Syracuse suspends Frank Howard

Syracuse senior guard Frank Howard is out "for an indefinite period of time" for violating school policy. The school announced Howard's suspension on Wednesday, the eve of the Orange's NCAA Tournament game against Baylor. The 6-foot-5 Howard lit up social media during the ACC tournament against Duke last week when he appeared to stick his foot out as Blue Devils star Zion Williamson ran by. Howard denied trying to trip Williamson and the school did not say if the suspension was related to the alleged attempt. Howard had an up-and-down season, but scored 28 points against Duke and played well in the ACC tournament with Tyus Battle out due to an injury. He averages 8.9 points and 2.0 assist
March 20, 2019

Stringer won't return for postseason

Rutgers basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer will not return for the postseason on the advice of doctors. She plans to resume her coaching duties later this year, the school said Thursday. The announcement comes nearly three weeks after Rutgers said the 70-year-old Hall of Famer would sit out the rest of the regular season and possibly return for the postseason. "I am truly disappointed that I will not be able to join (my team), but I need to listen to my doctors," Stringer said in the statement issued by the school. Assistant coach Tim Eatman will continue to serve as acting head coach. The Scarlet Knights (22-9, 13-5) are expected to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015. The school said "while coach Stringer's doctors have assured her of a full recovery, they have urged her to remain on leave. She plans to return to the team and coaching duties later this year." Stringer picked up her 1,000th win on Nov. 13 against Central Connecticut State. She is the fifth Division I women's coach to achieve the milestone. The others are Pat Summitt, Geno Auriemma, Tara VanDerveer and Sylvia Hatchell. Ahead of her leave, Stringer had a career mark of 1015-410 in 48 seasons. She posted a 495-275 record in 24 seasons at Rutgers. Stringer is the first men's or women's coach to take three different teams to the Final Four: Cheyney State in 1982, Iowa in 1993 and Rutgers in 2000 and `07. Her teams have appeared in 26 of the 36 NCAA Tournaments and made 10 regional finals. Rutgers is expected to get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The tournament selection show is Monday. "The invitation to play in the NCAA tournament is a crowning achievement for any team," Stringer said in the release. "It speaks to the great effort on the part of our players and we are certainly hopeful that they will be rewarded on Monday. "Being away from my team has been more difficult than I could have imagined, but thankfully they are under the great care of Tim Eatman and my assistants. I wish everyone the best and I will be cheering every step of the way."
March 14, 2019

Duke's Williamson, UVa's Bennett earn individual ACC awards

Duke freshman Zion Williamson has been selected as the Atlantic Coast Conference's player and rookie of the year, and Virginia coach Tony Bennett was picked as coach of the year. The ACC on Monday announced its award-winners following a vote of 55 media members and the league's 15 head coaches. Williamson received 49 votes for the overall award and 47 for the rookie award. Bennett had 30 votes to claim his fourth coaching award in 10 seasons with the Cavaliers. Williamson and Barrett were joined on the first team by North Carolina's Cam Johnson and two players from Virginia: Kyle Guy and De'Andre Hunter, the league's defensive player of the year.
March 11, 2019

LSU suspends head men's basketball coach Will Wade

LSU has suspended coach Will Wade indefinitely amid reports about his conversations with a person convicted last year of funneling money to the families of basketball recruits. LSU Chancellor F. King Alexander and athletic director Joe Alleva said in a joint statement Friday that assistant Tony Benford will assume interim head coaching duties until LSU can ensure that Wade's recruiting tactics have been in full compliance with NCAA and university policies. Tenth-ranked LSU is in the midst of one of the more successful seasons in program history and can guarantee at least a share of the SEC regular season title with a victory Saturday over Vanderbilt. A Yahoo report on Thursday included excerpts of a wire-tapped phone conversation with Christian Dawkins, who is one of several people convicted in October of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for funneling illegal payments to families of recruits to Louisville, Kansas and North Carolina State. Dawkins also is a defendant in a federal bribery case scheduled for trial scheduled for April 22. In the report, Wade is described expressing his frustration with an unidentified third party handling the recruitment of player referred to only as "Smart." LSU has a freshman guard named Javonte Smart who is a former Louisiana high school player of the year. Wade is quoted on a transcript of the call saying that he made a strong offer that was "tilted toward taking care of" the player and his mother, but that the third party who received the offer was unsatisfied with his "piece of the pie." The report also states that it was not clear if the offer Wade discusses would violate NCAA rules, or if the player and his family knew of, or accepted, the offer, of which there were no specific details. In their statement, Alexander and Wade say "recent media reports regarding Coach Will Wade are without question concerning" to top university officials who are taking "deliberate and purposeful steps to fairly assess and adequately address" the concerns those reports have raised. The statement also said LSU is "closely coordinating" and fully cooperating with the NCAA on the matter.
March 8, 2019

