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NGAC Football: LaFayette grinds up Gordon Lee

The LaFayette Middle School football team moved to 3-0 on Thursday afternoon and did so emphatically with a 58-0 dismantling of Gordon Lee during an NGAC West Division game in LaFayette.

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Friday 09/19/2014
NGAC Softball: Heritage rally dooms Rossville
Updated: September 19, 2014 - 12:43 am

The Rossville Middle School Lady Bulldogs led 4-2 after two innings and 5-3 going into the sixth on Thursday, but saw the lead disappear in a 7-5 loss to Heritage.

NGAC Softball: Gordon Lee blanks Lakeview
Updated: September 19, 2014 - 12:38 am

Emma Minghini allowed just two hits and struck out four as the Gordon Lee Middle School Lady Trojans claimed a 13-0, four-inning win over Lakeview on Thursday afternoon.

Thursday 09/18/2014
Royal & Ancient votes to admit female members
Updated: September 18, 2014 - 2:46 pm

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews is no longer just for men.

Cooper-Hargreaves duel in Alabama-Florida clash
Updated: September 18, 2014 - 2:31 pm

A look at things to watch in the Southeastern Conference during Week 4 of the season:

GAME OF THE WEEK: Florida at No. 3 Alabama: The Gators lead the nation in turnover margin, and they'll likely need to force more takeaways to have a shot at pulling the upset in Tuscaloosa. Alabama has won its last three meetings with Florida by an average margin of 24 points, and the Tide are favored by 14 ½ points in the latest matchup between two of the SEC's heavyweight programs. This game features a star-studded individual matchup between Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper and Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves. Cooper leads all Football Bowl Subdivision players with 33 catches and ranks third nationally with 454 yards receiving. Hargreaves is regarded as one of the game's top cover corners.

MATCHUP OF THE WEEK: Arkansas RBs Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams vs. Northern Illinois run defense: The Cooper-Hargreaves showdown will command a lot of attention, but Arkansas' attempt to maintain its huge early-season rushing production is also worth noting. Arkansas leads the SEC and ranks third nationally with 362 yards rushing per game. Collins has rushed for 411 yards while averaging 8.2 yards per carry. Williams has run for 322 yards and has gained 9.8 yards per rush. Northern Illinois ranks 13th nationally in run defense.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Nine of the SEC's 14 teams are averaging more than 40 points per game and 12 teams are averaging more than 30. Texas A&M is tops with 54.3 points per game. ... LSU's Travin Dural is averaging more than 30 yards per catch so far this season, which leads the league by a wide margin. ... Kentucky freshman receiver Garrett Johnson caught six passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns against Florida. It's the first time a UK freshman has caught two TD passes in a game since Randall Cobb in 2008.

LONG SHOT: Mississippi State has lost 14 straight games against No. 8 LSU and 21 of 22 dating back to 1992 when the league split into two divisions, but the Bulldogs appear to have one of their better teams in recent memory. Quarterback Dak Prescott ranks fourth in the league in total offense, and Preston Smith has been named the SEC's defensive lineman of the week three consecutive weeks. LSU is 43-3 in night games at Tiger Stadium under coach Les Miles.

IMPACT PLAYER: Missouri's Maty Mauk has thrown 12 touchdown passes, putting him in a three-way tie for the FBS lead with Washington State's Connor Halliday and Western Kentucky's Brandon Doughty. The sophomore might have a chance for another big game this weekend when the Tigers host Indiana, which lost 45-42 to Bowling Green last weekend.

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Compiled by AP Sports Writers David Brandt in Jackson, Mississippi, and Steve Megargee in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Wednesday 09/17/2014
GNTC golfers bounce back to finish 10th at St. Simons
Updated: September 17, 2014 - 12:27 pm

The Georgia Northwestern Technical College golf team improved 20 strokes from their first round on Monday, rallying for a top 10 finish at the Coastal Georgia Fall Classic at St. Simons Island on Tuesday.

NGAC Softball: LaFayette edges Heritage, 2-1, in pitchers' duel
Updated: September 17, 2014 - 12:09 pm

For a team that was averaging almost 12 runs a game coming in, the LaFayette Middle School Lady Ramblers found a way to make do with just two runs on Tuesday.

NGAC Softball: Minghini masterful in a win at Trion
Updated: September 17, 2014 - 12:08 pm

Emma Minghini threw a complete game, walked one and struck out nine, and also went 3-for-5 at the plate with two doubles and two RBIs, as the Gordon Lee Middle School Lady Trojans rolled 10-1 on the road at Trion.

NGAC Softball: Rossville falters in sixth, falls at Dade County
Updated: September 17, 2014 - 11:41 am

The Rossville Middle School Lady Bulldogs led 2-0 headed into the sixth inning on Tuesday, but lost the lead and dropped a disappointing 4-3 decision to the Lady Wolverines in Trenton.

