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National Sports Briefs: Kiffin ‘misunderstood’

Associated PressKNOXVILLE, Tenn. ó Lane Kiffin has done just what his new boss at Tennessee wanted him to do: Put the Volunteers back in the national spotlight.
And while the new coach has ruffled some feathers with his bold moves and brash comments, athletic director Mike Hamilton said that Kiffin’s statements have been “misunderstood.”
“Everybody says, ‘Does he really understand what he’s doing or saying?’ Yeah, he does,” said Hamilton. “He might have been shocked initially or surprised initially at the attention that anything he says will get.”
Kiffin was forced to apologize to Florida and drew a reprimand from the SEC in February after joking that Gators coach Urban Meyer broke rules in recruiting Nu’Keese Richardson, an eventual Vols signee.
“I have found him to be different from the media persona that was painted of him, stemming from those original February comments,” Hamilton said. “He’s not as cavalier as the media painted him to be.”
And most importantly, Hamilton says, “He has gotten Tennessee back on the map.”
“When you think about the fact that our football program was 5-7 last year, and we’ve got a coach that’s not coached a game yet in college football, but yet, we’re on the front page of USA Today sports (Tuesday) … it’s really quite amazing,” he said.
Kiffin was back in the spotlight last week when Tennessee confirmed it would self-report a secondary violation after a comment about a recruit was posted to coach Lane Kiffin’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Hamilton said it was an inadvertent mistake made by a newly hired staff assistant who posted the note which read: “I was so excited to hear that J.C. Copeland committed to play for the Vols today!”
It’s the fourth minor violation by the Vols since Kiffin was introduced as head coach in December.
KENTUCKY
LEXINGTON, Ky. ó Kentucky defensive end Jeremy Jarmon was ruled ineligible for his senior season by the NCAA because of a failed drug test.
He said at a news conference Saturday he had inadvertently taken a banned substance that turned up positive during a random NCAA test in February. An appeal was denied, in effect ending his college football career.
BASEBALL
DURHAM ó Freshman John Hicks’ two-run single keyed a three-run ninth inning and lifted Virginia past Florida State 6-3 on Sunday in the ACC championship game.
Steven Proscia and Franco Valdes each added RBIs for the sixth-seeded Cavaliers (43-12-1). They went 3-0 in round-robin play to reach the title game for the second consecutive year, then won it for the first time since 1996.
– HOOVER, Ala. ó Blake Dean drove in three runs and Ryan Byrd pitched seven strong innings to lift LSU to a 6-2 victory over Vanderbilt Sunday in the Southeastern Conference tournament championship game.
NCAA REGIONALS
NEW YORK ó The Atlantic Coast Conference led the NCAA’s Division I baseball tournament field with four schools ó Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech and North Carolina ó selected as hosts. The Southeastern Conference was next with three: Florida, LSU and Mississippi.
The other hosts in the 64-team field are: Arizona State, Cal State Fullerton, East Carolina, Oklahoma, Rice and Texas.
The rest of the field, including the top eight national seeds, will be announced Monday.
Each four-team regional is double-elimination, with the 16 winners advancing to the super regionals, beginning June 5. The eight super regional winners advance to the College World Series, which begins June 13 in Omaha, Neb.
SOCCER
CHICAGO ó Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore head a 24-man roster that will train for the United States before World Cup qualifiers next month against Costa Rica and Honduras.

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