Breached: Hackers Stole Customer Information in 2010, Paddy Power Now Acknowledges

Personal details of over 649,000 customers was stolen in 2010, thanks to a massive data breach at Paddy Power. Paddy Power is the third largest sports book in Europe.

The stolen data includes names, addresses, dates of birth, and even the maiden names of mothers. Paddy Power used that information to verify account details. Only bettors who joined Paddy Power online service before 2011 are affected.

Paddy Power claims the stolen data does not include any personal financial information.

The sports book has only this afternoon confirmed the huge incursion to its systems, which occurred in 2010. They have not given a reason why they waited until now to tell customers that their personal information was stolen.

It’s believed Paddy Power was aware in 2010 that its computers had been compromised. They performed a security audit and updated its technology infrastructure.

There are rumors circulating that the company was approached by a third party who claimed that a person in Canada was in possession of personal details of Paddy Power customers.

Paddy Power has begun legal proceedings in Ontario to take possession of computer equipment owned by the person who was holding the Paddy Power data, believed to be living in Toronto.

“We sincerely regret that this breach occurred and we apologize to people who have been inconvenienced as a result,” said Peter O’Donovan, MD Online, Paddy Power.

“We take our responsibilities regarding customer data extremely seriously and have conducted an extensive investigation into the breach and the recovered data. That investigation shows that there is no evidence that any customer accounts have been adversely impacted by this breach. We are communicating with all of the people whose details have been compromised to tell them what has happened.

“Robust security systems and processes are critical to our business and we continuously invest in our information security systems to meet evolving threats. This means we are very confident in our current security systems and we continue to invest in them to ensure we have best in class capabilities across vulnerability management, software security and infrastructure,” he added.

Urban Meyer Talks Ohio St. Football at the Big Ten Media Days Conference

Urban Meyer is 24-2 since taking over the Ohio St. football program, and 2014 looks to be a continuation of the same. Taking advantage of a weak conference and even weaker non-conference schedule, the Buckeyes are expected to contend for the National Title this year. Ohio State’s offense won’t as elite as it was last year, and the defense still has some question marks, but they are the most talented team in the conference. Meyer discusses the season in this year’s Media Days press conference:

COACH MEYER: It’s an honor to represent Ohio State as we start our 2014 journey. It was a very good summer because we were able to spend time with our players.
It’s the first time we’ve been allowed to– I think we had six or eight sessions with our players, and they were also helped in the transition of our high school guys when they showed up in June.
So it’s been a very good summer. Our quarterback– I know we’ll get asked that question — is ready to go. He’s full speed, in the best shape of his life. We have a bunch of good, young players that we’re anxious to see what they can do.
The two areas that concern the offensive line is, number one, a little disappointed what happened in spring. We just didn’t see the growth that we would like to see. However, I really admire our coach, Coach Warinner, and I know we have good players. So they’ve had a very good summer.
The second area is pass defense. We completely have blown up and started from scratch, an area that we were not very strong in, pass defense. And Chris Ash has done an admirable job of installing a brand-new pass defense that we’re going to test and see how it goes during training camp. Went very well during spring.
Very good group of young people that I’m looking forward to work with. They come in on Sunday for good and we start practice on Monday.

Q. Can you talk more about the offensive line? You mentioned it’s a concern. Do you think Chad Lindsay will be your starting center? And just talk about the offensive line as a whole, if you would.
COACH MEYER: Jacoby Boren is right in the middle of that, and so is Chad Lindsay. And there’s a kid named Billy Price that we redshirted a year ago. Three guys that are talented. Chad is — all I know of what I’ve seen, he’s a tough guy, he’s a hard worker, and he has a lot of experience. That’s why we took him. Normally we don’t get involved in those type of things, but we needed some maturity in the center of that offensive line.
So it remains to be seen. I kind of like the work ethic. I think they’re hungry. And the fact that spring didn’t — I wanted to see a little more growth. And so it’s easy to coach hard, and we’ve coached them real hard all the way through.
So anxious to see what they’ll do. We’ll know more obviously in a couple of weeks.

Q. How stacked is the East Division, and what are your thoughts on getting through that division?
COACH MEYER: East Division is very strong. As we get close to the season, start looking at the schedule, there’s a tough run. We have three very tough road games. But the East is strong. And I have learned a long time ago you control what you can. Scheduling is certainly not who is in the East and who is on the other side.
But very strong conference. You can tell by the recruiting, too, on that side, some very good recruiting that’s been going on. So that’s going to be a challenge.

Q. Urban, you’ve long lamented the production and depth at linebacker. What have you seen out of that group so far this summer?
COACH MEYER: One of our stronger groups. We operate under the unit principle, and it’s the power of the unit, nine units. And the last two years they weren’t what we expect. Actually, two years ago, not bad, but anytime, in DivisionI, upper-level football, to move a fullback to middle linebacker, you’ve got a problem. And we had a problem.
Zach Boren did a very good job, but you don’t– I’m used to hearing about (indiscernible) and A.J. Hawks and those guys, and we weren’t at that level. Ryan Shazier played excellent last year.
However, it’s the best the group’s been right now. And that’s just as far as chemistry, as far as trust, as far as operating as a unit. So I’m anxious to see them play.
We took three freshmen there. Dante Booker, Raekwon McMillian, and Kyle Berger. And Sam Hubbard, we might move him back to tight end or linebacker. Then we have some– Josh Perry’s done a great job at leadership and so has Curtis Grant.
So it’s about time we played linebacker ball, linebacker play the way Ohio State is used to. I think you’re going to see it this year.

Q. New president, Michael Drake, took office on June30th. Have you talked to him much, and how does that presidential change affect your job as a football coach?
COACH MEYER: We’ve spoke briefly on several occasions. I invited President Drake to come visit with our team. I’m looking forward to him doing that. I’ve looked on his background and had many conversations with some administrators at our university.
It doesn’t really impact how I do my job, I don’t think, as long as you just take care of business. But I look forward to spending a lot of time with him.

