Football, Title IX

Staff & Wire Reports

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws during NFL football practice on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, in Pittsburgh . (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws during NFL football practice on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, in Pittsburgh . (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws during NFL football practice on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, in Pittsburgh . (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws during NFL football practice on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Roethlisberger eager to “knock that rust off” vs. Titans

By The Associated Press

Tuesday, August 21

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger believes his right arm feels as good as it has in years.

The same goes for the rest of the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback’s body, save for the occasional unwanted collision with a teammate.

If the scariest moment Roethlisberger endures all season is the accidental blindside hit from right tackle Marcus Gilbert — who inadvertently knocked the wind out of Roethlisberger during practice last week, sending a brief scare through the organization and sending Roethlisberger into the concussion protocol as a precaution — the franchise’s all-time leader in nearly every significant passing category will take it.

“Hopefully, the hardest hit I take all year is from Gilbert and we can laugh at it at the end of the year,” Roethlisberger said with a laugh on Tuesday.

Maybe, but nobody was laughing when Roethlisberger’s familiar No. 7 was kneeling on the turf at Saint Vincent College. He took a pair of concussion tests and passed them both, clearing him to make his lone preseason appearance on Sunday when the Steelers host Tennessee.

It’s been more than eight months since Roethlisberger last faced guys in different-colored uniforms, when he threw for a franchise playoff-record 469 yards and five touchdowns in a playoff loss to Jacksonville.

Until the 2017 off-season — when he waited weeks before announcing his return — Roethlisberger said right away he would be back in 2018, an endorsement of both the coaching staff and the talent surrounding him in the huddle.

Saturday will be the first time Roethlisberger will be hearing Randy Fichtner’s voice in his headset during a game. The Steelers promoted the longtime quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator in January.

Though the low-key Fichtner carries himself differently than his predecessor — the fiery Todd Haley — Roethlisberger expects the offense to “pretty much stay the same.”

That’s hardly a bad thing for a group that finished third in total yards while going 13-3 in 2017. The key to earning a fifth straight playoff berth will be turning all those yards into a few more points.

Pittsburgh was eighth in the league in average points per game (25.4) due in part to some red zone issues. The Steelers finished a middling 18th in turning red-zone possessions into touchdowns (53 percent).

Pittsburgh drafted former Oklahoma State star wide receiver James Washington in the second round, and Washington had a pair of touchdowns last week against Green Bay by outjumping the defender on a 50/50 ball.

It’s something they’d like to see more of this fall in general, including from second-year wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster. He wowed at times during his rookie season. Now comes the hard part as the firmly established No. 2 alongside All-Pro Antonio Brown: doing it again.

“The key for him is how can he bounce back and not just put together a good year like last year but be better,” Roethlisberger said. “It starts with work and he put in a lot work, effort and time. I am looking forward to what he can do this year.”

Roethlisberger isn’t quite sure how long he’ll get a chance to be on the field with Smith-Schuster and the rest of the starting offense this weekend. A couple of scoring drives early would likely make Roethlisberger’s appearance a mere cameo.

A slow start might result in a bit of a longer stay. Regardless of how he feels, he still expects there to be some issues adjusting to game speed even entering his 15th season.

“It’s live action,” Roethlisberger said. “We have been at practice and everything gets a little faster, a little quicker. I hope I don’t get hit, but it’s always good to knock that rust off, too, at some point.”

NOTES: WR Eli Rogers was suspended for one week by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Rogers is on the physically unable to perform list while recovering from a torn ACL. Rogers is not expected to be ready by the opening week of the season.

More AP NFL: and

The Conversation

How many babies in the US are wanted? Why it’s so hard to count unintended pregnancy

August 22, 2018

Heather M. Rackin

Assistant Professor of Sociology, Louisiana State University

Disclosure statement

Heather M. Rackin does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Do you know the story about your conception? I do. According to my parents, I was the “best mistake” they ever made. I wouldn’t suggest asking your parents, because you might hear something that you aren’t happy about. My parents’ answer included a contraceptive failure and a washing machine.

