Friday’s Sports In Brief
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) The NCAA agreed to restore 112 football wins it had stripped from Penn State and Joe Paterno in the Jerry Sandusky child-molestation scandal and to reinstate the venerated late coach as the winningest in major college football history.
The agreement, swiftly approved by the boards of the NCAA and the university after intermittent talks heated up this week, lifts the last of the sanctions imposed in 2012 and wipes away the black marks that had tainted one of the nation’s most celebrated college athletics programs.
After more than two years of criticism that the NCAA had overstepped its authority, officials with college sports’ governing body did not back down. Instead, they said they were focused on ending litigation that had held up distribution of the university’s $60 million fine to fund child abuse-prevention programs.
Before the deal, the NCAA had agreed last year to eliminate some of the sanctions, including reinstating Penn State’s full complement of scholarships and letting the team participate in post-season play.
NEW YORK (AP) – Detroit Tigers left-hander David Price set a record for the highest one-year contract for a player in salary arbitration, agreeing to a $19.75 million deal Friday as 95 players reached agreements on the busiest day of baseball’s offseason.
Several other pitchers got big salaries, including Washington’s Doug Fister ($11.4 million) and Stephen Strasburg ($7.4 million), Boston’s Rick Porcello ($12.5 million), San Diego’s Ian Kennedy ($9.85 million), and Jeff Samardzija of the Chicago White Sox ($9.8 million).
Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis, with one game left to serve on a 25-game suspension for using the banned stimulant Adderall, got the largest deal among position players Friday at $12 million. Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, coming off season-ending elbow surgery in June, agreed at $8,275,000, and New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy at $8 million.
Of the 175 players who filed for arbitration on Tuesday, just 74 exchanged figures with their teams and only 54 were without agreements by Friday night.
Of the cases still to be determined, Houston outfielder Dexter Fowler asked for the most at $10.8 million, with the Astros offering $8.5 million. Baltimore outfielder Steve Pearce presented the biggest difference: He asked for $5.4 million and the team offered $2 million.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) – John Fox has a reputation for turning around teams. The Chicago Bears are counting on him to do just that after hiring him as coach four days after he and the Denver Broncos parted ways.
He was widely seen as a likely candidate to replace the fired Marc Trestman once he left the Broncos on Monday, given his record and his ties to consultant Ernie Accorsi and new general manager Ryan Pace.
Fox was the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants from 1997 to 2001 when Accorsi was the GM. Saints coach Sean Payton was the offensive coordinator for part of that time, and he is tight with Pace, who was hired out of New Orleans’ front office.
Fox has a 119-89 regular-season record in 13 years with Carolina (2002-10) and Denver (2011-14), with six division titles and seven playoff appearances. He is one of six coaches to lead two franchises to Super Bowl appearances, joining Don Shula, Bill Parcells, Dan Reeves, Dick Vermeil and Mike Holmgren.
BALTIMORE (AP) – The Baltimore Ravens say they have settled their grievance with Ray Rice.
Team President Dick Cass said in a statement that ”it’s time to turn the page” with the three-time Pro Bowl running back, who was released after video of him knocking out wife Janay – then his fiancee – in an elevator was released publicly in September.
Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Rice had been seeking slightly more than $3.5 million for wrongful termination.
Cass says the team will continue its work within the community on the issue of intimate partner abuse.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The NFL has asked a federal court to reject the petition by the NFL Players Association on behalf of Adrian Peterson to have the star running back’s suspension overturned.
Attorneys for the league, in a 35-page filing, wrote that U.S. labor law should prevent the court from handling a dispute already ruled on by the arbitrator for Peterson’s appeal.
The NFL argued that the NFLPA’s 74-page petition, filed Dec. 15, amounted to ”nothing more than a transparent effort to re-litigate all of the issues” previously decided on by arbitrator Harold Henderson. Commissioner Roger Goodell, through the collective bargaining agreement between the two parties, has the power of discipline, the league wrote.
The hearing is scheduled for Feb. 6 in front of U.S. District Judge David Doty. The NFL suspended Peterson through at least April 15 for the child-abuse case he was involved in, and Peterson’s appeal was denied by Henderson, a former a league official. The union accused Henderson of bias in the petition, but the NFL’s lawyers wrote that actual prejudice couldn’t be demonstrated.
HONOLULU (AP) – Webb Simpson was so determined to switch to a conventional putting style that he broke his belly putter over his knee so he could never use it again. He might be the most surprised of anyone to be tied for the lead at the Sony Open.
With expectations next to nil from using a regular putter for the first time in 10 years, Simpson ran off three birdies over the last five holes for a 4-under 66 to share the lead at 12-under 128 with Matt Kuchar and PGA Tour rookie Justin Thomas.
Kuchar, playing alongside Simpson, had a 63. The big surprise was Thomas, the 21-year-old son of a club pro in Kentucky – not because of his age, or because it’s his first time to Waialae, but the way he finished. Thomas shot a 61 – one off the course record Davis Love III set in 1994, about 10 months after Thomas was born.
Tim Clark (65) and Troy Merritt (64) were two shots back.
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Rory McIlroy made his first competitive hole-in-one as a professional and shot a 6-under 66 to move into third place in the Abu Dhabi Championship, two strokes behind second-round leader Martin Kaymer.
The top-ranked McIlroy threw his hands in the air and high-fived playing partner Rickie Fowler after his 9-iron from 177 yards on the 15th hole landed a yard from the hole, hopped right and trickled in.
Kaymer the U.S. Open champion who won the Abu Dhabi event in 2008, 2010 and 2011, had a 67 to reach 13 under 131. Belgium’s Thomas Pieters was one shot back after a 67.