Archive for August, 2012

Tennessee has no problem with N.C. State

It took 38 seconds for Tennessee to show there’s a chance “Rocky Top” may be heard at the Georgia Dome again in December.

The Volunteers scored 16 points in 38 seconds in the first half and used that momentum to defeat N.C. State 35-21 on Friday in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at the Georgia Dome in front of 55,529 attendees.

Playing without Calhoun’s Da’Rick Rogers, and appearing not to need the troubled wide receiver who was dismissed from the team last week, quarterback Tyler Bray and the Volunteers had no trouble doing most anything it wanted offensively against what is supposed to be one of the better defenses in the ACC. Bray passed for 332 yards and two TDs, outdueling N.C. State’s Mike Glennon (288 yards, one TD, four interceptions), and the Vols shredded the Wolfpack for 526 yards.

“It was a great game,” Bray said. “We haven’t won here since the National Championship. This was great for the state of Tennessee.”

The victory snapped a six-game losing streak …

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High school unveils $60 million stadium

AllenHigh near Dallas christens its new stadium Friday night. (AP Photo)

AllenHigh near Dallas christens its new stadium Friday night. (AP Photo)

The Eagles unveil their brand new $60 million football stadium tonight, a double-decker with 38-foot high-def video screen and corporate sponsors.

No, we’re not talking about the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s the Allen (Texas) High School Eagles, which christens the 18,000-seat stadium against defending champion Southlake Carroll.

The stadium also features a multi-level press box, wrestling and weight rooms, a golf practice area and artificial turf.

It’s not the largest high school stadium in Texas, but it is the biggest that houses a single team.

Allen High supporters say the stadium is well worth the money, even in a down economy in which many school systems are struggling to find money to pay teachers.

“There will be kids that come through here that will be able to play on a field that only a few people will ever get the chance to play in,” said Wes Bishop, the father of a player and head of the booster …

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‘Bad guys’ a good sign for Notre Dame?

Notre Dame radio analyst Allen Pinkett says you can tell the Irish are on the right track because their players are getting in trouble.

According to ESPN, Pinkett, a former all-American running back at Notre Dame, told WSCR-AM:

“I’ve always felt like to have a successful team you’ve got to have a few bad citizens on the team. That’s how Ohio State used to win all the time. They would have two or three guys that were criminals and that just adds to the chemistry of the team. I think Notre Dame is growing because maybe they have some guys that are doing something worthy of a suspension which creates edge on the football team.

“You can’t have a football team full of choir boys. You get your butt kicked if you’ve got a team full of choir boys so you’ve got to have a little bit of edge. But the coach has to be the dictator and the ultimate ruler. Here’s my opinion: You don’t hand out suspensions unless you know you’ve got somebody behind that guy that can make plays.”

Notre Dame …

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Gabby Douglas draws fire for racism claim

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Has Gabby Douglas gone from America’s sweetheart to America’s lightning rod?

The Olympic gold medalist is under fire after she said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that she was the victim of racism at the gym where she trained in Virginia Beach.

She told Winfrey about one incident in which a teammate at Excalibur Gymnastics told her to do something because she was their slave.

“I definitely felt isolated,” Douglas said in the interview. “I felt, ‘Why do I deserve this? Is it because I’m black?’ ”

Her former coach and others associated with Excalibur blasted the claim.

“Really, I was shocked and very hurt,” former coach Dena Walker told NewsChannel 3 in Hampton Roads.

Gustavo Moure, CEO of Excalibur, went even further, suggesting that Douglas was lying.

“I wish to defend the children that trained with her and supported her when she attacks them with these allegations,” he told E! News. “Is Gabrielle a credible person just because she is an …

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ESPN to pay $5.6B for Major League Baseball rights

(Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

(Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

It looks like ESPN is prepared to pay big bucks for the rights to broadcast Major League Baseball games through 2021, according to news reports.

Reuters is reporting the sports network has agreed to pay $5.6 billion over eight years for the broadcast TV and digital rights. According to the Associated Press, the deal also gives ESPN more flexibility to show games involving popular teams.

MLB didn’t disclose the financial details but said in a statement that the deal would set a record for payments for baseball broadcasting rights.

ESPN currently pays about $306 million annually to MLB for domestic TV rights and about $50 million for digital, international and radio rights. The new deal would mean annual payments would jump to around $700 million annually, Reuters said.

