Month: September 2019

Miami Hurricanes Face Another NCAA Investigation

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Al Golden has faced trouble since replacing Randy Shannon.And Miami fired Randy Shannon for what? In his second season since replacing Shannon, Hurricanes coach Al Golden is going through a second investigation looking into potential NCAA rules violations and the prospect of serious NCAA sanctions.This time, there appears it will be an extended probe into the Hurricanes’ compliance practices.Citing unidentified sources, Yahoo! Sports reported that former Miami football employee Sean Allen — who has been linked to one-time booster and now convicted Ponzi scheme architect Nevin Shapiro through the improper-benefits scandal that broke last year — assisted members of Golden’s coaching staff with recruiting.If true, that could be a major NCAA violation by the troubled program, despite Golden’s repeated insistence he wants to “get it fixed.”“The inferences and suggestions in the Yahoo! Sports story that my conduct was anything but ethical are simply false,” Golden said.He added that he has been a college football coach for more than 18 years and stands by his record of compliance.Two people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that NCAA investigators visited Miami for several days earlier this month, just the latest round in the lengthy inquiry into the Hurricanes’ athletic department. The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because information about the probe has not been publicly released. Shapiro’s claims that he provided dozens of Miami athletes and recruits with extra benefits over an eight-year span were published by Yahoo! Sports last August.Golden is scheduled to discuss the coming season at the Atlantic Coast Conference media days in North Carolina early next week.A significant portion of Shapiro’s allegations from last year revolved around Allen, who was an assistant football equipment manager until leaving the program last year. Shapiro said he gave Allen more than $200,000, most allegedly spent on players and recruits, as well as a luxury car. Allen denied those claims in 2011. read more

Mark Sanchez Placed on Jets Injured Reserve

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Mark Sanchez was placed on short-term injured reserve Saturday, the New York Jets announced.Placed on IR, by rule, the quarterback must miss six weeks of practice and eight games.Head coach Rex Ryan said earlier in the week that it was “realistic” for Sanchez to play again this season. Team doctors advised Sanchez that surgery is not necessary at this time, and that he could rehabilitate the shoulder.The QB tore the labrum in his throwing shoulder after he was drilled by New York Giants defensive tackle Marvin Austin. The injury happened while Sanchez was going through an intense summer-long competition with rookie Geno Smith for the starting quarterback spot.General manager John Idzik said in a statement on Sept. 4 that “we’re not looking at (injured reserve). We’re looking at Mark continuing to rehab. He’s day to day.”Sanchez told the NFL Network Thursday that he would try his best to play again this season. read more