Atlanta mayor: Plenty of potential Hawks buyers
Posted: September 17, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) — The mayor has already heard from plenty of potential buyers for the Atlanta Hawks.

And the city is ready to kick in a hefty sum to make the deal happen.

Flanked by Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins and other city leaders, Mayor Kasim Reed said Tuesday he expects the sale of the team to move briskly after racially charged comments by owner Bruce Levenson and general manager Danny Ferry.

"I have had conversations with no less than six prospective buyers," Reed said during a City Hall news conference. "All six of those prospective buyers will have to go through a process to be vetted by the NBA. That process is going to occur very quickly."

The Hawks have been under fire since it was revealed Levenson sent an email two years ago theorizing that many suburban whites would not attend NBA games because of the team's African-American fans. He agreed to sell his share of the team, but it also emerged that Ferry had disparaged then-free agent Luol Deng on a conference call with team owners this past summer, saying he "has a little African in him."

Ferry has taken an indefinite leave of absence.

The NBA, meanwhile, is left to deal with another embarrassing case after stripping the Los Angeles Clippers from longtime owner Donald Sterling. He was forced out for telling his girlfriend on a secretly recorded audio not to bring black fans to his games.

Reed said he plans to meet with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on Sept. 26 in New York to discuss the sale of the Hawks. According to the mayor, the league is already lining up an investment bank to look into the finances of any potential buyer.

"I think we're going to end up in a superior position, based on everything we know today, than we were before," Reed said.

He didn't identify the prospective buyers, but whoever steps in would apparently have majority ownership. Levenson owns 24 percent of the team, and his Washington partner, Ed Peskowitz, has also agreed to sell his share, meaning that 50.1 percent of the team is now available, Reed said.

In addition, Reed said the city will likely be willing to offer concessions to any new owner to ensure the Hawks commit to remaining in Atlanta for another 30 years. He said there could be as much as $150 million available after the city sells Turner Field, the current home of the Braves, though the mayor said that process has been held up by the baseball team's refusal to negotiate terms for its departure.

The Braves are planning to move to a new stadium in suburban Cobb County in 2017.

Team spokeswoman Beth Marshall said the Braves aren't required to notify the stadium authority of its plans until Dec. 31, 2015, but added, "It is our hope to be able to work with them, the city of Atlanta and Fulton County, on negotiating an exit so they can best prepare for the future of the Turner Field site."

In the meantime, Reed said the city would be heavily involved in efforts to find new ownership for the Hawks, since it is responsible for the debt on 15-year-old Philips Arena.

Wilkins, a former Hawks star who now serves as a team vice president and television commentator, said he would "absolutely" be interested in taking on a greater role with the franchise. The city already plans to honor him with a statue outside Philips Arena before a March 6 game against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Reed said city leaders would look favorably on Wilkins' involvement with any new ownership group, especially if it gives the team more diversity in the front office.

Hawks CEO Steve Koonin has refused calls to fire Ferry, saying he believes the general manager can learn from the experience. Ferry met privately Monday with civil rights leaders, hoping to mend fences within the city, and has said he will undergo sensitivity training during his leave.

But Ferry's future is still very much in doubt, with the start of training camp only two weeks away.

Wilkins would neither endorse Ferry nor call for him to be ousted, knowing that any decision about the general manager will likely rest with the new owner.

"That's not a choice I can make," Wilkins said. "The only thing I can say is whatever pieces are put in place are going to be the right pieces to help our franchise heal from what we've been through."

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

Tuesday 09/16/2014
NGAC Volleyball: Saddle Ridge takes down LaFayette
Updated: September 16, 2014 - 9:18 pm

As just about any coach will tell you, talent is one thing, but chemistry is magic formula that takes a collection of players and turns them into a team.

NGAC Softball: Chattanooga Valley hammers Lakeview
Updated: September 16, 2014 - 7:53 pm

Grayson James was 2-for-3 with a three-run triple and the Chattanooga Valley Middle School Lady Eagles thumped Lakeview on Tuesday night, 13-4, in Fort Oglethorpe.

NGAC Softball: Ringgold nips Saddle Ridge in Rock Spring
Updated: September 16, 2014 - 7:47 pm

The Saddle Ridge Middle School softball team got a solid game from Maddie Williams, but came up just a run short as visiting Ringgold scored a 4-3 win on Tuesday afternoon.

Braves' new stadium has a name - SunTrust Park
Posted: September 16, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Braves new suburban stadium already has a name — SunTrust Park.

Georgia tailback Nick Chubb undergoes surgery
Updated: September 16, 2014 - 9:53 am

Athens — Georgia is expected to be without Nick Chubb for Saturday’s game against Troy and possibly longer after the freshman tailback underwent surgery on Monday.

Saturday 09/13/2014
NGAC Volleyball: Saddle Ridge picking up steam as season hits midway point
Updated: September 13, 2014 - 5:11 pm

The Saddle Ridge Middle School varsity volleyball team went 1-1 in NGAC play last week, defeating Ringgold on Tuesday before falling to Gordon Lee on Thursday.

