In Brief | Nation and World July 3
Favor Hamilton’s name dropped from Big Ten award
PARK RIDGE, Ill. — The Big Ten female athlete of the year award no longer is named for the Olympic track star from Wisconsin who later acknowledged working as a prostitute.
Big Ten spokesman Scott Chipman said Tuesday that Suzy Favor Hamilton’s name was removed from the award after discussions between the league and Wisconsin.
Minnesota hockey player Amanda Kessel was named the winner last week. Kessel was also the national player of the year after leading the Gophers to an undefeated season and a second straight NCAA title.
Favor competed in the Olympics in 1992, 1996 and 2000. The Smoking Gun website in December first reported that Favor Hamilton had worked as a $600-an-hour escort in Las Vegas. She described it as a “coping mechanism” tied to depression and other personal issues.
Favor Hamilton, 44, was the Big Ten’s female athlete of the year three straight times beginning in 1988 and one of the most celebrated athletes at Wisconsin. She won seven U.S. national titles, her last in 1999.
Before her double life was revealed, she had been hired for speaking engagements at Disneyland and was pitchwoman for the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association.
Favor Hamilton said in a series of tweets last year that her work as an escort provided an “escape” for her.
“I do not expect people to understand,” she tweeted. “But the reasons for doing this made sense to me at the time and were very much related to depression.”
Favor Hamilton had told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2012 that she dealt with anxiety, an eating disorder and struggled with postpartum depression after the birth of her daughter.
At the time of that interview, she was doubling as a call girl going by the name “Kelly Lundy.”
Baylor coach Kim Mulkey suspended for NCAA game
INDIANAPOLIS — Baylor basketball coach Kim Mulkey was suspended from her team’s next NCAA tournament game for criticizing the officiating after a loss to Louisville last spring.
The NCAA on Monday also reprimanded Mulkey and withheld Baylor’s team championship per diem from the regional round.
After Louisville upset top-seeded Baylor 82-81 in March, Mulkey said the game was far too physical and she singled out the officials.
“I thought that all three of them, if they go past this round of officiating, it will be sad for the game,” she said then. “I thought the two critical calls at the end of the game were really bad.”
The NCAA said it was issuing a more severe penalty because Mulkey is a repeat offender. She was reprimanded in 2011 for criticizing the NCAA for the decision to put the Lady Bears in the same tournament bracket with Texas A&M, a team they had faced three times already that season. The Aggies beat Baylor on their way to the national title.
The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee said the “latest misconduct act by Mulkey” warranted the more stringent suspension.
“The committee unanimously felt that the behavior of Coach Mulkey was unacceptable and has no place in the women’s basketball championship,” said Carolayne Henry, committee chair and senior associate commissioner for the Mountain West Conference.
RSE teaming with owner of Flyers to run arena
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The prospective owners of the Phoenix Coyotes are teaming with the firm that owns the Philadelphia Flyers to run Jobing.com Arena.
Now they just need to get a lease agreement for the Glendale arena.
Renaissance Sports & Entertainment, which has an agreement to buy the Coyotes from the NHL, announced Tuesday that it will work with Global Spectrum to help manage Jobing.com Arena.
The announcement came hours before the Glendale City Council was to vote on a 15-year, $225 million lease agreement with RSE.
The vote will likely determine whether the Coyote stay in Arizona or are relocated, possibly to Seattle.
“For any arena or stadium in a major market to be successful, it needs to have a major league sports team,” Comcast-Spectator President Peter Luukko said.
Since reaching an agreement to buy the Coyotes from the NHL last month, RSE has been in sometimes-tense negotiations with the city of Glendale to reach a lease agreement for Jobing.com Arena.
Glendale released a draft of the proposal last week, along with a list of concerns, including the cost of managing the arena — $15 million per year — and an out clause that would allow RSE to move the team if it accumulates $50 million in losses or after five years.
Colts’ Lefeged out of jail after DC gun charge
WASHINGTON — Indianapolis Colts safety Joe Lefeged was released from jail Tuesday following his weekend arrest in Washington on a gun possession charge.
Lefeged was arrested during a traffic stop after police said they found a semi-automatic pistol in the car in which he was riding. Police say they also smelled what appeared to be marijuana and found an open bottle containing vodka and orange juice in the car’s center console. Lefeged and another passenger were taken into custody after they tried to run from officers, and the driver got away, authorities have said.
D.C. Superior Court Magistrate Judge Frederick Sullivan ordered Lefeged released on personal recognizance after a brief hearing in which the third-year pro appeared in court in an orange jail uniform. The decision came against the request of prosecutors, who asked to keep him behind bars as the case moves toward a possible grand jury indictment.
