Boston Celtics

NCAA to announce 'corrective' measures for Penn St

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NCAA to announce 'corrective' measures for Penn St

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The NCAA announced Sunday that it will levy "corrective and punitive measures'' against Penn State in the wake of the child sex-abuse scandal involving Jerry Sandusky and a scathing report that found school leaders covered up allegations against the now-convicted former assistant football coach.The NCAA released no details, saying they would be disclosed on Monday morning by NCAA President Mark Emmert and Ed Ray, the chairman of the NCAA's executive committee and Oregon State's president.In an advisory for a news conference on the subject, the NCAA simply said: WHAT: A press conference to announce NCAA corrective and punitive measures for The Pennsylvania State University.''Sandusky is awaiting sentencing after being convicted of 45 criminal counts for abusing 10 boys over a number of years. A report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh concluded that the late coach Joe Paterno and three former administrators - President Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz - repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse.''Emmert as recently as last week would not rule out the possibility of shutting down the Penn State football program in the wake of the scandal, adding that he had never seen anything as egregious.''The last time the NCAA shut down a football program with the so-called death penalty'' was in the 1980s, when SMU was forced to drop the sport because of extra benefits violations. After the NCAA suspended the SMU program for a year, the school decided not to play in 1988, either, as it tried to regroup.Current NCAA rules limit the penalty to colleges already on probation that commit another major violation. But NCAA leaders have indicated in recent months they are willing to use harsher penalties for the worst offenses. That includes postseason and TV bans, which haven't been used extensively since the 1980s.This is completely different than an impermissible benefits scandal like (what) happened at SMU, or anything else we've dealt with. This is as systemic a cultural problem as it is a football problem. There have been people that said this wasn't a football scandal,'' Emmert told PBS. Well, it was more than a football scandal, much more than a football scandal. It was that but much more. And we'll have to figure out exactly what the right penalties are. I don't know that past precedent makes particularly good sense in this case, because it's really an unprecedented problem.''Emmert told Penn State (http:www.psu.eduur2011NCAA.pdf) in November that the organization would be examining the exercise of institutional control'' within the athletic department, and said it was clear that deceitful and dishonest behavior'' could be considered a violation of ethics rules. So, too, could a failure to exhibit moral valuesOhio State is banned from playing in a bowl game this season as a result of the failure to monitor'' charge that followed coach Jim Tressel's admission that he knew several of his star players were trading memorabilia for cash and tattoos in violation of NCAA rules and did not report it. The Buckeyes also vacated the 2010 season and were hit with NCAA probation and a loss of scholarships. Southern California was banned from the postseason for two years and stripped of 30 scholarships following the Reggie Bush scandal.Still pending before the NCAA is the Miami case involving booster Nevin Shapiro.Bob Williams, the NCAA's vice president of communications, said after the Freeh report was released that Penn State needed to answer four key questions, concerning compliance with institutional control and ethics policies.''Likely of particular interest to the NCAA were the report's conclusions that the school had decentralized and uneven'' oversight of compliance issues - laws, regulations, policies and procedures.Certain departments monitored their own compliance issues with very limited resources,'' the report found. Ensuring compliance with the federal Clery Act, which requires the reporting of crimes, was handled by someone with minimal time.''One of the most challenging tasks confronting the university,'' the report added, is an open, honest and thorough examination of the culture that underlies the failure of Penn State's most powerful leaders to respond appropriately to Sandusky's crimes.''Penn State President Rodney Erickson said after the report that the school was in much better position to respond'' to the NCAA's request.

Cavs expect Isaiah Thomas playing in games by January

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Cavs expect Isaiah Thomas playing in games by January

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — Isaiah Thomas could be running the point for Cleveland by the end of the year.

The All-Star point guard, acquired from the Celtics this summer in a blockbuster trade, has made progress with his hip injury, and the Cavaliers expect him to be playing games by January.

