The NFL salary cap for the 2013 season will rise to $123 million from $120.6 million in 2012, an NFL Players Association official familiar with negotiations over the figure told the Associated Press on Thursday. The increase is a result of greater-than-expected revenues last season — primarily from NFL Properties — and a jump in projected league revenues. The Patriots are currently $24.988 million underneath the reported number, which should place them in the top 10 in the league in cap space available for free agency . . . Jermichael Finley told ESPN he wouldn’t be willing to accept a pay cut to stay with the Packers. The tight end is due a $3 million roster bonus on March 27 and there were rumblings during last season that the team was preparing to cut ties with him . . . Titans tight end Brandon Barden, 23, was arrested in a roll-over drunken driving crash Feb. 23 in eastern Georgia. Deputies say they smelled a strong odor of alcohol but Barden refused to do a sobriety test . . . The Cowboys reworked the contracts linebacker DeMarcus Ware, tight end Jason Witten, wide receiver Miles Austin, cornerback Brandon Carr, and center Ryan Cook to save salary cap space . . . Former BC and Broncos linebacker Bill Romanowski could be forced to pay about $5 million in back taxes because of a horse-breeding scheme he says he got caught up in. The US Tax Court decision found Romanowski, his wife Jill, and a business they created in 2003 to invest in a Kentucky-based horse breeder improperly took deductions dating to 1998. The company eventually went bankrupt and its executives were convicted of federal tax fraud.
Big East will keep name in basketball
The major college football members of the Big East will meet in Atlanta on Friday to discuss the departure of the seven basketball schools that are planning to create a new league. According to media reports, the schools plan to have their new conference up and running for the 2013-14 school year and will pay the football schools to keep the Big East name and play its conference tournament at Madison Square Garden. Joining DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Villanova will be Xavier and Butler, and Creighton might be the the 10th member, ESPN reported. Xavier and Butler have not formally withdrawn from the Atlantic 10, ESPN reported, which would cost each school $2 million . . . NCAA executive committee chairwoman Lou Anna K. Simon said the botched probe of Miami’s athletic department should lead to change, but not at the top of the governing body. The NCAA is alleging that former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro was responsible for providing about $170,000 in impermissible benefits to Hurricanes athletes, recruits, coaches, and others between 2002 and 2010. University of Miami president Donna Shalala has called the NCAA’s probe of the Hurricanes ‘‘unprofessional and unethical.’’ . . . Investigators found no evidence of mechanical failure to explain why a pilot lost control of a small plane that nosedived into an Arkansas ridge Nov. 17, 2011, killing Oklahoma State women’s basketball coach, Kurt Budke, 50, his assistant coach Miranda Serna, 36, the 82-year-old pilot Olin Branstetter, and his wife, Paula, 79, according to a federal report.
Chavez fails drug test, gets suspended
The Nevada State Athletic Commission fined and suspended boxer Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. over a failed drug test last year before a Mexican Independence Day fight in Las Vegas. Chavez tested positive for marijuana in September after his first professional loss. Chavez (46-1-1) was suspended for nine months from the date of the fight and fined $900,000 . . . Sacramento’a mayor Kevin Johnson says two investors want to buy the NBA’s Kings and build a downtown arena to stop the proposed move to Seattle. Mark Mastrov, founder of 24 Hour Fitness, will make a bid for the team. Pittsburgh Penguins owner Ron Burkle will lead a group to build a new downtown arena . . . The Capitals claimed bruiser Aaron Volpatti off waivers from the Canucks . . . The Avalanche matched Calgary’s offer sheet to restricted free agent Ryan O'Reilly.TSN in Canada reported the deal is worth $10 million over two years, including a $2 million signing bonus . . . The Predators traded forward Brian McGrattan to the Flames for defenseman Joe Piskula . . . Novak Djokovic remained unbeaten this year by routing Andreas Seppi, 6-0, 6-3, in the Dubai Championship quarterfinals. Defending champion Roger Federer defeated Nikolay Davydenko, 6-2, 6-2. Djokovic will play fourth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro, who beat Daniel Brands, 6-4, 6-2. Federer will face third-seeded Tomas Berdych, who defeated Dmitry Tursunov, 6-3, 6-2.