July 26, 2017

How a Wheelchair is Making the Difference

Filed under: College — Giorgio Varlaro @ 8:03 pm

Tufano exchanges mobility for a new set of wheels

Tony TufanoAt Keuka College we acknowledge, respect, and celebrate our differences—valuing many identities with the intension of creating an understanding environment. Our students, faculty, and staff know each other by name—and because of this—it allows for better understanding and mutual respect.

The caring environment provided helps students reach out and make a difference face-to-face, and this couldn’t be more apparent with the Occupational Therapy (OT) program who for the past decade have asked students to participate in an assumed disability project.

“The faculty who teach advanced clinical skill courses at Keuka College ask junior and senior students to take on a disability they have learned about such as a stroke or spinal cord injury—something that is severe enough where some form of assistive mobility device such as a walker or wheelchair is needed,” said Division Chair of Occupational Therapy Dr. Dianne M. Trickey-Rokenbrod. “We realize this is only a small taste of the actual experience, but we believe it does provide some insight into mobility challenges.”

Students typically are asked to last 48 hours in their disabled state, and in that time, must get groceries in town and cook a meal with adaptive equipment in the OT lab.

One staff member who learned of this project within the first couple weeks of his hiring was Director of Facilities Tony Tufano. Tufano—who joined our institution in April 2015—went to a student senate meeting where he was introduced to the assumed disability project. The memorable meeting for Tony took a small hiatus during the summer until he met Oliesha Jackson, a sociology major at Keuka. It was then during the fall 2015 semester when the sophomore from Syracuse, NY told the individual in charge of campus grounds the issues she deals with as a person who has to use a wheelchair daily.

“OT students originally asked me within my first couple weeks on campus what I was going to do about ADA (Americans with Disabilities) compliance,” said Tufano. “They had offered some perceived risks which I had no answers for, so nothing really came of it. Not until after I met Oliesha in the fall did real questions come forth. Jackson and Laura Sprague got together and asked to have a meeting with me in the spring (2016) where they gave me a list of items that challenge accessibility around Keuka.”

Jackson and Sprague included 18 separate items in alphabetical order for Tony to look at, following up with him as to how the list was coming from time-to-time via email, meeting occasionally for lunch.

“Through the summer I progressed on the list to the delight of both Oliesha and Laura which then evolved to me possibly getting in a wheelchair during one of our meetings,” added Tufano. “I had offered in the past to using a wheelchair, and I guess this was the first time someone took me serious!”

From there, Lauren, an occupational science major got in contact with Dr. Trickey-Rokenbrod to see if Tony could get fitted. In an interesting swing of events, Tufano was being fitted for an assistive mobility device to use around campus. The director of facilities was going to do his job, one which includes ample walking around the entire campus daily, in a wheelchair for one work week—three more days than students are expected to complete.

“I learned quickly the first day that it was going to be an interesting week after I tried to go to the bathroom in our office,” said Tufano chuckling. “I wasn’t able to do it!”

The new situation didn’t faze Tony however, as he remained in the wheelchair as much as possible to get the most of the experience. The avid skier, rock climber, and mountain biker took this new challenge in stride with the intension of making progress.

“I like pushing limits,” said Tufano. “I figured if the OT students were doing this, I should do it as well due to the role I have on campus. Additionally, I like making improvements in everything that I do. That’s where I find satisfaction!”

In his new predicament, Tufano was able to do many of his daily activities like ground, custodial, and maintenance inspections on Monday, Wednesday and Friday—but for the first time he was able to do it with a different perspective.

“The majority of our buildings are accessible,” said Tufano. “What I looked at before was if there was any way to get in a building. Now I look to make ADA convenient decisions, not compliant, since being compliant doesn’t necessarily offer convenience.”

Many Keuka students, faculty, and staff quickly learned of what Tony was doing and supported him in this endeavor. Tufano remitted that he didn’t think getting in wheelchair was going to garner as much attention as it did, but welcomed it as he looked to make the campus better.

“It was clear from the beginning that people were interested in making changes,” said Tufano. “Their passion impressed me. I saw it in each OT student during the student senate meeting. They didn’t want acknowledgement, they wanted awareness.”