Q. What did your team learn last year from kind of being the hunted? And, granted, that’s something that you go to Ohio State to play for. And is that something that you specifically address in training camp?
COACH MEYER: Well, probably. You play at Ohio State, they’re the hunted because they’re at Ohio State. Ohio State has traditionally been a very strong program. We won a nice run last year. But we don’t spend much time on that.
There’s some great story lines about this and that, but it’s all about execution, getting our team ready to go. We spent an inordinate amount of time on leadership building, and we call it brotherhood of trust. That’s where the focus is, and it was excellent, the two sessions we put our players through.
So that’s our focus.

Q. Urban, I know you said that Braxton is in the best shape of his career, but he was hurt in the beginning of the season, at the end of the season. How concerning is it that the offensive line isn’t where you would like it to be after spring? And how focused will August– how much time will you spend in August making sure you get a group together that can protect the franchise there?
COACH MEYER: Concern number one. I mean, that’s it. There’s a bunch of concerns you always have. It’s A through F, A through Z, A through X, whatever it is. But the number one on the list is development of that offensive line for the reasons you just said, among many other.
You want to win that game, but protecting our quarterback is paramount. So that’s– I don’t want to say that’s all our focus– but that’s where a lot of our focus is right now.

Q. Is there any update on the Tracy Sprinkle situation? And overall with your team, how did you think they handled themselves off the field since you guys last played in the Orange Bowl?
COACH MEYER: Pretty good. Tracy Sprinkle is no longer with the program, and I will readdress it if there’s some changes. That’s all I know. That’s the way we handle our situations.
If something happens, especially if you hear something serious, just remove from the program and evaluate at the appropriate time.
So at this time he’s no longer part of the program.

Q. Without Carlos Hyde, are you looking to– can you afford to look to try to cut back Braxton’s rushing attempts, or is that something you’re going to monitor?
COACH MEYER: I think we’re going to try to– not think. We have to be much more balanced than we’ve been. Everyone’s looking for a 50/50 ratio. We’ve been close a few times. When Alex Smith was our quarterback, we were pretty close to 50/50. With Chris Leak, I want to say we were pretty close. With Tim we were pretty close to I think 60-40, 65.
Braxton, last couple of years, especially last year, Carlos was so good. The offensive line was so good, and we were still trying to develop that receiving corps to be on par with the rest of the team, and I think we have.
I’ll be disappointed if the receivers aren’t now ready to carry their own weight. The first year they weren’t. We just weren’t very good. Second year got much better. Philly Brown had an excellent year. Evan Spencer really developed. Evan Smith keeps coming on. I really like our two tight ends, Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett, so we’re trying to improve the surrounding cast around Braxton.
So I’m hoping– not hoping. We have to be. That’s where we’re going to pick up those yards are getting in the hands of Dontre Wilson and Jalin Marshall and the outside receivers as well.

Q. Despite the fact what you’re doing on the offensive line, rebuilding the guys you’re replacing on defense, most projections around the country, I think had a poll the other day that said you guys are favored to win the Big Ten. Some people think you’ll get that playoff. What has to happen between now and November for you guys, and are you comfortable with those projections?
COACH MEYER: Well, there’s many variables. The injury, obviously injury is number one. Chemistry and– I shouldn’t say that. Chemistry and trust and development of young players is by far number one. And that’s– I can’t think of putting more time and effort into, number one, development of our coaching staff that we did.
We had some leadership training for our coaches for about five weeks, and then we carried it right over to our players, about an eight-week session that we had with our players. So the amount of time on the most important element of any team is the trust within the team, a trust with the leaders of the team, which is the coaching staff.
Then number two is going to be injuries. If we can stay healthy, I think we’re very good, if we develop the offensive line.
So, Tim, I think you know me very well. There’s zero conversation about tomorrow or November. We’re just trying to get the training camp healthy, in the right frame of mind, and then have the best training camp we’ve ever had.

Q. How big of an improvement has Dontre Wilson made from the Bowl game to this point right now? And how big of a role and how important is he going to be in your offense this offseason?
COACH MEYER: Great question. He’s an impact guy. Last year he was a hybrid guy that really wasn’t great at anything. He had potential, but very little, couldn’t block at the level we expected him to. Was not quite strong enough to run inside like you need that hybrid guy to do. Was simply an outside running player.
He’s gained the weight. He’s much stronger. He’s much more prepared for this level of football. He’s always had the talent and he’s always had the effort, so he will be– he’s an impact guy for us in a lot of ways.

Q. A lot of the other coaches in the east have been talking about the toughness and the physicality of that division. Can you just touch on that? And how do you think that characteristic in your division is going to either help you guys or whatever it may be this season?
COACH MEYER: I think it’s one of the toughest divisions in college football. Once again, you just have to look at the recruiting that takes place at the schools and then the style of defense and offense. It’s a rugged conference.
So all those comments that you said the other coaches were making, I see it. And we’re going to do our best to be prepared for it.

Q. You have one of the most talented defensive lines in the country, most people say. How big was the hire of Larry Johnson to replace Mike Grable, and how big has he been throughout the spring and coming into the fall?
COACH MEYER: We lost a home run. I love Mike Grable. Did a great job for us, was a great Buckeye. Hated to see him go. I understood, you know, his NFL background and great family and a very good recruiter for us. So when he left– it’s like a player. If you lose a great player and you don’t replace him with a great player, it’s just going to happen, you’re not going to be as good.
We replaced Mike with a top-shelf coach, a guy that has great respect, very good recruiter, a very good coach, the players love him already. There’s an incredible trust and esprit de corps in the D-line room right now. He walked into a good situation. He’s got a bunch of good young– a good mix of young and old players in that room.

Q. You just got done saying Braxton’s in the best shape of his life. He’s had some durability issues during his career. A, do you guys have to take any steps to make sure that you ensure that he stays healthy, any special steps? And what are some reasonable expectations in your mind for his senior season?
COACH MEYER: Well, I’ve had some players that have had the durability issues, and John Simon had a little durability issue. It’s because he went a lot of times above and beyond what his body was telling him to do.
So I look at it, sometimes you do, and I’ll be the first to tell you, someone just isn’t meant to play or they’re just maybe not tough or so on.
But Braxton Miller, his issues are he goes sometimes above and beyond what his body is going to allow him to do.
So he’s got an incredible, some of the guys with durability issues, the ones I just mentioned, Tebow, John Simon, Braxton Miller, Christian Bryant, those are guys that have the competitive spirit at the highest possible level, and that’s all they do is know how to go.
So do we try to slow Braxton down? Absolutely not. We try to protect him, surround him and maybe come up with a good scheme to get the ball out of his hands maybe a little quicker. Those are all the things that we address.
But the durability issue isn’t because his body wasn’t meant to play college football. It’s because of how hard he plays.
And you can look around the country, and there’s guys– you know who they are. Every program’s got a couple of those guys that play just so darned hard that sometimes things happen.

