Before the biggest games of the college football season, coaches traditionally condemn the distractions that divert their players and assistants from their missions. \nDistractions can include interviews with reporters, ticket requests from relatives and even academic obligations. But this week at Ohio State, before the Buckeyes' game on Saturday against Michigan, coach Jim Tressel's diversion was worse. He had to make time to talk with an investigator from the NCAA. "Sometimes, distractions aren't fun," Tressel said. \nThis investigation rose from charges made by Maurice Clarett, the former Ohio State running back, who told ESPN the Magazine that he got money from boosters at Ohio State for a no-show job, generous use of a car from friendly dealers and improper academic advantages when he helped the Buckeyes to a national championship as a freshman in 2002. \nMike Nugent, Ohio State's senior place-kicker, acknowledged that Clarett's accusations were part of the locker-room dialogue last week before the Buckeyes fell to 3-4 in the Big Ten and 6-4 over all with a 24-17 loss at Purdue. \n"Guys were talking: `We heard this, we heard that,"' Nugent said. At Purdue, fans hoisted signs that said "Coach Tressel, I can use a car" and "2002 National Cheaters." \nBut Nugent said he expects his team, representing one of the most powerful and prestigious programs in the country, to be absolved. \n"We've got great coaches, a great staff," Nugent said. "Nothing will come of this. No one would do anything to embarrass this team or this school." \nSaturday's game will be the 101st between these two universities from neighboring states and, as has often been the case, it may decide the Big Ten championship. Michigan is 9-1 over all, 7-0 in the conference. \nA victory by the Wolverines would clinch the league title and a trip to the Rose Bowl. Even in defeat, Michigan could tie for the top and go to the Rose Bowl if Iowa beats Wisconsin. But victories by both the Buckeyes and the Badgers would send Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl, and Michigan to a lesser bowl. \nAs was the case when Clarett led the Buckeyes to an undefeated season, Ohio State and Michigan are counting on talented freshmen. \nMichigan quarterback Chad Henne has thrown 19 touchdown passes and tailback Michael Hart has rushed for 1,311 yards. Henne has 10 interceptions in 10 games, but Hart has lost only one fumble in 243 carries. However, neither has played in the intimidating double-decked horseshoe of Columbus. \nDavid Baas, Michigan's senior center, said: "Young guys may have the jitters. It's always easier to play at home. As a leader, you have to keep your team composed." \nMichigan officials this week have limited the news media's access to Henne. After a 42-20 victory over Northwestern last week, Henne made a reference to the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry, saying, "They hate us and we hate them." \nOhio State's first-year wonder is Ted Ginn Jr., a flanker who started the season as a backup cornerback and has six touchdowns despite touching the ball only 31 times. Three of his scores were against Michigan State: on an end-around run, on a pass reception and on a punt return. \nDustin Fox, a captain and cornerback of the Buckeyes, has faced Ginn's speed in practice. "We're trying to figure out what his niche is and we're trying to get him the ball," Fox said.
Red Bull team chief Christian Horner has welcomed Ferrari’s U-turn to support a Formula One engine freeze from 2022. The move gives Red Bull a chance to continue using Honda power after the Japanese supplier exits next year. Speaking ahead of yesterday’s final practice for today’s Bahrain Grand Prix, Horner said that Ferrari’s decision was encouraging for F1 and everyone involved in the business end of the sport. “It’s positive news,” he said. “I think all the manufacturers, all the CEOs of the automotive industry, they all recognize the investment and cost of these engines, particularly with the new technology coming for 2026,
An influx of soccer players to India from Australia has highlighted changing fortunes as the Indian Super League (ISL) flourishes and the A-League hits lean times during the COVID-19 pandemic. Just two Australians played in the Indian Super League last year, but 10 were among the 11 teams when the competition got under way in a bio-secure “bubble” in Goa last week. Non-Australian A-League players have also made the move, including English striker Adam Le Fondre — last season’s second-highest goal-scorer with Sydney FC — along with German defender Matti Steinman and Aaron Holloway of Wales. Much of the change is down to
‘ONE LAST APPLAUSE’: An homage of cheers resounded through Buenos Aires on Wednesday night, while earlier a contingent met at the Obelisk to remember their hero Stunned Argentines were on Wednesday plunged into grief by the death of the country’s favorite son Diego Maradona, a sublimely gifted sporting hero they saw as “the most human of gods.” The news fell like a hammer blow to a nation beaten down by months of economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, but one where soccer is seen as a panacea for all ills. At 10pm, Buenos Aires exploded in cheers, horns, sirens and lights for the man who famously wore the No. 10, after a viral social media message called for “one last applause.” The homage resounded throughout the night in all
Taiwan Steel on Sunday celebrated with the Taiwan Football Premier League trophy, despite a 3-1 loss in their final match of the season, while Taipower claimed second place and Tatung’s Ange Samuel scored on a breakaway to claim the Golden Boot with 20 goals. Ahead of all four of Sunday’s matches players, coaches and fans observed a minute’s silence prior to kickoff in honor of Argentine great Diego Maradona, who died aged 60 on Wednesday last week, following a directive received from FIFA. Already assured the title, Taiwan Steel manager Lo Chi-chong fielded a second-string team against defending champions Tatung in Taoyuan. Lo