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National Sports Briefs

Associated Press
NEW YORK ó The Big 12 has approved bringing in West Virginia to replace Missouri when the Tigers complete their move to the Southeastern Conference, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press.
The move would allow the Big 12 to maintain 10 members and is another blow to the embattled Big East, which already has lost two members and one member-to-be in the last six weeks.
COLLEGE GRADES
INDIANAPOLIS ó The NCAA released its annual report on graduation rates and proudly declared that athletes are earning degrees at record rates and outpacing their fellow students by nearly all measures.
For the first time, the graduation rate for both the one-year snapshot of incoming freshman (in 2004-05) and the four-class measure (covering the years 2001-04), hit at least 80 percent. The one-year score was 82 percent, three percentage points higher than the record 79 percent from the previous three reports. The four-year average was 80 percent, breaking the previous all-time high of 79 set in 2009 and matched in 2010.
CONGRESS AND COLLEGE
WASHINGTON ó A Democratic congressman will hold a round-table discussion Nov. 1 on the impact of ěback-room deals, payoffs and scandalsî in college sports.
Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush said the session will be moderated by ESPNís Jeremy Schaap. Among the participants: NBA players Shane Battier and Thaddeus Young; Ramogi Huma, president of the National College Players Association; academics; a former sports agent; and a sports economist.
BASEBALL
BOSTON ó Boston right-hander John Lackey will undergo reconstructive elbow surgery and miss the 2012 season, the latest setback in his rough year with the Red Sox.
Lackey was 12-12 with a 6.41 ERA in the second year of a five-year, $82.5 million contract.
CHICAGO ó Theo Epstein was introduced as the new president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs, who hope he can work the same magic for the championship-starved team as he did for the Boston Red Sox.
The 37-year-old Epstein left the Red Sox with a year left on his contract as general manager. The Cubs finally made the announcement Friday night, but held off on the news conference.
MINNEAPOLIS ó Right-hander Joe Nathan will get a $2 million buyout after the Minnesota Twins declined the club option on the closer for the 2012 season.
Twins general manager Bill Smith says he spoke with Nathan and his agent and said the team was interested in re-signing Nathan. The option for 2012 was $12.5 million. Nathan converted 14 of 17 save opportunities this season and pitched 44.2 innings with an ERA of 4.84.
WASHINGTON (AP) ó Roger Clemens says prosecutors should have to pay his attorneysí fees for a mistrial this summer on charges he lied about using performance-enhancing drugs.
The trial in Washington federal court ended on the sixth day after prosecutors showed jurors inadmissible evidence. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton has scheduled another trial for April, but invited Clemens to request the government pay his expenses for the first attempt.
Walton said it would be unfair for Clemens to have to pay for the prosecutionís mistake. Walton said he wasnít sure he has authority to order reimbursement, but heíd look at the law if Clemens requested it.
DOVER, Del. ó Season-ticket holders were given an official voice in the Los Angeles Dodgersí bankruptcy case, winning two seats on the teamís creditors committee.
The U.S. trustee for Delawareís bankruptcy court agreed to appoint two representatives of the season-ticket holders to the Dodgersí official committee of unsecured creditors. In return, attorneys for an ad hoc group of season-ticket holders withdrew a motion seeking court approval of an official committee of ticket holders.
FORMULA ONE
WEEHAWKEN, N.J. ó New Jersey will host its first Formula One race in 2013 on a course that winds along the Hudson River waterfront and offers striking views of the Manhattan skyline.
Auto racing officials and Gov. Chris Christie announced a 10-year agreement to hold the race at a news conference in front of the Port Imperial ferry terminal, which will serve both as entry point for race-goers coming from New York and as the start-finish line for competitors.
TELEVISION
HARTFORD, Conn. ó The state of Connecticut is providing NBC Sports a $20 million low-interest loan in a deal that is expected to create 450 jobs there as the sports entertainment company moves much of its production out of New York.
BOXING
LAS VEGAS ó Floyd Mayweather Jr. was acquitted Wednesday of misdemeanor harassment charges alleging he threatened the lives of two homeowner association security guards in an argument about parking tickets outside the boxer’s Las Vegas home. The 34-year-old prizefighter didn’t testify during the Las Vegas Justice Court trial.

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