Big 10 Media Days: Bo Pelini Discusses the 2014 Nebraska Cornhuskers

The Nebraska Cornhuskers have some holes to fill if they hope to make an impact in the Big Ten in 2014. Nebraska will lose quarterbacks Taylor Martinez and Ron Kellogg, leaving Tommy Armstrong as the man in charge, at least for now. They lost their top five offensive linemen, however, as well as three of their top four defensive linemen, so the defense will be young but talented. Here is Coach Bo Pelini discussing the Cornhuskers at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago:

Coach Pelini: Good to be back. I’m here for the next couple of days. Brought with me Ameer Abdullah, obviously a tremendous running back and a great example for really college players across the country in how to conduct yourself both on and off the field; Kenny Bell, who has played a lot of football for us at the wide receiver position; and Corey Cooper,  a native Chicagoan who is here, looking forward to coming home, and has really played good football for us.
So those three young men are with me here over the next couple of days.

We’re looking forward to the season that’s coming up. We’ve had a good offseason. I would be remiss if I didn’t welcome Maryland and Rutgers into the conference, I found myself in that position here a couple of years ago, understanding what they’re going through and the challenges that are out in front of those two programs.
But I know that we’re excited about what they bring to the conference, how it extends us even further East. All those things are a benefit not only for them, for their institutions, what they bring to the table academically, but also what they’re going to be able to do for us for the conference. And I think it’s a good fit, and I think everybody associated with the conference is excited to have those two institutions as part of our great conference.

And I think everybody, you get to this time of year, you’re looking forward to the upcoming season. The challenges that lay ahead, I think there’s going to be great competition with the first year of there being 14 teams, and the new divisions, all the things that come into play as far as that’s concerned.
I think it’s going to be an exciting year in the Big Ten. An exciting year for us at Nebraska. I think it’s going to be a great challenge for us, but one where we’re looking forward to the opportunity to be the best football team we can be.

We have some key returners coming back. I think we have depth in areas that is really going to help us be a good football team, and also we saw a lot of young guys last year kind of come of age as the season went on, and I’m looking forward to seeing those young men continue to develop into the type of players we feel can win championships at our school.
That’s what we’re after. We’re looking for a championship. I think we have the pieces. We have a lot of potential on our football team, but there’s going to be a lot of hard work that needs to be done for that to make that become a reality.

We’ve tried to turn over every stone in the offseason, look at everything we can do to make ourselves a better football team. I guess you could say a little bit loco as far as not getting too far outside of the box but trying to turn over every stone and trying to look at everything we can do as a football team to make ourselves the type of program we want to have.
And I think we’ve done that. We’re going to make?? institute some changes, some things, different things about how we practice, when we practice. It’s a long season. Do everything we can to make sure that we give our players the best opportunity to have success on the field.
Like I said, I think the pieces are there. I think the potential is there. But probably talk to any coach that’s here this weekend ?? or this Monday here, and they’ll tell you the same thing. It’s going to be the intangibles, all the little things that come into play as far as allowing you to have success and putting all those pieces together and making you gel as a football team and become a true team.

Those are the people that win championships, when everybody comes together, checks their egos at the door and does everything on a daily basis to allow yourself to have success.
That’s what we’re trying to do in our program, that’s what we’re going to do this year, that’s what we’re looking forward to, and we’re excited for the challenges that lie ahead.
So I’d like to open it up for any questions.

Q. What do you think can be done to stop some of the recruit flipping epidemic that’s happening in college football?
Coach Pelini: Well, I said what was it about a month ago,  I said publicly I believe it would be a great idea if we would look at maybe getting rid of Signing Day. That’s something that I think would make a lot of sense.
As far as, hey, you come to an agreement, somebody commits to your school, you’ve made a commitment to a young man to come play in your program, why do we have to wait to any certain day? Why don’t we just go ahead and let’s sign on the dotted line, let’s get it over with and move forward.
And obviously that’s different than the way things have been for a long time. I think it makes a lot of sense. I think it would change things in a lot of ways. I think it would slow down some of the early offers. I think it would slow down some of the ridiculous things that go on on both ends, on the institution’s side of things and as far as the recruits.
And there’s a lot of things that go on that I believe in our program what we try to do is teach kids to do things the right way.
And really I think that goes throughout the Big Ten conference. I think this conference does things the right way. It’s about integrity. You’re teaching kids to live up to their word of what it means to be a teammate.
It’s not about any individual; it’s about a team. There’s a bigger picture involved. And I think sometimes the way the recruiting process works is that contradictory to what we’re trying to teach these kids and how we’re trying to develop these kids in the long run to be successful, not only as football players and as athletes, but beyond, as husbands, as fathers, and their professions, and sometimes we always talk about having to de-recruit kids and some of that has made up of kind of the way the process is set up.
And I think there’s some things that could be done, and I think that would be a big step in the right direction.

Q. First off, I hope that your cat is doing well. I wanted to ask if you brought the cat with you to Chicago. But, seriously, my real question is about Randy Gregory. He’s getting a lot of hype, and I want to know what makes him such a special player.
Coach Pelini: First of all, my cat is enjoying a nap up in the room. So he is here in Chicago and enjoying the Windy City.
So Randy Gregory is a tremendous talent. He has great instincts. He has great get-off, a guy who can really rush the passer. I think he’s only scratched the surface of what he’s going to be down the line.
As he continues to grow, he has really good length and athleticism. Very good instincts for the game, good feel for not only in the passing game but in the running game and how kind of the game should be played.
I think the sky’s the limit for him for him down the road. I think he’s still young. Obviously this is really the first time he’s gone through an offseason with us. So I’m looking forward to big things with Randy.
And I always tell him: Don’t get caught up. It’s not about stats and statistics; it’s about developing yourself, playing fundamentally sound, doing the things that you need to be successful on a down end, every down basis.
And I think he understands that. He’s more physically developed than he was when we first got him. And he’s continuing to grow, get bigger, and put some more meat on his frame. And as that happens, I think you’re going to see a guy who becomes an even more well balanced player.

