Early exit by Irish adds insult to injury

first_imgMany students’ faces turned Oklahoma crimson Saturday when some football players entered the tunnel before singing the Alma Mater in the team’s first home loss since Oct. 22, 2011. In a press conference Sunday, Irish coach Brian Kelly said he implemented a policy to not sing the Alma Mater after home losses two years ago, but had neglected to communicate it clearly to some of the team’s younger players. “I wasn’t thinking about losing a football game,” Kelly said. “It wasn’t on my to-do list to go over with our team.” Kelly said he decided the team would not sing the Alma Mater after home losses, a change in policy he said protected his players. The football team first joined the student section to sing the Alma Mater under the direction of former Irish coach Charlie Weis. The tradition of the team joining the student section to sing the Alma Mater after games started during the 2006 season under the direction of former Irish coach Charlie Weis. “I just don’t think it’s appropriate to put your players after defeat in a situation where they are exposed,” Kelly said. “I want to get them in the locker room. It’s important to be able to talk to them, and I just felt like in those situations after a loss, there’s a lot of emotions. It’s important to get the team back into the locker room and get them under my guidance.” Senior Ben Finan said most students were also unaware of the policy and reacted emotionally to the confusion over the Alma Mater. “I was confused. The policy had not been announced previously,” Finan said. “This was something that was not addressed publicly and apparently some of the players didn’t know.” According to gameday.nd.edu, singing the Alma Mater after all home games is a “stadium tradition.” The website states, “And whether or not Notre Dame wins, you’ll see the Fighting Irish team approach the student section to sing the Alma Mater together.” Sophomore Megan Ball said most students expected the team to uphold this tradition and were shocked to see players leaving the stadium. However, she said her opinion of the players who left changed when she learned of the policy. “I wasn’t aware of the policy not to sing the Alma Mater after a loss so initially I thought it was rude that they were leaving and not singing the Alma Mater with the student body,” Ball said. “I understand that they were told to leave, but at the same time I definitely admire the players who chose to override that policy.” Freshman Morgan Widhalm said even the freshmen knew something was not right. “We were really confused because we hadn’t seen many games yet. But … when people started walking out, I know almost everyone in the stands was gesturing, ‘Come here, come here,’” she said. “It was almost like everything I knew about the world was flipped over because that was such a Notre Dame thing and we just didn’t understand.” Finan said Kelly’s decision to have players enter the locker room immediately after home losses does not respect the players’ dual roles as students and athletes. “Part of what makes Notre Dame the Notre Dame family is that we treat our student athletes as students and athletes,” Finan said. “… Telling them to go into the locker room tells me that [Kelly] values them as athletes before students and that’s incorrect.” Senior Jen Gallic said Kelly’s choice disrespects the Alma Mater’s religious component. “Our Alma Mater is actually a prayer too, so God first,” Gallic said. “‘God, country, Notre Dame.’” Because of the unifying quality of the post-game tradition, senior Connor Sullivan said she thinks the players are far from “exposed” when they’re singing the Alma Mater. “For the most part, people stay until the end of the game. Losing a game and being able to as a player stand down there and see that your whole school is still there and is still behind you – that probably is more emotionally stabilizing than going in and having your coach try and debrief you about what just happened,” Sullivan said. Finan said he feels singing the Alma Mater shows the student body’s support for the players. “I feel like the players are no better protected ever than when they’re one of us, and it’s one student body, and it’s not that the players are down there and we’re up here,” he said. “He’s basically saying, ‘I don’t want you to be with the student body. I want us to be together as a team,’ and it’s very frustrating.” Senior quarterback Tommy Rees and graduate student linebacker Carlo Calabrese, two of the team’s leaders, did choose to sing the Alma Mater. Finan said he appreciated their choice to stand with their peers. “I know that if [Kelly] would’ve asked those players about this decision, they would’ve obviously disagreed with him because they felt strongly enough that they were willing to defy his direct instructions,” Finan said. Senior Matthew Cunningham, president of the Leprechaun Legion, said he personally disagrees with Kelly’s decision. Still, he said he retainss faith in the coach’s motivations. “If it’s a team policy that they don’t [sing], then