Atlantic City Blackjacks quarterback Randy Hippeard, shown here with the Baltimore Brigade, is a former AFL Most Valuable Player and first team All-Arena. (Photos courtesy Atlantic City Blackjacks) By Tim KellyAre you ready for some Arena League football?The ownership group of the new Atlantic City Blackjacks certainly hopes so. With the NFL Draft just wrapping up, and the Eagles still just one season removed from their first and only Super Bowl championship, it’s safe to say local pro football interest is at an all-time high. Now, in the Blackjacks, the region has its own professional football franchise aiming to be a part of the action. An expansion team of the Arena Football League, which is now entering its 32nd year, the Blackjacks opened their season Saturday in Philadelphia with a 48-41 loss against the defending league champion Soul. George Manias wouldn’t have it any other way. The president and CEO of Trifecta Entertainment, which owns the Blackjacks and also has ownership interests in the Albany Empire and the Soul, said going up against Philly could be the start of a great rivalry. Contacted prior to the game Manias said “We’re facing the league’s crown jewel, as the Soul has been for a number of years now. That game is going to tell us very quickly where we are in developing the franchise.”Historic Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City provides a unique venue for pro football fans.Home base for the new squad is historic Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall, where the Blackjacks will host their home opener at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, against the six-team league’s other expansion franchise, the Columbus Destroyers.The team announced that all of its games, both home and away, will be televised on NBC Sports Philadelphia, as will all of the Soul’s games. The Blackjacks games will also be heard on 97.5 ESPN radio, where Head Coach Ron James will host a weekly call-in show on Thursday nights during the regular season. Co-hosted by Blackjacks play-by-play announcer Nick Kosko, the show will be broadcast live from Chickie’s and Pete’s in Egg Harbor Township, where fans are invited to come out and meet James and a different group of players each week. One of the players sure to be featured prominently is starting quarterback Randy Hippeard. The 2017 AFL MVP and first team “All-Arena” squad member makes the Blackjacks an immediate playoff contender, according to Manias.“Our fans need to understand the magnitude of this signing,” said Manias. “This is a quarterback-driven league, and we have one of the best. Between (Hippeard) and Coach James, we are well on our way to our goal of putting a top-notch product on the field.”Hippeard is a six-year AFL veteran who has passed for more than 18,000 yards, 384 touchdowns and has a career QB rating of 118.38. Lest opponents think they can simply drop back in coverage, the 6-3, 220 pounder has shown he can run the ball with 184 career rushes for 413 yards and 42 TDs.He also enjoyed his best year as a pro playing for James in Tampa Bay, where the Storm advanced to Arena Bowl XXX and lost to the Soul.Blackjacks Head Coach Ron James is a two-time Arena League Coach of the Year.James also reaped accolades that year, picking up Coach of the Year honors for the second time. He won the honor previously with the now defunct Utah Blaze in 2012.The team recently revealed its new logo and jersey design. The red, black, gold and white threads say “A.C.” across the chest of the home jersey and “Atlantic City” on the road uniform.“We are going to have character players and be active in the community,” Manias said. “We hope the community will take pride in the franchise.”Atlantic City was chosen for an expansion franchise not only because Manias believes local football fans will love the product, but also because AC is good for the league.“If you’re a season ticketholder for any of our teams, you are also entitled to a free ticket to a home game of any other opponent,” Manias explained. “We think Atlantic City will be an attractive destination for many of those road-tripping fans, especially those from Philly.”Atlantic City and environs are also an attractive place for the players to live, the Blackjack CEO said. The league offers only one-year contracts, essentially making every player a free agent every year.“Players have a say in where they want to play and live, and we think many will enjoy being here,” Manias said.As if all that weren’t enough, the Blackjacks are also a part of a new partnership of the Arena Football and DraftKings to offer a new daily fantasy sports game. Fans can now submit contest entries to have more of a stake in the games. Visit www.draftkings.com for more information.Blackjacks CEO George Manias hopes the team will immediately compete for a playoff berth and possible spot in the championship game, the Arena Bowl. Arena football differs from the outdoor game in a number of ways. “I tell people it’s football in a hockey rink,” Manias said.Not only is the field basically cut in half, each team has seven players on a side, backs can be in motion before the snap and the uprights for field goals are half as wide as the outdoor game. The side boards of the field are in play, among other differences.But make no mistake, this is hard-hitting, fast-paced football with the emphasis on offense and scoring points.The league is comprised primarily of former Division I scholarship players with aspirations to make it to the NFL. The AFL provides the opportunity for them to be seen by scouts and compile tape that could get them an invite to an NFL camp.The most famous example is Kurt Warner, who went from the Arena League to the then-St. Louis Rams starting quarterback job and became a four-time Pro Bowl player, Super Bowl champion and Super Bowl MVP.Stories like that happen in the Arena League, so why not in Atlantic City? “All we ask is for people to come out and give us a chance,” Manias said. “With ticket prices as low as $10 you can’t beat it. Then if you come and say you don’t like it, that’s your prerogative. “We think that we’re going to provide the on-field product, the in-game entertainment with great music and our dance team, the Diamonds, that people are going to want to come back,” he added.
