Sports in the courts
Defamation lawsuit against Boeheim dismissed by judge
A judge on Friday threw out a defamation lawsuit brought against Syracuse University and men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim by two men who said the Hall of Fame coach slandered them when he said their accusations of sexual abuse against former associate head coach Bernie Fine were driven by greed.
Two former team ball boys, Bobby Davis and Michael Lang, accused Fine of sexually abusing them more than 20 years ago.
When the allegations surfaced in November, Boeheim vehemently supported Fine, a friend for more than 40 years and his assistant for 35-plus seasons. Boeheim told ESPN that Davis was telling "a bunch of a thousand lies" and called him an opportunist looking to cash in on the publicity surrounding the Penn State sex-abuse scandal.
Supreme Court Justice Brian DeJoseph, a graduate of Syracuse and its law school, ruled Friday that Boeheim's comments were not statements of fact but were opinions that are protected from defamation suits. "The content, tone and purpose of Boeheim's statements would clearly signal to the reasonable reader that what was being said in the articles published in the days after the initial ESPN report were likely to be an opinion — a biased, passionate, and defensive point of view of a basketball coach — rather than objective fact," DeJoseph wrote in his 30-page decision. "It is clear to this court that Boeheim provided a factual basis for his opinion. He provided a ... reasonably accurate version of those facts."
Davis, 40, and Lang, 45, hired high-profile attorney Gloria Allred and filed the lawsuit in late December. Late Friday, Allred vowed to appeal the ruling.
Boeheim, who was out of town attending meetings in Indianapolis, declined to comment through the university's sports information office. A call to his attorney, Timothy Murphy, was not immediately returned.
Pitt files lawsuit against Big East
The University of Pittsburgh is suing the Big East in hopes of moving its exit date from the conference up a year. The school filed a complaint in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County on Friday claiming the Big East has waived its right to enforce a 27-month withdrawal notice and the Panthers should be allowed to move to the ACC without further penalty by the 2013-14 conference year. Pitt and Syracuse announced last September they were jumping to the ACC. Pitt paid half of its $5 million exit fee at the time of the announcement and said it would remain in the conference until July 1, 2014. The school argues since the Big East allowed West Virginia and TCU to leave the conference without the proper notice, it can't prevent Pitt from leaving after the 2012-13 conference year.
Date change may help PSU officials
A judge's decision this week to change the date of an alleged sexual assault on a boy in the Penn State football team showers by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky could help two university administrators in their quest to have one of the charges against them thrown out. Judge John Cleland granted prosecutors' request to amend the date of the incident involving "Victim 2" from March 2002 to February 2001. The failure-to-report charge against Tim Curley and Gary Schultz now appears to fall outside the statute of limitations by nine months.
Vince Young signs with Bills
Quarterback Vince Young agreed to a one-year contract with the Buffalo Bills on Friday and will compete to be the backup behind starter Ryan Fitzpatrick. "The guy's been to two Pro Bowls, he's 31-19 as a starter in this league. We think he can do that again," Bills General Manager Buddy Nix said. Young will compete with returning backup Tyler Thigpen for the No. 2 position.
Jets turn down 'Hard Knocks' this time
There will be no summer sequel for the Jets on Hard Knocks this season. A person familiar with the decision said the team decided to not participate in the hit HBO show this year after being approached by the cable network about appearing again. Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez & Co. were big stars and drew huge ratings two years ago, the last time the show aired. The arrival of Tim Tebow would have made for intriguing television, but the person said the Jets' decision stemmed from having a new offensive coordinator, Tony Sparano, who is installing a new system.
Women's golf team improves to 18th
The Kentucky women's golf team moved up three spots to a tie for 18th place in the second round of the NCAA Central Regional on Friday in Columbus, Ohio. UK's Heather Lott, Betsie Johnson and Ashlee Rose each shot 78 on the par-72 Scarlet Course at Ohio State. Ashleigh Albrecht had a 79 and Liz Breed an 83. At 635 after two rounds, UK trails first-place Southern Cal by 47 shots. Paced by 4-under 68s from Lisa McCloskey and Sophia Popov, Southern Cal leads by 12 shots over Vanderbilt. McCloskey leads the tournament at 3-under 141. Vanderbilt's Marina Alex and Lauren Stratton, and Florida State's Maria Salinas are in a three-way tie for second at 143. The final round of the three-day tournament is Saturday.
Nebraska coach has 7-year deal
New Nebraska coach Tim Miles signed a seven-year contract that pays him a salary of $1.4 million that increases annually to $2.15 million by 2018-19. The contract was signed May 4 and released Friday. Miles' contract includes incentives that pay him bonuses of $75,000 if the Cornhuskers win 20 games in a season, $100,000 if they win a Big Ten regular-season or tournament title and $150,000 if they make the NCAA Tournament.
■ Michigan State center Derrick Nix was fined and ordered to perform community service for an impaired driving case that stemmed from an April traffic stop. Nix was sentenced Thursday in an East Lansing courtroom to 24 hours of community service and $853 in fines and costs. He also must attend classes on substance abuse and a panel on the impact of drunken driving on victims. He earlier pleaded guilty to impaired driving. A marijuana possession charge was dropped. Nix averaged 8.1 points this past season.
Legendary designer, racer dies at 89
Carroll Shelby, the legendary car designer and champion auto racer who built the fabled Shelby Cobra sports car and injected testosterone into Ford's Mustang and Chrysler's Viper, has died. He was 89. Shelby's company, Carroll Shelby International, said Friday that Shelby died the night before at a Dallas hospital. Doctors have not released a cause of death. "We are all deeply saddened, and feel a tremendous sense of loss for Carroll's family, ourselves and the entire automotive industry," said Joe Conway, president of Carroll Shelby International, Inc. and board member. "There has been no one like Carroll Shelby and never will be. However, we promised Carroll we would carry on, and he put the team, the products and the vision in place to do just that." Shelby was one of the nation's longest-living heart transplant recipients, having received a heart on June 7, 1990, from a 34-year-old man who died of an aneurysm.
The last word
Minnesota Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire, after his scuffling team let a high popup drop 10 feet in front of home plate Thursday night, allowing the Toronto Blue Jays to score a run:
"Things happened out there that really don't happen in high school."