New York sports talk radio is regaining one of its most outsized and loudest personalities.
Craig Carton, who served more than a year in jail for his involvement in a Ponzi scheme involving concert tickets to cover his gambling losses, will return to WFAN 660, the station announced Thursday.
Longtime WFAN host Evan Roberts will team up with Carton in the late-afternoon drivetime slot. Roberts’ current partner, Joe Beningo, announced his retirement on Wednesday, effective at the end of next week. The first show with Carton and Roberts will be Monday, Nov. 9. They will be on the air 2-7 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Carton rose to prominence by co-hosting Boomer and Carton alongside former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason on weekdays in the morning for a decade prior to his arrest. Esiason played the straight man ex-athlete role to Carton’s boisterous and sometimes-offensive charlatan schtick.
FBI officials arrested Carton on Sept. 6, 2017, and a federal indictment charged him with wire fraud, securities fraud and conspiracy. The charges carried a maximum imprisonment of 45 years, but Carton was sentenced to three-and-a-half years. He served slightly more than one year in a federal penitentiary before his release in June.
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Carton began a podcast while incarcerated and eventually hosted a daily show on FNTSY Sports Radio Network. The first sign Carton could return to WFAN came when Entercom made Chris Oliviero, a onetime producer for Carton, senior vice president in charge of New York stations.
A HBO documentary that debuted earlier this month described Carton’s descent into gambling addiction that preceded his criminal activity.
Before his radio career in New York, Carton hosted a sports program in Trenton, New Jersey. He and Esiason replaced longtime shock jock Don Imus on the mornings for WFAN after Imus’ racist comments regarding the Rutgers women’s basketball team in 2007.
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The New York Giants will place starting left guard Will Hernandez on the COVID-19/reserve list Thursday after his positive test was revealed, a person with knowledge of the situation told NorthJersey.com and USA TODAY Network.
The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, also confirmed that all but four of the team’s offensive linemen are in quarantine and not at the team’s training facility Thursday. In addition, two assistant coaches – outside linebackers coach and senior assistant Bret Bielema and defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson – were sent home due to contact tracing.
In total, eight players and two coaches were considered a part of Hernandez’s close contacts. This is the first time the Giants are dealing with the ramifications of a positive test since wide receiver David Sills was placed on the COVID-19/reserve list in training camp.
The Giants confirmed a player had tested positive, but did not immediately identify Hernandez.
Giants coach Joe Judge said via Zoom on Thursday that the team will wear masks and face shields in practice as a precaution. They’ll also conduct their post-practice meetings virtually and the hope is that any players in quarantine and away from the facility Thursday due to close contacts can return Friday with negative tests.
No one is flagged as “high risk” at the moment, and those players along with Bielema and Henderson are expected to participate in the virtual meetings from home Thursday.
The Giants have been required to wear masks and face coverings inside their facility (and MetLife Stadium when applicable) for all other off-field activities since training camp.
It’s believed that Hernandez was not with the Giants’ group that included Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley, among others, that was seen on video without masks in New York City last Friday night.
“I’d say 12 hours ago, I was notified that there was some issues, maybe a little longer than that. We got the list of names of players, we made adjustments, we had a couple of coaches involved,” Judge said Thursday. “We’ve been fortunate in that there’s really no high risk guys within the tracer contacts, just a precaution we take as a team. We’re optimistic to get all these guys back, so we’re operating that we’re gonna have ‘em back right now.”
There is no change in the status of the Giants-Buccaneers game for Monday night at this time, another person with knowledge of the league’s plans told NorthJersey.com and USA TODAY Network. The person spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation. Judge said the Giants are proceeding as though the team will still plan on Monday.
The Giants said they are working closely with Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, regarding the next protocol steps and will continue to do so.
The Los Angeles Chargers have shifted their meetings to virtual sessions after the team was informed Wednesday night that it had a player return a positive COVID-19 test.
The Chargers made the announcement Thursday morning, becoming the latest NFL franchise to have to adjust its schedule due to a positive test. Though the team did not identify the player, it said he was immediately notified and that contact tracing was initiated. The player will remain home in self-quarantine and will participate in meetings remotely. The close contacts of the infected player are also staying home and working remotely, the team said.
