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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

UConn Basketball Proposes Self-Sanctions To Avoid NCAA Tourney Ban

Jim Calhoun
UConn is sweating now that the NCAA is taking this whole "academics" thing seriously.
The NCAA recently adopted a new set of scrict rules that impose severe punishments on sport programs that underperform academically. Under the rules, the UConn basketball team would be ineligible for the NCAA tournament the next two seasons.
Last fall, Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun brushed off the potentially disastrous punishments for his program, expressing confidence that the NCAA would bend the rules to accomodate him. 
Now it appears that UConn is legitimately afraid that the Huskies will not be allowed to participate in postseason play next season.
In a document obtained by the Associated Press via the Freedom of Information Act, the school sent a proposal to the NCAA, offering to make a number of self-imposed sanctions if the NCAA grants UConn a waiver allowing them to compete in the postseason.
Explanation Of New NCAA Academic Rules And Punishments
UConn has proposed that the program reduce the number of regular season games in plays next season, eliminate exhibition games, forfeit revenue from the Big East Tournament and restrict Calhoun's off-campus recruiting efforts in next fall's contact period.
“Collectively, the university’s proposal will clearly send the message that the institution fully accepts the responsibility for past failings,” the waiver request reads. “It will result in the economic equivalent of a postseason ban without harming the very students the NCAA is trying to protect.”
As Connecticut and Calhoun have pointed out in the past, the NCAA's new rules punish teams retroactively, since the academic data the NCAA uses dates back four years. UConn has argued that it is unfair that they should be punished under new rules that they've not been given time to adjust to.
But UConn's pleading may fall on deaf ears, just as the NCAA's pleadings about academic improvement for years fell on deaf ears at UConn. Finally, the NCAA has put teeth into its insistence on academic achievement, and the bureaucratically indifferent organization may be looking for a chance to make an example of someone here.

Maria Sharapova breezes into Paris Open quarter-finals


PARIS Feb 8 (Reuters) - Top seed Maria Sharapova eased into the third round of the Paris Open with a 6-3 6-1 dismissal of South African Chenelle Scheepers on Wednesday.
The former world number one from Russia dropped serve twice early in the opening set but an upset was never on the cards at the Pierre de Coubertin hall.
After being held 3-3 in the first set, she won nine of the 10 remaining games, taking victory after 68 minutes when Scheepers netted a routine shot.
"I struggled a little bit at the beginning because the surface is quicker than at the Australian Open or the Fed Cup," Australian Open finalist Sharapova, who will next face either Romanian Monica Niculescu or German ninth seed Angelique Kerber, told reporters.

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India beat Sri Lanka by four wickets in CB series

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Perth: India have beaten Sri Lanka by four wickets with the help of important inning of Virat Kohli in the second match of the Common Wealth Series here on Wednesday.
Sri Lanka set a 234-runs target for India. Young Dinesh Chandimal was the highest scorer who made 64 runs while former captain Tillakaratne Dilshan also chipped in with 48 runs.
But India chased the score in the 46th over. Virat Kohli scored 77-runs and run out due to cramp. Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin made a partnership of 55 for the seventh wicket and played a vital role in the win.

An imaginative angle to Pakistan’s English white wash

Once upon a time Pakistan cricket ruled the world. In eighties and early nineties they challenged the very best. After an agonizing period of underachievement in best part of late nineties came the worst phase when they became pariahs of the cricketing world. But then fortune changed as success started to smile upon them again.
Pakistan, often, can do what others only dream of – in both success as well as failures. A whole decade from 1999 to 2010 was marred by controversies, shocking defeats and underachievement. The young generation will remember that era like ‘once upon a time we were so rubbish’, but a true fan or a chronic follower of Pakistan cricket will only give it a passing reference though in a sad and touching way. There is so much in Pakistan cricket that it cannot be ignored as a product. The brand has always been attractive and will always be.
By thrashing and ‘green-washing’ England, Pakistan has signaled return back to the golden days. Tomorrow’s historian will remind his readers by saying ‘once upon a time World’s number one team was rolled over by Pakistan who were isolated to the edge of the cricketing fraternity’. That will be the time when true merits of this huge success would be realized. They say when we are too close to a thing we cannot appreciate its true value.  Today we can celebrate this victory and term it a huge one but its grandiosity will continue to increase with each passing day. The reason being this win is a harbinger of something special to come. As a cricket lover and follower I can sense that.
It is team Misbah. Misbah has surprised even his biggest fan by becoming the central figure of Pakistan’s success. The man who enjoys love and hate relationship with his fans has come out as a messiah for his beleaguered team. Merely two years ago, after being overlooked in the squad of 35, he was contemplating retirement and wanted to burn his kit out of frustration. After the manic events of 2010 in which spot-fixing saga shook the cricket world, he became the logical choice, and the only reasonable one, for captaincy. His calmness, friendly nature and strong mind turned a bunch of individuals into a fighting unit.
The task has just begun. We have seen enough desolation. Now is the time to rise and shine. The victory achieved in the Arabian Desert should not go to waste. Under Misbah, the team will achieve more and continue its ascendancy. But the test is what next after Misbah and the current bunch. We need to plan a smooth transition in the next two years. If we can mastermind that effectively, we would be able to say proudly somewhere in the future, ‘we were invincible once upon a time’!

