Audio: Lee Johnson Pre-Manchester City away press conference

first_imgLee Johnson addresses the media ahead of his side’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg clash with Manchester City.last_img

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SEC’s Sankey shaping future of college sports

first_imgATLANTA (AP) — Greg Sankey is limping around on a knee that is feeling the effects of 41 marathons, most of which he has run during the last 12 years when he has been working as the Southeastern Conference commissioner’s right-hand man.A few years back Sankey decided to run a marathon a month for a year. He ended up doing it for 15 straight months, and one month he ran two.The 50-year-old upstate New Yorker-turned-honorary-Southerner has never shied away from taking on challenges. And he may have a big one coming up next year.As the SEC’s executive associate commissioner and chief operating officer since March 2012, he’s been handling day-to-day operations while Commissioner Mike Slive worked on major projects such as the SEC Network and the College Football Playoff.The 74-year-old Slive announced Tuesday he will retire in July 2015. Sankey could very well be his replacement.”Bottom line, I think he has the potential to be one of the truly great leaders in intercollegiate athletics,” Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky said.The foundation of college sports is being threatened in the courts, and their structure is being revamped. Sankey embraces the task of plotting a course for their future.”Part of my effort to educate myself is trying to learn history. Where we’ve been and why,” he said in a lengthy interview with the AP at the start of the football season. “One of the things you learn is it has always been a bit of a struggle, the tension between the existence of college athletics on campus.”From a core standpoint it exists on our campuses because it’s centered on education. Sometimes there’s stress in there. There are problematic stories. There are volumes of great stories.”Sankey grew up in Auburn, New York, and went to college to be an engineer. That lasted about two years. He said he still remembers the spot in the garage of his childhood home where he told his father, a pipefitter, that he wanted to teach and coach basketball.”So I became a phys. ed. major,” he said. “It’s like the most extreme transition you can make educationally.”Intellectual curiosity and willingness to make do have guided Sankey’s career. His first leap of faith was moving to Natchitoches, Louisiana, almost three decades ago, so he could take a job as an intern in the athletic department at Northwestern State, making “$500 dollars a month, stuffing envelopes.”He eventually moved to the league office at the Southland Conference, working in compliance. At 31, he became commissioner.”My Dad, I took him to the Final Four when I was Southland commissioner. He said, ‘I think you made the right decision,’” Sankey said.When Slive became SEC commissioner in 2002, he walked into a conference that was an NCAA compliance wreck. Nine of the 12 programs were either under investigation or on probation. Soon after he started, a 10th was being investigated.Fixing the problem was Slive’s top priority, and he hired Sankey to help him.”We both saw and understood the issues and what it would take to make the cultural change that we have been successful making,” Slive said.The SEC currently has three programs on NCAA probation, but Sankey proudly notes the problems have been more isolated incidents and that schools are better equipped to root out problems.”We have 12 compliance staff on some of our campuses now versus one or two paying attention. Our coaches know these are not just compliance issues,” he said. “These are matters that relate to institutional integrity from the public.”Sankey’s strength is breaking down complex issues and making them more accessible, Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin said.”Anytime we’re in a meeting and the agenda comes up with NCAA issues whether it’s legislation or autonomy discussions, it’s the Greg Sankey show,” Stricklin said. “He’s the guy that walks us through things that a lot of times can be a lot of minutiae.”Sankey has played a pivotal role behind the scenes in NCAA reform that has led to the SEC, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 being given legislative autonomy.”He’s been tracking it. Developing it. Writing the white paper, presenting the white papers. Taking feedback. Making modifications. His value to the ongoing reform effort, it just can’t be overstated,” Banowsky said.Having seen life from both sides of Division I, SEC and FCS, Sankey has been a bridge-builder during reform.”He has the ability to listen and understand the important interests of others, and he has the ability to see what’s important to his constituency and move that agenda forward and then understand where there might be conflict and try to identify ways to solve the conflict,” Banowsky said.Sankey said it’s hard to predict the future of college athletics because so much could be determined by outside pressures, specifically court cases that could require more revenues being directed toward football and men’s basketball players. He hopes autonomy creates a more nimble NCAA and a healthier version of college sports.”I think the NCAA should exist, will exist and it has to foster those opportunities in this education environment,” he said.Figuring out where college sports are headed is Sankey’s job.He seems to be in it for the long run.___Folllow Ralph D. Russo at http://www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAPlast_img read more

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WI eyes series win as historic Day/Night test commences

first_imgThe Caribbean side will need at least a draw to win the test series against a ‘shell shocked’ Sri Lanka side in the historic day/night test in Bridgetown, Barbados starting today. This match will be the first day/night test in the Caribbean and only the 10th of its kind with Sri Lanka winning their sole match and West Indies losing their two outings in the conditions.West Indies currently lead the series 1-0 after winning the first test in Trinidad and holding on for a draw in the second test which was affected by the weather and bad light. Autoplay Autoplay1 of 4Denish ChandimalKeemo PaulShane DowrichShannon GabrielThe home team has seen Shannon Gabriel unsettle the Sri Lankans through brutal fast bowling reminiscent of the glory days of the past while the visitors have been plagued with fitness problems, injuries and not to mention a ball-tampering issue in what could be deemed a horrid return to the Caribbean in 10 years.  By virtue of the ball tampering fiasco, Sri Lanka skipper, Dinesh Chandimal will miss the test as penalty for the ball tampering. He lost the appeal which was held yesterday. Sri Lanka has been heavily dependent on Chandimal as one of their leading batsman who averages 76 in the series.He scored an unbeaten 119 in the first innings of the second test and his batting will be sorely missed.Meanwhile West Indies’ fans have a lot to cheer for with Gabriel averaging just 13 runs per wicket and already getting his best bowling figures as well as 17 wickets in just two matches.  Gabriel has found support in Kemar Roach with eight wickets. With Shimron Hetmyer despite not playing a match in the series heading home due to illness, his replacement, Keemo Paul is a very handy pacer and could be in line for a test debut.Paul was recently named West Indies emerging player of the year and has already featured in the One Day and T20 teams.The 20 year old averages just over 17 and could find himself in the team at the expense of Miguel Cummins who went wicket-less in three of the four innings he has played in the series. Paul could also add depth to the batting as he has proven to be capable, already notching up a first-class century.With the likes of Jason Holder, Devindra Bishoo, Paul and Roach the bottom order looks even stronger should they be needed to spend a lot of time at the crease.Lahiru Kumara has been the stand out bowler for Sri Lanka with 11 wickets and is likely to lead the attack with Suranga Lakmal as the other bowler Sri Lanka will look to in search of 20 wickets to level the series. The batting for the West Indies is also in good form with Shane Dowrich one of three batsman to score a century, while Devon Smith scored 61 in his last innings despite just 28 total in his previous three on his return to the test side.Kraigg Braithwaithe will be pressured to perform with only 100 runs under his belt in the series so far and with only one fifty at this venue, his home, the pressure increases.  Roston Chase averages 77 at Bridgetown, the best amongst West Indies in the squad while Holder has found it better, averaging 30 with the bat and taking 13 wickets in three matches.Apart from Chanidmal, only Kusal Mendis who has scored 238 runs in the series so far has over a hundred runs with Niroshan Dickwella being the other batsman with over 50 runs. The first ball bowls off 15:00h.last_img read more

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