Boeheim deemed 'not reckless' in fatal crash, case is closed

Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim will not be charged in last month's fatal highway accident and the case is closed. Boeheim was "not reckless," Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said Thursday. Fitzpatrick added his decision came after reviewing the police accident report. Boeheim declined to comment, the athletic department said. According to the report, Boeheim was driving 66 mph five seconds before the night crash and about 54 mph at impact. The speed limit is 55 mph. The disabled car on the dimly lit highway was going 67 mph when it skidded out. The report concluded Boeheim's driving was "not reckless, unreasonable or with gross negligence." Also, speed was not a contributing factor even though the black boxes in both vehicles indicated both cars traveling just above the speed limit. There was no evidence drugs or alcohol played a role. Boeheim was on the highway after a Feb. 20 game when he accidentally struck 51-year-old Jorge Jimenez around 11:20 p.m. The 74-year-old Hall of Fame coach swerved his SUV to avoid the black Dodge Charger that had skidded to a stop on the slick roadway and was resting perpendicular across most of two lanes. He then struck Jimenez, who had exited the Dodge and was standing near the guardrail. Jimenez died a short while later at a nearby hospital. The report said the Dodge would not have passed a New York state inspection because of two bad tires and inoperable rear marker lights. The accident happened a couple hours after Syracuse had upset then-No. 16 Louisville. Boeheim addressed the team the next day but did not take part in practice. He returned to the bench to coach against top-ranked Duke on Feb. 23 and received a rousing ovation from the record-Carrier Dome crowd of 35,642. Boeheim, in his 43rd year as head coach at his alma mater, said he coached the game because he felt an obligation to his players. Afterward, he appeared emotionally spent. "I can't describe the feelings," he said. "I don't think I can make anyone understand who hasn't been there. I don't. "I've always felt in life, you get a lot of things you have to overcome. There's nothing like this when a human life is lost and you are there. I can't describe it to you." Boeheim said he had been in touch with the Jimenez family. "I intend to try and do that as I can in the future," he said. "This is isn't about me, it doesn't matter how I feel. It's about how they feel and what's happened to them. There's just nothing I can say about it." Jimenez's funeral was last week. Area businesses donated to the costs.
March 7, 2019

Big Ten announces Jim Delany will step down in June 2020

Jim Delany, one of the most influential figures in college athletics for three decades, will step down as Big Ten commissioner when his contract expires in June 2020. The 71-year-old has been commissioner since 1989 and established himself as one of the biggest movers and shakers in U.S. sports. He oversaw three expansions to increase Big Ten membership from 10 to 14 schools and conference revenues increased dramatically under his watch. "It's been an amazing opportunity to serve and lead these preeminent institutions, presidents, administrators, coaches and students," Delany said Monday in a statement. "It is incredibly fulfilling to support the hundreds of thousands of young men and women who have been afforded an opportunity to obtain best-in-class educations as a result of the invaluable, one-of-a-kind lessons learned through the unique combination of athletic and classroom competition." Delany became the Big Ten's fifth commissioner when he succeeded Wayne Duke in 1989. He ambitiously built the conference profile, negotiating television deals that in 2018 produced an unprecedented distribution of $51 million for Michigan, one of the flagship members. When Delany launched the Big Ten Network in partnership with Fox in 2006, the Big Ten became the first Power Five conference with a television network devoted solely to programming of league events. The network was the first in cable/satellite history to reach 30 million households within its first 30 days on the air. Delany expanded the Big Ten's geographic footprint from the upper Midwest to the East Coast. Penn State began competition in the league in 1991. Nebraska joined in 2011 and Maryland and Rutgers in 2014. The addition of Nebraska led the Big Ten to split into divisions in football and play a conference championship game. The additions of Maryland and Rutgers led Delany to open a second conference office in New York. The Big Ten has prided itself on its measures to assure athlete welfare, such as being a leader in concussion treatment protocol and guaranteeing scholarships for four years. But the conference was also seen as behind the times when Delany initially led the resistance to creating the College Football Playoff. Big Ten football teams also underperformed as the league's chief rival, the Southeastern Conference, strung together seven straight national championships from 2006-12. Ohio State won the national title in 2014, but the school gave the Big Ten a black eye last year over coach Urban Meyer's handling of domestic assault allegations against one of his assistant coaches. Delany will leave his post on June 30, 2020. The Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors has started a search for a new commissioner led by Northwestern president Morton Schapiro and the executive committee. The Los Angeles-based executive search firm Korn Ferry will assist.
March 4, 2019

