On the occasion of this past week’s Major League All-Star Game, when baseball’s absurd abundance of young talent was on full display (Hello, Mike Trout!), the question was worth asking: Where did these two All-Star teams stand historically, in terms of the most gifted groups assembled since the first All-Star Game was held in 1933?The answer might (or might not) surprise you.To get a handle on the talent available to each league in each All-Star Game, I used the run-based components1Specifically, a player’s runs above average in terms of offense, fielding and pitching. of Baseball-Reference’s wins above replacement (WAR) to build a projection system that, in terms of complexity, falls somewhere between Marcel the Monkey (as simple as can be) and PECOTA (highly intricate). Most crucially, the projections use multiple years of data, adjust for aging effects and regress a player’s expected performance to the mean; the projections can also be used to estimate a player’s true talent in a given season by taking his projection for the following season and subtracting the age progression.This formed the basis for yearly talent ratings for every player to appear in an All-Star Game, which I then compiled into team ratings in proportion to how much playing time each player logged during the game itself.2Each team was scaled to an idealized “game length” of 9 innings and 36 plate appearances. Finally, using these run-based talent ratings and each season’s average runs per contest — plus a little help from the pythagorean expectation (which converts run differentials into wins) — I generated expected winning percentages for each All-Star roster, which represent the rate of wins that the team would post if it were to face a typical slate of opponents from the season in question.Unsurprisingly, All-Star squads would demolish the competition if turned loose on regular teams in the context of league play. The average All-Star team since 1933 possessed the talent to go about 103-59 if they played a normal 162-game schedule, with the top teams expected to win a 2001 Seattle Mariners-esque 117 games per season. (And that’s their mean expectation — remember that when the Mariners won 116, they were probably more like a true 90-win team that also benefitted from a tremendous amount of luck.)But what if we instead had all the historical All-Star teams play each other? Using the aforementioned pythagorean talent ratings and Bill James’ log5 formula to construct probabilities for each matchup, we can simulate how each All-Star squad would fare if forced to play 162 games against a random assortment of other All-Star teams from the past. Here are the standings (check out the raw data on GitHub):The best All-Star team ever? According to this method, that mantle belongs to the roster that represented the National League in 1966 — and it’s not hard to see why. Sandy Koufax started the game on the mound, to be relieved by Juan Marichal, Jim Bunning and Gaylord Perry — Hall of Famers, all. The starting outfield was outrageous: Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente. Ron Santo and Willie McCovey manned the infield corners. Along with second baseman Jim Lefebvre, near-Hall of Fame catcher Joe Torre3Torre was inducted as a manager, not a player. was the weak link of the starting lineup. (And fearsome mashers Dick Allen, Jim Ray Hart and Willie Stargell came off the bench!) Our simulations say the 1966 NL All-Stars would go 97-65 against a random collection of their fellow All-Star squads from throughout history.This year’s teams, while not on the same level as their Hall of Famer-laden predecessor from 1966, would both be above .500 if forced to take on other All-Star squads — and could do even better than that if we tweak our study’s methodology.Despite losing on Tuesday, the National Leaguers are considered the more talented of 2015’s All-Star teams according to WAR. Led by Paul Goldschmidt, Andrew McCutchen, Bryce Harper and starting pitcher Zack Greinke, this year’s NL team ranks 15th all-time, and project to go 87-75 in 162 games against other All-Star squads. Meanwhile, the AL team lags a bit behind the NL, ranking 71st with a 82-80 record. Although Trout possesses the best individual talent rating (by far) of any 2015 player, the rest of the AL roster isn’t especially impressive by historical standards.Then again, both of 2015’s All-Star teams fare much better if we attempt to adjust for the rising tide of athletic talent (in baseball as well as other sports) over time. In “Baseball Between the Numbers”, FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver attempted to quantify this phenomenon as it pertains to baseball and arrived at a “timeline adjustment” that gently slopes upward from the sport’s major league beginnings in 1871 to the present. Nate’s timeline adjustment implies that the average MLB player from 1966 was about 86 percent as good as the average player today, which means that year’s NL All-Stars — talented as they were — benefitted from facing weak competition.In fact, if we apply the timeline adjustment to every All-Star team’s talent rating,4In the form of a reduction to the schedule strength each squad faced within their individual season. the 2015 National Leaguers emerge as No. 1 all-time, with the AL ranking 14th. The aforementioned 1966 NL powerhouse drops to third, with the 1986 AL squad sliding into second place. (That team was powered by great pitching — specifically Roger Clemens and Teddy Higuera at his peak — and a lineup that included Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr., Rickey Henderson, Wade Boggs, Kirby Puckett and Dave Winfield.)Do I actually think the 2015 National League represents the most talented All-Star roster ever? Probably not. They rank highly — but are nowhere near No. 1 — relative to their era, and the question of how to deal with cross-era comparisons while accounting for absolute changes to talent quality over time is far from settled. But we can still appreciate Tuesday’s exhibition as one of the most talent-laden All-Star contests ever: Even without the timeline adjustment, the combined talent ratings of the two teams ranks 10th among the 86 All-Star Games ever staged.