The Chargers are keeping the Hoag Performance Center, their headquarters in Costa Mesa, California, open and will observe their regular practice and meeting schedule. Los Angeles (2-4) is scheduled to travel to Denver to face the AFC West-rival Broncos (2-4) on Sunday.
MORE COVID-19 CASES:Giants lineman Will Hernandez tests positive for coronavirus
“We continue to operate in close consultation with the NFL, as well as our team of independent doctors and specialists, and will follow their guidance,” the Chargers said in a statement. “As has been the case since day one of this pandemic, the health and safety of our players, staff and community continue to be our highest priority.”
During the HBO series “Hard Knocks,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn revealed in August that he had contracted the virus and emphasized the need for players and staff to observe precaution.
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Silvio De Sousa’s abrupt departure from the Kansas men’s basketball program has gained new context.
De Sousa, who on Oct. 16 announced his decision to opt out of the upcoming season to address “personal issues,” is facing a charge for aggravated battery — a Level 5 felony — for an incident that allegedly took place early on New Year’s Day, according to Douglas County District Court documents.
De Sousa “unlawfully, feloniously and recklessly (caused) great bodily harm or disfigurement to another person” during the confrontation that took place in the early morning hours near the 1100 block of Massachusetts Street, according to charging documents filed Monday. The former Jayhawk forward has been issued a summons and is scheduled for a first court appearance on Dec. 17.
In a statement to The Topeka Capital-Journal, Kansas head coach Bill Self said De Sousa, 22, only recently learned of the allegations regarding his involvement in the nearly year-old incident.
“Earlier this fall, Silvio told me that he had been contacted by local authorities regarding his alleged involvement in an incident on New Year’s Eve,” Self said. “He was not aware of the details from that incident until a couple weeks ago, which he then shared with me. These allegations were surprising to Silvio, as they were to us. Once we discussed the details, he decided it was in his best interest to opt out and focus on this matter. We mutually agreed that was the best course of action.”
De Sousa two weeks ago cited personal challenges in his decision to leave the team.
“I have a lot of things weighing on my mind and need to address these by taking time for myself and stepping away from basketball,” wrote De Sousa, who averaged 2.6 points and 2.8 rebounds last season. “I do not know what my next plan will be right now, but I will decide that when the time is right. This was not an easy decision to leave the basketball program, but it’s the best thing for me to do right now.”
The return of the Big Ten season brought some surprise results and impressive debuts. It’s always important to be mindful of overreactions to just one data point. Often the starts do not set in stone where teams finish.
The rest of the Power Five in action are at the midpoint of their season and races in those conferences are taking shape.
Parity has been one of the stories of the SEC season as teams below Alabama and Georgia have taken turns knocking off each other.
The Big 12 title race has two league unbeatens with preseason favorite Oklahoma and Texas trailing behind with two losses. More clarity should come to the situation Saturday.
Cincinnati, meanwhile, is slowly working its way into College Football Playoff contention. The Bearcats already have wins against two ranked opponents, and the American Athletic schedule allows for more quality wins ahead.
A look at the top questions for Week 9 in college football:
Does Penn State have a chance against Ohio State?
This seems like an easy question to answer after the Nittany Lions lost to Indiana last week. A deeper dive at that game shows Penn State dominated on both sides of the ball, but were undone by turnovers, penalties and special teams errors before poor clock management at the end of regulation. This is still a very good team capable of pulling an upset. And it is desperate, knowing an 0-2 start eliminates them from the Big Ten race.
Now consider the situation with Ohio State. The Buckeyes were less-than-impressive early against Nebraska before pulling away late. The running game was not consistent. The defense didn’t appear dominant. There’s a danger of being overconfident and not anticipating that it will get the best performance from the Nittany Lions. This still has the makings of one of the best games of the season.
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Can Texas cause chaos in the Big 12?
Oklahoma State and Kansas State are the only unbeatens in Big 12 league play. If each wins its remaining games outside their matchup Nov. 7, then they will both be in the conference championship game. That would freeze out Iowa State, Oklahoma and Texas.
