’ show of independence.The dispute came to a head during the Nationals in Gujarat last December. The players threatened to boycott the championships unless Madhya Pradesh’s top star Santosh Kaushik was allowed to play. The TTFI refused and promptly had five players including some office bearers of the ITTPA arrested for “breach of peace”.The arrests sparked off a furore unparalleled in Indian sport. The TTFI, rattled and apologetic, quickly arranged for the players’ release. But the damage had been done.Tragic Consequences: With sports officials, coaches and managers busy playing their own ‘games’, athletes often suffer through negligence-sometimes with tragic consequences. T.C. Yohannan is the most recent example of this. The long jumper’s accident during a training session highlights glaring defects in at least three aspects of Indian sport: First, poor training facilities. If the landing pit at the NIS was so unsuitable for jumping (it contained loose, freshly dug-out soil) the state of training facilities at smaller sports centres can be imagined. Second, the lack of prompt medical attention. Yohannan lay in the general ward of Patiala’s Rajendra Hospital for three days before being transported to Delhi for an operation on his dislocated left knee. The delay in the operation probably cost him his athletics career. And third, officialdom’s lack of concern. The stricken long jumper was largely unattended to by officials in Patiala. It was left to his employers, TELCO, to rush him to Delhi.Charles Cornelius, India’s crack Olympic hockey goalkeeper was another recent victim of medical ineptitude. Following a leg injury, he was given a pain-killing injection which had a harmful side effect. The result: he almost became a cripple and only a major operation in London (where he was flown with the financial help of some well wishers) saved his legs. But his sports career, like Yohannan’s, was cut short at its zenith.Says Pardivala: “We need more trained doctors in sports medicine if accidents like these are to be avoided in the future.”Controversial History: India’s premier sports training organization, the National Institute of Sports has had a controversial history. In 1958, the late G.D. Sondhi, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and president of the Amateur Athletic Federation of India (AAFI) asked Pardivala, then actively involved in international athletics, where the planned National Institute of Sports should be sited. Says Pardivala: “I had selected Pachmarhi, a hill station near Nagpur.It had every advantage: a good all-the-year-round climate, a suitable infrastructure and an ideal location in the heart of the country which made it easily accessible to everybody. Unfortunately, the Maharajah of Patiala wanted to sell his palace just then and the Government was tempted by his offer. The palace had vast grounds, a ready building etc. Obviously, the Government would have to spend more money if it built a sports institute from scratch in Pachmarhi. In their desire to economize, the authorities neglected the fact that Patiala has a totally unsuitable climate (extreme heat and cold) for sports and is inconveniently located for several southern-based athletes.”That point was finally brought home and the government, a few years ago, built another NIS, at Bangalore.Most sports coaches and athletes agree that the NIS has produced indifferent results. According to Crasto, “The NIS has the basic facilities but the problem is that the coaches there are tied down with routine, bureaucratic office work which should be done by the administrative department. I have personally seen that the chief coaches at the NIS are never on the ground. They come for a few minutes and then go away.”Most of them agree that school syllabi must include sports as a subject. Those who do well in the sports paper (theory and practicals) should be given preference in admission to colleges. Only then will our city youngsters begin to run and swim and box.Talyarkhan bemoans the fact that the sons and daughters of the rich just don’t play sports – except cricket which he has often called the curse of Indian sport. Says he: “Cricket distracts our youth and stops them from playing the manly sports. Our rich kids are too soft.””And since the poor have to struggle for a livelihood and have access to few facilities, is it surprising that the country has never won an Olympic gold or silver medal in athletics,” asks one commentator.”We need more institutions like the Laxmibai College of Physical Education at Gwalior which offers a full four year training course,” says