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Tubby Smith Surprisingly Fired as Minnesota Coach

Tubby Smith, who signed a three-year contract extension with Minnesota in July, was fired by the Gophers on Monday, the day after his team lost to Florida in the round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament.“Tubby has had a long and distinguished career and we feel it’s time for a fresh set of eyes for our student-athletes and our program in general,” Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague said in a statement released by the school. “We are grateful to Tubby and his entire staff for their hard work and dedication to this university, our students and the entire Minnesota community. We wish Tubby, Donna and the entire staff well.”Smith earned about $2 million annually, with a $600,000 base salary plus 5 percent annual raises he had been entitled to since 2008 and supplemental compensation of $1.2 million.“I want to thank the University of Minnesota and the people of Minnesota for giving me the opportunity to lead the Golden Gopher basketball program for six years,” Smith said in the news release. “Our staff did things the right way and will leave knowing that the program is in far better shape than when we arrived. The people of the state of Minnesota embraced Donna and me from the beginning and we will always be grateful.”The contract of former Kentucky coach, who won a national championship with the Wildcats in 1999, states that if he was terminated before April 30, 2016, the university will pay one-half of his base salary and supplemental compensation for each of the remaining seasons on the contract. The total amount cannot exceed $2.5 million.The 11th-seeded Gophers were 21-13 and 8-10 in the Big Ten after the 78-64 loss to the No. 3 seed Gators. For his career at Minnesota, Smith was 124-81 with NCAA Tournament berths in half of his six years there.In 2012, his team finished with 23 victories, the most by the program since the 1996-97 Final Four season that was later erased by NCAA punishment.Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, for one, was surprised by the news.“It’ll be a loss for this league and a loss for college basketball if he doesn’t stay in it,” Izzo said to reporters. “He’s got integrity beyond belief and let me tell ya, he’s been in some tough situations. I’ll close it up by saying it bothers me, saddens me.” read more


