National Sports Headlines from NBC Sports

Woods shoots another 74, fails to make cut at PGA

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) For Tiger Woods, there was a familiar complaint.

Yes, his back was hurting again.

His performance at the PGA Championship is becoming more the norm, as well.

Once the game's most dominant player, Woods looked old and tired at Valhalla. He was surely overmatched Friday, shooting his second straight 3-over 74 to miss the cut at one of golf's biggest events for only the fourth time in his professional career.

Not that this was a big surprise.

Woods was playing in only his fourth tournament since back surgery in late March, and he hasn't been a factor in any of them. He failed to make the cut at the Quicken Loans National. He had his worst 72-hole showing in a major at the British Open. He had to withdraw on the final day of the World Golf Championship at Firestone after taking an awkward swing and hurting his back again. He showed up Wednesday at Valhalla, proclaimed himself fit - and flopped again.

"I tried as hard as I could. That's about all I've got," Woods said. "Unfortunately, I just didn't play well. Consequently, a pair of 74s is not very good."

With the cut at 1 over, Woods wasn't even close to playing on the weekend.

He was effectively done after shooting a 4-over 39 on the front nine, including a double bogey at No. 6 - where he three-putted from 18 feet - and a really ugly bogey at the par-5 seventh. He drove into a muddy bog far left of the fairway and had to punch out. He sailed his third shot over the green, and a sloppy chip came up short.

Woods played better on the back side - a couple of birdies, a single bogey - but he was all done at that point.

He said his chances effectively ended when the same problem that left him barely able to bend over at Firestone cropped up again on the driving range at Valhalla.

"I was sore," Woods said. "There was no doubt I was sore. It went out on me on me on the range. I just had to play through it."

There were no obvious indications of pain on the course, certainly nothing like his tortured departure from last week's tournament. He appeared to reach for his back a little after the errant tee shot on No. 7, but didn't actually touch it. There were plenty of grimaces, but those usually came after he hit another poor shot.

Woods insisted he had the "same feeling, same pain, same spasms" that forced him to drop out at Firestone, though he was encouraged that it wasn't in the same spot as his back surgery.

"It was telling me on the range that it probably wasn't a good idea (to play)," he said, referring to his back. "I couldn't make a back swing. I can't get the club back. I'm coming through fine. I just can't get the club back. That throws everything off. I can't get anywhere near the positions I'm accustomed to getting to. I just can't do it. I have to rely on my timing and my hands, and hope I time it just right."

He'll not have plenty of time to work on his game and build up his strength.

If he doesn't play next week at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina, - and he never has - his season is over. Woods needed to win the PGA to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs.

It also seems highly unlikely that Woods will be one of the wild-card picks by U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson, who said over and over that he wanted to see some sign the 14-time major champion was rounding into form.

Instead, Woods can't even beat the 64-year-old captain, finishing behind him at the British Open and three shots worse at the PGA.

"I don't know," Woods said, when asked about his chances of being chosen by Watson. "He hasn't called."

Might be best if he sits out this Ryder Cup.

Woods conceded he needs to get stronger and more fit to have any chance of being close to the player he once was.

"I felt like I wasn't that far away when I came back at the Quicken Loans," Woods said. "But obviously, the more I play, I can't develop my strength while playing a lot. I need to get back in the gym and get stronger."

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

US basketball team adds Rudy Gay to roster

The U.S. national basketball team has added Rudy Gay, who helped them win a gold medal four years ago and asked to rejoin the team following a series of player withdrawals.

USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo received a call Thursday night, shortly after Kevin Durant pulled out, and was told that Gay was available if he and coach Mike Krzyzewski were interested.

"We both felt he would be a valuable addition because of his outstanding skills and the fact that he is so familiar with USA Basketball and our national team program," Colangelo said Friday in a statement. "Rudy has been an integral member of USA Basketball since 2005 and was a tremendous contributor to our 2010 world championship team. He has a lot of equity in the USA Basketball national team."

Gay, the Sacramento Kings forward, appeared in all nine games for the Americans in the 2010 world championship, averaging 7.0 points off the bench. He also was one of the last cuts made by the 2012 Olympic team.

The U.S. roster is back at 16 players. The Americans resume practice Thursday in Chicago, with the World Cup of Basketball set to begin on Aug. 30 in Spain. They will have to cut to 12 before then.

"I am extremely excited to once again be part of Team USA and its rich tradition," Gay said. "I can't wait to join my teammates in Chicago and work hard to make certain the USA takes home the gold in Spain."

The 6-foot-8 Gay averaged 20 points last season for Toronto and Sacramento. He is a good fit for the Americans because he can swing between both forward spots, which would have been filled by Durant and Paul George, who broke his right leg last week.

Favre looks forward, no regrets about career

MILWAUKEE (AP) Retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre says it's unfortunate the way things ended in Green Bay six years ago, but that he's proud of his 16 years with the Packers and has no regrets.

Favre, interviewed on WTMJ-AM on Friday, talked about his departure from Green Bay and recent efforts to soothe any sour feelings. The team has announced the three-time MVP quarterback will be inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and have his number retired during the 2015 season.

Favre said he has no regrets about his football career.

"And that goes from Day 1 to the end," he said.

Fans know he played as hard as he could, Favre added.