Pardivala. But according to one former sprint champion, “the best sports coaches in the country refuse to teach at schools and colleges – there’s more money in coaching senior athletes. Can you, for example, name any six football coaches at the NIS who are attached to schools?”Classic Examples: The two Germanys are classic examples of what single minded dedication to a particular goal and scientific sports training right from childhood can achieve. West Germany introduced the ‘Golden Plan’ in 1959. Its aim: to overcome the destruction of sports facilities caused during World War II. Its motto: ‘begin earlier and stop later’. And its result: The emergence of West Germany as the second largest (after the US) Olympic medal-winning nation in the non-Communist world. East Germany’s ascent to the top of world sport has been even more spectacular.Can India learn a lesson from the German example? Says Talyarkhan: “There is nothing we cannot do in athletics. Every type of climate, physical build, diet and ethnic variety exists in India. Ours is a country largely untouched by the vices. We could dominate world sport, if only …”
How about @BradF79 making an appearance on the blog for the second straight week. He’s back with a deep dive into the advanced metrics ahead of OSU-KSU this weekend. Excellent stuff.As always, before we get started, you can find the glossary for the advanced statistics here.Most of you I’m sure have heard the trends on Oklahoma State in Manhattan, 1-8 there since 1988, their lone win coming in 2010 with a 24-14 victory. Outside of that year, the home team has a history of winning this game. This will be a significant test for this team coming off the huge victory over West Virginia on Saturday…Five FactorsAs always, we are going to get started with the Five Factors.We’ll start this discussion with when Oklahoma State has the ball… There are clear advantages for OSU in 3 of the 5 items, perhaps the most glaring one in success rate. KSU is allowing teams to have success nearly 45 percent of the time, that’s 95th (out of 128) in FBS. Despite that number, they are doing a good job of limiting teams inside the 40 (giving up 4.22 points per trip), and we all know that there is a perception that OSU has struggled there, but that 5.08 value isn’t terrible either at 35th in the country. KSU has given up some big plays (IsoPPP) and will definitely have their work cut out for them again this week against the OSU offense. OSU’s +10 in turnover margin and haven’t turned the ball over recently, a trend that needs to continue.When Kansas State has the ball, they aren’t without their advantages. While not explosive at all (least explosive team in FBS), they are very successful, capable of driving the length of the field with good success rates. KSU will attempt to chew the clock and wear out the defense. They are very good at scoring once inside the 40 as well. OSU will hope to take advantage of their #1 in FBS opponent starting field position making KSU drive the length of the field hoping for a mistake or a stop. That along with the defensive rotations OSU is using may help them limit KSU’s scoring opportunities. One important thing to note is KSU does NOT turn the ball over which may limit the OSU’s defense ability to impact the game as they have the past few weeks.Unadjusted Success RatesMoving on to unadjusted (not modified based on the opponent difficulty) success rates and explosiveness values… Again, starting with the OSU offense… Immediately you should notice the passing success rate matchup. KSU is allowing over 50 percent success rates vs the pass, last in FBS.But while teams are having success, they aren’t getting much in the way of big plays. KSU’s defensive 1.36 IsoPPP value is in the top 30 (No. 29) in FBS. The offense this week may look a lot like last week, few big plays, but enough of the intermediate routes to work down the field. Rudolph must be accurate on these throws. OSU is struggling with giving up sacks on passing downs and KSU’s sack rates on passing downs are right around average. Keep on eye on KSU DL Jordan Willis however as he has eight of the 17 sacks for KSU this season (and 11.5 tackles for loss).OSU’s running game seems to be improving, but it’s still a major work in progress, still getting stopped at or behind the line on nearly 25 percent of all runs, and while the power success rate is good, the yards blocked and the opportunity rate of the RBs is not. KSU defense will be a huge test on the running game as their ability to stop the power game is 2nd in the country and their stuff rate is 15th. Their