NEWS: MSNBC.COM: SPORTS
Setup News Ticker
   NEWS: MSNBC.COM: SPORTS
MSNBC.com: Sports
Aug 20, 2015

'Deflategate' judge says Brady suspension in jeopardy
NEW YORK (AP) - A federal judge made clear Wednesday that the NFL's four-game suspension of Tom Brady over "Deflategate" is in jeopardy as the star New England quarterback returned to practice.

U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman, who's been asked by the NFL Players Association to void the suspension, warned a league lawyer during oral arguments in the scandal over underinflated footballs that there was precedent for judges to toss out penalties issued by arbitrators.

Berman continued to push for a settlement in the dispute - a potential result he called "rational and logical." But throughout the hearing, he also cited several weaknesses in the way the NFL handled the controversy that could become the basis for handing a victory to Brady and his union.

After the hearing, Berman met behind closed doors with both sides for more than an hour before the lawyers left court, saying the judge asked them not to discuss the negotiations publicly. If there is no deal, the Manhattan judge has said he hopes to rule by Sept. 4, six days before the Patriots host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL's season-opening game.

Neither Brady nor NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was in court Wednesday. Brady returned to his team after participating in negotiations along with Goodell and lawyers on both sides a day earlier.

Berman ordered Brady and Goodell to return to court if they can't settle, scheduling a tentative Aug. 31 hearing.

The league announced in May that it was suspending Brady over allegations he conspired with two Patriots equipment employees to deflate footballs below what league rules allow, to give him a competitive edge in New England's victory over the Indianapolis Colts in January's AFC championship game. Goodell, who by contract with the players' union can act as an arbitrator for labor disputes, upheld the suspension, touching off the legal battle.

During more than two hours of arguments by attorneys, the judge noted other arbitration decisions have been rejected when a key witness was not allowed to testify as he asked why NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash - who worked on the NFL investigation - could not be questioned by union lawyers during the suspension's appeal.

Arbitration proceedings, while more relaxed than court proceedings, are still required to follow due process rules to ensure fairness, Berman said.

"You have to allow someone to make their case by calling witnesses," he said.

Berman also suggested that the league's finding that Brady was generally aware that game balls were being deflated was too vague, noting that any reference to the Jan. 18 game against the Colts was "conspicuously absent" in a report on an NFL investigation that the league used as a basis for the suspension.

Finally, Berman said he could not understand how the commissioner opted to keep a four-game suspension over a fine or a lesser penalty seen in other cases of equipment tampering. In one exchange, he questioned Goodell's defense of the Brady punishment on the grounds that it was comparable to penalties on players caught using performance enhancing drugs.

"How is that equal to steroid use?" he asked of the deflation allegations.

"They both go to the integrity of the game," responded NFL lawyer Daniel Nash.

"Well, everything goes to the integrity of the game," the judge shot back.

It was the second week in a row the judge seemed to lean harder on the NFL in open court, though he again cautioned that he had not yet made up his mind which side would win.

---

Associated Press writer Jake Pearson contributed to this report.

---

AP NFL websites: http://pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL



MSNBC.com: Sports
Aug 20, 2015

Red Sox bring in ex-Tigers boss Dombrowski to run club
BOSTON (AP) New Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski thought enough of the team to pick Boston over other suitors.

Now he's going to spend the next six weeks trying to figure out what's worth keeping - in the front office, on the field at Fenway Park and in the minor leagues.

"I'm not here to blow up the organization," Dombrowski said at a Fenway Park news conference Wednesday, a day after he was hired. "They have a lot of good people here."

Speaking to reporters a day after a mid-game shake-up that left general manager Ben Cherington on the outs, Dombrowski said he would be hiring a general manager but was in no rush. He did not discuss the future of manager John Farrell, who is on leave from the team after being diagnosed with what he said was a treatable form of cancer.

Dombrowski said he spoke to Farrell on Tuesday night - after he underwent his first chemotherapy session - but just told him they would meet after the manager was healthy again. In Farrell's absence, bench coach Torey Lovullo is managing the team, which entered Wednesday night with a 53-66 record, 14 games behind the rival New York Yankees in the AL East.

Red Sox owner John Henry began the news conference with a statement that acknowledged the team's failures in finishing last two of the last three seasons. (In 2013, the club won the World Series for the third time in a decade, but the first in Cherington's tenure.)

"As owners, we're all responsible for the poor results we've had, and for results going forward," Henry said. "Dave Dombrowski is an architect of team-building the right way. For almost three decades now, he's earned the respect of almost everyone in the game."