Tufano continues to work on the list that Oliesha and Laura gave him, now a few days removed from his wheelchair. And maybe he’s getting more done with the blisters on his hands finally getting some rest. Despite that, Tony continues to create solutions amid other conflicts a director encompasses daily at any institution.

“There are some things on the list we can do, while others might not be an option,” said Tufano. “The challenge is real!”


April 4, 2013

Broncos’ offense too much for Generals

Filed under: Men's Lacrosse — Giorgio Varlaro @ 4:28 am
Supplied via Athletic Website

Supplied via Athletic Website

Herkimer, NY – Led by sophomores David Fernandez and Devlin Clarke, who combined for six goals and three assists, the SUNY Delhi Broncos came in to Wehrum Stadium Wednesday night an handed the Herkimer Generals a 13-7 loss.

Getting things started for the Broncos (4-2) were Fernandez and Brendan Caoli. Each netted goals within minutes of each of other (14:45 and 12:19) thanks to superb assists by teammates Dan Badolato and Devlin Clarke.

Answering back for the Generals (5-3) were Berek Martichuski and Davey Mitchell, scoring goals at 11:05 and 9:35, which knotted the score up at 2-2. Assisting on Martichuski’s goal was sophomore Joe Lopopolo.

Finishing out the scoring in the first quarter, which saw six goals combined from each team, was SUNY Delhi. Clarke and Fernandez netted goals past General goalie Jon Cooper and extended the lead back to two goals (4-2).

Extending the lead to 7-3 for the Broncos was James Massett, Jordan Owen and Fernandez. The Generals didn’t respond until there was 4:11 left in the second quarter, amassing over 20 minutes of game play with no goal when Generals Jace Sowden netted one of his two goals in the game. The Broncos finished the half up 8-3 after Clarke tallied a hat-trick.

Down, but not out, the Generals fought their way to score first in the second half, on an assist from Mitchell to Sowden, dropping the Bronco lead to 8-4 with 11:34 left in the third quarter.

Answering on unassisted goals for SUNY Delhi were Dan Caliendo, Caoli and Fernandez which brought the Bronco lead to seven (11-4) early in the fourth quarter. Herkimer’s Martichuski netted a goal, plus freshman Nicholas Suits netted two in the final quarter, but with the Broncos still up by five (12-7) with 4:12 left in regulation, time ran out for the Generals.

The Herkimer Generals next game is against Jefferson Community College on Saturday (3/6). Herkimer will host the Cannoneers at Wehrum Stadium at 3 p.m. As for the Broncos, they will host the MVCC Hawks at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

February 25, 2013

Where will technology take us?

Filed under: Sports — Giorgio Varlaro @ 4:53 am
Supplied via Google Images

Supplied via Google Images

Some of sports greatest minds were gathered for a panel discussion on ‘How Technology is Transforming the Business of Sport’. Within the panel were Jonathan Kraft, John Collins, Richard Brand and Chuck Pagano. Kraft is the President of the New England Patriots, Collins is the Chief Operating Officer of the NHL, Brand is a Sports & Media Attorney and Pagano is the Chief Technology Officer for ESPN. Moderating the panel was Forbes staff member Mike Ozianian. Major topics included rights fees, facility management, signage, the incorporation of 3-D and video games.

Opening up the discussion was Pagano, as it related to facility management with broadcasting. Pagano suggested that more cameras could be added on the field of play to further immerse fans with their favorite teams. No such examples were given, however Pagano made it clear future objectives would encourage compliments to the facility itself to heighten the fans experience.

Adding to the broadcast side was Kraft. Kraft suggested for sensors to be used on players. The sensors would draw data on biometrics; the identification of humans by their characteristics or traits. Information on how fast the player runs, how fast they throw and how much G-Force is used during a contest would increase the amount of information spectators have, thus further increasing the experience. Allowing for this increased information would be Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags and imaging technology.

Changing the topic to signage was Brand. Brand relayed how technology has allowed for more advertisements to be displayed during an athletic contest. With the incorporation of electronic and virtual signs, eye catching advertisements can be portrayed on the scoreboard of the facility.

