Review Category : National Sports

South Carolina Moves Game Against LSU to Baton Rouge Due to Flooding

A view from the press box as the South Carolina Gamecocks take on the University of Central Florida Knights during the third quarter on September 26, 2015 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Todd Bennett/GettyImages)(COLUMBIA, S.C.) — This weekend’s football game between the University of South Carolina and Louisiana State University will be moved from Columbia, S.C. to Baton Rouge, La., after storms and flooding led officials to believe the event would unduly stress USC’s infrastructure.

“Yesterday, we made the extremely difficult decision to cancel classes for the week due to the stress 34,000 students would place on the region’s recovering infrastructure,” USC President Harris Pastides said in a statement. “There is no doubt 85,000 fans would exact the same toll.”

Kickoff time for the game has yet to be announced. LSU and USC are in opposite divisions of the Southeastern Conference, meaning they play each other only twice every twelve years — one at each team’s field. LSU was originally scheduled to host USC in 2020, though there has been no word on whether the teams could potentially move that game to Columbia.

“We want to support South Carolina in anything they want to do,” LSU head coach Les Miles said Wednesday.

LSU had its season opener cancelled due to lightning storms.

“We want to do the right thing and do what is best for all concerned,” USC head coach Steve Spurrier said in a statement. “It appears the best thing is to travel to LSU.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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NFL Approves Plan to Play More International Games

Photo by Mark Cunningham/Detroit Lions/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Fresh off the National Football League’s 12th game in London in the last eight years, the league announced on Wednesday that it would continue to hold games abroad through at least 2025, and would explore other locations outside of the United Kingdom.

A resolution approved by the league’s teams expands on a 2011 resolution that allowed the NFL to schedule games in the U.K. through 2016. League Commissioner Roger Goodell said that the agreement “marks an important step in our long-term international growth.”

“Fans in the U.K. have responded incredibly well to the regular-season games we have played in London since 2007,” Goodell added. “We think it’s time to expand our International Series to other countries and respond to the growing interest in our game not only in the U.K., but elsewhere around the world.”

A schedule of internationally hosted games for 2016 is expected to be announced later this year, with the U.K. and other nations in contention to host games.

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FIFA President Sepp Blatter Could Face 90 Day Suspension

Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — FIFA President Sepp Blatter could be suspended for three months after members of soccer’s international governing body met to discuss criminal proceedings against Blatter.

BBC Sport reports that FIFA’s ethics committee had been meeting in Zurich since Monday. Criminal proceedings were opened against Blatter last month amid accusations that he signed an “unfavorable” deal for FIFA and making a “disloyal payment” to Michel Platini, president of Europe’s governing body for the sport. The suspension would have to be confirmed by the committee’s adjudication arm.

ESPN reports that 90 days is the longest suspension the ethics committee can can levy against an official without a conviction.

Last month, FIFA’s ethics committee banned Jack Warner, the former FIFA Vice President and head of the sports’ governing body for North America, Central America and the Caribbean, from involvement in soccer for life.

Blatter has been the head of FIFA since 1998, though numerous accusations of corruption and scandals have befallen the organization since then.

Earlier this summer, Attorney General Loretta Lynch opened up an investigation into bribery and corruption within FIFA.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Last month, FIFA’s ethics committee banned Jack Warner, the former FIFA Vice President and head of the sports’ governing body for North America, Central America and the Caribbean, from involvement in soccer for life.
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NBA Legend Jalen Rose Describes His Remarkable Life Story

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Former NBA star Jalen Rose is out with a new book chronicling his remarkable life story, from growing up in inner city Detroit to being a part of the “Fab Five” at the University of Michigan to playing 13 years in the NBA.

Rose, now an analyst for ESPN, appeared on ABC News’ Good Morning America Wednesday to discuss Got to Give the People What They Want: True Stories and Flagrant Opinions from Center Court. Watch the interview below:

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Axalta to Serve as Primary Sponsor of Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2016

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Hendrick Motorsports announced Tuesday that Axalta Coatings Systems will serve as the primary sponsor of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 Chevrolet SS for 13 Sprint Cup Series races annually, beginning in 2016. The company will also serve as a major associate sponsor during all non-primary events.

It’s part of a contract extension between Axalta and Hendrick that will run through 2018.

Axalta has been a longtime sponsor of Earnhardt’s teammate Jeff Gordon, who’s retiring at the end of the season.

“Axalta and Hendrick Motorsports have an incredible story,” Earnhardt Jr. said in a statement. “For me, it’s meaningful to work with a sponsor that’s been so committed to our sport and has such a rich history in NASCAR. Continuing the partnership is special for all of us, and I’m already excited about what the car will look like. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity.”

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Houston Astros Beat NY Yankees to Advance to Division Series Round

David Lee/iStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) — The Houston Astros have won the American League wild card, ending the New York Yankees season.

In Tuesday night’s game, the Astros beat the Yankees 3-0.

The Astros will advance to the American League Division Series round where they will face the Kansas City Royals in a best of 5 series.

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This California Lawn Painter Makes ‘Every Game a Home Game’

Randolph Phillips(LOS ANGELES) — A California resident is giving football fans a creative way to cheer on their favorite team: through painted lawn logos.

Fontana resident Randolph Phillips started this side business in 2009 when the Saints went to the Super Bowl, he told ABC News Tuesday. Phillips was living in Louisiana at the time and painted his first logo on his own front lawn.

“The next thing I knew people started asking who did it and how much it cost,” Phillips said.

The logos range in price depending on the difficulty of the logo and can take from 40 to 90 minutes, lasting about eight weeks.