Q. After the fun you had entering the spring game, what kind of feedback did you get from your fans? Do you feel they’ve seen a different side of your personality now?
Coach Pelini: The fans, I think the fans around Nebraska, they kind of see that side of me probably more often than maybe the national people do. But I was just having some fun.
You gotta keep things light. And I thought as much as anything else, the football team, the players enjoy that. And you’ve got to, there’s a lot of pressure in college football now, and  sometimes things can get a little bit crazy at times, especially during the season. And when somebody sees me out there on the sideline or in competition and see me going Veronica on a referee, and you don’t want that to happen, but you’re going out there, getting upset, they think that’s who you are all the time.
That isn’t who I am all the time. And as I grow as a football coach, I understand that that’s an area that I’ve needed to make some growth in. And I continue to. You know, you learn things.
I’m going into my seventh season as a head coach. You learn things along the way. You’ve got to make adjustments and do things to be better.
But my personality is one where I’m not that intense, competitive animal running around all the time. I’m a much different person away from the field. I’m actually pretty laid back off the field and away from my job, when I’m with my family, when I’m with my kids, and really a lot of times when I’m with the football team.
So you just gotta try to do things and look for opportunities to kind of show people that isn’t who you are all the time. And hopefully I can do a better job of showing that side of me even during competitions.

Q. You brought up Maryland before. I’m not sure how much of a chance you’ve had to watch Maryland during the course of the last couple of years or just leading up to the season, but what’s your understanding of them as a team? What do you think of some of the players they have, whether it’s Stefon Diggs or somebody else, and just how competitive do you think they’ll be able to be just based on some of the talent they have going into this first year in the Big Ten?
Coach Pelini: Personnel-wise I’m not familiar with Maryland. They’re not on our schedule. I didn’t really spend a whole heck of a lot of time looking at them. But I do know this about them. I’ve seen them in some crossover films. I know they’re an extremely well-coached football team. We’ve recruited against them some. I know they do a good job on the recruiting front, and I believe that they have a program that is up and coming. It has a very good talent base.
They recruit well. And, like I said, I know a number of their guys on their coaching staff. They do a heck of a job on that as far as how they coach, the detail they coach with, and I think they’re a tremendous addition to our conference.

Q. How would you assess the state of the quarterback competition at this point between Tommy Armstrong and Johnny Stanton?
Coach Pelini: Now that you mentioned Johnny Stanton and you mentioned Tommy Armstrong, there’s also a walk-on young man, Ryker Fyfe, who I think will have a little bit to say about who our starting quarterback is.
And I would say because of his starting experience, I would say Tommy has a little bit of a leg up going in. But Johnny Stanton and Ryker Fyfe are tremendous talents, the kids who did very well in the spring.
I think it’s going to be an open competition. Like I said, I think when we line up day one, it will be Tommy will walk out there take the first snap. Because he has the most experience. He kind of earned that right through the spring. But I think the competition is, gosh, very good. I think it’s going to make all three of those guys better.
And like I tell our guys at every single position, nobody has a guaranteed spot ever, and you gotta put it on film every day. You’ve got to go out there, compete on a daily basis and work hard. And when you have that attitude, that makes everybody around you better. And that’s going to make them better.
I think the key is, though, for every kid, and I tell this to our football team all the time, when you’re competing at a spot and you’re going and trying to win a spot, the worst thing that can happen is you looking at the other guys at your position and comparing yourself to what they’re doing. If every guy has the understanding I’ve just gotta do what I have to do to make myself better, concentrate on what you’re doing instead of looking over your shoulder or worrying about what other guys are doing, then that’s going to allow you to grow the most as a football player.
The guys who make a mistake of worrying about where they are or who they’re repping with how many reps I’m getting or anything like that, a lot of times it leads them to worrying about things other than what they need to control. And that’s control what you can control. Be the best football player you can be and trust your coaches that if you earn it, you’re going to be the one on that spot.
And I think our guys, there’s enough trust in our program between the players and coaches and kind of how we do our business that they understand if you’re putting it on film, you’re going to be out there on the field getting reps.

Q. Considering the strength you advocate on defense and the stable of running backs, should we expect to see a more run-oriented offense this year?
Coach Pelini: No, I wouldn’t say that at all. First of all, you have to establish the running game. It’s always important. To win a championship, I think it’s been shown over a long period of time, you have to be able to run the football. You look at even a lot of the great teams that have played, have come through this conference, back to Coach Alvarez when he turned around Wisconsin, Coach Tressel when he was at Ohio State and really what Michigan State was able to do last year, Ohio State when they’ve gone on their runs, you’ve got to be able to run the football. And that’s always a necessity. You’ve got to be able to do that. You’ve got to stop the run, but you have to have balance.
We always talk about that. We want to have balance. We’ve been about a 60/40 run?pass team, and I believe at the end of the day you’d like to get as close to 50/50 as you possibly can. But I think when it comes down to it, you want to be able to do what you want to do when you want to do it. And that means you’ve got to be able to execute in every phase of the game.

A Small but Powerful First Step: Pay for Play Fantasy Game at Shows NFL Easing Gambling Opposition

The NFL has finally given up the ghost. After years of fighting attempts to legalize gambling, the NFL is dipping its toes into the gambling world. Legalized gambling, disguised cleverly as “fantasy sports” to take advantage of a legal loophole, has gone nuclear over the past few years and the NFL wants its piece of the action.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 effectively banned betting on sports on the internet, with one exception. Hidden in the bill was an explicit carve-out for fantasy sports businesses that meet three criteria: (a) the value of the prizes is not determined by the number of participants or the amount of fees paid; (b) all winning outcomes reflect the relative knowledge and skill of the participants; and (c) the fantasy game’s result is not based on the final scores of any real-world games.

