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National Sports Briefs

Associated Press
CHAPEL HILL ó North Carolina cornerback Charles Brown must sit out the opener against James Madison and repay benefits to become eligible again.
The NCAA ruled that Brown accepted benefits of $86.94 from someone identified as a prospective agent before last season.
The NCAA looked into agent-related benefits and academic misconduct, causing 14 players to miss at least one game. Brown and seven others missed the entire season, though the school didn’t specify why Brown was out.
North Carolina opens spring practice next week.
The school also said defensive end Linwan Euwell has left school and won’t return next year, while receiver Joshua Adams is being treated for an auto-immune disorder affecting his kidneys.
COLUMBUS, Ohio ó The Columbus lawyer who tipped off Ohio State coach Jim Tressel that two of his players were involved in a federal drug trafficking case has received death threats and now says he regrets ever contacting the Buckeyes coach.
“I’m not the Judas in this situation. You know, I feel like Peter, but I’m not the Judas,” attorney Christopher Cicero said in an interview Friday with ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” and reported on ESPN.com.
Tressel has admitted he violated NCAA rules for not disclosing information Cicero e-mailed to him. He repeatedly refrained from telling Ohio State’s compliance department or his superiors about potential NCAA bylaw violations involving some of his players.
Tressel has been suspended for the first two games of the 2011 season and must pay a $250,000 fine. The NCAA could levy additional penalties on Tressel.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. ó Florida will unveil statues of its three Heisman Trophy winners during halftime of the team’s spring game.
Life-sized representations of Steve Spurrier (1966), Danny Wuerffel (1996) and Tim Tebow (2007) will be uncovered on the west side of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on April 9. The school says the honorees will have some role in the event. Since South Carolina’s spring game is the same day, Spurrier likely will offer a videotaped message to his alma mater.
The statues weigh a combined 17,000 pounds and were provided to the school through private donations.
GOLF
DORAL, Fla. ó Hunter Mahan stretched his lead to four shots Friday in the Cadillac Championship until he stumbled with a pair of bogeys toward the end of his second round, had to settle for a 1-under 71 and suddenly had the No. 1 player right on his heels.
Tiger Woods, a three-time winner at Doral, was not among the leaders. Neither was Phil Mickelson.
Woods again struggled with his putter, missing four birdie putts inside 10 feet and looking bad at the end. A pair of 6-foot birdie attempts at the 16th and 18th holes never had much of a chance and he wound up with a 74, nine shots behind.
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. ó Nick Price has matched the lowest round in Champions Tour history, eagling two of final four holes for an 11-under 60 in the Toshiba Classic.
NASCAR
LAS VEGAS ó Police are still investigating a scuffle between NASCAR drivers Robby Gordon and Kevin Conway last week that prompted the racing series to place Gordon on probation.
Las Vegas police Officer Bill Cassell said Friday that no significant injuries and no damage resulted from the March 4 altercation in a garage parking lot at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
NHL
BOSTON ó Montreal police started a criminal investigation into the on-ice hit by Boston’s Zdeno Chara that left the Canadiens’ Max Pacioretty with a severe concussion and cracked vertebra.
Police said they are acting on a request by Quebec’s director of criminal and penal prosecutions, Louis Dionne. After evidence is collected, it will be determined if there are grounds for prosecution, they said. Pacioretty said in a statement he doesn’t want Chara prosecuted.
Also, Air Canada told the NHL it’s considering withdrawing its sponsorship unless the league tightens rules to reduce potentially serious injuries. Commissioner Gary Bettman responded that his teams could retaliate by deciding to stop using Air Canada for charter flights, an important source of revenue for the airline.

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