NGAC Volleyball: CVMS falls to Heritage
Updated: September 13, 2014 - 5:13 pm

The Chattanooga Valley Middle School varsity volleyball team hung tough on Thursday but ultimately lost a 25-19, 25-19 decision to Heritage. Katie Taylor paced the Lady Eagles with nine service points.

Friday 09/12/2014
NGAC Volleyball: LaFayette, Saddle Ridge prepping for "Pink Out"
Posted: September 12, 2014

The LaFayette and Saddle Ridge Middle School volleyball teams will host a “Pink Out” game during match of the season on Oct. 9 at LaFayette.

NGAC Volleyball: LaFayette picks up Thursday sweep against Rossville
Updated: September 12, 2014 - 12:38 pm

The varsity squad picked up a 25-19, 25-8 sweep over the Lady Bulldogs. Katlin Henry had three kills on the day. Blakely Lankford collected two aces and Micaela Hobbs had five assists with 18 good passes. Kaitlyn Mitchell had 11 consecutive serves at one point, while Ariana Maher had four kills, one tip and 14 good passes.

Sponsors keep close watch on NFL investigation
Posted: September 12, 2014

Major brand sponsors are watching closely to make sure the National Football League doesn't fumble the investigation into how its executives handled evidence in the Ray Rice domestic violence case.

For big companies like Anheuser-Busch, General Motors and Procter & Gamble, an NFL sponsorship is a coveted prize. The deals can cost up to $10 million per brand, but they deliver eyeballs. An average of 17.4 million viewers watched professional football games during the 2013 season, according to Nielsen.

Now that the NFL is investigating how its executives handled a video showing Baltimore running back Ray Rice hitting his then-fiancee, sponsors are forced to balance the exposure NFL games offer with the risk of alienating customers.

On Wednesday, the NFL said it hired former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller to lead the investigation. League Commissioner Roger Goodell previously said no one at the NFL had seen the video before it surfaced on Monday, but the AP reported Wednesday that a law enforcement official sent the tape to the organization in April.

With the investigation just beginning, experts say there is little else sponsors can do but wait and see.

"These situations often develop and change direction very rapidly, so sponsors need to be incredibly agile," said Allen Adamson, managing director of branding firm Landor Associates. "What's true right now may not be true in two hours, so (sponsors) will have to monitor how the NFL reacts, and then how consumers react to the reactions."

When a scandal hits an individual athlete, brands usually move swiftly to cut ties. Nike severed its relationship with Rice after the video surfaced. Video game maker Electronic Arts said it would scrub Rice's image from its latest Madden 15 release.

But no sponsor company has said it will end its relationship with the NFL — yet.

"Obviously all the sponsors are incredibly worried, but it's hard for a sponsor to disconnect from the entire NFL. It's so important to business," said Atlanta-based marketing consultant Laura Ries. "If Roger Goodell had any sponsors, he'd probably lose those, but there's no one person attached to this."

TD Ameritrade said the company has received little reaction from clients about its NFL sponsorship, which it just announced last week.

"This incident brings to light a disturbing act that we believe is wrong, and while the NFL has, admittedly, not done everything right, we hope that it will quickly learn from its mistakes and work to improve a culture that values the inclusion, safety and respect of its employees and their families," the company said in a statement. "This means holding people fully accountable for their actions and the consequences associated with them."

TD Ameritrade and the NFL announced a three-year sponsorship deal on Sept. 4. The online brokerage said it is not making changes but added that "as with any sponsorship, media buy, etc., we carefully monitor the effect it has on our business and brand, and if we feel those assets are being compromised, we'll make the appropriate decisions."

General Motors, a sponsor since 2001, has no plans to change its advertising on NFL games because of the Rice case, said spokeswoman Ryndee Carney.

Carney said she was not aware of the company receiving complaints about its football advertising. GM said it supports the NFL's decision to conduct an investigation. "We will continue to monitor future developments regarding this issue," Carney said.

FedEx also said it is monitoring the situation.

"We are watching developments in this matter closely and we are confident that the League will take the appropriate steps," said Patrick Fitzgerald, senior vice president of marketing and communications at FedEx.

PepsiCo said it was encouraged to see that the NFL "is now treating this with the seriousness it deserves."

Other large NFL sponsors, such as Anheuser-Busch and Procter & Gamble, did not respond to requests to comment or declined to comment.

For now, analysts don't expect a big change in viewership during NFL games.

"Games will go on and fans will — for the most part — want to watch," Ries said.

NGAC Football: Watkins runs wild as Ramblers roll in Ringgold
Updated: September 12, 2014 - 2:31 am

After throttling Lakeview on the road last week, the LaFayette Middle School Ramblers moved to 2-0 overall on the young season with another dominate road performance, this time at Heritage.

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