that’s just something that I have to accept,” he said. Cunningham said the student section should not have booed right before the Alma Mater or at the end of the first half when Kelly chose to take a knee with 40 seconds left. “I don’t think it was right to boo. As Coach Kelly said in his press conference … in his estimation he didn’t think there was enough time to go and get a field goal and he has a better sense of the flow of the game, how his offense is working,” Cunningham said. “As the head coach, I’m sure his players trust his judgment.” Finan said the students were not booing the players but the coaching staff, even though NBC commentators misinterpreted the situation. “To take a knee from the 30 yard line says to me, ‘I don’t have faith that you can produce right now,’” Finan said. “I understand that you want to be on damage control, as well, of not allowing things to get worse, but you have to try to win the game, and part of that is picking up the momentum going into the locker room, not just going out.”last_img read more

Family First goes to court in hopes of regaining charity status

first_imgRadio NZ News 30 April 2018Family First Comment: Stand by for report from court Advocacy group Family First is heading to court today in a bid to retain its charity status.The hearing at the High Court in Wellington is the second appeal after the Charities Board ruled in 2013 and again in 2017 that Family First be removed from the charities register.Organisations with charitable status do not pay income tax, can apply for different grants and their donors are eligible for rebates.In 2013 the Charities Board removed the group because it said it was engaged in political advocacy.After the first appeal, the High Court ordered the board to reconsider its decision, which it did in 2017, again concluding the group should be removed.But Family First said the board was wrong to say its purpose was political rather than charitable.In a similar case involving Greenpeace, the Supreme Court ruled groups could register as charities, even if they have a political purpose.In its submission, Family First said the Charities Board did not consider promotion of the traditional family as being in the public interest.But Family First said that was not the case.In recent times it had advocated on strengthening marriage, parenting, child abuse, aged care and sex education; and against abortion, euthanasia and embyronic cell research, it said.“These activities for advancing the family in New Zealand serve to strengthen family life, and encourage stability and positive values in society.”Family First said the total number of supporters who subscribed to its email or mail service this year amounted to nearly 46,000, which was 5215 more than the previous year.https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/356287/family-first-goes-to-court-in-hopes-of-regaining-charity-statusConservative lobby group Family First in the High Court fighting its deregistration as a charityNZ Herald 30 April 2018Family First says its charity work produces research which helps all New Zealand families, even if it aims to promote and protect the “traditional” family unit.The conservative lobby group is currently in the High Court, fighting against its deregistration as a charity by the Charities Board.Peter McKenzie QC, acting for Family First, said that even if a group’s causes were unpopular, that shouldn’t stop them being classified as a charity.“The Trust accepted its purposes can be seen as seeking to promote the family, as understood in the traditional way.”However, [I’m] submitting that its activities seek to benefit all forms of families. An important qualification there.“When Your Honour looks at the various research reports produced by Family First, Your Honour will see that virtually all of those reports deal with matters that are of concern to all kinds of families, whether a solo parent, whether blended, whether so-called gay families.“All of them are concerned with issues of youth alcohol, all of them are concerned with issues of screen time, questions of child poverty and child abuse.“These are relevant to all kinds of family, although the research indicates some are more vulnerable than others.”Justice Simon France questioned whether Family First’s research was “persuasion under the guise of research”, where the authors of research papers chose evidence to reflect the views they already held.McKenzie said that their research aimed to benefit everyone, and promote debate.But although Family First admits to promoting “traditional” values, it was not a religious organisation.“This is not a charity formed for religious purposes,” McKenzie said.“It is simply formed with a statement of purpose relating to faith, but it is not religious in purpose.”The Charities Registration Board made its decision public in August, to deregister Family First for the second time.It had previously attempted to deregister the group in 2013, saying it did not “advance exclusively charitable purposes”.But the High Court ordered the Board to take a second look at the issue in 2015, after Greenpeace took the issue all the way to the Supreme Court, to defend its own charitable status.In August 2017 the Board once again decided Family First should be deregistered as a charity.