opponent-adjusted defensive line yards (not listed in the chart above) is 127.8 ypg which is 8th in the country. I think we all know what KSU does on offense and their 52 percent success rate at doing it is 6th in the country. Surprisingly, they have an even lower explosive rate than the OSU offense does in the run game, but paired vs the OSU defense that has given up big runs, that could change. Their opportunity rate and power success rates are both top 15 in the country as well. OSU has done a good job of stopping the run (except for the big plays) so this should be a good matchup. Their standard down success rate is great as well which was a big emphasis last week vs West Virginia as well. OSU definitely wants to put them in 2nd/3rd and long situations.KSU’s passing game isn’t as bad as you would think (41 percent success rate), pretty average and for a team that runs as well as they do, that’s generally enough. They do not hit you with the big play either, their IsoPPP numbers on offense for passing and passing downs are all extremely low. OSU has good numbers for passing down defense (limiting teams to 25 percent success rate), but they must get KSU into passing downs for that strength to be evident.Drive Success RatesBefore we get into opponent-adjusted play-by-play numbers, this week we are going to look at some drive-based metrics (which does include one opponent-adjusted number). These were not included last week, so I’ll give a brief run-down of the definitions.Opponent-adjusted efficiency is an efficiency number adjusted for opponents based on each possession (not each play). First down is the percentage of drives that achieve at least one first down. Available yards is total number of yards earned by the offense divided by the number of yards available to be earned based on starting field position. Value drive is the % of drives that begin at least 50 yards from the end zone and reach the opponent’s 30-yard line. Touchdown is the percentage of drives that result in a TD. Touchdown / First Down is the percentage of drives that result in a TD after a FD has been gained. Turnover is the % of drives that result in a turnover.The OSU offense certainly looks better when you look at it from a drive view instead of a play by play view. These numbers are all top 35 in FBS. The KSU defensive numbers are fairly average. The numbers that stick out the most are their turnover numbers (getting a turnover on 13 percent of opponent drives) and their available yards and value drive numbers, giving up nearly 51 percent of available yards and nearly 45 percent of opponent drives reaching their 30 yard line. Don’t be fooled however, since these are non-opponent adjusted rates, their opponent-adjusted efficiency of .24 is good (38th in FBS). They’ve played Stanford, WVU, OU, and TTU.KSU’s offense, like OSU, is not turning the ball over. Both teams are turning it over around 8.5 percent of the time. KSU is getting a first down on 76 percent of all drives, luckily their touchdown/first down number is only 37 percent. OSU defense is giving up a TD after a FD on 40 percent of drives. Pay attention to this matchup on Saturday, can OSU get off the field after giving up a first down. Something else to watch, on both sides is the turnover battle. OSU defense has been excellent at getting turnovers and KSU is not turning it over much. The opponent-adjusted offensive numbers for KSU are NOT good. That -0.11 number is 79th in FBS. We will take another look at a few other stats tomorrow. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
Very cool helmets for Senior Day!! #osufbequipmentcrew pic.twitter.com/Em8Gjt3JvA— Robert Allen (@RAllenGoPokes) November 12, 2016• Tim Brando was more concerned about Mahomes getting to 4,000 yards than I was about my children speaking their first words.• I felt like Tech had 25 third and ones in the first half.• Three straight drives of 75 yards that resulted in TDs. Impressive.• The Jalen McCleskey fumble was almost a back-breaker. It let Tech tie the game at 28 at the end of the first half. Games like these with big boy offense mean that single turnovers can completely flip games. OSU flipped it back when Vincent Taylor picked up a loose ball in the fourth quarter thankfully, but it’s strange that McCleskey (of all people!) could have provided the mistake that cost you as a two-TD favorite at home.• Oklahoma State’s 605 yards were the fifth-most a team has gained on Tech this year. Fifth!• For how disciplined Kliff seems to be, his team seem pretty undisciplined. They get an average of 68 penalty yards per game, but were only clipped for 15 yards on Saturday. Of course OSU had 80 penalty yards.