Posts tagged with "NHL"

MLB’s revised drug policy would essentially make weed legal throughout baseball

December 11, 2019

Some players would say that it’s high time: At their winter meeting on December 9, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players’ Association reportedly agreed to remove marijuana from the list of banned substances for minor leaguers.

The agreement is set to be a part of a wider deal involving opioid use in baseball, The Athletic reported December 9, according to Fox Business News. Major league players already are not being subjected to marijuana tests, which means pot would essentially be legalized throughout professional baseball.

Minor league baseball players had previously been subjected to a 25-game suspension for the first positive marijuana test; 50 games for the second positive test; 100 games for the third positive test; and a lifetime ban for a fourth positive test.

Indeed, Fox News notes, Major League Baseball’s policy is becoming similar to that of the National Hockey League. The NHL doesn’t punish players who test positive for marijuana but would recommend treatment if a player has “abnormally high levels” of THC in his system.

In the NFL, a player who tests positive for weed the first time enters a substance abuse program. After the second positive result, he gets fined two game checks; and its four game checks after the third positive test. After the fourth, a player gets a four-game suspension; and after the fifth, a 10-game suspension. A player who tests positive for marijuana a sixth time—and it’s hard to believe that a player would continue to smoke marijuana at this point—gets a one-year suspension.

NBA players are subjected to four random tests during the regular season. A player who tests positive the first time enters a substance abuse program,; on the second, he gets a $25,000 fine, on the third positive test, he gets a five-game suspension; and five more games for each subsequent positive test.

MLB and the MLBPA are working on changes to the drug policy in the months after Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs‘ death. Skaggs was found to have two different opioids in his system when he was found dead at a Texas hotel on July 1 prior to an Angels’ game against the Texas Rangers.

Under new the bylaws, players would not be suspended for opioid use but would be placed into a treatment program instead.

MLB and the MLBPA have not finalized their new drug agreement yet. MLBPA head Tony Clark said recently he was optimistic the two sides can agree on the new policy by the end of 2019.

Research contact: @FoxBusiness

Calling the shots: Study finds that coaching can win the day for collegiate and pro sports teams

March 19, 2019

You can’t win them all—but a good coach can help a collegiate or professional sports team rack up points on a regular basis. Those are the findings of a University of Chicago study on the importance of leadership in athletics.

Scholars at the university’s  Harris School of Public Policy analyzed hundreds of seasons of data—including wins and losses, and sports scores and statistics— and found that coaches account for 20 % to 30% of the variation in team outcomes.

To reach their findings, Professor Christopher Berry and Associate Professor Anthony Fowler looked at the impact of coaching in Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, college football, and college basketball.

“Coaches are often credited or blamed for their team’s success or failure, and are compensated as if they are among the most important assets a franchise possesses,” said Berry. “We find that coaches do, in fact, matter—and suggestions that coaches are interchangeable, which has been the dominant view in the sports analytics community, are not true. In every sport we studied, we found that coaches impact variables that contribute to a higher winning percentage.”

The study came up with a number of findings, which Berry and Fowler presented March 1 at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston—among them:

  • MLB managers affect runs scored, runs allowed, run differential, and victories. They have greater impact on runs allowed than on runs scored.
  • NFL coaches affect points allowed and the point margin. They significantly affect the number of fumbles and penalties a team commits.
  • Coaches matter more in college football than in the pros. They significantly affect points scored, points allowed, point differential,  and victories.
  • Coaching is highly significant in both NBA and Division I college basketball outcomes—influencing points scored, points allowed, point differential and victories.
  • NHL coaches matter, although they matter much more for goals allowed than for goals scored.

“Although virtually every aspect of player performance has been examined since the recent emergence of sports analytics, we wanted to bring the same level of rigor to coaches as there is for everyone else on the field at a major sporting event,” Fowler said.

The study was conducted with a method called randomization inference for leadership effects, which accounts for player quality and strength of schedule. Berry and Fowler first created the approach to estimate the effects of political leaders on various economic and policy outcomes. The method holds promise for additional research to assess the impact of individual coaches, as well as better understand why and how coaches matter.

Research contact: crberry@uchicago.edu