Building on this was Collins. When it relates to rights fees, technology can increase communication and interaction. Social Media, a big-time influencer of this, has the ability to increase traffic at facilities. Due to the portability of technology today, facilities are trying to draw fans away from their home with the hopes of landing them in seats at the facility. Having fans at the game physically is better for teams than having fans watch the games at home.

Rounding out the panel discussion was Pagano, Collins and Kraft. Pagano referred to the incorporation of 3-D, while Collins and Kraft referred to video games as being an influential technology transforming the business of sports.

3-D television was in its implementation stages in the winter of 2010, Pagano said. This is when ESPN and Pagano started toying around with the idea of 3-D televised sporting events. Pagano said it’s still a work in progress since 3-D cannot be shot the same way normal television is, but with Ultra HD coming out in the not so distant future, Pagano and ESPN are still trying to use this new technology to bring sports fans something they have yet to see.

Collins and Craft referred to video games as being influential in transforming fans. Fans now learn the rules and players of the game from a console rather than playing or watching. As stated by Collins, “Video games are one of the biggest connections the young demo has with sports.” It even has young high school athletes demanding more sophisticated offenses and defense of their coaches since the Madden video game divulges much of its game-play on realism.

To see the panel discussion, which was aired on the YES Network, please follow the link below.


January 10, 2013

NHL achieves ‘Flying V’ with new agreement

Filed under: National Hockey League — Giorgio Varlaro @ 11:20 pm

Supplied via Google Images

The business of sport, forgotten within the scope of an athletic event, has seen its mighty reign end with the approval of a new NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement. The 10-year deal, which ended a 113-day lockout, completed negotiations between players and owners when it relates to player salaries, revenue sharing and retirement incentives.

Presuming players ratify the deal by Saturday, January 12, 2013, training camp would open up the following day (Sunday) and the season would begin January 19th.

Both sides came to an initial agreement of a 50-50 split between hockey-related revenue, down from 57 percent in the last deal. Added to this, players will receive new contract rights, giving them the ability to sign an eight-year contract if they choose to stay with the team they currently play for. A new pension plan was also comprised in the new deal.

Undecided in the new agreement were league realignment and participation in the 2014 Olympics (in Sochi, Russia).

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, who was also a part of the last lockout in 2004, did apologize for the amount of time which occurred for an agreement to be made, but reiterated that the stability that the NHLPA has shown under Donald Fehr will allow owners and the NHLPA to have an easier time working together moving forward.

Stability, a term which has not been associated with the NHL in some time, would benefit the league as a whole. Lockouts, on the other hand, are something fans aren’t going to have to deal with for at least another decade. Including the NFL, NBA and NHL, 411 days of labor negotiations incurred from 2011-2013 while owners and players were vying for a new collective bargaining agreement.


December 19, 2012

The Road to Easy Street in the NFL

Filed under: National Football League — Giorgio Varlaro @ 3:40 am
Supplied via Google Images

Supplied via Google Images

When athletic contests are decided by the slimmest of margins, consumers of sport expect its leagues and officials to maintain autonomy through rules. When these rules cannot be implemented properly a sense of hypocrisy arises.

In the NFL, where most of its contests are decided by one possession, fans expect a level playing field to be administered on a more consistent basis. To do this, the NFL must divulge more of its resources into new technologies. This is not an easy task with the league employing 125 officials, but as the leader of television ratings in the United States, you’re required step up and maintain autonomy when it’s needed.

One aspect of the game, ball placement, is one which comes up numerous times throughout a contest. It decides the outcome of games in fact. A way to increase the efficiency of where the ball is placed is with Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID). RFID tags were implemented last year in European Rugby with resounding success. Due to the similar nature in which the ball is moved in the field of play, RFID tags could have the same success in the NFL.

Where the device would be located is in the football itself, just like the rugby ball. According to engineers this would be an easy transition since three-dimensional object tracking is done every day and it’s easy to set up. A few high-speed cameras carefully positioned around the end zones and some ball-tracking software can get the job done making first downs calls, touchdowns and field goals easy to handle.

At this stage, introducing additional technology for NFL officials is more a business problem than anything else. It takes financial incentives and, ideally, league backing to turn entertainment, military, aerospace and other technologies into systems suitable for sports.