My personal story is fairly common – the unintended birth, not the washing machine. In the mid to late 2000s, an estimated 37 percent of births were unintended. Twenty-three percent were mistimed, like me: My parents wanted to have a child at some point, but not then. The rest were unwanted.

However, unintended births are hard to count. It’s very difficult to measure whether a conception was intended. But having the data is important: Accurate measurements of unintended fertility allow researchers to assess population growth, women’s reproductive autonomy and the impacts of unintended births. It can also show how policy changes affect unintended pregnancy. For example, if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, researchers would want to understand the impact on fertility.

Researchers who want to know what couples are thinking at conception have two major strategies: asking women years before or sometime after pregnancy. But both strategies have substantial flaws. This highlights how difficult it is to measure theoretical concepts – especially such emotional and complex ones as the decision to have a baby.

Differing measurements

Figuring out what people are thinking right before they got pregnant is difficult without surveyors constantly knocking on bedroom doors.

Because it’s invasive, costly and just plain weird and impossible to pursue women at the moment they become pregnant, many demographers ask women after they’ve become pregnant or had a child. For example, one government survey asks, “Thinking back to just before you got pregnant with your new baby, how did you feel about becoming pregnant?” Intended births include mothers who reported they wanted to become pregnant then or sooner. Unintended births include both mistimed (i.e., “I wanted to be pregnant later”) and unwanted births (i.e., “I didn’t want to be pregnant then or at any time in the future”).

But there are some problems with retrospective questions. Researchers suspect that women may rationalize their past behavior by providing a socially desirable response or one that reflects their current situation or worldview. After women become emotionally attached to their baby, they may not want to say their baby was mistimed or unwanted. It’s easy to imagine a woman who is happy in her role as a mother – or believes she should be – saying that she wanted a child at conception even if she actually didn’t. The opposite could also occur. My colleague and I found evidence for both types of rationalization, though the former was more common.

Some demographers suggest asking before conception. This means asking people about their intent to have children in the future, then looking at what happens later. If someone said she didn’t want another baby but had one later, then that birth would be considered unwanted.

In this prospective strategy, women have fewer reasons to misreport, so this might provide a better estimate of intent at conception. Indeed, this method suggests that the percent of unwanted births is much higher: 26 percent, as opposed to the 9 percent estimated through retrospective measures.

But the prospective strategy is also flawed. Women could have changed their minds between their answer and conception. In the data used in my research, women were asked the prospective question every two years. A lot can change in two years. While retrospective measures underestimate unwanted births, prospective measures overestimate unwanted births.

An issue of both strategies is that women may not have certain unambiguous intentions or preferences at conception. People could have both strong positive and strong negative feelings about having a child or feel uncertain at conception. Intentions might not be discrete categories, instead existing on a continuum. And there might be different aspects of intentions, such as how much planning someone does for a baby and how happy someone is about a pregnancy.

Perhaps the most vexing assumptions of both strategies is that women have conscious intentions or preferences at the time of conception. Certainly, for some, childbearing is a conscious decision. But others may have motivations that are not connected to a conscious intent for childbearing. For example, not using condoms can signify trust between partners. Some couples who have unconscious desires for a child may not use birth control consistently or effectively, but others may be guided by different motivations. People start to think consciously about childbearing over time, in tandem with developments in other domains such as relationships and work, but some people get pregnant before they’ve made fertility plans.

A better way?

Should demographers keep on trying to measure unintended fertility? Some may say the best way to push forward is to abandon this concept because it’s constraining researchers’ thinking about fertility decision-making.

However, retrospective questions have been helpful in a lot of ways. They highlight socioeconomic and racial or ethnic disparities, as well as a link between unintended pregnancy and poor health. Even if retrospective measures don’t quite capture what demographers want to know, they can help pinpoint women who might need some extra help coping after birth.

