Sampson restricted until '13; IU on probation
The NCAA placed Indiana University on three years of probation yesterday and made it nearly impossible for former coach Kelvin Sampson to return to college coaching anytime soon for a telephone recruiting scandal that set back the once-storied men's basketball program. The NCAA gave Sampson five years of potential penalties for his role in more than 100 impermissible phone calls to recruits made while he was still on probation for a similar phone-call scandal at Oklahoma. The penalties cap a 20-month saga that began with Sampson's hiring in March 2006. The university bought out Sampson's contract for $750,000 in February. Sampson, an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks, issued a statement saying he was "deeply disappointed" by the NCAA findings. The NCAA imposed restrictions on Sampson through November 2013. Should he return to college coaching, the university that hires him will have to explain to the NCAA why he should be hired, and Sampson would be prohibited from any recruiting through the summer of 2012. Former assistant Rob Senderoff, an assistant at Kent State, faces three years of NCAA sanctions. Under the terms of its probation, the university will be required to implement a comprehensive educational program on NCAA recruiting and eligibility rules for all coaches and their staffs and report annually to the NCAA on progress and participation. The probation comes in addition to sanctions Indiana has imposed.
Et cetera: : Massachusetts suspended guard Doug Wiggins indefinitely after he was arrested over the weekend on a misdemeanor charge of breaking and entering. ... Guard JJ Hones of the No. 5 Stanford women's team is out for the season with a knee injury, the second time in two years she has torn a ligament in her left knee.
Penn State coach Joe Paterno was released from the hospital, two days after undergoing hip replacement surgery. The coach, 81, had surgery to fix a sore hip that prevented him from pacing the sidelines. He coached the final seven games of the regular season from the press box. Paterno was released early from Mount Nittany Medical Center, the school said in a statement. The team doctor called the surgery a success. It took place Sunday, the day after No. 6 Penn State (11-1, 7-1 Big Ten) beat Michigan State to win the conference title and a trip to the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.
No. 15 Ball State 45, Western Michigan 22:: MiQuale Lewis ran for three touchdowns to help keep the host Cardinals (12-0, 8-0 Mid-American Conference) among the nation's four unbeaten teams with a victory over the Broncos (9-3, 6-2). Ball State clinched a spot in the conference title game Dec. 5 against Buffalo.
Et cetera:: Freshman star running back Jacquizz Rodgers is doubtful to play for No. 17 Oregon State in Saturday's Civil War game against No. 19 Oregon because of a shoulder injury. ... Despite speculation that he might enter the NFL draft in the spring, Pittsburgh running back LeSean McCoy said he plans to return for his junior season.
Mitchell thinks drug use down in major leagues
Nearly one year later, George J. Mitchell wouldn't change a word of his report. His investigation of drugs in baseball tarnished the reputation of pitcher Roger Clemens and dozens of other players, led to a toughened drug agreement and created an impression that clubhouses were teeming with performance-enhancers. "The impression I get is that it's had a significant impact of reducing usage, although that still remains very difficult to measure with any complete precision," the former Senate majority leader said during a half-hour interview with the Associated Press.
More steroids:: Clemens' former trainer gave samples of his DNA to federal investigators trying to ascertain whether the star pitcher committed perjury before Congress, two New York newspapers reported. The request for a DNA sample from trainer Brian McNamee suggests that investigators found readable DNA on the syringes, needles and gauze pads McNamee turned over to federal prosecutors in January, The New York Times and Daily News reported. McNamee's lawyers have said the items, when tested, would link Clemens to the use of performance-enhancing drugs. They claim McNamee used those needles and a gauze pad while injecting Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone.
Et cetera:: Phillies second baseman Chase Utley had arthroscopic hip surgery and is expected to need four to six months to recover. ... The Marlins' new ballpark won't open until the 2012 season, one year later than planned, because a court challenge slowed the start of construction.
The PGA Tour revamped its FedEx Cup race for the third straight year of its existence, this change geared toward making sure the winner of the $10 million prize is decided at the Tour Championship. Based on the excitement level of the first two years, in which Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh, respectively, built large leads and cruised to victories, the FedEx Cup can only improve. Under the new formula, points that previously had been reset at the start of the four-tournament playoffs will not be changed until the Tour Championship, meaning all 30 players who qualify for the finale will have a mathematical chance to win.
Tennis:: Maria Sharapova expects to be back on the WTA Tour at the start of 2009 and defend her Australian Open title after being sidelined since July with an injured right shoulder, her agent, Max Eisenbud, told the AP.
Horse racing:: Two Breeders' Cup events were among the six 2009 races elevated to Grade I stakes status by the American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. The $1 million Filly and Mare Sprint and $1 million Dirt Mile were upgraded from Grade II to Grade I. Others bumped to Grade I were the Jamaica Handicap at Belmont Park, the Pat O'Brien and Clement L. Hirsch Handicaps at Del Mar, and the Vinery Madison Stakes at Keeneland.
NFL: : Two former Ravens, tight end Shannon Sharpe and defensive back Rod Woodson, are among the four first-time eligibles who made the list of 25 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The other two are Bruce Smith, the NFL's career sacks leader, and defensive end John Randle. The list will be reduced to 15 before the final vote Jan. 31 in Tampa, Fla., the day before the Super Bowl. The list also includes three people in the contributor category: Art Modell, former owner of the Browns/Ravens; Bills owner Ralph Wilson; and former commissioner Paul Tagliabue.
Olympics:: Modern pentathlon has been cut from five events to four, effective Jan. 1, in a bid to boost its popularity and stay in the Games. The International Modern Pentathlon Union voted to combine pistol shooting and running into one discipline to create a shorter and more dynamic competition.