IPL 2019: No opening ceremony, money to be donated to families of Pulwama martyrs

In light of the recent Pulwama attack, the Committee of Administrators (CoA) chief Vinod Rai on February 22 said that this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) will not have any opening ceremony. The money due to be spent on the ceremony will instead be donated to families of the martyred.

The opening ceremonies of the IPL are usually glitzy affairs with performances from Bollywood stars being the major highlight. However, the CoA has decided to scrap the glamorous event as a sign of solidarity towards the families of the martyrs.

The IPL is set to begin on March 23 with last year’s champions Chennai Super Kings taking on the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Chennai.

The Pulwama attack took place on February 14 and its effects are being strongly felt even in the cricketing world. There have been increasing calls for India to boycott their match against Pakistan at the upcoming Cricket World Cup in England. Former players like Harbhajan Singh and Mohammad Azharuddin have called for a boycott while a few such as Sunil Gavaskar have pointed out that such a move doesn’t benefit India in any way.

The Rai-led CoA is yet to take any stand on India playing Pakistan at the World Cup but have said that they will approach the ICC with an appeal to ban Pakistan due to the country acting as a terrorist hub.

“We are in talks with the government. No decision has been taken on the June 16 match. We are expressing two concerns to the ICC. We will ask for more protection for players during the World Cup and we will tell cricketing nations to sever ties with any nation that is a terrorist hub,” said Rai following a meeting of the CoA.


Top recruits from The Opening New Orleans reveal latest offers, insights

Alex Leatherwood remains firmly committed to Alabama, but many other programs continue to pursue Sunday’s OL MVP and one of the most recent invites to The Opening Finals in July. Florida hosted him on Friday, and LSU did on Saturday before the event. Leatherwood will return to Tuscaloosa for the defending champs’ spring game April 16.

Cam Akers, the Nike+ Football Rating champion of New Orleans, is still hearing from a bevy of programs since de-committing from Alabama. While the Crimson Tide are still in the race, LSU has recently increased its push for him, and a visit to Baton Rouge may soon occur. Georgia, Mississippi, and others continue to be mentioned by the versatile running back.

Mobile (Ala.) McGill-Toolen prospect Marlon Williams surprised many with an early commitment to USC in late January and he’s still rock solid with the Trojans despite the distance. His stock is on the rise, and many programs have taken notice, but the only visit on his schedule is to Los Angeles next week for the spring game.
Brandon Smith is a sleeper no more, and Southern Mississippi was ahead of the curve with the first offer to the in-state wide receiver. Many more should follow for the 6’3”, 197-pounder after a head-turner performance Sunday. Smith says he’s taking the process slowly but wants to hear from LSU, Florida State, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

• BECHT: Get to know No. 1 overall recruit Najee Harris

2017 quarterback Ty Brock got his first offer in the summer of ’15 from Houston but missed virtually his entire junior season with a leg injury. Now fully healthy, Brock recently picked up his second offer, which came from SMU. He visited SMU on Saturday before competing in Sunday’s The Opening New Orleans. He said Houston continues to recruit him and that a couple more schools—namely Oklahoma State and hometown Texas A&M—have started showing interest as well. Brock is a quarterback to watch during the spring evaluation period after performing well at consecutive The Opening regional camps in Houston and New Orleans.

2017 offensive lineman Eleasah Anderson has picked up his first FBS offer from ULM. On Saturday, he unofficially visited ULL, which has started showing interest. He also reports recent interest from schools such as Kansas and Kansas State.

Scout 300 quarterback Lowell Narcisse is taking things slow. The one-time Auburn commitment still says the Tigers are in the mix. The star out of St. James (La.) likes in-state LSU a lot right now. Alabama is another school he says is recruiting him very hard. He is looking to make a decision at the Under Armour All-America game.

Who could be the next quarterback out of the South to commit? It may be Myles Brennan. He named Oklahoma State his leader Sunday with California, Cincinnati, Memphis and West Virginia rounding out his top five. He is set to make his decision this spring.

Devonta Smith is a Scout 100 playmaker out of Amite (La.) High, and he is not revealing too much about his recruitment at this time. He says, “All schools are even”, but when checking with sources close to this, the word is Alabama is the school to beat with Florida State right behind the Crimson Tide. He is a former Georgia commitment and he was back at UGA a week ago for a visit. LSU, the in-state school, appears to be on the outside looking in.

It is hard to know just who four-star sophomore offensive tackle Dare Rosenthal really favors at this time. He is still committed to Alabama, but he said Sunday that the Tide and LSU are in the “same boat” right now. He has been on each campus early in 2016. He is only a sophomore, so this will be a battle to watch the next year and a half.
Photo: Courtesy of Scout.com
What about Tyler Shelvin? The long-time LSU commit recently visited Alabama, he showed up Sunday in an FSU visor, and he says he is still firm to LSU, but that he still has a lot going on in the back of his mind. Alabama is a serious threat here. He spoke with Ed Orgeron, the LSU defensive line coach, right after his last trip to Tuscaloosa, and Coach O was not happy. It will be tough for Alabama to flip this one, but it is worth watching.

