CHICAGO (AP) The NCAA agreed to help athletes with head injuries in a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit that college sports’ governing body touted as a major step forward but that critics say doesn’t go nearly far enough.
The deal, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, calls for the NCAA to toughen return-to-play rules for players who receive head blows and create a $70 million fund to pay for thousands of current and former athletes to undergo testing to determine whether they suffered brain trauma while playing football and other contact sports.
A lead attorney for the plaintiffs who spearheaded nearly a year of talks culminating in the agreement said the provisions would ultimately improve players’ safety and leave open the possibility of damage payments later.
Others strongly disagreed. Unlike a proposed settlement in a similar lawsuit against the NFL, this deal does not set aside any money to pay players who suffered brain trauma. Instead, athletes can sue individually for damages; the NCAA-funded tests that would gauge the extent of neurological injuries could establish grounds for doing just that.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Vin Scully is staying in the booth for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The 86-year-old Hall of Fame announcer will return for his record 66th season with the team in 2015. The announcement was made by in Korean, Spanish and English by players Hyun-Jin Ryu, Yasiel Puig and Justin Turner on the Dodger Stadium video board in the second inning of Los Angeles’ game against Atlanta.
The news was greeted with loud cheers and a prolonged standing ovation for Scully, who stood and waved to fans from his booth, where he hugged his wife, Sandi.
Scully’s consecutive years of service make him the longest-tenured broadcaster with one team in sports history. He calls all nine innings of the team’s home games and road games in California and Arizona for the Dodgers’ new television home on SportsNet LA, while the first three innings of his games are simulcast on the radio.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – In one of their craziest scouting experiences, the Minnesota Twins have reached a deal with a 24-year-old pitching prospect who has thrown 100-miles-per-hour fastballs but has never been drafted.
Brandon Poulson was pitching earlier this month for the Healdsburg Prune Packers in a collegiate summer league. His manager was Joey Gomes, the brother of big leaguer Jonny Gomes.
Now, the Twins are about to give him $250,000.
The Twins knew about Poulson from his recent season with Academy of Art University, where he had an 8.38 ERA for the San Francisco school. Poulson played there after taking a couple of years off to work in his father’s business – ”John’s Excavating” – with the thought he’d take it over someday and leave athletics behind for good.
PHOENIX (AP) – Cornerback Patrick Peterson says he has reached agreement on a five-year, $70 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals, with $48 million guaranteed.
Peterson revealed the terms via Twitter. The Cardinals announced the deal a short time later, but did not disclose the terms. The agreement keeps Peterson under contract with Arizona through 2020.
Peterson has made the Pro Bowl in each of his three seasons in the NFL, first as a kick returner then the last two years at cornerback, after Arizona made him the No. 5 pick overall out of LSU in 2011.
He had two years left on his original contract after Arizona had picked up its fifth-year option earlier this year.
A news conference with Peterson was scheduled for Wednesday morning.
ST. LOUIS (AP) – To guard against another bullying scandal, NFL teams are holding sensitivity sessions during training camp.
Such guidance could be valuable for the St. Louis Rams, even if by all accounts they have welcomed Michael Sam into the fold.
The worst hazing Rams rookies face is toting veteran players’ helmets off the practice field. Coach Jeff Fisher says no one is made to sing at dinner time.
As far as Sam goes, there has been no visible dissent in camp whatsoever regarding the NFL’s first openly gay player.
Nowadays, players asked how Sam is fitting in might answer with a question themselves: Why is this still a big deal? They are liable to respond with a shrug when asked what it’s like having an openly gay teammate in the locker room, or whether it’s an issue having Sam showering next to them.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) – Byron Scott was a key component of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Showtime teams, a smooth shooting guard with sizzling competitive fire. He believes his purple-and-gold championship pedigree makes him the ideal coach to return the struggling 16-time champions to NBA contention.
Scott’s fellow Lakers greats are already backing that notion. Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jamaal Wilkes surprised Scott before he was formally named the 25th coach in franchise history, standing behind him in a towering show of support.
The Lakers finally hired a new coach almost three months after Mike D’Antoni’s resignation on April 30. General manager Mitch Kupchak opened the news conference by thanking Scott for his patience: Los Angeles first interviewed Scott two months ago, but kept him waiting through the draft and the unsuccessful free-agent signing period.
NEW YORK (AP) – ESPN has suspended outspoken sportscaster Stephen A. Smith for a week because of his comments about domestic abuse suggesting women should make sure that they don’t do anything to provoke an attack.
Smith’s commentary occurred during a discussion on ESPN2’s ”First Take” last Friday about the NFL’s two-game suspension of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice following charges he assaulted his now-wife. The remarks attracted widespread attention, including a stinging rebuke online from a fellow ESPN personality.
Smith issued an on-air apology Monday, saying it was the most egregious mistake of his career.