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FIBA says NBA players can play abroad during lockout

International basketball's governing body gives approval so long as the pros return to America when the lockout ends.

July 29, 2011|Wire reports

If NBA stars are serious about playing overseas, basketball's governing body says they will be welcomed. Just as long as they promise to leave once the lockout ends.

FIBA announced Friday that it would clear NBA players under contract to play in its leagues during the work stoppage, provided the deals they sign come with opt-out clauses.

In a ruling that paves the way for players to earn paychecks, FIBA agreed with NBA and players' association officials that players are free to sign anywhere but do so at their own risk of injury.

"As the world governing body for basketball, we strongly hope that the labor dispute will be resolved as soon as possible, and that the NBA season is able to begin as scheduled," Patrick Baumann, FIBA's secretary general, said in a statement.

"In view of our role to promote basketball worldwide, we support any player wishing to play the game, wherever and whenever. We do so while obviously taking the interests, rights and obligations of all parties into account."

Union executive director Billy Hunter has endorsed the idea, with players feeling it will pressure owners at the bargaining table if they see their players have options elsewhere, and FIBA may have been faced with a legal challenge had it denied the players.

"Our players are gratified by today's announcement by FIBA, although it comes as no surprise," Hunter said in a statement.

The Detroit Pistons are giving Lawrence Frank another chance to lead an NBA team. A person with knowledge of the situation said the Pistons agreed to a three-year deal with Frank to be their new coach. The agreement includes a team option for a fourth year, according to the person, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team hasn't announced the move.

TENNIS

Lisicki upsets Radwanska

Germany's Sabine Lisicki defeated her second straight seeded opponent at the Bank of the West Classic in Palo Alto, beating fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-2, in the quarterfinals.

Lisicki will meet the winner of the late match between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.

Third-seeded Marion Bartoli of France advanced when Japan's Ayumi Morita retired after dropping the first set. 6-1. Bartoli will meet eighth-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia, who beat qualifier Marina Erakovic, 6-1, 6-1.

Top-seeded Nicolas Almagro of Spain put in a double shift at the Swiss Open in Gstaad, Switzerland, advancing to the semifinals after beating Jarkko Nieminen and Feliciano Lopez. Almagro will play No. 4-seeded Fernando Verdasco of Spain, and Marcel Granollers of Spain faces Mikhail Youzhny of Russia in the last four. … Fourth-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia defeated Italy's Andreas Seppi, 6-1, 6-3, to reach the semifinals of the Croatia Open at Umag. Cilic will next face another Italian, sixth-seeded Fabio Fognini. Second-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov and Juan Carlos Ferrero will meet in the other semifinal. … American Robert Kendrick was suspended for a year by the International Tennis Federation after testing positive for a banned stimulant at the French Open.

ETC.

North Carolina names interim coach

Everett Withers said he is excited to get started as interim coach of North Carolina's football team and sad to take over after the firing of Butch Davis.

Withers spent the last three seasons as defensive coordinator under Davis, who was fired Wednesday. Chancellor Holden Thorp cited the cumulative damage done to the university's reputation over the last year. The NCAA has reported nine potential major violations in its notice of allegations to the school.

The mentor for former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor was investigated and cleared by the NCAA in 2008 of allegations that he improperly acted as a booster while helping the player pick a college, according to records released Friday.

Less than three years later, Ted Sarniak was a central figure in coach Jim Tressel's downfall and Pryor's departure from Ohio State. The records show the NCAA ruled in favor of Sarniak, a hometown friend who went with Pryor on several recruiting visits.

"Our staff could not conclude that the benefits provided by [Sarniak] to the prospective student-athlete constituted a violation," the NCAA's Amy Huchthausen wrote in a letter dated Sept. 17, 2008, to Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith.

However, Sarniak was told he could no longer provide money, meals, tickets, presents or a cellphone to Pryor.

UCLA senior guard Jerime Anderson is scheduled for an arraignment at the Airport Courthouse on Sept. 27 to face charges of grand theft. He was accused of stealing a laptop Tuesday. Anderson has been suspended for the Bruins' opener against Loyola Marymount on Nov. 11 and barred from team activities.

— Ben Bolch

Timothy Peters took the lead late, then pulled away to win the NASCAR truck series race at Clermont, Ind. Peters, who made contact with another truck and forced a caution near the midpoint of the race, pushed into second place during the final 20 laps, then passed James Buescher on lap 194.

A youth baseball team from Uganda lost its bid to become the first team from Africa to play in the Little League World Series because of discrepancies over players' ages and birth dates. Richard Stanley of New York, a league representative, said visa issues arose when ages and birth dates listed on documentation did not match those offered by parents, guardians or the players during interviews with officials at the U.S. embassy in Kampala.

Greece defeated China, 9-8, to win its first gold medal in women's water polo at the world championships in Shanghai. Earlier, Australia beat the two-time defending champion United States, 10-5, for fifth place.

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