“The board considers that Family First has a purpose to promote its own particular views about marriage and the traditional family that cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable.“Family First has the freedom to continue to communicate its views and influence policy and legislation but the board has found that Family First’s pursuit of those activities do not qualify as being for the public benefit in a charitable sense.”The Charities Board has not yet made its submissions to the High Court. The hearing continues.https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12042274Family First fights its deregistration as a charityNewsTalk ZB 30 April 2018http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/national/family-first-fights-its-deregistration-as-a-charity/Keep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.last_img read more

Leonid Yelin’s coaching style is driven by his relentless intensity

first_imgOn the day Stephanie Cantway labeled “her turning point,” Leonid Yelin, her coach at Louisville, screamed. He often did, regardless of the score.With Louisville en route to a four-set victory against Nicholls State in Arizona in 2004, backups choked away easy points, and Yelin blamed Cantway, the lone starter on the court. He wanted more communication. But she wanted to ignore him.“Steph!” Cantway remembered Yelin screaming. “Steph!”She yielded, rolling her eyes before setting them on Yelin. Immediately, he summoned a replacement off the bench. Cantway walked off the court and into the locker room. She wasn’t the most talented player, but Yelin noticed the same leadership and toughness he saw in himself.Yet what he once admired now infuriated him. After the game, Yelin marched to a team assistant and tried to book Cantway a flight back to campus two days early from the University Plaza Wildcat Classic. He planned to kick her off the team.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“He’s trying to get you to do one thing on the court,” Cantway, now 33 years old, said. “Don’t read into it or don’t judge. … If you’re not doing it right, nothing else matters.”***In his office, 14 years later, Yelin described his coaching style. His U of L gear switched out for Syracuse orange, Yelin patted an imaginary player’s arm in his office in Manley Field House, as if he was supporting them following an error in a game. After, he shook his head. He’s never been that coach. On the court, he expects perfection.Success traveled with Yelin from the Soviet Union to Barry University in Florida. He captured a Division II national title in his sixth year in the United States. He brought Louisville to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history during his first campaign. Then he did it three more times. At Syracuse (13-7, 9-3 Atlantic Coast), he’s built a program but hasn’t achieved the primary goal that he’s set for himself: reaching the NCAA tournament. SU is his “final destination” in a 50-year career that’s totaled almost 700 wins. In 2018, the Orange has an outside shot at obtaining an at-large bid when the regular season ends in late November.TJ Shaw | Staff PhotographerThe price of Yelin’s greatness manifests in the perceptions players have of him. Cantway wasn’t the first nor the last athlete he kicked out of a game. High school coaches have told potential SU recruits they couldn’t handle Yelin’s screaming. He joked to players in Colorado, where he was an assistant coach for the 2012 season, by comparing the laid back assistant he was to the driven head coach he had been at Louisville.Yelin is aware of his differences on and off the court. His intensity was, and still is, his defining trait. It steers him as a head coach. The passion is borne from devotion, not spite. Outside the painted lines in SU’s Women’s Building, where the Orange compete, the fire that’s alienated players has also caused others to view him as a father figure. When a player fails on the court, he’ll bring wrath upon them. When they fail off it, he blames himself.“I’m not here to please you,” Yelin said. “I’m here to help you do the right thing and grow up and be a better player and be better a person. Most people respond, but some don’t.”The players which respond to Yelin understand his methods only after clashing with him. A member of his inner circle, Cantway identified him as a “Type A” leader. After the fight that nearly got Cantway kicked off the team in Arizona, Patty Dennison, a U of L coach, calmed Cantway by explaining that her and Yelin’s drives to win had consumed them. Cantway and Yelin reconciled back in Louisville, where Cantway developed into a two-year captain and five-year assistant coach.Gosia Wlaszczuk, one of Yelin’s first international recruits at SU, clashed with him in her freshman season. During a game in Cincinnati, a long rally ended when Wlaszczuk missed a spike. Yelin accused her of not caring about the team before he tossed her out of the contest. Wlaszczuk teamed with adults in Poland, and Yelin demanded the same maturity. She eventually welcomed it.