Sports Extra

College Athletics

This time, the NCAA scandal comes from headquarters

INDIANAPOLIS – The latest black eye for college sports belongs to the NCAA.

In an embarrassing blow to its watchdog image, the NCAA said Wednesday its enforcement staff had botched the high-profile investigation of the University of Miami by improperly conducting at least two depositions while working with an attorney for disgraced booster Nevin Shapiro. Miami has been under investigation since the convicted Ponzi scheme mastermind said he had provided improper benefits to Hurricanes recruits.

President Mark Emmert said he was disappointed and angry with the misstep, acknowledging he had not seen anything like this since taking the NCAA job 2˝ years ago. He said some “people” involved in this case no longer were working for the NCAA, though he declined to say who they were or whether they had been fired. He said none of the evidence collected improperly would be used against Miami and that the long-awaited notice of allegations would be delayed until after an external review is completed in approximately two weeks.

MLB

Rockies avoid arbitration with Jonathan Herrera

DENVER – Infielder Jonathan Herrera and the Colorado Rockies agreed to a one-year, $900,000 contract Wednesday, avoiding arbitration.

Herrera hit .262 with nine doubles, three homers, 12 RBIs and 29 runs in 86 games last season, while he was dogged by injuries. He missed a total of 39 games while on the DL, first with a strained right hamstring and then a left wrist infection.

The 28-year-old Venezuelan has spent his entire career with the Rockies after signing with them as an undrafted free agent in 2002. In 294 career major league games, he’s hit .259 with seven homers and 50 RBIs.

NBA

Starting in 2014, the Hornets will become the Pelicans

NEW ORLEANS – People familiar with the decision said the New Orleans Hornets have decided to change their name to the Pelicans next season.

The people spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the Hornets have not announced the decision. One person said the proposed name change and color scheme of blue, gold and red is scheduled to be announced today.

Hornets owner Tom Benson has said since buying the Hornets last spring that he wanted a new name representing New Orleans and Louisiana.

The brown pelican is the state bird and has become symbolic of efforts to restore Louisiana’s fragile coast, which has been hit hard by the 2010 BP oil spill and erosion from major storms.

NHL

Avalanche lose Steve Downie to a torn ACL, surgery

DENVER – The Colorado Avalanche will be without Steve Downie for the rest of the season after the forward tore his anterior cruciate ligament against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.

The team announced Wednesday he soon will undergo surgery.

Downie left the game in the second period as the Avalanche rallied for a 3-1 win over the defending Stanley Cup champions. He had an assist in the season-opener in Minnesota last weekend.

Acquired from Tampa Bay last February, Colorado signed the 25-year-old to a two-year deal in the offseason.

Cycling

Thomas wins Stage 2 to take the Tour Down Under lead

ADELAIDE, Australia – Welshman Geraint Thomas won the short but demanding second stage of cycling’s Tour Down Under on Wednesday, avoiding a 15-man fall near the finish which brought down world champion Philippe Gilbert.

The stage victory made Thomas the race leader on general classification, taking over the leader’s ocher jersey from Andre Greipel, who won the first stage Tuesday.

Associated Press

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