There’s several pitfalls ahead, especially with the Cowboys hosting Longhorns this weekend. Yes, Texas has lost two games and there is pressure on Tom Herman to win this season. A defeat of Baylor, who was dealing with COVID-19 issues, shouldn’t be overstated, however it gave the team a good feeling and a springboard to its trip to Stillwater. They’ll need a fast start to avoid their penchant for having to come from behind. With a little bit of pressure, it’s possible OSU then falters and throws open the conference race.
How does Michigan follow up its impressive opener?
One week after rolling over Minnesota to open the year, Michigan takes on rival Michigan State with the opportunity to cement a spot as the second-best team in the Big Ten — or even at the top of the list, should Penn State score the upset against the Buckeyes. After committing seven turnovers in losing to Rutgers, the Spartans shouldn’t present too much of a challenge. The rivalry game provides the opportunity for another look at first-year starting quarterback Joe Milton, who was terrific against the Golden Gophers, and a strong follow-up should go a long way toward easing if not outright eliminating the concerns over the health of this offense heading into the regular season.
Is Memphis Cincinnati’s biggest threat?
After trouncing SMU 42-13 last week, the Bearcats may have already passed their toughest test of the regular season. The Mustangs ranked fourth nationally in total offense entering the weekend and were held to just 290 yards, the program’s lowest single-game output since early in the 2018 season. Memphis has similar firepower on offense, including one of the American’s best quarterbacks in Brady White, and the Tigers would put the Bearcats in an uncomfortable position by creating a faster tempo. But Memphis has yet to run up against this sort of defense: Cincinnati ranks first nationally among teams that have played multiple games in yards allowed per play. And don’t overlook the Bearcats’ motivation to avenge back-to-back losses to Memphis to end the 2019 regular season.
Can Florida shake off the rust before meeting Missouri?
The Gators have been sidelined for two weeks after a rash of positive results for COVID-19. While Florida was getting healthy, Missouri was turning around its season under first-year coach Eli Drinkwitz. After losing to Alabama and Tennessee, the Tigers have won as underdogs against LSU and Kentucky to even their record at 2-2 and set up the possibility of a .500 finish against an SEC-only schedule. Once penciled in as an easy win for UF, the matchup is now closer to a toss-up. With Georgia up next, the Gators can’t afford to stumble against Missouri and remain a factor in the East division race. Another subplot is the play of quarterback Kyle Trask, who earned early Heisman Trophy consideration but has since been overshadowed by Trevor Lawrence, Mac Jones and Justin Fields.
No other major college football team has struggled on defense this season quite like Mississippi, creating the temptation to make a lightbulb joke about just how badly the Rebels have been getting lit up on the field and off:
How many Mississippi defensive coordinators does it cost to change this lightbulb?
The answer this year is four, according to their employment contracts:
► One is Wesley McGriff, who was fired as the team’s defensive coordinator in November 2018. Mississippi still owed him at least $1.1 million per year through Jan. 31, 2021, minus any pay he’s receiving at his new job at Auburn (about $300,000 per year).
► Another is Mike MacIntyre, who served as the team’s defensive coordinator for one season in 2019 but wasn’t retained by new head coach Lane Kiffin in 2020. Mississippi still owed him $1.5 million per year through Jan. 31, 2022, minus the pay he’s receiving from his new job at Memphis ($420,000 base salary).
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► This year, D.J. Durkin and Chris Partridge are the Rebels’ co-defensive coordinators. They are making $700,000 and $625,000 annually through Jan. 31, 2022.
After winning just one of their first five games, their team this season ranks 100th out of 101 teams in yards allowed per game (556), 97th in points allowed per game (44.6), 98th in third-down conversion defense (57.4%) and 97th in rushing yards allowed per game (256.8).
Coaching is only part of the equation. The Rebels’ roster on defense recently has been pared by injury and COVID-19 issues, including two starters who missed the last two games because of contact tracing protocols. They’ve also had to play Alabama and Florida, two of the nation’s top offensive teams.