Contador vows to clear his name -CYCLING NEWS

Alberto Contador has protested his innocence over the two-year doping ban imposed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport and insisted he will return to cycling stronger than ever.
The Spaniard has also been stripped of one of his three Tour de France titles for failing a dope test in the 2010 race. His lawyers are currently considering an appeal, which they must lodge within 30 days.
Contador said: “Everybody has been saying that I’m guilty of something that is against my own moral standpoint. My feeling of injustice is terrible. I have done everything possible to show that I am innocent.”
Contador’s ban has been applied retrospectively, which means he has already served the 18 months that have elapsed since the race in question. However it means he will miss the London Olympics.
The Spaniard’s Saxo Bank team have maintained during the lengthy legal protest that Contador’s positive test was due to him eating contaminated meat, a claim that was swiftly rejected by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
At a press conference in his home town near Madrid which was televised by Eurosport, Contador added: “I will continue riding and training cleanly as I have always done. Even though my morale is very low now I will come back to be as good as I have ever been.
“It’s incredible, almost unbelievable, how much support I’ve had. I’ve had nightmare months when I couldn’t sleep, and months when I wanted to go home rather than ride a bike.
“I want to leave good memories for the fans and have memories of doing my job well. Every victory I’ve had hasn’t just been mine, it’s been for all the people. They will decide if I am a champion or not.”

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TENNIS TV:Andy Murray praises instant impact of new coach Ivan Lendl

 
Andy Murray believes new coach Ivan Lendl has improved his game already.
The British number one appointed Lendl, the winner of eight Grand Slam titles, in December.
Murray reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open before losing a five-set thriller to Novak Djokovic, but says Lendl has made a difference.
"I spent five days with him before the Australian Open and I feel like I improved just in those days," Murray told the BBC.
"I'll go and spend a lot more time with him and work harder, and that's really all that you can do."
World number four Murray has 22 ATP titles to his name but has yet to win a Grand Slam after losing three finals.

Ivan Lendl factfile

  • Born March, 1960 in Ostrava, Czech Republic
  • Won first professional title in 1980 in Houston
  • Reached 19 Grand Slam finals, winning eight
  • Won US Open three years in a row from 1985 to 1987
  • Won £13.7m in prize money, ranking eighth in all-time men's earners
The Scot could benefit from the experience of Lendl, 51, who lost his first four Grand Slam finals.
But Murray, 24, admitted that he is inspired by Djokovic, who dominated 2011, losing just six matches all year.
"The turnaround was incredible and he was struggling at the end of the year before," Murray said.
"That's the thing. It is small margins of one break or one match and it doesn't have to be in a Slam - it could be any time.
"Sometimes things can just click and you can make big improvements, and I feel like I made a big improvement in Australia."
Murray has played in an era dominated by what many regard as three of the greatest players of all time in Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic.
He added: "Everything that's happened in the past, you would say Federer and Nadal are the greatest players ever and Djokovic, the last year, had probably the greatest year ever.
"This year's a new year; it's irrelevant what's happened in the past.
"I'm not saying I'm going to win 16 Grand Slams, but if I can get a few then you can be remembered in the same breath as those guys - you had those great matches; you won Slams in the same time as them."

