Winter break is over.It’s sad, but it’s true. Now, it’s back to the daily grind of classes, homework, internships and jobs. It may not seem like it’s been that long since you’ve been on campus — in reality, it’s only been a few weeks. But in that short time, a lot has happened in the world of USC sports.It’s sometimes hard to follow what’s been going on around USC when you’re not on campus.However, this column might give you a chance to catch up quickly at the beginning of spring semester. With the huge quantity and varying range of stories that broke over break, from accusations of NCAA infractions to self-imposed sanctions, it was a hectic few weeks.This might help clear up any questions you might still have.The USC football team ended the 2009 regular season on a low note and had to play in a non-BCS bowl for the first time since 2001. Having to settle for the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco, the team was dealt another blow shortly before its Dec. 26 matchup against Boston College.Junior running back Joe McKnight was reportedly observed violating NCAA rules by driving a SUV that did not belong to him. The vehicle was registered to a Santa Monica businessman who said he had nothing to do with marketing players or representing athletes. Still, the rule states that an NCAA student-athlete cannot accept extra benefits from anyone based on their athletic ability. The investigation is still in progress.Although McKnight joined the team in San Francisco for practice, he was not cleared to play. Without its star running back, USC won its seventh bowl game under coach Pete Carroll. The Trojans defeated the Eagles 24-13 behind freshman quarterback Matt Barkley’s two touchdown passes and one rushing touchdown.The win placed a positive note on an otherwise disappointing season.With the football season over, the focus shifted to men’s basketball, where the Trojans were piecing together a surprisingly solid start to their season under new coach Kevin O’Neill. After losing three of its first five games, USC capped off an eight-game winning streak by defeating Arizona State on Jan. 2.The following day, however, this feel-good story didn’t feel so good anymore.On Jan. 3, USC implemented self-imposed sanctions on the men’s basketball program for violating NCAA rules with regards to O.J. Mayo’s involvement with booster Rodney Guillory during the 2007-2008 season.Under the sanctions, the current team is banned from postseason competition, including the Pac-10 Conference basketball tournament, and the program will lose one scholarship for the next two academic years, among other penalties.Is it fair that this team and this coach get punished for others’ wrongdoings? No.But it was necessary.The Trojans have lost two straight since the sanctions were announced.But team suffered a bigger loss over break. On Jan. 5, Rory Markas, the voice of the team, was found dead at his Palmdale, Calif. home. He was 54.“He was a consummate professional and a well-loved individual,” USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett said. “He’ll be a very difficult person to replace.”The following day, USC alum Randy Johnson, arguably the most dominating left-handed pitcher to every play Major League Baseball, retired from the sport. He finished his career with five Cy Young Awards, 303 wins and 4,875 strike outs, second on the all-time list behind Nolan Ryan.As winter recess came to a close, the news shifted back to the football team.First, it was redshirt junior receiver Damian Williams and McKnight declaring to opt for the NFL draft next season. Williams, the team’s MVP last season, and McKnight will leave gaping holes for the team to fill.Also, backup quarterback Aaron Corp transferred to Richmond.Although USC’s offense will be filled with new faces next season, the team recently discovered it has bigger shoes to fill.In the words of Pete Carroll himself, “It came out of nowhere.”Yes, Carroll is leaving.Yes, that means no more “Big Balls Pete” chants.And yes, I am bitter just like you.It was a day I thought I’d never see, especially during my time here at USC, but Carroll’s tenure coaching the Trojans is over.He leaves behind a remarkable legacy that will be tough for any coach to follow. And he leaves it all behind to coach the Seattle Seahawks next season. The deal was made official Monday.While everyone in USC land probably knew of Carroll’s departure, maybe some of the other stories that occurred over break didn’t catch your attention.But now that you’re all caught up, let the semester begin.“Soft Hands” runs on Tuesdays. To comment on this article, visit dailytrojan.com or email Jon at email@example.com.
Pablo Zabaleta 1 Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has revealed Pablo Zabaleta will be out for a month with a knee injury.The full-back only reported for pre-season training in late July after playing in the Copa America with Argentina and has yet to feature this term.Bacary Sagna has taken his place for the wins over West Brom and Chelsea, and the former Arsenal man is now set for an extended run in the team after Zabaleta picked up a knee injury.The 30-year-old suffered ligament damage during a training session and is expected to be sidelined until the end of September.“Pablo Zabaleta yesterday had a problem in his knee with his ligaments so he will be out for around one month,” said Pellegrini.There is some good news for City, however, with Fabian Delph back fit.The summer signing from Aston Villa suffered a hamstring injury in his first outing for the club in pre-season but returned to training this week.He is unlikely to start against Everton on Sunday but could be named on the bench by Pellegrini for the Goodison Park clash.
MORE THAN one million text messages alerting people to potential criminal activity in their local area have been sent under the Text Alert system, according to new figures from An Garda Síochána. The figures also show that there are more than 100,000 people signed-up to the scheme from 550 groups in towns and villages across the country.Fourteen schemes are operating in Donegal. The Text Alert system was officially launched in September 2013 and is operated by An Garda Síochána with Muintir na Tíre, Neighbourhood Watch and the Irish Farmers Association (IFA).What is Text Alert?Text Alert enables communities to set up a Group to receive alerts advising them of suspicious or criminal activity in their area. As well as ensuring awareness among users of the service, it can also lead to them reporting suspicious activity to Gardai.Sending the information by text means that it can be disseminated rapidly to a large amount of people in a cost-effective way. Text Alert is a one-way system, and operates on the following principles:• Member(s) of the public reports incident to the Gardaí (24 hour Garda District -Telephone number which is widely advertised).• The reporting Garda verifies details and determines that the “Text Alert” system should be utilised• Garda sends text or e-mail out to each registered “Community Contact” in their Garda District• Each “Community Contact” forwards the text to their “Community Group” to advise the public to watch out and report any developments • If the information is received by e-mail the Community Contact may forward the e-mail or convert the content to SMS Text and send to their Community Group.An example of its effectiveness can be seen in a recent case of theft in Glenties:A group of thieves targeted the town, raiding shops and homes. Alert members of the public got a registration number and reported it to gardai. Three people were later arrested.Assistant Commissioner Jack Nolan said: “We have found that as an immediate, cost effective method of engagement with the communities we serve, Text Alert is invaluable. It would appear from these levels of usage the public also feel it is a valuable way to help prevent and tackle crime.” Mr John Hogan, President of Muintir na Tíre remarked that: “The Community Text Alert programme, in partnership with An Garda Síochána has allowed communities to rapidly exchange information, and gives communities a say in policing in their own areas.”Mr. Patrick Walsh from Neighbourhood Watch said: “Communities have experienced a reduction in burglaries since we engaged with Text Alert, and the scheme will help to sustain the continued effort by both the Gardaí and Neighbourhood Watch members”.Mr Eddie Downey, IFA President stressed the scheme’s importance in preventing rural crime. “The IFA continues to support Community Text Alert as a vital tool in preventing rural crime. We recognise the significant impact this service can have in supporting the safety of rural communities. IFA is working closely with An Garda Síochána to continue to roll out text alert initiatives across our branch structure and further strengthen our Community Text Alert network,” said Mr Downey.TEXT ALERT SCHEME CONTINUES TO GROW was last modified: January 3rd, 2015 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:crimedonegalGardaitext alert scheme