Gronk Was The Most Efficient Receiver Weve Seen

7Jordy NelsonWR9248,5879.3 6Michael IrvinWR9608,9369.3 10Travis KelceTE5795,2369.0 2Julio JonesWR1,09510,7319.8 5Brandin CooksWR5465,1479.4 3Malcom FloydWR5705,5509.7 PlayerPositionTargetsYardsyards per target 9Doug BaldwinWR7226,5639.1 Among players with at least 500 career targetsSource: Pro-Football-Reference.com Good things happened when you throw to GronkMost career yards per target for NFL players, 1992-2018 1Rob GronkowskiTE7947,8619.9 It was the Instagram post that shook the NFL. New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski took to the social-media platform Sunday night to announce what had been speculated for the better part of two years: He was retiring from football at age 29, leaving the Pats less than two months after New England won Super Bowl LIII. Despite his relatively short career, Gronk seems like an ironclad lock for the Pro Football Hall of Fame based on his three championships and many spike-worthy touchdowns. And there’s plenty of evidence that the traditional markers of tight end production undersell Gronkowski’s success. When healthy, Gronk was one of the most efficient offensive weapons in NFL history, notable as much for the nightmares he caused defenses as for the short amount of time his star shone (or his party-loving ways off the field).Not that Gronkowski’s conventional stats are anything to scoff at. He was named to the Pro Bowl in five of the seven seasons in which he played more than half of the Patriots’ games and was the first-team All-Pro tight end in four of those years. In the 2010s, no tight end had more receiving yards, and no receiver of any kind scored more receiving touchdowns. Only two tight ends in history — Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez — have more regular-season career TD catches, and Gronkowski caught 12 more in the postseason, which ties him with John Stallworth for the second-most playoff TDs among all players behind Jerry Rice.On a per-16-game basis, the average Gronk campaign would consist of 72 catches, 1,094 yards and 11 touchdowns — numbers that would rank among the top 25 tight end seasons in history. And Gronkowski sustained that pace for nine seasons.Those numbers are only scratching the surface in terms of how valuable Gronk was to Tom Brady and the Patriots over the years. On a per-target basis, Gronkowksi picked up 9.9 yards — basically an entire first down every time the ball was thrown in his direction — according to Pro-Football-Reference.com. Since 1992 (the first season for target data on PFR), that’s the best of any receiver — wideout or tight end — in the NFL. 8T.Y. HiltonWR8788,0979.2 4DeSean JacksonWR1,05710,2619.7 Remember longtime Vikings WR Cris Carter’s old reputation — “all he does is catch touchdowns”? For Gronkowski, that was closer to being true than for any player of his generation — and it was a very good thing for the Patriots. With 521 career receptions and 79 career touchdown grabs, Gronk hauled in a TD once every 6.6 catches. Only eight players in NFL history with a minimum of 400 lifetime receptions — Don Hutson, Paul Warfield, Tommy McDonald, Art Powell, Jimmy Orr, Wesley Walker, Randy Moss and Lance Alworth — caught touchdowns as a greater share of their total catches than Gronkowski did.With those rates of great things happening whenever he was involved in the play, it’s easy to make a case that Gronkowski was the most efficient receiver (of any type) in NFL history. What’s more, Gronkowski consistently made his teammates more efficient, too.When our colleague Kyle Wagner looked at Gronk’s impact during the 2017-18 playoffs, he found that Brady’s passing efficiency numbers were significantly higher when his favorite tight end was on the field than not, one of the big ways Gronkowski has been a secret weapon for the Pats during the latter phase of their record-smashing dynasty. Since Gronk’s debut in 2010, Brady’s passer rating when targeting Gronkowski is 124.7, but it was just 96.8 when throwing to any other receiver. Even when it came to the greatest quarterback of all time, Gronkowski found a way to make him look much better.And then there was Gronkowski’s effect as a blocker. He frequently graded out as the best blocking tight end in the game, according to ProFootballFocus.com’s ratings. This aspect of his game made Gronk an asset whether the play call was a pass or run — keeping the Patriots from having to sub him in and out depending on the situation, or having his presence tip the Pats’ hand on which type of play was coming. No matter what Gronkowski was asked to do, he generated a mismatch with the defense.(All of this is to say nothing of the fun-loving image Gronkowski cultivated both on and off the field. We’ll leave others to judge his extracurricular activities, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t reference this great description of Gronkowski’s playing style from The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay: He was “six-foot-6, 265 pounds, galloping straight at you in the open field like a pony who just broke loose at a children’s birthday party.”)Gronkowski was still a valuable player in 2018, but there’s no denying that he was a shell of his old self. According to ProFootballFocus, he was ranked 11th best overall at the position. But as he showed in the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory this year, Gronkowski could still be a game-changing player. His 29-yard reception in the fourth quarter set New England up on the goal line, leading to the game’s only touchdown. While Gronkowksi’s impact as a blocker generated great fanfare during the regular season and in the playoffs, he also was the team’s primary downfield weapon after Josh Gordon exited New England, averaging 16.4 air yards per reception, according to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group. That was more than 50 percent greater than Brady’s overall mark per attempt during the same span.Few Hall of Famers have ever retired before their age-30 season,1In the parlance of Pro-Football-Reference, which calculates its seasonal ages based on the player’s age as of Dec. 31 during the year in question. but Gronkowski is destined to join a group that also includes Jim Brown, Terrell Davis, Kenny Easley and Gale Sayers (among modern2Retiring since 1960. players). Though his time in the NFL was relatively short, Gronk made his mark on the league as a receiver, blocker and all-around offensive terror. The game — and its greatest quarterback — will miss him dearly next season. read more