How To Save MLB Free Agency

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Free agency is becoming less lucrative for MLB playersAverage value per contracted season for MLB free agents through the first 100 days of the past six offseasons Our pool of available free agents includes any player with major league experience who was granted free agency or released in October and November of each season. That excludes players signed internationally or those waived by a club before the season ended or later in the offseason.Source: The Baseball Cube 2018-195408015.01,066.81238.7 2015-165788214.02,298.318212.6 free agentsContracts OffseasontotalSigningsshare signedtotal valuetotal seasonsAvg. Value per season FanGraphs forecasts that payrolls could decline for the second straight year this season, while revenues grow and values of franchises soar.Moreover, the percentage of one-year deals signed has spiked. Of the 80 free-agent deals signed through Feb. 5 this offseason, 51 — or 63.8 percent — were of the one-year variety. That’s the greatest one-year contract share since at least the 2013-14 offseason, perhaps suggestive of players lessening their contract expectations.So how would restricted free agency help beyond getting players to the market earlier? It should also increase their share of revenue.Players with more than three years of service time but less than six are eligible for arbitration. The first year of arbitration eligibility is supposed to garner a player about 40 percent of their open-market value, the second year 60 percent, and the third year of arbitration approximately 80 percent, though that estimate does not always apply. While arbitration earnings are far greater than pre-arbitration salaries, which are typically near the minimum salary, they are still short of market value.The type of restricted free-agency system that owners attempted to implement in 1994 seems increasingly beneficial to players today. That system could have made young star Francisco Lindor a 25-year-old free agent this winter and Mookie Betts a 25-year-old free agent last winter.While clubs would likely fight today against something they proposed a quarter-century ago, free agency isn’t working as intended for many players. The union might need to be more creative and dig in for change.“As we approach the next round of collective bargaining, we’re going to be considering all aspects of the system, as we always do,” an MLBPA spokesperson told FiveThirtyEight in November.And perhaps that should include an examination of an idea that originated from the other side.Neil Paine contributed research. The average age of position players last season (28.1 years) was the youngest since 1979. That age has gradually declined from a peak of 29.3 years in 2004. The average age of pitchers has also declined from a free-agency-era peak of 29.2 years in 2005 to 28.4 last season, tied for the third-youngest this century.Yet the average debut age for hitters and pitchers has remained static.The average debut age last season was 24.3 years for hitters and 24.6 for pitchers. For hitters, the average debut age has ranged between 24.0 and 24.6 years since 2000, and for pitchers, it’s ranged between 23.8 and 24.9 years.What it all means is that hundreds of age 30-plus seasons have gone missing from baseball. In 2004, there were 250 players age 32 or older who recorded at least 100 plate appearances or faced 100 batters on the mound. Last season? There were 190 such players. There have only been four seasons — 1915, 1917, 1965 and 1975 — in which age 32 and older position players accounted for a lesser share of wins above replacement than last season, at 12.9 percent. The fifth-lowest share was 2017’s 13.1 percent.This youth movement is likely tied to performance-enhancing drug testing that began to be attached with penalties in 2004 as PEDs were thought to extend careers. But teams have also never had more data to understand how players age. Clubs seem increasingly unwilling to spend on 30-something free agents.And while the back end of careers are being squeezed, clubs are often accused of manipulating the service time of players, particularly elite-level prospects, on the front end of their careers to push down wages in prime earning years and gain more controllable years over players.While this offseason has warmed after an even colder start than the previous winter, the 2017-18 class was considered to be a weak crop of free agents. This year’s class was long considered elite, with some forecasting that the total contract amount would set a record, with $3 billion or more guaranteed to players. But the total dollars guaranteed through Feb. 5 — or 100 days after the World Series — hit just $1,066.78 million, which fell well short of the totals through the same point in recent offseasons, excluding the winter of 2017-18. And it’s not just total dollars that are off those of the not-so-distant past, but also the annual average value of contracts. 2017-18569508.8736.7957.8 2013-145307514.2%$1,527.5m152$10.1m 2016-175438014.71,295.41409.3 In the midst of the 1994-95 baseball strike, 38 players received surprising news: They had been granted free agency. They were a new type of free agent — a restricted free agent. Players with at least four years of service time in the major leagues but fewer than six — which is still required to become a free agent today — could field offers on the market. Their previous teams could match any offer they received, much like teams do in the NBA or NFL.As Major League Baseball remained engaged in a bitter labor dispute that wiped out the World Series, owners had declared an impasse and implemented the restricted free agency plan, along with a salary cap, to replace salary arbitration. The Boston Red Sox even reached verbal agreements with restricted free agents Sammy Sosa and Kevin Appier before the MLB players association filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board and the owners’ new system was scrapped.MLB has not had a work stoppage since 1994-95, its longest stretch of labor peace in the free-agency era. But because free agency seems broken for many players, and accusations of collusion are being levied, there’s growing speculation that labor strife could await when the collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2021 season.To save free agency, it turns out that players could actually benefit from what the owners proposed nearly a quarter-century ago. What players need is a pathway to the marketplace nearer their prime seasons.The MLBPA’s biggest problem with the current free-agency structure is that to become a free agent, a player must accumulate six full years of service time, which players typically reach after age 30. The average age of a free agent signed so far this winter was 32.2 years, according to data compiled by The Baseball Cube.1We used the player’s age as of the start of the season. Since the 2013-14 offseason, the average signing age has hovered around 33 years. That’s well past a player’s prime.Position players generally peak between age 26 and 28. Pitchers peak even earlier. Those years are almost always controlled by the club at below-market wages, unless a player debuts at an extremely young age like Bryce Harper (who was 19) and Manny Machado (20) — unusually young free agents who are entering their age-26 seasons.The other issue for players and free agency is that the game is becoming younger. 2014-155277213.71,558.614211.0 read more