“Something simple like the 49ers or Saints is $200. Something difficult like the Raiders, Patriots or Buccaneers, I’ll go up to $250 or $300,” Phillips said.

Because the logos are “free hand” with “no stencil or template,” Phillips said he has not had to worry about trademark violation.

Although he sees the most activity in his business during football season, he has painted logos for other occasions, like graduations and birthday parties, and has painted lawns all over Louisiana, Northern California, and, most recently, Southern California, he said.

Lake Elsinore resident Verneen Chenault is one of the Southern California clients, and just got the Green Bay Packers logo on her lawn Monday.

“I would have to say, for our neighborhood, it brings out a little more character,” Chenault said, adding that through her logo she has met neighbors she never knew before.

Phillips, who said he has gained clientele simply through word of mouth, and Chenault both credit the logos with bringing people together and creating fun rivalries.

“The main thing I think they do is they make every game a home game,” Phillips added. “You don’t want to leave your house if you have a logo. You want to invite people over and have a party.”

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One-on-One with ESPN’s First Female Baseball Game Analyst

Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — Former superstar softball slugger Jessica Mendoza will have a seat at Tuesday night’s Astros-Yankees playoff game that no woman has had before: She will be the first female ESPN MLB analyst in a post-season game.

Mendoza said she’s been shocked by the outpouring of support from both men and women inside and outside the game. Tennis great Billie Jean King and her ESPN colleague Eduardo Perez told Mendoza they’re rooting for her.

“It’s just another game. I’m not allowing myself to think anything else,” Mendoza said. “But just looking at my phone, it’s more than just doing a game for a lot of people for a lot of reasons.”

Mendoza, an Olympic gold and silver medalist, was a four-time first-team All-American softball player at Stanford from 1999 to 2002. Though she retired from playing last year, she first joined ESPN in 2007.

On Aug. 24, she became the first female baseball analyst on ESPN’s Monday Night Baseball and later that week became the first female analyst on Sunday Night Baseball. The Walt Disney Company is the parent of ESPN and ABC News.

Mendoza took time before the historic broadcast Tuesday night in New York to talk about her favorite sportscast lines and how she prepares for a broadcast.

Favorite sportscasters or lines?

“Dallas Braden has a bunch of fun lines,” Mendoza said of the former pitcher and her fellow ESPN analyst. These include:

“Oppo taco” = opposite field home run.

“Cheese biscuit” = a good pitch to hit.

“When you’re listening as a viewer, it’s nice to hear different terms,” she said. “Did he just say cheese biscuit?”

Mendoza has called outfielders “outties,” which Curt Schilling said he would have to add to his vocabulary. She also likes to say “cookie” when describing a “nice, sweet pitch to hit.”

“I didn’t come up with that,” she admits.

How did you feel when you learned you would be the first female analyst for a post-season baseball game?

“I found out when [ESPN] added me to the Sunday night package in September,” Mendoza said. “To be honest, I didn’t think of this game as any different.”

She added, “This has been very much a learning experience to be in the booth and share any knowledge I have and build relationships with the players and the teams. I want to approach this game like the last six or seven I’ve done.”

How do you typically prepare for a broadcast?

“I don’t have a specific thing I do, but one thing I like to do is watch games,” she said.

Monday night in her hotel room in New York City, the southern California native spent two-and-a-half hours watching the Astros and Yankees play.

“Instead of reading so much and getting caught up in the numbers, just watch them play yourself over and over and come to your own perspective of why guys are hitting, why guys are in the lineup and doing well or not doing well,” she said.

Favorite players?

Mendoza said she grew up watching softball and seeing Olympians compete on television like Dorothy “Dot” Richardson.

“Seeing softball on television was a big deal for me because it didn’t happen until the 1996 Olympics when I was 14,” she said. “As far as baseball, I grew up with the Dodgers and went to a ton of Dodger games.”

One of her favorite players is Brett Butler.

“He exemplified the way I wanted to play the game,” she said.

What do her sons think of her accomplishments?

Her sons, ages 2 and 6, have different reactions to seeing their mom on television.

When her husband had the television on during one of her broadcasts, “My 2-year-old came running around the corner and came up talking to me and babbling. He thought I was in the room. My 6-year-old thinks anyone can just go on TV,” she said.

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Racial Bias at Issue as Trial Begins for Atlanta Hawk’s Thabo Sefolosha

Rocky Widner/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The trial begins Tuesday for an Atlanta Hawks player who is accused of interfering with a police investigation in New York City. Defense for Hawks forward Thabo Sefolosha suggests racial bias was at play the night of Sefolosha’s arrest.

Sefolosha, who is black, was arrested outside a Manhattan nightclub earlier this year after former New York Knicks forward Chris Copeland was stabbed. While Sefolosha was not involved in the stabbing incident, police accused him and a teammate of interfering with the investigation.

Sefolosha, 31, accused the arresting officers — most of them white — of using excessive force.

A bystander’s video captured Sefolosha’s arrest outside the nightclub when he said officers broke his leg — an injury that would keep him off the basketball court.

“It’s a huge loss for the league to not have him on the floor,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said at the time.

Charges against the teammate were later dropped, and prosecutors offered a plea deal to Sefolosha. Sefolosha, however, declined the offer, his lawyer said, to make a point about police treatment of black men.

“Do you think it’s possible that if a white cop sees an African-American man who is large, that something happens in his mind that is a little bit different than if he seems me in a suit?” defense attorney Alex Spiro asked potential jurors Monday.

Sefolosha’s complaint about the treatment of blacks echoes the criticism from retired tennis star James Blake, who was recently detained by NYPD officers in a case of mistaken identity.

This trial comes just as the NYPD has announced a new use of force policy.

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