"I laid it on the field every time," he said.

Favre retired at a tearful news conference in March 2008, only to change his mind and decide later that year that he still wanted to play, setting up an awkward showdown between him and the team he helped resurrect and lead to a Super Bowl title. He was traded to the New York Jets for what would end up being a third-round draft pick and after one year with the Jets, Favre retired a second time, only to join the rival Minnesota Vikings, for whom he played two seasons.

In 2010, the Packers beat Favre and the Vikings twice on their way to a Super Bowl title, led by Favre's successor, Aaron Rodgers. Favre retired for good following the 2010 season, while Rodgers went on to win the NFL MVP award in 2011.

Favre said he has returned to Wisconsin since leaving Green Bay, coming back about two years ago to hunt with two friends in Clintonville, which is about 40 miles west of Green Bay. He said he hunted for eight days, and wasn't recognized when he visited a local laundry.

Favre said he won't coach high school football near his home in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, this year in order to watch his youngest daughter play volleyball at the school. And he expects to return to Green Bay with his wife, Deanna, before next season.

"I think you will see us more in Green Bay. The ice has been broken," Favre said.

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Information from: WTMJ-AM, http://www.620wtmj.com

Former top pick Oden released after battery arrest

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Police arrested former NBA No. 1 draft pick Greg Oden on battery charges early Thursday, alleging that he punched his ex-girlfriend in the face during a fight.

The free agent center, who played for the Miami Heat last season, was arrested early Thursday at his mother's suburban home in Lawrence on two preliminary counts of misdemeanor battery.

Oden, 26, was released from custody Thursday evening. Online Marion County Jail records show Oden was released on a $10,000 bond.

According to a Lawrence police report, officers were called to the home at around 3:30 a.m. and found a 24-year-old woman on a sofa with a swollen, bloody face. A friend of the woman told officers that Oden had "punched her in the face."

The report says the injured woman was uncooperative and told officers she had fallen, but was unable to say when and where that occurred.

Oden told officers he and the woman had dated for about two years but split up two months ago. According to the report, he said he was arguing with his ex-girlfriend when "things got out of control" and he struck her as he swung his arms to try to break free of two people who were trying to hold him back.

One of Oden's relatives, who said she was awoken by the argument, told police that "every time the two visit and go out, there is an argument to follow."

Oden's agent, Michael Conley Sr., directed all questions to Oden's attorney, James Bell. In a statement, Bell said: "It would be inappropriate to comment at such an early stage of this case. The court will schedule a hearing and we will allow that process to play out."

The 7-foot Oden was a star at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis and then played a season at Ohio State before the Portland Trail Blazers made him the top pick in the 2007 NBA draft.

Knee injuries have derailed Oden's professional career, and he didn't play from December 2009 until last season, when he averaged 2.9 points in 23 games for the Heat. He is currently without a team.

Chappell plays bogey-free 66 after invite to PGA

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Kevin Chappell still isn't certain how he got invited to the PGA Championship. He sure made the most of it Thursday.

Chappell and his wife were in a grocery store in Nevada 10 days ago, making plans for how to spend a week off during the final major of the year. That's when his agent forwarded him an email from the PGA of America congratulating him on being part of the field at Valhalla Golf Club.

"I wanted to know how - or why," Chappell said after opening with a 6-under 65 to share the lead with Lee Westwood and Ryan Palmer.

This has been a mediocre year by his standards. His only top-10 finish was at the Colonial (tie for 10th). He was not eligible or did not qualify for any of the majors. The PGA Championship tries to assemble the top 100 players from the world ranking. Chappell was at No. 104.

And he missed the cut at the PGA Championship last year.

"Not having success last year, I didn't expect any favors," he said. "I was grateful for it. All I wanted to do was take advantage of it. But I didn't know how I got in the field until I got here."

Turns out the PGA of America is so determined to get everyone from the top 100 in the world that it left nothing to chance. Chappell was at No. 104 and playing the Barracuda Championship in Nevada last week. With a good finish, he could have squeezed into the top 100 and still not been in the field.

PGA Championship director Kerry Haigh said last week in an email to The Associated Press that Chappell was No. 104 and "it was felt that he, too, was deserving of an invitational to the Championship."

Through various criteria, the PGA wound up with the top 109 players - until it lost Dustin Johnson to a "voluntary leave of absence" and then Matt Kuchar on Thursday to a back injury.

Chappell seized on the invitation he didn't expect.

He hit a hard 8-iron to 6 feet for birdie on the 496-yard second hole - the toughest on the course. He holed a bunker shot from short of the green on the par-5 10th hole.

It was a clean round. The UCLA grad came close to bogey only three times, holing par putts in the 8-foot range.

Chappell still hasn't won on the PGA Tour, though he has a pair of runner-up finishes in his career and he tied for third in the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional, which Rory McIlroy won in a runaway.

Chappell isn't sure what has held him back this year, except for not making enough putts, and he's not alone there.

He was a 14-year-old in Fresno, California, when he watched Tiger Woods beat Bob May in a playoff to win the 2000 PGA at Valhalla. All he remembers is seeing a lot of putts go in that day, which he figured would be a good formula for success. Chappell had only 26 putts in the first round.