The NFL’s fantasy leagues will meet this criteria. They will also avoid paying out money, preferring to give winners of their leagues such items as an autographed jersey or signed football. An autographed jersey will go to the winner of a 10 team league, with each entry paying $45.99. A signed football from the 2013 Pro Bowl game costs each of the 10 participants $124.99. Other prizes include an official’s penalty flag ($4.99 per entry), a game used football ($59.99 per entry), an authentic game coin used in the pre-game toss ($15.99 per entry).

The NFL was one of the major lobbyists and cheerleaders for the UIGEA. They fought tooth and nail any attempts to liberalize sports betting laws, including the most recent attempt by New Jersey to allow sports betting at its casinos. While adding prizes to its games and requiring payment to play still gives the league deniability when it comes to gambling, it shows that the NFL is not against gambling as long as they are the ones getting a piece of the pie.

Roger Goodell signaled this move towards NFL-backed gambling in 2009, when the NFL allowed state lotteries to feature team logos on lottery tickets. “It’s a game of chance and it’s a scratch off. The outcome of our game, that’s a much different issue. We’re not making a statement about nobody should gamble.”

As long as the money goes to the NFL, of course. Goodell once stated that sports betting was the single greatest threat to the integrity of the game. The pay for play fantasy league at shows this is no longer the case. Welcome news to the millions of sports bettors around the country.

Big 12 Media Days: Briles Talks National Title for Baylor

The Baylor Bears are coming off their finest football season in history last season, winning the Big 12 Conference and making it to the Fiesta Bowl. They are currently 32-1 to win the National Title in 2014. Art Briles, entering his fifth year as Baylor coach, turned down several offers to coach elsewhere and may just be a lifer at Baylor. He speaks here at the Big 12 Media Days news conference.

Moderator: We’re now joined by Coach Art Briles, the head coach at Baylor University.
Coach, your thoughts on the up coming season.

Briles: Pleasure to be here. Very inspiring, intimidating. Everything else that goes along with it. I guess we’re batting lead-off today.
Well, the thing that’s a little different is I don’t know what the commissioner expected, but we’re not going to try to bunt or get a single. I promise you that. We’re swinging for the fence.
So maybe he should have put us fourth because that’s just the way we approach the game. But it’s been a pretty productive ’13. It’s over. We’re very excited about 2014 without any question, because our guys have learned how to win at the highest level and have worked diligently on and off the football field to keep our name good and that’s what it’s all about.
You ask me, Coach, are you defending the Big 12 title, protecting it? 2013 is gone forever. That title is ours. We’re attacking 2014 just like everybody else. That’s our mindset with our players, and that’s the way they’ve been approaching everything.
So we’re just kind of geared up and ready to go. It’s that time of year. The hiding’s over. It’s time to come out of the shadows and play.

Question: You talk about batting lead?off, but really today you guys are the heavyweights here on day one of Media Day. When you think about where the program has come under you the last few years, what do you count as the reasons for that?
Briles: You know, I appreciate that perception. And that’s something that we’re working on, because we certainly don’t perceive ourselves that way. We still see ourselves, me, personally, our team, we see ourselves as the guy fighting hard, scratching hard to try to get some recognition and some respect. And so that’s something we’re having to deal with a little bit as perception, image of Baylor football, it’s a little different than what it has been in the past thanks to our players.
We have to learn how to prepare as the hunted as opposed to the hunter. We’ve always been the hunter. And I don’t want to lose that edge and that attitude and that’s something that we’re working hard to maintain.
So heavyweight, you know what I mean, I try to eat as healthy as possible, so I don’t know about all that. But we certainly don’t feel that way as a program.

Question: You said you don’t perceive yourself that way, but I think the highest Baylor has ever been picked in the preseason poll is fourth back in’96, the first year of the league. Is there just a different feeling, though, for you and your team heading into this season knowing that people outside of the program in the country as a whole sees the expectation level risen for you guys?
Briles: Yeah, it’s entirely different and the thing that’s really good about it is I don’t know what the preseason polls have been. I haven’t looked. I did notice we were picked second in the Big 12. As far as national polls, I haven’t seen anything. I don’t know if they’ve come out yet.
But the advantage of that is that like last year I don’t think we started the top 25. I could be wrong. But I don’t think we did. But you get on a hot streak and you start No. 8 to 12 in America. And you win your first eight games, you’re a hot football team. You’re hot as anybody in the United States of America. The next thing you know you’re No. 2. Might be No. 1.
If you’re a hot football team and you start at 27 and you’re as hot as anybody in America after eight or nine weeks, you’re No. 12 or 13.
So the advantage with our perception, our image nationally is we have a chance to fulfill faster, to get to where we want to get faster, which is getting in the Final Four this year.
I think if you ask any coach in America what would be a pretty good starting place, that would be getting in the Final Four.
So that gives us a better opportunity to get there because of our national image today as opposed to four, five years ago.

Question: Coach, last year I asked you about Bryce Petty, who of course was going into his first year as a starter, and you said expectation is for him to be the best quarterback in America, set every Baylor record. As he comes back now, a year under his belt, a Heisman contender, what’s the expectation now?
Briles: You know, honestly, personally and professionally, I’m a little upset about the way it all transpired last year. I certainly felt like he should have been in New York without question.
I mean, your first-year starter you win 11 football games, win the Big 12 Championship for the first time in school history, throw 4200 yards, 33 TDs, three picks, and you sit at home in December? Do those numbers again this year, he’ll be in New York. Might win it.
But that’s the whole deal. His perception, his image is different than a year ago because he had nothing. Now he’s got substance, he’s got something people can believe.
What he can bring this year is an attitude of when I talk, people are going to listen a little bit. Like I tell the players you want to be listened to, produce. He’s produced. He’s got a chance to be heard. When he speaks, now people listen. As far as what he can do this year just win football games, win games with his national name, everything will take care of itself.

Question: We all know, of course, football is a contact sport so I want to get into some of the NCAA guidelines as far as helping to prevent concussions. What role do you do as the Baylor head coach to help keep those down?
Briles: Just follow all the guidelines that are set before us. Player safety is always foremost in our minds from the way we work out to how many days we go on the road to the time we spend on the field to how much contact we do in practice to monitoring every single athlete we have every single day.
So, I mean, this game has been going on a long time, and I’m glad the advances we’re making to protect our players. So whatever the guidelines are we’re going to do maybe and then some. That’s what we’re going to do.

