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Developmental league has support, no launch plan

first_imgIn this Jan. 31, 2013 file photo, former NFL football player Troy Vincent speaks during a news conference in New Orleans. When Vincent, recently made the NFL’s head of football operations, mentioned in April the NFL’s interest in establishing a developmental league, he couldn’t have imagined the response it would get. (AP Photo/Doug Benc, File)NEW YORK (AP) — When Troy Vincent mentioned in April the NFL’s interest in establishing a developmental league, he couldn’t have imagined the response it would get.“I got more than 100 proposals,” he said with a laugh. “I think that shows it is worth a look.”And that is what it will get, although the NFL has no timetable for establishing such a league.Why is it likely to get off the ground? Vincent, who recently became the NFL’s head of football operations, cites a bunch of reasons, from training coaches and officials to finding players to testing rules.“It would be an opportunity to enhance our game on many levels, to develop the future, preserve and innovate the game,” he said.Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin watches his players warm up before game against the Baltimore Ravens, Nov. 28, 2013, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)Steelers coach Mike Tomlin would like to see it happen.“I’m in favor of anything that increases opportunities for guys to grow and develop,” Tomlin said, “and ultimately improve the product of our game for our fans, particularly at some positions.”Notably, quarterback. Tomlin is well aware of how former Super Bowl QBs Kurt Warner and Jake Delhomme were helped by their time in the minors.“Quarterbacks often don’t come to you ready-made, particularly with the way college football is played now with so many spread offenses and half-field reads and so forth,” Tomlin said.Tomlin is right that the NFL relies on the college game for developing the skills of potential pro players. That won’t change but, as the number of undrafted free agents who populate NFL rosters shows — 31.4 percent in 2014 — there are hundreds of players who would benefit from having a place to showcase themselves if the NFL doesn’t come calling.Not since NFL Europe disappeared in 2007 has there been an NFL-affiliated place where players could go to prove themselves worthy of a look by one of the league’s 32 teams. Same thing for officials and coaches.“That’s what NFL Europe was intended to be, a developmental league,” said Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, a former head coach in the NFL. “I thought it was great for coaches, I thought it was great for players, I thought it was great for officials. It wasn’t my money they were spending on it, but I always thought the time was worth it. ”There are dozens of questions accompanying any project: When and where would the league play games? How many teams would be in a developmental league? Who would play and coach? Would television be interested?Marc Ganis, president of SportsCorp, a Chicago-based consulting firm, has a strong relationship with many team owners. He envisions a league being established for spring play, with all of the teams supplying players they want to see more from.“After the NFL season and before the training camps, say March to July,” Ganis said. “It’s an open time in the sports schedule. The colleges are done and the NBA and NHL playoffs wind down.“A league in the fall is really tough. It is not like baseball, where teams can be calling up players every day from the minors. There would be lots of restrictions on player movement then.”This won’t be an international venture, either. In fact, it probably would be done regionally, cutting down on travel costs.“I do envision some sort of developmental league, based maybe in Florida or Texas or Arizona,” said former NFL general manager Phil Savage, who now is the executive director of the Senior Bowl. “Anywhere from four to six teams; I don’t think more than eight.“I see it as tightly managed, with not a ton of travel. And I don’t think it would matter the size of the stadiums and crowds, because it’s a minor league, a place to look at players from the lower end of the roster or players trying to make it into the NFL.”Ganis says not to worry about TV interest.“The networks have open time in the spring, and it’s an NFL product. There would be room on the networks for games on the weekend, and on the cable outlets for weeknights,” he said. “There’s really a dearth of major sports on the weekends then.“I think you would see all the networks with cable channels — CBS, Fox, NBC, and of course NFL Network — to be interested. And ESPN would likely want in on the mix, although they need it the least.”Savage was most intrigued by Vincent’s suggestion that an academy for training players, coaches and officials could accompany a D-league. But he foresees such an academy being held during the NFL season.“It would be in one centralized location and these players go there and they keep their football life afloat for another few months or another season,” Savage said. “And maybe they show enough to play in the developmental league the next spring. Or maybe they get discovered for the NFL.”One major caveat would be the status of the players. Would they be NFL Players Association members? What sort of medical coverage would they have? What would their salaries be?Savage believes the league, the union and the American Football Coaches Association — the organization for college coaches — could work out a strategy that would lead to a developmental league by the end of the decade, perhaps much sooner.“I think it could be a really neat thing and can help a lot of players,” he said.Rams coach Jeff Fisher, co-chairman of the NFL’s influential competition committee, agrees.“There’s been discussions over the last couple years. I don’t know what direction it’s going, but I think we have a need for it,” Fisher said. “I think it would be beneficial from a young players’ standpoint. … if you have to make an outside roster move to get somebody that’s in shape that you can evaluate on film.”Vincent, naturally, is in a position to help bring a league, and an academy, into existence.“If it is something sustainable and it is good for the sport, and we can make it work,” Vincent said, “it’s worth pursuing.”___AP Sports Writers Will Graves and R.B. Fallstrom and freelance writer George Henry contributed to this story.___AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFLlast_img read more

