Federal mediators to join NHL lockout talks
WASHINGTON — Federal mediators are entering the stalled NHL labor talks, which have led to the first 2½ months of the regular season being canceled.
George H. Cohen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, said Monday he had assigned three mediators to assist in negotiations to end the lockout. Cohen said the parties had agreed to use the assistance of the FMCS and that deputy director Scot L. Beckenbaugh, director of mediation services John Sweeney and Commissioner Guy Serota will join the talks.
Cohen has worked with the players’ associations for Major League Baseball, helping end the 1994-95 strike as an outside counsel, and the NBA. He was an adviser to the NHL players’ union before joining the FMCS three years ago.
Cohen mediated during the 2010 negotiations in Major League Soccer and 2011 talks in the NFL and NBA, along with this year’s dispute between the NFL and its on-field officials.
Hockey players and management have not negotiated since last Wednesday. The NHL has canceled more than 34 percent of its regular season, including all games through Dec. 14, the New Year’s Day outdoor Winter Classic and the All-Star weekend scheduled for Jan. 26-27 at Columbus, Ohio.
“I have had separate, informal discussions with the key representatives of the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association during the course of their negotiations for a successor collective bargaining agreement,” Cohen said in a statement. “Due to the extreme sensitivity of these negotiations and consistent with the FMCS’s long-standing practice, the agency will refrain from any public comment concerning the future schedule and/or the status of the negotiations until further notice.”
Bengals back in playoff chase with 3 blowout wins
CINCINNATI — The Bengals have gotten back into playoff contention by winning games in a lopsided way.
A 34-10 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday was Cincinnati’s third in a row. All three have been by at least 18 points, the first time a Bengals team has strung together three straight blowouts since 1976.
At 6-5, they’re back in contention, tied with Pittsburgh for the final AFC wild-card berth. The Steelers won at Paul Brown Stadium earlier this season, giving them the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Coach Marvin Lewis said Monday that the Bengals are “not in great position, but OK position.” They’re at San Diego (4-7) next Sunday, followed by a home game against Dallas (5-6). They play at Philadelphia (3-7) and Pittsburgh before hosting AFC North leader Baltimore (9-2).
Indiana still No. 1, Duke up to No. 2 in AP poll
Indiana is still No. 1 in The Associated Press’ college basketball poll. The holiday weekend tournaments caused a lot of change below.
Duke moved up to take Louisville’s old spot at No. 2 after beating the Cardinals in the championship game of the Battle 4 Atlantis. Michigan moved up one place to third.
There were four newcomers to the Top 25 on Monday, all ranked in the last five: Georgetown, Minnesota, Illinois and New Mexico.
Indiana received 47 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel, 29 more than Duke, which jumped three places.
Ohio State, Louisville, Syracuse, Florida, Kentucky, Arizona and Kansas round out the Top 10.
The teams that dropped out were UCLA, which was 11th, and Memphis, both of which lost two games last week. Connecticut and Baylor fell out after losing once.
Stanford still No. 1 in women’s basketball poll
Stanford remains No. 1 in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll, narrowly ahead of Connecticut.
The Cardinal took over the top spot last week for the first time in seven years. They had 21 first-place votes Monday, and UConn had 17. Baylor has the other one.
Stanford won its only game this week, beating Long Beach State on Sunday.
Duke and Notre Dame are fourth and fifth.
The Irish are followed by Penn State, Louisville, Georgia, Kentucky and California. The Golden Bears switched places with Maryland.
Iowa State entered the poll at No. 24, replacing Vanderbilt, which lost both its games last week to fall out from No. 17. West Virginia dropped 13 spots to No. 25 after losing to LSU and Iowa.
Changes planned after Vegas marathon illness probe
LAS VEGAS — After health officials investigated a stomach illness following last year’s Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Half-Marathon, organizers are promising several changes to this year’s races — including strict sanitation rules and a contractor supplying water to runners.
The Southern Nevada Health District never conclusively identified the source of Sapovirus outbreak reported by more than 500 of the 44,000 race participants a year ago.