Question: How anxious are you to getting to the new stadium and what do you feel like it’s going to do for Baylor football?
Briles: Anxious, excited, I don’t know. My whole deal you can’t get excited without preparation. So our goal right now is we’re just going to prepare. We can’t go over and slap each other on the back and hug necks and smile and grin and then go out there and not perform.
So our goal right now is we’re preparing to play 60 minutes to win a football game August 31st. That’s our goal, that’s our objective, that’s the way we’re approaching it.
The stadium speaks for itself. What can I say get on the Internet and look, drive down I-35 and look, get in a boat and go down the Brazos River and look. Show me something better.
It’s going to be as unique stadium as there is in the United States of America. What it has done in my mind is that those 44 to 60 million people that drive down I-35 every day, some eight-year-old girl or boy is going to be sitting in the back seat buckled up hopefully and look out the window to the right or the left, depending on which way they’re going, they’re going to say, Momma or Grandmother, man, look at that place. That place is beautiful. Where is that? And she’s going to say, Baylor. And then so for the rest of their lives they’re going to associate Baylor with excellence. And that’s hard to come by and the only way to get it through the production of image.
So our image is good.

Question: I noticed on your roster you’ve got a lot of great talent here from the Metroplex. How big is that, because you’re going to be able to get the key players from DeSoto and Allen, one of the top regions here in North Texas to come to Waco, like Ahmad Dixon did from Central Texas?
Briles: The great thing about where Baylor is at is the location. We’re hour and 15 minutes from Austin and Dallas and two hours 15 minutes from Houston and two, two thirty from San Antonio. Location is a key. Now we recruit DFW area really hard. We go Central Texas really hard, East Texas and we go down in the triangle area in Houston very hard.
So anytime we can score some big guys from this area, it’s a big deal because it’s just so convenient for the families. And we’ll always have a real good influx of Dallas Fort Worth kids without question.

Question: Coach, of course one of the big keys to your season last season was resurgence of your defense. How do you feel about an inexperienced defense this year? Who do you think is going to be able to step up?
Briles: You know, the thing that really helps us last year we played great defense in the Big 12 without question. And I think we had more three and outs than any school in America. Anytime you do that, you give the ball over to defense and you’ve got a pretty good chance for pretty good outcomes. They did a pretty good job over there.
And those guys really were the catalyst of our football team. We lost a lot of good football players without question, but we got a lot of guys back that we have a lot of confidence in. It’s like Petty coming in last year. Only one way to get experience; that’s to get on the field and play.
So we’ve got a lot of good football players that we’ve recruited that have been there two or three years that have been waiting to play and this is their opportunity.
So I feel very comfortable on that side of the ball. I think up front we’ll be as talented and dominant as possibly anybody in the United States of America and those guys can do a great job keeping pressure off the back end.
So feel good about it. I like our style I like our people and I like our concept and schemes.

Question: To piggyback on the question about the defense, you’re talking about Bryce Petty. Who is going to be the Bryce Petty on the defense that steps up? Is it going to be somebody like Shawn Oakman or give us another name.
Briles: You hit it right. Bryce, he’s certainly a catalyst for us. He went down about the seventh or eighth game last year didn’t get to finish for the season. And he’s here today. He’s on all the awards lists. And he’s got great bloodlines. His dad was a great player in the NFL for many years.
So he’s a kid?? Shawn Oakman is just mammoth. I mean, if you are looking for a friend he’s a good one to have, if you like winning.
So I’m anxious about him. But to let him be loose and play but we got a bunch of other guys. I mean, Andrew Billings, great freshman. Jamal Palmer, another defensive end, great player. Our two corners we feel really good about coming in, Terrence Singleton and X?man from Houston. And then Terrell Burt did a good job for us last year. And Orion Stewart, spot player playing a bunch. Terrell started, and Orion, middle spot, played.
We feel really good about the whole nucleus of them without question.

Question: I wanted to talk to you more about your success in being able to recruit in the east Texas area. You’ve had a lot of gems come out of this area.
Briles: We’ve always hit east Texas hard every time I was at Houston. They had a pipeline when I was playing back there in the ’70s, a lot of good kids, east Texas kids, I saw then these guys are talented and they can play. And most of them are small town kids, and I like small town kids to a certain degree because I like people that are used to having people look at them. So you have to be responsible.
But, yeah, we’ve hit it hard. One of the big hits just since I’ve been at Baylor is Kendall Wright’s. He’s kept that name alive out there. This guy came in here played high school quarterback, 20th pick in the draft, had a phenomenal season last year over Tennessee, over a thousand yards receiving. So he’s a big name out in that area, and like I said those kids all keep up with each other. And we’ve got some big-time players from east Texas. There will be more Kendall Wrights on the table before it’s over, too, I promise you that.

Question: Coach, last year you had a chance to get comfortable at home with a couple of games before you hit the road, Kansas State game you mentioned, one of the bigger wins. This year you have three road games early in the season. How important is it, you and Buffalo and then Iowa State and Texas, to knock out three Ws early on to get some momentum?
Briles: That’s a great question. Of course, as a coach, our mindset is not looking past August31st. I mean, the one thing I do know is that we played three games in 13 days to start the season.
So we’ve got to do a great job monitoring how our team is from the physical standpoint, the mental standpoint, that early in the season, because that hits pretty fast and furious.
And that’s our first little band of games that we’re looking at, because we got 13 days we’re going to play three games. So that’s forges your season right there, get it going.
So after that then we’ll settle down. We’ve got a week off before we get into conference play and we’ll start gearing up for that then.

Question: You talk about ’13 being over. Does the Bowl game motivate you? What did you learn from that game? What do you take from that loss?
Briles: Appreciate you bringing that up. (Laughter) the last couple of words there are pretty strong. But I guess truth hurts. That was actually ’14. So that’s still with us. No, I mean, it was a definite out. We played a good football team. That’s the thing that is paramount over anything else. But I think what we got to see is maybe how we got viewed when we weren’t viewing ourselves that way.
And so we’ve talked about it. We certainly hope that we’ve learned from it. And that’s?? like I said, the only way to get experience is to go out there, feel it, touch it, have a taste for it. And that taste wasn’t very good. So it’s been very motivating for us all spring and summer.