South African mining ‘open for business’

first_img6 February 2012Four key players in South African mining, taking part in a debate hosted by the Financial Times and facilitated by Brand SA, acknowledged that the sector is faced with major challenges, but agreed that SA mining is “open for business”.Deputy Mineral Resources Minister Godfrey Oliphant, Chamber of Mines CEO Bheki Sibiya, BHP-Billiton chair Xolani Mkhwanazi and SA Mining Development Association (Samda) chair Peter Temane took part in the debate in Cape Town on Sunday on the eve of the 2012 Investing in African Mining Indaba conference.Samda’s Temane said infrastructure development and the opening up of the Sishen-Saldanha railway line to all mining companies would assist with the development of small miners – especially in the mining of manganese, of which South Africa holds 80% of the world’s reserves but only contributes 20% of worldwide production.Temane speaks to ABN on developing South Africa’s junior mining sector – check the videoDownstream beneficiation was another priority for South Africa, as this could help with spreading wealth, Temane said. “Let us rather create a thousand millionaires than one billionaire.”Deputy Minister Oliphant agreed that lack of infrastructure was a key constraint for mining in SA, and pointed out that a government inter-ministerial task team was currently investigating how this could be alleviated.Public-private partnerships ‘the way forward’On the issue of nationalisation of mines, Oliphant said the debate has been going on for many years and would continue. But he said the government would not act recklessly, noting that South Africa was “a rule-based society”.He also pointed out that, should the state’s mining interests be consolidated into one company, it would be run like all other state-controlled institutions.The four participants agreed that partnerships between public and private sector players in the industry were the best way to ensure that South Africa became an investment destination of choice for international mining companies.On the question of transformation in the industry, the Chamber of Mines’ Sibiya said he was unapologetic about the issue, adding: “We are second to none when it comes to transformation and standing head and shoulders above the rest of the industry.”For him, the challenge was more about wealth creation.Training, development, safetyOn the challenge of training and development in the industry, Sibiya said the sector was spending 3.5% of its payroll on human resource development. “At the Chamber of Mines we are committed to addressing the issue and we are also looking at creating a development fund at the Chamber.”Oliphant said health and safety was a major priority for the industry, and that the Department of Mineral Resources had consistently maintained that if mines could not maintain mine safely then they should not mine at all.Sibiya pointed out that the Chamber of Mines was in a major drive to achieve zero fatalities and was following the Australian model, which was a world-leader in this field.Oliphant said the Department of Mineral Resources had embarked on several projects for responsible management of the environment, including acid mine drainage and the rehabilitation of derelict mines.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

10 months agoUNCOVERED: The 3-step process for Liverpool to make new signings

first_imgUNCOVERED: The 3-step process for Liverpool to make new signingsby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool’s three-step approach to making new signings has been revealed.The Times has detailed how different members of Liverpool’s management structure work together to bring in new additions.The three-step policy is as follows:Firstly, a footballer cannot be signed unless he is wanted by the manager.Secondly, the player must also have the blessing of FSG. The owners have the right to say no and stop all plans to sign the player.For example, if manager Jurgen Klopp wanted to bring in an older striker in for £40 million, but FSG did not want to part ways with that kind of cash for a player whose career could soon be over, then the choice would rest with them.Thirdly, the transfer must be in keeping with the latest trends of the transfer market. Spotting opportunities and assessing availability should set guidelines for purchasing and selling. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