Lefeged, 25, has been charged with carrying a licensed pistol outside the home, a felony.
Report: Cuban pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne defects
HAVANA — Cuban pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne has reportedly defected while in Europe with the country’s national team.
Communist Party newspaper Granma says Despaigne abandoned the squad at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport during a layover en route to a baseball tournament in the Netherlands.
The 26-year-old Despaigne is an eight-year veteran who played for Havana powerhouse ball club Industriales. Last season the right-hander recorded a 5-2 record in 12 starts.
Defections are common by Cuban ballplayers, lured by the prospect of multimillion-dollar contracts in Major League Baseball.
Granma did not say Tuesday when he defected. It reported the news in the last paragraph of a story about a 7-0 Cuba loss to Holland in Rotterdam.
Wladimir Klitschko to fight Povetkin in October
HAMBURG, Germany — Wladmir Klitschko will defend his multiple heavyweight titles against mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin in a highly anticipated showdown on Oct. 5 in Moscow.
Klitschko’s management says the fight, long in the making, will take place in the Olympic Arena.
“This is the best fight that the heavyweight division has to offer at the moment,” Klitschko said in a statement Tuesday.
Klitschko holds the IBF and IBO belts and is also the WBO and WBA “super champion.” Povetkin, 33, is WBA’s “regular champion.”
Klitschko’s older brother Vitali is the WBC champion. The Ukraine-born brothers have dominated the heavy division for a decade.
Russia’s Povetkin is like Wladimir Klitschko a former Olympic champion and has a 26-0 record, with 18 KOs.
Klitschko is 60-3. His last fight was a sixth-round TKO over Francesco Pianeta in May.
The Klitschkos rarely fight outside Germany, their base.
“I’ve never boxed in Moscow and I’m looking forward to many Ukrainians and Russians who will come to the arena and create a special atmosphere,” Klitschko said.
Povetkin, who beat Ruslan Chagaev on points in August 2011 for the then-vacant title, also last fought in May and stopped Polish challenger Andrzej Wawrzyk in the third round for his fourth successful title defense.
Klitschko, 37, will be in his 24th title fight.
Soccer, rugby teams play on same day for Mandela
JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s national soccer and rugby teams will play on the same day at the former World Cup showpiece stadium in Soweto to honor Nelson Mandela, bringing together the country’s two most popular sports that once underlined deep racial divisions.
The South African sports ministry said Tuesday that Nelson Mandela Sports Day on Aug. 17 at FNB Stadium, formerly Soccer City, was aimed at uniting the country and the world in “celebration and promotion” of the anti-apartheid leader’s legacy.
While calling the sports day a celebration of Mandela, the ministry referred to the somber mood in South Africa, with its beloved 94-year-old national hero still in a critical but stable condition after 25 days in the hospital.
“The launch happens at a time when South Africa is a nation in distress following the hospitalization of our father and icon Nelson Mandela, who also happens to be the primary inspiration behind this initiative,” the ministry said.
South Africa’s soccer team will play Burkina Faso in an exhibition, and the Springboks will start their Rugby Championship campaign against Argentina. Both games will be at the 94,000-seat stadium on the outskirts of Soweto, a site that holds significance for sports and Mandela himself.
Lance Armstrong commits to RAGBRAI event in Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa — Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong says he’ll return to his bike later this month for a state-long trek across Iowa.
Armstrong tells the Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/19V5mEa ) that he and staffers from his Austin, Texas-based bicycle shop will ride for “three or four days” in RAGBRAI, an annual event sponsored by the newspaper that runs from the Missouri to Mississippi rivers.
This will mark the fifth visit to RAGGRAI for Armstrong, who told interviewer Oprah Winfrey in January after years of denials that he doped for all seven of his Tour de France wins from 1999-2005.
Armstrong says his impending trip to Iowa isn’t a statement or an experiment. He says he simply wants to ride with what is typically “a friendly group of people that share the same interests.”
AP sources: MLB umpire let go after drug violation
NEW YORK — A Major League Baseball umpire was recently dismissed for what was believed to be the first known drug ouster among umps, two people familiar with the situation have told The Associated Press.
MLB announced on June 14 that Brian Runge was no longer on the staff and that a Triple-A umpire had been promoted, but didn’t give a reason. Only once since 2000 had such a change been made in midseason, and that was because of an injury.
The two people said Runge failed at least one drug test, then reached an agreement so he could remain on the umpire roster. When he failed to comply with those terms, he was released.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity because MLB didn’t publicly say why Runge was gone.
From wire sources