Mediator gives McCourts settlement proposal


Frank and Jamie McCourt each appeared in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday to receive a settlement proposal from the mediator assigned to their divorce case, probably setting the stage for a ruling in the Dodgers’ ownership battle.

Superior Court Judge Peter Lichtman, the mediator, met in separate closed sessions with each of the McCourts and their attorneys. Lichtman ordered the parties not to discuss the terms of the proposal publicly.

He is thought to have given each side until the end of the month to accept or reject his proposal. If the proposal is rejected, as expected, then Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon would rule on whether to uphold a marital agreement that would give Frank McCourt sole ownership of the Dodgers. Jamie McCourt has asked the court to throw out the agreement, which could make the team community property.


The McCourts have failed to settle despite several rounds of negotiations over the past year, with and without mediators.

Although the terms of Lichtman’s proposal are confidential, previous discussions have established the outline of an agreement in which Frank McCourt would keep control of the Dodgers and would pay Jamie McCourt to surrender any claim to the team. The sides have been unable to agree how much Frank McCourt should pay and how that payment should be structured.

Bill Shaikin

The Detroit Tigers finalized a $16.5-million, three-year contract with right-handed reliever Joaquin Benoit. He had a 1.34 earned-run average as a setup man for Tampa Bay last season and held opponents to a .147 batting average.

Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane, 74, is putting the team he has owned since 1992 up for sale.

The New York Yankees hired Larry Rothschild as their pitching coach. Rothschild, who was the Chicago Cubs’ pitching coach, replaces Dave Eiland, who was fired in October.



Tennessee’s Pearl suspended for eight SEC games

Tennessee Coach Bruce Pearl was suspended for the Volunteers’ first eight Southeastern Conference games as punishment from Commissioner Mike Slive for violating NCAA rules and misleading investigators.

“I have been a very public advocate for playing by the rules,” Pearl said. “When you don’t play by the rules, these are the things that can happen. So while these penalties that we’ve self-imposed and now the commissioner’s imposing are unprecedentedly strong, it sets a very high standard and a high standard that I agreed to.”

Slive, who was given authority to issue suspensions during the SEC’s spring meetings, sent a letter Thursday informing Pearl that he cannot participate in SEC games between Jan. 8 and Feb. 5 and any related activity or practice on those game days.

The commissioner said he considered suspending Pearl for the entire SEC schedule and punishing Pearl’s assistants, who have also been accused of NCAA violations, but took into account Pearl’s admission that he misled the NCAA and the punishment Tennessee officials already had imposed.

Pearl acknowledged in September that he misled investigators about photos taken of him and recruit Aaron Craft when Pearl improperly hosted the prospect at his home in 2008. Tennessee also revealed that Pearl and his staff made excessive calls to recruits.


The school docked Pearl’s pay by $1.5 million over five years and banned him from participating in off-campus recruiting for a year.


Ferreira wins MLS MVP award

FC Dallas midfielder David Ferreira was voted Major League Soccer’s most valuable player. Ferreira, who beat out Edson Buddle of the Galaxy and Chris Wondolowski of the San Jose Earthquakes, played all but one minute this season and finished with eight goals and 13 assists.

Former Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan and two women were seriously injured in a two-car crash on Hawaii’s Big Island. Brennan’s agent, Ryan Tollner, issued a statement that said Brennan was taken to Honolulu for further medical treatment after being taken to Kona Community Hospital.

Big Island police said Brennan was a passenger in an SUV driven by Shakti Stream that collided head-on with a sedan driven by a Waikoloa woman whose name was not released.


Houston Rockets center Yao Ming is expected to sit out at least two more weeks because of a bone bruise in his left ankle.

Preakness champion Lookin At Lucky was retired and will stand at Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky. Coolmore purchased the 3-year-old colt from Mike Pegram. Terms were not released.

Pat Burns, who led the New Jersey Devils to the 2003 Stanley Cup title and was the NHL’s coach of the year with three teams, died Friday at 58. Story, AA4

Gaye Stewart, a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Stanley Cup championship teams in 1942 and 1947 died at 87.