Dabbundo: SU’s bubble, football plan challenges reality of NCAA amateurism

first_imgThe Daily Orange is a nonprofit newsroom that receives no funding from Syracuse University. Consider donating today to support our mission.A few weeks ago, the chances of college football seemed near zero. Syracuse football players sat out four separate practices, and multiple Power 5 conferences postponed their fall seasons.Since then, though, many of the Orange’s players’ concerns about playing football in 2020 have faded as the season-opener against North Carolina on Sept. 12 nears. But that comfort shouldn’t take away from the underlying truths: The NCAA has already canceled fall championships and multiple conferences have canceled fall football. The ACC’s risk of sending athletes up and down the eastern seaboard is extraordinary. Money, not safety, is still driving the decision-making.  John Wildhack said on Tuesday that Syracuse still plans to compete in sports this fall. That means Syracuse football players — who have largely been separated from groups outside of themselves and not exposed to the coronavirus in at least six weeks — will take an airplane to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to play football against the Tar Heels on Sept. 12. They’ll abandon their bubble for another one that just popped. UNC has already closed its campus and went fully online because of a large coronavirus outbreak — recently reporting a 31.3% positivity rate among tests that had been completed. Head coach Mack Brown suggested that the campus closure is a competitive advantage and a “better seal around our program,” showing where the balance truly lies in the “student-athlete” term that the NCAA has used for decades.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe ACC isn’t MLB. Its athletes aren’t professionals. And SU can’t reasonably leave its own bubble while still claiming to fly under the flag of amateurism. High-level college football has long exploited athletes who receive zero financial compensation from their schools while bringing in millions of revenue dollars each year. Now that the schools and athletic departments are facing cutbacks on teams, scholarships and staff, college football is facing a potential revenue disaster if there’s no 2020 season. No fans are bad enough. No TV revenue could be armageddon. So now, under the failing facade of amateurism and supposedly putting athletes’ safety and health first, multiple Power 5 conferences, including the ACC, are going to try to play football this year. For Syracuse, that starts in Chapel Hill. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo still has North Carolina on the mandatory 14-day quarantine list for any person returning to New York. Syracuse University has mandated that students sign a “Stay Safe Pledge” and not leave the central New York region, yet athletes have been exempted from this part of the pledge. If an ordinary SU student took that trip to North Carolina, they could face disciplinary action or suspension. For SU athletes, they’re on official school business. “University sanctioned travel will include added safety precautions to protect the health and well-being of our students, as well as our broader community when they return to campus,” Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Jeff Stoecker said in a statement to The Daily Orange on July 15. “We expect that any student who travels away from campus will respect and uphold the spirit of the pledge.”As much as Syracuse head coach Dino Babers likes to call Syracuse’s traveling contingent on a “contained bubble,” that’s not actually possible. Wildhack said on Tuesday that the ACC hasn’t yet finalized a COVID-19 testing protocol outlining how many times per week athletes will be tested and how close to athletic competitions these tests will occur. Syracuse athletes are currently being tested weekly, and that will rise to three times weekly starting Sept. 7. There’s inherent risk in taking an entire football team plus essential staff down to a COVID-19 hotspot, and the Orange will make four trips in 2020 to states currently on New York travel advisory.Syracuse football players sat out four training camp practices over testing concerns at the university and across the ACC. Courtesy of SU AthleticsSU Athletics and more importantly, its athletes and staff should be commended for developing and following safety protocols that have kept coronavirus cases so low among athletes. As multiple schools around the country had to cancel workouts due to COVID-19 clusters, Syracuse kept its numbers down, as we finally learned when Wildhack released the testing numbers on Aug. 14. Five positive total tests, zero active cases and more than 1,750 tests completed. It shouldn’t have taken that long to release data, and more transparency from SU Athletics could’ve gone a long way toward improving the chances of college football this fall. No one asked for specific names, but the school owes it to the community — and other colleges nationwide — to inform them of how safe or unsafe the operation is. In June, Wildhack called the number of positive tests a “news item” and said that Syracuse would not be releasing any information about positive test results. For all of June, all of July and half of August, Babers praised SU’s protocols and his players and said they’d “be in the final four” of top schools on testing. “They don’t have to give out their numbers,” Babers said of SU on Aug. 10. “I’m falling in line with the rules of Syracuse University being a private university and not having to spit those numbers out.”When Wildhack was asked Tuesday why SU Athletics changed course and released the numbers on Aug. 14, he cited coordination with the university-wide COVID-19 dashboard, which launched a week prior to the release of SU Athletics’ testing numbers. Coincidentally, Wildhack decided to release the numbers one day after SU football players sat out practice after a miscommunication in testing protocols and ESPN’s morning show “Get Up” ran a segment where popular commentators Mike Greenberg and Paul Finebaum criticized the school for its handling of testing of athletes. Syracuse quarterback Tommy DeVito said on Tuesday that he’d like to see schools release the results of their testing protocols. He’s not asking for names. No one is. But the number of positives is important. “But to have schools come out and say, ‘Alright, this was this week, there were zero postives and this many negatives,’ I think that would be good,” DeVito said.  College athletics, football in particular, has long exploited players for profit. The argument of doing ‘what’s best for players’ conveniently leaves out that the players are getting a pretty raw deal — forced to comply with NCAA rules while not profiting a dime — compared to university executives, trustees, and decision-makers.Some decision-makers have been more honest about the situation facing schools. When Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard addressed fans in a letter in July, he didn’t mince words or mislead. His honesty was refreshing in a time when colleges continue to try to hold off the inevitable tsunami of college athlete empowerment and incoming name, image and likeness rights for players.“Some people have incorrectly framed the issue as safety versus revenue generation,” Pollard wrote. “The simple fact is that reality lies somewhere in the middle.”If schools want to try to play college football this fall, they can. But let’s not forget about what’s really most important for schools, who’s really taking on all of the risk for none of the reward and how college athletics could be forever changed after this pandemic.  Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on August 27, 2020 at 12:00 amcenter_img Commentslast_img read more