Question: Can you talk about Shock Linwood and what sort of season you think he’ll have? He was pretty darned good last year in his limited playing time.
COACH BRILES. Shock is a great player, another east Texas kid. Just got great balance. He’s got great vision, he’s got great heart. He’s just a really, really good football player. And he’s a very passionate guy about being great.
So we’re very fortunate to have him. He came in there and really helped us last year when Seastrunk got hurt and kind of carried us two or three games there. Got a little overused. Got beat down just a little bit. And so you gotta watch your running backs because those guys are trying to hit them, trying to hit them pretty good every play.
So he got a little bit beat down. But he’s a tough kid. He’s a great inspirer and he plays with a tremendous amount of passion. He’s an excellent player.

Question: With the improvement of your program, the success you’ve had, any plans to upgrade your nonconference schedule, your nonconference schedule is very similar to what you were when you were at the outset trying to build it up.
Briles: You know, I mean, plans, I’m sure there’s plans in the makings. The way I’ve looked at it is, I mean, you want to get in the Final Four and win the Big 12 and go unscathed. You do that, you go 9?0 in the Big 12, you’re going to be in the Final Four because you’re going to beat probably two top 10 teams, probably two others in the top 20, and maybe another top 25, which is what we faced last year.
That’s a resumé that’s good enough to match any other conference, because other conferences with the cross?over games aren’t getting that kind of competition week in/week out like we are in the Big 12.

Question: To follow up on that, are you at all concerned the lack of a conference championship game might cost the Big 12 when it comes to the playoff selection?
Briles: You know, I think time will tell. Honestly, I’m not. I think it’s just going to be down to how the season plays out without question like it would be every year.
But like I mentioned, if you have the ability to go through this league undefeated, which I’m not sure when the last time it happened was, quite honestly.
I know the last previous five champions might not have done it. I don’t know. I know we didn’t. Kansas State didn’t. Oklahoma State before that, I don’t think Iowa State beat them right at the end in there. And then prior to that was Oklahoma probably in 2010. Did they go undefeated? Did you say you’re from Oklahoma, sir?

Question: They did not.
Briles: Then Texas the year before that. So I don’t know. I think they did? Yeah, they ended up in the National Championship game. I think that kind of speaks for itself.
I mean, with what you do going through this league, no, I don’t see that as a problem at all. But who knows. I mean, that’s why they formed the committee. We’ll see how the committee thinks because we can’t think for them. All we can do is do our best on the field.

Big 12 Media Days: Bill Snyder on His Kansas St. Wildcats

The Kansas St. Wildcats, back to prominence over the last few years with the return of former Head Coach Bill Snyder, will open the 2014 regular season as 175-1 longshots to win the National Title. But that doesn’t stop the optimism coming from the program. Here is Bill Snyder discussing his team.

Moderator: We’re now joined by Coach Bill Snyder, Kansas State coach. Your thoughts about the upcoming season.
Snyder: Probably as any season we’re anxious for it to begin. It will happen very quickly. Summer is disappearing in a heartbeat.
There’s seven of us here from Kansas State University right now. Sean Snyder, my son and associate head coach, special teams coordinator. And we have our five captains: B.J. Finney, our center; and Jake Waters, our quarterback; Tyler Lockett, one of our receivers; and then on the defensive side Jonathan Truman, linebacker, and Ryan Mueller, a defensive end and returning Defensive Player of the Year last year. All people that I’m immensely proud of, people that have had a great impact on our program.
As you visit with them, you’ll realize that they’re quality young men and wonderful people, great representatives of our university and great representatives of the conference.

Question: Looking at this current team, the reports you’ve heard, summer conditioning and the workouts and knowing what you have returning, what kind of signs of optimism do you carry heading into the fall?
Snyder: My degree of optimism is negotiated daily, I think, and the mantra of our program has always been centered around that daily improvement. And when we make daily improvement, then I become a little more optimistic. And when we don’t, obviously I don’t.
I think my major concern and going in the opposite direction but my major concern is always young people taking things for granted. I say young people. I probably can reference everybody in our program, is not taking our performance level, our talent level for granted, not taking the preparation for opponents for granted, not taking our workouts during the course of the summer for granted. Trying to find that way to get better every single day.
And I’m not alone in that. I think that’s probably a feeling that permeates collegiate athletics across the board.
I’m proud of so many of our youngsters, the five that are here and so many more that we have back in Manhattan right now who have really invested themselves during the course of the summer.
I would share a fairly high degree of optimism for today, but tomorrow’s a new day and we’ll see how that goes. I can’t make projections in regards to what kind of a football team. I know what we have capabilities of being and whether or not we can reach that level or not is dependent upon a lot of things, and the biggest thing is not taking anything for granted.
Didn’t tell you anything, did I (laughter)?

Question: Can you talk about how you’ve seen Tyler Lockett mature on and off the field since he arrived at your program?
Snyder: Tyler is a tremendous representative of our program. He has matured greatly, but he was a reasonably mature young man when he came into our program.
We’ve had his uncle and his brother in our program as well. Comes from an amazingly wonderful family. And each of the three that we have had, even though far different skill capabilities on the field, all of them quality players.
But probably more importantly than anything else is the fact that they are truly genuine young people, have a great value system brought forth by their family, their parents.
Tyler has taken perhaps the same road as Aaron and Kevin did when they were in our program. Worked diligently at trying to be better people, better family members, better players, better students, et cetera, day in, day out.
Tyler does exactly that. He’s an extremely hard worker. He’s a young guy that right now?? tomorrow’s another day, but right now I’m so proud of his attitude, his value system, and part of that guides him to do anything and everything that he can to get himself a little bit better every day.
He’s one of those guys that you leave the practice field, you go in your office, you look out the window and you’ve got the equipment managers out there twiddling their thumbs wanting to get the lights turned off and Tyler won’t let them because he’s out there catching balls off the machine and keeping quarterbacks out to throw to him.
So just a young guy that he’s got all his marbles in the right place.