The Final Four is nearly here, and FiveThirtyEight’s Neil Paine is hard at work trying to figure out just how the games may go. According to FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness predictions, Oregon has close to a 50-50 shot at beating the Tar Heels while South Carolina will have to defy our numbers once again in order to advance. In the video above, Neil highlights key factors in each matchup that could contribute to victories for the underdogs and more drama in Phoenix.
2T. Lincecum’08GiantsSlider636.50 19M. Batista’03D-BacksSplit-finger2704.30 5M. Mulder’03AthleticsSplit-finger2336.38 RkPlayerYearTeamPitch TypePitchesRuns/100 Excluding pitch/pitcher combinations with fewer than 50 pitches in a seasonSource: FanGraphs 11C. Carpenter’04CardinalsCutter865.06 8S. Manaea’18AthleticsFastball1165.75 13C. Kluber’17IndiansCurveball8074.68 17J. Santana’04TwinsChange-up7224.38 4M. Prior’03CubsChange-up1056.38 3S. Ohtani’18AngelsSplit-finger586.41 9J. Fernandez’13MarlinsSlider3315.39 18T. Hudson’03AthleticsSplit-finger5144.31 10L. Severino’18YankeesSlider815.15 15M. Redman’06RoyalsCutter744.54 Just a little more than a week into his major league career, Los Angeles Angels phenom Shohei Ohtani has been so impressive as both a pitcher and hitter that it’s difficult to decide which aspect of his play stands out most. At the plate, he belted home runs in three consecutive games, crushing one pitch Friday for the seventh-longest homer of the young 2018 season. As a pitcher, he carried a perfect game into the seventh inning of his start Sunday, finishing the game with 12 strikeouts — tied for the most of any starter in a game so far this year. 16S. Gray’18YankeesCurveball624.38 14T. Lincecum’09GiantsChange-up7434.62 1D. Price’18Red SoxCutter59+6.88 6T. Ohka’05Nats/BrewersSplit-finger936.17 12M. Mulder’04AthleticsSplit-finger3165.01 Shohei’s splitter is in rare territoryMost runs added per 100 pitches in a season for a single pitch, 2002-18 Ohtani has probably already done enough on both sides of the ball to confirm that he’s the real deal. (So much for those shaky spring training stats, huh?) According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first MLB player since the dead-ball era1So since about 1920. to get two wins as a pitcher and hit three home runs in his team’s first 10 games of a season — meaning few baseball fans were alive the last time a two-way player did what Ohtani has done. If we had to pick one part of his game to bank on most, though, there is reason to believe that Ohtani’s pitching will outpace his hitting as his rookie year goes on.If you read the scouting reports written before Ohtani’s debut, pitching was always supposed to be his strongest suit. And all he’s done on the mound since is compile some truly eye-catching stats: So far this year, Ohtani has the fourth-highest strikeout percentage and the 17th-lowest walk percentage among qualified pitchers, and he ranks fourth in strikeout-to-walk percentage differential — one of the strongest predictors of how well a pitcher will perform going forward. Perhaps most tellingly of all, he’s also currently first in swinging strike rate, a very important measure of sheer pitching dominance, and he ranks third in average fastball velocity. Granted, those numbers have come in the microscopic sample of 13 innings (over two starts against the Oakland A’s, one of the