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Politicians get involved in Big 12 realignment

The conference reportedly has not made a decision on whether to add West Virginia as its 10th member. Kentucky senator Mitch McConnell is lobbying for Louisville to join the conference.

October 26, 2011|Staff and wire reports

The Big 12 is still deciding: West Virginia or Louisville? Could be one or the other, or maybe neither.

Conference realignment took a strange turn Wednesday when, a day after it appeared that the Big 12 had decided West Virginia would eventually replace Missouri as the league's 10th member, the Mountaineers' Big East rival Lousiville reentered the picture.

The result was conflicting stories about what happened and a U.S. senator threatening an investigation — while the Big East was left to wonder not only if it had to replace another member, but which one.

A person with knowledge of the Big 12's discussions told the Associated Press that no decision was made by the conference to add West Virginia, and that Louisville is still a candidate to be invited to join.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Big 12's internal discussions are being conducted privately. The person added that a decision about expansion is not expected before next week.

There were media reports Wednesday that Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell reached out to Big 12 officials to lobby for Louisville and that helped put the brakes on West Virginia's invitation.

West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who is chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which has oversight of sports, released a statement saying that he too is involved.

"The Big 12 picked WVU on the strength of its program — period. Now the media reports that political games may upend that. That's just flat wrong. I am doing and will do whatever it takes to get us back to the merits," he said.

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, in a statement emailed to the AP, said an investigation might be in order.


Padres GM, assistant to join the Cubs

General Manager Jed Hoyer and assistant Jason McLeod will leave the San Diego Padres to accept similar positions in the Chicago Cubs' front office.

Both teams said Wednesday that they will hold news conferences after the World Series. The Padres will announce on Monday that Josh Byrnes will replace Hoyer as general manager. The Cubs will introduce Hoyer as GM and McLeod as senior vice president of scouting and player development at a date to be determined.

The deals have been in the works since Theo Epstein left his job as Boston Red Sox general manager and was hired by the Cubs as president of baseball operations.


Floyd Mayweather Jr. was acquitted of misdemeanor harassment charges alleging he threatened the lives of two homeowners association security guards in an argument about parking tickets outside the boxer's Las Vegas home.

Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Diana Sullivan said she wasn't convinced that the guards feared any threat would be carried out.

Mayweather is scheduled to stand trial Nov. 4 on an unrelated misdemeanor battery complaint alleging he poked another homeowners association security guard in the face. He is scheduled for a Dec. 21 evidence hearing on felony charges stemming from the domestic dispute with his ex-girlfriend and two of their children at the woman's home


Officials familiar with Southland resident Alex Meruelo's attempt to purchase the Atlanta Hawks dismissed a report Wednesday that the deal is in jeopardy. reported the NBA has "concerns" with Meruelo's effort to fund the deal to buy the Hawks from the Atlanta Spirit ownership group.

In a statement, Meruelo said, "I have more than ample resources to purchase and operate the Hawks in a first-class manner. I am committed to the purchase of the Atlanta Hawks. While I can't comment on the details of the approval process, I have and will do everything I can to bring the process to a positive conclusion."

— Lance Pugmire

She wobbled on the beam and didn't fall down on the dismount. That, and a super uneven bars routine, added up to a gold medal for American gymnast Bridgette Caquatto, 17, in the all-around competition Wednesday at the Pan American Games at Guadalajara.

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