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National sports briefs: NCHSAA wants member schools to trim schedules

Associated Press
CHAPEL HILL ó The governing body of high school sports in North Carolina wants school systems to consider reducing the number of games in various sports to cut down on costs due to the economic slowdown.
The board of directors of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association approved a statement Wednesday that “strongly encourages” schools to voluntarily cut down the number of regular-season games. Approval came at the close of the association’s spring meetings. The statement specifically mentions reducing the number of nonconference games in both junior varsity and non-revenue varsity programs.
The NCHSAA says additional measures are up to schools and conferences. It will also post cost-cutting suggestions on its web site and encouraged member schools to submit their own suggestions.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL
INDIANAPOLIS ó Recommendations regarding defense under the basket and substitute free throw shooters for injured players have been made by the NCAA’s Men’s and Women’s Basketball Rules Committee.
The recommendation on play under the basket won’t call for a restricted-area arc painted in the lane as the NBA has, but it prohibits a secondary defender from establishing position in the area from the front of the rim to the front of the backboard. A defender must establish position outside that area to draw a charge.
In the proposal of substituting for a free throw shooter who has been injured, the opposing coach would choose the player to attempt the free throws from the four remaining players on the court.
* LEXINGTON, Ky. ó Kentucky signed Alabama point guard Eric Bledsoe, the second high-profile recruit to join the Wildcats since John Calipari took over as coach.
Bledsoe had narrowed his choices to Kentucky and Memphis. Rivals.com rates Bledsoe as the nation’s No. 23 prospect overall and third-best point guard.
* COLUMBIA, S.C. ó South Carolina coach Darrin Horn says seldom-used center Mitchell Carter is leaving the Gamecocks.
* STARKVILLE, Miss. ó Reserve forward Jacquiese Holcombe said he will transfer from Mississippi State.
* DAVIDSON ó Former Davidson player Landry Kosmalski has joined the Wildcats’ coaching staff.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. ó Tennessee has signed a prep football star who at the age of 13 was found by a juvenile court to have helped rape a relative. Daniel Hood, a defensive end/tight end at Knoxville Catholic, signed a scholarship offer and will join coach Lane Kiffin’s first recruiting class in the fall.
“We didn’t go about this lightly,” Kiffin said in a statement. “We spent a lot of time researching the issue and talking to a lot of people who are well respected in the community. Everyone spoke very highly of Daniel.”
Tennessee received a letter of support for Hood from the victim.
“He is becoming a very mature adult and will be a great asset to any college and to society as a whole,” the letter read.
Hood told The Knoxville News Sentinel that he’s tried to learn from the crime.
* PHOENIX ó Big 12 coaches have rejected a proposal to change the controversial tiebreaker that gave Oklahoma the nod over Texas in the three-way tie in the Big 12 South last season.
They voted to keep the BCS standings as the method to break ties between more than two teams.
* The coaches’ final regular-season ballots ó and even the identity of the 61 voters ó may soon be a secret as well. Those are among several possible changes being considered by the American Football Coaches Association.
COLLEGES
DETROIT ó Two Detroit-area businessmen were charged with paying and giving gifts to basketball and football players at the University of Toledo to take part in a point-shaving scheme, according to a federal indictment.
Six former Toledo players also were accused of taking part in the alleged scheme by either affecting the outcomes in games or giving the two businessmen information so that they could place wagers.
The FBI began investigating point shaving at Toledo four years ago. They said the scheme began in the fall of 2004 and continued until 2006. Ghazi Manni, 52, of Sterling Heights and Mitchell Karam, 76, of Troy were charged with conspiracy to influence sporting contests by bribery.
The pair bet about $407,000 on Toledo basketball games between November 2005 and December 2006, according to the indictment.
The indictment charges three former football players: Adam Cuomo, 31, Harvey “Scooter” McDougle Jr., 24, and Quinton Broussard, 25. Also charged were former basketball players Keith Triplett, 29, Anton Currie, 25, and Kashif Payne, 24.
* INDIANAPOLIS ó Centenary’s basketball team and Tennessee-Chattanooga’s football squad became the first to be banned from postseason play because of poor Academic Progress Rate scores.
Jacksonville State’s football team, which is appealing a postseason ban, could join them. A decision is expected within six weeks.
Next year, schools with four straight years of poor scores could face the NCAA’s most severe penalty, restricted Division I membership for the entire athletic department.
Tennessee-Chattanooga contends it has consistently improved its APR number over the past several years and hopes a better score in October will staunch the penalties next year.
Ten schools were cited in both football and men’s basketball but only two ó Alabama-Birmingham and New Mexico State ó play in college football’s top level.
HORSE RACING
BALTIMORE ó There will be no shortage of challengers when Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird tries to win the Preakness Stakes.
The field for the second leg of the Triple Crown grew to nine with Musket Man, General Quarters and Terrain the latest confirmed starters for next Saturday’s race.
* LOUISVILLE, Ky. ó Kentucky Oaks winner Rachel Alexandra has been sold to Stonestreet Stables, opening the possibility for the filly superstar to run in the Preakness.
Rachel Alexandra posted a record 201/4-length win in the Oaks.
GOLF
MADRID ó Seve Ballesteros says he feels fine but “suffered like a dog” while recovering from four surgeries to remove a cancerous brain tumor.
“I feel perfect,” Ballesteros said in an interview with the Cadena SER radio. “I can do any kind of sport. I can row, I can run, I can swim, I can cycle. I am even playing a bit of golf, some short shots.”
SOCCER
LONDON ó Barcelona advanced to the European Champions League final against Manchester United in dramatic fashion, tying Chelsea 1-1 when Andres Iniesta scored in the third minute of second-half injury time. Barcelona, which finished a man short following Eric Abidal’s ejection in the 66th minute, advanced because of a 1-0 advantage in away goals.
Manchester United will try to win the title for the fourth time when it meets Barcelona on May 27.
TENNIS
ROME ó Dinara Safina rallied past Zheng Jie 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 (3) to reach the quarterfinals of the Italian Open, and Jelena Jankovic advanced after her opponent retired with an illness.
Ana Ivanovic squandered a four-game lead in the decisive set against Agnieszka Radwanska and lost 6-1, 3-6, 6-4. Patty Schnyder, who defeated Serena Williams in three sets early Wednesday, lost 6-3, 6-0 to 16th-seeded Kaia Kanepi.
Venus Williams beat Anna Chakvetadze 6-0, 6-7 (8), 6-4.
* BELGRADE, Serbia ó The father of Jelena Dokic was detained in Serbia for allegedly threatening the Australian ambassador in Belgrade, police said Wednesday.
* OEIRAS, Portugal ó Nikolay Davydenko reached the quarterfinals of the Estoril Open with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Juan Carlos Ferrero. Davydenko will meet Mardy Fish in the next round. James Blake recovered from a poor start to defeat Frederico Gil 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.
TRACK
KINGSTON, Jamaica ó Usain Bolt’s manager says the Olympic champion is expected to resume training this week after injuring his foot in a car crash.
FIGURE SKATING
Olympic silver medalist Sasha Cohen confirmed she is returning to competitive figure skating in hopes of earning a spot at the Vancouver Games. The 24-year-old Cohen hasn’t competed since the 2006 world championships.
SPORT STUDY
WASHINGTON ó A group that studies sports in society urged the Obama administration to step up the federal government’s role in athletics and culture, possibly with a Cabinet-level post.

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