- Yahoo Sports19 hrs ago
After 36 years as a college basketball referee, 32 of them in the Big Ten, it isn't easy for Ed Hightower to experience something new on the court. After 34 years as a college basketball coach, the last 19 of them as the headman at Michigan State, the same applies for Tom Izzo.
Yet here the two of them were Tuesday, on the floor of the Breslin Center, a timeout with two minutes and change left in a Spartan blowout victory of North Florida. Izzo went to the scorer's table, grabbed the microphone and ventured them into unchartered waters.
This was Hightower's final game in East Lansing. The 62-year-old is retiring after games this weekend at Nebraska and Iowa. Izzo wanted to acknowledge a good ref and a better man – a devoted husband and father, not to mention teacher, principal and now superintendent of public schools in downstate Illinois.
Izzo barely got the words of appreciation out though before his voice began cracking and he started choking up. When he was done, he flopped down on the bench nearly in tears. The emotion had overwhelmed him.
"Yeah, it did," Izzo said Friday.
- Yahoo Sports3 days ago
President Obama on Tuesday announced the members of the U.S. official delegation to Sochi, Russia, for next year's Winter Olympics.
The message sent, based on both who is and who isn't going, is as obvious as a Siberian winter.
In a bit of Cold War passive aggressiveness, and one that will add spark to the two nations' sporting rivalry, the United States will send no high-ranking government officials to attend the Games.
The delegation will, however, include two openly gay former athletes in an obvious condemnation of Russia's recently passed legislation that banned "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations."
That law is seen as part of a far-reaching anti-gay crackdown in Russia that has received considerable international condemnation in the run up to the Olympics.
Tennis great Billie Jean King will be part of the group that attends the high-profile, Feb. 7, 2014, opening ceremonies. Caitlin Cahow, a two-time medalist in ice hockey, will be present for the Feb. 23 closing ceremonies. Both are openly gay.
- Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports4 days ago
DETROIT – The sign features white letters with purple trim on a black background. It's stuck, courtesy of gray duct tape, to a slab of cardboard that is crudely cut from an old flattened box.
It isn't much. It isn't fancy. It doesn't seem like something befitting the defending Super Bowl champions.
Then again, that's part of the message, part of the Baltimore Ravens culture that when you find yourself wallowing at 4-6 in the midst of a bust of a season, it gets you to dig deep and rally for four consecutive victories. That includes this one on Monday, where six field goals, the last a final minute 61-yard Justin Tucker bomb, was enough to escape Detroit, 18-16.Sun, Dec 221:25 PM PSTNew England at BaltimorePreview Game
- Yahoo Sports6 days ago
If you want to grasp part of the impact Mack Brown had on the University of Texas football program it's this – as the Longhorns look for his successor, most of the names currently being bantered about carry résumés that are a far cry from the one they hired 16 years ago.
Mack Brown was 80-69-1 overall when then-Longhorns athletic director DeLoss Dodds brought him in from North Carolina in 1997. Brown had finished in the top 10 exactly twice in 13 seasons as a head coach. His Tar Heels were known for their improvement, yes, but also their inability to beat elite Florida State. They were good. They weren't truly great.
Some of the numbers, of course, don't tell the story – Brown inherited bottomed-out programs at Tulane and UNC and built them up. There was little doubt he was a strong coach, as his time at UT, including a BCS national title in 2005, would prove.
Yet this wasn't the present-day Nick Saban with four BCS titles, seen as the birthright hire for so many Texas alums, fans, regents, politicians, professors, oil barons and unaware ne'er-do-wells who think they are running this job search.
- Yahoo Sports7 days ago
For Nick Saban, the annual college football coaching carousel has left him exactly where he always said it would … at the University of Alabama.
Saban and the school agreed to a new contract Friday night, after a week of breathless speculation and even at least one sort-of media report that he would succeed Mack Brown as the head coach at Texas. Brown, it turns out, is still on the job and may remain there.
Texas had little to do with this, however. Saban, who just finished his seventh season with the Tide, was never really going anywhere. At most, his agent used the buzz about the Longhorns for a slightly richer deal than the one Alabama was already going to give him. He reportedly will go from $5.6 million per year to more than $7 million. That's about it.
