Archive for August, 2012

Auburn’s oaks cleared for toilet paper rolls

Auburn Trees Poisoned

(AP / The Ledger-Enquirer)

Their leaves are mottled and brown, and their canopies are smaller but the poisoned live oaks at Auburn University’s Toomer’s Corner are strong enough to withstand being rolled with toilet paper this fall during football victory celebrations, school officials say.

The 131-year-old trees’ future, however, remains uncertain, as is the fate of a University of Alabama fan who has been charged with attacking them with a powerful herbicide after the Tigers beat the Crimson Tide in 2010. The poisoning was not discovered until early 2011.

The Associated Press reports that the oak trees were trimmed this summer for the start of fall classes and football season.

The Tigers face LSU in their first SEC home opener at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Sept. 22. Auburn faces Alabama Nov. 24 – in Tuscaloosa. (Auburn faces the Georgia Bulldogs in Auburn on Nov. 10).

“While long-term decisions about the trees have not been made, fans are still welcome to gather at the …

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Women carrying the load for U.S. at Olympics

“Thank heaven for little girls,” the French crooner Maurice Chevalier sang.

The U.S. Olympic Committee may be singing “Thank heaven for big girls” after the London Games.

Without a stellar performance by the women, the U.S. would be lagging far behind China in the medal count. Of the 34 gold medals won by Americans so far, the women have won 23 of them — more than two-thirds.

The women’s gold count includes eight in swimming, four in track and field, three in gymnastics, two in shooting, two in tennis, one in beach volleyball, one in cycling, one in judo and one in rowing.

The U.S. women have a chance to make it 25 on Thursday when the soccer team takes on Japan and the water polo team plays Spain.

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More trouble for Tennessee QB Bray

Tyler Bray was recently praised by coach Derek Dooley for his increased maturity. (AP photo)

Tyler Bray was recently praised by coach Derek Dooley for his increased maturity. (AP photo)

Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray is facing more trouble with the law, just two weeks after he admitted damaging cars in the parking lot of his Knoxville apartment complex.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel reports that Bray appeared in Loudon County General Sessions Court on Wednesday where he faced charges stemming from a July 4 boating incident.

The paper reported:

According to Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officer Dewayne Williams, Bray was driving a Jet Ski with a woman passenger when he was observed by Williams “hot dogging” with another Jet Ski. Williams explained the term “hot dogging” as “almost like playing chicken” on Jet Skis.

The other Jet Ski tipped over spilling the unidentified occupants into the water. Bray then sped near the swimmers “spraying them with water,” according to Williams, who added “he was almost on top of them.”

Jet Skis are supposed to operate at least 100 …

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T.O.’s contract could affect child support case

Terrell Owens paid $20,000 to the mother of his daughter in Atlanta last month.

Terrell Owens paid $20,000 to the mother of his daughter in Atlanta last month. (Curtis Compton, AJC)

Terrell Owens’ new contract with the Seattle Seahawks has already affected his child support case.

The Atlanta attorney for Melanie Smith, the mother of one of Owens’ four children, said Wednesday he would move for dismissal of Owens’ request to have his $5,000-a-month payments reduced.

In an email to the AJC, Randall M. Kessler said, “Now that Terrell Owens has a new contract with the Seattle Seahawks, we will soon file a motion to dismiss the request for a reduction in child support he filed last month. We are glad that he is back in the NFL and wish him the best. This will benefit him and his children.”

Owens, 38, agreed to a one-year deal with the Seahawks on Monday. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. He has not played in the NFL since 2010.

He has struggled to pay child support to his four children, ages 5-12.

In July, the six-time Pro Bowl receiver avoided …

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West Georgia to explore Division I status

West Georgia has commissioned a study to explore the possibility of playing football on the Division I level.

The Wolves are currently Division II and play in the Gulf South Conference, but have asked Collegiate Consulting to analyze playing on the FCS level. Moving football would require moving all sports to Division I.

The Wolves have 12 sports, seven for men and five for women. West Georgia is located in Carrollton.

The study will include financial analysis and a facilities study, among other comparative analyses.

A call to athletic director Daryl Dickey hasn’t been returned.

- Doug Roberson, AJC staff

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Woods’ re-emergence will help Tour Championship

Tiger Woods is close to a long-awaited return to Atlanta.

After a two-year absence Woods will, in all likelihood, be in town for the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club next month. Golf’s biggest draw leads the FedEx Cup point standings heading into this week’s PGA Championship. After missing the tour’s playoff finale in 2010-11, Woods’ re-emergence will be a hit with fans and tournament officials.