• We got the full Gundy tonight.Gundy looks incredible right now. The full mullet flow. The old throwback sweatshirt. Big 12 title on the line. pic.twitter.com/pHfMDE5Pde— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) November 12, 2016• Tech’s receivers had a lot of drops. Kliff must love that.• Justice Hill was in 5th grade the last time Tech won. He was four years old the last time Tech won in Stillwater (also, Kliff was the QB the last time Tech won in Stillwater).• Tim Brandon calling Texas Tech “bush league” for not including a player who switched numbers on its numerical roster was pretty humorous to me.• Vincent Taylor could have run through that hole Rennie Childs ran through in the second half. Mah gosh.• Tech finished 11/20 on third and fourth down. I wouldn’t expect anything less from Tech, but that was pretty frustrating to watch.• From our Slack chat: How much does Patty Mahomes look like Yeah Yeah from Sandlot?!• OSU didn’t close like I would have thought in the fourth quarter. I really thought the depth was going to shine through late, but Tech scored on its final three drives.• Jordan Sterns had a tremendous final game at BPS. Eight tackles and two TFLs. Gonna miss that dude.• Tre Flowers going with the Carolina blue mouthpiece was interesting.• Vincent Taylor has better hands than Rashaun Woods (probably).• I thoroughly enjoyed the play where Pat Mahomes would step forward towards his center and hit a quick-slanting WR over the middle. I wish Oklahoma State would implement that.• Wut?Pretty insane number here for The President. pic.twitter.com/FqwfNUw7Z3— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) November 13, 2016• I still think Gundy needs to hire an end-of-game clock manager. You could pay him $500,000, and he would have already made you money this season!• This was tremendous.Awesome look at the #okstate band honoring the military with a purple heart at halftime. pic.twitter.com/QNujlSyAt8— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) November 12, 2016 While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. I pounded out my 10 thoughts on the Oklahoma State-Texas Tech game here, but we need to get to the notebook. Tons to talk about. Mason Rudolph, James Washington, Chris Lacy, Chris Carson. All the Chris’. All the storylines. Let’s get to work.• My first note was: “How many stops do you need against Texas Tech?” The answer is apparently six as long as they miss the extra point at the end. OSU’s defense faced 13 Tech drives. It got six stops and gave up six TDs and a FG.• Pat Mahomes looked like he was running around on Seth Russell’s leg. What was up with that? If he’s playing with an injury as severe as it appeared, he’s even more of a gamer than I thought (and I already thought he was a massive gamer).• Three straight three-and-outs for Tech to start the game against OSU in the same week Donald Trump was elected president. What a time to be alive. OSU took advantage (sort of), but it really felt like you needed three TDs on those three drives. They only got two.• I like the bandana print on the arm sleeves and socks. I don’t like it on the helmets.• I wish I was as good at anything as Mason Rudolph is at throwing comeback sideline routes.• One of the announcers referred to James Washington as “a high hip guy.” I have no idea what this means, but I feel extremely confident that I am not a “high hip guy.”• Definitely was said.”I own you, Kliff. And I know you want my hair.” pic.twitter.com/93BXu043hH— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) November 13, 2016• It has to be so difficult for things to not go your way when you aren’t Iowa State or Kansas bad, but it feels like every 50/50 ball turns against you. I want Kliff to succeed because he seems like a hard-working dude, but it has to be brutal to be a Tech fan right now.• Tech’s first first down was Mahomes running for it on 4th down on its fourth drive. Little panicky early, eh? What was the last time Tech started a game with four straight three and outs?• Tech had 35 first downs. That’s the most OSU has given up since the TCU game last season when it gave up 36. Also, Tech ran 96 plays to OSU’s 66. That’s insane.• Why doesn’t Tech go full Kingsbury? Go for two after every TD, onside kick every time and never punt on a fourth down. This makes sense, doesn’t it?• It seems unfathomable that one unit in one conference could be as bad as Tech’s defense is.• A game like this seems so mentally draining on offense because of how much you have to grind and feel the pressure to score on every possession. I thought OSU did a good job of staying engaged on offense. It probably helps that you know you’re going to put up video game numbers if you’re even remotely involved.• The helmets look better like this than they did on the field.