The general manager of the Montreal Expos at the age of 32, Dombrowski won the 1997 World Series with the Florida Marlins and led the Tigers to the Series twice. But he was let go on Aug. 8 with Detroit languishing below .500.

Henry said he decided to pursue Dombrowski when he "became a free agent" less than a week after the Red Sox announced that president and CEO Lucchino would be stepping down at the end of the season.

Chief Operating Officer Sam Kennedy was named Lucchino's successor on the business side; he attended Wednesday's news conference along with chairman Tom Werner, prompting Henry to explain: "This is really our lineup for 2016 and beyond."

Although Dombrowski would be installed above Cherington in the baseball decision-making, "Ben did not object" to discussing the job with him, Henry said.

Up until Dombrowski was hired, the top Red Sox brass - including the new president - hoped that Cherington would stay, they said. Cherington declined, and on Tuesday night it was announced that he would be leaving after sticking around to help with the transition.

"We think the world of Ben," Werner said. "We are disappointed but respectful of his decision."

Cherington said later that he was surprised when Henry and Werner told him on Saturday that they were pursuing Dombrowski. Although he had pledged to do what he could to make the Red Sox better, the GM thought it was time to go.

"I felt strongly that what was best for Dave, what was best for me, what was best for the Red Sox was the same thing, and that was a clean break," he said. "I have great respect for Dave Dombrowski. His resume speaks for itself. He will be an asset clearly for the Red Sox and I wish him and I wish the Red Sox nothing but the best going forward."

Cleveland manager Terry Francona, who was with Boston from 2004-11, said "this place is never boring" before the Indians faced the Red Sox.

---

AP freelancer Ken Powtak contributed to this report.



MSNBC.com: Sports
Aug 19, 2015

Eli Manning not looking to be the NFL's top paid quarterback
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Eli Manning didn't ask the New York Giants to make him the NFL's highest-paid quarterback.

A perplexed and slightly miffed Manning on Wednesday shot down a report that he wants to be the league's top-paid quarterback, insisting that was not the goal in contract talks.

"Never been said, never come out of my mouth," Manning said Wednesday.

The two-time Super Bowl MVP is in the final year of a contract that will pay him a $17 million base salary. His agent, Tom Condon, has been negotiating a new deal, but the two sides are not close to an agreement, Giants co-owner John Mara said Monday.

Manning insisted neither he nor Condon told the Giants to make him the highest-paid quarterback. He said he speaks with Condon occasionally, but he isn't looking for constant updates on the talks.

"If something comes up, I ask him to call me and keep me updated or send me a text, but that's it," Manning said.

Aaron Rodgers of the Packers currently is the NFL's highest-paid quarterback, earning $22 million annually.

The 34-year-old Manning has spent all 12 of his NFL seasons with the Giants, so he knows how people in the New York-area react to headlines.

For those who know him, it's totally out of character to make such a demand.

Manning even received a telephone message from his father asking what was happening.

"I don't know how all negotiating goes and what is being asked," Manning said. "I don't think I want to know. That was never said by him, claiming that this is the goal of what we are trying to do."

Manning said he does not compare himself to other quarterbacks by salary, and right now he is not thinking or concerned about his contract.

"My focus is on practice and getting the best out of our practices and getting better," Manning said. "That's all I am focused on. Nothing has changed. Nothing is different. Reports are all wrong. I don't know where they are getting their information from. I just kind of laugh at it."

Manning had a bounce-back season in 2014 playing in Ben McAdoo's West Coast offense. He threw for 4,410 yards, 30 touchdowns and 14 interceptions while hitting 63.1 percent of his passes. The previous season he had 3,818 yards, 18 touchdowns and a career-high 27 interceptions.

The Giants' offense struggled in the preseason opener last weekend, failing to get a first down in four series.

Manning expects improvement this weekend against Jacksonville at MetLife Stadium.

"Obviously, put some points on the board and get some drives going, sustain some drives," he said about goals for Saturday. "Hopefully be able to get out there, set the tempo, play fast with the offense, get some first downs and get into a good rhythm with the offense."

Manning said the offense practiced well against the Bengals earlier in the week, then didn't make anything happen in the game.

"I don't think there's a case of us doing things incorrectly, we've just got to do them a little bit better," he said. "I think we're on the right process of getting better, and I think it'll show up this weekend."

