New York fails to bail out OTB
A split state Senate on Tuesday rejected a plan to rescue the New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. from closure and its 1,000 employees from job loss, sounding what one lawmaker called a "death knell" to the state's racing industry.
"This is a dominoes game and, once you allow one domino to fall, they all fall," said Senate racing committee Chairman Eric Adams, D-Brooklyn. "I think this was an expensive game of chicken with the people involved in the racing industry." After a series of deadlines and weeks of negotiations, the notoriously partisan Senate operating with 12 missing members failed to overcome party differences. The plan supported by OTB's unions would have cut the work force by nearly half, reduced some wage differentials for Sunday work and modernized the operation through automation and fewer traditional betting parlors. Although New York City OTB collects nearly $1 billion a year in bets, competition from casinos and other gambling organizations, past mismanagement and its substantial payouts to governments and the racing industry have kept it on the brink of bankruptcy for years.
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BCS mistake swaps Boise and LSU
The final Bowl Championship Series standings had to be corrected after a mistake was found that changed the rankings of Boise State and Louisiana State but did not affect any bowl matchups.
Jerry Palm, who runs the Web sites Collegebcs.com and Collegerpi.com, found a discrepancy in the Colley Matrix computer ratings, one of six used by the BCS to determine which teams play for the national championship and in some of the other marquee bowl games. Wesley Colley said Palm, who verifies the Colley Matrix ratings, noticed the results of a Football Championship Subdivision playoff game involving Appalachian State and Western Illinois had not been included in the database used to generate the ratings. In the revised standings, Boise State moves from 11th to 10th, and LSU drops from 10th to 11th.
Indiana signs Sooners assistant to big deal
Indiana athletics director Fred Glass promised to pay the going rate for a new football coach. A seven-year, $8.4 million contract did just the trick. On Tuesday, the Hoosiers introduced Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson as their new, high-priced guy. Wilson is Indiana's sixth coach since 1996 and easily the best-paid.
"Shoot, we're going to build something special here, and it starts with me," Wilson said. "We're going to be tough; we're going to be physical; we're going to put up a lot of points."
■ Three adult siblings have been arrested for investigation of attempted murder in a fan brawl before last weekend's Southern California-UCLA football game, and their father was released from custody, Pasadena police said Tuesday. Arturo Cisneros, 44, was freed Tuesday pending further investigation, said Lt. Tracey Ibarra. The time limit for holding him without charges being filed had expired, she said. Cisneros had been arrested for investigation of attempted murder shortly after Saturday's violence that left two men stabbed. One of the victims remained hospitalized in stable condition Tuesday. The other was quickly released. Cisneros' release came after detectives arrested his two sons, Arthur, 25, and Anthony, 22, and a daughter, Akira, 24. Each was held in lieu of $1 million bail, Ibarra said.
Tracy out of hospital after collapse
Rockies Manager Jim Tracy was released from a hospital Tuesday after mild arrhythmia caused him to collapse shortly after midnight at the baseball winter meetings. Tracy and his family headed back to their home near Bradenton, Fla., in the afternoon.
Tracy, who turns 55 on Dec. 31, was with Colorado coaches Carney Lansford and Tom Runnells when the episode occurred.
■ After meeting with Cliff Lee's agent at the winter meetings, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman is awaiting a go-ahead from agent Darek Braunecker to make a contract offer.
"If they're ready to take one, I'm willing to get serious," Cashman said. "We're just waiting for them to get to that position."
Speaking after Tuesday's news conference to announce Derek Jeter's $51 million, three-year contract, Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner sounded upbeat about signing Lee. "I'm still optimistic, but you never know," Steinbrenner said. Washington also said it would like to acquire Lee. The Nationals agreed to a $126 million, seven-year contract with outfielder Jayson Werth last weekend, and there was speculation Tuesday that Washington will offer Lee a seven-year deal.
■ A judge ruled Tuesday that a postnuptial marital agreement giving sole ownership of the Dodgers to Frank McCourt is not valid, a spokesman for his estranged wife Jamie McCourt said. The decision means the Dodgers could be shared under California's community property law, spokesman Mark Fabiani said. The ruling was not expected to affect the Dodgers operations, but it might lead both sides to resume settlement negotiations.
■ Giants second baseman Freddy Sanchez underwent arthroscopic surgery on his non-throwing left shoulder, trainer Dave Groeschner said Tuesday.
Train conductor turns down shot with Jets
Keith Fitzhugh chose operating trains over a shot at a Super Bowl. The free-agent safety has turned down an offer to join the Jets to remain in his current job with Norfolk Southern Railroad because "I know every two weeks I'm getting a paycheck." Jets Coach Rex Ryan said Tuesday the team was looking to sign a safety after Jim Leonhard was lost for the season last week and James Ihedigbo suffered a leg injury in New York's 45-3 loss to New England on Monday night.
■ Eric Studesville was introduced Tuesday as the interim coach of the Broncos. Studesville, who has served as a running backs coach in the NFL for the last decade, said some changes will be made but not everything will be scrapped. Studesville replaces Josh McDaniels, who was fired amid the team's worst slide in four decades and a videotaping scandal that embarrassed the organization. Speaking on behalf of owner Pat Bowlen on Tuesday, chief operating officer Joe Ellis said the organization was at fault for giving McDaniels too much power at too young an age with so little experience.
■ Steelers tight end Heath Miller is doubtful for Sunday's AFC North game against Cincinnati because of the concussion he sustained from a helmet hit by Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain. McClain was not penalized but was fined $40,000 by the NFL on Monday for an illegal hit to the head of a defenseless receiver. Tight end Matt Spaeth (concussion) has been cleared by doctors to return to practice Wednesday. Right tackle Flozell Adams (high ankle sprain) is unlikely to play against Cincinnati (2-10).
■ The NFL reached an agreement with the Players' Association on Tuesday to extend the union's deadline to file a collusion claim. The union had until this week — 90 days after the start of the season — to level charges that teams had conspired to restrict players' salaries this past off-season.
■ Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth plans to appeal his four-game suspension without pay Tuesday for what the team refers to as "conduct detrimental to the club." Coach Mike Shanahan said Haynesworth refused to cooperate with coaches or follow their instructions. Haynesworth's agent, Chad Speck, said he and his client "disagree with the Redskins' decision" and will appeal it. He says the accusations made by Shanahan and General Manager Bruce Allen are "vague and without merit."
■ The Cardinals placed quarterback Max Hall on injured reserve and signed former Redskins third-stringer Richard Bartel. Hall, an undrafted rookie out of BYU who started three games earlier this season, dislocated his left shoulder after relieving starter Derek Anderson in Sunday's 19-6 loss to St. Louis. Arizona third-string quarterback John Skelton finished the game and could start on Sunday against Denver.
■ Alex Smith is the 49ers' starting quarterback again, Coach Mike Singletary announced Tuesday. The move comes a day after Singletary said he was contemplating the switch from Troy Smith back to the 2005 No. 1 overall draft pick following a 34-16 loss at Green Bay on Sunday.
The last word
Jets defensive tackle Sione Pouha on the embarrassing 45-3 loss to the division rival Patriots Monday night:
"This humble pie tastes like a car tire and it goes down like peanut butter. That's how it feels. Sunday can't come soon enough."