ESPN's Meyer denies reports he's headed to Ohio State
Urban Meyer issued a statement on Wednesday through ESPN refuting reports that he has accepted the head coaching job at Ohio State. But separate reports from The New York Times and The Columbus Dispatch were published later Wednesday saying that the process is moving forward and an announcement is expected next week.
"I have not been offered any job nor is there a deal in place," Meyer said. "I plan on spending Thanksgiving with my family and will not comment on this any further."
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The Times reported that Meyer is moving closer to becoming the Buckeyes' coach and that he needed to discuss the decision with his family over Thanksgiving and get more information about possible sanctions for Ohio State's NCAA violations.
Citing two anonymous university officials, The Dispatch reported early Wednesday afternoon that Meyer will be announced as Ohio State's new coach next week although a deal is not yet completed. WKMG-TV reported late Tuesday that Meyer had agreed "in principle" to a seven-year, $40 million contract to coach the Buckeyes.
Since he resigned at Florida in December, citing health issues and wanting to spend more time with his family, Meyer has said only that he didn't plan to coach in 2011 but has given no indication of his plans beyond this season. He joined ESPN in late January.
Meyer's broadcast team will call the Ohio State game at Michigan this weekend, but he won't be there. ESPN has decided to move him to its Bristol, Conn., studio.
Hawaii coach mum on point-shaving
Hawaii Coach Greg McMackin told reporters after Wednesday's practice that he's been asked not to comment on allegations that some players have been involved in point-shaving. The university said Tuesday the admissions office received an anonymous letter Nov. 3 accusing unnamed players of intentionally playing poorly to affect the final score as part of a gambling scheme. Honolulu police and the NCAA was notified after the university received the letter, but police have said there isn't enough information for a criminal investigation.
Indians bring back Sizemore
Grady Sizemore's trip into free agency didn't take him far. The Cleveland Indians have agreed to terms with the former All-Star outfielder on a one-year, incentive-based contract. It's a deal that could work for both sides if he can stay healthy and on the field. The Indians declined a $9 million option for 2012 last month on Sizemore, who has undergone five surgeries the past two years and has only played in 210 games the last three seasons because of injuries. The 29-year-old Sizemore's base salary in 2012 will be $5 million and he can make another $4 million based on plate appearances.
■ Albert Pujols (St. Louis), Prince Fielder (Milwaukee) and Jose Reyes (Mets) were offered salary arbitration Wednesday, guaranteeing their teams two extra draft picks next year if they sign with new clubs. Teams faced decisions on just seven Type A free agents as the Wednesday midnight deadline approached. A new club signing one of those players would lose a top pick in June's amateur draft, and a team that offers arbitration and loses one of those players would get two extra selections as compensation.
■ Desperate to add some offensive punch behind Joe Mauer at catcher and also have room for him in the outfield and at designated hitter, the Twins agreed to terms on a $3 million, one-year deal with former Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit.
Sources: Players, owners talking again
Talks aimed at ending the NBA lockout have resumed, two people with knowledge of the situation said Wednesday, with a quick settlement necessary to start the season by Christmas. The discussions began quietly Tuesday and are expected to continue through the Thanksgiving holiday, the people told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the talks were supposed to remain confidential. The talks between representatives of the owners and players are now centered on settling their lawsuits: The players filed an antitrust lawsuit against the league, and the league filed a pre-emptive suit, seeking to prove the lockout was legal. Because the union disbanded, it cannot negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement, but the settlement talks could lead to that.
English star Westwood rejoins PGA Tour
Lee Westwood has decided to join the PGA Tour again. It will be the first time the English star has taken up PGA Tour membership since the 2008 season. The move requires Westwood to compete in 15 tournaments, which includes the four majors and World Golf Championships. Westwood, who started the year at No. 1 in the world and has since slipped to No. 3, says he will return to The Players Championship, which he skipped this year because his schedule already was full.
Harvick will have new crew chief
Richard Childress Racing announced Wednesday that Shane Wilson will replace Gil Martin as crew chief of Kevin Harvick's No. 29 team next season. Martin, who had been Harvick's crew chief since May 2009, was moved to director of team operations. "Kevin came to me after the Phoenix race a couple weeks ago and asked for a change in the leadership of his team for the 2012 season," Childress said in a statement. Wilson spent the last three seasons as crew chief for Clint Bowyer.
Ferrer hands Djokovic fifth loss
David Ferrer overpowered Novak Djokovic with relentless hitting, winning 6-3, 6-1 Wednesday to qualify for the semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals in London. Djokovic lost for only the fifth time this year and looked far from the player who won three Grand Slam tournaments and 10 titles overall this season. He can still advance to the semifinals of this season-ending event if he beats fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic on Friday. The top-ranked Djokovic made 33 unforced errors, three times as many as Ferrer.
American Samoa ends 17-year skid
American Samoa's players raised their arms and fell to the ground, as if they had won a major championship. It was only a 2-1 victory over Tonga in the start of Oceania World Cup qualifying, but for one of football's worst national teams it was a triumph like no other. Led by former U.S. Under-20 coach Thomas Rongen, American Samoa won its first international match after 30 consecutive defeats over 17 years. American Somoa is a U.S. protectorate in the South Pacific with a population of about 55,000. American Samoa, tied for 203rd and last in the FIFA world rankings, had been outscored 229-12 since starting international play in 1994, including a world record 31-0 loss to Australia in a World Cup qualifier in 2001.
The last word
Los Angeles Dodgers star Matt Kemp, who had 39 homers and 40 steals this season, had a message for baseball writers after finishing second to Milwaukee's Ryan Braun in the National League MVP vote.
"I'm gonna go 50-50 next year. Y'all created a monster."