Cedartown High School football alumni are taking the field this Saturday evening against their counterparts at Pepperell High School for the first game between the two alumni programs to raise money for the Bulldogs and Dragons football programs.
Rome, Ga. — Coach Scott Byrd, Shorter University’s director of track and field, has been named to the NCAA Division II Track & Field Executive Committee as a representative for the Peach Belt, according to Sylvia Kamp, U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association administrative and legislative services manager.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Steve Ballmer officially became the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.
The team said the record $2 billion sale closed after a California court confirmed the authority of Shelly Sterling, on behalf of the Sterling Family Trust, to sell the franchise to the former Microsoft CEO. Her estranged husband, Donald Sterling, had unsuccessfully fought the sale of the team he owned since 1981 in court.
The NBA Board of Governors had previously approved the sale.
"I am humbled and honored to be the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers," Ballmer said in a statement. "Clipper fans are so amazing. They have remained fiercely loyal to our franchise through some extraordinary times."
Ballmer was nearly an NBA owner last year before owners chose to keep the Kings in Sacramento, rather than allow them to be sold to a group that included Ballmer and moved to Seattle.
Adam Streisand, Ballmer's attorney, said Tuesday that Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas signed the order authorizing the sale even if Donald Sterling's attorneys filed an appeal.
"We were ready," Streisand said. "Within minutes, the deal was signed, sealed and delivered."
He said even if Donald Sterling seeks an emergency order directing the judge to vacate his order, the attorney is confident an appellate court would agree that Levanas made the correct decision.
Donald Sterling's attorneys weren't immediately available to comment.
The sale ends some troubling concerns that had surrounded the team in recent months.
Doc Rivers would possibly have quit as coach if Sterling remained the owner, interim CEO Richard Parsons had testified. All-Star point guard Chris Paul, who also is president of the Players Association, might have sat out and convinced other players to join him. Sponsors who already started to flee after a recording of Donald Sterling making racist comments was released might have stayed away for good.
None of that appears to be a problem with Ballmer taking over what could be a powerhouse team next season. By agreeing to the record purchase price, he's already proven he's willing to spend in contrast to the famously frugal Sterling.
The transaction ends Donald Sterling's run as the longest-tenured owner in the NBA after 33 years. After buying the Clippers in 1981, he moved the franchise from San Diego to Los Angeles three years later.
The 80-year-old real estate mogul has been in probate court fighting his wife's proposed deal to sell. At issue was whether Donald Sterling killed the deal by revoking the trust after his wife removed him as a trustee. Shelly Sterling acted after doctors found Donald had symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
The drama began in April when the recording surfaced of Donald Sterling dressing down his girlfriend for bringing black men to Clippers games. The audio spurred the NBA to ban Sterling for life and fine him $2.5 million.
His wife of 58 years then took control of a family trust and negotiated the $2 billion sale of the team to Ballmer. Shelly Sterling said she was initially given her husband's blessing to sell the team and he praised the deal she reached.
When it came time to sign it at the end of May, however, Sterling said he would not sell and would sue the league.
Ballmer said he will be "hardcore" in giving the team, Rivers, the staff and players the support they need.
Rivers called it "an amazing new day in Clippers history," and said he's inspired by Ballmer's passion for the game.
Ballmer, Rivers and Clippers players will attend a new fan festival announced for next Monday at Staples Center.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive says college athletics are "going through a historic evolution."
Slive released a statement Monday after a judge's ruling that players in FBS football and Division I men's basketball are entitled to at least $5,000 a year for rights to their names, images and likenesses. He says the judge on Friday appropriately recognized "the importance of integrating academics and athletics in this decision."
The NCAA says it will appeal U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken's ruling against the NCAA's argument that its model of amateurism is the only way to operate college sports.
Slive says "the ultimate consequences" won't be known until legal questions are resolved. He says the judge's decision and recent changes in NCAA governances represent "a historic evolution of the landscape of college sports."
DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia high school football player is dead after drinking too much fluid during practice.
Relatives of 17-year-old Zyrees Oliver had him removed from life support early Monday in a hospital in Marietta. He had no brain activity.
Oliver was declared dead a short time later.
Oliver played football at Douglas County High School west of Atlanta.