Yuvraj Singh misguided by advisers, says devastated father

Filial ingratitude! He would not utter that in as many words but somewhere in his heart, Yograj Singh is devastated that his son trusts everyone else, but not his father.
‘’I’ve endured all kinds of pains,” he blurts out. “My family got divided. I withstood the pain, my mother died in my hands, I withstood the pain. My son walked out on me. I withstood the pain. I can’t bear this pain.” His eyes are moist. “Ask a father what it is like to have a grown up son laid low by a dreaded disease.” He can’t control further; he breaks down.
Here in the city on a private visit Yuvraj Singh’s father Yograj reveals that he often experiences these bouts of existential dilemma — why him, why not others, why his son, why not others’…
“It has happened to my son. Why only to him?” he would think aloud and then recover. “This fate should not befall on any father. No cricketer should suffer this.”
Gradually, he regains the composure. “The county has progressed in every field but not in the medical sphere,” he laments. That sweeping statement fails to hide the disappointment of having to stay apart from his son at the time of his need.
“There are people to take care of him. But who takes care of a father who is shaken for his son’s sickness,” he says during an emotional conversation with DNA.
Yograj is angry that Yuvraj’s illness was not informed to him. He finds fault with the cricketer’s close circle. “They have been saying all is well. He was not allowed to undergo a certain things by his gurus. That Dr Jatin Chaudhry has been stating that he will be fine. In the end, a BCCI doctor suggested that he should be cured. Keeping a son’s health problems away from his father is not just bad, it is a crime.”
Yograj thinks his son is misguided by his advisors. “He trusted them more than me. I don’t know why. I’ve got a son every father would be proud of. All I want is few words from my son.”
Yograj, however, is in touch with Yuvraj, currently convalescing in the United States. “He is not supposed to be speaking. I’m told he has started jogging. He would not require a third round of chemo. God willing, he will be back soon. My birthday is next month. His return will be my birthday gift.”
Never ask him if his son would every play cricket again. “What sort of a question is that,” he shots back. He will be fine. He will lead India. Mark my words.”
Would Yuvraj have made difference to India’s fate Down Under? Again he says, “What sort of a question is that? He made difference to the team for 12 years. Have you forgotten the World Cup?”

Graeme Swann rubbishes Andy Flower's claim England lost to Pakistan due to taking too long a winter break

Graeme Swann refuses to accept England coach Andy Flower's claim that the whitewash defeat to Pakistan was in large part due to the fact the side arrived in the UAE underprepared after taking an extended two month winter break.

Graeme Swann rubbishes Andy Flower's claim England lost to Pakistan after taking too long a winter break
In a spin: Graeme Swann says England's failure against spin rather than complacency or being underprepared cost England against Pakistan  Photo: ACTION IMAGES

Sachin Tendulkar only Indian in top-10 ICC Test Rankings

Dubai: Sachin Tendulkar rose three places to be the only Indian cricketer in the list of top-ten batsmen in the ICC Player Rankings for Test released here on Tuesday.

Sachin is placed at 10th position along with Pakistan's Azhar Ali, who scored a match-winning 157 during the second innings of the third and final Test against England in Dubai earlier this week.

India's pace spearhead Zaheer Khan remained static at the 10th spot with an aggregate of 697 points.

The bowling chart continued to be dominated by South Africa's Dale Steyn while Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal consolidated his second position, achieving a career-best rating of 835 points.

Ajmal, who won the player of the series award for claiming 24 wickets in the 3-0 drubbing of England, now trails Steyn by just 69 points.

The other Pakistani bowler to have made an upward leap is left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman, who gained two more places to sit in seventh position.

England's Monty Panesar is the other left-arm spinner to head in the right direction. Panesar's two for 25 and five for 125 in the last Test enabled him to gain four places to be placed at 30th spot.

Meanwhile, veteran Pakistan batsman Younis Khan, who recorded his 20th Test century and shared a 216-run stand with Azhar Ali for the third wicket during the second innings of the concluding Test against England rose five places to be at fifth place.

England captain Andrew Strauss and Pakistan's other youngster Asad Shafiq have also made gains.

Strauss has jumped five places to 28th position while Shafiq has moved up four places to 43rd spot.

Sri Lanka's Kumara Sangakkara continued to top the batting chart with 850 rating points followed closely by South Africa's Jacques Kallis.

England must not be fooled into papering over the cracks

ENGLAND captain Andrew Strauss was totally accurate when he greeted the 3-0 Test series defeat against Pakistan by saying: “You don’t become a bad side overnight.”
He is spot on because overnight all you can have achieved is a poor day’s play – ‘a bad day at the office’ as the favoured cliche goes.
No you become a bad side over a longer period of time – in this case three weeks.
England went to the Emirates as the No1Test side – a mantle they have only just managed to retain – and as runaway favourites to win the series after their successes in India.
So to lose the series has to be construed as an abject failure, but to be whitewashed? As Janice from television’s Friends would say: ‘OH MY GOD!’
Sadly what Strauss was trying to say was that things are not as bad as they might seem.
This to me is a dangerous approach as, while England might still be the world’s best Test outfit in terms of rankings, the series against Pakistan revealed some cracks that really do not want to be papered over.
It was the first time that Pakistan had managed a series whitewash against England, it was the first time in over 100 years that a team won a Test after scoring fewer than 100 runs in their first innings, and no England batsman scored a century in the three-match series.
And it is with the batsmen that the major problems appear to rest.

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