As for the 2008 Ryder Cup? He doesn't remember watching that event at Valhalla.

"It must have been when I was in college," he said. "So I was losing some brain cells."

Westwood, still chasing a major, shares PGA lead

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) There were plenty of reasons to believe the window was fast closing on Lee Westwood's sometimes-heartbreaking campaign to win a major.

But the Englishman cracked it wide open again Thursday at the PGA Championship, piling nine birdies atop a double bogey at the first hole for a 6-under 65 and a share of the first-round lead with Kevin Chappell and Ryan Palmer. It was Westwood's lowest round ever at the PGA and matched his best in a major - a third-round 65 at the 2011 U.S. Open.

"I was in a good frame of mind at the second tee," he said, chuckling, afterward.

Instead of dwelling on the bad break at No. 1, where a terrific drive came to rest at the end of an unfilled divot in the fairway, Westwood listened to some soothing words from caddie Billy Foster and drew on the memory of his final-round 63 at Firestone last week.

"I'm just not a patient person and I get frustrated really quickly when I know I can play better than I'm actually doing," Westwood said. "That's where a good caddie comes in, sort of talks to you calmly and says, `Just keep doing what you're doing and it will come.'

"Hate to hear those words from him," Westwood added. "But he's right."

The encouragement helped, but the real key to Westwood's round was the putter. Four of the birdies he rolled in were 15 feet or longer, highlighted by a 35-footer at No. 9. That clutch performance on the greens didn't escape the notice of European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley. Westwood, who has slipped to No. 34 in the world, has played in the last eight matches. But he might need help from McGinley - in the form of a wild-card pick - to extend that streak.

"If you look at the one pillar that has been consistent throughout the Ryder Cup success we have had since the '90s, it has been Lee Westwood," McGinley told Sky Sports. "But you want to see Lee in form. He is not going to get in on his reputation alone. He needs some form. He knows that and it's good to see him playing well today."

Westwood, 41, credited a tougher exercise regimen with helping him cope with the sweltering heat and humidity settling over Valhalla Golf Club, a par-71 course stretched out to 7,458 yards this week. He laughed when the moderator at a news conference after the round complimented Westwood's newly svelte figure.

"Very nice of you to say and notice," he said. "Which part of me?"

But a few extra pounds aren't the only memory from his previous trip to Valhalla that Westwood would like to shed. The last time he set foot on the course, he was part of Europe's losing Ryder Cup side. While qualifying for the team may be a longshot, Westwood hopes his play here will convince McGinley he deserves a chance to be at Gleneagles in Scotland when the matches begin in late September.

"I don't think the team as a whole played particularly well. So that was my overriding thought of that week," Westwood said.

"I've had chats with Paul and he said, `Try and show some form.' I don't know whether he's just looking for a reason to pick me, but I've shot 63 last Sunday and I'm leading a major this week.

"So," he added, "I'm ticking that box for him."

NCAA board hands 5 biggest conferences more power

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The biggest schools in college sports are about to get a chance to make their own rules.

Up first is likely finding a way to spend millions of dollars in new money - either in the form or stipends or fatter scholarships - on athletes across the country.

The NCAA Board of Directors voted 16-2 on Thursday to approve a historic package of changes that allows the five richest football conferences - the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC - to unilaterally change some of the rules that have applied to all Division I schools for years. The 65 universities in those leagues will also benefit from a new, weighted voting system on legislation covering the 350 schools in Division I.

"It does provide degrees of autonomy for the five high-resource conferences," said Wake Forest President Nathan Hatch, the board chairman and a key architect of the plan. "This is not complete autonomy. We're still part of Division I, but I think it allows us to provide more benefits to student-athletes."

A handful of university presidents who spoke at NCAA headquarters after the vote agreed on one thing: Paying athletes to play is off the table. And it's very unlikely that the five leagues will design their own policies when it comes to infractions.

But there's a good chance the five leagues will take steps to add money to scholarships or craft an athlete stipend intended to help cover the so-called full cost of attending college - costs beyond tuition, room and board and books and supplies. That will be millions more in spending by leagues that are already partners in multimillion-dollar TV contracts to show off their top sports of football and basketball, raising fresh concerns about an arms race in college athletics.

It is certainly a dramatic new start for an organization that has come under increasing criticism.

Already this year, the NCAA has agreed to settle two lawsuits for a combined $90 million and still awaits a judge's decision on a federal lawsuit in which plaintiffs led by Ed O'Bannon have argued college sports' amateurism rules are anti-competitive and allow the organization to operate as an illegal cartel. Also pending is a decision by the National Labor Relations Board on whether Northwestern football players can form what would be the first union for college athletes in U.S. history.

While NCAA leaders acknowledge the new system may not quash every legal case or argument, those who helped draft this proposal believe it will give prominent schools greater leeway in addressing the amateurism model and other concerns.

"I think we sometimes have to go back to why do people file lawsuits?" said Kansas State President Kirk Schulz, who worked on the plan. "It's because they can't get the action they want. It (autonomy) is going to help with some things, not all."

The power conferences contend they need more flexibility to solve the day's hottest controversies, including recruiting and health insurance, and complained long and loud over the past two years that change was critically important.

If the decision survives a 60-day override period, the transition to the new system could begin in January. Commissioners and school leaders from the power conferences have until Oct. 1 to create a wish list of areas where they want autonomy.