"Quite frankly," Saban said back in September when the Texas talk began, "I'm just too darn old to start over somewhere else."
- Yahoo Sports12 days ago
SAN FRANCISCO – Atop the considerably sized left shoulder of 49ers safety Donte Whitner was a noticeable amount of blood, just pooled up and sitting there.
There didn't appear to be an open cut. The blood wasn't flowing. It was just present. This wasn't an injury, per se. It was a wound, like, after 60 merciless minutes of a 19-17 victory over the archrival Seattle Seahawks, his body was just too worn out to keep all essential fluids inside of it.
Whitner stood in front of his locker, stretched his neck to take a look at it and just shrugged.
"I don't know," he said. "It looks like something. I have a couple on my legs too … I'm busted up. I feel like I played linebacker."
There are no easy games in the NFL. There are no postgame locker rooms without bruised and beaten men. That's the sport. That's the business.
Yet Sunday the NFL's most intense rivalry arrived here and with it came another level of physicality, intensity and, indeed, brutality. Adding to the nastiness was cold, raw and unrelenting weather.Sun, Dec 221:05 PM PSTArizona at SeattlePreview Game
- Yahoo Sports13 days ago
ATLANTA – When the final BCS standings are unveiled Sunday, Auburn shouldn't be ranked No. 2 behind Florida State.
The Tigers should be No. 1.
This isn't just because it won the Southeastern Conference championship on Saturday by running away from a spirited Missouri team, 59-42. That's part of it – the victory represents their second over a team ranked in the top five of the BCS standings. It means nothing more than that however.
This is an argument for résumé, an argument for logic and critical thinking, an argument here in the final year of the BCS to step out of last century and embrace reality. This certainly isn't about putting the SEC on a pedestal because winning the SEC isn't enough to assume the top spot in the rankings and a spot in the BCS title game.
- Yahoo Sports14 days ago
After seemingly saying no to any and every powerhouse with a job opening in recent years – and that doesn't count the fact he probably could've gotten a few guys fired immediately if he wanted – Chris Petersen decided Friday to leave Boise State for the University of Washington.
In Seattle, Petersen will replace Steve Sarkisian, who left to take the USC job, a position that Petersen likely turned down twice through the years.
That isn't how the dominos are supposed to fall on the annual college football parlor game of which job has the greener grass – in those discussions USC is always greener than UW. Of course, conventional wisdom had Petersen leaving Boise about five minutes after that Statue of Liberty play beat Oklahoma back in the Fiesta Bowl.
That was after the 2006 season. Eventually many just assumed he'd never leave.
State Attorney's clumsy attempt at humor during Jameis Winston announcement undermines gravity of decisionDan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports15 days ago
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – William Meggs, the veteran State Attorney here, walked into a crowded news conference on the fourth floor of the Leon County Courthouse with a piece of hard candy in his mouth, scarlet colored stripes on the tie around his neck and a complete lack of self-awareness riffling through his mind.
Meggs was there to announce that his office would not level charges of sexual battery against Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, essentially calling allegations that Winston raped a fellow student nearly a year ago an unwinnable case because of myriad factors.
You didn't need to see the network news trucks parked outside to know this was an important moment not only in explaining a complex and emotional case that had gripped public discourse here, but also to present to the nation that this was a serious-minded community, not just a football-obsessed town willing to bend justice in pursuit of a national title.
It called for decorum, professionalism and tact. The female complainant deserved that. Jameis Winston deserved that. And the people of Tallahassee deserved that.
- Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports16 days ago
Florida state attorney William Meggs has scheduled a press conference at 2 p.m. ET Thursday in Tallahassee, Fla., to discuss his office's investigation into Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston on an allegation that he sexually assaulted a woman last year.
''We think we have exhausted all investigative tools,'' Meggs told The Associated Press. Winston's attorney Tim Jansen has maintained that sex between his client and the woman on the night in question was consensual and has offered affidavits from two witnesses that he says back up Winston's story. "We are waiting for the press conference. We have not been contacted by Mr. Meggs' office," Jansen texted Yahoo Sports. "We hope the investigation was complete and shows what really happened in December. Mr. Winston did nothing wrong."