Ochocinco goes for a quick ride with Burton in Atlanta
Chad Ochocinco turned to NASCAR on Thursday in his ongoing search for thrills away from the football field. Ochocinco was strapped in for the ride as Jeff Burton drove his No. 31 car around Atlanta Motor Speedway on Thursday. Burton estimated he reached speeds of 150 to 160 miles per hour with Ochocinco. That seemed to satisfy Ochocinco, who climbed out and said, "That was nice. That was real nice."
Before the laps, Ochocinco said he made sure Burton was ready to push the Chevrolet: "I asked him to let loose. Please don't waste my time. Step on the gas."
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The six-time Pro Bowl receiver is making the most of his extended time away from football during the NFL lockout. He took the ride with Burton about six weeks after visiting the Professional Bull Riders circuit near Atlanta to ride a 1,500-pound bull for 1.5 seconds. Next? Ochocinco said he plans to wrestle an alligator in Florida.
"If you're not nervous, you're not living," he said.
'Ouija board' scheduling upsets Pitino
Louisville Coach Rick Pitino was not amused when he got a look at the Cardinals' 2011-12 Big East Conference schedule on Thursday. The Cardinals' slate includes two games each against Pittsburgh and Syracuse, two of the top programs in the league and among the projected league favorites for the coming season.
"We have one of the premier commissioners in athletics, but whoever's doing our scheduling must be doing it with a Ouija board," Pitino said in a news release. "How can you play two of the top three (projected) teams in the league twice and have to play another top team that's a rival game (at Cincinnati) on the road for a second straight year? It just doesn't make any sense to me."
Louisville's home conference opponents are Connecticut, DePaul, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, South Florida, Syracuse and Villanova. The Cardinals' nine league road games will be at Cincinnati, DePaul, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall, Syracuse and West Virginia. The Cards also will face three non-conference foes projected to be among the best in the nation in Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Memphis. A complete schedule, including dates and times, is expected in early September.
■ Former Arkansas point guard Jeff Peterson is transferring to Florida State to play his senior season. Peterson asked for and was granted his release from the Razorbacks earlier this month. He's eligible to play immediately for the Seminoles because he graduated from Arkansas in May. Peterson spent two seasons at Arkansas, sitting out the first year after transferring from Iowa. He started 23 games last season and averaged 6.3 points per game.
Younger Gabbert transfers to Louisville
Louisville Coach Charlie Strong said Thursday that former Missouri quarterback Tyler Gabbert is now a member of his football team. Strong posted on Twitter that he is "excited to have Tyler Gabbert officially join our football program." Louisville spokesman Rocco Gasparro said Thursday that Gabbert will be eligible in 2012 and have three years of eligibility remaining. Missouri announced earlier this week that Gabbert had decided to transfer. He is the younger brother of former Tigers quarterback Blaine Gabbert, the No. 10 pick in this year's NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
■ Tuscaloosa, Ala., police said Thursday that Alabama running back Trent Richardson was the victim in an early-morning hit-and-run. Officers received a call about 1:30 a.m. Thursday about an accident in which Richardson was the victim. The player wasn't hurt, and it's not clear whether Richardson was in a vehicle or whether he was a pedestrian. A police statement says Richardson declined to sign a warrant on a menacing charge after the incident, and the case is now closed
Kurt Busch legally separated from wife
Former NASCAR champion Kurt Busch said Thursday he is legally separated from his wife and in the process of formally ending his marriage. Busch married Eva Bryan in 2006, three years to the day of their meeting on a blind date. She has not been seen this season at the track, where wives and girlfriends have a heavy presence on pit road and atop the pit boxes during races. But Busch was not asked about his marital status until Thursday, four days after he kissed another woman in Victory Lane last week at Sonoma.
Aronimink playing tougher than Open
Adam Scott must have felt as though he got another crack at the U.S. Open on Thursday in the AT&T National because this course felt more like one than the tournament at Congressional. Aronimink in Newtown Square, Pa., built on its growing reputation when only 28 players managed to break par in the opening round despite warm sunshine and a mild breeze. Scott and Hunter Haas, who were tied atop the leader board at 4-under 66, followed a U.S. Open formula by trying to keep the ball in play off the tee and being cautious on the greens. The average score was about 71.5, and all but four of the holes played over par. Josh Teater was 2 over, and fellow Kentuckians Steve Flesch and J.B. Holmes were a shot behind him.
■ Qualifying medalist Cheyenne Woods, the niece of Tiger Woods, advanced to the quarterfinals in the Women's U.S. Amateur Public Links, winning two matches Thursday at Bandon Dunes' Bandon Trails course in Oregon.
SPORTS IN THE COURTS
Ex-NBA player arrested with pot, guns
Former NBA player Jose Ortiz has been arrested in Puerto Rico after federal agents seized 218 marijuana plants and 40 rounds of assault-rifle ammunition at his house. U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez said Thursday he is accused of possession with intent to distribute marijuana plants and faces a minimum of five years in prison if found guilty. Ortiz appeared in court Thursday and agreed to enter a drug rehabilitation program. Ortiz, 47, played at Oregon State and two seasons with the Utah Jazz, the last in 1990.
■ A judge has delayed the trial of the Alabama fan charged with poisoning the oak trees at Auburn University's Toomer's Corner. An order issued Thursday said the trial of 62-year-old Harvey Updyke Jr. is being postponed at the agreement of prosecutors and the defense. Updyke's trial had been set for this summer, but officials say he probably won't go on trial now before November, the middle of football season.
Mississippi St. extends Cohen's deal
Mississippi State Coach John Cohen, who led the Bulldogs to within one game of the College World Series and a No. 15 national ranking, received a contract extension through the 2015 season, Athletics Director Scott Stricklin announced Thursday. Cohen, who coached at Kentucky from 2004-08, got a new four-year contract that includes an increase in base salary from $250,000 to $262,500.
■ Kentucky junior right-hander Alex Meyer was named Thursday to the second-team All-South Region by the American Baseball Coaches Association.
Powell beats Gay's top time for 2011
Asafa Powell ran the fastest 100 meters in the world this year on Thursday, winning in 9.78 seconds at the Athletissima track meet in Lausanne, Switzerland. Powell's sprint was 0.01 faster than Tyson Gay's, turned in on June 4 in Florida. Powell's time was aided by a tail wind.
The last word
Driver Danica Patrick on flooring it through Iowa Speedway's notoriously bumpy turns:
"That took some ovaries to do."