Furthermore, the new collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFL Referees Association provides for a Technology Committee. The committee would meet at least once a year to discuss effective ways to utilize technology to improve the game. The Technology Committee would give officials a greater voice in what is needed on the field and what might work best, but all final decisions still rest with NFL owners.


October 10, 2012

We Play to Win the Game!

Filed under: Digital Media — Giorgio Varlaro @ 2:32 am

Supplied via Google Images

Technological advancements in professional sports, like the addition of instant replay, number of cameras in the stands or the inclusion of sound have been gaining the attention of sport enthusiasts since Howard Cosell remitted his first words of color commentary next too Don Meredith on the first telecast of Monday Night Football. No longer were fans of athletics positioned to be at the event for entertainment.

Since that time, technological advancements have delivered fans a deeper understanding of spectator sports thus unprecedented information unknown to users in a previous life. This added information, which is now instantaneous, has shaped professional sports into what we know it as today…big business!

A technological advancement which has more importance than some might suspect is fantasy sports. When it relates to the consumption of athletics, fantasy sports have been behind-the-scenes like its early users who used to scour daily newspaper box scores tallying statistics.

Sports fans are forming unique relationships where alliances are formed thus influencing future consumption habits. Fantasy sports have a direct correlation to this. An instrument used to measure the motives of sport consumers is the Motivation Scale for Sport Consumption (MSSC). It assesses nine motives: achievement, acquisition of knowledge, aesthetics, drama/eustress, escape, family, physical attractiveness of participants, the quality of the physical skill of the participants and social interaction. Fantasy sports do not cover all the assessments however enough are present to create sound research.

Due to this, a stronger emotional bond is forming with technological advancement standing front and center. Some might suggest this technology even though it does not include women’s athletics, has increased female consumption habits as well, creating an interesting epidemic. That discussion is for another time and another place.

Furthermore, the success of fantasy sports has streamlined the inclusion of new media in athletics. Following fantasy sports has been Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, message boards, etc. Collectively each inform, create achievement, cause escape, increase social interaction, are aesthetic in their own right, obtain a sense of family/entitlement and formulate eustress. What this does is create a deeper connection to athletics and ultimately psychological branding.

With this information now revealed, see how new interactive technologies come into play during your everyday life when it relates to spectator sports. Decipher if it has encompassed your life enough to become a lifestyle rather than a form of escape. Once something becomes a lifestyle, it’s hard to let go. Has athletics consumed you without you knowing it? Don’t worry, it’s consumed us all!

August 8, 2012

Tips for Tweeters

Filed under: Digital Media — Giorgio Varlaro @ 4:40 pm

Supplied via Google Images

If you’re looking to improve your communication with consumers via Twitter, Buddy Media might be the place to look. Buddy Media, a social enterprise marketing suite, recently did a study to see what times of the week were optimal for social media consumption. The report, Strategies for Effective Tweeting: A Statistical Review, looked at user engagement for three months (December 11, 2011 to February 23, 2012). More specifically, success was deemed by the number of retweets, @replies and followers.

Using the top 320 brands on Twitter as participants in the study, Buddy Media concluded on 11 ways to improve your reach:

1.) Tweet on the Weekends

  • Twitter engagement rates for brands are 17 percent higher on Saturday and Sunday versus weekdays, but brands don’t leverage this trend. Only 19 percent of all brand tweets are published on weekends even though engagement is highest on these days. Tweets on Wednesdays and Thursdays are wasted because that’s when engagement is the lowest.

2.) Best Days to Tweet by Industry

  • Clothing and Fashion: Tweet on the Weekends
  1. Engagement for clothing and fashion brands are 30 percent higher on weekends, but only 12 percent of the industry’s tweets are posted on Saturday and Sunday. Followers typically have more time for shopping on weekends, so this is when to communicate with them. Thursday produces the lowest engagement.
  • Entertainment: Tweet on Sunday and Monday
  1. Tweets published by entertainment brands on Sunday and Monday receive 23 percent more engagement than average, while Thursday receives the lowest.
  • Publishing: Tweet on Saturday
  1. Publishers (bloggers included), are missing a big opportunity to engage with followers on Saturdays when they’re catching up on news and current events. Engagement on Saturday is 29 percent higher than average, yet only seven percent of publishing brands tweet on that day.
  • Sports: Tweet during the Big Game
  1. People are far more likely to engage with sports brands on Twitter during the weekend, which is no big surprise. Engagement rates are 52 percent higher on Saturday and Sunday than on weekdays, with Monday coming in third. Only nine percent of sports brands tweet on Saturday, so they’re missing an opportunity.

