Ohio State's tab $800,000 so far in NCAA investigation
The NCAA investigation into Ohio State's football program has cost the school's athletics department about $800,000 so far, Athletics Director Gene Smith confirmed via email Wednesday. The Buckeyes' football program has been embroiled in a memorabilia-for-cash scandal that broke late last year and resulted in Coach Jim Tressel losing his job after 10 years. Star quarterback Terrelle Pryor also has left the school. Ohio State goes before the NCAA's committee on infractions this Friday. The NCAA can either accept Ohio State's self-imposed penalties, which include two years of probation and vacating last year's 12-win season and share of the Big Ten championship, or it can add to them. Smith declined to discuss the details of the investigation and the cost. Ohio State contracted with The Compliance Group, run by a former NCAA enforcement officer, to consult on the investigation and manage the school's case. It also paid for an IT company to come in and help search through staff emails for information regarding the violations.
Also on Wednesday, ESPN.com cited numerous anonymous sources who said that the NCAA sent a letter to Ohio State last week notifying the school that its investigation is still ongoing. Ohio State spokesman Jim Lynch responded that the university does not anticipate discussing any additional allegations with the committee on infractions on Friday other than those it self-reported in March 2011.
■ Penn State Coach Joe Paterno returned to practice Wednesday with his right arm in a sling. A photo on the team's Web site shows a smiling Paterno on a golf cart at practice. The 84-year-old injured his shoulder and pelvis after a receiver blindsided him during drills Sunday.
■ Florida tight end A.C. Leonard, considered one of the top recruits in the state last fall, has injured his left knee and could be out for the season. Leonard, a 6-foot-2, 245-pound freshman from Jacksonville, tore a meniscus in his left knee during a non-contact drill Saturday. He had arthroscopic surgery Wednesday, and Coach Will Muschamp said Leonard will be out six to eight weeks.
UK-St. John's set for 7:30 on ESPN2
The Kentucky-St. John's basketball game in the inaugural Big East/SEC Challenge has been set for a 7:30 p.m. ET tipoff in Rupp Arena on Dec. 1 on ESPN2 as announced by ESPN on Wednesday. The Big East/SEC Challenge will feature all 12 schools in the SEC going up against 12 schools from the Big East over a three-day period beginning Dec. 1.
Eagles make deal with ex-Giant Smith
The Eagles agreed to terms with former Giants receiver Steve Smith on a one-year deal Wednesday. Smith, 26, had 220 catches for 2,386 yards and 11 touchdowns in four seasons with the Giants. In his 2009 Pro Bowl season, he caught a franchise-record 107 passes for 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns. Smith sustained a season-ending left-knee injury in the Giants' win over the Vikings on Dec. 13 and had microfracture surgery eight days later. He said Wednesday night he believes he'll be able to play soon.
■ Redskins tight end Chris Cooley was sidelined Wednesday with a sore left knee. Coach Mike Shanahan said he's concerned about the injury and Cooley won't play in Friday's pre-season game.
Texas governor: Aggies talking with SEC
Texas Gov. Rick Perry weighed in Wednesday on the speculation that Texas A&M will eventually leave the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference.
"As far as I know, conversations are being had," Perry, a former Aggie yell leader, told the Dallas Morning News. "That's frankly all I know. I just refer you to the university and the decision makers over there."
The school responded to the governor's comments with a news release: "President (R. Bowen) Loftin is committed to doing what is best for Texas A&M not only now, but also into the future. We continue to have wide-ranging conversations regarding all aspects of the university, including both academics and athletics."
Boise State fires athletics director
Boise State Athletics Director Gene Bleymaier, the man behind the iconic blue turf at the school's football stadium and credited with a large role in the team's rise to national prominence, has been fired as the school faces sanctions because of violations in the football program and other sports. University President Bob Kustra announced Wednesday that Bleymaier's career of almost 30 years at the school will end Sept. 8. The football violations under review were committed between 2005 and 2008.
SPORTS IN THE COURTS
Two plead not guilty in fan beating
Two men accused of brutally beating a San Francisco Giants fan outside Dodger Stadium pleaded not guilty Wednesday. Prosecutors have said they have made admissions in the case. Louie Sanchez, 28, and Marvin Norwood, 30, entered their pleas during a brief arraignment to charges of mayhem and assault and battery in the March 31 attack of Bryan Stow, a Santa Cruz paramedic who suffered severe brain injuries and remains hospitalized. Meanwhile, Stow's family said Wednesday he can slightly lift his arm and leg and respond to some directions. They also said that when Stow's sister asked whether she could give him a kiss, he puckered his lips each time.
Ex-Georgia coach settles in Ponzi case
A former Georgia football coach has settled a legal dispute with a bankrupt liquidation company that accused him of recruiting other high-profile coaches to invest in a Ponzi scheme, according to federal court documents filed this week. Jim Donnan and his wife agreed to transfer about $5.5 million in cash, stocks and other assets to West Virginia-based GLC Ltd. to settle claims he profited by convincing investors to pump money into the company. Donnan has not been charged with any criminal wrongdoing, and defense attorney Ed Tolley said his client was "absolutely not involved in a Ponzi scheme." The settlement was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Bankruptcy Court and must be approved by a federal judge.
U.S. ties Mexico in Klinsmann's debut
Jurgen Klinsmann's debut is out of the way. All he needs now is a win. Klinsmann's U.S. soccer team was bolstered by Robbie Rogers' tying goal late in the second half to help the Americans salvage a 1-1 draw against Mexico on Wednesday in a rematch of the Gold Cup finals. Klinsmann kicked off a new era in American soccer less than two weeks after he was hired. He's held only three practices since he took over.
■ Major League Soccer games will be televised by NBC's networks starting next season, doubling the number of homes that dozens of games will be available in. The package currently on Fox Soccer Channel will move mainly to the NBC Sports Network, Versus' new name, beginning Jan. 2.
■ Transylvania men's soccer was picked to win the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship, according to a coaches' poll released Wednesday. Transylvania is coming off a 16-3-2 record and their sixth HCAC title in 2010.
■ Kentucky sophomore defender Dylan Asher and junior midfielder Matt Lodge were named to the pre-season All-Conference USA team in a coaches' poll released Wednesday. UK was picked to finish fifth in the league. Southern Methodist was ranked first.
The last word
Perhaps out of habit, the Big 12 asked Colorado soccer coach Bill Hempen whether he wanted to nominate any players for pre-season honors. One problem: The Buffs are now in the Pac-12:
"As much as we miss the Big 12, I doubt if any of our players would get any votes."