With the system to determine the national title in college football drawing intense criticism, the U.S. Senate is getting off the sideline to examine antitrust issues involving the Bowl Championship Series. The current system "leaves nearly half of all the teams in college football at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to qualifying for the millions of dollars paid out every year," the Senate Judiciary's subcommittee on antitrust, competition policy and consumer rights said in a statement Wednesday announcing the hearings. Behind the push for the hearings is the subcommittee's top Republican, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah. People there were furious that Utah was bypassed for the national championship despite going undefeated in the regular season.
Ex-Oriole Palmeiro named to college Hall
Rafael Palmeiro, who as an Oriole infamously wagged his finger at Congress four years ago while denying he used steroids only to test positive a few months later, was elected to the College Baseball Hall of Fame. Palmeiro, a four-time major league All-Star whose reputation was tainted by the positive test, was one of 10 former players and coaches elected for the hall's fourth induction class Tuesday. Palmeiro, 44, starred at Mississippi State from 1983 to 1985 and was the first Triple Crown winner in Southeastern Conference history. He played 20 years in the majors and is one of four players with 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, but his chances of making the Hall of Fame are in jeopardy after the steroid controversy. The college hall, run by the Lubbock, Texas-based College Baseball Foundation, focuses solely on what players and coaches achieved during their college careers.
Red Sox: : Right-hander John Smoltz pitched from the mound in a Boston uniform for the first time, testing his surgically repaired shoulder by throwing 40 pitches in the bullpen. ... The team signed right-hander Rocky Cherry to a minor league contract. Cherry, 29, was 0-3 with a save and a 6.35 ERA in 18 relief appearances for the Orioles last year.
Et cetera: : Rays pitcher David Price was optioned to Triple-A Durham. ... The Dodgers' Manny Ramirez started in left field against the Brewers. He had been kept from playing in the field since he aggravated his sore left hamstring March 15. ... The Brewers released outfielder Trot Nixon. ... Johnny Blanchard, who played in five consecutive World Series for the Yankees in the early 1960s, died Wednesday of a heart attack in Minnesota. He was 76.
Surgery complete for Armstrong
His broken collarbone surgically mended, Lance Armstrong is on the clock. The seven-time Tour de France champion will be back on his bike in days even though the bone might take eight to 12 weeks to fully mend. Armstrong, 37, must resume training almost immediately if he's to meet his goal of racing in the Giro d'Italia, which begins May 9. Armstrong plans to ride in the Tour de France in July. Surgeon Doug Elenz inserted a stainless steel plate and 12 screws to stabilize the broken collarbone Wednesday in Austin, Texas, two days after Armstrong crashed in the first stage of the Vuelta of Castilla and Leon race in northern Spain. Elenz said X-rays showed it was broken in four pieces.
Figure skating: : Brian Joubert botched his quad combination yet still edged Evan Lysacek in the short program at the world championships in Los Angeles, bolstered by a more difficult solo jump. Joubert, the 2007 champion, scored 84.40 points, putting him 1.7 ahead of Lysacek going into Thursday's free skate.
NASCAR: : NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick said he has no plans to remove Tony Eury Jr. as Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief despite Earnhardt's slow start this season. Earnhardt, NASCAR's most popular driver, has won only one point race in the Sprint Cup Series since his dramatic switch from his family's team to Hendrick Motorsports at the start of the 2008 season.
WNBA: : Free agent Lauren Jackson, the two-time Most Valuable Player who led the Seattle Storm to the 2004 championship, said in a radio interview that was to be aired in its entirety in her native Australia on Thursday night that she will play next either with the Storm or with the Phoenix Mercury.
NHL: : Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Martin Gerber received an automatic three-game suspension from the league for abusing referee Mike Leggo. Gerber was tossed with 56 seconds left in Tuesday's shootout win over the Washington Capitals after he pushed Leggo and shot a puck in his direction. Gerber was upset after Brooks Laich's goal made it 2-2.
Varsity:: Ronnie Zeberlein went 2-for-3 with a double, a homer and three RBIs to as the visiting No. 2 C. Milton Wright baseball team upset No. 1 Calvert Hall, 4-1. Left-hander Mike DeVecchio (2-0) went four innings, gave up one run on two hits and struck out five for the win. ... Pikesville's Dan Levin threw a no-hitter in a 9-0 victory at Woodlawn. Levin struck out seven and walked three. ... Shannon Tucker threw a shutout as visiting Centennial softball team upset No. 7 Atholton, 1-0.