“I think he’s tough, but deep inside he’s soft and such a family person and cares about his friends,” Wlaszczuk said.Courtesy of Gosia WlaszczukBoth Cantway and Wlaszczuk developed close relationships with Yelin. Their personalities mirrored each other. They were the success stories. Yelin has tried to learn from his past, from himself, but sometimes he can’t.***During Barry University’s national championship celebration, a future Yelin hadn’t contemplated presented itself. Barry had a 34-2 season culminating in a 1995 Division II title. Jean Cerra, then-athletic director at Barry, stood next to him during the trophy presentation and whispered.“Leonid,” Cerra recalled saying, “I don’t think you’re going to be the best-kept secret in the United States anymore.”Yelin laughed. He had no intention of leaving. He turned down offers from Division I schools before. Weeks later, he received a phone call from then-athletic director at Louisville, Bill Olsen.In his first years with the Cardinals, Yelin built a national powerhouse. Using the funding of a Division I program, he developed a two-pronged recruiting process. He searched globally and relied on his assistants — Dennison and Mitzy Donhoff — to find talent in the volleyball hot-bed of Lexington, Kentucky.He was the patriarch of the program. In 1996, it backfired.Donhoff approached Yelin with an opportunity for international students. Women 4 Women, a nonprofit based in Kentucky, awards grants to empower women. Donhoff had donated $1,600 herself. European players strapped for cash could apply. It was another way to help off the court, so Yelin approved. But, without telling Yelin, Donhoff wrote a U of L player’s application letter, and the player spent the money on tuition and textbooks.Months later, during a holiday break, an athlete broke her ankle and was left alone on campus. Yelin brought her into his house and Yelena, his wife, cared for her. She stayed the night before Yelin drove her to her dorm the next day.“I didn’t even think about (the violation) at that time,” Yelin said. “I just know I cannot leave her by herself.”In 1997, Yelin discovered Donhoff “basically took money” from the program, Yelin said. He reported it to Olsen. He didn’t want to fire her and leave her children without a source of income, he said — he requested she be moved to another department.Donhoff tried to blackmail the university when questioned, Yelin said. She threatened to alert the NCAA about W4W and infractions regarding the men’s basketball team, Yelin said. U of L reported itself to the NCAA. Donhoff declined to comment on this story.A two-year-long investigation stripped the volleyball team of its 1996 victories. Former University President John Shumaker called the negligence the worst in school history. Of the many findings, the NCAA found U of L guilty of paying for a player’s tuition. Yelin was guilty of housing a player, too. Both athletes were declared ineligible. Yelin was also reprimanded for gifting players flowers on their birthdays.Louisville suspended Yelin for 30 days and placed him on probation with his salary frozen for two years. Donhoff was fired. Yelin believed the volleyball team suffered in lieu of basketball. In the 1990s, the men’s basketball team was punished for multiple recruiting violations. The program was placed on probation in 1998.“(Louisville’s athletic department) was trying to make volleyball a sacrificial lamb,” Yelin said. “They were hoping (basketball) got less punishment.”Yelin kept winning on the court. The Cardinals reached the Sweet 16 for the second time in program history when the investigation concluded. In 2004, Conference USA named Yelin its  Coach of the Decade.He reprioritized player development. Cantway said Yelin didn’t shy away from the NCAA report. Yelin’s actions were well-intended, Cantway thought, and it could’ve helped the Cardinals recruit. Yelin had survived his biggest blunder as a coach. And then he retired.There are conflicting reasons as to why Yelin left Louisville. Cantway said the university wanted a “marketer” and “promoter” for the program. Yelin disputed that, but admitted that Cantway would know why he left. In a recent statement, U of L athletics said that Yelin “left due to attrition and our NCAA violations.”Yelin admitted he felt “tired” by the end of his tenure. He centered all of his energy on building a family at Louisville. He just wanted to coach.