3.) Tweet while Users are Busy

  • Tweets sent during busy hours (8 a.m. to 7 p.m.) receive 30 percent more engagement than tweets posted at other times (8 p.m. to 7 a.m.), including Saturday and Sunday. 64 percent of brands tweet during busy hours and take advantage of this trend.

4.) Use Different Social Networks

  • While Tweets during busy hours receive significantly more engagement, Facebook posts show the inverse results. Posts during non-busy hours receive 17 percent more engagement on Facebook than those posted during busy hours. Facebook posts can remain at the top of a user’s news feed even if they’re published while the user isn’t on Facebook.

5.) Learn to Pace your Tweets

  • Plan your tweet schedule according to the days your tweets perform best. But don’t overdo it! There’s an inverse relationship between tweet frequency and engagement, so the more you tweet per day, the less engaging your tweets may become.

6.) Keep Tweets Short

  • Tweets that contain fewer than 100 characters receive 17 percent higher engagement than longer tweets.

7.) Use Links to Drive Clicks and Retweets

  • Links with short, tempting descriptions entice followers. Tweets that include links are retweeted 86 percent more than tweets with no links.

8.) Links Must Work

  • 92 percent of all linking errors are caused by not inserting a space before the actual link, which forces users to copy and paste the link into a browser.

9.) Don’t overdo it with Hashtags

  • Hashtags are a Twitter staple and a popular way to identify themes or topics in a tweet. Tweets with hashtags receive twice the engagement of those without hashtags, but only 24 percent of tweets contain them. It’s possible to overuse hashtags however and many brands do. Tweets with one or two hashtags have 21 percent more engagement than those with three or more, which yield a 17 percent drop.

10.) Tweet Images

  • Even though followers can’t see an image instantly on Twitter as they can on Facebook, regular publishing of images has a pronounced impact on Twitter performance. Tweets with image links have engagement rates 200 percent higher than those without.

11.) Ask for Retweets

  • Don’t be afraid to ask people to retweet your posts, it can make a difference. Tweets that specifically ask followers to “retweet” or “RT” are retweeted 12 times more than those that do not, but fewer than 1 percent of brands actually implement this.

Using social media to improve a brands image is something all companies still do not understand. Due to this, opportunities to engage consumers are being missed. With time, businesses will find better data, thus improve current branding initiatives.


July 15, 2012

Major League Baseball to see its True Value

Filed under: Major League Baseball — Giorgio Varlaro @ 4:02 pm

Supplied via Google Images

Most professional sports teams are private entities. Because of this it’s rare to find accurate annual profits where team values can be determined. Creative ways of finding this information have been proposed in research (comparing team value over time to the current market), but without the correct data the soundness of the research isn’t strong.

A big proponent in a teams’ value is television revenue. Before luxury seating became a staple in newly constructed stadiums and arenas, revenues from television contracts were a staple of a successful franchise. Marginal revenue gains increased from the millions to the billions thus leaving all competitors in the dust, searching for their chance at a lucrative television contract.

Major League Baseball (MLB), which collects an average of $711 million each year from ESPN, FOX and Turner, is searching for a competitive television contract for the 2013 season. Once completed, the contract will show MLB commissioner Bud Selig the true value of his commodity.

In trying to exploit networks appetites for ratings, the MLB wants to return baseball to NBC. NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) needs programming which is more powerful than its current marquee properties: the National Hockey League and Tour De France. Fox is also considering turning its Speed channel into an all-sports network, which would need more than motor racing to thrive.

One change baseball has proposed is an all-encompassing deal to one media giant for a game of the week, the All-Star Game and the postseason. It’s unlikely to happen because leagues prefer to satisfy multiple partners.