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Word on the Street: What do you like about Alpena’s Brown Trout Festival?

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisReporter Lauren Mixon asks people in Alpena what they like about Alpena’s Brown Trout Festival.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThis Tags: alpena, Brown Trout, Brown Trout FestivalContinue ReadingPrevious Besser free family fun day this weekend will encourage S.T.E.A.M learningNext John Hopkins Graduate students extend an invitation to NOAAlast_img

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Tragedies gave Angels pitcher Javy Guerra new perspective on work, life

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error TEMPE, Ariz. >> Javy Guerra was at his locker Friday when Snapchat beckoned. The pitcher was going back and forth with his 8-year-old nephew Jayden, who’s more like a son at this point. Sometimes they’ll chat on Facetime, too. For baseball players with young children, this is Typical Dad Routine stuff.Guerra said he’s learned a lot of typical dad stuff the last couple years by talking to teammates, first on the Chicago White Sox and now as a non-roster invitee in the Angels’ camp. That’s the happy ending to this story: Guerra has a routine now, and a son, and his teammates are there for him.Guerra’s story deserves a happy ending, one more meaningful than the final spot in the Angels’ bullpen (though he might get that, too). Tragedy has followed him long enough.Guerra was in the middle of a strong 2014 season with the White Sox when his sister Roxy, Jayden’s mom, was killed in a car crash driving on a highway south of Dallas, Texas. “She was just coming home,” Guerra said. It was the middle of a homestand, a Saturday. Guerra, who had pitched the night before, flew from Chicago to Dallas to bury his 25-year-old sister. Major League Baseball allows players on the bereavement list to miss up to seven games, and Guerra took the full seven.This isn’t something a young man should be familiar with, but Guerra was. The year before, he was preparing for his final spring training with the Dodgers when a rare form of mouth cancer rapidly and mercilessly claimed his 31-year-old brother, Sergio.In the span of two years, all before his 30th birthday, Guerra had lost two of his four siblings. He needed time to grieve, of course. The Dodgers and White Sox gave him that.“Then you start realizing you get on track, get your good foundation, move on,” Guerra said. “Take little strides forward.”center_img After Roxy died, though, Javy needed more than time to grieve. He needed to grow up and become a dad. Jayden’s biological father was never in the picture, Guerra said, so he bought a house for his family near Dallas that would allow Jayden to stay in the same school district. Guerra said his older sister, Jessica, lives there and handles a lot of the day-to-day parenting.When you’re trying to be a dad and a baseball player at the same time, Facetime helps.“Throughout the whole process, (Jayden) just allowed me to kind of realize how strong he was and let me piggyback off him,” Guerra said. “It was crazy to see how he knew what was going on but still was taking the role of a leader — looking out for his baby brother, who didn’t even realize what was going on.”Guerra is a name but not a star. His career peaked as a rookie with the Dodgers in 2011 when he saved 21 games; the next season he lost the closer’s job to Kenley Jansen and never got it back.When the Dodgers assembled baseball’s first $30 million bullpen in 2014, Guerra was pushed out in favor of established veterans like Chris Perez, Brian Wilson and Jamey Wright. He was designated for assignment in spring training.The White Sox claimed Guerra off waivers, and he would make a total of 45 appearances over the next two seasons. His career in Chicago was cut short by a mistake of his own doing, a failed test for a drug of abuse in July 2015.For a man intent on being a role model, it was a wake-up call.