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National sports Briefs

Associated Press
WASHINGTON ó U.S. senators and health officials are taking on a baseball tradition older than the World Series itself: chewing tobacco on the diamond.
With the Series going on between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers ó a team that started life as the Washington Senators 50 years ago ó the senators, along with health officials from the teams’ cities, want the players union to agree to a ban on chewing tobacco at games and on camera. They made the pleas in separate letters, obtained by The Associated Press.
The senators noted that millions of people will tune in to watch the World Series, including children.
With baseball’s current collective bargaining agreement expiring in December, the senators, some government officials and public health groups want the players to agree to a tobacco ban in the next contract. A coalition including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Cancer Society and the American Medical Association has been pushing for one since last year.
HULL DIES
BUFFALO, N.Y. ó Kent Hull, who served as Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly’s center during the Buffalo Bills’ AFC title years in the early 1990s, has died. He was 50.
Mississippi State, where Hull played his college ball, announced he passed away. The cause of death was not immediately known.
Hull was a three-time Pro Bowl selection during 11 seasons with the Bills. He was credited for playing a key role in helping run the team’s no-huddle “K-Gun” offense. The Bills honored Hull in 2002 by placing his name on Ralph Wilson Stadium’s Wall of Fame.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL
NEW YORK ó The Big East wants to expand to 12 football teams and “the sooner the better.”
The problem is the Big East can’t be sure if its current members are staying put until Missouri, the Big 12 and the Southeastern Conference figure out what their next steps will be in the ongoing drama of conference realignment.
The Big East’s presidents unanimously voted Monday night to increase the league’s withdrawal fee from $5 million to $10 million when an expansion plan is executed, Marinatto said.
TUCSON, Ariz. ó Arizona fired its coach thanks to a season that had careened out of control.
The Wildcats could be in line to put another coach’s job in jeopardy with a win: UCLA’s Rick Neuheisel.
Their season teetering between a potential turnaround and another disappointment, the Bruins are facing what may be their most pivotal game of the season Thursday night in the desert.
Win and UCLA still has a shot at claiming the Pac-12’s South Division. Lose, to a team that hasn’t won a conference game this season, and the Bruins (3-3, 2-1 Pac-12) could put Neuheisel a little closer to the fire.
NBA
NEW YORK ó NBA owners and players ended negotiations Wednesday after more than eight hours.
Federal mediator George Cohen said the two sides would resume bargaining Thursday afternoon. Owners had to leave to attend board of governors meetings Wednesday evening through midday Thursday.
“The discussions have been direct and constructive, and as far as we are concerned, we are here to continue to help assist the parties to endeavor to reach an agreement,” Cohen said.
The two sides met for more than 24 hours in a 32-hour span.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL
ARLINGTON, Va. ó Shaka Smart is the new star of the Colonial Athletic Association.
The Virginia Commonwealth coach was the main attraction at the CAA basketball media day Tuesday.
Smart says he isn’t basking in the glow of his school’s run to the Final Four last season. He says instead of dreaming about what he’s done, he wants to focus on having that kind of success again.
Part of fame is learning how to say no. Smart says it would have been easy for him to do nothing but speaking engagements over the last few months.
He said the biggest change in his life came when his first child was born.
VCU was picked to finish third in the CAA preseason poll, behind Drexel and George Mason.
ANDERSON, S.C. ó A coroner says an Anderson University basketball player died after ingesting a chemical used in synthetic marijuana.
Anderson County Coroner Greg Shore said 19-year-old Lamar Jack’s collapse during a preseason workout and death days later was caused by acute drug toxicity that led to multiple organ failure.
The coroner said Jack had complained of cramps and vision problems before collapsing.

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