National Sports Briefs
COLUMBIA, S.C. ó Les Robinson, the retiring athletic director at The Citadel, has always loved bringing people together. So, it’s no surprise one of Robinson’s favorite moments of his long career in athletics came two years ago when he helped reconcile the school with its paralyzed former linebacker, Marc Buoniconti.
There were joyful tears as Buoniconti received his long-sought class ring and had his Citadel jersey retired.
“That was very meaningful to me,” Robinson said by phone as he ended four decades in coaching and athletic administration.
But he won’t leave the sports world entirely: The NCAA named Robinson to its NIT Selection Committee the same day.
Robinson, 65, also will continue as a Bulldogs consultant and fundraiser for South Carolina’s military school, where he launched his college coaching career, first as an assistant and then, starting in 1974, a head coach. And he’ll do it the way he’s done so well for so long ó with a funny story, a smile on his face and a passion for doing what’s right.
“I guess I was just born with that. In high school, I was the clown,” he said.
DURHAM ó Duke defensive end Justin Wilkerson plans to transfer.
New Blue Devils coach David Cutcliffe said Monday that Wilkerson has left the program and plans to attend school elsewhere. Wilkerson was a 6-foot-3, 230-pound true freshman last year who didn’t see game action.
– CLEMSON, S.C. ó Six Clemson players are in the running for two of college football’s biggest awards.
Running backs James Davis and C.J. Spiller, quarterback Cullen Harper and receiver Aaron Kelly were among 75 candidates announced Monday for the Maxwell Award. The honor goes to the country’s top player.
Two other Clemson players, safety Michael Hamlin and defensive end Ricky Sapp, were among 75 candidates for the Bednarik Award. That honor is given to the top defensive player.
– ATLANTA ó Georgia Tech cornerback Jerrard Tarrant has been charged with rape and has been suspended from the football team.
The alleged victim said she was raped at an on-campus dormitory April 25 and reported the incident to police that morning.
RED SOX THREAT
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. ó Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona declined comment Monday on a report the team received a mailed threat targeting black and Latin players.
The Boston Herald, citing unidentified sources, reported the threat was believed to be postmarked in Memphis, Tenn., and that a suspect believed to be from Baltimore but living in the Memphis area was being sought. The newspaper said the team increased security for its three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays.
LAUSANNE, Switzerland ó Floyd Landis has lost his final chance to retain his 2006 Tour de France title.
Monday’s decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport is the last step of a multimillion-dollar process that poked holes in the anti-doping establishment but ultimately left the American cyclist as just another convicted cheater.
RALEIGHó The Carolina Hurricanes are shopping for some bodies on the blue line.
With two veteran defensemen no longer on the roster and the free-agent signing period starting Tuesday, the Hurricanes’ top priorities are finding their replacements and rejuvenating a defense that contributed to a second straight missed postseason.
“I think we need to really overhaul our overall defense ó younger, bigger,” general manager Jim Rutherford said Monday.
INDIANAPOLIS ó Indiana University’s president told the NCAA infractions committee that the hiring of ousted basketball coach Kelvin Sampson was “a risk that should not have been taken.”
President Michael McRobbie told the committee that Sampson had betrayed the school’s trust in violating NCAA regulations on telephone calls to recruits. The NCAA has accused Sampson of providing false and misleading information to investigators about more than 100 impermissible phone calls to recruits.
OMAHA, Neb. ó Natalie Coughlin has reclaimed her world mark in the 100-meter backstroke one heat after Hayley McGregory took it down.
Coughlin won her preliminary heat in 59.03 seconds Monday.