But the moral of the story seems clear: Firing coaches can be expensive, with no guarantee the next set of coaches will fare any better.
“We’re playing a little bit better defense,” Kiffin said Monday on a video teleconference, noting improvement from earlier this season, when he stated that “there ain’t a lot of positive things to find there” after giving up 51 points to Florida.
The school didn’t respond to a message seeking comment on the coordinators’ compensation. The Ole Miss Athletics Foundation, a private fundraising arm for athletics, said in an audited financial statement this year that it has agreed to support severance and separation agreements with former athletics personnel. It said the amount paid for these agreements was $983,727 for the fiscal year ending June 2019 and $8.6 million for the fiscal year ending June 2020, about seven months after the university fired Matt Luke, Kiffin’s predecessor as head coach.
In fiscal year 2021, the foundation said it expects to pay $3.5 million for such severance.
Both McGriff and MacIntyre had language in their Mississippi contracts that called for them to use pay from any new jobs they got after Mississippi to reduce what they were owed by Mississippi until their contracts with the Rebels ended. Even though that amount is only a fraction of what Mississippi owed them, this mitigation arrangement helps Mississippi reduce that expense over time instead of paying the departed coaches a lump sum to break their contracts earlier.
In the meantime, there is hope for these run-down Rebels. They play this Saturday at Vanderbilt (0-3), a team that ranks 97th in scoring with just 8.7 points per game.
Contributing: Steve Berkowitz
Follow reporter Brent Schrotenboer @Schrotenboer. E-mail: [email protected]
This was going to be largest bowl season in history with 43 games. But like everything affected by COVID-19, plans are being rewritten. How things play out with the three College Football Playoff games and the remaining 36 scheduled bowls remains uncertain.
What we do know is that the experience for teams, players, fans and communities is going to be vastly different. That’s understandable given health conditions have pushed the season to a later finish, limited or eliminated attendance at games and altered travel plans.
Those who build holiday plans around bowl season and those who can’t imagine ringing in the new year without watching the biggest postseason games should still be able to enjoy the season’s conclusion — albeit with a different feel.
An assessment of how things stand after talking with multiple officials involved in the bowl process. They requested anonymity because the situation is in flux.
Expect lots of losing records
A waiver by the NCAA eliminating the win requirement for bowl eligibility will make team selections more straightforward. The annual calculation about whether conferences have enough teams with six wins goes away.
Bowls are still expected to follow league affiliations and tie-ins, regardless of the records of the teams.
With three of the Power Five leagues — the Big Ten, Pac-12 and Southeastern Conference — playing a league-only schedule and the other two having only one non-conference game, math tells you it’s going to be impossible to avoid having a swath of teams with losing records.
In the case of the Big Ten, it will fill all of its seven spots outside the New Year’s Six games. That could open the door for selection of the 10th-best team among its 14 members. The same will be true for the other conferences that have spots for more than half their membership.
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The SEC has 14 teams and nine possible bowl affiliations outside the College Football Playoff and Sugar Bowl, but only five schools have winning records through five weekends. Six have losing records.
The 10-team Big 12 has the potential for six bowl spots outside its guaranteed berth in the Sugar Bowl. The league has just six teams with winning records.
Eight of the 15 Atlantic Coast Conference schools have winning records, but the conference has 10 possible bowl spots.
The NCAA waiver does create fewer opportunities for Group of Five teams. Five served as replacements for Power Five schools unable to fulfill their allotments last season. Three did in 2018.
It’s not that abnormal
The records might be unsightly come December. However, this shouldn’t be a surprise. The concept of teams playing bowl games with losing conference records is nothing new. Programs often get to six or seven wins on the strength of a padded non-conference schedule leading into an average or worse league campaign.
Twenty-one bowl teams in the past two years had losing league records, including 17 from the Power Five. Several had just three wins among those eight or nine games. However, critics of including teams with losing league records should note those 17 schools went 12-5 in the bowls.
The losers in this one-off arrangement are the Group of Five leagues that typically filled the spots left empty when bigger conferences can’t meet the win requirement.