Any items that make the list would require majority approval from three of the five leagues and still will need the OK of at least 12 of the 20 presidents or chancellors on the expanded board of directors. Then, one representative from each of the 65 schools in the power-five leagues and three student-athletes from each conference would vote on each item. Passage would require 48 of the 80 votes and a simple majority of support from schools in at least three of the five conferences or a simple majority of all votes (41) and a simple majority from schools in four of the five leagues to pass.

NCAA President Mark Emmert also said the board could veto an autonomous rule change if it goes too far. He described that situation as "rare."

The No. 1 priority heading into October is expanding scholarships to cover up to the full cost of attendance. Legislation to give athletes an additional $2,000 to cover college expenses was approved by the board in October 2011 but was overridden later after complaints from smaller schools, spurring the effort to pass the autonomy reforms.

South Carolina President Harris Pastides also said he will support limitations on practice times and contact in football workouts. UCLA Chancellor Gene Block wants to provide better counseling for athletes who are contemplating turning pro and helping those who do turn pro and later return to school.

The big question now is whether another override movement could derail the changes. If 75 schools sign the override measure, the board must take a second look at the plan. If 125 schools oppose the plan, it would be suspended until the board schedules a vote to reconsider.

"I think the process has been so inclusive and thoughtful that no one will be surprised with this outcome today," Emmert said when asked if he worried about an override. "That doesn't mean everyone agrees with it. But I think as people learn more about it, come to understand it, they will be more supportive. The more you look at it, the better it gets, I think."

The new system gives the five richest leagues nearly twice as much voting power (37.5 percent) as any other group on the new council, where most legislation will be approved or rejected. The five other Football Bowl Subdivision leagues would account for 18.8 percent while the second-tier Football Championship Subdivision and non-football playing schools would split up another 37.5 percent of the vote. Athletes and faculty will account for the rest.

Critics worry that the impact will create an even greater split between wealthy leagues and everyone else in the college athletics' arms race.

"I think it's going to be great for those five conferences and that's about it," said Gerald Gurney, president of The Drake Group, an NCAA watchdog. "I don't think it's going to be a good step for non-revenue sports or for Title IX. We are going to get into a new phase of competition, and there will be no holds barred."

Boise State President Bob Kustra, a most vocal critic, called for an override and said autonomy is a step toward professionalism.

"No president within Division I should be in favor of these changes," he said in a statement.

Even some of those who helped draft the legislation, such as Rice President David Leebron, said they do worry about the widening gap between haves and have-nots.

But they also want a chance to adopt some of the rules from the new NCAA power brokers, too.

"I think that's important to examine," said Wright State President David Hopkins, whose school plays in the Horizon League. "At least we want to have the opportunity to work and choose what we decide (on the autonomous issues)."

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Online:

NCAA reforms: http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center/news/board-adopts-new-d...

Kevin Durant withdraws from U.S. national team

Kevin Durant withdrew Thursday from the U.S. national team, the biggest loss yet for a weakening American squad that will go to Spain without the leading scorer on its last two gold medal winners.

The NBA's MVP took part in the Americans' training camp in Las Vegas last week, but then informed team officials that he wasn't going to continue.

"Kevin reached out to Coach K and myself this afternoon and expressed that he is just physically and mentally drained from the NBA season and his attention to his many responsibilities,' USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a statement. "He tried to give it a go at our recent Las Vegas training camp but felt coming out of camp that he was not prepared to fulfill the commitment he made to the team."

Durant was the MVP of the world championship in 2010, leading the Americans to that title for the first time since 1994. The Oklahoma City star also started on their gold medal-winning team in the 2012 Olympics and led the Americans with 19.5 points per game.

His withdrawal comes less than a week after Indiana's Paul George was lost to a broken right leg and follows previous withdrawals by All-Stars Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge, and NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.

"This was an extremely difficult decision as I take great pride in representing our country," Durant said. "I know that I owe it to my USA Basketball teammates to be totally invested in the experience. After going through training camp with USAB, I realized I could not fulfill my responsibilities to the team from both a time and energy standpoint.

"I need to take a step back and take some time away, both mentally and physically in order to prepare for the upcoming NBA season. I will be rooting for USAB and look forward to future opportunities with them."

The U.S. roster is down to 15 players. The Americans resume practicing next Thursday in Chicago and have to finalize a 12-man roster before the World Cup of Basketball begins in Spain on Aug. 30.

The Americans may still be the favorites, but are increasingly beatable with the losses of Durant and George, who were expected to fill the two starting forward spots.

Durant carried a young U.S. to the title four years ago in Turkey with a series of sensational performances, averaging 22.8 points and shattering a number of team offensive records. He set the American mark with 38 points in a semifinal victory over Lithuania.

At 6-foot-10, Durant is big enough to play as a power forward internationally, creating a matchup nightmare for opponents who can't defend him on the perimeter. He led the tournament in 3-pointers attempted and made in the 2010 worlds.

He has averaged 19.9 points in 31 games in a U.S. jersey, shooting 48 percent from 3-point range. But Colangelo said the Americans understood his need for time off.