“Talk to my teammates,” Guerra said. “I think they’d tell you I’m a lot more responsible now. I have a routine. I come in at the same time. I do the same thing every day. That helps me build on what I’ve always been taught in the past — I never really understood what they meant — as far as have a routine, come in, get your stuff done. You’re the same guy every day. You’re never searching when you’re going good, never searching when you’re going bad. You’re always the same guy. You know that there’s a handful of things that you do normally that will allow you to keep yourself in the same mind frame.”Three of Guerra’s former teammates who still play for the Dodgers remembered him bouncing back when his brother died. As far as they could tell, it didn’t affect him when he got to the park. One, Jansen, has seen Guerra change off the field.“Just going out and having a great time, there’s nothing wrong with that, but I feel like he just used that as an escape,” Jansen said. “He’s strong now. I wish him all the best.”Baseball is now both Guerra’s job and his escape, occasionally interrupted by a buzzing smartphone with a smiling 8-year-old on the other end. It’s a pleasant interruption. It’s also a reminder of how cruel life is sometimes, a reminder he didn’t ask for but one that’s given him purpose.“Everyone in your family’s going through it,” Guerra said, “so that’s good. We balance each other out.”AlsoThe Angels re-assigned outfielder Nick Buss, outfielder Quintin Berry and pitcher Yunesky Maya to their minor-league camp. … Dodgers pitcher Brandon Beachy threw a 42-pitch bullpen session, his first since a recurrence of elbow pain earlier this month. … Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu also threw a bullpen session as he continues to recover from left shoulder surgery. … Right-hander Ross Stripling will start for the Dodgers on Tuesday against the San Diego Padres, likely his only audition for the fifth starter’s job before the regular season. … Yasiel Puig was scratched from the Dodgers’ lineup as a precaution when he awoke Saturday with a stiff left hamstring.last_img read more

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Increased gold prices can benefit Guyana – Trotman

first_imgThe increase in gold prices on the international market could help Guyana surpass its targeted production.Minister Raphael TrotmanThe increase follows the United Kingdom’s (UK’s) vote to leave the European Union (EU) last Friday.Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman told the Government Information Agency (GINA) in an invited comment that “We’re happy that our (gold) prices have increased.”However, Trotman added “We’re not happy that our increases comes really on the back of a broken system elsewhere.” Gold is now trading at just over US$1300 per ounce on the international market.This increase on the international market is likely to help Guyana surpass its targeted production and declaration in gold locally. Guyana’s budgeted target for gold production this year is 550,000 ounces.“I don’t want to reveal what is our target internally but we’re working on a target that goes past 550,000 ounces. So I would say that we’re doing relatively well in the circumstances,” Trotman noted. He added that he would like to see production declaration surpass 600,000.Additionally, Trotman told GINA that as a “citizen of the world,” the situation in Europe concerns us all. “Stability is what the world wants so anything that disrupts the national or global order is something that we should all be concerned about,” Trotman said.“In as much as we’re happy for the increase in gold prices, very happy, we also would like to see stability and normalcy in all parts of the world including Europe,” the Natural Resources Minister added. Over the past year, the price of gold has declined significantly.In 2015, gold prices steadily tumbled, with a drastic drop. Experts had predicted that gold prices would have continue to slump, hitting a more than a five-year low, with a high possibility that the precious metal could plunge to a detrimental US$1000 per ounce.Compounding the situation was the fact that, the cost of production, particularly for the small and medium-scale miners of gold and diamond, had remained largely unchanged.last_img read more

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