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NCAA wants higher academic standards, stronger penalties

Leaders want to simplify the 439-page Division I rulebook, enforce stronger penalties for rule-breakers, increase academic standards and link academic performance to possible postseason bans.

August 10, 2011|Wire reports

NCAA leaders are ready to give college sports an overhaul.

They want to simplify the 439-page Division I rulebook, enforce stronger penalties for rule-breakers, increase academic standards and link academic performance to possible postseason bans. And if NCAA President Mark Emmert gets his way, all of this would be approved in the next 12 months.

"What's different is a lot of things have reached a boiling point," Penn State President Graham Spanier said after Emmert's two-day presidential retreat wrapped up Wednesday in Indianapolis. "The board of directors has the authority to make some decisions that it has been reluctant to do before, but I think the presidents have reached a point where they're saying too many things are not working well. So the board needs to take stronger actions from the top."

A new cutline for the Academic Progress Rate, the calculation used to evaluate whether each team at a school is making sufficient progress toward graduation, was already on the docket. The current cutline is 925. Emmert wants it increased to 930 immediately and perhaps higher in future years.

Failure to meet the cutline, Emmert said, should result in postseason bans in all sports.

"It's very realistic and it will happen very quickly, meaning this year," Emmert said.

Emmert said he also embraces stronger academic standards for incoming freshmen and junior college transfers.

The NCAA investigation into Ohio State's football program has cost the school's athletic department about $800,000 so far. Athletic Director Gene Smith confirmed the figure in an email to the Associated Press.

The Buckeyes football program has been embroiled in a memorabilia-for-cash scandal that broke late last year and resulted in coach Jim Tressel losing his job after 10 years. Star quarterback Terrelle Pryor also left the school.

Meanwhile, ESPN.com cited numerous anonymous sources who said the NCAA sent a letter to Ohio State last week notifying the school that its investigation is ongoing. The story said the letter could result in a second notice of allegations and a second trip through the NCAA justice system.

ETC.

Nadal, Wozniacki are upset

Rafael Nadal is out of the Rogers Cup after a 1-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5) loss in the second round against Croatia's Ivan Dodig at Montreal.

With the tiebreaker in the final set tied 5-5, Dodig — ranked 41st in the world — ripped a 135-mph ace past Nadal, then finished the upset by hammering a backhand that the second-ranked Spanish star couldn't handle.

Earlier, Roger Federer defeated Vasek Pospisil of Canada, 7-5, 6-3, and top-seeded Novak Djokovic beat Russia's Nikolay Davydenko, 7-5, 6-1.

Top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki, the defending champion, lost to Roberta Vinci, 6-4, 7-5, in a second-round match in the women's draw at Toronto. Former No. 1 Serena Williams beat Julia Goerges, 6-1, 7-6 (7), and fifth-seeded Maria Sharapova edged Bojana Jovanovski, 6-1, 7-5.

Serena Williams plans to play for the United States in two Fed Cup series next year, returning to a team that she has not been a member of since 2007.

USC reserve forward Curtis Washington probably will sit out the upcoming basketball season because of a torn labrum in his left shoulder. Coach Kevin O'Neill said the sophomore will have surgery the week of Aug. 22 at USC Hospital.

Germany ended an 18-year wait for a win over Brazil and Italy beat Spain in a meeting of the last two World Cup champions in exhibition games. Bastian Schweinsteiger opened the scoring from the penalty spot in Germany's 3-2 victory over visiting Brazil at Stuttgart before Mario Goetze and Andre Schuerrle also scored.

Italy substitute Alberto Aquilani scored a late goal for a 2-1 victory against visiting Spain at Bari. The friendly between England and the Netherlands was canceled because of the disorder in London.

FIFA suspended Caribbean soccer official Lisle Austin for one year for breaching statutes in the ongoing fallout from the presidential election bribery scandal. FIFA said its disciplinary committee suspended Austin for breaking rules by taking his dispute with the CONCACAF confederation to a civil court in the Bahamas.

Tere Perry, public relations manager at the Hilton Americas hotel, confirmed the hotel has been informed that the NBA All-Star game will be in Houston in February 2013. KRIV-TV first reported that the city had landed the game. Neither the Rockets nor the NBA would comment on the report.

The struggling United Football League will play a shorter season with four teams instead of five with the Hartford, Conn., franchise suspending operations. The UFL, which has lost more than $100 million it its first two years, said it will play a condensed regular-season schedule starting Sept. 15. Without Hartford, the league is left with teams in Omaha, Neb.; Norfolk, Va.; Las Vegas; and Sacramento.

Earnhardt Ganassi Racing fired two team members charged with trafficking in marijuana. Trevor Lysne and Jerome David Frey appeared in North Carolina Superior Court on Wednesday to face charges.

Mike Barrett, a member of the 1968 U.S. basketball team that won the gold medal at the Mexico City Olympics, died Monday at 67 in Nashville, Tenn.

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