New Orleans (La.) McDonogh 35 always has prospects, and Brad Stewart is the top one for 2017. On Sunday, he revealed to Scout that he has Florida, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Oklahoma on top of his list. The four-star cornerback is in no rush to make a decision. His next visit looks to be to Florida. He hopes to see The Swamp later this spring.

Taylor Powell was named Quarterback MVP Sunday, and he showed consistency and the ability to drop the ball over shoulders of wide receivers. A decision could be coming soon for the three-star out of Arkansas. He wants to commit by the end of the spring. Purdue, Missouri, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest are schools Powell has visited recently and he is considering all four programs.

Todd Harris was fine saying LSU was on top not that long ago, but now he has taken a step back, and he is calling everyone “even.” The No. 3-ranked safety in the country is still high on LSU, but he says it is there with Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss, Notre Dame and other schools. Harris says there is a “slight chance” he could commit before the season, but at this time, he is likely to make his decision at the Under Armour All-America game.

Quarterback Lindell Stone talked specifically about Ole Miss and Virginia when asked about eye-catching offers. He reports that he would like to reach a decision this spring.  Stone has spent time playing in Texas preps and Virginia preps, so it will be interesting to see if he remains in state.

Scout 300 safety Grant Delpit came to the camp and had an impressive showing with a 105.72 Nike+ Football Rating. He reported that offers from Alabama, Florida, and LSU have grabbed his eye and that a decision could come in the next couple of weeks.


AICTE reduces land requirement for opening engineering schools

National Institute of Industrial Engineering. Mumbai Students coming out of their classroom. Main building seen behind.

National Institute of Industrial Engineering. Mumbai Students coming out of their classroom. Main building seen behind.

New Delhi: Technical education regulator the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has reduced the land requirement to set up engineering schools, along with ushering in measures to improve quality, facilitate closure of ailing schools and tide over chronic shortage of teachers.

According to the new approval process document that AICTE has prepared for technical schools for the coming academic year, new engineering colleges can come up on just 1.5 acres of land in mega and metro cities and on 7.5 acres in rural areas. Mint has reviewed a copy of the document.

Earlier, the requirement was 2.5 acres and 10 acres, respectively.

The move is seen as an attempt by the AICTE to tide over land crunch in the country and also reflects the new thinking that the horizontal sprawl of an educational institution is no longer required in the present context.

Instead, institutions have been encouraged to go vertical, up to 10 storeys, provided building by-laws in the region allow such construction.

The AICTE move, applicable from this year, comes ahead of a similar exercise that the human resource development (HRD) ministry was mulling for Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Management and central universities.

That plan is yet to be finalized.

“For the past year, HRD ministry has been debating about reduction in land requirement. AICTE administration believes horizontal sprawl is no more possible or desirable in education sector,” said a government official, requesting anonymity.

Under the new approval manual, the regulator has decided to grant affiliation to technical institutions, such as engineering and management schools, for a minimum period of three years if at least 50% of the courses offered by them have been accredited by the National Board of Accreditation (NBA). Right now, all technical institutes are required to apply for fresh affiliation every year from the AICTE.

The NBA, autonomous body under the HRD ministry, accredits individual courses.

Technical schools, especially the reputed ones, have been demanding affiliation for longer duration.

“In the case of institutions having at least 50% of eligible courses accredited by NBA, and if the valid accreditation period is more than one year, that is, up to 10 April 2017, the period of approval for such institutions shall be for a period of a minimum of three years, or the academic year up to which the accreditation is valid—whichever is more,” stated the AICTE document. It has also made NBA accreditation an enabler for increasing student intake and starting courses.

Some 11,000 technical schools function under the purview of AICTE.

The regulator has also brought in a measure allowing for “progressive closure”, under which ailing technical schools will find it easier to shut shop. It will allow an educational entrepreneur to shut a college over a period of time. The move will thus take care of students who have already taken admission.

“The institute may apply for complete closure or progressive closure. In the case of complete closure, the institute shall be closed completely in one instance. In the case of progressive closure, closure at the first-year level shall be allowed in the current academic year. The subsequent years of working shall lapse at the end of each academic year progressively,” the regulator said in the document.

The move is in line with the AICTE’s plan to cut the number of engineering and management schools that have mushroomed in the last few years. It aims to reduce total number of undergraduate engineering seats by as much as 40%, or by 600,000, over the next few years by facilitating the closure of institutes, Mintreported on 20 September.

Besides, it has allowed technical schools to have 20% guest faculty, a move that both education providers and administrators believe will address the teacher crunch and improve industry collaborations.

The AICTE said that 20% of the teaching staff in a technical school can be appointed as adjunct faculty, or resource persons, from industry.

“The 20% relaxation in faculty recruitment will allow us to bring people with industry experience. This will improve the industry-academia relationship and help tide over teaching staff shortage,” said R. Panicker, the director general of Indo Global Colleges, a chain of private professional colleges in Punjab.