Relatives say the youth complained of cramping during football practice on Tuesday. Aunt Tammy Chavis says the teen drank two gallons of water and two more gallons of Gatorade.
Oliver's mother picked him up because he couldn't drive, and he later collapsed at home and was taken to the hospital by helicopter.
Relatives say doctors told them Oliver suffered massive swelling around the brain from over-hydration.
The coroner says an autopsy is planned.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The second round of the PGA Championship was off to a soggy start and a sudden stop Friday.
A steady rain forced officials to suspend the round after just 20 minutes because of too much water on the putting surfaces. Work crews already were using squeegees on the greens when another burst of showers hit Valhalla.
Play was halted 45 minutes before Rory McIlroy was to tee off, and as Ryan Palmer was playing the first hole.
Palmer, Lee Westwood and Kevin Chappell shared the first-round lead at 6-under 65. Palmer was the only one from that group who played in the morning, which typically has easier conditions.
Rain was in the forecast for most of Friday. While it would make the greens soft, it would make the course longer.
Nick Chubb is showing off his skills in practice at University of Georgia, according to an blog post on ESPN.com.
MIAMI (AP) — The owner of a now-defunct Florida clinic was charged Tuesday with conspiracy to distribute steroids, more than a year after he was accused of providing performance-enhancing drugs to New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez and other players.
Federal court records show Anthony Bosch is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute testosterone. The documents do not specify whether the charges are directly related to the Major League Baseball scandal.
Court documents say that from October 2008 through December 2012, Bosch willfully conspired to distribute the anabolic steroid testosterone.
Bosch surrendered Tuesday morning, and eight other people also have been arrested, said Drug Enforcement Administration spokeswoman Mia Ro.
A Miami New Times report from January 2013, which sparked MLB's investigation, said Rodriguez had bought human growth hormone and other substances from 2009 to 2012 from Bosch's clinic, Biogenesis of America. The newspaper said it had obtained records detailing the purchases by Rodriguez and other ballplayers.
Fourteen players associated with the Coral Gables clinic were disciplined last year by MLB, including a season-long 2014 suspension imposed on Rodriguez.
MLB had sued Bosch and his clinic but withdrew the lawsuit in February. The lawsuit had accused them of conspiring with players to violate their contracts by providing them with banned substances.
Although the lawsuit sought unspecified damages, it also provided a way for MLB to subpoena clinic records.
Rodriguez, who denied using banned substances while playing for the New York Yankees, initially fought the suspension. He finally ended his fight with MLB in February, accepting the suspension and withdrawing a pair of lawsuits against the MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association.
Rodriguez's suspension is the longest penalty in the sport's history related to performance-enhancing drugs. He was the only player involved in the scandal to contest his penalty.
Pepperell graduate Dakota Ball has been working as a tight end and a defensive tackle at Alabama in preseason practices so far.
BALTIMORE (AP) — Sitting on the deck at his beloved Meadowbrook, Michael Phelps glances toward the pool where he was once afraid to put his face in the water.
"This is me," he said, a slight smile curling off his lips. "This is home."
This is where Phelps put in most of the work to become the most decorated athlete in Olympic history. This is where he's looking to add to that legacy after an aborted retirement, his eyes firmly on the Rio Games two years away.
And as the world's greatest swimmer takes his comeback to its biggest stop yet — this week's U.S. national championships in Irvine, California — it's important for him to remember where he came from.
Why? Because for all the hoopla over LeBron James returning to Cleveland, there's no bigger homebody than Phelps.
He still trains at the pool where he learned to swim, a nondescript building in Baltimore's inner suburbs, right in the middle of the Jones Falls flood plain.
Drive past the shuttered ice rink with weeds growing up at the edges and there it is, a rectangular cube of gray concrete blocks.
Inside, kids do cannonballs off the side of the pool, teenagers sun on the faux beach with umbrellas stuck in the sand, geriatrics glide slowly through the water looking to ward off the advancing years.
In the middle of this scene out of Anywhere USA, there's Phelps and his star-studded training group, an impressive collection of gold medalists, world champions and national record holders.