A health district investigation determined that people were probably exposed to the virus the morning before the race — maybe at a runners’ expo where race numbers were distributed.
Water distribution during the race had been suspected.
This year’s race is Sunday evening on the Las Vegas Strip, and Competitor Group officials say this year’s 30,000-plus participants will notice the changes that have been planned.
Hannover player honestly owns up to 1-match ban
HANNOVER, Germany — A German player is proving that there’s still fair play in soccer.
Hannover midfielder Lars Stindl has been suspended for a Bundesliga match after pointing out he should be banned for getting five yellow cards this season.
The 24-year-old Stindl, a teammate of American defender Steve Cherundolo, kept count better than German soccer authorities who failed to register an earlier yellow.
When Stindl was cautioned Saturday in a 5-0 loss against leader Bayern Munich, he told his club it should trigger a one-match ban.
Stindl says he wasn’t tempted to exploit the official error, asking: “Why should we hide something?”
Hannover published the story on its website with the message: “Hats off, Lars!”
Coach Mirko Slomka praises Stindl as “an extremely fair sportsman” — who will watch the home match against struggling Greuther Fuerth from the sidelines.
Holmgren leaving Browns uncertain of future
BEREA, Ohio — Browns outgoing president Mike Holmgren says he still has not decided if he will coach in the NFL again.
Holmgren is leaving the Browns this week after initially planning to stay until the end of this season. Holmgren said after weeks of meetings with new owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner he has decided the time was right and feels he has “passed the baton.” Holmgren says he departs feeling somewhat unsatisfied because he wasn’t able to finish the job of turning the Browns into winners.
Holmgren adds he will return to his home in Arizona this week and contemplate his next move. He does not yet know if he will stay working in football and he denies any interest in coaching the Dallas Cowboys, a rumor that surfaced weeks ago.
Stoops: ‘I love the job I have’ at No. 12 Oklahoma
NORMAN, Okla. — Bob Stoops says he loves his job at No. 12 Oklahoma and intends to stay put.
It’s become an annual rite for Stoops’ name to surface as a potential candidate when coaching jobs open up across the country. With several high-profile vacancies, Stoops was asked Monday about his name being connected to the opening at Tennessee.
Stoops’ response was: “I like the job I have. I love the job I have and the people I work for, so I’ll try and keep it another year.”
The 52-year-old Stoops is in his 14th season coaching the Sooners (9-2, 7-1 Big 12). He suggested he’s interested in coaching as long as his former boss, 67-year-old Steve Spurrier.
Darin Zoccali named Meadowlands director of racing
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Meadowlands Racetrack has appointed Darin Zoccali director of racing operations.
The harness track said Monday he’ll begin his new job Friday.
The 29-year-old Zoccali has been the track’s odds maker and handicapper since January, and he will continue in that role. He also will continue to appear on the Meadowlands television broadcasts.
Zoccali has called races at Tioga Downs and Ocean Downs.
NC State sophomore de Thaey leaving program
RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina State forward Thomas de Thaey is leaving the Wolfpack program.
The school said Monday that the sophomore will return to his native Belgium to be with his ill father and pursue professional basketball opportunities there.
The school said de Thaey met with coach Mark Gottfried on Sunday, then notified the coaching staff Monday that he would return to Belgium.
The 6-foot-8 forward played in 22 games and averaged 1.7 points and 1.3 rebounds over his career.
N.C. State, ranked No. 18, travels to third-ranked Michigan on Tuesday in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
No. 5 Louisville center Dieng will miss 4-6 weeks
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville has announced that center Gorgui Dieng will miss four to six weeks with a broken left wrist.
Dieng will have a screw inserted into his scaphold bone Tuesday at the Kleinert Kutz Hand Center. The 6-foot-11 junior broke his wrist on Friday against Missouri.
Cardinals coach Rick Pitino said in a statement Monday that “with a little luck” Dieng will return for the start of Louisville’s Big East schedule in January.