"Coach K and I fully support Kevin," he said. "His well-being is the most important thing to us and we support him taking the time to get ready for next season. He's been part of the national team program for eight years and a big part of the success we have achieved, and we look forward to him being part of our success in the future as well.

"We are excited about the opportunity ahead of us and to getting back to work in Chicago on Aug. 14," Colangelo added. "All 15 players are committed to the USA Basketball standard, which is to come together to win gold medals."

Landon Donovan says he'll retire after season

CARSON, Calif. (AP) A year after Landon Donovan returned to soccer, he realized he had lost his passion for the sport again. This time, the best player in American history decided to walk away for good.

The 32-year-old Donovan announced Thursday he will retire from professional soccer at the end of the MLS season, wrapping up the most prolific career in the league's history with one last run at a championship with the LA Galaxy.

"I think for the last few years, I haven't had the same passion that I had previously in my career," Donovan said at the Galaxy's stadium. "To some extent, I had felt obligated to keep playing. ... It's time to enjoy the rest of the season, and there would be no better way than to go out as a champion, so that's what I want to do."

Donovan is the top goal-scorer in MLS history and the top scorer in U.S. national team history, excelling as a forward and a midfielder. He was even named the most valuable player of his 14th MLS All-Star game on Wednesday night in Portland, scoring a goal in the All-Stars' 2-1 win over Bayern Munich, only to make his stunning retirement announcement the next day.

"All I could think is that if everyone only knew," Donovan said with a grin.

Donovan, a five-time MLS champion with the Galaxy and the San Jose Earthquakes, made his retirement announcement on the same stage where he agreed to a multiyear contract extension with the Galaxy just a year ago, pronouncing himself revitalized after an extended sabbatical.

He took several months off following the Galaxy's second straight MLS Cup title alongside now-retired David Beckham in December 2012. Donovan traveled extensively during his time off, and he plans to see even more of the world after his career ends this fall.

"It gets me excited thinking about it," Donovan said. "For 16 years, almost every decision I've made, every hour of every day, has revolved around, `How is this going to prepare me for tomorrow's training session or tomorrow's game?' Just having the freedom to do whatever you want is exciting, and I'm looking forward to that."

Donovan has been a key component of MLS' impressive growth during his 14 years in the top North American league. After he struggled for playing time at Bayer Leverkusen as a teenager, he chose to pursue a pro career in his native California instead of Europe, adding a marquee attraction to the then-struggling league.

"There is no doubt that Major League Soccer would not be what it is today without Landon Donovan," MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. "His decision to join MLS in 2001 was a statement to the entire soccer community, at the most crucial time in our history, that MLS could be a league of choice for the best American players. Landon is to MLS what Michael Jordan was to the NBA, Wayne Gretzky was to the NHL and Tiger Woods was to the PGA Tour: a player whose sporting accomplishments and popularity transformed their respective leagues and set a new standard for how the game would be played."

Donovan said his decision wasn't spurred by his omission from his fourth U.S. World Cup team this summer. He was surprised and disappointed by coach Jurgen Klinsmann's decision, feeling he had done enough in training camp to warrant inclusion.

"I certainly wasn't going to allow one person's poor choice this summer to affect a decision like this," Donovan said.

Donovan is the career U.S. leader with 57 international goals over 156 appearances, and he has scored five World Cup goals, including his famed stoppage-time goal against Algeria four years ago to send the Americans to the second round. He watched the American team in Brazil from afar as a television commentator.

"Quite simply the best player ever to wear the USMNT jersey," U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati posted on his Twitter account.

Donovan has no concrete plans for his long-term future in soccer, but he is eager to work with young players in the Galaxy's academy training program.

"Landon's legacy is secure with the Galaxy," said Galaxy President Chris Klein, Donovan's former teammate and roommate. "So to be able to celebrate that for the rest of the year in terms of how he goes out will be great. When he decides what it is that he wants to do and where he wants to put his heart and energy next, we'll be there to talk about that."

Donovan has played for the Galaxy since 2005, also going on loan to Everton and Bayern Munich during the Galaxy's offseason. Donovan struggled early in his pro career in Europe, but was popular during his two stints with Everton.

"Congratulations on a great career to (at)landondonovan as he announces he'll retire later this year. Part of EFC fabric," Everton tweeted from its official account.

Donovan has four goals and seven assists in 17 games for the Galaxy this season as a midfielder and a forward. He passed Jeff Cunningham for the career MLS goals record shortly after Klinsmann excluded him from the World Cup team.

His absence creates another hole for the LA club, which couldn't manage a third straight MLS title last season in its first year since Beckham's departure. But Donovan's retirement opens up a designated player spot for the Galaxy alongside leading scorer Robbie Keane and U.S. national team defender Omar Gonzalez.

After a lifetime spent in practices and games, Donovan sees his departure as another step in his personal evolution into whatever person he decides to be outside soccer. His decision to leave the Bundesliga for MLS as an unhappy teenager was unpopular, and Donovan knows many fans won't understand his early retirement.

"Sometimes there's a sense of obligation in people's lives, the sense that you have to do something," Donovan said. "I've never lived that way. I have to live the life I want to live, and that's an important thing to go by."

NBA suspends new Mavs G Felton for 4 games

DALLAS (AP) The NBA suspended new Dallas Mavericks guard Raymond Felton on Thursday for the first four games of the season after his guilty plea in a New York gun case.