worst teams in baseball). But they validate the story of a pitcher billed as having ace-level stuff when he first pondered coming over from Japan.Ohtani’s split-finger fastball in particular might be the nastiest pitch in baseball so far this season. (The splitter, which is thrown with the index and middle fingers spread wide over the seams, isn’t a true fastball in the same sense as the four-seamer; it’s more like a change-up that looks like a fastball to hitters before abruptly dropping at the last second.) Based on data from ESPN’s Stats & Information Group, he has thrown the splitter 58 times, and it’s already generated 13 strikeouts; only Houston’s Lance McCullers (curveball) and Arizona’s Patrick Corbin (slider) have gotten more K’s on a single pitch than Ohtani has gotten with his splitter so far. According to MLB.com, opposing batters have come up empty on 26 of 37 swings (70.3 percent) against Ohtani’s splitter, good for the best swing-and-miss rate of any starting pitcher on any single pitch type in 2018.2With a minimum of 20 swings against that pitch. And at a minimum of 50 total pitches in a season, the 6.4 runs added per 100 pitches by Ohtani’s splitter makes it the third-most effective pitch in FanGraphs’ entire database (which goes back to 2002): 20M. Mulder’02AthleticsSplit-finger1144.22 7A. Wood’18DodgersChange-up526.06 All of this obviously comes with the usual small-sample caveats and then some. (It’s barely been one week!) As “the book” comes in on Ohtani and his uber-out pitch, it’s unlikely that he’ll continue to befuddle hitters quite so much with the splitter. One of the things that makes baseball’s core pitcher-batter duel so great is that it’s a constantly evolving chess match of adjustments and counteradjustments. Right now, though, Ohtani is winning that battle on the mound.Of course, his success as a hitter can’t be overlooked. But there are at least a few signs that Ohtani might cool down from his early 1.310 on-base plus slugging start at the plate. According to Baseball-Reference.com, his batting average on balls in play — a sign of how lucky a hitter has been — is .364, well above what’s considered sustainable. Of further concern: He’s striking out four times for every walk, swinging at the first pitch far too frequently (1.5 times as often as the average batter) and getting himself into a good hitter’s count3Defined as either a 3-0, 2-0 or 3-1 count. about half as often as the average batter. A full 50 percent of his fly balls have left the yard, which is also an extremely unsustainable rate. As MLB pitchers see him more often, Ohtani will probably go through more growing pains as a hitter than he will as a pitcher.But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the sheer excitement of what he’s already accomplished. According to research from MLB.com’s Mike Petriello, the maximum outputs from Ohtani’s Statcast data — gathered by radar and cameras that track every move made on the field — show that Ohtani possesses an arm that can throw harder than 87 percent of pitchers, a bat that can launch balls faster than 89 percent of hitters and legs that run faster than 84 percent of base runners. As unreal as the hype was around Ohtani before he ever played an MLB game, somehow the beginning of his career has exceeded it. We can only wait with anticipation for what comes next.Check out our latest MLB predictions.
