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NCAA board gives 5 major conferences power to make rule changes 08.08.14 at 10:43 am ET
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The NCAA Board of Directors voted 16-2 Thursday to approve changes that will allow the five richest college football conference — the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC — to have the power to change rules that have applied to Division 1 schools for years.

These conferences will now have the ability to make their own rules. However, paying athletes to pay will not be among those changes.

The handful of university presidents who spoke at NCAA headquarters after the vote agreed that pay-for-play will not be considered. They also said it’s unlikely the league will create their own policies when it comes to infractions.

Some changes can be expected, however. The five leagues will takes steps to add money to scholarships or create an athlete stipend intended to help cover the full cost of attending college beyond the typical expenses of tuition, room and board and books and supplies, which would result in an increase in spending by the five leagues.

“It does provide degrees of autonomy for the five high-resource conferences,” Wake Forest president Nathan Hatch said. “This is not complete autonomy. We’re still part of Division 1, but I think it allows us to provide more benefits to student-athletes.”

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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Manny Ramirez homers in home debut for Triple-A Iowa Cubs 07.01.14 at 8:01 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Cubs at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Brewers at Blue Jays1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Athletics at Tigers, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
World Cup soccer: United States vs. Belgium, 4 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
World Cup soccer: Argentina vs. Switzerland, noon (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
WNBA: Indiana Fever at Atlanta Dream, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
WNBA: Chicago Sky at Los Angeles Sparks, 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 8 a.m. (ESPN, ESPN2), 11:30 a.m. (ESPNews)

AROUND THE WEB:

Manny Ramirez made his home debut for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs on Monday night and it was a good one. The former Red Sox star went 3-for-4, including a two-run home run off Royals prospect Sugar Ray Marimon. The Cubs rallied to beat the Omaha Storm Chasers, 7-6, in 10 innings, although Ramirez was not around for the comeback as he was removed in the eighth for a pinch runner.

Ramirez played in his first game for the team last Thursday (going 0-for-4 but reaching base on an error) after working out for a few weeks to get back in game shape. He’s serving as a player-coach, scheduled to make occasional appearances in the lineup while mentoring the team’s top prospects.

Asked Monday what he’s advising the young players, Ramirez — who twice was suspended by MLB for violent the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs — said: “Do the right thing, bro. Follow the rules. That’s it.”

Added Ramirez: “When you love the game and you want to help young players and give them your testimonial and the things that you went through so they don’t go through that, it’s easy,” Ramirez said. “When you come here and you’re helping young players grow up and see them go to the next level, I think that’s such a joy for yourself, to come and help somebody else. It doesn’t matter who you are. It’s who you’re going to be.”

Cubs president Theo Epstein joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning and spoke glowingly of Ramirez, who claims to be a new man after finding religion.

“Manny gave me as many problems as he gave anyone, probably besides [former Red Sox manager Terry Francona] in his time in Boston. He’s responsible for most of the gray hairs on my head. So it’s not something that we entered into lightly,” Epstein said. “But people do change. I talked a lot to Manny, and he seemed like a completely different guy. ‘€¦ He’s grown for the better. He’s open and honest about all the mistakes he’s made in the past and he wants to fix that by being a positive influence on young players.”

— The trial pitting Donald Sterling against his estranged wife will begin next Monday after lawyers for both sides agreed to no longer make an issue of the banned Clippers owner’s mental capacity.

Donald Sterling had been examined by two doctors called by Shelly Sterling who declared him incapacitated, but he since has found a physician to indicate he is competent following a weekend examination, his lawyer said.

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Auburn football at center of drug-testing contoversy 04.05.13 at 1:37 pm ET
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Auburn’s football program has been surrounded by controversy this week after an article by Selena Roberts, published Wednesday on her website, roopstigo.com, alleged that Auburn had covered up positive drug tests by players and allowed a former player to go to trial on a robbery charge to protect the program.

ESPN then reported Thursday that 12 Auburn football players had failed tests for synthetic marijuana and that the school had withheld the test results.