"I demonstrated poor judgment and I take full responsibility for my actions," Felton said in a statement released by the Mavericks. "Moving forward I'm eager to get to Dallas, to start fresh and make a positive impact in the Dallas metropolitan area."

The criminal case arose last winter, as Felton dealt with the breakup of his marriage and a struggling season with the New York Knicks.

Felton pleaded guilty July 23 in New York to attempted criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a firearm. He admitted he knowingly had a large-capacity ammunition magazine and a semi-automatic pistol without a license.

The plea involved Felton admitting to the felony but avoiding jail time. He was immediately sentenced to 500 hours of community service and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.

His case will be closed without jail time or probation if he complies with his sentencing. Felton will be allowed to complete his community service outside the state of New York.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Thursday that the team is "working with Raymond and the court to develop a community service program that will have a positive and lasting impact on North Texas."

Dallas acquired Felton, who will not be paid during the suspension, from the Knicks as part of a six-player trade June 25 that brought center Tyson Chandler back to the Mavericks.

That was just two days after prosecutors said Felton would enter a guilty plea in exchange for a no-jail sentence.

About a week after Felton's law student wife filed for divorce, her attorney brought a loaded semi-automatic handgun to a police precinct and said it was Felton's and she wanted it out of the house, authorities said. His lawyer, Jim Walden, has said Felton never threatened anyone with the gun.

It was late February when police contacted Felton, and the then-Knicks guard turned himself in shortly after a game against the Mavericks at Madison Square Garden.

The 30-year-old Felton dealt with injuries and missed 17 games last season, his ninth in the NBA. He averaged a career-low 9.7 points.

Texans owner says he has clean bill of health

HOUSTON (AP) Houston Texans owner Bob McNair says he's gotten a clean bill of health after a 10-month battle with two forms of cancer.

The 77-year-old McNair spoke about his ordeal at a news conference Thursday attended by his doctors and family members.

McNair says he's dealt with skin cancer for about 20 years and was diagnosed about six years ago with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a blood disease that weakens the immune system.

He had surgery last fall to remove an abnormal growth behind his left ear. Doctors told him that they couldn't remove all the cancerous cells and that McNair had an aggressive form of the disease. He underwent six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy and CT scans in April and on Monday showed that the cancer cells were virtually gone.

Clowney says he'll start preseason opener vs Cards

HOUSTON (AP) Top overall draft pick Jadeveon Clowney says he will start Saturday's preseason opener at Arizona after missing practice time this week with an undisclosed injury. Clowney's proclamation seemed to catch Texans coach Bill O'Brien by surprise.

Clowney returned to practice on Thursday after sitting out the last three workouts. Clowney had sports hernia surgery on June 12, missed the team's three-day minicamp and has been limited in training camp. He hurt himself late in Saturday's workout, but was back on the field Thursday. He participated in some team drills, chasing quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick out of bounds on one play.

"Felt great," Clowney said. "Trying to get back into the groove, practicing again."

Clowney wouldn't say what exactly kept him out this week, saying only that the team was "being very careful." But he said definitively that he would start Saturday's game, although he stopped shy of saying he was 100 percent healthy.

"I'll be fine," he said. "It means a lot, being out there with my teammates, learning what to do. Just getting that first initial contact with another, an opposite team now and just learning what other guys do in this league. It's going to be great for me."

Clowney is listed as a starting linebacker on the depth chart for Saturday's game, but O'Brien was taken aback when told that Clowney told media he was starting.

"He'll start? Really?" O'Brien said. "That's news to me. We'll find out when the game starts."

The former standout defensive end at South Carolina is moving to outside linebacker in defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel's system and says he still has plenty to learn. But he was eager to make an impression in his first NFL game, no matter how sparingly he might play.

"I'm very excited, man, something I've dreamed about, something I've been waiting for for a long time," he said. "It's coming up fast and I'm just looking forward to it."

The Texans envision Clowney lining up with star defensive end J.J. Watt to form a potent pass rush. Watt remembers the high emotion of making his professional debut as a rookie in 2011.

"It was very special," Watt said. "First time you put on a game uniform in the NFL is a pretty big deal. It's a lot of work, it's an entire life of work, it's what every kid growing up playing football dreams about. Regardless if it's preseason, if you play one play or 10 plays, when you put on that uniform, it's something special. It's an accomplishment."

O'Brien also confirmed that running back Arian Foster and receiver Andre Johnson would sit out the preseason opener, as expected. The star players have sat out most of training camp.

Ryan Fitzpatrick will start at quarterback, and O'Brien said Case Keenum and rookie fourth-round draft pick Tom Savage will both get reps with Houston's second team.

"These guys have worked extremely hard," O'Brien said of the trio. "We've asked a lot of them, we've put a lot on their plate. To that point, I'm very satisfied with the time they've put in and now, I'd like to see them go out there and play a solid game."

O'Brien will be making his NFL head coaching debut.

"You go into it wanting to make sure that your substitutions are correct, your play calling is smooth, substitutions on special teams are smooth," O'Brien said. "You want the operation of the game to go well. And if it's not, you've got to determine that as a head coach and figure out how much longer certain guys need to be in there. We'll see how the game plays out. It also has to do with how we're playing on both sides of the ball."