The Oakland Raiders’ wanderlust is never ending. On Monday, the team gained league approval to move to Las Vegas. It comes at a strange time for the Raiders, since they’ve just recently gotten pretty good! They won 12 games last season, making the playoffs and seeming to be well-positioned to stay strong with Derek Carr under center.But Raiders fans — old-timers in Oakland and new ones awaiting the team in Las Vegas — shouldn’t expect the team to tank all of a sudden. Eight NFL teams have moved since the AFL-NFL merger (not counting the current Raiders or Chargers, who are slated to move to Los Angeles this year), and as you can see in the chart below, immediate results have been mixed: The Raiders reportedly don’t plan to move until 2019, so they still have two “lame duck” seasons to play in Oakland. Playing with one foot out the door hasn’t gone well for other franchises:In 1996, the Houston Oilers announced that they were moving to Tennessee but would play their remaining two years in Houston. The first lame-duck season was something of a farcical attendance disaster, as they played to mostly empty stadiums and hostile crowds at home. They went 2-6 in Houston while going 6-2 on the road. After the season, they reached a deal to leave town a year early.In 1995, the Cleveland Browns started out 4-5 under head coach Bill Belichick, after going 11-5 the year before. Then owner Art Modell dropped the bomb that he was moving the team to Baltimore at the end of the year. The Browns went 1-6 after the announcement and then fired Bill Belichick. Well done!However, the Raiders have experience in making the best of a lame situation. In 1980, Al Davis announced a deal to move the Raiders from Oakland to Los Angeles, but the NFL rejected the move. His team continued playing in Oakland while the court battle was ongoing, playing two seasons before Davis won the right to move. In the first of those, the Raiders won the Super Bowl despite being (sort of) on their way out. They also won the Super Bowl after the 1983 season, their second in LA.So, if history is any indication, the modern-day Raiders’ move could lead to them sinking their franchise and possibly missing out on being the NFL’s next dynasty or, well, kind of being the NFL’s next dynasty. Share on Facebook
YEARTEAMCHANGE IN AVG ATTENDANCESTADIUM This wouldn’t have been shocking — the San Diego Chargers frequently played to empty seats — if it weren’t for the fact that the team’s temporary home is a Major League Soccer venue, the StubHub Center, with a capacity of just 27,167, compared with the average NFL stadium capacity of a little more than 69,000 in 2017. Perhaps even more worrisome is whether the Chargers will be able to fill their planned new stadium in Inglewood, which will hold 70,240. In the Chargers’ debut game, the crowd was apparently very loud, but not all of the noise was for the home team: Many of those cheers reportedly came from the visiting Miami Dolphin fans, at least according to Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers.This lack of apparent enthusiasm has even sparked grumblings that the team might be forced back down the 405 to its old home in San Diego. But lost in the hoopla of this — L.A. fans don’t just give their devotion, teams have to earn it — is that the Chargers’ problems are masking a bigger problem across town. As it stands now, the Rams are on pace for the biggest season-to-season drop in average attendance of any NFL team in 25 years (among teams that didn’t change stadiums). And it’s not even close. 2011Cincinnati-11,114Paul Brown Stadium There are a couple of factors at work here. For starters, the Rams’ first season back in L.A. last year was the most successful of any new team (expansion or relocated team) in 25 years. Among the nine teams in their first year in a new city since 1993, the Rams had the highest single-game attendance (91,046), largest average (84,457) and highest total attendance (591,197).1And that’s with just seven home games — the Rams were the designated home team in their game in London against the New York Giants. To be sure, the huge capacity of the Coliseum — L.A.’s nearly 100-year-old Olympic venue that seats 93,607, most in the NFL — inflated their numbers and gave them a high perch from which to fall.It’s not unusual for NFL teams in new cities to struggle with attendance in year two when the initial excitement wears off. In 1996 — a year after the season in which the league expanded and the two old Los Angeles teams relocated — the St. Louis Rams, the Oakland Raiders and the Jacksonville Jaguars all saw their average attendances