Much decision making is predicated on using results from the analysis of discounted cashflows, and these results are highly dependent on the discount rate used. How does one assess a roll of the dice when one of the outcomes is the end of civilisation as we know it?This issue was raised in the 2006 Stern Review on climate change, and it is also true when assessing how to value the effects of losing species and environmental degradation that can lead to the loss of complete ecosystems. Economics does not appear to have a robust framework for assessing multi-generational issues.In these cases, individuals are foregoing consumption not for their own future benefit but for the benefit of their grandchildren and future generations – for posterity – for which the rejoinder has sometimes been ‘what has posterity ever done for me?’The Stern Review estimated that a 1% per annum cost would be needed to protect the world economy from a loss of up to 20% of global consumption. In the case of biodiversity and ecosystem losses, the size of such premiums depends on a number of factors that include the current state of the ecosystem in question; the threshold state at which it fails to deliver ecosystem services; its targeted conservation state; and our best estimate of uncertainties.But there are no market values for any of these measures. Moreover, whilst ethics do not usually play a part in economic theory, a fundamental question arises in any discussion of valuations: what should be an appropriate discount rate to use in the valuation of future benefits?The choice is between giving up current income for the benefit of future generations, or the opposite – gaining benefits now at the expense of future generations. One of the two reasons economists would justify the use of discounting is the inclination of individuals to prefer 100 units of purchasing power today to 101, or 105, or even 110 next year, not because of price inflation (which is excluded from the reasoning) but because of the risk of becoming ill or dying and not being able to enjoy next year’s income.But this should not apply to a nation or human society with a time horizon in the thousands or hundreds of thousands of years. Indeed, as the report argues: “Modern economists favour discounting not because of ‘pure time preference’ but the decreasing marginal utility of consumption as growth takes place. The assumption of growth, measured by GDP, justifies our using more resources and polluting more now than we would otherwise do. Therefore, our descendants, who, by assumption, are supposed to be better off than ourselves, perhaps will be paradoxically worse off from the environmental point of view than we are.”Most of the valuation studies examined in the report used discount rates in the 3-5% range or higher. As it highlights, a 4% discount rate means we value a natural service to our own grandchildren (50 years hence) at one-seventh the utility we derive from it, a difficult ethical standpoint to defend.Clearly, economic growth and the conversion of natural ecosystems to agricultural production will continue. However, it is essential to ensure such development take proper account of the real value of natural ecosystems, which is central to economic and environmental management.The problem is, man-made goods and services are growing in quantity while the services of nature are not. This argues for a discount rate that is negative, on the basis that future generations will be poorer in environmental terms than those living today. Moreover, the real costs of the loss of biodiversity and ecosystems should also include the value of the options inherent in the existence of ecosystems.Whilst this may be difficult to measure, the value placed on conserving resources for possible uses in the future is significant. This is not only because our knowledge of the importance of ecosystem services is expected to improve over time but more significantly because part of the losses of biodiversity and the services it underpins are irreversible.“Economic growth might produce virtual Jurassic Theme Parks for children and adults; it will never resurrect the tiger if and when it goes” says a report entitled ‘The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity’, commissioned by the G8 plus five environment ministers in March 2007.Grappling with discount rates may ultimately lead to the conclusion reached by Goddard in his own report: “Like priests, guardians of the mystical truths of discounting can use the special insights with which they have been blessed either to serve their fellow human beings or to bamboozle the rest of humanity into serving them.”Joseph Mariathasan is contributing editor at IPE The guardians of discounting can use their special insights to serve their fellow human beings or to bamboozle them, Joseph Mariathasan warnsModern finance is based around the idea of discount rates. Indeed, there is a whole intellectual framework built around the idea of adding risk premia to risk-free government bond yields when assessing investment opportunities.Yet the framework is actually very shaky. Nick Goddard of Long Finance published a primer in September on the uses and abuses of discount rates. As an former physicist, he wondered whether the idea was just an unavoidably complex piece of financial wizardry that provided invaluable insights into financial decision-making. Or, alternatively, was it an unnecessarily complex obfuscation, useful mainly for conferring an aura of technical rigour to whatever the banker’s gut-feeling was telling him?His conclusion was that the idea is a mixture of both.