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AP sources: Cavs, Wolves set for Love-Wiggins deal

LeBron James and Kevin Love won Olympic gold medals together. They're about to team up again, this time to try and end Cleveland's 50-year championship drought.

Love will soon be on his way from Minnesota to Cleveland after the teams reached an agreement in principle to a trade that will send the All-Star forward to the Cavaliers for Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a first-round draft pick, two people with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Thursday.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because no official agreement can be reached until Aug. 23, when Wiggins, this year's No. 1 overall draft pick, becomes eligible to be traded.

By that point, the deal could be expanded to include a third team, according to one of the people familiar with the talks. The Timberwolves have had discussions with the Philadelphia 76ers about acquiring forward Thaddeus Young to help fill Love's shoes. The Wolves could use the first-round pick they get from the Cavaliers to help entice the Sixers to part with the 26-year-old Young, but talks continue on that front, the person said.

For now, the deal will unite Love, James and All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving in a new-look "Big 3" in Cleveland and give the city's long-suffering sports fans realistic chance to celebrate a first title since 1964, when the Browns won the NFL title.

The Love-to-Cleveland chatter has been going on for weeks and the teams had been discussing a possible deal long before James announced he was re-signing with the Cavaliers.

In Miami, James won two titles and went to four straight NBA finals with teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. They were a power trio, making the Heat both envied and despised by the rest of the league.

James, Irving and Love could be equally devastating.

Now in the prime of his career at 29, James is the best player in the NBA as he returns home to Ohio. Irving is 22, this year's All-Star game MVP, and just beginning to scratch his potential. And the 25-year-old Love is coming off his best season, one in which he averaged 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists. He's the top "stretch 4" - a power forward who can rebound and shoot 3-pointers - in the game, but all of his offensive gifts haven't been enough to get the Timberwolves into the playoffs in the rugged Western Conference.

That won't be a problem in Cleveland now that James is back.

The Cavs, who haven't been to the playoffs since James left in 2010, are certainly expected to be one of the league's top teams. Although they're giving up Wiggins and Bennett, they have promising role players in Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, Mike Miller and Anderson Varejao, giving them more than enough talent to challenge anyone in the Eastern Conference.

Love can opt out of his contract next summer, and the three-time All-Star made it clear to the Timberwolves that he was looking to join a contender after missing the postseason for six seasons in Minnesota.

For the Timberwolves, the departure of Love ends one era. But Wiggins could be the start of something special in Minnesota.

A prep sensation in Canada before spending one season at Kansas, he's a super-athletic wing player scouts deem NBA-ready from a defensive standpoint. He needs to work on his offense, but appears to be a perfect fit to play alongside point guard Ricky Rubio in a new, more up-tempo Wolves offense.

Wiggins' representatives have already begun researching possible endorsement opportunities for him in Minnesota, according to a person with knowledge of those pursuits. That person spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity because the deals have not been completed.

Bennett, the No. 1 pick in 2013, also has intriguing potential. He struggled last season while recovering from a shoulder injury but looked much improved in the Las Vegas Summer League.

As promising as the deal is for Minnesota, it will be tough replacing Love, who was face of the franchise. He alone gave worn out Timberwolves fans a reason to come to the arena during cold winters after Kevin Garnett was traded to Boston.

In Cleveland, Love gets what he's wanted for so long - a talent-laden roster that expects to compete not just for the postseason, but for a title.

The teams had talked before the draft about a trade involving Love, but his camp made it clear to Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and Cleveland's front office that he wasn't interested in signing a long-term contract with a young and unproven team that had not made the playoffs since 2010.

Then James left Miami for home, changing everything for Love, who won a gold medal with the four-time MVP at the 2012 London Olympics.

The Wolves and Cavs have been in agreement on Love and Wiggins being the primary pieces of a trade for some time, the people with knowledge of the deal said. One told AP the Cavaliers have not had any discussions on a contract value or length for Love.

Love withdrew from his planned participation with Team USA at the FIBA World Cup of Basketball to avoid an injury that could derail the deal that is now on the fast track.

National Guard to pull out of NASCAR and IndyCar

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The National Guard said Wednesday it will end its sponsorship of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and IndyCar's Graham Rahal, but it is not clear when that goes into effect.

Hendrick Motorsports said in a statement it has a contract through 2015.

"We have not been approached by the guard about potential changes and plan to honor our current agreement," the team said.

Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, said in a statement he learned of the guard's decision on Wednesday. He called it disappointing news "given the significant incremental brand exposure we have worked to produce for the National Guard in our first season together, including various off-track marketing and advertising programs focused on supporting the mission set forth."

The guard said in a statement posted on its web site it spent $32 million on its NASCAR sponsorship and $12 million on its IndyCar sponsorship this year, and noted that "sports sponsorships have played an important role in helping the guard build strong brand awareness." But, the guard statement said its sponsorship contracts in NASCAR and IndyCar "are set to expire at the end of the current season," which contradicts the Hendrick claim.

"Significantly constrained resources and the likelihood of further reductions in the future call for more innovative and cost-effective ways of doing business," Maj. Gen. Judd H. Lyons, acting director of the Army National Guard, said in the statement.

