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News Nuggets, 07.29.03

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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

UAB-USM opener takes on 'American Idol' magnitude


07.28.03: Blazers ink 'high-powered' radio deal... .. Tulane QB Losman riding publicity wave... .. Quartet of C-USA quarterbacks on O'Brien list... .. Billikens A.D. denies seeking UNLV job... .. More...
07.27.03: Realignment pressures and NCAA heat spur changes at Fresno State... .. Vegas Classic box office pits N.C. A&T grads against Southern alums... .. Big Ten brushes off title game talk... .. More...
07.26.03: Hamrick name resurfaces in connection with UNLV... .. Liberty Bowl partner's football tickets moving briskly... .. Sun Belt football league feeling its oats... .. Gamecocks end Turman exile... .. More...
07.25.03: Repercussions from 'ancient' Big East blunder still sting... .. Heir to Ragone still subject to change... .. Blue Demons devise creative ticket sales push... .. C-USA teams set for ESPN Plus appearances... .. More...
07.24.03: Tranghese disputes Swofford apology claim... .. Banowsky articulates league's posture... .. Billikens maintain monopoly on brains... .. Books fell promising Bulls basketball player... .. More...
07.23.03: Coaches declare Frogs superior... .. Tranghese repents, Swofford doesn't... .. Bulls break out new logos... .. UNC-Chapel Hill offers gridiron school for women... .. More...
07.22.03: Greenville startup hops aboard sports radio waves... .. Houston player's career extended... .. Rattlers promoted to I-A... .. Murder charge lodged against Dotson... .. Marquette legend joins Crean staff... .. More...
07.21.03: ACC raid draws attention of Congress... .. West taps into Clemson connections for assistant coach... .. Arena football player dies on bench... .. More...
07.20.03: Meet, mingle and eat with the Pirates... .. Date dampens demand for WVU-VPI ducats... .. Non-BCS CEO's sign up in big numbers for Cowen summit... .. Monetary affairs discourage in-state rivalry... ..  49ers lose one, keep one... .. More...
07.19.03: C-USA formally shifts into football mode... .. Get up close and personal with J.T... .. Key U of L football players banished... .. Gators get head start in rejecting ACC... .. Physician admits torching dead player's medical data... .. LSU football coach survives aquatic knockout plunge... ..  More...
07.18.03:  East Carolina names new ticket operations boss... .. Dollar draws NCAA wrath... .. Athletes' rights crusader gains steam... .. Banished football program seeks new life... .. Blood clot stymies Buckeye lineman again...  More...

BIRMINGHAM — America's Idol will come home on Thursday, Sept. 4, to help kick off two events at Legion Field. Silky-smooth crooner and Birmingham native Ruben Studdard will lend his presence and his talents to the hoopla surrounding UAB's 6 p.m. nationally-televised (ESPN2) home football opener against Southern Mississippi and the United Way of Central Alabama's 2003 Kick Off Celebration.

Studdard won the nation's heart as the "Velvet Teddy Bear" on the Fox series "American Idol," and took home the winner's title on the ratings-buster's May 21 series climax. Clay Aiken of Raleigh finished a close runner-up to Studdard in the finale of the network's blockbuster program, which ignited wildly successful career launches for both performers.

Among his activities on game day, Studdard will visit the United Way campaign kickoff's tented event at Legion Field before the game, and perform a song during the halftime show of the Conference USA battle. Studdard's appearance will be sponsored by The UAB Health System and VIVA Health.

Pool of Rebels A.D. candidates shrinks

UNLV's hunt for a new athletic director, which last week reportedly honed in on five candidates, had its focus narrowed even further before the first interview was conducted, according to both the Las Vegas Sun and the Las Vegas Journal-Review.

East Carolina A.D. Mike Hamrick, whose name is one of three the papers say is still in the mix, said that he has not been formally contacted by UNLV officials. William Muse, ECU's chancellor, has indicated that Hamrick will have his approval if he pursues the job.

UNLV representative are expected to complete extensive interviews with A.D.'s Wayne Hogan of Montana and Mike Bohn of Idaho over the next few days.  Both have openly expressed interest in filling the position vacated by John Robinson, who stepped down to focus on his job as the Rebels head football coach and to attend to family matters.

Athletic directors Doug Woolard of Saint Louis and Mike O'Brien of Toledo were on the original list of five, according to various published accounts, but both issued statements soon after their names were leaked as finalists that they had no interest in the job.

According to the Review-Journal, Woolard had also been expected to be one of three targets UNLV officials would formally invite for interviews. Now that the Billikens A.D. has taken himself out of the picture, the paper said it is unclear if Hamrick will be interviewed in his place.

Court voids limits on 'exempt' hoops tourneys

COLUMBUS, OH — A federal judge's ruling Monday overturned an NCAA rule prohibiting Division I basketball teams from playing in more than two exempt tournaments in a four-year period. U.S. District Judge Edmund Sargus Jr. said the NCAA's restrictions violated federal antitrust laws and he granted a group of tournament promoters and organizers a permanent injunction.

By limiting which teams could play in such tournaments — known as exempt events — the NCAA was creating a "substantial anticompetitive effect," said the plaintiffs' Cincinnati attorney, Bill Markovits, who noted the judge's ruling does not prevent an appeal.

Spokesman Jeff Howard said the NCAA will review the ruling before making any decisions.

The suit was brought by Cincinnati-based Worldwide Basketball, Sports Tours Inc., Dorna Sports Promotions, LLC and the Gazelle Group. Those groups have organized or promoted such preseason tournaments as the Las Vegas Classic, the San Juan Shootout, the Coaches Vs. Cancer event and the National Association of Basketball Coaches Classic.

They said that if high-profile teams such as Duke, Kansas and Arizona can play in only two such events in a four-year period, then spots in tournaments must be filled by teams that attract less fan interest.

Other exempt events include the Great Alaska Shootout, Maui Invitational and Preseason NIT. Markovits said the rule forced 11 of 28 exempt tournaments to be canceled last season because there wasn't an appropriate mix of major and mid-major teams.

Each Division I school is limited to 28 regular-season games, but a team can appear in more games by playing in exempt tournaments. Each tournament appearance counts as one game against the NCAA limit, even though a team actually could play in several games.

News Nuggets are compiled periodically from staff, ECU, Conference USA and its member schools, and from Associated Press and other reports. Copyright 2003 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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