West Virginia, not Louisville, to leave Big East for Big 12
The Big 12 welcomed West Virginia from the Big East and bid goodbye to Missouri before the Tigers even had a chance to make their move to the Southeastern Conference official.
Now that the poaching of the Big East seems to be over, the beleaguered league is not backing down. It has been busy courting six schools and says it was braced for the latest loss. And despite what the Big 12 says, the Big East plans to keep West Virginia for two more years — just as it has vowed to keep Pittsburgh and Syracuse away from the Atlantic Coast Conference until 2014.
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The latest round of conference realignment appears to be winding down, but tug-o-war over who goes where when likely will take a while to sort out.
The Big 12 said it expects to have 10 schools for the 2012-13 season, listing West Virginia but not Missouri, which is expected to complete its move to the SEC any day now. Ames, Iowa, is the closest Big 12 campus to Morgantown, W.Va., at 870 miles away, but that hardly matters. The Mountaineers bring a football program that has consistently been ranked in the Top 25 in recent years, and that's what counts most when it comes time to sell TV rights.
The Big 12 leaders voted to add West Virginia, rather than closer Big East rival Louisville, on Friday morning.
"I'm not certain how everything went down, but they fought a good battle and won," Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich said.
Louisville made a push for inclusion that reportedly involved a phone call from Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, a Louisville alum, to Big 12 officials. "He lobbied for us, of course he did, as did many other people," Jurich said.
■ Late Thursday night, the SEC inadvertently posted on its Web site that Missouri was joining the league. The conference said no agreement has been reached with the school, but it was yet another sign that it's just a matter of time before the Tigers follow Texas A&M.
Games canceled through November
The NBA will play a shortened season — if it plays at all — after labor negotiations broke down for the second time in a week. NBA Commissioner David Stern canceled all November games on Friday, the 120th day of the lockout. "It's not practical, possible or prudent to have a full season now," said Stern, who previously canceled the first two weeks of the season. Just a day earlier, Stern had said he would consider it a failure if the two sides didn't reach a deal in the next few days and vowed they would take "one heck of a shot" to get it done. Owners are insistent on a 50-50 split of revenues, while players last formally proposed they get 52.5 percent, leaving them about $100 million apart annually.
Volleyball Cats get 20th win
The UK volleyball team recorded its 20th win of the season with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-20) sweep of South Carolina on Friday night at Memorial Coliseum. Kentucky improved to 20-4 and 11-2 in the Southeastern Conference. South Carolina fell to 11-11, 2-10. The Cats reached 20 wins for the fourth time in seven seasons.
McIlroy leads by 2 for golf's richest prize
U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy shot a 3-under 69 on Friday to increase his lead to two strokes after the second round of the Shanghai Masters. After a double bogey in which he drove into the water on the par-4 ninth, the 22-year-old star from Northern Ireland recovered with four birdies on the back nine to finish at 11-under 133 on Lake Malaren's Jack Nicklaus-designed Masters course.
Noh Seung-yul was second after a 63. The 20-year-old South Korean player birdied three of the last four holes. Louis Oosthuizen (66) and Anthony Kim (68) were 8 under, and Padraig Harrington (70) and Hunter Mahan (72) were another stroke back.
The 30 players are vying for the $2 million first prize, the richest in golf. Because the International Management Group-run event isn't sanctioned by a major tour, it doesn't have world-ranking points.
■ American Jeff Overton shot a course-record 9-under 62 on Friday for a share of the second-round lead with Sweden's Fredrik Jacobson in the Asia Pacific Classic. Jacobson had a 64 to match Overton at 13-under 129 at The Mines Resort and Golf Club in the second-year event sanctioned by the PGA Tour and Asian Tour.
Bo Van Pelt was a stroke back after a 64. First-round leader Robert Allenby followed his opening 63 with a 72 to drop into a tie for ninth at 7 under. Three-time major winner Vijay Singh followed his opening 72 with a 64 to reach 6 under.
■ Scotland's Richie Ramsay shot a 1-over 72 to hold his two-stroke lead after the second round of the Andalucia Masters on Friday, in which only four players reached the halfway point under par. France's Gregory Havret recorded a seven for the second straight day after losing his drive at the 11th, but his 71 left him in second ahead of Sergio Garcia, who shot a second straight 70 to sit three strokes behind in third.
Johnson to miss 4th straight game
Houston Texans star receiver Andre Johnson will miss his fourth straight game Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars with a hamstring injury. Johnson returned to practice this week and the Texans had hoped he would be able to play. He made progress, but Johnson said Friday that he would sit out another week. "I don't feel like I'm ready to play," he said. "I'm not at full speed yet. I said I wouldn't put myself out there until I'm able to run full speed."
Bengals activate 'Pacman'
Cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones was activated off an injury list on Friday, making him eligible for the Cincinnati Bengals' game in Seattle. Jones has been sidelined for about a year by a bulging disk in his neck that required two surgical procedures. He opened the season on an injury list, and was cleared to resume practice this week. He takes the roster spot of running back Cedric Benson, who is suspended for the game Sunday in Seattle because he violated the NFL's conduct policy.
■ Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick agreed to terms on a six-year, $59 million contract on Friday in a deal that secures him as the Buffalo Bills' long-term starter, The Associated Press has learned. The contract is one of the most lucrative signed by a Bills player, and includes $24 million in guaranteed money.
Smith: IndyCar welcome at Vegas
Track owner Bruton Smith said Friday he would welcome IndyCar back to Las Vegas Motor Speedway if the series wants to return. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon was killed in the opening laps of the Oct. 16 season finale at Las Vegas. It was IndyCar's first visit to the track since 2000. IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard has said he'll make no decisions on a return to Las Vegas until after the investigation into the 15-car accident that killed Wheldon has been completed. But Smith said he'd be fine with another race. "We've got a three-year contract, and if they would like to honor it, of course we would," Smith said.
The last word
After an 18-15 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday dropped the Miami Dolphins to 0-6, running back Reggie Bush said, "We stink." Dolphins safety Yeremiah Bell objected, saying, "He stinks." To which Bush later said:
"I do stink."