A college football playoff is finally a reality! Come 2014, the BCS is dead. A committee of university presidents on Tuesday approved the BCS commissioners’ plan for a four-team playoff to start in two years. “A four team playoff doesn’t go too far,” Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger said. “It goes just the right amount.” The move completes a six-month process for the commissioners, who have been working on a new way to determine a major college football champion after years of griping from fans. “There were differences of views,” Steger said. “I think it would be a serious mistake to assume it was a rubber stamp.”
Instead of simply matching the nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 teams in a championship game after the regular season, the way the Bowl Championship Series has done since 1998, the new format will create a pair of national semifinals. No. 1 will play No. 4, and No. 2 will play No. 3. The sites of those games will rotate among the four current BCS games — Rose, Orange, Fiesta and Sugar — and two more to be determined. The winners will advance to the championship. The teams will be selected by a committee, similar to the way the NCAA basketball tournament field is set.
The commissioners want to lock in this format for 12 years with a television partner. The current BCS deal with ESPN runs through the 2013 season. The new format will be presented to potential TV partners in the fall, starting with ESPN. There are still some details to work out, but all the decision-makers are on board. Lower divisions of college football already have a playoff, but the highest level has always used bowls and polls to determine its champion. Those days are coming to an end. “By making this change we felt we could enhance the regular season but at the same time provide the fans with the kind of postseason that will contribute to the regular season,” Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive said.
As far as what is driving this decision, CBS News’ Armen Keteyian said it’s money. “It was driving the massive realignment in college football this year,” he told anchor Scott Pelley on “The CBS Evening News. “Just the television deal alone on this could be $350 or $400 million each and every year.” Earlier, former acting Big 12 Commissioner Chuck Neinas said before the meeting at a hotel in the DuPont Circle area of Washington that the commissioners will make about a 30-minute presentation, and then take questions from their bosses. “The presidents have been pretty well briefed by their commissioners coming in, so it will be a matter of how much they want to discuss,” he said.
Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman has said he would prefer to keep the BCS as is or make a small modification to it that would have the championship matchup set after the bowls are played instead of before. The tweaked BCS is referred to as a plus-one. “I know Harvey Perlman will speak to the plus-one. That’s very well documented,” Neinas said with a chuckle. The commissioners have been working on a new postseason format since January. They have held six formal meetings, the last of which was last week in Chicago. At that meeting, they announced that they had come to a consensus on a plan.
Neinas, whose career in college sports spans more than five decades, said he is not surprised to see major college football on the verge of implementing a playoff for the first time. “What people forget is the BCS is part of an evolution,” Neinas said. “There was the alliance, the coalition, the BCS and now this new (format) would be the four-team playoff.”
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana — (DMN) – Indianapolis city officials will re-open a public swimming pool tomorrow after a gas leak sickened more than 70 people last week. Two investigative reports attributed the chemical leak to a combination of human error and system problems, according to a news release issued by Indy Parks spokeswoman Jen Pittman. The incident happened Thursday afternoon, sending children fleeing from the two pools. A combination of hydrochloric acid and sodium hypochlorite solutioncombined and released a noxious gas into the pool, in part because of an improperly closed valve, the city says. Sodium hypochlorite also is found in household bleach, water purifiers and cleaning products.
According to the release: “Operator error occurred when an Indy Parks employee did not reopen a valve following a routine backwash of the pool. The closed valve triggered a chain of events that allowed sodium hypochlorite solution and hydrochloric acid, two common pool chemicals, to combine in a closed system and form a gas, which later was released into the pool as pressure in the system increased.” The Indianapolis Star reports that the investigations were conducted by Spear Corp., which has a contract with Indy Parks to assist with pool maintenance and weekly inspections; and by Trafalgar, Ind.-based Aquatic & Recreation Design. Indy Parks hired the second company specifically to examine the cause of the incident.
Indy Parks’ release says it has updated its procedures for backwashing the pool “to provide more detailed instruction specific to the facility.” To avert the problem from recurring, it also moved a safety switch line, repaired a leaking pipe and replaced flow meters that weren’t operating properly, following recommendations from the investigating companies.
Syria has become an “open threat” to Turkey, PM Erdogan says
BRUSSELS, Belgium — (DMN/Al-Jazeera) – The head of the NATO military alliance called the downing of a Turkish jet by Syrian forces unacceptable on Tuesday, shortly after Turkey briefed NATO’s North Atlantic Council in discussions held under Article 4 of NATO’s founding treaty, which allows a NATO member to request consultations if its security has been threatened. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance condemns it “in the strongest terms,” and expressed solidarity with Turkey, but made no mention of retaliatory action.
