Illinois star Mendenhall to enter NFL Draft

Running back Rashard Mendenhall will skip his senior year at Illinois and enter the NFL Draft after rushing for a school-record 1,681 yards while leading the Illini to the Rose Bowl.

Wide receivers Malcolm Kelly (Oklahoma) and Earl Bennett (Vanderbilt) were among the other players who announced Thursday they will pass up their remaining eligibility to enter the April draft. Clemson defensive end Phillip Merling and West Virginia receiver Darius Reynaud also are turning pro.

The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL Draft is Tuesday.

Also: Brigham Young coach Bronco Mendenhall promoted secondary coach Jaime Hill to defensive coordinator.


McNamee meets with federal prosecutors

Roger Clemens’ accuser met for about three hours in New York with federal prosecutors investigating performance-enhancing drugs in sports.

Brian McNamee, the pitcher’s former trainer, talked with Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Parrella and IRS Special Agent Jeff Novitzky about the events that led up to his phone call last week with the seven-time Cy Young Award winner, a person familiar with the session said.

Parrella and Novitzky, part of the BALCO prosecution team that has indicted Barry Bonds for perjury and obstruction of justice, were in the area for today’s sentencing of former track star Marion Jones.

Clemens and McNamee have been asked to testify Feb. 13 before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.


Spurs’ Duncan on track to start in All-Star Game

San Antonio star Tim Duncan was leading all Western Conference forwards in voting for the NBA All-Star Game.

Duncan and Denver’s Carmelo Anthony lead the West forwards this season.

Houston center Yao Ming, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and Houston’s Tracy McGrady also are on pace to start for the West.

Eastern Conference forwards Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics and LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers remain the top two vote-getters for the Feb. 17 game in New Orleans. Garnett has 1,756,251 votes and James is next with 1,564,974.

Miami’s Dwyane Wade and New Jersey’s Jason Kidd are on track to start at guard and Orlando’s Dwight Howard at center for the East.

Voting will continue through Jan. 20, and starters will be announced Jan. 24.

Also: Saint Louis set a modern Division I record for fewest points in a game, falling 49-20 to George Washington in Washington in the Atlantic 10 opener for both teams.

The previous low since the shot clock was introduced in 1985-86 was 21 by Georgia Southern in a 40-point loss to Coastal Carolina in 1997. It was matched by Princeton in a 20-point loss to Monmouth in 2005.

Drake guard Josh Young, the leading scorer in the Missouri Valley Conference, is out indefinitely with a sprained right ankle.

Young is averaging 16.3 points per game and has keyed Drake’s 13-1 start, the best in school history.


MLB, NFL to join USOC in anti-doping research

Major League Baseball and the NFL agreed to join the U.S. Olympic Committee to fund anti-doping research, contributing $3 million each to create the most extensive drug-fighting partnership between America’s biggest pro leagues and its Olympic federation.

The USOC also is giving $3 million and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency is giving $1 million to the new Partnership for Clean Competition, a collaborative that will use the initial $10 million to fund grants for research to combat performance-enhancing drugs in sports.

Also: One of the NHL’s model franchises was sold when the Minnesota Wild announced Bob Naegele’s majority stake will be bought by former Nashville Predators owner Craig Leipold.

Vice chairman Jac Sperling declined to reveal the purchase price, but said the deal is expected to close over the next few months pending approvals by the city and the league.

Former U.S. men’s figure skating champion Christopher Bowman died in Los Angeles, authorities said. He was 40.

Bowman was pronounced dead of a possible overdose, said Coroner’s Lt. Joe Bale, who was not immediately able to provide more details.

An autopsy is planned for this weekend, Bale said.

Top-seeded Justine Henin extended her winning streak to 27 matches, beating Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 to advance to the Sydney (Australia) International final.

Henin, the French and U.S. Open champion, will meet Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final today.

Champion Wladimir Sidorenko of Ukraine defeated Japan’s Nobuto Ikehara with a unanimous decision in Osaka, Japan, to keep his WBA bantamweight title.

Hozumi Hasegawa of Japan beat Simone Maludrottu of Italy by unanimous decision in Osaka, Japan, for the fifth defense of his WBC bantamweight title.

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