"It's funny," said his longtime coach, Bob Bowman. "When I come out here and see kids playing around, that's just what Michael did every day when he was a little kid. When I first met him, he was just playing around in the pool, playing games with his friends."
As they wrapped up preparations for the national championships, Phelps and Bowman shared an exclusive look at what goes on behind the scenes with The Associated Press.
TRAINING FOR GOLD
Before the Athens and Beijing Olympics, Phelps would push himself to the brink of exhaustion in practice, swimming up to 16,000 meters a day. Now, he's putting in about half as many laps in the pool but doing longer sessions in the weight room, resulting in a more muscular physique.
Even though Phelps is only 29, an age that many consider the prime for a male athlete, there's a lot of mileage on those dangling arms and shorter-than-expected legs (an unusually long torso is one of the anatomical keys to Phelps' success). His body doesn't recover as quickly as it once did, so he's focused on becoming bigger and stronger, in hopes of going faster over shorter distances. No longer will he compete in the 400-meter individual medley, a brutal event that is essentially four races within one. He dropped the 200 butterfly, as well, giving up one of his signature events.
At nationals, Phelps' longest event will be the 200 IM. He'll also compete in three 100s — freestyle, backstroke and fly. Still a daunting program, but nothing like rival Ryan Lochte, who's entered six events, or 17-year-old Katie Ledecky, who put her name in eight.
But perhaps the biggest change for Phelps is those he trains with on the Meadowbrook-based North Baltimore Aquatic Club.
There's Yannick Agnel, the towering Frenchman who won two golds at the London Games; Allison Schmitt, who captured five medals at the last Olympics; Lotte Friis, a bronze medalist from Denmark; plus Conor Dwyer and Matt McLean, both with a relay gold to their names.
"If I want to be the best in the world, I needed to have the best coach and the best group in the world," Agnel says. "Where else can I find that but here?"
From Bowman's perspective, this is just what Phelps needed, too — stiff competition, on a daily basis.
"It used to be if Michael was on fire, nobody could beat him," the coach said. "Now, if Michael's on fire, there are maybe a couple of people who can still beat him. They're that good."
HOME SWEET HOME
When Meadowbrook opened in 1930, it was not designed for competitive swimming. There were fountains in the middle, giant slides and high dives along the sides. Things changed in the mid-'80s, when a floating deck was installed to mark off the 50-meter racing distance. In 1995, a second pool was built, this one covered by a roof and surrounded by three walls, with tarps that can be lowered on the fourth side to keep it running in the winter.
Phelps' two older sisters were competitive swimmers at Meadowbrook, so it was only natural for him to take lessons when he was 6. Cathy Bennett was his first instructor.
"It sounds pretty important, doesn't it?" she said, laughing. "It didn't feel important at the time, I'll tell you that."
Phelps, to put it bluntly, was a handful.
"I hate to say that about Michael," Bennett said apologetically, "but he had every excuse in the world to get out of the pool. 'I need to go to the bathroom. It's too cold.'"
Actually, the youngster didn't feel comfortable putting his face in the water. Bennett told him to swim on his back. Within a few weeks, Phelps flipped over.
He never looked back.
Even as his fame grew, Meadowbrook remained pretty much the same. When it's time for training outside the pool, Phelps and his teammates trudge down a rocky path, to a "weight room" that is nothing more than slab covered by a tent. For pull-ups, they grab a U-shaped pipe and yank themselves off concrete blocks. On this day, Schmitt cut the bottom of her foot while walking back toward the locker room without shoes.
"It might not be the prettiest or the best facility to train in, but it gets the job done," Schmitt said, patching up her foot and spraying blood off the deck. "It's kind of homey."
Agnel prefers it this way.
"When you have something so fancy, you forget everything about hard work, the tough life," the Frenchman said. "In some kind of way, this helps us to be mentally tough, as well. It's pretty cool."
For Phelps, it's more than cool.
It's home — so much so that he and his coach now run the place.
"Who would think the greatest Olympian of all time would come from suburban Baltimore?" Bowman said. "But he's got to come from somewhere. It might as well be here."
CEDARTOWN — It was a tale of two cultures coming together to play ball in Polk County as a team of Cedartown All-Stars faced off against their counterparts from Inabe, Japan, in the 2014 Japanese-U.S. Friendship Series.
ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Braves have announced the group of developers that will build a multimillion dollar, mixed-use site near the team's new suburban ballpark.
Braves officials announced Wednesday that Fuqua Development, Pope and Land, and Pollack Shores Real Estate Group have been chosen to develop the 74-acre site.
Officials say Fuqua Development will work on the retail portion of the project, Pope and Land will develop office space, and Pollack Shores Real Estate Group will work on the site's residential component. Construction is expected to begin later this year.
Atlanta Braves CEO Terry McGuirk said in a statement that partnering with three Atlanta-based companies on the suburban mixed-use site reflects the team's "local roots and global brand."
The Braves are expecting to begin playing in the new stadium in 2017.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tommy La Stella put together his second straight three-hit game and fourth since making his major league debut in late May. Freddie Freeman broke out of his slump, too. Their offense just wasn't enough to keep Atlanta's winning streak going.
CHICAGO (AP) — The NCAA agreed Tuesday to settle a class-action head-injury lawsuit by creating a $70 million fund to diagnose thousands of current and former college athletes to determine if they suffered brain trauma playing football, hockey, soccer and other contact sports.
College sports' governing body also agreed to implement a single return-to-play policy spelling out how all teams must treat players who received head blows, according to a Tuesday filing in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Critics have accused the NCAA of giving too much discretion to hundreds of individual schools about when athletes can go back into games, putting them at risk.
Unlike a proposed settlement in a similar lawsuit against the NFL, this deal stops short of setting aside money to pay players who suffered brain trauma. Instead, athletes can sue individually for damages and the NCAA-funded tests to gauge the extent of neurological injuries could establish grounds for doing that.
The filing serves as notice to the federal judge overseeing the class-action case that the parties struck a deal after nearly a year of negotiations. In addition to football, ice hockey and soccer, the settlement also applies to all men and women who participated in basketball, wrestling, field hockey and lacrosse.
Joseph Siprut, the lead plaintiffs' attorney who spearheaded talks with the NCAA, said the sometimes-tough negotiations ended with a deal that will make college athletics safer.
"I wouldn't say these changes solve the safety problems, but they do reduce the risks," the Chicago attorney said Tuesday. "It's changed college sports forever."
He also said that stricter oversight and return-to-play rules should help ensure the viability of football by allaying the fears of parents who are currently inclined to not let their kids play.
"Changes were necessary to preserve the talent well of kids that feeds the game of football," he said. "Absent these kinds of changes, the sport will die."
Phone and email messages seeking comment from the NCAA, based in Indianapolis, were not immediately returned Tuesday morning.
There is no cutoff date for when athletes must have played a designated sport at one of the more than 1,000 NCAA member schools to qualify for the medical exams. That means all athletes currently playing and those who participated decades ago could undergo the tests and potentially follow up with damage claims.
To keep the NCAA from having to hold unwieldy talks with multiple plaintiffs, 10 lawsuits filed from Georgia and South Carolina to Minnesota and Missouri were consolidated into the one case in Chicago, where the first lawsuit was filed in 2011. Combined, the suits identified several dozen athletes by name as having suffered brain trauma.
The lead plaintiff is Adrian Arrington, a former safety at Eastern Illinois. He said he endured five concussions while playing, some so severe he has said he couldn't recognize his parents afterward. Subsequent headaches, memory loss, seizures and depression made it difficult to work or even care for his children, filings said.
Another named plaintiff is former Central Arkansas wide receiver Derek K. Owens. After several concussions, he said he found he could no longer retain what he had just studied. His symptoms became so severe he dropped out of school in 2011, telling his mother: "I feel like a 22-year-old with Alzheimer's."
Among other settlement terms, all athletes will take baseline neurological tests to start each year to help doctors determine the severity of any concussion during the season; concussion education will be mandated for coaches and athletes; and a new, independent Medical Science Committee will oversee the medical testing.
The NCAA admits no wrongdoing in the settlement and has denied understating the dangers of concussions. As proof it has tried to mitigate the risks, it has cited recent changes in equipment, medical practices and playing rules, including ones prohibiting football players from targeting an opponent's head or neck.