NOTES: WR Odell Beckham Jr. and LG Justin Pugh had dental work and did not practice. WR Victor Cruz was out with a strained calf. Cruz had just recovered from knee surgery. ... DE George Selvie is only expected to miss a couple of days with a knee injury. Coughlin said there was no ligament damage. ...WR Dwayne Harris, the former Cowboys' special teams maven, had an outstanding day catching passes. ...Coughlin got in the face of CB Chandler Fenner after he tackled Harris following a reception. ...CB Trevin Wade ended the practice, intercepting a Ryan Nassib pass. ....CB Prince Amukamara (groin) returned to practice for the first time in a week.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL



MSNBC.com: Sports
Aug 19, 2015

Panthers WR Benjamin has torn ACL, sidelined for the season
SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin suffered a torn ACL in his left knee Wednesday, an injury that the team announced will sideline him for the season.

"Obviously, we feel awful for Kelvin," general manager Dave Gettleman said in a press release. "He's worked tremendously hard to put himself in a positon to have a strong year. We're confident he will attack his surgery and rehab with the same determination he has met all challenges before."

It's a major blow to the Panthers in their quest to win a third straight NFC South championship. Benjamin had developed into Carolina's No. 1 receiver after setting franchise rookie records in 2014 with 73 receptions for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera told reporters earlier in the day Benjamin had a sprained knee and remained hopeful everything would be fine. However, Benjamin was taken back to Charlotte, North Carolina where an MRI revealed the tear.

The injury occurred during a joint practice with the Miami Dolphins.

Benjamin was running a one-on-one route against Dolphins safety Reshad Jones when he made a cut toward the sideline and his knee buckled. He crashed to the ground and screamed in pain as he grabbed for the knee.

"He went to plant and make a swim move and without any contact just kind of went down," Rivera said. "It was unfortunate and it's one of those things that could have happened in any drill."

As Benjamin lay on the ground, players from both teams gathered around him and took a knee.

Trainers attended to Benjamin and quickly called for the cart to take him into the locker room. Quarterback and close friend Cam Newton helped Benjamin into the cart. Newton appeared disturbed by the events as trainers carted his top target off the field.

While wide receiver is considered one of Carolina's deeper positions, it will be difficult to replace Benjamin.

To make matters worse, rookie wide receiver Devin Funchess also tweaked a hamstring and is expected to miss practice Thursday against the Dolphins. Earlier in training camp wide receiver Stephen Hill suffered a torn ACL at training camp and was later waived-injured.

It's expected that Corey Brown and veteran Jerricho Cotchery would be the starters entering the team's preseason game against Miami on Saturday night. The Panthers will count on wide receivers like Ted Ginn Jr., Brenton Bersin and Jarrett Boykin to step up and battle for more playing time.

Ginn said he spoke with Benjamin after practice told him, "keep his head up."

"You've got to realize he's our No. 1 guy," Ginn said. "Not having your No. 1 guy on the practice field, it hurts you a little bit. I believe we have the guys behind him to step up and do whatever we need to do to fill the void right now."

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL



MSNBC.com: Sports
Aug 19, 2015

Woods hopes to push for unlikely playoff spot at Wyndham
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) It's now or never for many players at the Wyndham Championship - the last chance to qualify for golf's postseason.

That group includes Tiger Woods.

The biggest name in the sport is playing the final event of the PGA Tour's regular season for the first time.

He's trying to get his game back on track and make a highly improbable, last-gasp push for the playoffs.

Woods said Wednesday that he needs to find consistency and "start stringing together not just holes, not just rounds but tournaments."

He missed the cut at the PGA Championship last week. He beat last Friday's deadline to enter the Wyndham but didn't finalize his commitment until Monday.

He says he had "a blast" playing a pro-am round Wednesday with NBA All-Star Chris Paul.



MSNBC.com: Sports
Aug 15, 2015

Red Sox manager Farrell says he has 'highly curable' cancer
BOSTON (AP) Fighting back tears, Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell said Friday that he had a "highly curable" form of cancer and has taken a medical leave for the rest of the season to deal with lymphoma.

The 53-year-old Farrell said bench coach Torey Lovullo will run the team in his absence. Farrell said he planned on being back with the team for spring training.

Farrell said the cancer of the lymphatic system was discovered when he had hernia surgery in Detroit earlier this week.

"I know we usually start out with the injury report. I'll start out with myself on this one. Monday's surgery for the hernia revealed that I have lymphoma," he said before Friday night's game at Fenway Park against Seattle.

"Thankfully, it was detected in the hernia surgery. I can honestly tell you I'm extremely fortunate that it was found. Treatment will begin in the coming days," he said.