Blake Jarwin the TE from #OklahomaState has accepted his E/W Shrine Game Invite— NFL Draft Diamonds (@DraftDiamonds) November 28, 2016 The 6-6, 335 lb senior from Huntsville, AL, transferred to the Cowboys from the now defunct (but soon-to-be again) UAB football program. Salako has since started for two straight seasons at left tackle and has been a part of the Cowboys’ best offensive line in years.As for Jarwin, he has been one of the most productive tight ends during the Gundy era since Brandon Pettigrew. Since OSU has re-kindled a focus to get the Cowboy back involved in the offense again, Jarwin has been integral to that transition, earning All Big 12 first team honors a season ago. As a former walk-on, he’ll have a shot in the game to showcase his skills in front of scouts in attendance during practices and the game.The East-West Shrine Game is one of the country’s premier collegiate all-star games. It will be held in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Jan. 21, 2017.James Castleman was the last OSU player to participate in this game back in 2015. It was announced on Monday that Oklahoma State offensive tackle Victor Salako will play in the East-West Shrine Game this upcoming January.Victor Salako the OT from #OklahomaState has accepted his E/W Shrine Game Invite— NFL Draft Diamonds (@DraftDiamonds) November 28, 2016 While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
The correct answer is probably Gundy, but this from Twitter follower Ric Ellis sums up my feelings nicely: Clearly Gundy right now but the fact that I hesitated for a moment says a lot about MBB recruiting effort.The point for me is that Boynton is doing a killer job getting transfers, securing the future and drumming up interest in the future of hoops in Stillwater. Here are some other comments from the Tuesday poll question.Zach Wilkerson: Hard to grade Boynton’s recruiting at the moment, he gets an A for effort but needs more time for results to come in (or not).Nate: Gundy. Not close. Anyone who says Boynton (who’s been on the job for 2 months) needs their head examined. And I’ll go on record stating I’m not a fan of what appears to be Boynton completely blowing off Texas recruiting. OSU needs guys from around this area. Not saying all, but at least some. He apparently shows no interest in Texas.Adam M.: A better poll for the day would have been: Did you know Mason Rudolph’s first name is Brett? Comparing the two seems kind of pointless right meow. Mike Gundy and Mike Boynton are both recruiting quite well in their respective sports right now, but a nearly 9-to-1 majority of you think Gundy is out-pacing his hoops counterpart.I thought this might happen when I put the poll out. Boynton has gotten Kendall Smith and Michael Weathers and kept Zach Dawson, but Gundy (or, ahem, an assistant) has snagged a host of offensive linemen to go with C.J. Moore in recent weeks.Tuesday poll. Which coach (and staff) is doing a better job recruiting?— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) May 9, 2017 While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
Within the past seven days, two of the top 10 most impactful events onto Oklahoma State athletics happened.Last Wednesday, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman broke news that Bob Stoops, University of Oklahoma coach of 18 years, was retiring – thus releasing OSU from Stoops’ suppression and giving legitimate life to the Bedlam rivalry.Then Tuesday, Mike Gundy, Cowboy coach of a dozen years, signed a contract for five more years at a rate of $4.2 million, which is set to increase $125,000 every year thereafter.Gundy, already a legend at OSU, is set to be immortalized as a demigod with this mega-contract. With half-believed stories every spring of Gundy’s potential departure, this contract seems as if it will have the utmost ramifications for the university.AdChoices广告But those are just two positive examples over the past decade. Here are eight more, and, yes, some are impactful in drastically negative ways:10. Dez BryantDez Bryant’s commitment to OSU and subsequent success in the NFL has given the university more and more publicity, good or bad, every Sunday.Dallas was the perfect team for him to go to if you’re an OSU regent or donor, at least now it is. Dez is the ultimate example. There is a reason Gundy rarely compares players to him but brings him up all the time.Dez is constantly used as a marketing technique in news conferences because players and especially coaches know he works. “Come here because you see the results in the Dallas Cowboys’ end zone every week,” works in recruiting.Although Bryant left Stillwater in 2010, sometimes it feels as if he roams the locker room on a daily basis.9. 