HomeField Advantage Doesnt Mean What It Used To In English Football

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Only one home team lost last weekend in the English Premier League. It was the same the weekend before. How unusual is this? Or, put another way, how significant is home-field advantage in soccer?It’s significant — at least, it was significant.Using a data set of scores compiled by one of this article’s authors (James), we can quantify the home team’s advantage in English football over the past 126 years. Here are the percentages of home wins, visitor wins and draws, by year, since the founding of the league in 1888 (the data is from all games played in the top four tiers of the English football pyramid, or just shy of 200,000 games):In the early days of English football, about 60 percent of games were won by the home team. The rest split about equally: 20 percent draws and 20 percent visitor wins. Now, the home team wins only about 40 percent of games, the visitor wins 30 percent, and the rest are draws. This trend doesn’t show signs of slowing. Home-field advantage in English football is disappearing.What’s responsible for this dramatic shift? Most immediately, it’s the result of a decrease in home-team scoring. Here are the average home and away goals per game, by year:Although scoring for either side has fluctuated, visitor goals have remained relatively constant, floating mostly between 1.00 and 1.3 per game. Home goals have fallen to roughly 1.5 per game from more than 2.5. The average difference (home goals minus away goals) has fallen to about 0.3 goals last year from about 1.1 goals at the league’s founding.A laundry list of explanations for home-field advantage have been offered over the years: partisan crowds, influenced officials, the comforts of home, the hardships of travel, stadium accommodations that favor the home team (e.g. nicer locker rooms or grass mowed to the liking of the players), even “home-cooked” stoppage time.Just as many reasons have been offered for the advantage’s decline, in soccer and elsewhere: easier access to tickets for away fans through sites like StubHub, more comfortable travel accommodations, better oversight of officials, the gentrification of soccer crowds — or maybe just random chance.1For a brief review of the literature, see this paper by Richard Pollard.Economists Mark Koyama and J. James Reade noticed this decline, too, and offered a provocative explanation in a 2008 paper. Writing mainly about English soccer, they argued that the effort put forth by players depends on how much they are “monitored” by their team’s fans. Players tend to put in more effort, they write, when their fans can observe it — they tend not to shirk. More of their fans observe this effort during a home game, of course. But that fact is mitigated by televised soccer. Television serves as a “monitoring technology,” and enables fans of the visiting team to monitor their players’ performance more easily. This, in turn, increases the effort put forth by players of visiting teams. Therefore, Koyama and Reade conclude, the increase of televised soccer has depressed home-field advantage.The theory seems plausible, but struggles to explain the decline in home-field wins in the first half of the 1900s. And it struggles to explain variations, or the lack thereof, in other sports.While a constellation of factors is likely responsible for shifts in advantage, one especially convincing explanation is changes in officiating.The soccer referee was introduced in roughly his modern-day form in 1891 (minus the aerosol spray). A single official can have an enormous influence on a game — an influence rarely rivaled in other sports. One reason is that soccer games are low-scoring and a referee can, in many cases, effectively award a goal to one team or the other by calling for a penalty kick. Since 1992, penalty kicks in the Premier League have led to goals 85 percent of the time. And there has been a systematic bias of awarding penalty kicks to the home team: Of 1,666 penalties called over the last two-plus decades, 1,051 (or 63 percent) went to the home team. With the exception of the 2001-2 season, home teams have won more penalties every single year. There are, on average, 75 penalties awarded each season, or about one every fifth game.Koyama and Reade noted that a similar home-team bias has been found for the “awarding” of yellow and red cards. High-leverage biases could also manifest in the calling of close-range free kicks, corner kicks and offsides violations. It often hasn’t taken much to influence the outcome of a soccer game.But with the rise to prominence of English football over the past 100-plus years2The Premier League has revenues of nearly $4 billion a year. came correspondent increases in money, exposure,3Television may influence refs, too. professionalization, organization, oversight, monitoring and evaluation of the league. All these could have lowered referee bias toward home sides.While hard data on historical referee bias is hard to come by, there is some evidence. There has been a slight downward trend in penalty-kick bias since the founding of the Premier League, for example. In the 1992-3 season, 74 percent of penalties were awarded to the home team. Last season, just 55 percent were.Soccer’s long-diminishing home-field advantage seems to be the exception in sports, not the rule. Here are home teams’ regular-season winning percentages for the four major American sports. (For simplicity, we’ve included ties as half wins, where applicable.)With the exception of four NFL seasons, home teams won more than visitors every year. Basketball and hockey typically show the most sizable home-field advantages. Basketball’s home teams have historically won at nearly a 70 percent clip, though that has dipped to around 60 percent in recent years. NHL home teams have won consistently between 60 percent and 65 percent of their games over the league’s history.While no American sport has shown the sustained decline in home-field advantage that English soccer has — a mark against Koyama and Reade’s “monitoring technology” hypothesis — there are hints of decreases, especially in basketball. That makes sense. Basketball is another sport that can be heavily influenced by the subjectivity of officials. read more