Farrell said a mass was completely removed during the procedure and no additional surgery was necessary. He said chemotherapy would start early next week.

Red Sox stars David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia stood along a wall to Farrell's left when he made the announcement. Vice President Sam Kennedy, general manager Ben Cherington and Lovullo also were in the room.

"A little bit of a shocker to be told later that afternoon that this was going on. Like I said, I'm fortunate," Farrell said. "Stage 1. It's localized. It's highly curable. I'm extremely fortunate to not only be with people with the Red Sox, but access to MGH (Massachusetts General Hospital) and world class talent that can handle this."

The Red Sox are in last place in the AL East with a 50-64 record. In February, Farrell's contract was extended through 2017 with a club option for 2018.

"When they mentioned the word `cancer,' it's something that it doesn't matter where it comes from, it kind of impacts you," Ortiz said.

Farrell guided Boston to the World Series championship in his first season in 2013. He previously managed the Toronto Blue Jays for two years.

"Sending you best wishes for a speedy recovery. Stay Strong and look forward to seeing you at the ballpark soon," the Blue Jays tweeted.

On Tuesday, Minnesota Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders said he is being treated for Hodgkin lymphoma, and his doctors consider it "very treatable and curable." His plans were to remain coach and team president while being treated.

Cherington said Farrell told him the news Thursday when the GM was traveling between flights en route to Greenville, South Carolina, to visit one of the team's Single-A affiliates.

"He called me on a quick layover," Cherington said. "I was sort of in shock. A few minutes to sink in and I figured I had to get back to Boston last night. I've been talking to him yesterday and this morning."

"There's a lot of respect for him, not just in the Red Sox organization, but throughout baseball," he said. "There's a lot of people already reaching out. He's someone that spent his whole life in baseball. He's played, he's coached, worked in the front office and, obviously, he's managed now."

Red Sox chairman Tom Werner spoke about Farrell during the pregame TV telecast.

"We all love John," he said. "We said the most important thing is get back soon."

Farrell, a former major league pitcher, was the pitching coach for the 2007 Red Sox when they won the World Series. Ace Jon Lester returned from lymphoma that July and started the clinching game of the Series in Colorado.

"Obviously, we go pretty far back. I talked to him a little bit, already," said Lester, now pitching for the Chicago Cubs. "He seems pretty positive. Everything seems pretty positive, so that's good."

"He's in a good place for it. That's obviously one of the better places, if not the best place, in the country to be if you have cancer. He's in good hands. I know those doctors pretty well," he said.

Cleveland manager Terry Francona is one of Farrell's closest friends. Farrell was the pi

MSNBC.com: Sports
Aug 15, 2015

Packers QB Rodgers follows McIlroy-Spieth pairing at PGA
SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers took advantage of his day off from training camp to play golf fan.

The state's best-known athlete spent some time following the Rory McIlory-Jordan Spieth-Zach Johnson group Friday, but mostly took in the view of the PGA Championship from a hospitality tent.

"I only noticed him on the last couple of holes," the top-ranked McIlroy said. "Obviously, this is a big area (for football) with Green Bay. It was cool to see him out here."

Even though Rodgers is one of Spieth's favorite athletes, the world's second-ranked golfer didn't find out the Green Bay QB was a fan until afterward.

"But I think it's really cool that ... that he would come down to watch considering they (the Packers) had a game last night," Spieth said.

Rodgers threw 19 passes in Green Bay's preseason win at New England on Thursday.

"I don't really get star struck," Spieth added. "But it would be cool to meet him."

---

SPEAKING OF FOOTBALL: Billy Horschel is at even par and has plenty on his plate, especially if he plans to contend on the weekend.

But he's also got the fantasy football season to start preparing for.

He plays in a league run by fellow golfer Chris DiMarco "and I got to see when they're having the draft and all that.

"I'm keeping an eye on things, and I haven't done a ton of research," Horschel said. "But next week my wife and my little girl are going home, so I'll have early in the week to research and be prepared to draft well."

---

SHOULDN'T HAVE SAID THAT: Justin Rose opened his mouth too soon. With storm clouds gathering, he finished the 17th hole and figured his group would make it.

"I opened my big mouth to the boys playing with us," Rose said. "I said, `The end is in sight.' And 30 seconds later, they blew the horn. So my name is mud all over here."

That means Rose will have to get up at 5 a.m. to get ready to complete one hole. Play resumes at 7 a.m. And because he's at 8-under par, he likely won't have to start the third round until the early afternoon. That's a lot of time to kill.