NAT Launches Public Offering as Part of Recapitalization

first_imgzoom Bermuda-based Nordic American Tankers (NAT) has announced an underwritten public offering of USD 100 million of its common shares pursuant to the company’s effective shelf registration statement.The company informed that, at its request, the underwriters have reserved for sale an aggregate of around USD 1.2 million of its common shares for certain members of its board of directors, management and advisors, which includes approximately USD 1 million to be purchased by the company’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.The company also intends to grant the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 15% of the offering.The company intends to use the net proceeds of this offering, together with proceeds from recapitalization transactions, primarily to repay outstanding amounts under its current credit facility, finance the expansion of its fleet and for general corporate purposes.In early December 2017, NAT established a sale/leaseback arrangement for the three newbuilds to be delivered in 2018. Aker Group of Norway is behind this arrangement, the company informed, adding that Scandinavian banks, DnB of Norway and SEB of Sweden, established important guarantee provisions related to the recapitalization of NAT.last_img read more

Conservative MP says opposition believes First Nations people not good enough to

first_imgAPTN National NewsOTTAWA–A First Nation Conservative says opposition politicians don’t believe First Nations people are good enough to make speeches in the House of Commons.During a debate Monday on a Liberal motion calling on the House of Commons to get rid of the Indian Act, Saskatchewan MP Rob Clarke, who is a Muskeg Lake First Nation member, said opposition politicians continue to take a “paternalistic approach” to dealing with First Nations people like him.“It’s the same paternalistic approach that the opposition always portrays on First Nations,” said Clarke, a former RCMP officer. “That we are no good to be able to provide speeches in the House of Commons.”Clarke made the statement after an NDP MP interrupted his speech arguing he was getting off topic.The debate on the motion, introduced by interim Liberal leader Bob Rae, comes on the heels of last Thursday’s debate on Clarke’s private members bill to repeal and replace sections of the Indian Act which has the full backing of the Harper government.The Liberal motion calls on the House of Commons to initiate a two year process to explore replacement of the Indian Act with new, nation-to-nation agreements between Canada and First Nations based on the inherent and treaty rights of First Nations.The Conservatives, who hold the majority of seats in the House, indicated they wouldn’t support the motion meaning it will be defeated on the eventual vote.“This motion does nothing to improve the lives of First Nations,” said Clarke. “While my bill takes incremental and concrete steps to get First Nations people out from under the Indian Act in its entirety.”Rae, however, said the Harper government’s approach to changing pieces of the Indian Act using Clarke’s bill doesn’t go far enough and he called on the government to support the motion and forge a new relationship with First nations.“The way we have to deal with this is get back to a fundamental fact,” said Rae. “There were people here before Europeans arrived, there were communities here before Europeans arrived…there were laws that existed before Europeans arrived…this land was not terra nullius.”Rae’s motion calls on the government to initiate direct engagement with First Nations within three months of the motions passing. The engagement would be “on a nation-to-nation basis,” says the motion.“The Indian Act is the embodiment of failed colonial and paternalistic policies which have denied First Nations their rights, fair share in resources; fostered mistrust and created systemic barriers to the self determination and success of First Nations,” says the motion.The motion calls for a new agreement to replace the Indian Act based on “the constitutional, treaty and inherent rights of all First Nations” and “the historical and fiduciary responsibilities of the Crown to First Nations.” The motion says the new agreement would also follow the standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, “including the principle of free, prior and informed consent.”The motion sets a two year process that would produce “a series of concrete deliverables for the government to act upon.”The Conservative government, however, unveiled its plan last Thursday to unravel and eventually replace the Indian Act beginning with Clarke’s private members bill.The proposed Bill C-428, the Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act would strike down several sections of the Indian Act including those dealing with residential schools, wills and estates and band bylaws.The Conservative’s “path” to eventually replace the Indian Act was revealed in Clarke’s speech delivered during first debate on the bill Thursday evening. The path was dubbed by the acronym “ARRC,” which stands for amend, repeal, replace and consult.last_img read more

