Other Sports

Sports briefs: April 20

Italy banned cyclist Riccardo Ricco from the sport for 12 years after his second doping offense.
Italy banned cyclist Riccardo Ricco from the sport for 12 years after his second doping offense. AP

College football

10 SEMO players scrutinized for hazing; no criminal charges

Ten football players at Southeast Missouri State University may face discipline from the university for an alleged hazing incident, but they will not face criminal charges.

The university says that players wrapped the arms, legs and mouths of some teammates in duct tape, then carried them from the locker room to the field last Friday at Houck Stadium in Cape Girardeau. Names of the students involved have not been released.

The Cape Girardeau County prosecuting attorney's office declined to press charges. But the university says its Office of Student Conduct is reviewing because hazing is prohibited.

The university took on a strict anti-hazing policy in 1994 after a fatal hazing at a fraternity.

- Penn State says it has provided more than $5.5 million in payments and benefits to settle Joe Paterno's employment contract.

School spokesman Bill Mahon says the university and Paterno's estate finalized the remaining payments due to the longtime coach, who was fired in November in the wake of former assistant Jerry Sandusky's arrest on child sexual abuse charges.

Paterno died of lung cancer in January.

The school says it made the payments Thursday to Paterno's estate. A breakdown of the settlement provided by the school includes a career bonus of $3 million, an annual bonus of $425,000, the use by Paterno's family of a Beaver Stadium suite for 25 years and $900,000 from television and radio revenue from last season.

Sports in the courts

Walker fined for stealing taco

Former Florida guard Erving Walker has pleaded no contest to a petty theft charge of stealing a $3 taco.

Judge Walter M. Green withheld adjudication Thursday and fined Walker $301. If Walker pays the fine by Sept. 27, his record will be cleared.

The state agreed to drop one count of resisting arrest without violence.

Walker, who just completed his senior season and ranks first in school history in assists, was arrested March 30. Gainesville Police said he ordered a taco from a street vendor, got the food and ran away without paying. When police caught up with him and told him stop, Walker kept going. Officers finally caught Walker with help from several patrol cars. Walker told them he was "just playing around."

He apologized for the incident Thursday.

Olympics

Griner withdraws from consideration

Baylor star Brittney Griner says she will not play for the U.S. women's basketball team at the London Olympics this summer. The 6-foot-8 Griner said Thursday she has withdrawn her name from consideration for the team. She cited a family illness and school obligations this summer as the reasons.

 Eight-time Olympic champion Birgit Fischer has given up her attempt to qualify for the London Games at age 50. The German canoeist says she is suffering from a heart muscle inflammation and has been told by doctors that she cannot compete.

Doctors stopped Fischer from competing at the German trials this month after diagnosing her with an irregular heartbeat. Fischer last competed at the Athens Games in 2004.

Cycling

Ricco banned 12 years for doping

Italian cyclist Riccardo Ricco was banned 12 years for his second doping offense.

The country's anti-doping tribunal agreed Thursday with the length of the ban proposed by the Italian Olympic Committee in October. Ricco also was fined $6,540 and ordered to pay legal costs of $19,630.

Ricco hasn't raced since he was taken to a hospital after becoming ill at his home near Modena in February 2011. The doctor who treated him reportedly told police the cyclist acknowledged using transfusions of his own blood, which he allegedly kept in his refrigerator.

He was then fired by the Dutch team Vacansoleil-DCM. Ricco was preparing to race again after joining the third-division team Meridiana-Kamen, but the Italian Olympic Committee suspended him in June for "reasons related to the athlete's own health."

Ricco had been banned for 20 months after testing positive for the blood-booster CERA following his victories in two mountain stages at the 2008 Tour de France. He was fired by Saunier-Duval.

UK sports

Men's tennis rides momentum into SEC

For the third consecutive season Kentucky (24-4, 11-0 SEC) has received a first-round bye in the Southeastern Conference Championship, which began Thursday, and will not compete until Friday's quarterfinals. UK is the No. 1 seed in the event and will face the winner of No. 8 LSU and No. 9 Vanderbilt on Friday at 3 p.m.

"We are really excited to be the No. 1 seed in the SEC Tournament," UK head coach Dennis Emery said. "We feel like we are going into the tournament with a lot of momentum. We have won our last nine matches and moved up to six in the rankings. We feel like Starkville has been a good place for us to play. We have won down there in the past, but it can be a difficult setting because they have huge crowds. We seem to handle those situations well and hopefully that will continue."

The Wildcats have advanced past the first round of the tournament in each of the last four years, while last year's team put together one of the best runs in school history at the tournament. The 2011 Wildcats defeated highly ranked Auburn and Georgia in the event last year to appear in the championship match for only the second time in school history. UK would eventually fall to Florida, which hosted the tournament.

The last word

Thursday's game between the White Sox and Orioles was briefly delayed in the top of the seventh when a young boy slipped through a barricade and went running across the outfield. White Sox left fielder Dayan Viciedo scooped him up and handed him over to a security guard. Said White Sox spokesman Scott Reifert:

"Safety is our No. 1 concern and we are happy that the child is fine. Obviously it was a non-issue for Dayan who was able to field the kid cleanly."

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