Roberts’ article suggests a connection between the drug tests and the upcoming trial of former player Mike McNeil on robbery charges. McNeil has maintained his innocence, and Roberts quotes McNeil’s grandfather saying, ‘€œMaybe there is a fear in Auburn’€™s mind that Michael knows too much. Their fear is that Michael will expose the family secret. It’€™s a way to silence him.’€

SB Nation’s Jason Kirk picked apart Roberts’ and ESPN’s reports Friday, noting that although Auburn began testing for the drug in January 2011, the substance wasn’t banned by the NCAA until August 2011.

Kirk also points out that the ESPN report doesn’t make clear where the estimate that 12 players failed drug tests came from, and that the source could be Dakota Mosley, a player who will go on trial this summer for robbery charges and, by his own account, tested positive multiple times for synthetic marijuana.

Mosley’s attorney, Davis Whittelsey, has said he’ll argue in court that Auburn could have done more to help Mosley with his drug problem instead of covering it up.

Many of the players quoted in Roberts’ story have denied her account or claimed that their words were misrepresented in the story. Former Auburn coach Gene Chizik called the report “absurd” and “outrageous,” saying, ‘€œUnfortunately, Ms. Roberts’€™ story is long on accusation and inference, but short on facts and logic.”

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Report: Jack Parker to announce his retirement on Monday 03.10.13 at 7:09 pm ET
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Boston University hockey coach Jack Parker will take the occasion of his 68th birthday to announce his retirement Monday, according to a report by ESPN.

The college hockey coaching legend has coached the Terriers for 40 seasons, winning three national championships and leading BU to 24 NCAA hockey tournament berths, more than any coach in history.

His 894 career victories are the most by a coach with one school, and third most all-time, trailing current Boston College coach Jerry York and former Michigan State coach Ron Mason.

Under Parker, BU also won seven Hockey East titles and 21 Beanpot championships. This season has been an up-and-down campaign for Parker’s Terriers. They finished the regular season with an 18-15-2 mark, and will face Merrimack in the quarterfinals of the Hockey East tournament next weekend.

The Terriers suffered two bad losses in the Beanpot this year when they were beaten by Northeastern and Harvard in back-to-back Mondays in February, finishing in last place. Below is Parker’s post-game press conference from the Northeastern loss on Feb. 4.

The last 18 months have been difficult for Parker and his legacy at the Boston hockey institution. A report commissioned by the school concluded that hockey players were given star treatment and lived in a “culture of sexual entitlement”, chronicling several inappropriate incidents. The report was commissioned after two BU players were charged with sexual assault, in different incidents, less than three months apart.

The report did not conclude that Parker knew of the inappropriate behavior, but led to Parker vacating his title as executive athletic director.

Read More: boston college, boston university, Jack Parker, Jerry York
Big East split taking shape, Catholic schools to establish new conference for next season 03.01.13 at 10:43 am ET
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The current Big East’s basketball schools plan to have their new conference ready to go for the 2013-14 school year, and will reportedly pay the football schools to keep the Big East name.

According to ESPN, the seven departing Catholic schools breaking away from the football side of the conference (DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova) are expected to be joined by Xavier and Butler in their new conference. ESPN reports that Creighton is the front-runner to become the conference’s 10th team.

It had been assumed that those schools would be staying in the current Big East through next year, because they’re running out of time to establish the new conference. But they now reportedly have an offer from Fox to broadcast games starting next year that could earn the schools about $3 million per year, which has expedited the process.

The Big East’s major football members will meet in Atlanta on Friday to discuss the state of the league. The football side of the conference is undergoing significant changes, and next year it will include UConn, Cincinnati, South Florida, Temple, Rutgers, Louisville, Central Florida, Memphis, Houston and SMU.

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Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel on D&C: NCAA president Mark Emmert ‘Roger Goodell-like’ 07.23.12 at 10:43 am ET
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Yahoo! Sports’€™ Dan Wetzel joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to share his views on the NCAA‘€™s penalties against Penn State. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Wetzel began by highlighting the significant departure NCAA president Mark Emmert‘€™s decision represents from how the NCAA typically comes to decisions.