“No question we do not have a blind eye from that reality,” said Rob Johnston, Tour Championship general chairman, of Woods’ return. “He is a marquee player of extraordinary significance.”

The Tour Championship will be held Sept. 20-23 for the 12th time at East Lake.

Woods is showing signs of returning to the form that once made him a staple at the top of leaderboards, money lists and world rankings. He has three wins this season, tops on the PGA Tour, and with a world ranking of No. 2 is close to regaining his top spot.

There is still work to do with the final major this …

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Gamecocks’ QB McEvoy leaves team

The Tanner McEvoy saga continues at South Carolina.

The backup quarterback, who was suspended after an arrest in North Carolina and then reinstated by coach Steve Spurrier less than a week later, has now decided to leave the team.

Spurrier announced the decision Tuesday. McEvoy was not at Tuesday’s practice.

McEvoy said it was a football-related decision.

“I want to play quarterback and the depth chart here is looking like I won’t be seeing the field,” he told’s Chris Clark.

McEvoy, 19, was arrested by a Mecklenburg County sheriff’s deputy July 30 and charged with speeding and driving after consuming alcohol while under 21. He was released after posting a $250 bond.

Under USC policy, McEvoy was immediately suspended after his arrest. But less than a week later, Spurrier announced the QB was back with the team, saying an arrest for underage drinking is no reason to suspend a player.

“You want him suspended for having a beer and he’s underage? How many …

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Boomer Esiason: Jets should cut Tebow

Boomer Esiason says Tim Tebow will not help the Jets and Mark Sanchez. (AP photo)

Boomer Esiason says Tim Tebow will not help the Jets and Mark Sanchez. (AP photo)

Boomer Esiason is not backing down from his statement that the New York Jets should send Tim Tebow packing.

“If I were the Jets . . . I would cut Tim Tebow, I really would,” Esiason said Monday on his “Boomer & Carton” radio show on WFAN in New York. “It’s not in any way, shape or form, I think, benefiting this team.

“All you have to do is watch him throw the ball. I just think this whole thing, at least from my perspective right now in relation to who Mark Sanchez is — your starting quarterback — is a major mistake.”

WFAN reported that fan reaction was overwhelmingly anti-Esiason, but the former Pro Bowl QB was in no mood to back down Tuesday.

“I said what I said, I’m not gonna back down from it,” he said. “I have nothing personally against Tim Tebow. As a matter of fact, I like him very much, he’s a great guy, does great work off the field. But it really comes down to playing quarterback for the …

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Refs draw fire at London Olympics

Alex Morgan scores in the last minute of extra time to give the U.S. a 4-3 win over Canada. (AP photo)

Alex Morgan scores in the last minute of extra time to give the U.S. a 4-3 win over Canada. (AP photo)

Referees’ controversial calls are stealing part of the spotlight from the athletes at the London games.

The biggest blow-up comes in the wake of the U.S. women’s epic 4-3 win over Canada in soccer Monday.

At issue was a delay-of-game call against the Canadian goalkeeper and a hand ball on the ensuing free kick that resulted in a penalty-kick goal for the U.S., tying the score at 3-3 and sending the game into overtime, where the U.S. won with a dramatic last-minute goal.

“We feel like we got robbed in this game,” Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod said. “The referee said I had the ball for ten seconds. She obviously counted the time I was on the ground with the ball. Once I got to my feet I calculate I only had the ball for five seconds. … the referee was very one-sided.”

Canadian team captain Christie Sinclair was equally blunt: “We feel like we didn’t lose. We feel like it was …

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Former Falcon Brooking signs with Broncos

Former Falcons and Georgia Tech linebacker Keith Brooking has signed with the Denver Broncos.

Keith Brooking played 11 seasons for the Falcons.

Keith Brooking played 11 seasons for the Falcons.

The 14-year pro played the last three seasons in Dallas after an 11-year career in Atlanta.

Brooking, 36, played in all 16 regular season games for 11 consecutive years but he started just three games last year with the Cowboys, when he was supplanted by Sean Lee.

Brooking recorded 34 tackles in 2011, his lowest total since his rookie season.

“We had him in for a workout and thought he looked outstanding,” Broncos coach John Fox said.

More NFL news:

— 38-year-old Terrell Owens agreed to a contract with the Seattle Seahawks. Owens hasn’t played in the NFL since the 2010 season with Cincinnati, when he caught 72 passes for 983 yards and nine touchdowns.

– Veteran safety Brodney Pool, signed in the offseason by the Cowboys to improve their secondary, was cut just a week into camp.

– Tebowmania turned into Wrestlemania at the New York …

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