There may be yet another, better way to measure intended fertility. It would require a careful balance. If the measure isn’t complex enough, we might miss how people really make decisions about fertility. If it’s too complex, it can become incomprehensible.

More broadly, researchers need to decide how much error they’re willing to tolerate. Many theoretical concepts are measured in ways that might not completely reflect the underlying concept. Social scientists need to interrogate important concepts like unintended fertility, but also need to use clear measures that adequately capture reality – even if they aren’t perfect.

How old is my pet in dog years or cat years? A veterinarian explains

July 23, 2018

Jesse Grady

Clinical Instructor of Veterinary Medicine, Mississippi State University

Disclosure statement

Jesse Grady receives funding from The Stanton Foundation.


Mississippi State University provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.

“Just how old do you think my dog is in dog years?” is a question I hear on a regular basis. People love to anthropomorphize pets, attributing human characteristics to them. And most of us want to extend our animal friends’ healthy lives for as long as possible.

It may seem like sort of a silly thing to ponder, born out of owners’ love for their pets and the human-animal bond between them. But determining a pet’s “real” age is actually important because it helps veterinarians like me recommend life-stage specific healthcare for our animal patients.

There’s an old myth that one regular year is like seven years for dogs and cats. There’s a bit of logic behind it. People observed that with optimal healthcare, an average-sized, medium dog would on average live one-seventh as long as its human owner – and so the seven “dog years” for every “human year” equation was born.

Not every dog is “average-sized” though so this seven-year rule was an oversimplification from the start. Dogs and cats age differently not just from people but also from each other, based partly on breed characteristics and size. Bigger animals tend to have shorter life spans than smaller ones do. While cats vary little in size, the size and life expectancy of dogs can vary greatly – think a Chihuahua versus a Great Dane.

Human life expectancy has changed over the years. And vets are now able to provide far superior medical care to pets than we could even a decade ago. So now we use a better methodology to define just how old rule of thumb that counted every calendar year as seven “animal years.”

Based on the American Animal Hospital Association Canine Life Stages Guidelines, today’s vets divide dogs into six categories: puppy, junior, adult, mature, senior and geriatric. Life stages are a more practical way to think about age than assigning a single number; even human health recommendations are based on developmental stage rather than exactly how old you are in years.

Dog breed and its associated size is one of the largest contributors to life expectancy, with nutrition and associated weight likely being the next most important factors for individual dogs.

But this still doesn’t answer the question of how old your individual animal is. If you’re determined to figure out if Max would be graduating from high school or preparing for retirement based on how many “dog years” he’s lived, these life stages can help. Lining up canine and human developmental milestones over the course of an average life expectancy can provide a rough comparison.

In a similar manner, the joint American Association of Feline Practitioners-The American Animal Hospital Association Feline Life Stage Guidelines also divide cats into six categories: kitten, junior, prime, mature, senior and geriatric. Since most healthy cats are around the same size, there’s less variability in their age at each life-stage.

Figuring out how old Buddy is in dog years or Fluffy is in cat years allows a veterinarian to determine their life-stage. And that’s important because it suggests what life-stage-specific health care the animal might need to prolong not just its life, but also its quality of life.

Physicians already apply this very concept to human age-specific health screenings. Just like a normal human toddler doesn’t need a colonoscopy, a normal puppy doesn’t need its thyroid levels checked. An adult woman likely needs a regular mammogram, just like an adult cat needs annual intestinal parasite screenings. Of course these guidelines are augmented based on a physician’s or veterinarian’s examination of the human or animal patient.

And as is the case for people, your pet’s overall health status can influence their “real age” for better or for worse. So next time you take your pet to the veterinarian, talk about your animal’s life stage and find out what health recommendations come with it. Watching out for health abnormalities and maintaining a healthy weight could help your cat live long past the literal “prime” of its life.

Law You Can Use: Consumer Information Column

Title IX: Addressing Sexual Discrimination and Violence in Schools

By Kristina W. Supler and Susan C. Stone

Kohrman Jackson & Krantz LLP

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs and activities. All public and private elementary and high schools, school districts, colleges and universities that receive any federal financial assistance must fully comply with Title IX.