‘€œThe NCAA president is a title that sounds really good but generally has no power,’€ Wetzel said. ‘€œIt is not like being Roger Goodell or Bud Selig or David Stern. So most of the way the NCAA operates is through this endless bureaucracy, committee meetings, board of directors, executive management councils, subcommittees, you name it, task forces. They just have meeting after meeting and nothing gets done.’€

Wetzel explained that this time around, Emmert went to the board of directors and requested (and received) the power to punish Penn State on his own, ‘€œRoger Goodell-like.’€

‘€œThat is a huge change of course for the NCAA,’€ Wetzel said, ‘€œand probably one that they should have that power, particularly in cases like this, where there is such a huge internal investigation like the Freeh report and we’€™re talking about crimes like this.’€

Wetzel says the fact that Penn State won’€™t appeal Emmert’s decision suggests that Penn State president Rodney Erickson was consulted in the course of the NCAA’€™s decision-making process.

‘€œI mean, why would you give that up? If that’€™s accurate, why would you say that if you don’€™t know what the penalty is,’€ Wetzel said. ‘€œSo I’€™m guessing that he was consulted through this.’€

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Read More: Bernie Fine, Dan Wetzel, Dennis & Callahan, Jerry Sandusky
Setting the scene: Syracuse-Ohio State for East Regional title 03.24.12 at 6:29 pm ET
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For the second time in four years, a ticket will be punched to the Final Four at the TD Garden as the top two seeds in the East Regional do battle for a trip to New Orleans next weekend.

No. 1 Syracuse has overcome the near infamy of becoming the first top seed to lose to a No. 16 as they survived North Carolina-Asheville in Pittsburgh. They then dispatched of Kansas State two days later. On Thursday, here in Boston, they survived their closest call, a 64-63 win over No. 4 Wisconsin when the Badgers had the ball, needing just a two-point field goal to win. Instead, Syracuse forced the Badgers into a desperation 3-pointer that fell short.

No. 2 Ohio State breezed past Loyola in their first game and handled Gonzaga, 73-66, to survive their Pittsburgh trip. They dispatched of downstate rival and No. 6 seed Cincinnati on Thursday here in Boston, using a 17-1 second-half spurt to put the game away en route to an 81-66 victory.

Some notes:

  • This is Ohio State’s second Elite 8 appearance under Thad Motta. The 2007 Buckeyes lost to the Florida Gators in the title game. This is Ohio State’s 11th appearance in the Elite 8 in school history.
  • The Buckeyes are 9-1 all time in the Elite 8, falling to Michigan in overtime in 1992 for their only loss.
  • Ohio State is 4-1 lifetime against Syracuse, including a 79-65 win in their last meeting, the semifinals of the NIT preseason championship on Nov. 21, 2007 at Madison Square Garden.
  • Syracuse is making their first appearance in the Elite 8 since winning it all in 2003 behind Carmelo Anthony.
  • Syracuse is 3-1 in the Elite 8 under coach Jim Boeheim, with its only loss coming in 1989.
  • Syracuse enters with a school-record 34 wins and is 34-2 on the season.
  • Boeheim has 890 career wins and is fifth in NCAA tournament history with 48 wins.

    PREDICTION: This is finally the game where the Orange miss 7-foot shot-blocker and Big East defensive player of the year Fab Melo. The Buckeyes aren’t just Jared Sullinger inside in the paint. Deshaun Thomas scored 26 points, including 20 of OSU’s 37 first-half points against Cincy. He’s the active leading scorer in the tournament at 25.0 points per game in three contests.

    OSU 71, SU 68.

  • Read More: March Madness, ncaa, Ohio State, Syracuse Orange
    OSU handles best Bearcats punch, advances to face Orange 03.22.12 at 11:51 pm ET
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    The No. 2 seed Ohio State Buckeyes used a 17-1 run to wipe out a four-point second-half deficit and roll to a 81-66 win over the No. 6 Cincinnati Bearcats Thursday night in the second East Regional semifinal at TD Garden.

    As a result, the Buckeyes advance to take on the top-seeded Syracuse Orange in Saturday’s East Regional final at the Garden. Syracuse survived a late run from the Wisconsin Badgers and won, 64-63.

    With Cincinnati big man Yancy Gates on the bench for most of the first half with two fouls, Ohio State took command, racing out to a 37-25 halftime lead.