What the MLB does realize is NBC’s need for it. NBC is the fourth-ranked network, even though “Sunday Night Football” finished last season as the highest rated program in prime time. NBCSN cannot survive on only hockey, cycling, boxing, Mountain West Conference football, horse racing, soccer and elk hunting. Here’s where the MLB comes into play.

NBC’s Olympic coverage, which is slated to start on July 27th, is sure to dominate prime time coverage and receive record viewership, but after closing ceremonies what does the network have to offer television viewers?

With rights fees for professional and college sports soaring, let’s see what the MLB can attract. The National Football League signed a nine-year extension with FOX, NBC and CBS totaling $27 billion in 2011. NCAA basketball signed a 14-year deal with CBS and Turner Sports totaling $11 billion in 2010. Should Major League Baseball come close to these deals, reveals its importance to television viewers.


May 17, 2012

Negotiations ‘Cold as Ice’ during NHL playoffs

Filed under: National Hockey League — Giorgio Varlaro @ 1:54 am

Supplied via Google Images

Months removed from the National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) labor negotiations, the National Hockey League (NHL) has now immerged as the new front runner of the four major sports leagues to declare a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). As of today, the NHL provided written notice to the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA) that it intends to change and/or end the current CBA.

120 days removed from the September 15th deadline, both the players and owners might have to hash out negotiations of revenue sharing, rule changes, retirement benefits and player safety. The NHL is unlike the three other major U.S. pro leagues (NFL, NBA and MLB) since it is not known if the league or the players will seek major economic or other changes to the current system, which could in turn lead to a work stoppage. The NFL and NBA made it clear years in advance of the expiration of their CBA that major economic changes were needed. That advance didn’t prevent a strike.

With a little over four months before the end of the deadline, only speculation can be made at this time. The only information we can go on currently came during a speech before the Sports Lawyers Association on Saturday (May 12th). NHLPA’s Steve Fehr said he did not know if the NHL would be seeking major concessions from the players or not, but if the owners were seeking such concessions, the players are not inclined to make them.

With this known, the MLB is the only league of the four to reach a new labor deal without a lockout or strike. Is it possible with the current economy for the NHL to prevent a lockout? Once the playoffs are finished, the owners and players will have three months to negotiate. Is that enough time? Has the NHL learned from  2004?

April 10, 2012

Social Media….Proving an Effect

Filed under: Digital Media — Giorgio Varlaro @ 4:08 pm

Supplied via Google Images

A brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. The perception of a brand by one’s peers can determine success or failure. Just ask Tiger Woods

Since image is everything today, necessary steps have to be taken to promote value. Similarly, steps also have to be taken not to hit rock bottom (a.k.a crisis management).

For athletic departments, a way to preserve the brand is through monitoring social media. The ease of distributing information to large sums of users is all too real for key stakeholders in athletic departments.

Major universities like North Carolina, Nebraska and Oklahoma pay $7,000 to $10,000 a year to monitor student athletes online. In return, obscenities, offensive commentary and words like “free” are searched for online with the intention of informing universities to prevent incidents.

In 2010, the existence of social media became all too real when former North Carolina football player Marvin Austin posted a message on Twitter revealing that he was receiving impermissible benefits. That tweet resulted in a one-year suspension for Austin due to breaking NCAA amateurism rules.

In the N.C.A.A.’s statement about North Carolina’s punishment, it hinted that institutions should be tracking public information made available by student-athletes if there is a “reasonable suspicion of rules violations.” Due to this, some colleges now require athletes to give them access to their Facebook or Twitter accounts, either by downloading software to monitor them or simply requiring that they let a coach, an administrator or a third-party company “friend” them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

From this, invasion of privacy rights have come forth. Due to this, University administrators face a tricky situation when it comes to their players’ activity on social media, balancing issues of privacy while trying to guard against the possibility that an errant posting on Twitter or Facebook.

Hence, with the institutions brand on the line, should student-athletes be monitored online? Is it erroneous for colleges and universities to care about an image when Beer & Circus is occurring daily with normal undergraduates? Will future litigation be able to find the correct answer?


Next Page »

Blog at