While most people think of Title IX as prohibiting sexual harassment and sexual violence – including dating violence, rape, and sexual assault – it also applies to school admissions, financial assistance, athletics and the treatment of pregnant students.

Title IX applies to all students at federally funded institutions and is intended to protect them from sexual discrimination and sexual violence. This includes elementary students through graduate students; male and female students; full-time and part-time students; and students with and without disabilities.

Almost all private schools, including colleges and universities, must comply with Title IX because they receive federal funding through federal financial aid programs used by their students.

Enforcement of Title IX

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces Title IX’s requirements. Under Title IX, a federally funded institution must ensure that no student is denied or limited in his or her ability to participate in or benefit from a school’s educational programs or activities on the basis of sex.

A school fails to protect a student’s rights when the school is notified of an incident of sexual violence and/or a hostile environment, but fails to remedy its effects and prevent its recurrence.

A Title IX coordinator within an institution works to ensure Title IX compliance and enforcement, and oversees an institution’s grievance procedures for Title IX complaints. These procedures generally include investigations and hearings to determine whether sexual harassment or violence occurred. A “preponderance of the evidence” standard (meaning it is more likely than not that sexual harassment or violence occurred) governs Title IX proceedings.

Reporting sexual discrimination or violence

Every institution has its own grievance procedures and they may vary depending on the nature of the allegations and the number of other students who may be involved.

Generally, to report Title IX violations, a student would file a written complaint with a school’s Title IX coordinator who will then interview that student and the alleged perpetrator. Following these meetings, an institution may opt to use the services of an independent Title IX investigator, who is expected to conduct an adequate, reliable, impartial and prompt investigation.

All of the parties to a Title IX complaint will be allowed to present witnesses and evidence. As part of the investigation, the students’ files and any relevant police investigative reports may also be reviewed.

While an investigation is pending, an institution must protect the student making the allegation.

For example, the school may prohibit contact between that student and the alleged perpetrator and may offer no-cost counseling and other mental health services, in addition to academic support services such as tutoring.

When the investigation is concluded, a hearing may take place to determine whether the alleged conduct occurred, although Title IX does not necessarily require it.

Ultimately, all parties must be notified in writing about the outcome of the complaint.

Parallel investigations

Sometimes, Title IX violations involve criminal conduct and there can be a parallel criminal investigation to a Title IX inquiry.

The Office of Civil Rights has advised institutions not to wait for a criminal investigation and/or prosecution to conclude. Rather, institutions are advised to work with campus police and local law enforcement offices during investigations. Schools may share information with law enforcement investigators, as long as they comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and other privacy laws.

An institution can also handle complaints of alleged sexual violence that did not take place on school grounds or at a school-sponsored event.

Title IX requires an institution to process all sexual violence complaints. Even if the alleged conduct occurred off campus or at an event unrelated to school activities, an institution must still evaluate whether the impact of the alleged conduct creates a hostile environment on campus or at an off-campus educational program or activity.

How an attorney help navigate the Title IX process

Students can choose to have a lawyer represent them during a Title IX investigation. However, Title IX requires that, if an institution permits them to have legal counsel or an advisor, all other parties must have the option to choose the same type of representation. Counsel for an accused student may be critical, especially in cases involving potentially criminal conduct.

Attorneys can be an integral part of navigating the Title IX process and any parallel criminal investigation. Counsel can help a student making an allegation prepare a witness statement, communicate with university and government officials and negotiate a resolution.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws during NFL football practice on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, in Pittsburgh . (AP Photo/Don Wright) Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws during NFL football practice on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, in Pittsburgh . (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws during NFL football practice on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, in Pittsburgh . (AP Photo/Don Wright) Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws during NFL football practice on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, in Pittsburgh . (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws during NFL football practice on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright) Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws during NFL football practice on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Staff & Wire Reports