drop from the previous year, albeit by a combined 6,066.But what’s more mystifying is that the Rams were expected to be a better team this season. After last season’s dismal 4-12 showing, the team had a productive offseason, hiring wunderkind coach Sean McVay, signing Pro-Bowlers in pass-rusher Connor Barwin and tackle Andrew Whitworth, and then trading for Buffalo’s star wide receiver Sammy Watkins to give second-year quarterback Jared Goff a new weapon. If anything, enthusiasm should have been on the rise.And yet through two games at home, the team is averaging about 58,000 fans per game, down from last season by roughly 26,000 — which is oddly almost the same number as the Chargers have averaged in two games (25,384). Could it be that simple? That there are just 84,000 people in L.A. willing to pay for the NFL?The Rams have only five home games left this season (that’s because they’re the designated home team in their Week 7 game against the Arizona Cardinals in London). This means that they’ll need to attract an average of roughly 70,000 fans per game from here on out to avoid becoming the team with the worst season-long average attendance decline since 1993. That “record” is currently held by the 1996 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.The NFL’s attendance problem in L.A. may reach its most embarrassing level in Weeks 14 and 17, when both the Rams and Chargers play at home. All eyes will be on the city of Los Angeles to see where those 84,000 fans show up.Check out our latest NFL predictions. 2009Oakland-13,566Oakland Coliseum 1995Arizona-15,591Sun Devil Stadium 2017L.A. Rams-26,087Memorial Coliseum 1994Houston Oilers-12,990Houston Astrodome Attendances are based on regular-season games played at home. Teams playing their first year in a new stadium were not included.Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com 2009Jacksonville-15,516EverBank Field 1996New Orleans-12,324Superdome The Rams are on course for a record they won’t be proud ofThe largest season-to-season drops in average attendance at NFL stadiums since 1993 Los Angeles spent two decades on the NFL sidelines. Then, within the span of 12 months, not one but two teams announced that they would move to L.A.If the more than 13 million residents of the greater Los Angeles area are thrilled to finally have multiple NFL options, they have a funny way of showing it.Photos posted online from the Los Angeles Rams’ first two home games of this season — the team’s second back in the city — showed what looked like a half-empty Memorial Coliseum. A little more than 12 miles away, the Chargers’ inability to fill the seats in their first home game raised a big red flag. 1998St. Louis Rams-10,916The Dome at America’s Center 1996Atlanta-10,433Georgia Dome 1996Tampa Bay-17,525Tampa Stadium
The Ohio State women’s volleyball team upset No. 7 Minnesota, 3-0, Saturday night at St. John Arena. The Buckeyes are 18-7 overall and 6-6 in the Big Ten. The night’s biggest contributor was outside hitter Katie Dull.Dull has consistently achieved match-high kills and digs. Against Minnesota, she recorded 10 kills and 12 digs. She also posted a team-high 12.5 points. Dull plays an aggressive offense, but her focus is on her defensive angle in the back row.“I always want to make my strong points better and focus on making my weak points good,” Dull said. Her defensive efforts are evident in her kills and digs, posting double-digit numbers in both in 22 of the last 24 matches.“I’m happier with my digging numbers rather than my hitting numbers because it’s something that I know is one of my weaker parts of my game,” Dull said.On the defensive side, Dull is ranked third in kills in the Big Ten.“I absolutely love competing in the Big Ten because I get to compete against the best players in the country,” Dull said.The Big Ten consistently has the most ranked teams in the top 25, making it the most competitive volleyball conference.OSU was the perfect fit for Dull, as she committed to play volleyball as a sophomore at Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Last year, Dull received an honorable mention in the Big Ten.“It really resonated with me. To be recognized in one of the top conferences was an honor,” Dull said. Despite season-long success, Dull isn’t completely satisfied. The team has yet to reach its highest goals as it pushes into the second half of the season.The victory over Minnesota is the Buckeyes’ first win over a ranked opponent this season. The team is battling back for a spot in the top 25. The Buckeyes travel to face Iowa on Friday night and Wisconsin on Saturday night.