Dieng fell taking a charge during the Cardinals’ 84-61 victory in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas. He returned with his wrist taped and played 24 total minutes but missed Saturday’s loss to Duke in the championship.
Dieng is averaging 8.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks for No. 5 Louisville (5-1).
Dixon suspends Pitt’s Zeigler for DUI charges
PITTSBURGH — Pitt basketball coach Jamie Dixon has indefinitely suspended junior transfer Trey Zeigler, who apologized for being charged with drunken driving after police said he was found passed out behind the wheel early Sunday.
Dixon issued a statement Monday calling the incident “not only surprising, but incredibly disappointing” and “out of character” for Zeigler, who transferred to Pitt this season from Central Michigan after his father was fired as coach there in March.
Zeigler also issued a statement through the team apologizing for his actions and saying “this is not indicative of the kind of person I am, nor the kind of person I want to be.”
Two misdemeanor driving under the influence charges will be mailed to Zeigler, who must appear in Pittsburgh Municipal Court for a preliminary hearing Feb. 5. Court records don’t list an attorney for Zeigler.
The 21-year-old shooting guard’s legal name is Ernest Zeigler III. Zeigler has averaged 6.2 points for the Panthers this season. Zeigler was able to play for Pitt this season because the NCAA granted him a special transfer waiver in light of his father’s firing.
Pittsburgh police were called to an intersection in the city’s Oakland section, where the university is located, shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday. A cab driver told police he saw Zeigler passed out behind the wheel of his Hummer when the driver picked up a group of people about 2:50 a.m. The cabbie called police when he returned to the intersection about 15 minutes later and saw Zeigler still passed out in the vehicle, according to a criminal complaint.
Police identified Zeigler from his Michigan driver’s license and said he failed field sobriety tests after they woke up Zeigler and had him checked out by paramedics.
Ziegler was handcuffed after a breath test showed his blood-alcohol content was 0.129 percent, more than the state’s legal 0.08 percent limit for drivers. Zeigler also vomited in a police holding cell toilet before officers were able to contact his parents, who came and picked him up shortly after 5 a.m. Sunday, the complaint said.
It is routine for drunken driving suspects to be released to family members or other responsible parties.
Zeigler’s vehicle was towed and impounded, police said.
“Trey has expressed his deep regret to me and understands and respects the importance of accountability for one’s actions,” Dixon said. The coach said Zeigler has been suspended until further notice.
Kentucky G Goodwin is SEC’s freshman of the week
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky guard Archie Goodwin is the Southeastern Conference’s Freshman of the Week after leading Wildcat wins over Morehead State and LIU-Brooklyn.
He averaged 25.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists in both victories.
Goodwin scored a career-high 28 points against Morehead State on Wednesday, a season high for the No. 8 Wildcats and the seventh highest single-game total for a freshman in school history. He just missed becoming Kentucky’s second player with a triple-double after recording a team-high 22 points with 9 assists and 9 rebounds against LIU-Brooklyn on Friday.
The 6-foot-4 Goodwin is averaging a team-best 19.0 points per game along with 5.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists.
The conference honor is Goodwin’s first and Kentucky’s third this season. Alex Poythress and Kyle Wiltjer have also received the award.
No. 14 UNC guard Hairston suffers knee injury
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina coach Roy Williams says he’s unsure whether sophomore P.J. Hairston will play at No. 1 Indiana on Tuesday night after suffering an injury to his left knee in practice.
Williams said Hairston was hurt during Sunday’s practice and was being evaluated Monday. Senior guard Dexter Strickland said the injury occurred during a dribbling drill and that he doesn’t expect Hairston to be ready for the Hoosiers.
Team spokesman Steve Kirschner says Hairston has a mild sprain.
Hairston is third on the team in scoring at 10.8 points off the bench and is shooting 35 percent from 3-point range.
The No. 14 Tar Heels’ trip to Indiana in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge will be their fifth straight game away from home, including three games at last week’s Maui Invitational.