Sports in the courts
$1.8 billion suit filed against U.S. Gymnastics, Time Warner
A former champion Chinese gymnast has filed a $1.8 billion lawsuit in federal court against Time Warner Inc. and the United States Gymnastics Federation, saying they and others broke promises to care for her after an accident at the 1998 Goodwill Games in New York. The lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court in Manhattan by lawyers for Sang Lan. It said the failure of Time Warner and the gymnastics organization to obtain proper insurance has caused her condition to deteriorate. Time Warner and a U.S. Gymnastics Federation spokeswoman said they had no immediate comment.Sang broke her neck during a warm-up vault at the games.
■ A federal judge Thursday upheld the state's four-year residency rule for political candidates that knocked former Olympic great Carl Lewis off the ballot. Judge Noel Hillman ruled Thursday that the residency requirement doesn't violate Lewis' guarantee of equal protection under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Lewis lawyer Bill Tambussi said he will appeal to the state's 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. A separate challenge has been filed in state appeals court.
Pitino hires top prep coach for recruiting
Louisville Coach Rick Pitino has hired longtime Hargrave Military Academy coach Kevin Keatts as an assistant with the Cardinals, the school announced Thursday. Keatts went 262-17 in 10 seasons at Hargrave in Chatham, Va., winning two national prep championships. The school turned out 103 players who signed Division I scholarships during Keatts' tenure. Five of his former players are in the NBA. Pitino praised Keatts for his potential as a recruiter.
■ Georgia Coach Mark Fox received a $400,000 raise and a one-year contract extension on Thursday as a reward for taking the Bulldogs back to the NCAA Tournament. Fox, in only his second season, took the Bulldogs to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2008. Georgia finished 21-12. Fox will receive a raise from $1.3 million to $1.7 million, and his contract has been extended through the 2016 season.
■ Mississippi has signed guard Maurice Aniefiok, adding a seventh new player as it continues its roster overhaul. Coach Andy Kennedy said the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Aniefiok will "fill an immediate need" after the departure of the team's leading scorers from last season — Chris Warren and Zach Graham. Aniefiok played at Huntington Prep in West Virginia last season, averaging 13.7 points and 6.6 rebounds.
Nebraska assistant takes gymnastics job
The University of Kentucky has hired Nebraska assistant Tim Garrison as its new gymnastics head coach, the school announced Thursday. Garrison replaces Mo Mitchell, who parted ways with UK last fall. Assistants Chuck Dickerson and Heather Hite coached the team this past season while Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart conducted a national search. Garrison, the third head coach in the history of the program, is a native of Conroe, Texas.
Bat Cats blow four-run lead at LSU
The Kentucky baseball team took a four-run lead into the eighth inning, but host Louisiana State batted around for eight runs and held on for a 9-5 win in the series opener Thursday. Kentucky (20-23, 4-15 Southeastern Conference) wasted a good outing by Alex Meyer, who struck out 10 and allowed four hits and three runs.
Kentucky has 30 on SEC honor roll
Thirty University of Kentucky athletes were named to the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll for winter sports, the league announced Thursday. The swimming teams dominated the list with 20 (nine men, 11 women). Women's basketball players Carly Morrow and Keyla Snowden were selected, along with six women from the gymnastics team and two from the rifle team.
The honor roll is based on the 2010 spring, summer and fall terms, making freshmen ineligible. To make the list, an athlete had to have a 3.00 grade-point average or better and complete at least 24 credit hours and two seasons of varsity play. A total of 395 athletes from the 12 member schools made the roll. Auburn and South Carolina led the way with 47 each, and Mississippi and Mississippi State tied for last with nine apiece. UK's 30 ranked seventh.
■ Following the severe weather in the Tuscaloosa area, the Kentucky softball team won't travel to Alabama for the scheduled three-game series this weekend. As was the case with the canceled Mississippi game earlier this week, there will be no make-up games. Kentucky will host Auburn for a three-game series beginning on May 5.
Buckeyes sold more than was reported
Ohio State released a letter from a U.S. attorney dated Dec. 7, 2010, in which the school was notified of numerous football jerseys, cleats and other memorabilia discovered during a raid on the home of Edward Rife, the subject of a federal drug-trafficking investigation. It was the letter that eventually led to the five-game suspensions of five players. The letter stated Ohio State players had received between $12,000 and $15,000 in cash, free tattoos and reduced-price tattoos for providing the merchandise, some of which was signed. The letter revealed that there was far more memorabilia found in the raid than previously reported and that it was worth thousands more than originally thought.
■ The NCAA will re-examine its role in licensing bowls and has put a three-year hold on any new games in the wake of the Fiesta Bowl's problems. The Division I Board of Directors on Thursday approved a task force to look at the criteria and process for licensing bowls and will not approve any new bowls until updated standards are put into place.
Favor to mom pays off so far for Bubba
Matt Jones chipped in from 57 feet on his final hole for a 6-under 66 and a share of the first-round lead with Bubba Watson on Thursday in the Zurich Classic in Avondale, La.. Watson, the winner at Torrey Pines in late January, two-putted from 32 feet for eagle on the par-5 11th and had six birdies and two bogeys at TPC Louisiana.
He entered the tournament as a favor to his mother. "My mom always comes to this golf tournament," Watson said. "So when my mom says she wants to come, I'm here. And somehow I shot 6 under today."
■ Top-ranked Lee Westwood finished Thursday's first round of the Ballantine's Championship with a double bogey, falling six shots behind leader Damien McGrane. Starting on the back nine, the Englishman birdied the 18th and was 2 under before his late slip on No. 9 sent him tumbling down the leader board at the $2.8 million tournament in Seoul, South Korea. He finished at even-par 72.
Bayne hospitalized after insect bite
Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne has been hospitalized for symptoms that could be related to an insect bite this month. Roush Fenway Racing officials said Bayne will not race this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. Bayne was hospitalized briefly for an apparent reaction to an insect bite on his left elbow. Roush Fenway President Steve Newmark says Thursday that Bayne was not feeling well this week, and is being evaluated for potential lingering symptoms.
■ Alabama long-snapper Carson Tinker was injured in the storms that bombarded Tuscaloosa and other parts of the state, and Auburn's national championship football team had to reschedule a trip to the White House. Tide spokesman Jeff Purinton said Thursday that Tinker was in stable condition at DCH Regional Medical Center. Auburn's White House trip was postponed because President Barack Obama is set to visit the state on Friday.
The last word
The Heat-Celtics series starts Sunday, and Celtics forward Glen Davis has a prediction:
"I don't think no laughing will be going on. It's going to be a fight."