“I just saw ball, I get ball.” That’s how Ohio State football senior defensive back Orhian Johnson described the fourth-quarter interception he grabbed against the Central Florida Knights. The interception was coupled with a team-high five solo tackles – six in total – and a deflection that led to an interception by senior cornerback Travis Howard during the then-No. 14 Buckeyes (2-0) 31-16 win against unranked UCF (1-1). Johnson hasn’t always been the defensive catalyst for OSU he showed himself to be Saturday at Ohio Stadium, though. Not in the eyes of first-year coach Urban Meyer, anyway. “(Johnson’s) a guy that’s been around here, production hasn’t been exactly what it needs to be,” Meyer said of Johnson’s play in his three previous seasons at OSU. Recently, there’s been a change. Johnson said he sees the value of Meyer’s criticism and encouragement, and is trying to better himself. “You know, just with Coach Meyer going out there and pushing me. He’s really trying to get the best out of me, getting all the potential that I do have and just kind of pouring it all out,” Johnson said. “There will be some times where I may not do that and I’m really just trying to do better for everybody on the team and for myself.” In the run-up to the UCF game, Meyer said he was very involved in the decision to increase Johnson’s playing time heading into Saturday’s contest. That decision paid off. Johnson might have gotten a whole lot more than just the ball during the UCF game. By seeing the ball and getting it on his fourth-quarter interception, as well as several others during the contest, Johnson, a backup on OSU’s two-deep depth chart entering the Buckeyes’ second game, might now be cemented among the top-11 players on OSU’s defense. “He does some really good things for us on special teams,” Meyer said after the game. “And we needed more production out of that nickel spot.” Johnson, who sported a grin as he walked off the field after Saturday’s victory, agreed with Meyer’s assessment of his OSU career and praised his coach for encouraging him. “The coaches said they’re going to put the best 11 players on the field, so they’re going to go there and put whoever the best 11 is,” Johnson said. “Last week, I wasn’t in, so I can’t really worry about it. This week, I just got to go out there and when they call my number, make the plays when it’s called.” Despite criticism for past play from Meyer and himself, it wasn’t all bad for Johnson coming into 2012. OSU co-defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Everett Withers said Johnson has always possessed the physical tools needed to succeed. His physical attributes – Johnson stands at 6-foot-3 and weighs 210 pounds – coupled with his experience in the program make Johnson an attractive option, Withers said. “We’re always trying to find our best 11 (players). What Orhian give us, maybe, is a little more athleticism in the slot to do some things,” Withers said. “He’s an older guy. He’s a senior. He’s played a lot of snaps here. To be able to have that kind of guy that you can put in a game … obviously helps your defense.” Johnson tallied a single tackle in OSU’s season opener against Miami (Ohio). Of the six he had against the Knights, two came in the fourth quarter as the Buckeyes tried to stave off a UCF comeback. He saw the ball, went and got it and will probably get more chances to do so in the coming weeks. “I just want to go out there and help (my teammates). I was glad I could go out there and make those plays to help the team win,” he said. “I mean, it felt good. It felt comfortable being out there on the field today. Just getting out there (and) running around – it definitely felt good to get my hands on the ball.” OSU, now ranked No. 12 in the Associated Press top 25 poll, continues non-conference play against California Saturday at noon in Ohio Stadium.
Then-freshman defender Taylor Schissler dribbles the ball during a game against Pittsburgh on Aug. 28, 2013, in Columbus. OSU won, 2-0.Credit: Lantern file photoAfter dropping three straight games, the Ohio State women’s soccer team swept through a pair of weekend matchups.OSU closed its non-conference schedule by beating Dayton (2-3-1), 4-2, on Friday, before the Buckeyes continued their success Sunday with a 3-0 win against George Mason (1-5-0) in Columbus.With the victories, OSU improved its record to 3-3-0 entering the start of Big Ten play, scheduled for Friday.“We needed to score a couple goals, get our confidence up and start playing some better soccer so we can be better prepared for Big Ten play,” senior midfielder Ellyn Gruber said. The Buckeyes notched their second win of the weekend with help from sophomore defender Taylor Schissler, who recorded two goals against the Patriots. Scoring opened in the 30th minute of Sunday’s game when Schissler beat redshirt-junior Patriot goalkeeper Briana Kottler for her first collegiate goal.OSU stretched its lead to 2-0 later in the half when Gruber made a run from midfield to assist Schissler’s second goal of the afternoon.For the second consecutive game, OSU carried a lead into halftime, but later, coach Lori Walker said she was unhappy with the team’s play in the final 45 minutes. “I thought our energy was flat. We were up to do nothing,” Walker said. “I don’t know that the way we played in the second half has made us a better team.” Walker said the lack of energy is attributable to her team’s youth. Playing without injured junior defender Marisa Wolf, OSU lacks experience on its backline.