"Do I go back to sleep? Go chill? So that's going to be interesting to deal with that tomorrow," Rose said. "But I'm in good position."

Oddly enough, it was a situation like this that Rose said was important in his 2013 U.S. Open victory at Merion. Rain kept the second round from being completed on Friday, and Rose was in the last group that finished without having to return Saturday morning.

In near darkness, he chose to finish his round so that he could sleep in and have what he described as the "rhythm of the week."

He won't have that at Whistling Straits.

---

WHO'S AFRAID OF SOME RAIN?: Matt Jones is tied for the lead and was rolling along on his 13th hole of the day when a rainstorm powered by 48-mph gusts forced supension of play.

He'll have a tough starting spot when the second round resumes Saturday morning.

"Tough hole to start back out tomorrow, second shot out of the bunker," Jones said, "but there's a few more birdie holes, so I'm happy with where I am."

Especially given the scene on the golf course when play was called.

"It got really, really dark out there. It was pretty eerie," he said. "It was kind of hard to see out there."

---

DIVOTS: Adam Scott's streak of making the cut at 17 consecutive majors - the longest among current players - ended this week at Whistling Straits, where the Aussie was sent packing at 7 over ... Jamie Donaldson withdrew after playing 15 holes in the second round with a recurring back injury ... With the cut projected at 2 over, a trio of players - Ryan Palmer, Carl Pettersson and Morgan Hoffman - will all have seven holes or less to make a birdie and book a spot in the field for the weekend.



MSNBC.com: Sports
Aug 15, 2015

NASCAR sticking with original rules package for Chase
BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) NASCAR is sticking with its original 2015 rules package for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's executive vice president and chief racing development officer, announced the decision Friday after a meeting with drivers at Michigan International Speedway. This choice comes after NASCAR put track-specific packages in place for a handful of races recently - including this weekend at Michigan.

But when the 10-race Chase begins Sept. 20 at Chicagoland, the original rules will be used.

"We've seen some good things with that package," O'Donnell said. "A lot of work has been done by the race teams already, leading up to the final 10 races. Feel like that's the best decision for the sport."

A special high-drag aerodynamic package was used at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last month and will be in place again this weekend at Michigan, and it received some criticism from drivers. But a low-downforce package put in place at Kentucky was more popular, and it will be used again at Darlington next month.

"A ton of positives we saw from Kentucky, but we've got to take the time to dial those things in and make sure that everybody's on the same page, we've got the best package to put forth, especially as we look to `16," O'Donnell said. "That does have a lot of momentum and a lot of positives that we can apply to Darlington, and then make some calls post-Darlington as well."

Friday's announcement came shortly after Matt Kenseth won the pole at MIS. Joe Gibbs racing swept the top three spots in qualifying, with Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards finishing second and third.

JGR recently won four consecutive races - three by Kyle Busch and one by Kenseth. Busch's wins came at Kentucky, New Hampshire and Indianapolis, meaning he won under three sets of rules.

That left Kenseth understandably confident about his team's ability to adapt.

"Our cars have been really fast in all three configurations," Kenseth said. "We've been up front in all three of them, on speed and in the races and in qualifying, so from that aspect, I feel OK about no matter what they bring."

Kenseth did say his personal preference was for the low downforce.

NASCAR will have another chance to observe the high-drag package this weekend, and there's plenty of uncertainty surrounding Sunday's race at MIS. Drivers complained it was too hot with the high-drag rules package, which reduces airflow under the car, trapping heat in the cockpit.

This week, NASCAR mandated a dual outlet duct be used on the right-side window to help with ventilation.

"There were some drivers that got real hot and were very vocal, so now we all have to run with the ducts open to cool the cars, which has always been an option. The guys that were hot wanted to make everybody have it, so it wouldn't just slow their cars," said Matt Kenseth, who won the pole Friday. "I don't really foresee any problems cooling the car for everybody. It's definitely warmer than the normal package."

Jeff Gordon has won three Cup races at Michigan, including a victory last August, but that may not mean much this time.

"Obviously, this weekend a lot has changed that is going to change the aspect of the race and how you win it. That is going to be a challenge that we can't quite predict," Gordon said. "I think it's going to make for some pretty intense and exciting racing and yet there are still a lot of unknowns that we are all going to be challenged with all weekend."

Michigan is wider and faster than Indianapolis - qualifying speeds have surpassed 200 miles per hour at MIS in recent years, although that didn't happen Friday. Perhaps the rules package will work better than it did at the Brickyard.

