In Brief

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Sharing text message of alleged
pay-for-play plan called ‘stupid’

An attorney for Kenny Rogers said Thursday his client knows he made “a stupid decision” when he sent a fellow Mississippi State booster a text of Cecil Newton’s payment plan to secure his son’s commitment to the Bulldogs.

“I’m not even sure Kenny completely understands why he did it,” Doug Zeit told The Associated Press. “The best I can tell you is Cecil Newton made a few calls insisting that he do it, so Kenny went ahead and sent the text message.”

Zeit confirmed Rogers sent the text to Bill Bell requesting $80,000 the day after Cam Newton signed with Mississippi State, $50,000 30 days later and another $50,000 30 days after that.

Zeit says no money ever changed hands.

“I can’t tell you what Cecil Newton was thinking,” Zeit said. “What I do know is he told Kenny Rogers that it would take $180,000 to sign his son, and he told him, ‘This is how I want it done.’ ”

Cam Newton eventually signed with Auburn, and the Heisman Trophy candidate has the second-ranked Tigers in contention for a national title.

The Newtons’ attorney, George Lawson, told WSB-TV of Atlanta he is “one million percent” certain Cam Newton did not take any money. Lawson said if Cecil Newton discussed money, his son “knew nothing” about it.

Also: The Black Coaches and Administrators gave its highest grade ever to NCAA programs for hiring practices for football coaching vacancies but cautioned that there is still plenty of room for improvement.

The organization released its report card analyzing the minority hiring practices of football coaches, awarding an A grade to 20 of 34 schools that had an opening for a head coach last offseason. That’s the highest percentage (59 percent) of any of its seven studies and up from 34 percent last year. There were nine Bs, one C and four Fs.

Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen will return for the 2011 season, the school announced.

The decision was based on Maryland’s turnaround this year. After going 2-10 last season, the Terps are 7-3 and in contention for a spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game.

University of North Carolina chancellor Holden Thorp said there are no plans for self-imposed sanctions on the school’s football program amid an NCAA investigation into agent-related benefits and academic misconduct.

Police made a third arrest in the shooting of three Southern Mississippi football players outside a Hattiesburg nightclub Sunday.

Hattiesburg Police Sgt. Allen Murray said Van Allen Myers, 23, of Prentiss has been charged with three counts of accessory before the fact of an aggravated assault.

MISCELLANEOUS

Five ex-employees charged in
Kansas athletic tickets scandal

Federal prosecutors charged five former University of Kansas employees with conspiring to steal more than $2 million in tickets to athletic events in a scandal that embarrassed the school and probably led to the early departure of athletic director Lew Perkins.

Investigators said the conspirators made from $3 million to $5 million in the scheme over five years.

Prosecutors singled out former associate athletic director Charlette Blubaugh, who was in charge of the ticket office. They said she began stealing tickets in 2005 and gave them to other key athletic department employees to sell, either personally or through third parties.

Also: The UNLV women’s volleyball team lost 25-20, 25-18, 25-23 to host San Diego State despite 11 kills from Makenzie Moea’i and a match-high seven blocks by Madeline Westman. The Rebels dropped to 9-20 overall and 4-11 in the Mountain West Conference.

The UNLV men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams recorded six top-eight finishes on the first day of the Arena Cup in Long Beach, Calif.

The 18th-ranked men’s team took second in the 400 medley relay in 3:14.71 and third in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:20.23. The Rebels’ Giacomo Gremizzi was second in the 200 individual medley in 1:47.33.

Freshman Jessica Heim had the best performance among the UNLV women, finishing seventh in the 500 freestyle in 4:51.95.

PGA Tour winner Matt Bettencourt shot an 8-under-par 64 at Del Monte to take a two-stroke lead in the Pebble Beach Invitational at Pebble Beach, Calif., and Annika Sorenstam opened with a 69 at Del Monte in a rare competitive start since her retirement in 2008.

Bettencourt had two eagles, five birdies and a bogey in the Callaway Golf-sponsored tournament that features 76 male and female players.

New Zealander Mark Brown made a late charge to top the first-round leaderboard at the Hong Kong Open, shooting an 8-under 62 to lead by one stroke over two-time runner-up Rory McIlroy.

American basketball player A.J. Moye was hospitalized after suffering a stroke following a head-on collision with a teammate in practice in Frankfurt, Germany. Moye’s team, Deutsche Bank Skyliners Frankfurt, said the 28-year-old forward was taken to a hospital for “intensive examinations.”

Pop Warner, the nation’s oldest and largest youth football organization, is requiring a note from a doctor before letting anyone who has suffered a head injury back on the field.

“It takes all the pressure off a coach,” said Jon Butler, Pop Warner’s executive director. “There is no decision — the child is out until being signed off by a trained medical professional.”

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