OKC fan who hit half-court shot might lose $20,000 prize
An Oklahoma City Thunder fan who hit a half-court shot for $20,000 may not be able to keep both the money and his eligibility to compete in college sports.
Cameron Rodriguez, a sophomore forward for the Southwestern College Moundbuilders basketball team, sank the promotional shot Nov. 18 during the Thunder's home game against the Denver Nuggets.
Southwestern athletic director Dave Denly said the college's governing body for athletics, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, informed Rodriguez that if he kept the money he would lose his amateur status. The Winfield, Kan.-based school has appealed, asking if the money can be accepted in the form of a scholarship. An NAIA spokesman said a ruling on the appeal could take two weeks.
■ The wife of New Mexico basketball coach Craig Neal attacked a school administrator and Albuquerque's school superintendent didn't do enough to prevent the attack, according to a new lawsuit.
The lawsuit filed by former Eldorado High School assistant principal Susan Stanojevic this month claims Janet Neal assaulted Stanojevic following a boys' high school basketball game in Albuquerque. Neal grabbed Stanojevic by her arm and physically jerked her around because Neal was upset that Stanojevic reported her for cursing at the refs at a previous game, the lawsuit said. Neal's son played for Eldorado.
Neal's attorney denied the allegations. No criminal charges were filed against Neal.
■ Kentucky Wesleyan fell 104-90 to visiting Lake Superior State, the fifth straight loss for the Panthers (1-5) in their first year under former Georgetown College coach Happy Osborne. The Lakers (6-0), who took Division I Central Michigan into overtime before falling 92-88 in an exhibition contest earlier in the season, saw senior Derek Billing score a career-high 41 points in the win.
■ After scoring the game's first 11 points, the Morehead State women surrendered a 27-2 first-half run to Cleveland State, and the host Vikings won 76-67 on Wednesday. Terrice Robinson had a game-high 29 points for the Eagles, boosted by 7-for-11 shooting from the three-point line. Kiersten Green led Cleveland State with 21 points.
■ Kevin Pangos scored 32 points and No. 11 Gonzaga easily beat Arkansas 91-81 on Wednesday in the Maui Invitational. Pangos made 7-of-8 three-point attempts, including four during a 3-minute stretch in the second half.
Latest Rose injury may hurt Adidas, too
As he hobbled off the court again, Derrick Rose found himself in a familiar and painful spot. The folks at Adidas might be wincing, too.
The sports apparel giant might have to find a backup plan after building its multimillion-dollar NBA marketing campaign around the Chicago Bulls' superstar point guard, whose injured right knee will cost him the rest of the 2013-14 season. Rose sat out last season following surgery on his left knee, and the Bulls are reliving a nightmare.
The company that launched "The Return" campaign documenting Rose's recovery last year from a torn anterior cruciate ligament and his rise from a rough South Side Chicago neighborhood to stardom for the hometown team could be taking a hit, too.
"He is their counterpoint to Nike and LeBron (James)," said Marc Ganis, president of SportsCorp, a Chicago-based consulting firm. "But to being out effectively two years in a row and doubts as to how fragile his body might be in the future has to give them great pause, both in the near term and the long term as to whether he will fade from the public consciousness by not being on the national and international stage. One year is acceptable. Two years, people are very quick to move on to others."
■ Home for the holiday and to play a game at Cleveland on Wednesday, LeBron James wouldn't discuss his possible free agency next summer.
The NBA's reigning MVP said it's still "weird" to come back to Cleveland as a visiting player. James spent seven seasons with the Cavaliers before leaving in 2010, and his decision to sign with Miami left many Cleveland fans feeling betrayed.
James said he is "flattered and humbled" to learn there are some fans who have launched a "Come Home LeBron" campaign designed to show him that he has been forgiven and would be welcomed back. He dodged a direct question about whether he would ever play in Cleveland again, saying his only focus is on winning a third straight championship with the Heat.
Winston involved in other incidents
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was involved in two minor incidents unrelated to an investigation into accusations that he sexually assaulted a woman, though he was not arrested or charged in either case, police records show.
In the first case, Winston and other FSU players were questioned by police in November 2012 after 13 windows were broken at an apartment complex near Doak Campbell Stadium after an apparent BB gun battle. In the second case, a Burger King employee called police in July to complain that Winston was stealing soda. The Associated Press obtained the records from Tallahassee city officials after filing a request.
Attorney Timothy Jansen, who is representing Winston in the sexual assault investigation, said he was unaware of the incidents.
■ Rutgers University has hired a law firm to investigate bullying allegations against a former football player against an assistant coach. University lawyer John Farmer Jr. had announced last week that he would conduct a review, but he has since recused himself from the case.
University spokesman Pete McDonough told The Star-Ledger (N.J.) that Farmer stepped down because he could be called as a witness in the case. He did not detail his involvement, though.
Cornerback Jevon Tyree has said defensive coordinator Dave Cohen verbally and threatened to head-butt him last spring. Tyree quit the team on Nov. 6. He remains on scholarship for this school year.
■ The Atlanta Braves are a step closer to moving out of downtown Atlanta, the Major League Baseball team's home for the past 47 years.
The Cobb County Commission in suburban Atlanta voted 4-1 Tuesday night to approve a new $672 million stadium, which officials hope to open for the 2017 season at a site 10 miles northwest of the Georgia capital city's downtown.
The vote followed public comment for and against the deal, which will require millions of dollars in public funds. The project is set to take the team out of downtown Atlanta for the first time since it moved to Georgia from Milwaukee in 1966.
■ NASCAR is buying the Iowa Speedway in a move it says solidifies the future of one of the Midwest's premier racing facilities.
NASCAR announced the purchase Wednesday of the 0.875-mile tri-oval track in Newton. A purchase price wasn't disclosed.
There has been talk of the Iowa Speedway hosting a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, but the organization says there are no plans to bring the Sprint Cup Series to Iowa in the immediate future.
The Iowa Speedway, located 30 miles east of Des Moines, was designed by former NASCAR champion Rusty Wallace. It opened in 2006.
The last word
"That guy with the hard hat on, is he still here?" New York Jets safety Ed Reed said Wednesday. "I need him getting the whole stadium crunked."
Reed was looking forward to his first home game with the Jets, expecting to see the firefighter helmet-wearing fan named Ed Anzalone lead the MetLife Stadium crowd in loud chats against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. "Fireman Ed" stepped away from his role as a famous cheerleader last season after increasing "confrontations" between him and other fans:
"He retired? I can't believe it," a smiling Reed said. "We need to bring him out of retirement."