Citing people familiar with the deal:

ESPN will retain rights to “Sunday Night Baseball,” Monday and Wednesday night games, and highlights for “Baseball Tonight,” the …

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LSU players face academic problems

Preseason No. 1 LSU suffered a major blow earlier this month when star defensive back Tyrann Mathieu was kicked off the team.

Now, the Tigers’ top running back from last season and a linebacker may be sidelined by academic problems.

LSU coach Les Miles confirmed Monday that running back Michael Ford and linebacker Tahj Jones were awaiting the results of appeals concerning their academic records.

“Yeah, there is some appeal process that being undertaken for those guys,” Miles said at a press luncheon according to the News Star of Monroe. “And we’ll kind of have to wait and see how that all turns out as we get closer to the game.”

LSU opens against North Texas State on Saturday.

Ford was LSU’s leading rusher last year with 756 yards on 127 carries and seven touchdowns, but was listed as no. 3 on this year’s depth chart behind junior Alfred Blue and sophomore Kenny Hilliard. Jones saw significant playing time last year as a backup and is listed as the No. 2 Sam linebacker this …

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Penn State bans ‘Sweet Caroline’

The Jerry Sandusky sex scandal continues to reverberate at Penn State.

The latest shock from the scandal that resulted in the ouster of coach Joe Paterno and crushing NCAA penalties involves the in-game music selection.

The athletic association has banned the playing of the Neil Diamond classic “Sweet Caroline,” which has become a staple at many sporting events. University officials were concerned because of a line in the song that goes “touching you, touching me,” according to the Allatoona Mirror newspaper.

“The thing our fans have come to expect is a great gameday experience,” said Greg Myford, associate athletic director for business relations and communications. “On a national level, we know we are very highly regarded for the Penn State gameday experience. We are not making any wholesale changes to that.”

Penn State is making other changes this season, including putting players’ names on the back of their jerseys for the first time.

Sandusky, 68, the former longtime Penn …

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Trouble keeps coming for college football players

South Carolina and Vanderbilt kick off the 2012 college football season Thursday night, and the season can’t come soon enough for coaches trying to keep their players out of trouble.

Three more players for prominent programs have been suspended, adding to the long list of athletes who have found trouble in the off season.

Auburn starting center Reese Dismukes was suspended by coach Gene Chizik after an arrest for public drunkenness early Saturday morning.

“I am very disappointed in Reese Dismukes for his irresponsible behavior last night,” Chizik said in a statement. “This kind of behavior will not be tolerated at Auburn and I have suspended Reese as a result of his actions.”

It was not known how long Dismukes’ suspension would be. He started all 13 games last season.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly announced that starting tailback Cierre Wood and defensive end Justin Utupo have been suspended for two games for a violation of team rules. They join quarterback Tommy Rees in …

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London to get NFL team?

The head of the NFL in the United Kingdom says London is moving closer to getting an NFL franchise.

In an interview with Reuters, NFL UK managing director Alistair Kirkwood said the success of the NFL’s International Series in London, which began in 2007, has made a franchise there a real possibility.

“I think the first chapter has been considered a success with the owners voting on a renewal going forward,” Kirkwood said. “Jacksonville returning is also a sign of maturity of the concept.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced this week that the Jacksonville Jaguars will play one home game at London’s Wembley Stadium for four years starting next year.

“What this now does is allow us to test if we can bring in more new fans and boost a single team recognition,” Kirkwood told Reuters.

“Once that period has come up we will then have learnt an awful lot about it and know what the viability for us going forward is and then be in a great position to make a call [on putting a …

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5-year-old’s Michigan T-shirt banned in OK

A 5-year-old kindergarten student has run afoul of the fashion police in Oklahoma City for supporting the wrong team.

Cooper Barton wore a “Big House” t-shirt — the nickname for Michigan’s 114,000-seat stadium — to classes at Wilson Elementary, and was told by school officials to turn the shirt inside out.

The officials explained that Oklahoma City has a policy prohibiting the wearing of college team shirts, unless they represent Oklahoma schools.

His family, avid Michigan supporters, was not pleased.

“It wasn’t offensive,” his mother Shannon told KWTV. “He’s five.”

The Oklahoma City Public Schools District policy forbids “clothing bearing the names or emblems of all professional and collegiate athletic teams” unless they’re from Oklahoma. Officials said the policy was developed in 2005 as an anti-gang measure.

School Superintendent Karl Springer said the policy was under review due to the incident involving Cooper.

“He absolutely had concerns about [the policy] and thinks it …

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