When will the games take place?
The first Saturday of December has been the final day of the regular season during the playoff era. The pairings for the semifinals and the rest of the bowl season are unveiled the following day. That would be Dec. 6 this year.
However, the weekend of the conference championship games has been pushed to the third Saturday of the month. That is the weekend of the traditional bowl schedule start date.
That creates uncertainty about when games are played. It also will create a much shorter window between announcement of the pairings and kickoff that is usually at least two weeks and often longer.
It’s anticipated most of the matchups for Power Five schools will be announced Dec. 20 because bowls affiliated with those respective conferences won’t know the selection pool until the New Year’s Six games are announced. It’s also worth noting every team in the Big Ten and Pac-12 is scheduled to play Dec. 19, so their pecking order won’t be established before then.
None of the Power Five games could be played before Christmas given the short turnaround. Dec. 26 is a Saturday, but bowls are rarely played on Sunday or Monday night to avoid conflict with the NFL. That leaves four other days to squeeze in everything before Jan. 1.
One way to alleviate the issue would be to have several games involving Group of Five teams lined up in early December before the end of the season. Those could potentially be played between Dec. 19 and before Christmas.
There were eight games before Dec. 25 last season and 12 games in the period in 2018. Without using that window, there’s potentially up to 30 games needed to be played between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Another option would be playing games after New Year’s. That isn’t ideal given people are usually back to work after the holidays and less likely to travel or watch games during the week. Five games were played after Jan. 1 last year. None were played in 2018.
How many games?
The debut of the Fenway, Los Angeles and Myrtle Beach bowls would have added three more games and six more teams to the mix, giving this year’s postseason 43 games with 84 total teams. History will have to wait a year.
The Redbox Bowl, held in the San Francisco area, canceled its game in August when the season was uncertain. Earlier this month, the Hawaii Bowl and Bahamas Bowl were called off due to travel restrictions related to COVID-19.
The Holiday Bowl — a mainstay since 1978 — announced its game was canceled last week, leading to uncertainty about others pulling the plug. The three new games would be the likeliest candidates. Others could also follow. Longtime games with deeper community ties would be the most committed to playing.
Local health conditions or coronavirus concerns that arise for the teams selected could change that calculation closer to game day.
A different bowl experience
Economic and health constraints will require changes to the traditional bowl experience. The host cities face a significant impact, especially smaller towns, like El Paso, Shreveport, Tucson and Mobile that benefit from having a week full of activities.
Teams typically arrive well before the game with an oversize bowl party including players, administrators, staff and bands with relatives and fans close behind. They stay in local hotels and visit restaurants and tourist locations. Teams make visits to hospitals or charities after practicing at a local school or stadium.
A study from San Diego State and George Washington found that bowls in 2014 and 2015 contributed an average of $40.3 million to cities with New Year’s Six games bringing in more $90 million. According to the Fiesta Bowl, the game has contributed nearly $3 billion during the past 13 years through its organization and events.
Much of that will go away. Teams are expected to treat the game like a usual road game. Many of the pregame events will be virtual. Already being hurt financially by the pandemic, schools are expected to have slimmed-down attendance.
In a typical year, athletic departments would be on the hook to fulfill an allotment of several thousand tickets. However, there’s no guarantee fans will be allowed at games. And if they are, it won’t be anything resembling a full stadium. The allotment likely would then be reduced to correlate roughly with the percentage of attendance.
For the players — many of whom are playing their last competitive football game — there will still be an opportunity to celebrate their seasons, albeit in a different way.
The truncated experience and uncertainty surrounding whether bowls will be played could lead to an increase of upperclassmen opting out and starting preparation for the NFL draft.
Justin Turner finally got his World Series title and Major League Baseball got its postseason TV riches, so to hell with everybody else.
That’s how we’re doing it, right? Personal satisfaction and happiness over the collective good, science and common sense be damned.
The appalling flouting of COVID-19 protocols at the World Series on Tuesday night might as well be a microcosm of the United States, bringing into sharp focus why this country has lost almost 230,000 of its mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents and friends in the past seven months.