The NCAA also announced in May a three-year, $30 million concussion study co-funded by the U.S. Defense Department. Plans call for initial data collection on about 7,200 athletes from 12 colleges, increasing to 37,000 athletes at 30 sites, with the aim of better understanding concussions and developing better prevention methods.
The settlement is still subject to approval by U.S. District Judge John Lee, in a process that could take months. He must grant preliminary approval and then, after affected athletes weigh in, give a final OK.
Plaintiffs' filings say the number of athletes who may require testing to learn if they suffered long-term damage runs into the tens of thousands. They cite NCAA figures that from 2004 to 2009 alone, 29,225 NCAA athletes suffered concussions — about 16,000 in football, 5,751 in women's soccer and 3,374 in men's soccer.
Internal emails unsealed in the lawsuit illustrate how pressure mounted on the NCAA over the issue.
In a Feb. 23, 2010, email, the NCAA's director of government relations, Abe Frank, wondered about debates elsewhere, including in Congress, about recommended new safeguards for young children playing contact sports.
"Do you think this renewed emphasis on youth sports will increase the pressure on the NCAA to do more at the college level?" he asks in the email sent to the NCAA's then-director of health and safety.
David Klossner responded bluntly a few hours later. "Well since we don't currently require anything all steps are higher than ours," he wrote.
Later that year, the NCAA did establish a new head-injury policy that requires each school to have a concussion management plan on hand and it states that athletes should be kept from play for at least a day after a concussion; it also requires players to sign a statement "accepting responsibility for reporting their injuries."
But plaintiffs argued schools put too much of the onus on athletes with little understanding of concussions to self-report injuries. And they blamed a tendency of some teams to hurry concussed players back into games according to patchy, uneven plans and the NCAA's lax enforcement of the concussions policy.
In a 2012 deposition, Klossner conceded the NCAA provides virtually no oversight of concussion management plans and that schools aren't required to submit them to the NCAA. Asked if any schools had been disciplined for having subpar plans, Klossner said, "Not to my knowledge."
Prior to the settlement, plaintiffs were scathing about how the NCAA handled the head injury issue for decades.
Instead of adopting stricter protections for athletes, the lawsuit said the NCAA chose "to sacrifice them on an altar of money and profits," an approach that occurred even though the NCAA had known for at least a decade "of the correlation between concussions and depression, dementia and early onset Alzheimer's disease."
The plaintiffs cited a 2010 internal NCAA survey that found almost half of college trainers put athletes with signs of a concussion back into the same game.
Volleyball, football, baseball, wake boarding. The LakePoint sporting community in Emerson is planning to have it all. A video released by LakePoint shows promise for the large sporting complex.
The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association of the National Junior College Athletic Association held its 6th Annual All-Star Weekend this past weekend in Niceville, Florida hosted by Northwest Florida State College. Georgia Highlands College was represented at the event by Coach Brandan Harrell, Gabby Kendall, China Henderson, and Aujana Dawkins.
CORDELE, Ga. (AP) — Former University of Georgia 400-meter runner Torrin Lawrence has died in a car accident. He was 25.
Crisp County Sheriff Billy Hancock said Lawrence was traveling along Interstate 75 about 1:40 a.m. Monday when a tire blew on the car and became disabled in the center lane. Lawrence got out of the car to call 911 when a tractor-trailer came over the crest and struck the car, knocking the vehicle into Lawrence.
Hancock said Lawrence was returning home to Jacksonville, Florida, after training in Athens, where he won an NCAA indoor title for the Bulldogs in 2010.
Lawrence ran for the United States in the opening round of the 4x400 relay at the IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas in May. The team went on to capture the gold medal.
BERGERAC, France (AP) — Ramunas Navardauskas of Lithuania led a late breakaway in a downpour to win the 19th Stage of the Tour de France on Friday after hitching a ride with his Garmin-Sharp teammates.
On Saturday, August 2, the phrase, “Play Ball!,” will bring together two cultures from opposite sides of the globe for a friendly game of baseball.
Make it two World Series trophies in one year for Cedartown Recreation Department teams.
Cedartown’s 14-and-under All-Star softball team returned home from Mississippi as world champions this weekend after an undefeated run in the Dizzy Dean World Series.