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Sports Log

4 Auburn players claim they were paid

March 31, 2011

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College football
Auburn will investigate claims by four former football players, who told HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel’’ they received thousands of dollars while being recruited by or playing for the Tigers. Stanley McClover, Troy Reddick, Chaz Ramsey, and Raven Gray told HBO for an episode that aired last night they received cash payments — in book bags, envelopes, and even handshakes. Ramsey played at Auburn most recently, in the 2007 season. Coach Gene Chizik dismissed the report as “pure garbage.’’ Chizik, Auburn’s defensive coordinator from 2002-04 during the careers of McClover and Reddick, said last night he had no knowledge of the alleged payments, “and I don’t have my head in the sand.’’ Tommy Tuberville, Auburn’s coach during the recruitment of all four players, declined comment. He is now the head coach at Texas Tech . . . BCS officials challenged the Fiesta Bowl to persuade them that extravagant and improper spending behind the firing of longtime CEO and president John Junker will never happen again. Otherwise, the BCS said it can kick out the Fiesta Bowl altogether. “They know that if they want to do business with us, they need to follow the letter of the law,’’ BCS executive director Bill Hancock said. “If they fail to do so, they do it at their own peril.’’ . . . Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel apologized for letting people down, and acknowledged that some may view him as a cheater in the wake of NCAA violations that resulted in a five-game suspension.

LSU’s Peterson shopped by trainer? Van Malone, a former cornerbacks coach at Texas A&M, told ESPN that trainer Willie Lyles, who is under NCAA investigation after receiving $25,000 from Oregon, told Texas A&M it had to “beat’’ $80,000 if it wanted to sign star recruit Patrick Peterson in 2007. Peterson went to LSU and is projected to be one of the top picks in the NFL draft . . . Notre Dame will play a home football game at night for the first time in 21 years when the Irish host Southern California Oct. 22.

College hockey
BC’s Atkinson a Hobey Baker finalist BC forward Cam Atkinson, North Dakota forward Matt Frattin, and Miami forward Andy Miele are the finalists for the Hobey Baker award, given to college hockey’s best player . . . Merrimack’s Mark Dennehy was named the All-New England Coach of the Year for the second year in a row . . . New Hampshire forward Paul Thompson was named the Division 1 New England MVP . . . Harvard defenseman Danny Briega was named to the New England Hockey Writers Division 1 All-Star team . . . BC’s Kelli Stack was named the New England Division 1 Player of the Year.

NFL
Owners will pay $177m for pension NFL owners will pay $177 million today to complete their contributions to the player benefits program for the 2010 season. That payment will bring the amount funded by the teams for 2010 to $245 million. The NFLPA said in a statement the league was doing no more than fulfilling its contractual obligations . . . Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller, the Butkus Award winner, has been invited to the draft even though he’s a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the league . . . Police in Garland, Texas, said Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib turned himself in on a warrant accusing him of shooting at his sister’s boyfriend. Talib was released after posting a $25,000 bond . . . A Houston judge denied bond for Packers defensive lineman Johnny Jolly following his latest drug arrest Friday. Jolly will remain jailed until at least his next court appearance April 20.

MISCELLANY
Penguins’ Crosby is cleared to skate Penguins center Sidney Crosby has been cleared to return to morning skates on gamedays, but will not participate in full practices. The Penguins’ captain, who has been out since Jan. 5 with a concussion, will travel with the team to Florida and skate today prior to the Tampa Bay game. But, GM Ray Shero added, “I have no expectations of him coming back and playing in the regular season. That’s not going to happen.’’ . . . Calgary Flames center Daymond Langkow has been cleared for full-contact practice for the first time since he broke a bone in his neck when he was hit by teammate Ian White’s shot March 21, 2010, against Minnesota . . . The NBA is investigating Jay-Z’s presence in Kentucky’s locker room after the Wildcats clinched a Final Four berth. The rapper visited the players after their victory over North Carolina Sunday in Newark, home of the Nets. Jay-Z is a part-owner of the team. NBA rules prohibit team personnel from having contact with players who are not draft eligible . . . NBA players reaching the technical foul limit in their last regular-season game will be allowed to serve a one-game suspension to open next season . . . James McAdoo scored 17 points and P.J. Hairston added 15 as the two North Carolina signees led the East to a 111-96 victory over the West in the McDonald’s All-American game, played in front of 19,909 fans at Chicago’s United Center, the largest crowd of the All-Star game’s 34-year history. It surpassed the 2003 game in Cleveland that featured LeBron James. Austin Rivers played in front of his father, Celtics coach Doc Rivers, and scored 14 points for the West . . . A group of American investors led by Boston executive Thomas DiBenedetto plans to sign a deal to buy three-time Italian champion Roma by mid-April.