SEC unhappy with officiating comments

Staff And Wire Reports

Tennessee’s Lane Kiffin and Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen were reprimanded Monday by the Southeastern Conference for criticizing officials, raising the number of coaches to be scolded by the league for knocking game officiating to three in the last week.

For Kiffin, it was the second time this year he has been reprimanded by the league. SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said Kiffin could be suspended if he violates conference rules again.

Vanderbilt Coach Bobby Johnson also weighed in on the officiating after he had some questions about calls made in his game against South Carolina last weekend. Johnson said he would like to speak with SEC coordinator of officials Rogers Redding.


“I think I’d have to get in line,” Johnson said.

All this came a week after one SEC crew was suspended after it called penalties the league said were not supported by video evidence in the Louisiana State-Georgia game Oct. 3 and the Arkansas-Florida game Oct. 17.

The day after the suspension was announced by the SEC, Arkansas Coach Bobby Petrino was reprimanded for making critical statements about officiating in the Razorbacks’ 23-20 loss at Florida.

Slain Connecticut cornerback Jasper “Jazz” Howard was talented, yet humble, played football with swagger and heart and deeply loved his family.

Hundreds of mourners heard those words at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Miami about the 20-year-old former South Florida high school standout who was fatally stabbed during an altercation on campus in Storrs, Conn., early Oct 18. No one has been charged in his death.

“He was someone who had a tremendous heart, and for the people here in this community, and for the family, he was on track for greatness,” said Huskies Coach Randy Edsall, his voice at times wavering. “. . . . He was doing everything to make himself the best student, the best person and the best athlete that he could be.”

The NCAA has joined the University of Michigan in an investigation into practices of college football’s winningest program. University President Mary Sue Coleman announced that the NCAA has given the school a notice of inquiry.




Coyotes owner to sell to NHL

Phoenix Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes has agreed to sell the bankrupt franchise to the NHL.

The agreement, which still must be approved by Judge Redfield T. Baum, was announced in U.S. Bankruptcy Court after attorneys met for more than an hour during a recess in a status hearing on the case.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly says that once the deal closes, the league will immediately look to sell the team, preferably to an owner who will keep the club in Arizona.

Ilya Kovalchuk, the Atlanta Thrashers’ captain and one of the league’s top scorers, is expected to miss three to five weeks because of a broken bone in his right foot.



AC Milan says Beckham coming

The seemingly interminable saga of David Beckham’s return on loan to AC Milan edged one step closer to reality when Adriano Galliani, the Italian team’s chief executive, said an agreement with the Galaxy had been reached. “A great player will arrive,” Galliani told the Sky Italia television network. “His first name is David. His last name is Beckham. It’s practically 100% certain. What’s missing is the signatures, but there is total agreement.”

Beckham spent six months on loan to the Serie A club after the end of the 2008 Major League Soccer season and wants to repeat the arrangement in order to stay in the running for a place on England’s 2010 World Cup team.

The Galaxy and its owner, AEG, had no immediate comment.

-- Grahame L. Jones

The California State Athletic Commission voted unanimously to stop its members from accepting free passes to boxing matches, a policy change that followed a Times investigation last month documenting commissioner handouts to friends of free ringside passes to big fights.

Heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar is ill and hasn’t trained in more than three weeks, so the Ultimate Fighting Championship announced that Lesnar’s title defense against Shane Carwin on Nov. 21 in Las Vegas will be replaced by a rematch of former light-heavyweight champions, Tito Ortiz versus Forrest Griffin.

UFC President Dana White said he’d like to reschedule the Lesnar-Carwin fight for Jan. 2 but will wait until Lesnar is healthy.

-- Lance Pugmire

The ESPN production assistant whose affair with baseball analyst Steve Phillips led to his termination has also been fired from the sports network, a spokesman said.

Mike Soltys, a representative of ESPN, said that 22-year-old Brooke Hundley had been fired, but he did not say why.