Question: At the safety position, what all did Ty Zimmerman do for you guys in the last few years, and which guys are you going to count on to step into that place?
Snyder: You know, Ty was a quarterback in high school. Father was a high school football coach. They came from just up the road in Junction City.
And Ty was a starter for us as a redshirt freshman and really did grew in the program. He was very knowledgeable. His high school background was beneficial to him in the program. He was a good director of traffic, so to speak. He was quality leader. He was one of those young guys again that had a great value system, promoted well by his family.
He always did the right things. He always tried to do the right things. He was a very caring young guy. He took on a leadership role very early in the program. And when I say was a good director of traffic, he was one of those guys that made most of our calls for us and would be able to get people in the right position.
Very valuable young guy.

Question: I wonder what kind of sense did you get from the group coming back after the way that your team finished winning six of the last seven and especially the Bowl game? What did that do, do you think, for the program?
Snyder: Well, the hope would have been and was that we had learned lessons along the way. And the lessons dated back to the outset of the season in which we were not a very good football team. We were 2-4 the first half of the season and lost the very first ballgame to a very fine North Dakota State University team, but a game that we were supposed to win.
And the result of that game was brought forth I think by what I mentioned a little bit earlier, by taking things for granted, taking our performance level for granted, taking the opponent for granted, certainly some other things, but by and large that led to the charge.
And I think that the way that our young people finished the season allowed them to understand the value of not taking anything for granted because they certainly didn’t toward the end of the season or the last half of the season and preparing yourself that way on a very consistent basis. And we had a lot of dialogue about that during the last three quarters of the season.
And probably the period of time that I was most proud of the young people in our program was the approach that they took to our preparation for the Bowl game.
I don’t know, we’ve been to 16, 18 Bowls at Kansas State, but I cannot recall a preparation that was as pleasing to me as the one that took place this past season.
I thought our young guys were tremendously focused. They brought that value system to the practice field and their preparation off the field and in an environment that’s totally different than what you go through during the course of the season.
And I was just extremely happy and pleased and proud and very hopeful that that preparation and that approach to the preparation would carry over during the course of the out of season, spring practice and the summer, and then our preseason workout starting here in August.
Remains to be seen. I think sometimes they learn valuable lessons, but sometimes when you learn valuable lessons, then you have a tendency to reinvest and taking that for granted that you’ve learned your lesson and everything is in order.
And hopefully we don’t do that. And I think during the course of the summer we’ve been pretty good, at least, grades probably 90 percent. That’s not perfect, but still tells me about 90 percent of the young guys in our program have carried that experience forward and are putting it in place to help them achieve success during the course of this year.

Question: In his first season, Jake Waters reported the highest passer rating of any non?senior quarterback in K-State history. The legacy of your quarterbacks between the junior and senior season has been well documented. What signs from Jake give you encouragement in his further development as he heads into his senior season?
Snyder: Jake, as I mentioned before, Jake is one of those young guys that has a tremendous value system. He’s a young guy that understands what our program is truly all about. He’s a young guy that works diligently to improve his plight in life and on the football field on a very regular daily basis.
He was a young guy that entered our program with very little experience. When I say very little experience, he was in our program for a very short period of time and didn’t have the experience in our program to get started off as he would have liked and I would have liked as well.
And he had a rocky start in the first half of the season. But at no time did he ever stop trying to improve his plight. He’s a bright, young guy. He works well. But it was just a new environment for him and just having the experience, we all do that in whatever our routine is.
The more we do it, the more we do it with the intent of doing it the best we can, the better we get at it. And that’s exactly what has happened to Jake in the last half of the season and began to catch hold and became better and better and finished the season extremely well.
His level of confidence I think has grown immensely. I think that experience from last year has benefited him greatly, as it should, with any young guy. And he’s embraced it.
Like I mentioned with Tyler, he’s one of those young guys that’s always going to do everything he can and try to do the little extra to improve his plight and become a better player and better person, and he does that consistently. And I think we saw the benefits of that towards the latter part of the season and hopefully it continues.
Now, again, there’s always caution that because he is feeling that greater confidence we don’t want him or us to take him for granted and what his capabilities to achieve are.
But he’s just a tremendous young guy that I’m confident up to at least this point in time that he’s done anything and everything that he can to help himself improve and I’m pretty confident that he will continue to do that.

Question: By my count, since you were first hired at K-State, the other schools in the conference have had 48 head coaches. When you hear stuff like that thrown out by people like us, does that make you feel old and how do you sort of fight against the age thing and keep coaching at such a high-pressure, high-intensity job that you’ve got?
Snyder: Well, I don’t pay much attention to what the turnover ratio is from one school to the next. And there’s a variety of different reasons.
Sometimes people move on. The age factor, I can’t negotiate that. It is what it is. And I’m as old as time and that’s not going to change.
Probably the significant thing for me?? and I think I’ve learned this a long time ago?? when I was a young coach, started off in the high school level and moved to a lot of different places, and I was always one of those coaches that I wanted to be someplace else other than where I was.
In other words, I wanted to continue to climb. So when I was a high school assistant, I wanted to be a head coach. When I was a head coach, I wanted to be a college assistant. When I was a college assistant, I wanted to be a head coach. So that went on for a considerable period of time.
And I was half in/half out, so to speak. And consequently I was not a very good football coach at all, probably not a very good person.
And I learned some time ago, probably 30 some?odd years ago, that I needed to do it a little differently.
And my decision was, simply put, that be where you are. And I chose to do that. And that allowed me, I think, to become better at things I was doing and never looked to move on. It wasn’t significant to me. I valued where I was, where my family was and doing what we were doing, and that was kind of the approach that I’ve taken. And I think that’s probably why I’m not one of those 48, I guess, that you’re talking about.
Where do you get those stats, Barry?

Question: I looked it up.
Snyder: What was the end result you were hoping for?

Question: I was thinking 75.
Snyder: Okay (laughter). Dig a little deeper; you might find it.

Question: We were talking about coaches and you have a new one in the Big 12 in Charlie Strong. You have a good rapport with your fan base there, Kansas State. What kind of advice would you give him if he asked you, because he said some things that’s kind of irritated the Longhorn fan base, or was this just kind of a to each his own kind of thing?
Snyder: I visited with Charlie just a little bit ago. I was pleased to hear him talk about his family and daughters moving to Austin.
It’s not easy being a child of a head football coach anyplace in the country for that matter. I think the important thing is just be who you are. And if you indeed do that, be who you are, care about people. I think Charlie cares about people. I think things can work out fine for him.