Maggie Befort swears she doesn’t want to forget how the 2009 field hockey season ended. The loss causes the permanent, trademark smile on Befort’s face to dissipate on the spot. The mere mention of the 7-3 loss to Syracuse’s rival Princeton causes Befort’s beaming eyes to immediately wander, wanting to seemingly focus on something detached, isolated in the distance. Something that could never remind Befort of the end of the 2009 season. Even if she vows she never wants to forget it. At the mention of the 2009 season before practice Wednesday, Befort was in search of something. ‘When we lost to Princeton,’ Befort said with a pause, exhaling deeply, ‘We walked away from the fields thinking, ‘Did that really just happen to us?” What happened was one of the worst halves in SU field hockey history. The Syracuse back walked out onto that field against Princeton with a 3-2 halftime lead and only 35 minutes separating her team from a third-round game in the NCAA tournament. The Tigers went on to score five goals in the second half and sent the Orange packing with a 7-3 defeat.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Now as No. 8 Syracuse (5-3) returns home after six straight games on the road, including yet another loss to Princeton, the Orange embarks on the last half of its season with a similar goal in mind to Befort’s. SU doesn’t want to forget about the end to the 2010 season for a completely different reason. Befort hopes it ends with a completely different outcome: Syracuse Orange, 2010 NCAA field hockey national champions. But whatever the memories of this season become, it all starts with what happened this offseason. An offseason that started the second Befort realized the 2009 season, the season she already knows she will never forget, was over. Said Befort: ‘It was really disappointing, and we never wanted to feel that way again.’ *** The feeling that enveloped Befort and the 2009 Syracuse field hockey team was one of a stunted season for a team initially ranked No. 3 in the country. But the immediate feeling of a sudden end to a season instantly became one of needed growth, Befort and teammates said. With the departure of only two part-time starters, the Orange knew it would have almost the entirety of its team back. Eighteen players and 10 starters from a year ago began another year, with another chance to compete for a national championship. The stunted finish to the 2009 season became immediate growth for 2010, the year Befort and her four fellow senior starters — Lindsey Conrad, Kim Coyle, Kristin Girouard and Shelby Schraden — knew they would ultimately be remembered for. ‘We had the attitude, going into the spring season, that we were going to grow,’ Befort said. Seven of the 11 starters from the 2008 team who went to the final four are no longer freshmen and sophomores. Those players turned into juniors and seniors after the loss to the Tigers, making this offseason their last chance to prepare for a national championship together. And the team’s younger players, including sophomore back Iona Holloway, realize the importance of the relationship between the team’s greatest luxury: those seasoned juniors and seniors. Holloway, a native of Glasgow, finally gets it, through the seniors. She gets what the last three years have been about. She gets what this season is about. She gets how tough that second half to Princeton really was. She gets why Befort needs to take a deep breath when recalling the details from that second half. She gets the burden on these seniors. ‘We have so much respect for the seniors in seeing how much work they have done to get where they are. We are really excited to play with them and for them, because after being here for a year, I think I finally understand the whole national championship stuff.’ *** It’s ‘stuff’ that has been the monkey on SU head coach Ange Bradley and the upperclassmen’s collective back since the majority of campus finally took real notice of the Syracuse field hockey program. A national championship has been expected of this group since Oct. 14, 2008: the day the Orange became the No. 1 team in the nation. But since Oct. 14, 2008, no one has expected that national championship more than Bradley, the seniors and the juniors, themselves. With that goal in mind, Nov. 15, 2009, was the lowest point for Bradley in her quest to win a national championship with the five seniors whose rise has paralleled that of the program. That of Bradley. She said after the loss to Princeton, the team didn’t rush right into the offseason. The Orange took some time off to relax and reflect on the season and come into the spring ready for hard work. And once spring practice rolled around, Bradley decided it would be best for her players to partake in a practice they hadn’t in 2009. With it came the incubation for the growth. During the spring of the 2007 and 2008 seasons, Bradley had her players play indoor field hockey in the Women’s Building. The main difference between indoor hockey and outdoor hockey is speed of the game, Bradley said. Last year the coach said she chose to not play indoors, but decided it would be best for her team to play inside again this year. With speed of the game in mind, SU wanted to get faster. Yes, faster, even if Bradley and the 2008 and 2009 editions of her team were already known as, perhaps, the fastest teams in the country. With the incubation of SU’s breakneck speed inside the cramped Women’s Building came the 2010 edition of SU field hockey. An edition Bradley hopes is even faster, even more hectic for opponents to deal with. But skilled, as well. ‘Basically, you play five players with a goalkeeper and you put up boards,’ Bradley said. ‘It’s a lot of repositioning, and you can’t lift the ball, so you got to rely on your skills.’ Alongside the further development of the team’s trademark playing style came other avenues for change, as well. SU played two other off-season scrimmages. One of the games was ordinary, a friendly match against the Delaware alumni. The other: against a men’s team from Washington, D.C. ‘When you play against men, you are playing against higher speed and stronger,’ Bradley said. ‘So you have to think differently.’ *** But, the Orange’s off-season competition wasn’t limited to the bevy of unorthodox spring sessions. The growth infiltrated and overtook the USA Field Hockey National Training Center at Virginia Beach, Va. But it started with Syracuse taking over Pennsylvania. Eight players from the SU squad went on to play as part of one of the teams in the 2010 Women’s National Championship in Virginia Beach, Va. The Pennsylvania squad — that Bradley was an assistant coach for — had the most Orange presence. Befort, Conrad, junior midfielder Nicole Nelson and junior forward Heather Susek were all members of the team. Senior forward Shelby Schraden and sophomore Kelsey Millman played for the Pennsylvania Junior team that won gold. SU assistant coaches Lynn Farquhar and Guy Cathro were coaches on the team. In terms of medals, SU was the most decorated team at the event, and SU sophomore goalie Leann Stiver — who was a member of the North senior team — said it was a great chance to get to know her Syracuse competition. ‘Each of us took little things from different teams,’ Stiver said. ‘Like ‘Oh, I know how we are going to beat them next year.’ I found out how they operate.’ In addition to the eight players participating in the Women’s National Championship, three players honed their skills abroad. Sophomore back Amy Kee and Holloway played on a club team in Germany together, while junior forward Martina Loncarica played in her native Argentina. Some of the team was together. Some of the team was separate. But after the ripening of the team’s playing style in the spring came lessons learned for 2010. Alien situations for the players abroad, but situations they are hoping will get this team over the hump, the burden. The ‘national championship stuff.’ ‘We were having to follow these massive German girls all over the field,’ Holloway said ‘Wherever they went, we would just follow them, which is not like having played here.’ *** Loncarica — the native of Buenos Aires, the spark plug to the SU offense for the past two years, the ball-hawking presence on most Syracuse attacks — followed Holloway and Kee all the way to Amsterdam. From Argentina to Amsterdam came Loncarica and the in-person talk. While walking the streets of Amsterdam, the teammates reflected, pondered and forecasted. Then they sat down. And that talk, the talk that had dominated Facebook via pictures from Germany and Virginia Beach all summer, was discussed. ‘I can just remember having these conversations about what we were going to do to win the national championships,’ Holloway said. The burden, and all the team had done to alleviate that burden, was looked into. Commiserating in Amsterdam, the hopes and dreams that started after a loss to Princeton were still days and miles away, in the distance. But they were brought to the surface. And the trio pinpointed the burden and what it will take to alleviate it. They were not in search of anything. They discussed the something. With nine regular season games remaining, it remains to be seen if that monkey will no longer linger every time SU takes the AstroTurf to practice at J.S. Coyne Field. It remains to be seen if the something, the something Befort was scanning the distance for Wednesday behind Coyne Field, will become a national championship. Said Holloway: ‘We were all getting goose bumps from just talking about it. It’s those certain moments when you’re with you’re best friends from the team and just thinking, ‘We can actually do this.” [email protected] Published on September 20, 2010 at 12:00 pm Comments Facebook Twitter Google+
After battling various injuries during his University of Wisconsin football career, standout offensive lineman Jon Dietzen announced Monday on Twitter that he is stepping away from the game for good.“After a lot of thought and careful consideration, I’ve decided it is in my best interest to step away from football due to numerous injuries,” Dietzen tweeted. “This was not an easy decision, as I’ve enjoyed every second of my football career, especially those as a Wisconsin Badger.”pic.twitter.com/23N0axftxy— Dietzen (@DietzenJon) February 11, 2019Dietzen, who redshirted in 2015 and quickly became a key member of Wisconsin’s elite offensive line over the past several seasons, battled various ankle injuries during his first few seasons. He then had surgery on both his hips prior to the 2018 season, but still went on to start 12 of 13 games.The 6-foot-6, 326 pound lineman from Black Creek, Wisconsin started at left tackle last season but split time with sophomore Cole Van Lanen due to his injuries. He also served as the team’s starting left guard in 2017 as part of a dominant unit that allowed a Big Ten-best 1.5 sacks per game.Get to know the Wisconsin football recruiting class of 2015QUARTERBACKS (2) Austin Kafentzis ★ ★ ★ City: Sandy, UT H.S.: Jordan Ranked as the No. 1 quarterback in Utah Read…Despite his struggles with the injury bug, Dietzen left his mark as an important member of arguably the nation’s best offensive line, paving the way for the emergence of newly anointed Doak Walker Award winner Jonathan Taylor.“It was the opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of the Wisconsin football team and to be able to call myself a Wisconsin Badger,” Dietzen tweeted. “I will cherish my time at this university.”Dietzen’s absence leaves the Badgers’ offensive line in jeopardy, as they now need to replace four of their five starters from 2018 before the upcoming season. Van Lanen demonstrated his abilities in limited playing time behind Dietzen in 2018 and should be slated to assume a larger role in 2019.