    But the Bearcats came out and applied pressure and for the first 10 minutes, the Buckeyes looked confused, committing five quick turnovers as Cincinnati opened on a 27-11 run to open a 52-48 lead with 11:34 left, and an upset seemed to be in the making. But Ohio State went on a 17-1 run and were never threatened down the stretch.

    Deshaun Thomas led Ohio State off the bench with 26 while All-American Jared Sullinger added a double-double with 23 points and 11. rebounds.

    Cincinnati was paced by Cashmere Wright, who had 18.

    Read More: Cashmere Wright, Cincinnati Bearcats, Deshaun Thomas, Jared Sullinger
    Orange to the Elite 8 with win over Wisconsin at 9:16 pm ET
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    brightcove.createExperiences();

    In a classic, No. 1 seed Syracuse held off No. 4 Wisconsin, 64-63, Thursday night in the first East Regional semifinal at TD Garden.

    Syracuse led late in the first half, 33-23 and 33-27 at the half.

    Then Wisconsin went on an unconscious 3-point shooting displaying nailing six straight, and taking a 56-53 lead. But Syracuse answered with back-to-back baskets from C.J. Fair to take the lead as part of an 8-2 run.

    Wisconsin got the ball with 15.5 seconds remaining and a chance to win needing only a two-pointer. They couldn’t get close to the basket and Jordan Taylor‘s desperation three from 30 feet was short and Wisconsin couldn’t get the rebound and shot in time.

    The Orange will play the winner of the second semifinal between Cincinnati and Ohio State on Saturday for the right to go to the Final Four next weekend in New Orleans.

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    Setting the scene: NCAA East Regional style at 6:20 pm ET
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    With temperatures soaring into the mid-80s Thursday, the action figures to be hot and heavy indoors at TD Garden as the East Regional finals begin.

    The region favorite – and No. 1 seed – Syracuse Orange take on No. 4 seed Wisconsin. Tip is at 7:15 p.m. ET. That contest will be followed up by No. 2 Ohio State playing the No. 6 seed and downstate rival Cincinnati Bearcats.

    A few notes:

  • Syracuse figures to have the greatest contingent on hand, as many Syracuse grads work and live in the Boston area.
  • The Orange come in already having set a school record with 33 wins and stand 33-2 on the season. Syracuse survived No. 16 seed North Carolina-Asheville in the opener and beat up on Kansas State to get to Boston.
  • Keep an eye on Kris Joseph (13.7) and Dion Waiters (12.7), Syracuse’s top two scorers, who have picked up the load since seven-foot shot-blocker Fab Melo was declared ineligible for the tourney.
  • Wisconsin is in the Sweet 16 after wins over No. 13 Montana and No. 5 Vanderbilt.
  • The Badgers are appearing in their fifth Sweet 16 in the last 10 seasons under Bo Ryan.
  • The Badgers lead the nation in team defense, allowing just 52.9 points per game. Wisconsin also ranks among the nation’s Top 10 in FG defense (38.5 %), 3-point defense (.288) and 3-pointers allowed (3.5/game).
  • The coaching match-up between Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim (889) and Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan (651) matches the second and sixth-ranked coaches among all-time wins.

    As for Ohio State and Cincinnati, it’s a match-up of two schools separated by just 100 miles on I-71 in Ohio but the Buckeyes have always hesitated putting the Bearcats on a basketball or football schedule. Why? Because there’s little to gain and a lot to lose to Cincinnati.

    The two programs have as rich a history as any in the country not named, UCLA, Kentucky, North Carolina or Duke.

  • The Bearcats beat the Buckeyes in the 1961 and ’62 NCAA title games. They were an OT loss in ’63 from a three-peat.
  • The two teams last played in hoops in the Wooden Tradition in 2006, with Ohio State cruising to a 72-50 win.
  • The Bearcats last win over the Buckeyes came in the 1962 title game.
  • With a win, the Bearcats will advance to a regional final for the first time since 1996. They’re looking for a Final Four berth for the first time since Nick Van Exel led them there in 1992.

    The two winners play on Saturday at the Garden for a ticket to the Final Four in New Orleans.

  • Read More: 2012 East Regional, Cincinnati Bearcats, ncaa, Ohio State Buckeyes