NCAA proposes replay tweak to targeting, 2-pt OT shootouts

The NCAA football rules committee announced several proposed changes Friday, including replay officials more leeway to overturn targeting penalties and requiring games reaching a fifth overtime to be decided by alternating 2-point conversion tries. The committee met in Indianapolis this week and the proposed changes also include tweaks to kickoff and blind-side block rules. The proposals must be approved by the football oversight committee in April. They would go into effect next season. Two changes to targeting were proposed. The first would allow replay officials to examine all aspects of the play and confirm the foul when all elements of targeting are present. If targeting cannot be confirmed, the call would be overturned, eliminating the option for the call on the field to stand. Targeting would still result in a 15-yard penalty and ejection of the player who committed the foul. Players ejected in the second half would still be required to sit out the first half of the following game. The goal of the proposal is to call targeting more accurately and have fewer players ejected for borderline calls. LSU lost All-America linebacker Devin White for the first half of a game last season against No. 1 Alabama after he was ejected on a questionable targeting call in the second half of the previous game against Mississippi State. The American Football Coaches Association had endorsed changing targeting to a two-tiered foul, with only the most egregious and intentional hits to the head being penalized with an ejection. Steve Shaw, the NCAA's national coordinator of football officials, said the replay change will be a "surrogate for Targeting 1, Targeting 2." Stanford coach David Shaw, the rules committee chairman, said he didn't see the proposal as a compromise, but as "another way to get the same goal." "We want the discipline to be severe for helmet-to-helmet contact, but we also want it to be right," David Shaw said. '"'That was kind of the idea of the two-tiered system. What we're saying with this rule is we're going to make sure of the ejection to make sure that it's right. The goal is the same, to make sure we are ejecting players properly for the right reasons and if they don't commit the foul then we're not going to eject them. I don't see it as necessarily backing down." Under the second proposal, players who receive a second targeting foul during the season would be suspended for the entire next game, not just the first half. Steve Shaw said in the two conferences he oversees as coordinator of officials - the Southeastern Conference and Sun Belt - he can recall only one player in each league receiving multiple targeting penalties in a season. The overtime rule change was proposed after LSU and Texas A&M matched a record by playing seven overtimes in their regular-season finale last year. The Tigers and Aggies combined to run 207 offensive plays. On average, 37 Bowl Subdivision games have gone to overtime over the past four seasons. Most end after one round of possessions. Only six games per season have gone past two overtimes, but the concern was those rare marathons came with increased injury risk for players. "We wanted to have something where we don't change the integrity of our system, which we all love," David Shaw said. "You pass four overtimes, you pass five overtimes and now you're worried about player safety." Current overtime rules give teams alternating possessions starting at the opponent's 25-yard line. If still tied after each team has two possessions, teams must attempt a 2-point conversion after scoring a touchdown instead of kicking an extra point. If the proposal passes, after the fourth possession, games would come down to a 2-point play shootout, with the first team to get a score and a stop winning. "It still feels like football," David Shaw said. The committee also proposed eliminating the two-man wedge formation on kickoffs that result in sprinting players running into double-team blocks. A proposal regarding blind-side blocks would make it illegal to attack an opponent with forcible contact from the blind side.
March 1, 2019

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery suspended 2 games

Iowa has suspended coach Fran McCaffery for two games for yelling at an official in a hallway heading to the locker room following Tuesday's loss at Ohio State. Hawkeyes athletic director Gary Barta announced the move on Wednesday, which will sideline McCaffery for upcoming games against Rutgers and Wisconsin. The Big Ten says it supports McCaffery's suspension, and it tacked on a $10,000 fine for the university along with a public reprimand. Barta called McCaffery's comments "unacceptable," adding that they didn't represent the values of the school. McCaffery is in his ninth season at Iowa. The Hawkeyes, who were ranked 22nd in Monday's poll, have three regular season games left. McCaffery was suspended a game for arguing with officials in 2014.
February 27, 2019

Nike probing Zion shoe malfunction that led to injury

Nike says it's investigating why Duke freshman Zion Williamson split a shoe open during a game against rival North Carolina. But the sportswear giant says it's an "isolated occurrence." The Beaverton, Oregon-based company says it's concerned and says quality and performance of its products are of "utmost importance." The shoe malfunction, which forced Williamson to leave the game with a knee sprain, happened in front of a crowd of celebrities, including former President Barack Obama and Spike Lee. Williamson's left shoe fell apart as he planted hard near the free throw line. The blue rubber sole ripped loose from the white shoe from the heel to the toes along the outside edge, with Williamson's foot coming all the way through the large gap. Nike quickly became the target of ridicule on social media, which presents challenges for the sportswear brand. Nike's shares are down 1 percent, or 84 cents, to $84 in early morning trading Thursday.
February 21, 2019

Ole Miss vacates 33 wins as part of NCAA punishment

Mississippi's football program will vacate 33 wins over six separate seasons as part of its punishment in a recently resolved NCAA infractions case against the school. The school vacated wins in 2010 (four wins), 2011, (two wins), 2012 (seven wins), 2013 (seven wins), 2014 (eight wins) and 2016 (five wins) according to documents on the school's website. The 2010 and 2011 wins were under coach Houston Nutt. All the other vacated wins were under coach Hugh Freeze. The vacated wins include the 2013 Compass Bowl win over Pitt and one of the most iconic wins in school history when the Rebels upset Alabama at home 23-17 in 2014. Fans tore down the goalposts and carried them through Oxford in the aftermath of the victory. The vacated wins were on top of several other punishments in the case, including a two-year postseason ban, probation and scholarship restrictions. February 12, 2019