"The high-drag package may afford some opportunities because the track is so wide, that we can get up beside cars and get a draft at the end of a straightaway and get up beside them better than Indy was," said Greg Biffle, who has four wins at Michigan. "Indy is really one lane. It

MSNBC.com: Sports
Aug 14, 2015

Yankees to honor A-Rod's 3,000th hit in pregame ceremony
TORONTO (AP) The New York Yankees will honor Alex Rodriguez's 3,000th hit with a pregame ceremony before hosting the Blue Jays on Sept. 13.

Rodriguez homered off Detroit's Justin Verlander on June 19, becoming the 29th player to reach the 3,000-hit plateau.

Rodriguez said he was "in disbelief" upon learning of the planned celebration.

Manager Joe Girardi said he was pleased to see the Yankees pay tribute to A-Rod's achievement.

"All relationships are going to have rocky moments and you like to see things get righted and repaired," Girardi said before Friday night's game in Toronto. "I think both sides have made a lot of gestures to do that."

Rodriguez missed all of last season while serving a drug suspension. Last month, Rodriguez and the Yankees settled a dispute over a marketing payment with a deal that gave $3.5 million to charitable groups.

Rodriguez is batting .264 with 24 homers and 63 RBIs in a resurgent season. He began the day in an 0-for-11 skid.



MSNBC.com: Sports
Aug 14, 2015

UNC uncovers potentially more violations in academic scandal
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) North Carolina uncovered possible additional NCAA violations in women's basketball and men's soccer while preparing the response to its long-running academic scandal, the school announced Friday.

Its response to the NCAA, due next week, has been delayed. The NCAA will set a date after a review of the new information, school officials said.

During a 20-minute conference call with reporters, athletic director Bubba Cunningham twice referred to the school's ongoing effort to "earn back trust."

"As painful as it is, it's part of the Carolina culture that we want to know what happened, we want to understand it, we want to fix it," he said.

Cunningham said the new information in women's basketball was discovered when officials prepared to release emails from former U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein's eight-month investigation. In their review of up to 6 million pages of information, they uncovered more examples of possible improper academic assistance to players.

They also discovered potential recruiting violations over two years in men's soccer that were unrelated to the current NCAA probe.

"I'm very disappointed in the timing. I'm very disappointed in the impact it's going to have on the institution, on the program and how it delays where we were," Cunningham said. "But I'm proud of the fact that people owned up to the mistakes that happened."

He said those possible violations came to light when the school administered a compliance test to its men's soccer coaches and one of them got a question wrong.

The AD didn't identify the coach and declined to disclose additional details because the investigation is ongoing.

"We came to understand the coaches misunderstood the rules, and we immediately turned that in," Cunningham said.

Under NCAA procedures, if those are determined to be Level I or II violations, the notice of allegations must be amended to include them. The school would then have 90 days from the day it receives the amended notice to respond, Cunningham said.

It is unclear exactly when the new possible violations were discovered. The school says they were reported to the NCAA's committee on infractions on Aug. 10.

Cunningham said he still hopes the investigation will be resolved by spring 2016.

The NCAA's notice of allegations included five charges, outlining a lack of institutional control and four other potential Level I violations, which are described as a "severe breach of conduct."

The NCAA regarded issues surrounding academic irregularities within the formerly named African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) department as potential improper benefits by saying athletes received "special arrangements," such as access to courses and other assistance generally unavailable to non-athletes.

The lack of institutional control focused on the AFAM department and the academic support program for athletes, including the conduct of a women's basketball adviser for providing too much help on assignments. Cunningham described the new information in women's basketball as "more of the same of what we've seen in the past," referring to what was found by Wainstein.

No coaches were charged by the NCAA, and when asked about the possibility of coaching changes, Cunningham called it "speculative."

"But I will say I have a lot of confidence in our coaching staff," he added.

The academic investigation grew out a 2010 investigation into the football program, with the committee issuing sanctions in March 2012 in that case about nine months after the notice of allegations arrived.

"We are fully cooperating with the NCAA and continue to work with them to bring closure to this long, arduous process," Cunningham said.

---

This version clarifies that Cunningham's comments about the new information in women's basketball as "more of the same of what we've seen in the past" were referring to Wainstein's findings.



  • CEOExpress
  • 1 Boston Place | Suite 2600
    Boston MA 02108
  • 617 482 1200
    617 299 8649 (fax)
  • Contact

©1999-2017 CEOExpress Company LLC