Other Sports

Sports briefs: Sept. 28

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Scandal, poor start haven't lowered Penn St.'s revenue

Penn State's football team, stung by sanctions that will last five years after the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse convictions, is off to its worst start since 2006.

Its revenue-generating ability hasn't slipped at all.

Fans have bought 68,000 season tickets, about the same as last year; the 60 luxury suites at Beaver Stadium are sold out, and donations tied to ticket purchases are projected to reach a record $17.5 million this season, according to the school.

"The NCAA put a cage around us, it's just a fact," acting Athletic Director David Joyner, a former Nittany Lions All- America lineman, said in an interview. "What I like to say is when somebody puts a cage around us, you have to become cage fighters. And that's what we're doing."

 A University of Alabama fan accused of poisoning Auburn University's landmark oak trees in a fit of football rivalry voluntarily surrendered for psychiatric testing at a state mental facility Thursday, likely delaying his trial yet again. Prosecutors had asked the judge to revoke Harvey Updyke's bond following his arrest earlier this month during a dispute at a store in Hammond, La.

 A local police officer claimed Thursday that he was fired for giving a speeding ticket to a popular college football coach — fighting words in a state that takes its sports rivalries very seriously. Officer Michael McClatchy issued a ticket to Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney on Sept. 3 after he clocked him going 63 mph in a 35 mph zone in the city of Pickens, located in the same county and just 20 miles down the road from Clemson.


NBA

T'wolves' Rubio won't rush knee rehab

Ricky Rubio says he hopes to return to the Minnesota Timberwolves sometime in December but insists he's "not going to rush it" to be sure he's ready. Rubio's rehabilitation from reconstructive left knee surgery is on schedule. He spoke to reporters Thursday about his progress.

Rubio was hurt at the end of Minnesota's game against the Los Angeles Lakers last March 9, when he tried to plant his leg while defending Kobe Bryant. With one awkward bend of the point guard's most important joint, Rubio's impressive rookie season was over.

 Los Angeles Lakers forward Jordan Hill has pleaded no contest to assaulting his girlfriend in February and was sentenced to one year of probation. Hill, 25, will also have to pay a $500 fine and undergo counseling. The assault charge was reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. Hill is charged with assaulting Darlene Luna on Feb. 29 at his apartment while the New York Knicks' former first-round draft pick was playing for the Houston Rockets. Luna, 29, cried on the witness stand as she recalled the incident and claimed Hill still hasn't apologized.


NHL

League nixes all pre-season games

The NHL canceled the rest of the pre-season Thursday, just a day before negotiations were set to resume in an effort to end the lockout. The league announced its second cancellation of pre-season games in a two-sentence statement. NHL owners locked out players Sept. 16 when the collective bargaining agreement expired.

The NHL had already called off all the exhibition games scheduled in September. The regular season is supposed to begin Oct. 11.

The two sides have scheduled talks on Friday in New York, although they are on secondary economic issues as opposed to the core of the dispute, which is how to split more than $3 billion in annual revenue.

"I'll reserve judgment on my sense of 'optimism' (or not) until we see how our meetings unfold," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in an email to The Associated Press.


HORSE RACING

Tony Bennett to sing at Breeders' Cup

Tony Bennett is going to swing at the Breeders' Cup.

The Grammy-winning singer will perform "The Best Is Yet to Come" at horse racing's world championships at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 3. He will sing in the winner's circle as the horses are making their way to the starting gate for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic race, which will air in prime time on NBC.

 Olympic and world champion skier Bode Miller has gotten into horse racing with part ownership in his first horse. Miller plans to be at Santa Anita to watch Carving run in the $250,000 FrontRunner Stakes on Saturday. The 2-year-old is trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert and owned by his wife, Jill. The couple is friends with Miller and named their 7-year-old son, Bode, after him.

 Belmont Park has canceled its Friday card because of a forecast for heavy rain. The cancellation is an effort to preserve the main track for the stakes-filled "Super Saturday" program topped by the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup.


TENNIS

Sharapova ousted in quarterfinals

Sam Stosur knocked two-time champion Maria Sharapova out of the Pan Pacific Open on Thursday, reaching the semifinals with a 6-4, 7-6 (10) victory over the Russian.

Stosur broke Sharapova to go up 5-3 in the second set but then lost nine straight points as the Russian sent the match to a tiebreaker, which Stosur won on her fifth match point when Sharapova returned long.

Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka withdrew after a bout of dizziness in her third-round match on Wednesday, sending Angelique Kerber of Germany to the semifinals.

Also, Nadia Petrova of Russia, trailing 4-1 in the second set, overcame sixth-seeded Sara Errani of Italy 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. She will next face Stosur on Friday. Defending champion and third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland beat former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-3 in the late quarterfinal and will face Kerber in the semifinals on Friday.


The last word

Jeff Sadorus, a former college official who worked as a field judge during the recent lockout of the NFL's regular officials, faced harsh public critiques. Said Sadorus:

"Honestly, sometimes during this whole thing it felt like the national pastime in this country had changed from football to bashing replacement officials. Everyone wanted perfection, but come on: The last guy who was perfect they nailed to a cross. And he wasn't even an official."

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