BCS director will meet with Justice Department as part of antitrust investigation

Bowl Championship Series Executive Director Bill Hancock said Thursday that he would meet this summer with U.S. Department of Justice officials to discuss college football’s postseason system. Hancock said the Justice Department called last week to ask for the meeting.

“I told them I would be happy to provide it,” Hancock said in a statement.

The department is investigating whether the BCS violates antitrust laws. Last month, it asked the NCAA to explain why major college football does not have a playoff. NCAA President Mark Emmert responded that his organization does not run the major college football postseason and redirected the Justice Department to the BCS.

The NCAA lost control of major college football after a 1984 Supreme Court decision that found the organization guilty of antitrust violations in restricting TV rights. That allowed networks to negotiate deals with individual conferences and ultimately produced the framework that led, in 1998, to the six-conference power structure known as the BCS. Presidents of power-conference schools have adamantly opposed a playoff system that they claim would diminish college football’s regular season and damage a bowl system that predates the formation of the NCAA.


— Chris Dufresne


McIlroy shares Memorial lead

Rory McIlroy had a birdie putt on his last eight holes and converted half of them on his way to a six-under-par 66, joining Chris Riley in the lead after the first round of the PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament at Dublin, Ohio.

Chris DiMarco and Josh Teater were at 67, followed by a large group at 68 that included Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Stewart Cink and Rickie Fowler, the runner-up at the Memorial last year.

South African journeyman Keith Horne led the Wales Open after shooting a seven-under 64 in the opening round, with defending champion Graeme McDowell trailing by three strokes in Newport. Ryder Cup player Peter Hanson (65) was second.

Louisiana State senior John Peterson won the individual title in the NCAA golf championships at Stillwater, Okla., and UCLA led the eight qualifiers for the team match-play competition. Peterson shot even-par 72 and finished at five-under 211, a stroke ahead of the Bruins’ Patrick Cantlay.

UCLA was 10 over in the third round and finished at eight-over 872. Georgia Tech was second at 11 over, and host Oklahoma State (15 over), Illinois (15 over), Georgia (20 over), Ohio State (23 over), Augusta State (24 over) and Duke (25 over) also advanced to match play.



Softball championship begins

Kelsi Dunne pitched one-hit ball over six scoreless innings and Kaila Hunt had a run-scoring single, lifting second-seeded Alabama to a 1-0 victory against California at Oklahoma City on the opening day of college softball’s championship event.

Whitney Canion followed with a three-hit shutout, and Kelsi Kettler hit a game-ending home run as Baylor beat Oklahoma State, 1-0, in eight innings.


Top-seeded Arizona State got a home run from Katelyn Boyd and a two-run single from Mandy Urfer to beat Oklahoma, 3-1. The Sun Devils will face Florida, which beat Missouri, 6-2, and Alabama will take on Baylor in the winners’ bracket Friday night. Elimination games Saturday will pit Cal against Oklahoma State and Oklahoma against Missouri.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby was cleared by team doctors to start off-season, off-ice workouts. Crosby, who is recovering from a concussion, last played Jan. 5.

Chris Evert will serve as an analyst for ESPN at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. The 18-time Grand Slam singles champion previously worked for CBS and NBC but had been away from TV for a decade while raising three sons.

Former Angels star Darin Erstad was hired as the baseball coach at Nebraska, his alma mater. Erstad, who turns 37 on Saturday, served as a volunteer hitting coach this season.


Former USC quarterback Mitch Mustain signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.

New York Red Bulls Coach Hans Backe will lead the MLS squad against Manchester United in the league’s All-Star game July 27 at Harrison, N.J.