Turkey’s prime minister, responding to the downing of the jet in a speech to the AK party’s parliamentry group, said Tuesday that Turkish military will respond to any future violation of its border by Syrian military elements. “The rules of engagement of the Turkish Armed Forces have changed,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. “Any military element that approaches the Turkish border from Syria by posing a security risk and danger will be regarded as a threat and treated as a military target.” Syria insists that the Turkish plane violated its air space on Friday. But Turkey says that although the unarmed RF-4E reconnaissance jet had unintentionally strayed into Syria’s air space, it was inside international airspace when it was brought down.
- Friday 22 June, early morning: F-4 leaves Erhac Nato airbase
- Flies over Hatay province (Turkey)
- 11:42 GMT: mistakenly enters Syrian airspace near Latakia at 200ft (61m) at 300 knots
- 11:47: leaves after Turkish radar operator warning – no Syrian warning
- 11:56: radio contact lost: hit 13 nautical miles from Syrian coast at 7,400ft by heat-seeking guided laser missile
- 11:58 crashes into the sea
- 11:40 GMT Friday: F-4 flew at 100m (330 ft) altitude, 1-2km (0.6m-1.2m) from Syrian coast
- Surprise meant no time to give warning
- Anti-aircraft gun shot it down in Syrian waters with fire of maximum range of 2.5km
- Radar-guided missile not deployed
- Tail wreckage shows it was hit by anti-aircraft fire
Erdogan said Syria shot down the unarmed plane in international airspace in a “deliberate” and “hostile” act and without warning. He said border violations in the region were not uncommon. He said Syrian helicopters violated Turkish airspace five times recently, without Turkish response. “The Syrian regime has no more legitimacy, that is clear. Women, children, the elderly, have been killed relentlessly by this tyranny,” he said. “No one should be deceived by our cold blooded stance,” Erdogan said. “Our acting with common sense should not be perceived as a weakness.” Al Jazeera’s Rula Amin reported from Beirut that by shooting down the Turkish jet, the Syrians had successfully marked the limits of foreign intervention in their affairs. “For the Syrians, they have made their point,” she said. “They are not going to tolerate any violations of their airspace … What they’re saying is that they’re still strong, they are defiant, and they will fight back.”
The downing of the jet has aggravated tense ties between the two neighbours. Turkey has repeatedly called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down as 33,000 Syrians have sought refuge in Turkey, fleeing a government crackdown on a popular uprising. Erdogan said as much as Turkey’s friendship is valuable, Turkey’s “wrath is as much violent and crushing”. He said: “we will continue to be a burning torment for circles who have adopted a hostile attitude toward Turkey.” Al Jazeera’s Anita McNaught reported from Ankara, meanwhile, that Syria’s decision to shoot down the plane came after months of what Damascus views as Turkish meddling in tis internal affairs.
The fact that the Syrian Free Army is increasingly using Turkey as the base from which it conducts operations against the Syrian government has antagonised the Assad government, she noted, as has its belief that Turkey is now turning a blind eye to weapons being smuggled into Syria. “Turkey does believe that it stood strongly besides Syria, and gave it the best advice in the world,” McNaught said. The public anger in Turkey is largely muted and Huseyin Celik, a senior member of Erdogan’s ruling party, said the party grass-roots is against going to war.
Turkey says its military rules of engagement have changed after Syria shot down a Turkish plane that strayed into its territory. PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan told parliament that if Syrian troops approached Turkey’s borders, they would be seen as a military threat. Meanwhile Nato has expressed its condemnation of Syria’s attack as well as strong support for Turkey. Syria insists the F-4 Phantom jet was shot down inside Syrian airspace. The plane crashed into the eastern Mediterranean and its two pilots are missing.
Meanwhile, fierce fighting has been reported between the Syrian army and rebel forces in the suburbs of the capital Damascus. Witnesses say it is some of the most intense violence in the area since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began more than a year ago.
In other developments on Tuesday:
- The head of UN peacekeeping operations, Herve Ladsous, said the monitoring mission in Syria would remain suspended because of mounting violence.
- Russia said its foreign minister Sergei Lavrov would attend an international conference on Syria in Geneva on 30 June
Mr Erdogan spoke of Turkey’s “rage” at the decision to shoot down the F-4 Phantom on 22 June and described Syria as a “clear and present threat”. “A short-term border violation can never be a pretext for an attack,” he said. The Turkish jet was on a training flight, testing Turkey’s radars in the eastern Mediterranean, he said. He made it clear that Turkey was adopting a “common sense” attitude, although that “shouldn’t be perceived as a weakness”. “Every military element approaching Turkey from the Syrian border and representing a security risk and danger will be assessed as a military threat and will be treated as a military target,” he said.
