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Sports Extra

College basketball

Gonzaga the 57th school to top AP Top 25 poll

SPOKANE, Wash. – The to-do list for the Gonzaga basketball team got shorter Monday: For the first time, the Zags were ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll.

Sweet, but it may get bumpier from there.

Next: Avoiding the potholes that have stopped every other No. 1 this season, then finding a way to the Final Four.

Gonzaga, a small Jesuit school in Spokane, is where crooner Bing Crosby went and where John Stockton threaded pinpoint passes. It has the best record in Division I at 29-2 following weekend wins against BYU and Portland. The Hoosiers, beaten by Minnesota last week, dropped to No. 2.

The Zags are the 57th school to be ranked No. 1 since the AP poll began in January 1949. The school is considered a mid-major and reached No. 2 for the first time last week. Now it will play for the first time at No. 1 on Saturday night in the West Coast Conference semifinals.

NFL

Flacco becomes highest-paid player in league history

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Joe Flacco knows his stature as the highest-paid player in NFL history may not last for long, and he’s OK with it.

What matters most to the Super Bowl MVP is that the Baltimore Ravens were willing to pay him that kind of money in the first place.

Flacco signed his new contract Monday worth $120.6 million over six years. He will receive a $29 million signing bonus, $52 million in guaranteed money and $51 million over the first two years of the deal.

The former first-round draft pick out of Delaware is the first starting quarterback in NFL history to make the playoffs in each of his first five seasons. He’s led the Ravens to nine wins over that span, tying Tom Brady for most among quarterbacks in the first five years of a career.

Flacco threw 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions during the recent postseason and led Baltimore to a 34-31 Super Bowl win over San Francisco.

And it all made the Ravens willing to pay him more money than Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or any other of the great quarterbacks in the game today.

By signing Monday, Flacco avoided receiving the franchise tag, which would have hindered the Ravens’ salary cap in 2013.

Flacco turned down a contract before the 2012 season that would have paid him roughly $15 million a year. His decision turned out to be an incredibly wise one.

olympics

Gabel steps down after being accused of misconduct

Andy Gabel stepped down from major committees at the International Skating Union and U.S. Speedskating after being accused of a sexual relationship with an underage skater in the 1990s.

ISU President Ottavio Cinquanta said Monday that Gabel quit as chairman of the short track committee, which governs the frenzied sport best known in the United States for the achievements of Apolo Anton Ohno, the most decorated Winter Olympian in the country’s history.

“(Gabel) has communicated that he resigned,” Cinquanta told The Associated Press. “I cannot say anything else. It would be inappropriate if I would make some further comment as he is no longer with us.”

U.S. speedskating spokeswoman Tamara Castellano said Gabel resigned from the national Hall of Fame committee, which oversees the selection process for inductees.

Gabel is also a member of the Hall of Fame, but it wasn’t immediately clear if there was a provision to remove someone who has received the honor. Meanwhile, the U.S. Speedskating board was holding its regular monthly meeting Monday and was expected to discuss the allegations against its former member.

Associated Press