Europa quarter-finals: ManU face Messi again

first_imgNYON (Switzerland): Barcelona will meet Manchester United in the Champions League last eight in a repeat of the 2009 and 2011 finals which were both won by the Catalans, with the help of goals from Lionel Messi. Manchester City face Tottenham Hotspur in an all-Premier League clash, their first European meeting, while Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus meet Ajax Amsterdam, who are back in the last eight after a 16-year absence. Five-times European champions Liverpool, the fourth English representatives and beaten finalists last year, will face Porto in a repeat of last year’s last-16 tie which they won 5-0 on aggregate. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian OpenThe semi-final pairings were also made with Tottenham or City to face Ajax or Juventus and Manchester United or Barcelona to meet either Liverpool or Porto. The draw had an unusual feel with neither Bayern Munich nor Real Madrid in the hat, the first time both European giants have failed to reach the last eight since 2005-06. Five-times winners Barcelona, who are in the last eight for the 12th successive season, will be away in the first leg after UEFA switched the order to avoid United’s home match clashing with Manchester City, who host Spurs in their second leg. Also Read – Fast bowler Behrendorff to undergo spinal surgeryTottenham and City will meet three times in 10 days in April with a Premier League fixture following hot on the heels of their second leg. “We have already proved last season against Real Madrid and Dortmund, this season against Inter or Barca away, that we are ready to compete,” Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris said. “Then you need a little luck and team spirit.” Ajax, once a major European power who struggle to compete financially with clubs from bigger leagues, ousted Real Madrid in the last 16 and their tie against Juventus will be a repeat of the 1996 final, which the Serie A club won on penalties. They also met in the final of the old European Cup in 1973 with the Dutch side winning 1-0. “I’m neither happy nor sad. Ajax eliminated Madrid so they are no joke,” Juventus director Pavel Nedved said. “I liked them a lot against Madrid so we will have to be very careful. We will have to face Ajax with great commitment. I expect two great games.” Juventus are unbeaten in their last 10 games against Ajax, winning five of the last six. Porto, who won the competition in 2004 under Jose Mourinho, are confident they can spring an upset after last year’s mauling. “We have to keep dreaming and believe we can go further,” said midfielder Jesus Corona. “What can I say?” said Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp, whose side knocked out Bayern in the round of 16. “It’s Porto, we’ve played there already and we know how good we had to be last year. We saw the character and quality Porto have.” Chelsea were the last English team to win the Champion League in 2012. The two-legged quarter-finals take place on April 9-10 and 16-17.last_img read more

Jan Dhan deposits near magic Rs 1 lakh crore

first_imgNew Delhi: The total deposits in bank accounts opened under the Jan Dhan scheme, which was launched about five years ago by the Modi-government, are set to cross Rs 1 lakh crore soon. The total balance in the Jan Dhan accounts, which has been steadily rising, was at Rs 97,665.66 crore as on April 3, as per the latest government data.The total number of Jan Dhan accounts have crossed 35.39 crore. The deposits stood at Rs 96,107.35 crore on March 27 and Rs 95,382.14 crore in the week before. More than 27.89 crore account holders have been issued the Rupay debit cards. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsThe Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) was launched on August 28, 2014 with an aim to provide universal access to banking facilities to all households. Enthused by the success of the scheme, the government enhanced the accident insurance cover to Rs 2 lakh from Rs 1 lakh for new accounts opened after August 28, 2018. The overdraft limit was also doubled to Rs 10,000. The government also shifted the focus on accounts from ‘every household’ to ‘every unbanked adult’. Over 50 per cent of the Jan Dhan account holders are women, while nearly 59 per cent accounts are in rural and semi-urban areas. The objective of PMJDY is to ensure access to various financial services like availability of basic savings bank account, access to need based credit, remittances facility, insurance and pension to weaker sections and low income groups.last_img read more

Anne didn’t want British accent in ‘The Hustle’

first_imgLos Angeles: Actor Anne Hathaway says she was initially not sure about the idea that her character in upcoming comedy The Hustle has a British accent. The Chris Addison-directed film features Hathaway and actor Rebel Wilson as two women who seek revenge against men who have tricked them in the past. It is a remake of 1988 comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which was itself inspired by the 1964 film Bedtime Story. Hathaway, 36, who appeared on Good Morning America, said her character is of British origin, something which was done against her “will”. Also Read – ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ has James Cameron’s fingerprints all over it: Arnold Schwarzenegger”I didn’t want to do it. I just thought, if I mess this up it could be such a face plant’,” she said, adding the director “insisted” that she speak with the accent. Hathaway, however, is “relieved” that the British press has liked her accent and appreciated her performance in the film. “When the director asked me to play this character British, one of the reasons why I didn’t want to do it was I just thought this could be exhausting for everybody. Everybody knows I’m not British. I didn’t want to put myself or you through that,” she added.last_img read more

