Paterno firing over 'failure of leadership'
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Penn State trustees, faced with continued alumni and student criticism for firing football coach Joe Paterno, released a statement Monday intended to underscore their rationale for his ouster: "failure of leadership" for his actions following a reported sex assault involving former assistant Jerry Sandusky.
The board found that while Paterno fulfilled a legal obligation to tell his superiors that an employee claimed Sandusky abused a young boy in a shower, it said Paterno should have done more.
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"We determined that his decision to do his minimum legal duty and not to do more to follow up constituted a failure of leadership by Coach Paterno," the trustees wrote.
The report comes after months of criticism from Penn State alumni over Paterno's firing in November. The Hall of Fame coach died in January after a brief bout with lung cancer.
Other critics, including some faculty, have questioned the board's decisions in general in the frantic weeks after Sandusky was arrested Nov. 5.
Paterno's lawyer, Wick Sollers, said in a statement later Monday that the family was surprised and saddened that the board "believes it is necessary and appropriate to explain — for the fourth or fifth time — why they fired Joe Paterno so suddenly and unjustifiably on Nov. 9, 2011."
Trustees interviewed by The Associated Press had cited three reasons for Paterno's immediate removal: a failure to meet a moral obligation in not doing more to report the 2002 allegation; concern that statements from Paterno had challenged the board's authority; and worries that Paterno would not be able to properly represent the school if allowed to finish the 2011 season.
In their statement Monday, the trustees said they had been asked by the Penn State community to "state clearly" the reasons for Paterno's dismissal and the removal of the university president.
The NCAA infractions committee has hit North Carolina's football program with a one-year post-season ban, a reduction of 15 scholarships and three years of probation following an investigation into improper benefits and academic misconduct.
In a ruling Monday, the committee said the school was responsible for multiple violations, including academic fraud and a failure to monitor its football program. It also issued a three-year show-cause penalty for former assistant coach John Blake, who had received personal loans from an NFL agent.
"This case should serve as a cautionary tale to all institutions to vigilantly monitor the activities of those student-athletes who possess the potential to be top professional prospects," the committee stated in its report. "It should also serve to warn student-athletes that if they choose to accept benefits from agents or their associates, they risk losing their eligibility for collegiate competition."
The post-season ban is for this fall and prevents the Tar Heels from playing in either the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game or a bowl game. The scholarship reductions would be five per year, also starting in the fall.
One of four TCU football players accused of selling marijuana as part of a six-month drug sting has been charged.
Cornerback Devin Johnson is charged with three cases of delivery of marijuana between one-quarter ounce and five pounds of marijuana. Johnson and three others are accused of selling marijuana to undercover officers, sometimes arranging deals around practices. Each case carries up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Georgia coach Mark Richt has agreed to a new five-year contract that will carry him through the 2016 season.
Athletic director Greg McGarity says final details are still being finalized by attorneys.
Richt, who just completed his 11th season, is making $2.81 million annually in his current deal. McGarity says his compensation, as well as his buyout clause and other deals, will be "tweaked" in the new contract. McGarity says he won't provide details until the document is ready.
Baseball, softball to launch joint bid
Baseball and softball officials want to complete plans by the end of the month for a joint bid for Olympic reinstatement.
The International Baseball Federation says it hopes to finish the work with the International Softball Federation at a March 17 meeting in the Netherlands and then submit it to the International Olympic Committee.
Baseball and softball are competing with karate, roller sports, sports climbing, squash, wakeboard and wushu for one spot on the 2020 program. The IOC will hold its vote in September 2013.
The IOC voted in 2005 to remove baseball and softball from the Olympic program after the 2008 Beijing Games. As separate bids, the two sports both failed to return for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
Jennings leads Bucks' rally over Nets
Brandon Jennings has 34 points, seven assists and seven rebounds and the visiting Milwaukee Bucks posted their third straight win with a 105-99 decision over the New Jersey Nets.
Drew Gooden added 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists as the Bucks rallied from an early 12-point deficit to beat New Jersey for the 10th straight time. Beno Udrih added 15 points and seven assists and Mike Dunleavy had 15 points, including a three-pointer from the corner with 1:30 to go that opened a 10-point lead.
Kris Humphries had a career-high 31 points and 18 rebounds for New Jersey.
Spurs point guard T.J. Ford abruptly retired Monday following the latest scare to his surgically repaired spine, which once sidelined him for an entire NBA season and hampered the dazzling promise that made him a college star.
Ford told reporters that lying motionless March 7 on the court against the New York Knicks wasn't the first time it had happened, and he decided to walk away while he still had a chance. He was playing just his 14th game in an injury-prone season when Knicks guard Baron Davis elbowed him in the back, knocking him to the floor.
The 28-year-old Ford didn't move for several minutes and wobbled while being helped off the court.
Ford said he had no hard feelings toward the Knicks' Davis for last week's elbow. Davis said Monday that Ford was a "dear friend" and called him to apologize.
"I was just running in there trying to get the rebound and I thought he was a bigger dude. I didn't even think it was him," Davis said. "When I hit him and I saw it was him, I knew no good was going to come out of that."
Women's tennis falls to Florida
Kentucky's women's tennis (8-7, 0-4 SEC) dropped its match to host Florida (10-1, 4-0 SEC) after a postponement due to heavy rain.
The Wildcats' best performance of the day came from Edmée Morin-Kougoucheff. The freshman faced 18th-ranked Joanna Mather and won the first set, 6-4. In the second set, however, Morin-Kougoucheff could not stop Mather as she grabbed the set, 6-0. The match went into a third set and required a tiebreaker, which Mather won, 10-4.
The Cats next face the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. at 5 p.m. on Thursday.
The last word
Winning 27 games and the Colonial Athletic Association regular-season championship was not enough to help Drexel make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1996. Said Dragons' Coach Bruiser Flint:
"There must be a lot of people on the basketball committee that don't know too much about basketball. They just got to look at what's on their paper."