Clutch hitting from Carrillo helps Ohio State softball to 2314 record

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Ohio State trailed arch-rival Michigan, 4-0, Saturday when Evelyn Carrillo stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded in the bottom of the first inning. The sophomore first baseman had one thought as she stared down Wolverine freshman pitcher Haylie Wagner. “The mentality I have is something up, I bang,” Carrillo said. She did just that. Wagner left a change-up in the zone and Carrillo lifted it over the wall in right field for a grand slam to tie the game, 4-4. Changing the game with one swing of the bat is nothing new for Carrillo. The Corona, Calif., native is batting .364 this season with five home runs and 33 RBIs to help the Buckeyes to a 23-14 record on the year. She attributes her productivity to the mental approach she brings to the plate. “As a hitter you gotta make sure you stay confident,” Carrillo said. “And just have that mindset where if I see my pitch I’m just gonna hit it.” Carrillo was named Big Ten Player of the Week after the Buckeyes’ three-game series at Michigan State during the last weekend in March. She helped OSU sweep the Spartans by going 11-for-12 at the plate with eight RBIs, including a career-high six RBIs in the first game of the series. It was the first career conference honor of Carrillo’s career. OSU coach Linda Kalafatis isn’t surprised by her first baseman’s success at the plate this year and said she doesn’t expect it to stop anytime soon. “Evelyn, I think, has got the prettiest swing on the team,” Kalafatis said. “I expect big things from her for the rest of her career.” Perhaps the biggest benefactor of Carrillo’s success this season has been shortstop Alicia Herron. The senior captain is having the best statistical season of her career in her final year as a Buckeye and said hitting behind her fellow infielder has been a huge help. “It helps because it gives me another chance to hit,” Herron said. “They have to pitch to me or else they’ll have to pitch to her . She gives me a better shot at letting me to hit. For OSU to be successful going forward, some of Carillo’s teammates said they know their best players have to perform when the game is on the line, something Carrillo proved Saturday. “Evelyn came in clutch and had the grand slam,” said senior pitcher Mikayla Endicott. “That changed the momentum.” read more

Ohio State running back Rod Smith dismissed from team

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Ohio State redshirt-senior running back Rod Smith has been dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules, sources close to the team told Lantern TV on Monday evening.The Fort Wayne, Ind., native rushed for 549 yards during his OSU career, including 101 yards and four touchdowns on 24 attempts this season. Smith played, but did not touch the ball during the Buckeyes’ 31-24 double-overtime win against Penn State on Saturday in State College, Pa.Sources confirmed Smith’s departure to Lantern TV following an initial report by Eleven Warriors.An Ohio State spokesman didn’t have any information to provide regarding Smith’s status with the team.Smith did not immediately respond to The Lantern’s request for comment.The Buckeyes are scheduled to play Illinois on Saturday at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. read more