“Usually (Wolf) is what drives us,” sophomore defender Nicole Miyashiro said. “We’ve really had to step up with communicating and going into tackles harder.”The Buckeyes made drastic improvements to their offense over the weekend, scoring seven goals in two games after tallying just two in four previous games.“We connected better,” Gruber said. “We weren’t trying to play so individually, we were using each other.”OSU laid the foundation for its offensive explosion on Friday night by defeating Dayton, 4-2. Propelled by two first-half goals by freshman forward Sammy Edwards, the Buckeyes added two more goals in the second half to snap their three-game losing streak.The Flyers were unable to erase OSU’s 2-1 halftime advantage, despite earning eight of their nine corners in the second half. Freshman midfielder Sydney Dudley made it 3-1 for the Buckeyes in the 62nd minute before Edwards completed her hat trick in the 76th minute to make it 4-2. Edwards and Dudley recorded their first collegiate goals in the game, while freshman midfielder Nikki Walts played the full 90 minutes and effectively held Dayton’s leading scorer, junior midfielder Nicole Waters, without a shot.OSU redshirt-freshman goalkeeper Megan Geldernick finished the weekend with two saves and two goals against. OSU is scheduled to open Big Ten play this weekend on the road against Indiana and Purdue. The Buckeyes are set to play the Hoosiers on Friday at 7 p.m. in Bloomington, Ind., and the Boilermakers on Sunday at 3 p.m. in West Lafayette, Ind.
A view from the Ohio Stadium stands before a game against Cincinnati on Sept. 27. OSU won, 50-28.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorTo many at Ohio State, the college football season is one of the most highly-anticipated times of the year. More than 100,000 students, alumni and fans across the state fill Ohio Stadium on gameday to watch and support their Buckeyes, regardless of who the opponent is that day.However, what most people don’t think about while caught up in the electric atmosphere produced by college football is the business aspect of things. At the end of the day, after all, college football is a business. It is a business that generates millions upon millions of dollars each year for top programs across the country.Millions of dollars that — at least partially — should go back to the student athletes.An article recently published by The Lantern said each OSU home game reaps a total revenue of about $7.15 million. After paying the visiting team and other gameday expenses, the net income for a gameday at OSU is about $5.75 million.While those numbers didn’t quite shock me, I was forced to put them in perspective. After doing some simple math, I estimated the athletic department should make a profit of more than $40 million off of the seven home games this season. And that number doesn’t even factor in premium ticket prices for games against Virginia Tech and Michigan.Of course, OSU isn’t the only university that sees money coming in on fall Saturdays. The University of Alabama’s athletic program has been known to generate more revenue than any team in the NHL and a majority of the teams in the NBA. Back in my home state, the University of Texas’ football program alone produced more than $100 million in revenue for two straight years. The Longhorns remain the only college football program in history to reach the $100 million mark.Seeing these numbers stirs up the old and controversial question of whether major program universities should pay their athletes for their part in earning this money. While playing a marquee sport like football or basketball at a Division I school should be considered a privilege, the student-athletes are clearly under-compensated based off the profits earned each year.Without the hard work of student-athletes, especially football players, the business model of college athletics would fall apart. In any good business, customer satisfaction should be the top priority. The quality of the product, in this case being the football team, should meet the standards expected by the fan base. If not, fans might not come out in droves to sell out stadiums, causing ticket sales to drop. With all due respect to the coaching staff, fans know that it’s the players themselves who make or break a team.It would make sense for student-athletes who participate in such high-revenue sports to not be kept out of the loop. Not to say that student-athletes should be given salaries like professionals, but they deserve more than what they’re currently getting from their respective universities.
In this video, The Telegraph tracks the evolution of the TV licence and how much the BBC benefits from its existence. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.