Suburban School Closes Due to Flu Outbreak

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Suburban School Closes Due to Flu Outbreak

After the CDC warned of a potentially severe flu season, it seems to have hit the Chicago area Monday morning. A quarter of the student body at Nazareth Academy in La Grange Park called in sick with the flu. By lunchtime, they were sending everyone home.

Dr. Terry Mason, the head of the Cook County Department of Public Health, says their weekly reports show the flu has hit harder and earlier than in the past two years.

Classes at Nazareth Academy were also cancelled Tuesday and Wednesday so the administration could deep clean the school and give the students a chance to recover before next week's final exams.

"Anywhere you have people that are congregated together, there's a higher likelihood that you're going to spread any disease. Flu is one of them," Dr. Mason said.

Public health authorities say there's another cause for worry this year concerning the effectiveness of the flu vaccine.

One of the influenza virus strains in this year's vaccine underwent a mutation, making the vaccine less effective, said Michael Vernon, the director of communicable disease control at the Cook County Department of Public Health. But the vaccine still offers some protection, he said.

"The flu is very unpredictable," Vernon said. "There's no way of telling how soon this will peak and start going down or what the rest of the season is likely to look like."

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

Mark Dantonio takes to Twitter to criticize stories on ex-Spartans QB Connor Cook

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Mark Dantonio takes to Twitter to criticize stories on ex-Spartans QB Connor Cook

Mark Dantonio surely wasn't happy about Connor Cook's unexpected fall in the NFL Draft. But the Michigan State head coach appears to be even less happy over explanations of why Cook's fall happened.

Dantonio took to Twitter in the wee hours of Tuesday morning to express his displeasure over a story in the Detroit News explaining why Cook plummeted down the draft boards of many teams. Though no specific title or writer was named, a story published Saturday titled "Personality issues caused Connor Cook's fall in draft" seems like the target of Dantonio's tweet.

Dantonio followed up with another Tuesday-morning tweet aimed at the Detroit Free Press. Again, no specific story or writer was mentioned by the coach, but one can assume that a Sunday story titled "Connor Cook could not satisfy NFL teams' questions about leadership" might be the one. It in itself was a follow up to an earlier story by the same writer titled "Connor Cook leaves some teams uneasy in NFL draft."

After a head-scratching fall, Cook was eventually selected in the fourth round by the Oakland Raiders, who used the No. 100 pick on a quarterback who at one point looked like one of this draft's top prospects at the position. While Cook's 2015 season with the Spartans wasn't statistically sensational, he still established himself as perhaps the Big Ten's best quarterback and still led his team to a Big Ten championship and an appearance in the College Football Playoff.

Cook finished his career at Michigan State, during which he was a three-year starter, with a 35-5 record, something Dantonio pointed out in those tweets.

So what was the big deal? Well, according to that Detroit News story, Cook earned the skepticism of NFL teams with his personality.

The fact that Cook was not elected a team captain back in the fall has been talked to death and probably way overblown considering the Spartans were a senior-laden group with a lot of high-caliber choices for that honor. Center Jack Allen was elected the offensive captain, and in another draft stunner, he wasn't selected at all last weekend.

But the Detroit News story went further, attributing NFL personnel who described Cook as "arrogant" with "an overall attitude issue."

That first Detroit Free Press story quoted one NFL coach saying, "There’s something about him that you just don’t trust him," and another saying, "There’s just something put-offish about him."

You can see why Dantonio would be upset.

But it seems the writers shouldn't be the one drawing Dantonio's ire. While everyone always gets upset when quotes are attributed to anonymous people, that seems to be a more common thing in stories about the NFL Draft than in stories about government corruption. NFL personnel obviously had issues with Cook, whether those were justified or not. If they didn't, Cook would've been selected much earlier. The reporters are reporting on those issues.

So maybe instead of attacking the stories, Dantonio should be going after the NFL front offices that deemed his 35-5 quarterback undraftable.

Northwestern to pay $1.2 million for 2017 non-conference game vs. Nevada

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Northwestern to pay $1.2 million for 2017 non-conference game vs. Nevada

Usually, people spend a lot of money to travel to Nevada and partake in its various entertainment options.

Northwestern is spending a lot of money to bring Nevada to Evanston.

The Reno Gazette-Journal reported Tuesday that Northwestern will pay Nevada a whopping $1.2 million to travel to play a non-conference football game in Evanston in 2017.

Big-conference schools paying out large sums of money to play host to small-conference schools is nothing new and downright commonplace. The school from the larger conference, the Big Ten in this case, gets a relatively easier opponent in hopes of securing a non-conference win. The school from the smaller conference, in this case the Mountain West, gets a big payday that is vital to keeping its program competitive and funding things throughout the athletics department.

It's generally a win-win, though this kind of situation also sets up the big-conference school for potential embarrassment. Should the small-conference school score an upset, well then the loss comes with a million-dollar price tag. Big Ten fans will surely remember Michigan's folly with Appalachian State, and that's not the only time such a thing has occurred.

So now it's Northwestern's turn to shell out the cash for a date with Nevada. The Wolf Pack have posted a 7-6 record in four of the last five seasons, with a 4-8 finish thrown in there, too. The two schools met twice previously in 2006 and 2007, splitting that home-and-home series.

Northwestern's non-conference schedule for the 2017 season is now complete, with this Nevada game accompanying a road game against Duke and a home game against Western Illinois.

Big Ten vs. Big East: Matchups announced for Gavitt Tipoff Games

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Big Ten vs. Big East: Matchups announced for Gavitt Tipoff Games

Last season saw the inaugural edition of the Gavitt Tipoff Games, a non-conference event pitting Big Ten teams against Big East teams.

Well, Year 2 of the event is coming up this fall, and the matchups were announced Tuesday, featuring a total of eight teams from last season's NCAA tournament field.

The highlight is without a doubt Purdue clashing with Villanova, the reigning national champion following its unforgettable win in last month's national title game.

But there are plenty of other noteworthy games, including a rematch of last season's tremendous Maryland-Georgetown bout, Wisconsin visiting Creighton, Iowa playing host to Seton Hall and Ohio State welcoming Providence to Columbus.

Here's the full schedule.

— Villanova at Purdue (Monday, Nov. 14)
— Maryland at Georgetown (Tuesday, Nov. 15)
— Wisconsin at Creighton (Tuesday Nov. 15)
— Northwestern at Butler (Wednesday, Nov. 16)
— Seton Hall at Iowa (Thursday, Nov. 17)
— Providence at Ohio State (Thursday, Nov. 17)
— Rutgers at DePaul (Thursday, Nov. 17)
— St. John's at Minnesota (Friday, Nov. 18)