Couple renovate farmhouse into dream home only to discover it could be

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first_imgHoward and Louise Nicholson’s house before their painstaking restorationCredit:Sheffield Star/SWNS Howard and Louise Nicholson's house before their painstaking restoration The Nicholson family, who own a civil engineering business, are now “in limbo” when it comes to the future of where they live and do not know what will happen next.Mrs Nicholson said: “When we got the letter, it said, ‘we realise that you will be distressed’ which is just more of an understatement than they’ll ever realise.”There was a meeting about it when we came back but they couldn’t give any answers. When we asked questions about what we might be able to do, they couldn’t tell us anything because it’s just a proposed route.”We asked if we could build another house on a different part of the land we own which doesn’t interfere with the route but they had no idea.”A final decision on whether or not the new route will go ahead is due by the end of the year. A couple who have spent thousands of pounds renovating a Grade II listed farmhouse have been told the property could be demolished to make way for the new HS2 line.Louise Nicholson and her husband Howard bought the property for £200,000 in 2012 and lived in a caravan while they spent a six-figure sum restoring the 16th century house while complying with building regulations.But the couple, who have four daughters, now say they are “completely powerless” after being told that the home could be demolished under the revised route for the new high-speed rail line.Mrs Nicholson, 43, even questioned whether HS2 bosses had been aware that their home, in Aston, near Rotherham, South Yorkshire, was on the new route, along with several other historic buildings. When we got the letter, it said, ‘we realise that you will be distressed’ which is just more of an understatement that they’ll ever realiseLouise Nicholsoncenter_img She said: “They didn’t even know we existed. They just thought it was a stables. We are completely powerless. No one can give us any answers. They don’t care because it is a national thing.”One of the questions we have asked at an HS2 meeting is, because we are in a conservation area, will planning laws be relaxed? They said they couldn’t answer that because the route is only proposed.”Major changes have been made to the intended HS2 route through South Yorkshire after rail bosses scrapped plans for a new station in Meadowhall, just outside Sheffield, in favour of a “spur” into Sheffield city centre – a decision officials claim will save £1bn.But the intended new route running from the Mansfield area in Nottinghamshire, up to Wakefield, West Yorkshire, is due to affect homes and businesses in South Yorkshire areas such as Bramley, Aston and Swallownest, Barnburgh, Mexborough and Denaby. An HS2 Ltd spokesman said: “We expect the Secretary of State to make a decision on the proposed route later this year. Should he decide to adopt our recommendations, then a public consultation will be held in order to allow local stakeholders and affected communities the opportunity to comment on the proposals.”We are committed to helping local residents and communities through this period of uncertainty and would encourage anyone who would like further information about the project to contact our 24 hour help desk.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Council shuns celebrity guests for Christmas light switch on

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first_imgCelebrities have been shunned as guests of honour for a Christmas lights switch on after a council decided “things have to change”.Banbury Town Council announced it will be “focusing on creating a vibrant event” without any stars this year, instead choosing to showcase local choirs. Guests have previously included Coronation Street actor Chris Gascoyne and The X Factor winner Sam Bailey.Colin Clarke, the general services committee chairman, said: “For many years we have enjoyed having celebrities switch on our Christmas lists but things have to change.”This year we’re starting a new theme by creating a real Christmas atmosphere for people of all ages.”We think the new set-up will appeal to everyone and not just those who like a particular TV programme.” Families will instead be able to listen to live music performed by local artists when they visit the market.Before the switch on, eight local choirs will sing carols and other seasonal tunes. There will be fireworks after the event, which is on November 27. Guests have previously included Coronation Street actor Chris Gascoyne  This year we’re starting a new theme by creating a real Christmas atmosphereColin Clarke Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Guests have previously included Coronation Street actor Chris Gascoyne Credit: Getty Imageslast_img read more

Mother and son new photo of Queen and Prince Charles reveals tender

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first_img Show more A photograph of the Queen and the Prince of Wales has been released to mark the end of the monarch’s 90th birthday year.The previously unseen picture, taken by fashion photographer Nick Knight in May, shows the mother and son in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle before the final night of the Queen’s celebrations at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. The full-length photoCredit:© 2016 NICK KNIGHT Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Prince of Wales and Queen in photo marking the end of Her Majesty's 90th birthday year She thanked well-wishers but said: “How I will feel if people are still singing Happy Birthday to me in December remains to be seen.”Mr Knight said: “It was a great pleasure and an honour to photograph Her Majesty The Queen and HRH The Prince of Wales at Windsor Castle.”I wanted to create a modern portrait that showed warmth and humanity as well as strength and tradition.” Charles, wearing a black dinner jacket, appears to be smiling at the Queen – dressed in a sea green and dove grey brocade dress by Angela Kelly – who is looking directly ahead in the photograph.The Queen turned 90 in April and marked the milestone with a series of events – including a private black-tie banquet at Windsor Castle with her friends and loved ones.In June, she celebrated her official birthday with a service of thanksgiving and a picnic on The Mall for 10,000 revellers.last_img read more

