AP names Bradford Player of the Year
Sam Bradford of Oklahoma was voted the Associated Press College Football Player of the Year yesterday. He beat out the same two quarterbacks he did in capturing the Heisman Trophy - Colt McCoy of Texas and Tim Tebow of Florida. Bradford received 27 votes from the AP media panel that votes in the weekly poll. The sophomore quarterback was followed by McCoy with 17 votes. Tebow won the award last year and had 16 votes this time. Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree had two votes. Bradford, who will lead No. 2 Oklahoma against Tebow and No. 1 Florida in the Bowl Championship Series title game Jan. 8 in Miami, has passed for 4,464 yards and 48 touchdowns this season. He returned to practice after undergoing surgery for torn thumb ligaments on his left, nonthrowing hand earlier this month.
Texas: : Wide receiver Jordan Shipley will return for his senior season after the NCAA granted the school's hardship request for a sixth season of eligibility, ESPN.com reported. Shipley, who missed 2004 and 2005 because of knee and hamstring injuries, had a career-best 79 receptions for 982 yards and 11 touchdowns this season to earn third-team All-America honors from the AP.
Duke: : Vince Oghobaase is returning for his senior season. Team officials said the defensive tackle submitted his name to the NFL's advisory board to gauge his status for the draft. Oghobaase had 51 tackles, six sacks and five quarterback pressures this season.
Et cetera: : Chattanooga hired Richmond defensive coordinator Russ Huesman as head coach. ... Eastern Michigan introduced Ron English as coach, making him the fifth black head coach in major college football.
Yankees are hit with $26.9M luxury tax
The New York Yankees not only failed to make the playoffs, they were hit with their highest luxury tax in three years. The Yankees were assessed a $26.9 million tax by the commissioner's office, up from $23.9 million last year and their biggest bill since paying nearly $34 million for 2005. The Detroit Tigers, who also failed to qualify for the postseason, are the only other team that must pay tax and owe $1.3 million to the commissioner's office. Both teams got little for what they spent. The Yankees' streak of 13 consecutive playoff appearances ended, and they finished third in the American League East at 89-73. Detroit entered the year with lofty expectations after acquiring Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis but went 74-88 and was last in the AL Central.
More Yankees: : Pitcher Chien-Ming Wang and New York avoided salary arbitration when they agreed to a one-year, $5 million contract. The right-hander, 28, was 8-2 with a 4.07 ERA in 15 starts last season. ... Contrary to reports out of the Dominican Republic, the Yankees are not on the verge of signing Manny Ramirez. "If we are, I don't know about it," co-chairman Hal Steinbrenner told Newsday in shooting down the report by ImpactoDeportivo.com.
Pirates: : Catcher Ryan Doumit and Pittsburgh agreed to a three-year, $11.5 million contract that includes a club option that could make the deal worth $26.5 million over five seasons. Doumit reached the deal less than a year after becoming the Pirates' starting catcher. He hit .318 with 15 home runs and 69 RBIs in 431 at-bats after beating out former starter Ronny Paulino early in the season.
Suspensions: : Yankees catcher Damian Taveras and Orioles pitcher Ambiorix Suero were suspended for 50 games each after positive tests for banned performance-enhancing substances under baseball's minor league program. Taveras tested positive for Stanozolol and Suero for Boldenone. Both will serve their penalties at the start of next season. Both players were in the Dominican Summer League.
Furcal: : Rafael Furcal denies he reneged on a deal with the Braves before agreeing to a contract last week with the Dodgers. "We never gave the nod to the Braves," he said. Braves president John Schuerholz and general manager Frank Wren were quoted in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as saying Furcal's agent asked the Braves to send a signed letter of agreement, then reached a deal with the Dodgers.
Bill Davis sells team, engine company
Just a month removed from his first NASCAR championship but hampered by the current economic crisis, owner Bill Davis has sold his race team and engine company. Mike Held, a California businessman, and Marty Gaunt, vice president at Bill Davis Racing, bought out the veteran owner. The duo said they've also taken control of profitable Triad Racing Development, which supplies engines, chassis and bodies to customers from all three of NASCAR's top series. Davis, who has been in NASCAR for more than 20 years, won his first championship this season with Johnny Benson in the Truck Series. He also won the Daytona 500 with Ward Burton in 2002. But Davis lost his Sprint Cup Series sponsor and has been unable to secure funding for 2009.
Assistant Warzycha chosen as Crew coach
Robert Warzycha is the new coach of the Major League Soccer champion Columbus Crew. Warzycha was an assistant with the Crew the past six seasons. The 45-year-old takes over for Sigi Schmid, who led Columbus to the championship last month. Schmid was recently hired as coach of the expansion Seattle Sounders FC. Through the 2002 season, Warzycha was on the field as a player for 16 years and remains the Crew's all-time career assists leader with 61. He ranks fourth in points (99).
Colleges: : South Carolina's athletic department is committing $15 million over 15 years to the school's academic programs, thanks in part to the Southeastern Conference's lucrative media deals. South Carolina's share from the SEC for the 2008-09 budget year was more than $10.6 million. Athletic director Eric Hyman said with new deals with CBS and ESPN forged earlier this year, the Gamecocks' share figured to grow to more than $16 million in the next budget - making it an easy decision to help university academics.
Swimming: : The Speedo LZR Racer swim suits that helped produce 108 world records this year could be in for a new look. Swimming's governing body said it will take "appropriate action" when it meets March 12-14 in Dubai. Members will get reports from a coaches' forum next month in Singapore and a Feb. 20 meeting of suit manufacturers at FINA headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. That meeting also will feature FINA technical committee members, swimmers, coaches and sports lawyers. Any change in FINA rules could be in place for the 2009 world championships July 18-Aug. 2 in Rome.
Lacrosse: : Salisbury, the two-time defending national champion, is again the top-ranked team in the Division III men's preseason poll announced by Lacrosse Magazine. Washington College is ranked eighth and Stevenson ninth. Salisbury's Kylor Berkman was selected the Division III Preseason Player of the Year. The Salisbury women are ranked third, with St. Mary's 15th.