Buckeyes add pair of walkons to basketball squad

The Ohio State basketball team didn’t sign any new recruits for this season, but they did add two new players. In mid-October, the OSU basketball team held tryouts for new walk-ons to make the team. After all was said and done, two new walk-ons had impressed the coaching staff enough to earn a spot on the roster.Eddie Days, a 6-foot guard, and Dustin Reynolds, a 6-foot-6-inch forward, were the two players that made the team.“It was amazing. I‘ve always dreamed of playing here, playing at a big school like this and just being part of a great program,” Reynolds said. “I am living a dream every day, working hard and just trying to make the guys better.”Days also shared his excitement about making the team, the second time he has made the OSU roster.“I was real excited,” he said. “It’s something I’ve been working on since the beginning of the summertime.”   Days made the team two seasons ago, but could not stay on the team due to injuries. He is now healthy and ready to contribute. “I just want to fit in and become part of the team,” Days said. “I know my job; my job is to help out in practice and get those guys ready for the games.” The Cleveland native was a three-time letterwinner in basketball during high school at Richmond Heights. At OSU he will be a senior academically, but he will have two years left of eligibility to play basketball for the Buckeyes.  It was the first time going through the process for Reynolds. He played one season at Hillsdale College, but sat out last season with an injured back. Now injury-free, Reynolds will return to the basketball court wearing a Buckeye uniform. Reynolds led his high school team in scoring and rebounding. It was always his dream to play basketball for the Buckeyes, he said.In this first season with OSU, Reynolds will be red-shirted, since he transferred in to OSU from a different school. Under NCAA rules, a player who transfers between Division I schools must sit out a year. When he sees actual game action next season, he will have two years of eligibility remaining. This season, he will be a big part of helping the players get better at practice and preparing them for games. This same group of Buckeyes has been playing together for a year, so the players understand what it takes to win. Both walk-ons want to come in and fit into the system. They know their roles on this team and they just want to contribute to this already good basketball team. “I expect great things,” Reynolds said. “We’re having great practices and who knows, we’re just going to ride things out and see where it takes us.” read more

Commentary Academics help Ohio State football programs image

Amid the biggest scandal in the football program’s history, there is a silver lining for the Ohio State athletic department. A record 523 scholar-athletes were honored Monday night for academic achievements, including 40 from the “corrupt” football program. Cornerback Chimdi Chekwa, who was drafted by the Oakland Raiders on April 30, was one of five male finalists for the Big Ten Medal of Honor for his success as an honors student in accounting and his on-field play. OSU football also was honored by the NCAA on May 17, receiving public-recognition awards for the team’s academic progress rate from 2006–10. These awards are given to teams in the top 10 percent in each sport. OSU football was one of 14 BCS schools that received this award. Northwestern was the only other Big Ten school to earn it. Four other sports at OSU — baseball, men’s gymnastics and men’s and women’s tennis also were awarded for their academic progress rates. For all the trouble the athletic department and football program are in, the coaches of each team have obviously set high academic standards for their players. Absent from the list of BCS schools honored are football powerhouse schools from the SEC. The only SEC school honored was Vanderbilt, far from a contender in the conference. OSU’s multiyear APR is 985, 15 points short of a perfect 1,000 and 36 points higher than the average of all Football Bowl Subdivision schools. That the football team has attended a BCS bowl each of the past five seasons and that its players have exceeded 90 percent of FBS schools in the classroom, is unbelievable — despite the controversy surrounding the program. Since 2006, the lowest score coach Jim Tressel and his football team received in the single-year APR is 984, which is still in the top 10 percent of all FBS schools. In the same amount of time, Alabama coach Nick Saban has achieved a single-year APR of more than 980 just once. In 2007-08 he recorded a score of 936. Tressel has been both a winner at OSU and a mentor beyond football. When evaluating The Vest’s job status and his body of work, it is important to remember he has made sure his players lived up to their title of student-athlete. read more