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National Sports Briefs: Calipari will call from China

Associated Press
LEXINGTON, Ky. ó A letter from the NCAA tells Kentucky coach John Calipari he must participate in next week’s hearing on alleged major violations at Memphis, even though he isn’t considered “at risk” in the probe.
The University of Kentucky provided letters between the new Wildcats coach and the NCAA on Friday in response to an open records request by The Associated Press and other news organizations.
Calipari, who coached the Memphis Tigers during the 2007-08 season in question, explains in one letter than he wouldn’t be able to attend next Saturday’s hearing in Indianapolis owing to a previously scheduled trip to China.
But in a response last week, the chairman of the NCAA’s committee on infractions tells him he needs to participate anyway, either through phone or video conference.
“After reviewing the information in this case, the committee now, more strongly than ever, believes that you should make yourself available to participate in the hearing in some manner,” wrote Paul T. Dee, the chairman.
GOLF
FORT WORTH, Texasó Steve Stricker has all sorts of top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour this season. Now he has the best one, too.
Stricker birdied the second hole of a playoff with Tim Clark and Steve Marino to win the Crowne Plaza Invitational on Sunday. Stricker finished second, third, fourth, sixth and seventh this year before breaking through at Colonial.
The 42-year-old Stricker shot a 2-under 68 to match Marino (68) and Clark (70) at 17-under 263. Stricker earned $1,116,000 for his fifth career PGA Tour victory.
Jason Day, a 21-year-old Australian who recently became a Colonial member, shot a 69 to finish fourth at 16 under. England’s Paul Casey (66) followed at 15 under.
– WEST DES MOINES, Iowa ó Mark McNulty won the Principal Charity Classic for his seventh Champions Tour victory, beating Fred Funk with a 30-foot birdie putt on the fourth hole of a playoff.
– RALEIGH ó Kevin Johnson birdied the first hole of a playoff with Jeff Gallagher to win the Nationwide Tour’s Rex Hospital Open.
The 42-year-old Johnson, a five-time winner on the Nationwide Tour, finished with a 5-under 67 to match Gallagher (64) at 18-under 277 at TPC Wakefield Plantation.
NHL
DETROIT ó The Stanley Cup playoffs can be a grind. Teams go after each other for 60 minutes and come back and do it again every other night.
But the NHL decided to do things differently for this year’s Cup finals, having the Red Wings and Penguins go back-to-back to kick off the series.
Detroit beat Pittsburgh 3-1 on Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena, and they were back at it last night.
It marks the first time finals games are being played on consecutive days since 1955.
– DALLAS ó Brett Hull and Les Jackson are out as co-general managers of the Dallas Stars, and in their place is another former star player, Joe Nieuwendyk.
IRL
WEST ALLIS, Wis. ó Scott Dixon took advantage of the heavy Milwaukee Mile traffic to pass Ryan Briscoe and drive away to a victory Sunday at the Milwaukee Mile.
The reigning IndyCar Series champion darted past Briscoe 25 laps from the end of the A.J. Foyt 225 and was not challenged the rest of the way, beating last year’s race winner by nearly half the front straightaway on the one-mile oval.
Dixon will head into next Saturday night’s race at Texas Motor Speedway with a four-point lead over Briscoe and Franchitti in the season standings.
Graham Rahal, the 20-year-old son of longtime racing star Bobby Rahal, finished fourth, followed by Danica Patrick, earning her fourth top-five finish in the last five races. IndyCar’s glamour girl moved into fourth place in the standings, a career high.
MAJOR LEAGUES
GREENVILLE, S.C. ó John Smoltz had his longest and strongest outing of the season Sunday, working five innings in a rehab start for the Greenville Drive.
Smoltz gave up a run on four hits against the Charleston RiverDogs, but he closed by retiring his final seven batters ó including the final three on strikeouts.
– SWANZEY, N.H. ó Ted Williams’ fishing license and personal notes on local fishing holes have been swiped during an auction preview in New Hampshire.

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