Turner was pulled from Game 6 in the eighth inning and put in isolation following confirmation that he had tested positive for COVID-19. Yet as the Dodgers celebrated their first championship since 1988, Turner was back on the field, often maskless, not social distancing.
When the Dodgers took their team photo, Turner was front and center, mask pulled down beneath his chin while sitting next to manager Dave Roberts, a cancer survivor.
“He’s part of the team,” Mookie Betts said. “Forget all that. He’s part of the team. We’re not excluding him.”
As if the coronavirus cares.
The Dodgers and MLB shared responsibility. None of the Dodgers held Turner accountable in the moment, and president Andrew Friedman even excused his behavior. MLB didn’t acknowledge Turner’s positive test until well after the game ended. Even then, commissioner Rob Manfred made only an offhand reference before the presentation of the MVP award.
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The league then proceeded to ignore almost all requests for more information – and not until mid-afternoon Wednesday did Manfred tell USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale that MLB planned to issue a strong statement condemning Turner’s selfishness.
Maybe it’s asking too much, but when you’ve had 15-plus hours to craft a statement, I expect it to say more than, “While a desire to celebrate is understandable, Turner’s decision to leave isolation and enter the field was wrong and put everyone he came in contact with at risk.”
MLB took no responsibility for how Turner got out of isolation, saying he “emphatically refused” requests to leave the field doesn’t cut it. It gave no explanation for why the game wasn’t stopped when Turner was removed. No apologies for the awful message all this sent to the rest of the country.
It was as if once Dodgers reliever Julio Urias got the final out, MLB threw up its hands and said, “Screw it. COVID-19 isn’t our problem anymore!”
Not that this should be a surprise.
Asked to put the well-being of our medical professionals and vulnerable neighbors ahead of our own wants, to trust science over conspiracy theories and bald-faced lies, we as a country have revealed ourselves to be a nation of many selfish and arrogant people.
We have prioritized the return of sports over schools and small businesses. We have made exceptions to protocols when it suited us and ignored advice when it wasn’t convenient. We have refused to believe COVID was as bad as it is, and instead pretended it would just magically go away.
The results have been wholly predictable.
The Wisconsin Legislature has been completely derelict in its responsibilities, causing the entire state to now need a hazmat suit. Given that environment, it was not wise for the University of Wisconsin to resume football. It was even less wise for the Badgers to host Illinois in a game last Friday night, even without spectators.
But this is ‘Murica! We can’t let the virus control us!
On Wednesday, Wisconsin announced it was shutting down its football program for at least seven days after 12 people, including coach Paul Chryst and two quarterbacks, had tested positive for COVID-19. Wisconsin also called off Saturday’s game against Nebraska, the 33rd game to be canceled or postponed because of COVID-19 since the season began.
This comes two weeks after Florida coach Dan Mullen lobbied for fans to “pack the Swamp” for the upcoming game against LSU, the state’s governor having thrown open the state despite being one of the country’s worst hot spots.
Three days later, the Gators paused their season because of an outbreak that would eventually infect more than two dozen people, Mullen included.
“I certainly apologize if I offended people,” Mullen said.
And therein lies the problem.
The recklessness and indifference exhibited by our sports and many sports fans isn’t a matter of offending anyone’s sensibilities or having conflicting opinions. It’s about ignoring the very real crisis our country is in, and conflating our response to COVID-19 as some referendum on American exceptionalism.
While it’s true most COVID cases aren’t severe, it remains a highly contagious disease for which there is no vaccine, no cure and very few effective treatments. It still kills at too high of a rate, and the terrifying stories of “long haulers” is a reminder that we have no idea what the long-term effects in mild cases will be.
Our best defenses are wearing masks, washing hands and socially distancing. Yet there remains a large number of Americans who refuse to do it, demonize those who do or excuse irresponsible behavior.
There was no reason for Justin Turner to participate in the post-game celebration Tuesday night. There was no reason for the Dodgers to enable Turner’s behavior. But it’s a reflection of where we are as a country, and it shows just how broken we’ve become.
Follow USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armour on Twitter @nrarmour.
