Georgia Tech President G.P. Bud Peterson (left) and Athletic Director… (John Bazemore / Associated…)
The NCAA put Georgia Tech on four years of probation, fined the school $100,000 and stripped its Atlantic Coast Conference title-game victory from the 2009 football season Thursday for violations that also included problems in the men's basketball program.
Georgia Tech did not lose scholarships and was not ruled ineligible for postseason games in either sport, but the basketball team had its number of recruiting days and official visits reduced for the next two seasons.
The NCAA vacated the final three games of the football team's 2009 season — a loss to rival Georgia, the ACC championship win over Clemson and the Orange Bowl loss to Iowa — for using an ineligible player. It was the Yellow Jackets' first season under Coach Paul Johnson.
The NCAA said Georgia Tech should have declared receiver Demaryius Thomas ineligible after he accepted $312 worth of clothing in '09 from former Yellow Jackets quarterback Calvin Booker, who was working for a sports agent at the time. But the investigation took a harder turn against the school when Athletic Director Dan Radakovich broke NCAA rules by alerting Johnson that Thomas and safety Morgan Burnett would soon be interviewed.
O'Neal joins TNT's NBA crew
Shaquille O'Neal, former Laker and 15-time NBA All-Star, is joining Turner Sports and the TNT network as a full-time analyst on the studio show hosted by Ernie Johnson with Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith. O'Neal will also contribute to NBA TV and NBA.com, and his agreement also includes a development deal with Turner's entertainment and animation networks.
O'Neal, who retired from the NBA after the end of last season, said Thursday, "It was pretty much an easy decision for me. It's fun over there [at TNT]. I like to keep it real and I thought it was the best fit for me."
Sparks forward Candace Parker was voted to be a starter on the WNBA Western Conference All-Star team with 19,376 votes, making her the sixth-leading vote-getter. Parker will sit out the game because of a torn lateral meniscus in her right knee that she sustained June 26. WNBA President Laurel Richie is expected to announce her replacement Wednesday or Thursday. The All-Star game will be played July 23 in San Antonio at 12:30 p.m. PDT and will be broadcast on Channel 7.
The Ducks signed free-agent defenseman Matt Smaby to a one-year contract that will pay him $600,000 in the NHL and $105,000 in the American Hockey League. Smaby, 26, played 32 games for Tampa Bay last season and had no points and a plus-2 rating in 32 games.
The state Senate and Assembly have passed legislation that would sanction sports agents who unlawfully give gifts to student-athletes. The Senate vote was 37-0; the Assembly vote was 70-0.
The bill, AB 238, will now be considered by Gov. Jerry Brown for final approval.
The new legislation would require a mandatory suspension and the return of any profits earned.
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison has apologized for using an anti-gay slur to refer to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in an interview with Men's Journal, and says his critical statements about teammates Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall were taken out of context.
Harrison posted a statement on his Twitter account Thursday night.
Tim Petrovic shot a seven-under-par 65 in the first round of the PGA Tour Viking Classic, joining John Mallinger, Brendon de Jonge, Peter Lonard, Sunghoon Kang and Bobby Gates in a six-way tie atop the leaderboard at Madison, Miss.