Thomas has begun running and doing on-court activities as he rehabilitates the injury, which prematurely ended his postseason with the Celtics. Cleveland acquired him in a trade that sent All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving to Boston, its biggest challenger in the East.

Thomas doesn’t need surgery. While the Eastern Conference champions have been encouraged by his recovery, they will not rush him back. While he gets healthy, Derrick Rose, another summer acquisition, will start at point guard.

Thomas averaged 28.9 points last season for the Celtics, who sent him along with forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and a 2018 first-round draft to Cleveland.

The Cavaliers were concerned with Thomas’ injury, so the Celtics added a second-round pick to complete the deal.

When they introduced Thomas at a news conference, the Cavaliers were vague about a timeline for his return, mainly because they hadn’t yet worked with him. It’s now possible Thomas could be back and playing by Christmas, when the Cavs visit Golden State.

Thomas is only under contract for the upcoming season and has said in the past he wants a maximum contract.

Copyright The Associated Press.
 

Tom Brady on pace to dwarf deep-ball passing numbers from 2016

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Tom Brady on pace to dwarf deep-ball passing numbers from 2016

FOXBORO -- When the Patriots traded their first-round pick in the 2017 draft for Brandin Cooks, they gave Tom Brady one of the most productive deep-ball receivers in the NFL over the course of the last few seasons. 

The Cooks acquisition not only made the Patriots offense more versatile, it also may have signaled an acknowledgement that the team needed more pass-catchers who could produce down the field and outside the numbers.

In the playoffs last season, against Houston's and Atlanta's defenses -- both of which were effective at times in taking away the short-to-intermediate areas of the field -- the Patriots could have benefited from someone like Cooks. In both games, the Patriots were able to hit on throws deep and on the outside in critical moments with likes of Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell. 

Now after three weeks, and after having faced two defenses in Houston's and Kansas City's that were intent on packing the middle of the field with defenders, it's clear that the move to grab Cooks is paying dividends. 

In Sunday's win over the Texans, 36-33, Brady threw eight passes that traveled at least 20 yards in the air, and he completed five for 185 yards and three scores, according to Pro Football Focus. On the season, Brady leads the league with 22 attempts of 20 yards or more, per PFF. He's completed 11 of those for 368 yards and four touchdowns. His passer rating on deep attempts (135.4) is second in the league. 

Compare that to last season's totals for Brady on deep passes -- 23 completions for 834 yards and eight touchdowns -- and he's on pace to blow those numbers away. Whereas he only attempted deep passes on just over 11 percent of his throws last season, according to PFF, so far this year one in every five of his throws is traveling 20 yards or more.

The biggest beneficiary of the new approach? Cooks, of course, who Brady has dubbed "Cookie." 

PFF says Cooks is leading the league in deep-ball receiving through three weeks, with 187 yards on five deep catches. Three of those came on Sunday and they resulted in 111 yards and two scores. In Week 1, Cooks had three catches for 88 yards -- including a 54-yarder -- and he drew three penalties that resulted in an additional 38 yards. In Week 2, Cooks had two catches for 37 yards -- including a 22-yarder.

Last year? The leading receiver for the Patriots on passes that traveled 20 yards or more was Hogan (10 catches for 397 yards). 

One more indication that the Patriots offense has shifted with Cooks in and Edelman sidelined: Cooks leads the NFL in yards per catch through three games (25.6 yards per reception), while Danny Amendola (16.4 yards per reception, seventh) and Rob Gronkowski (14.9, 13th) are all found among the league leaders in that category.  

Opposing defenses may continue to play the Patriots as the Texans and Chiefs did this season: Flood the middle of the field and pressure Brady with just three or four linemen. They may be content with allowing Brady to attempt lower-percentage throws down the field as opposed to letting him slice them up with shorter tosses. 

It worked well enough for the Chiefs to win, and it nearly worked well enough for the Texans. Perhaps "the blueprint" is still the blueprint. But with the addition to Cooks, Brady and the Patriots have proven that they've evolved to more efficiently combat those schemes.

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