2016 College World SeriesWhen J.R. Davis caught the final out of the Cowboys’ Super Regional against South Carolina, it meant OSU’s first trip to the CWS since the turn of the century.Although a new baseball stadium has not been announced to replace (long past expired) Allie P. Reynolds Stadium, getting to Omaha undoubtedly helped that cause, and coach Josh Holliday said so at his media day press conference.The CWS means more for marketing and branding. How many conversations have you had about the 2016 OSU baseball team?And recruiting.OSU has three of the top 100 high school prospects signed in its 2017 recruiting class, including No. 7 Ryan Vilade, according to Baseball Factory. Even if Vilade chooses to start his professional career, the CWS appearance helped Holliday establish a winning reputation in living rooms that will give top recruits some serious meat to chew on when considering their future.8. Commercial flightsThe $3 million investment in getting American Eagle planes to Stillwater twice daily was historic not only for international students or businessmen, but also big time recruits. And Mike Gundy knew that.“Now (recruits are) 10 minutes away from being on our campus,” Gundy said the day before the first flight took off.No, it’s not a 10-minute flight. It’s 32, and with security, taxiing and driving to and from the airport, it’s actually about a 3-hour ordeal. But we get you, Gundy, and he is absolutely right in theory. Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer saw the potential, too.Even for recruits living outside of the Dallas area, catching a flight to Stillwater for the second half of the trip from San Antonio was going to be huge, efficiently and aesthetically.“(Recruits are) not having to go on I-35 for 45 minutes and across Highway 51 for 15 minutes,” Spencer said.And though there isn’t any data to track this, the ease of commercial flights is undoubtedly bring in more “fringe” fans who otherwise wouldn’t spend the weekend on the road trying to get to the game.7. The Sports Illustrated ‘scandal’When you Google search “Sports Illustrated Dirty Game,” this page comes up as the top search hit, but when you click the links to any one of the five parts of the Thayer Evans series, you are redirected to an error page.Nevertheless, some of the impact remains as if 100 percent of it was accurate.There are still people out there who would put an asterisk next to the 2011 football season had the Cowboys won the national championship. Right, wrong, stupid or unfortunate, that is the reality. Sports Illustrated‘s report felt like a Mike Tyson shot to the gut. Except Tyson was on steroids, three weight classes heavier and unapologetic as hell.OSU did the right thing in being proactive in its investigation of the report and the university. It was a move that was praised by many media outlets and even used as a framework for how a university or organization should conduct itself. The NCAA even gave OSU a slap on the wrist.But, again, there are people out there who believe all of the content in Evans’ series was accurate. Even in 2017.6. Underwood’s only seasonThe jubilation Brad Underwood brought back to Gallagher-Iba Arena was as real as anyone could have asked for, which made March 20 even more difficult to get through.When you were around Underwood or even just watching a game at GIA with him on the sideline, it felt as if you were around a genuine miracle worker.He turned prairie to party.Tipoff. Even a student could arrive late and get a prime seat today. pic.twitter.com/Z4SqDHWglV— Mark Cooper (@mark_cooperjr) February 13, 2016 We can’t thank Cowboy fans enough for an amazing season. Attendance jumped 44% this year, and the Rowdy made a difference. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/GknF33yybE— Cowboy Basketball (@OSUMBB) March 5, 2017But when he left, that jubilation just felt like emptiness again, and when athletic director Mike Holder introduced Mike Boynton, an inexperienced 35-year-old, it felt more like a step back toward the 2015-16 season.5. Ford’s last seasonOnly 4,023 people showed up for OSU Senior Night in 2016.Travis Ford’s final season in Stillwater was beyond painful. Game after game, the few reporters left filled back into the interview room, waited for Ford and held their breath for someone to ask. Finally someone did and asked whether he thought that senior night would be his last game in Gallagher-Iba Arena.