The Big Ten’s inability to play even two weeks of the regular season without having a game canceled due to COVID-19 highlights the stupidity of trying to force nine games into nine weeks in an effort to gain ground in the College Football Playoff race.
After an outbreak of cases forced Wisconsin to call off Saturday’s game against Nebraska, it’s clear the abbreviated and condensed schedule may end up doing the opposite: preventing the best teams in the Big Ten from playing enough games and putting together the resume needed to earn a place in the national semifinals.
Trying to play football amid a pandemic is trouble, period, as shown in the rash of positive results and growing list of canceled games across the Bowl Subdivision.
But the Big Ten worsened this already troublesome scenario in August by first backing out of the regular season and then coming back in September with plans to begin nearly one month after the SEC.
If the conference had stayed in step with other Power Five leagues, the Big Ten could’ve played nine or more games across three months rather than just two. As expected, the remade plan took one week to fall apart.
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By trying to shoehorn a full conference schedule into the tight window, the conference erased any room for error, removed the chance to reschedule impacted games and created a scenario where the best team in one of the two divisions won’t even be eligible to play for the conference championship game.
Under the tiebreakers created for 2020, a Big Ten team must play at least six games or “no less than two fewer conference games than the average number of conference games played by all teams” to be considered for the division championship.
Take the Badgers, who were expected to win the West division and contend for a New Year’s Six bowl. At most, Wisconsin will now play seven games before the championship weekend on Dec. 19. One more cancellation — and the team is already pausing all activities for seven days per conference guidelines — would put Wisconsin right on the threshold of being ineligible to play for the Big Ten title, unless a similar run of cancellations cut into the total number of games played across the conference.
“We have said from the beginning that the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff members comes first,” Wisconsin athletics director Barry Alvarez said in a statement.
Nebraska represents the secondary impact. Wisconsin’s season is in doubt. But the Cornhuskers, who avoided positive results, are now on a seven-game schedule.
This may be only the beginning. Already playing from behind, the Big Ten’s suddenly flimsy playoff hopes hinge on completing a full regular season. What are the odds?
The 2021 Boston Marathon will not be held in April.
The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) announced Wednesday afternoon that the 125th Boston Marathon, traditionally held on the third Monday in April — Patriots’ Day — will be postponed until at least the fall of 2021.
“With fewer than six months until Patriots’ Day and with road races prohibited until Phase 4 of the Massachusetts reopening plan, we are unable to host the Boston Marathon this coming April,” said Tom Grilk, CEO of the athletic association, in a prepared statement. “By shifting our focus to a fall date, we can continue to work with stakeholders to adjust the in-person experience for runners and supporters alike. Prioritizing the safety of participants, volunteers, spectators, and community members, we continue to assess all elements of the race including a potential reduced field size or weekend date.”
The 2020 Boston Marathon was held virtually in September after being canceled in April.
The Marathon starts in Hopkinton, Massachusetts and continues into Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellelsey, Newton and Brookline, before ending in Boston.
The BAA has been meeting regularly with its COVID-19 Medical & Event Operations Advisory Group to determine when and how the Boston Marathon can be held again, will begin working with local, city, and state officials, sponsors, organizing committee members, and other stakeholders to determine if a fall 2021 date is feasible.
No date in 2021 has been set yet. The BAA plans to announce a date by the end of 2020, according to the announcement.
“We are optimistic that the Boston Marathon will continue its tradition of celebrating the spirit of community and athletic excellence next fall. We know there will be many questions and we will look to address them in the coming months ahead,” Grilk said in the statement.
The BAA plans to work with local, city, and state officials and members of its COVID-19 Medical & Event Operations Advisory Group to establish under what conditions the next live, in-person Boston Marathon can occur.
The Boston Marathon has never been canceled outright since its first running in 1897, though there was a de facto cancellation in 1918, when the end of World War I and a global influenza pandemic prompted organizers to switch to a relay race format. The 2020 marathon was held virtually over 10-days as a virtual experience due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Other details such as when registration may open and the field size, pending local regulations and the event plan, will also be forthcoming.