Turkey requested a meeting of the alliance’s ambassadors in Brussels after invoking Article 4 of Nato’s founding treaty, which entitles any member state to ask for consultations if it believes its security is threatened. In a statement, the alliance’s 28 members said the shooting down of the plane was “unacceptable” and they stood together with Turkey “in the spirit of strong solidarity”. Turkey has also accused its neighbour of firing on a search and rescue plane looking for the F-4 Phantom jet, although it was not brought down. Relations between the two countries were already highly strained before the F-4 was shot down.
Mr Erdogan has been outspoken in his condemnation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose government he accuses of brutally putting down opposition protests. In Syria itself, opposition activists on Tuesday reported fierce fighting near Republican Guard positions in suburbs of Damascus. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP news agency that fierce fighting had broken out in Qadsaya and al-Hama, around 8km (5 miles) from the centre of the city. The UK-based organisation also said security forces had entered the Barzeh area of Damascus. It said 10 people had been killed by shelling in Qadsaya and some 58 people had died in violence across Syria – 24 soldiers, 30 civilians and four rebels.
Syrian state TV reported that dozens of “terrorists” had been killed in al-Hama and many others taken prisoner, including some non-Syrian Arab nationals. The Observatory and the Free Syrian Army also said there had been reports of a military helicopter being shot down in Idlib, but gave no details. The reports cannot be verified. Fighting was also reported in the old city of Homs where the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) last week tried unsuccessfully to arrange the evacuation of civilians. The ICRC said on Tuesday it was returning to the city for a fresh attempt.
The BBC contributed to this report.
TROPICAL STORM DEBBY INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 12A
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL042012
800 AM EDT TUE JUN 26 2012
...DEBBY DRIFTING TOWARD FLORIDA GULF COAST...THREAT OF ADDITIONAL
HEAVY RAINS CONTINUES...
SUMMARY OF 800 AM EDT...1200 UTC...INFORMATION
ABOUT 85 MI...140 KM W OF CEDAR KEY FLORIDA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...45 MPH...75 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...E OR 90 DEGREES AT 3 MPH...6 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...991 MB...29.26 INCHES
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY...
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* THE FLORIDA GULF COAST FROM MEXICO BEACH TO ENGLEWOOD
FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE
INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY
YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST OFFICE.
DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK
AT 800 AM EDT...1200 UTC...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM DEBBY WAS
LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 28.9 NORTH...LONGITUDE 84.5 WEST. DEBBY IS
MOVING TOWARD THE EAST NEAR 3 MPH...6 KM/H. A SLOW EASTWARD OR
EAST-NORTHEASTWARD MOTION IS EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF
DAYS. ON THIS TRACK...THE CENTER OF DEBBY WILL MOVE OVER NORTHERN
FLORIDA IN THE NEXT DAY OR TWO.
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS REMAIN NEAR 45 MPH...75 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. LITTLE CHANGE IN STRENGTH IS EXPECTED UNTIL THE CENTER MOVES
TROPICAL-STORM-FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 240 MILES...390
KM...MAINLY TO THE SOUTHEAST OF THE CENTER.
THE ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 991 MB...29.26 INCHES.
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
WIND...TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS WILL CONTINUE OVER PORTIONS OF
THE FLORIDA GULF COAST TODAY.
STORM SURGE...THE COMBINATION OF A STORM SURGE AND THE TIDE WILL
CAUSE NORMALLY DRY AREAS NEAR THE COAST TO BE FLOODED BY RISING
WATERS. THE WATER COULD REACH THE FOLLOWING DEPTHS ABOVE GROUND AT
THE TIME OF THE NEXT HIGH TIDE TODAY...
APALACHEE BAY TO WACCASASSA BAY...3 TO 5 FT
FLORIDA WEST COAST SOUTH OF WACCASASSA BAY...1 TO 3 FT
THE DEEPEST WATER WILL OCCUR ALONG THE IMMEDIATE COAST IN AREAS OF
ONSHORE FLOW. SURGE-RELATED FLOODING DEPENDS ON THE RELATIVE
TIMING OF THE SURGE AND THE TIDAL CYCLE...AND CAN VARY GREATLY OVER
SHORT DISTANCES. FOR INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...PLEASE
SEE PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE.
RAINFALL...DEBBY IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE ADDITIONAL RAIN
ACCUMULATIONS OF 4 TO 8 INCHES OVER NORTHERN FLORIDA DURING THE
NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS...WITH ADDITIONAL 1 TO 3 INCH RAINS EXPECTED
OVER EXTREME SOUTHEASTERN GEORGIA. ISOLATED STORM TOTAL AMOUNTS OF
25 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE IN NORTHERN FLORIDA.
TORNADOES...ISOLATED TORNADOES WILL BE POSSIBLE TODAY ACROSS THE