“Didn’t cross my mind,” he said, which meant either it did and he wasn’t going to say so or that it truly didn’t but that he then knew it was.Ford’s last season put OSU men’s basketball in such a rut that Underwood’s season felt more like a marketing tactic rather than a basketball team at times. Players were asked whether they were going to leave, and students asked one another whether they were going to go to the games, even though Ford wouldn’t be.By most accounts, Ford was a good guy, which made it all so much more difficult, but the cut financially, mentally and emotionally felt so deep at times that you wondered how many years it would take to turn it all back around.4. Uniform renaissanceIn 2006, the Cowboys came out in drastically different uniforms for the first time since 1981. Yes, that was 11 years ago, but it cracked the surface for what was to come.Three years into the new design, a black uniform combo was added. A classic OSU look that played with the creative juices of what the Cowboys’ uniforms could be in the future.Then two years after that, 2011, OSU rolled out the double-lined shoulder design that had 64 possible combinations. Those unis were so clean, in a Bleacher Report best/worst review, they put “Best: Any Oklahoma State Uniform in 2011.”The Cowboys’ play that year was what got everyone’s attention, but even if they had won nine games, the notoriety, branding and positive impact on recruiting makes the uniform renaissance one of the great OSU happenings in the past decade.3. Stoops retiringBob Stoops’ unexpected retirement absolutely shattered the complexion of the Big 12, at least for the beginning of the 2017 season.With Lincoln Riley now in as Oklahoma coach, there is no clearcut conference favorite. Stoops’ retirement swings open the door for a mullet-dawning sheriff to step in and drop anchor. No, it hasn’t happened yet. Bedlam is still almost five months away, but if Gundy can win the first dance with Riley, it could potentially mean longevity at the top of the Big 12.But even if OSU loses that game, Stoops’ deuces literally gives a fresh look to a rivalry that has gone 14-4 in the Sooners’ favor in the past 18 seasons.It all just seems like the perfect storm for OSU to make its long-term claim atop the conference: Veteran roster, (committed) veteran coach, rejuvenated college town and a faltering conference field.2. Gundy’s ContractThis deal could potentially go down as the greatest signing in university history. Truly think about that.In ticket sales alone, the OSU football team brought in $17.8 million in 2016, according to OSU financial statements. With media rights, contributions and other operating revenue, the program made more than $47.7 million. After expenditures such as coaches salaries, bowl expenses and financial aid, football had a net profit of $28.3 million.It’s difficult to compare years straight up because of turnover, the growth of TV deals and the popularity of college football, but according to the 2004 report, the year before Gundy was hired, the football team only netted $8.2 million.Again, impossible to compare oranges to apples, but that is a 245 percent increase in net revenue since one man became coach.And when you throw in Stoops’ retirement, Baylor’s collapse, TCU’s step back and Texas’ inability to beat Kansas, getting Gundy to sign this summer was the ultimate step toward locking down a conference desperate for another national title contender.1. 2011-2012 football teamThe 12-1 Cowboys might have done more for the university than any other event in OSU history.Alabama made $18 million for beating LSU in the BCS National Championship Game. OSU raked in a million less for beating Stanford in the desert.More important, OSU was real.Just 10 years before that season, the Cowboys had just a bow on a glorious 4-7 season. They year before that, they went 3-8.There isn’t any way to purely quantify the impact that season had on OSU athletics, but it absolutely paved the way for Mason Rudolph, Tyron Johnson and Chuba Hubbard. Without that season and that Fiesta Bowl win, a sprinter in Canada probably wouldn’t have known too much about the land grant school in the middle of the U.S. prairie, and I don’t think it’s outrageous to say he likely wouldn’t have chosen to go to school there. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.