Noholdsbarred riots precede Final Four

NEW ORLEANS – Paying $25 for a student ticket to the Final Four probably seemed like a deal to students whose schools advanced to the last weekend of competition in men’s college basketball. But the riots that ensued when they arrived at the venue left some students shocked and others trampled. Students from each of the four institutions competing in the 2012 Final Four arrived throughout the early morning Saturday to obtain their tickets for the Kentucky-Louisville and Ohio State-Kansas National Semifinal Games at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Erik Christianson, director of public and media relations for the NCAA, said students entered the garage area for the Superdome about 16 hours before any game was scheduled to start. “In an effort to secure floor seats from a general admission pool of student tickets, a crowd of approximately 500 students crossed barricades and entered a garage area at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome without proper authorization at approximately 12:30 a.m. on Saturday,” Christianson said in an email. Although instructed to begin forming lines at about 10 a.m., students attempted to line up early to secure highly coveted floor seats. “The students were instructed by their respective schools and the NCAA to arrive at the garage at 10 a.m.,” Christianson said in an email. “While they were being removed in an orderly manner, some students rushed back into the garage and remained there against the orders of security staff.” Several students said the day-of-game ticketing process was a “riot” that morning, adding that people were trampled and pushed over while grappling for position in line. Jon Hicks, a second-year in human development and family services at OSU, attempted to position himself for a lower level ticket and arrived in line at about 7:30 a.m. Hicks was one of 710 OSU students to buy a $25 ticket and was trying to sit on the floor rather than in the upper bowl of the stadium, where half his peers would be located. He said a riot broke out shortly after his arrival when security guards told OSU, Kansas, Louisville and Kentucky students to leave the arena. “Some cop came in and said, ‘You all have to leave,’” Hicks said. “We all went outside. We were there for five minutes. They said, ‘Go back in,’ and we went right back inside. A couple Kentucky girls got knocked over. It was bad. It was pretty intense.” Ricky Voigt, a second-year in human resources at OSU, said hundreds of people began running around in the Superdome parking garage where the four groups of students waited for tickets. Voigt said it was the closest he’s ever been to being in a riot situation, and likened the scene to that of a rock concert. “People were jumping over barriers, climbing up the parking garage. Just running and screaming,” Voigt said. “There was really no security or personnel from the Superdome facilitating anything. It was sort of self-governed by the students.” Voigt said he did not see any students injured. However Nick Nachbar, a first-year in microbiology at Kansas said he saw several female students trampled. Nachbar, who described a process of waiting for hours for multiple wristbands in order to obtain access to Superdome floor seats, said people were pushed down and trampled in the rush to reposition after being told to leave the arena and then invited back inside. Christianson said adjustments were being made to ensure a similar incident does not happen when Kentucky plays Kansas Monday evening. “When the NCAA and facility staff arrived at 7 a.m., they adjusted the ticket distribution process to accommodate the students,” Christianson said. “The NCAA and facility staff has reviewed the incident and are taking measures with increased security for Monday’s game to ensure the safety of the students.” Nachbar said he had never seen anything like the scene he saw Saturday morning. “For the people in the middle trying to get up front, it was no-holds-bar,” Nachbar said. “Anything they had to do to get to the front of the line, they would do. It’s crazy.” read more


China directs users to approved VPNs as firewall tightens

© 2018 AFP A man uses a computer in an internet cafe in Beijing: China is tightening controls by curbing the use of VPNs Citation: China directs users to approved VPNs as firewall tightens (2018, January 30) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-china-users-vpns-firewall-tightens.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. International companies and individuals have been fretting for months over whether Beijing would enforce new regulations curbing the use of virtual private networks (VPN).The content accessible on China’s domestic internet is highly restricted. Google, Facebook and other foreign websites such as the New York Times and the BBC, and some email services, are blocked by the country’s Great Firewall of censorship. One way to bypass the controls is by using a VPN, which can allow users to access the unfiltered global internet. This is where authorities are cracking down.In January last year the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced it would be banning the use of unlicensed VPNs, with a deadline of March 31, 2018 to complete the crackdown.MIIT chief engineer Zhang Feng told a news conference Tuesday that unapproved VPN operators are the target of the regulations.For those “VPNs which unlawfully conduct cross-border operational activities, we want to regulate this”, Zhang said.Many foreign individuals and businesses currently use VPN services unapproved by Chinese regulators. They are on tenterhooks as to whether China will shut down these service providers.The inability to access certain online tools, internet censorship and cybersecurity are major headaches for foreign companies, according to a survey of US companies conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in China and released Tuesday.Last summer tech giant Apple restricted its Chinese customers’ access to VPNs in the country, removing dozens of apps from its app store. In December, a man in southern China was sentenced to five and a half years in prison for selling a VPN service on Alibaba’s Taobao and other marketplaces.The new rules drive customers who want to access the global internet to approved state providers like China Mobile and China Unicom.Those who want to access the global internet “can rent lines or networks from business operators which have set up international entry and exit ports in accordance with the law”, Zhang said. He dismissed concerns that using China’s state-approved providers could jeopardise the security of business and individual data.”These telecommunications enterprises only provide you with a channel, or a network, and are not able to see information related to your business,” he said. Explore further China’s web users fear losing tools to bypass ‘Great Firewall’ China vowed Tuesday to force both local and foreign companies and individuals to use only government-approved software to access the global internet, as overseas firms fear losing unrestricted online services under an impending deadline. read more