Boeheim: Sanctions ‘unduly harsh’
Syracuse men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim took responsibility for some of the transgressions revealed in a 94-page NCAA report, but he also lashed out at the penalties, which he considered "unduly harsh." Answering questions in the Carrier Dome for more than an hour Thursday morning, a defiant Boeheim refuted the NCAA's assertions that the Syracuse men's basketball program had spun out of control, and he argued that the punishment — including a nine-game suspension for the start of conference play next season — did not fit the alleged infractions. "This is far from a program where student-athletes freely committed academic fraud," Boeheim said. Boeheim said he planned to file an appeal Friday against some of the NCAA's penalties, which also included a reduction of 12 scholarships over the next four years and 108 wins vacated since 2004. Also, ESPN cited multiple sources in reporting sophomores B.J. Johnson and Ron Patterson will transfer. Johnson, a forward, and Patterson, a guard, were rotation players last season.
2022 World Cup final set for Dec. 18
FIFA confirmed the first winter World Cup in its history, announcing Dec. 18 as the date of the 2022 final in Qatar. It remains unclear when the tournament will begin. The 2014 tournament in Brazil lasted 32 days, and the 2018 World Cup in Russia is scheduled at the same length. For Qatar, a 28-day tournament kicking off on Nov. 21 would see the 64 matches played in four fewer days. In other news, FIFA picked France over South Korea to host the Women's World Cup in 2019.
MIT’s Gong Div. 3 track athlete of year
MIT sophomore Maryann Gong was named the Division 3 women's track athlete of the year. Gong is the fifth Engineer to win the award . . . Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama will add SAFER barriers in three places before NASCAR visits on May 3. All tracks are being examined after Kyle Busch broke his right leg and left foot when he hit a wall that lacked the energy-absorbing barrier last month at Daytona . . . Novak Djokovic advanced to the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., when opponent Bernard Tomic withdrew because of a back injury. Djokovic's semifinal opponent will be fourth-seeded Andy Murray, who defeated No. 12 seed Feliciano Lopez, 6-3, 6-4. Jelena Jankovic reached the women's semifinals when qualifier Lesia Tsurenko retired in the second set with a foot injury. Top-ranked Serena Williams plays No. 3 Simona Halep in a semifinal on Saturday . . . Allen Jerkens, the Hall of Fame trainer who pulled off some of horse racing's biggest upsets and was affectionately known as ''The Chief,'' died Wednesday. He was 85.