In Brief


Navy accepts invitation to join
overhauled Big East in 2015

Navy is headed to the Big East, giving up more than 130 years of football independence to join a conference that is in the middle of a massive overhaul.

The Big East announced Tuesday that the U.S. Naval Academy has accepted an invitation to join the league for football only, starting in 2015. The conference has now added six new members in the past seven weeks after losing three members and having another Texas Christian renege on a future commitment in the fall.

“Stability in the Big East was a very important aspect in our discussions with the commissioner,” Vice Admiral Michael Miller, superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy, said during a teleconference. “What we see is a very bright future for the conference.”

Navy has been playing football since 1879 without conference affiliation, but academy officials said they believe independence will be too difficult to maintain as other powerful leagues grow. Athletic director Chet Gladchuk said scheduling games late in the season, landing desirable TV deals and securing bowl bids will become a problem for Navy.

Also: Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds said he’s committed to keeping coach Mack Brown for as long as Brown wants to stay.

Texas regents are scheduled Thursday to consider a four-year contract extension to keep the 60-year-old Brown at Texas at least until 2020.

The move is seen as a response to rumors that surfaced after last season that Brown would retire soon or would be forced out.

Mike Stoops received a three-year contract that will pay him $600,000 annually to be the defensive coordinator for Oklahoma. Regents also had to approve a nepotism waiver because Stoops will be working under his brother, coach Bob Stoops.

Mike Stoops was fired as Arizona’s coach last season and was hired this month to be Oklahoma’s co-defensive coordinator. Since then, co-coordinator Brent Venables left to run Clemson’s defense.


Reno’s stadium picked to host
2013 Triple-A All-Star Game

Minor league baseball has picked Reno to host the 2013 Triple-A All-Star Game.

Officials for the Pacific Coast and International leagues joined the Reno Aces in making the announcement at Aces Ballpark. The game will be played July 10, 2013. The annual Triple-A Home Run Derby will be July 8.

PCL president Branch Rickey said it will be a great opportunity for Reno to show off the classic-style stadium and entertainment district that opened in 2009 along the Truckee River.


U.S. women’s soccer shuts out
Mexico, nears Olympic berth

Carli Lloyd scored in the seventh minute for the first of her three goals, and Heather O’Reilly added a goal in the eighth minute as the U.S. women’s soccer team avenged one of its most shocking losses, beating Mexico 4-0 in Vancouver, British Columbia, to move a major step closer to qualifying for the London Olympics.

The win clinched first place for the U.S. in its group. Next up is the game that matters most, a London-or-bust semifinal against Costa Rica on Friday. The winner gets one of the two available berths for the Summer Games.

The win also eased the string from the Americans’ 2-1 defeat to Mexico in a World Cup qualifier 14 months ago.

Also: Venus Williams will return from illness and her sister, Serena, will play Fed Cup for the first time in nearly five years after being selected for the U.S. team to meet Belarus in a Feb. 4 and 5 World Group II match at Worcester, Mass.

U.S. Fed Cup captain Mary Joe Fernandez announced the team, which includes Christina McHale and Liezel Huber.

It will be Venus Williams’ first appearance in sanctioned competition since the U.S. Open, when she revealed she had Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease that can cause fatigue and joint pain.

Washington Capitals standout Alex Ovechkin is skipping the NHL All-Star Game this weekend in Ottawa, a decision he announced a day after getting a three-game suspension from the league for a hit on an opponent.

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews was placed on injured reserve and will miss at least a week because of a left wrist injury. Toews, who has 27 goals and 23 assists in 49 games, will also miss the All-Star Game in Ottawa.

Green Valley senior guard Durrell McDonald made an oral commitment to play college basketball at DePaul.

The 6-foot-2-inch McDonald picked the Blue Demons over scholarship offers from Chattanooga, Florida International and Western Kentucky.

“I really liked the academics and style of play. It’s very up-tempo, and I like that,” McDonald said. “I feel like it’s my style of basketball.”

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