“That was maybe the only time in his life that it was tiring for him to do volleyball,” Cantway said.When Louisville traveled to Syracuse two years later, Yelin’s last recruiting class rushed over to him in the Women’s Building and hugged their former head coach. They missed him.Blessing Emole | Digital Design Editor***Valeriya Shaipova was supposed to be special. A 2012 recruit from Yelin’s hometown of Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Shaipova could’ve been the next entry in a line of European standouts.She grew up with a single mother in a poor household. Shaipova traveled for internet access to Skype with SU coaches. From those conversations, Yelin realized she needed extra attention in the U.S.Shaipova struggled to socialize, even with other international players. She was too dependent on her mother, whom she called constantly in her spare time. Yelin went to Shaipova’s mother and pleaded for a chance to help her as he helped so many. “For her good,” he remembered asking, “can you leave her alone?” He prepped Cantway to “mother her.” Cantway, Yelin explained, needed to watch over Shaipova off the court while Yelin focused on her volleyball development.But Shaipova tore her ACL twice and cornered herself in her dorm. She went back to Uzbekistan with her degree. Reflecting on her tenure six years later, his voice softened and his eyes wavered.Yelin sees himself in his players. He expects so much of them because he requires the same of himself. Some in the coaching community questioned his recruitment strategy, highlighted by international players. In the 1990s, opposing teams mocked Yelin’s heritage while he coached at Barry University.His past hardened him, and he valued that. At first, volleyball allowed Yelin mobility in the Soviet Union, even if he initially thought the sport was “not for men.” Though Yelin initially cast off coaching a women’s team, the job allowed him to stay home while his father was sick. Yelin assumed it was cancer but could only guess. His family was cut off from government-issued medical services, he said. His first coaching job eventually turned into a six-year tenure as Uzbekistan’s national team coach.Yelin represents a living embodiment of what volleyball could bestow. Volleyball provided Yelin love — he met his wife Yelena while coaching her on the Uzbekistan national team. Volleyball gave them a one-bedroom apartment courtesy of the government. And volleyball also showed them the lies spread by the U.S.S.R., leading to his departure in 1989, Yelin said.For 13 years, Yelena traveled to foreign countries — Finland, Portugal, France — and recognized that she was “brainwashed” by her own government. The couple applied to leave in the late 1970s but was swiftly denied. Insubordination sparked retaliation. Yelena was dismissed from the national team. Yelin’s boss, a close friend whose daughter Yelin coached, fired him at the direct orders of the government, Yelin said.So Yelin brought his passion to the U.S, where players who adjusted under his tutelage, the ones who understood the origin of his passion, connected with him. He knows his temper can consume him, and he tries to work through it. His off-the-court actions reveal his paternal nature. He routinely texts Wlaszczuk, joking with her through his personalized bitmoji. He was one of the first people to hear of her engagement.“People think he can’t see through it,” Wlaszczuk said. “But when I think about him, I see him joking with the players.”Courtesy of Gosia WlaszczukCourtesy of Gosia WlaszczukDating back to his early Louisville years, Yelin hosted team Thanksgiving dinners in his home.  International players brought local dishes, and Yelin prepared his signature lamb and rice meal that he learned in Tashkent.Former player Mackenzie Weaver remembered the 2016 dinner in Yelin’s downtown Syracuse apartment. Yelin detailed some of his past in the Soviet Union. A football game was on in the background, but Weaver recalled no one watched. All eyes were on Yelin.“I say (to team),” Yelin started, “‘Listen, guys, if it’s something with volleyball and important, I’m getting very emotional. It looks like, in the way I’m talking, I’m attacking you. Try to ignore. Don’t even look, just listen to what I’m saying. … It’s with only one purpose, to make us better.’”***Kelly McClain walked into Louisville’s end-of-season banquet in 2000 ready to own her mistakes. After winning the team’s most valuable player award a year prior, McClain had a limited role in her senior season. Yelin called her “the most stubborn” player he’s ever coached.She always argued with Yelin, pleading to switch back to outside hitter. An injury in the team’s NCAA tournament first round matchup against Michigan gave her a chance. After 16 kills and 16 digs, she went to Yelin after the contest and said, “I told you so.”Three weeks later, the team gathered one last time in the Brown and Williamson Club in the bowels of then-Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. As one of two seniors on the squad, she went to the podium and gave a speech.“I can describe coach very simple,” she said before addressing Yelin directly. “If I knew nothing was going to happen to me, and I would have a gun, I would shoot you. If I had to choose again where to go play, I would only come play for you.”Yelin chuckled.“You know what,” he said, “I’ll take it.” Comments Published on October 29, 2018 at 12:01 am Contact Nick: nialvare@syr.edu | @nick_a_alvarezcenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more