Sir Ian McKellens greatgreatgrandfather helped invent the weekend

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first_imgSir Ian's father at Striding Edge in the Lake District The programme will show Sir Ian recreating scenes from his great-uncle’s successful play Two Orphans, a melodrama which starred Mr Lowes as a count. Sir Ian as a boy Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “This was the sort of thing that no other workers would have had,” he said. “This is something quite new really and quite radical.“This kind of activity could very easily be associated with some of the more dangerous radical movements, which could backfire on him personally. Robert Lowes, however, spent his days campaigning for a better life for workers in the industrial north, working as a warehouse clerk in Manchester and delivering improving lectures at the Salford Lyceum. Sir Ian’s father at Striding Edge in the Lake DistrictCredit:BBC/Wall to Wall/Sir Ian “It’s going to take a slick operator to pull this off.”Mr Lowes, honorary secretary of his committee, persisted with his campaign, changing the appeal for a half-day on a Friday to one on a Saturday.A fragile scroll from November 10th, 1843, reveals how he succeeded,  with bankers, merchants, manufacturers and calico printers agreeing to close their places of business at 1 o’clock every Saturday afternoon “and to allow our servants leave for the day”. Alice McKellen, Sir Ian’s paternal grandmother. Taken in 1937Credit:BBC/Wall to Wall/Sir Ian The details of Sir Ian’s past will be revealed this week in Who Do You Think You Are, the BBC documentary which tracks celebrity family history.The actor will learn of his ancestors, including an engraver who helped entice people to the Lake District with his fine books, and a jobbing actor who died in the workhouse after falling on hard times. Sir Ian has six Oliviers, two Oscar nominations and a knighthoodCredit:BBC/Stephen Perry A working day, experts told the programme, then lasted for up to 14 hours for six days a week.In September 1843, a local newspaper report uncovered by researchers shows Mr R J Lowes leading a meeting to propose business owners close warehouses on Friday afternoons.Prof Martin Hewitt told Sir Ian the movement was about “persuading 300 or 400 of the leading merchant princes of Manchester to allow the clerks and warehousemen to have a half holiday without any reduction in pay. Sir Ian proclaimed it “wonderful”, adding: “I’m very, very impressed with what Robert did. The world changes because somebody has an argument with somebody, a discussion and then an agreement.“One initiative like this doesn’t change the world, but it certainly helps.” Sir Ian as a boyCredit:BBC/Wall to Wall/Sir Ian We can say that not only is Robert Lowes your great-great-grandfather, but he can also be viewed as the grandfather of the modern weekendDr Wilkinson I’m very, very impressed with what Robert didSir Ian Social historian Dr Amanda Wilkinson told the actor his ancestor gave up his job as a clerk up in 1845 to expand his campaign for a half-holiday to needlewomen as well.“The news of the half holiday spreads like wildfire across the country,” she said. “We have cities like Bradford and Norwich very rapidly commencing their own half holidays based on the principles of Robert Lowes and his committee.“We start to see the evolution of the weekend as we understand it now.“So we can say that not only is Robert Lowes your great-great-grandfather, but he can also be viewed as the grandfather of the modern weekend.”Viewers will also learn of Sir Ian’s great-uncle, Frank Lowes, who was an actor in his own right – albeit of the less successful kind.Mr Lowes showed enough promise on the stage that he received top billing at the Queen’s Theatre in Manchester, going on to be reviewed in industry papers and play in Sir Ian’s home town of Bolton in 1876. Alice McKellen, Sir Ian's paternal grandmother. Taken in 1937 Sir Ian has six Oliviers, two Oscar nominations and a knighthood Sir Ian told the programme he had never before heard of his great-uncle’s career, marvelling at the coincidence before wondering: “Why did nobody in the family tell me? Either they didn’t know or they weren’t very pleased about it.”But by his 30s, Mr Lowe had fallen into a “pretty terrible part in a fourth rate play”, taking on roles of “variable quality” before moving to Liverpool and joining variety performances.In 1894 he died in Liverpool work house, separated from his wife Ellen and suffering from TB and exhaustion. Who Do You Think You Are? will air on Wednesday January 25th at 8pm on BBC One. Sir Ian McKellen may be known around the world for his work on stage and screen, with six Oliviers, two Oscar nominations and a knighthood to his name.But his little-known ancestor may deserve even more public acclaim, it appears, after it emerged he helped to invent the weekend.Sir Ian’s great-great-grandfather Robert Lowes campaigned for Manchester’s business owners to allow their workers to take a half-day on Saturdays, allowing more than one day a week off for the first time.Documents from 1843 show how Mr Lowes eventually convinced industry titans to let their staff leave their factories at 1pm on Saturdays, with one expert saying: “He can be viewed as the grandfather of the modern weekend.”last_img read more