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University of Memphis stripped of basketball wins

The NCAA says the Tigers used an ineligible player during their 2007-08 Final Four season, in which the team finished 38-2 and lost the national championship to Kansas in overtime.

August 21, 2009|Staff And Wire Reports

Memphis has lost every one of the 38 victories it piled up in a basketball season that ended with John Calipari's Tigers just missing out on a national title.

The NCAA stripped Memphis of all its wins from 2007-08 on Thursday, saying the Tigers used an ineligible player who is believed to be NBA star Derrick Rose.

The university isn't accepting the punishment, not yet.

Memphis President Shirley Raines said shortly after the NCAA's announcement that the school is appealing what she called an unfair penalty.

"We know the rules," Raines said. "We did our due diligence. We did everything we could to determine the student-athlete was eligible and that the rules were being followed."

The NCAA announcement came 16 months after the Tigers lost the national championship to Kansas in overtime at the end of the 2007-08 season. It marks the second time both Memphis and Calipari had to vacate Final Four seasons. The Tigers were stripped of their 1985 appearance, and Calipari's Massachusetts team lost its 1996 berth.

Now the basketball coach at Kentucky, Calipari said in a statement that he was "very disappointed and disheartened by the NCAA's findings" and that he would not comment again until Memphis' appeal is concluded. Calipari said he's looking forward to coaching Kentucky this fall, where officials are fully supporting him despite the Memphis scandal.

Memphis finished 38-2 in 2007-08, setting the NCAA record for wins in a season.

The NCAA report did not identify the ineligible player by name, though descriptions of the athlete involved lead to the conclusion it could only be Rose. He was the only player who played just that season at Memphis -- a fact noted by the governing body of college sports. Rose went on to be selected by the Chicago Bulls as the No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft and later won the NBA rookie of the year award.

The player was accused of having another person take his SAT exam in Detroit so he would be eligible as a freshman after failing the ACT three times in Chicago.

TENNIS

Federer manages a windy victory

The world's top-ranked player, Roger Federer, struggled in blustery conditions at the Cincinnati Masters against a player he has dominated throughout his career. But he still managed a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Spain's David Ferrer that put him in the quarterfinals at Mason, Ohio.

Federer will play Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, who defeated Sam Querrey, 6-1, 2-6, 6-3.

Second-ranked Andy Murray watched Federer struggle with the wind and took the court with an idea of what to expect. He beat Radek Stepanek, 6-4, 6-1, in the next match at the $3 million Western & Southern Financial Group Masters, where the top players managed to move on.

Third-ranked Rafael Nadal was much sharper in his second match of the tournament, a 7-5, 6-2 victory over France's Paul-Henri Mathieu. No. 4 Novak Djokovic beat Jeremy Chardy of France, 7-5, 6-3, to reach the quarterfinals.

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Serena Williams cruised past one of the Bondarenko sisters at the Rogers Cup in Toronto.

Williams defeated Ukraine's Alona Bondarenko, 6-1, 6-4, to advance to the quarterfinals, two days after sister Venus fell to Kateryna Bondarenko.

Williams will face Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic next. The second-ranked Williams is the highest-seeded player left in the tournament after No. 1 Dinara Safina lost Wednesday.

Maria Sharapova beat Vera Zvonareva, 6-2, 7-6 (3), to join Williams in the quarterfinals.

Earlier, Elena Dementieva rallied past Shahar Peer for a 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 victory. Dementieva will face Samantha Stosur, who swept Virginie Razzano, 6-3, 6-1.

Aravane Rezai couldn't repeat after her upset of Safina, falling 6-3, 6-4 to Alisa Kleybanova, and Safarova beat China's Zheng Jie, 7-6 (3), 6-4.

ETC.

Rizzo is named Nationals' GM

Mike Rizzo has taken over as the Washington Nationals' general manager, 20-plus years after becoming a scout.

Rizzo has been serving as Washington's acting GM since Jim Bowden resigned March 1.

Rizzo is now the team's full-fledged GM and senior vice president of baseball operations.

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The Ducks signed defenseman Brett Festerling to a two-year contract through the 2010-11 season. Festerling, 23, made his NHL debut last season with the team, collecting five assists in 40 games.

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Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw and a female student identified as his girlfriend were free on bond after being arrested on a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence and third-degree harassment.

University police charged Upshaw and Kendall Lynn Gryzb, both 19, after an altercation at about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday in the parking lot of the campus recreation center, according to documents filed at Tuscaloosa County district court.

Upshaw practiced Thursday afternoon and afterward Coach Nick Saban said he would not be suspended for the opener Sept. 5 against Virginia Tech but would be punished internally and put on "behavior probation."

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Nevada could start using instant replay in boxing and mixed martial arts within a month to help referees review crucial or controversial moments at the end of fights.

The Nevada Athletic Commission approved limited use of the technology to help referees review hits that end fights.

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