Sports Extra

NFL

NCAA and the NFL team up to host coaching academy

NEW YORK – Retired NFL players Andre Rison, Mark Brunell and Terrell Buckley are among 60 aspiring coaches who will attend training sessions next week on how to break into and move up the NFL coaching ranks.

The third annual NFL-NCAA Coaches Academy will run Sunday through Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C., the two organizations announced Wednesday. The program is one of several initiatives NFL officials hope will prevent a repeat of this offseason, when none of the league’s eight head coaching openings went to minority candidates.

Forty-five of the 60 attendees are African-American.

College Football

New rule will add ejections for an intentional high hit

NEW YORK – Players who target and hit defenseless players above the shoulders will be ejected from games under a proposal unanimously approved by the NCAA Football Rules Committee.

Targeting will continue to be a 15-yard penalty. Committee chairman and Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said Wednesday that coaches, conference commissioners and officials want the ejection tacked on to send a message that intentional helmet-to-helmet hits won’t be tolerated.

If the Playing Rules Oversight Panel approves the plan next month, the rule will go into effect for the 2013 season.

The rules committee also simplified the blocking-below-the-waist rule. Low blocks delivered from in front of the defender in typical line play would be legal, and low blocks from the side or back would not.

College Basketball

No. 1 NBA prospect is out for the season with torn knee

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel is out for the rest of the season with a torn ligament in his left knee.

Noel tore his anterior cruciate ligament Tuesday night when No. 25 Kentucky lost at Florida. Magnetic resonance imaging Wednesday revealed the injury.

The 6-10 forward, widely considered the top NBA prospect, will have surgery in two or three weeks. The projected recovery period is six to eight months.

Soccer

USA women beat Scotland in Wambach’s 200th match

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Abby Wambach scored on a diving header in the 51st minute, and the U.S. women’s soccer team beat Scotland 3-1 on Wednesday night to give Wambach a victory in her 200th international match.

Wambach became the eighth American to play at least 200 games for the national team, and she served as captain for the game in honor of the milestone. Her teammates kept trying to set up the 2012 FIFA player of the year, and Wambach finally converted when Sydney Leroux passed to Wambach just in front for her 153rd career goal and 63rd on a header.

Megan Rapinoe and Christen Press also scored to help the Americans gave new coach Tom Sermanni his second victory in five days against his native Scotland.

Tennis

USA draws Sweden at home for Fed Cup playoffs

LONDON – The United States will host Sweden in the Fed Cup playoffs April 20-21, with the winner returning to the World Group in 2014.

The International Tennis Federation’s draw Wednesday also set up Serbia at Germany, Switzerland at Australia and Japan at Spain.

The winning teams will return to the competition’s main, eight-team field next year. The losers will go into a lower-tier playoff in 2014.

The U.S. Tennis Association said it plans to announce in the next two weeks which city will host the matches against Sweden.

The United States has won a record 17 Fed Cup titles, with the most recent in 2000. The Americans lost 3-2 at Italy last weekend in the first round of the World Group.

Associated Press