NCAA delays approval of $2,000 scholarship stipend
The NCAA Division I Board of Directors still says scholarship limits should be expanded. It just wants time to work out the details. In a surprise move Saturday, the board delayed implementation of a $2,000 expense allowance, opting instead to ask the working group to make a modified proposal in April.
"What I heard was the board's resolve with the concept (of the miscellaneous expense allowance) and moving forward with it, but giving us a chance to work out concerns of the implementation," said Middle Tennessee State President Sidney McPhee, who chairs the subcommittee that made recommendations Saturday.
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Essentially, the board heeded membership's advice to slow things down rather than continuing to charge full steam ahead. Supporters insist the 14-4 vote wasn't an outright rejection of the philosophy. The complaints began pouring in almost as soon as conferences were given the option of providing an additional $2,000 toward the full cost of attendance, money that covers expenses beyond tuition, room and board, books and fees.
The rule was approved by the board in October. By late December, 160 schools had signed on to override legislation, enough opposition to force suspension of the rule and reconsideration Saturday.
Schools had three primary concerns: Title IX compliance, how the stipend would apply to sports that use partial scholarships and when the rule would go into effect. NCAA President Mark Emmert supported clarifying the language on Title IX and partial scholarships.
But less than 24 hours after athletics directors from Missouri and California argued publicly for a delay to avoid busting budgets, the board took their side instead of making the expected move and adopting the modified proposal.
"The point is to make sure we respond to the membership's concerns," Emmert said on the final day of the NCAA's annual convention. "We just want to make sure we get it right."
Maggert, 47, takes share of Sony lead
Jeff Maggert played bogey-free in relatively calm conditions Saturday for a 6-under 64 that left the 47-year-old Texan in a tie for the lead with Matt Every in the Sony Open on Honolulu. Maggert is coming up on the six-year anniversary of his last win and missed a big chunk of last year after surgery on his right shoulder. He is closing in on the Champions Tour but showed he still has enough game for the big leagues. Every stalled on the back nine and then birdied the last hole for a 68 to join Maggert at 12-under 198.
There were 16 players within four shots of the lead, including Steve Stricker, who is trying to become the first player since Ernie Els in 2003 to sweep the Hawaii events.
Cats place 3 in quarters of SEC singles
Three Cats were left standing Saturday going into the singles quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference Coaches' Indoor Championships at Kentucky's Boone Tennis Complex. Second-seeded Eric Quigley, No. 7 Anthony Rossi and unseeded Tom Jomby all advanced to Sunday's round of eight.
Quigley, a senior out of South Oldham ranked third in the country, breezed past South Carolina's Nick Jones 6-1, 6-1. The four-time high school state champion made it to the event's finals last season and the semifinals in 2010. He'll face unseeded Jonas Lutjen of Mississippi when play begins at 10 a.m. Sunday.
Quigley also made it to the quarters in the doubles bracket with partner Panav Jha, ousting the top seeds with an 8-6 victory. Unseeded going into the tournament, they knocked off Florida's Nassim Slilam and Billy Federhofer. UK teammates Alex Musialek and Alejandro Gomez will join Quigley in Sunday's third round.
Rossi, a junior from Marseille, France, beat 13th seed Charlie Jones of Vanderbilt 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 and will face unseeded William Kallberg of Ole Miss in the quarters. Kallberg ousted the tournament's top seed, Will Spencer of Georgia, Saturday 7-6 (3), 6-1. Jomby, a 6-foot-6 sophomore from Nantes, France, fought past Vandy's unseeded Gonzalez Austin 6-7 (4), 6-3, 7-6 (6). He'll take on 15th seed Nik Scholtz of Ole Miss on Sunday.
The doubles tournament will wrap up Sunday, but the singles finals are on Monday at noon.
Rifle stays undefeated with win at Army
Led by strong performances in both guns from Emily Holsopple and Ethan Settlemires, the defending national champion Kentucky rifle team improved to 8-0 with a win at Army, 4,693-4,646, on Saturday at West Point. Kentucky (4-0 in the Great American Rifle Conference) opened its spring portion of the schedule with the win, scoring 2,325 in smallbore and 2,368 in air rifle. The Cats next play at Texas Christian on Jan. 21.
■ The UK swimming and diving teams fell at Alabama Saturday despite winning 12 events and taking first in three of four diving events. The men's team lost 174-126, and the Tide women won 167-133. Three UK swimmers won multiple events, Tyler Reed, Megan Eppler and Julia Gerotto.
■ The UK women's tennis team lost five of eight singles matches to Washington State and got swept by host Hawaii in doubles on the second day of the Hawaii Invitational Saturday. The Cats wrap up the three-day event Sunday against Kansas in singles and WSU in doubles.
Ryan confirms 'preliminary' Fielder talks
Rangers President Nolan Ryan publicly acknowledged Saturday that the AL champions have had talks with free-agent slugger Prince Fielder. Ryan described the discussions as "very preliminary." Rangers officials, including Ryan, had an initial session Friday with Fielder and his agent Scott Boras.
Ryan was responding during a question-and-answer session with fans at the team's annual winter FanFest. The meeting with Fielder, the 27-year-old first baseman, came at the same time Texas is in the closing stages of their 30-day negotiating window with Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. It was unclear whether the Rangers would be willing or able to sign both players to contracts. The Rangers last month bid a record $51.7 million under the posting system just to win the right to negotiate with the 25-year-old Darvish. Their negotiating period ends Wednesday at 4 p.m. CST. The Rangers pay the posting fee only if they sign the 6-foot-5 pitcher.
Oregon's Thomas a surprise draft entry
Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas is skipping his senior season to enter the NFL Draft. Thomas made the announcement, which caught many by surprise, on Saturday night. He follows Oregon running back LaMichael James, who announced last week that he would skip his final year of eligibility. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound junior passed for 2,761 yards and a school-record 33 touchdowns this past season, despite missing a game because of an injury.
The last word
Zach Johnson got a text message from the PGA Tour on Friday that he most likely will never see again. Last year's No. 177 driver was leading the PGA Tour in driving distance after the first round of the Sony Open. For official driving distance, the tour picks two holes to measure tee shots. For the Sony Open, the holes are No. 1 and No. 9. In the opening round, before the wind picked up, Johnson hit a 342-yard drive down No. 1. With the wind at his back a few hours later, he hit a 326-yard drive on No. 9. Johnson was shocked to hear about his ranking and took the opportunity to poke fun at 2009's worst driver.
"First time that has ever happened. And probably the last, unless ..."
"Well, unless we had a five-man field with four Corey Pavins."