Military funding has come under increased scrutiny in Congress as Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo, has called the sponsorship "wasting a bunch of money on a very expensive sports sponsorship."

The guard said in its statement that motorsports is not the only marketing arena to suffer under reduced budgets.

"Since 2012, the Army Guard has reduced sports sponsorships from six - including professional fishing and motorcycle racing - to just the NASCAR and IndyCar sponsorships," the statement said. "In fiscal year 2015, the Army Guard's marketing budget is expected to be about half of what it was just three years ago in fiscal year 2012."

The guard has been with Earnhardt since 2008, when he joined Hendrick Motorsports. NASCAR's most popular driver has won three races this year - including Sunday at Pocono when the guard was on the No. 88 and his uniform as his primary sponsor - and is second in the Sprint Cup standings.

Rahal only landed the guard this season after a prolonged battle with Panther Racing, which had the sponsorship in IndyCar from 2008 through 2013. Although the sponsorship was originally awarded to RLL late last year, Panther owner John Barnes appealed and the review dragged on for months.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office eventually denied Panther's appeal and RLL said in February the guard would be the primary sponsor for Rahal's No. 15 Honda.

Panther Racing has since filed suit against RLL, IndyCar and Document Packaging Brokers, an Alabama-based company known as Docupak that is involved in administering the guard sponsorship agreements. Panther alleges it lost sponsorship valued at $17.2 million a year because of bid-rigging and other improprieties.

AP Source: Indians to remodel downtown ballpark

CLEVELAND (AP) The Indians plan an extensive renovation of Progressive Field over the next two years, remodeling the 20-year-old downtown ballpark to better connect with their fans.

The club intends to make interior and exterior modifications to the area stretching from center to right field, a person familiar with the plans confirmed for The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The changes will require a modest reduction in seats, which the team will offset by the addition of social areas to accommodate fans, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not made its designs public.

The first phase of the project, expected to be finished by the 2015 home opener, will be privately financed, the person said.

The Indians will provide details of the "major enhancements" at the 43,000-seat ballpark at a news conference on Thursday. Team president Mark Shapiro will lead a guided media tour to areas of the ballpark that will be modified and upgraded.

In making substantial improvements to Progressive Field, the team will join the city's two other professional teams, the Browns and Cavaliers, who are both in the process of making enhancements at FirstEnergy Stadium and Quicken Loans Arena. While the current projects are being funded privately, some in the future may be paid with public money after voters in Cuyahoga County approved a 20-year extension of a tax on cigarettes and alcohol in May.

Known as Jacobs Field when it opened in 1994 to replace crumbling Municipal Stadium, the 43,000-seat home of Cleveland's major league baseball team has undergone numerous alterations over the past two decades. The Indians have been proactive in keeping Progressive Field outfitted with the latest in scoreboards, concessions and other services to please today's fan, and the ballpark has aged gracefully and looks as good as it did when the gates opened in `94.

However, the club has seen attendance drop from a franchise-high 3.46 million in 1999 to 1.57 million last season. The Indians are drawing only 18,659 fans per game this year - second-lowest in the majors.

There are numerous reasons for the decline: a slow-to-recover economy, dwindling population and baseball's struggle to lure younger fans among them. The Indians sold out 455 straight games from 1995 to 2001, but those days are long gone, which is why the team is looking to change the look of its ballpark to attract fans.

Also, teams are more cognizant that younger fans are seeking a different game-day experience, which may include higher-end foods and beverages, social media areas, bars and restaurants.

The timing of the Indians' renovation coincides with a rebirth of downtown Cleveland, which got a recent boost when the Republican Party announced plans to hold its 2016 national convention in the city and NBA superstar LeBron James decided to come back and play for the Cavs.

K-State's Snyder: 'college athletics has sold out'

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) Bill Snyder ripped the big-time nature of college athletics as Kansas State opened fall camp Wednesday, lamenting the way universities have "sold out" in search of the almighty dollar.

During a lengthy oratory in which the 74-year-old coach planned to discuss the upcoming season, Snyder argued that TV has assumed too much control of college sports; education has become a second thought; and that the entire endeavor "distorts" the values of young people.

"It's changed. I mean, college athletics, football in particular, has changed dramatically over the years," Snyder said. "I think we've sold out. We're all about dollars and cents. The concept of college football no longer has any bearing on the quality of the person, the quality of students. Universities are selling themselves out."

Snyder voiced his thoughts one day before the NCAA board of directors is to vote on a proposal giving the five wealthiest college football conferences - among them the Big 12, which counts Kansas State among its membership - the ability to make rules and pass legislation without the approval of the rest of Division I schools.

The autonomy proposal is expected to pass.

"It's no longer about education," Snyder said. "We've sold out to the cameras over there, and TV has made its way, and I don't fault TV. I don't fault whoever broadcasts games. They have to make a living and that's what they do, but athletics - that's it. It's sold out."

While the game changed dramatically from the days when Snyder played defensive back at tiny William Jewell to when he was hired as the coach of Kansas State in 1989, only in the last two decades have the changes picked up speed. Now, schools are building football palaces, coaches are paid millions of dollars and games are broadcast nearly every night of the week.

Kansas State is no different than the rest of them, either.

The Wildcats, who open their season Aug. 30, will play a high-profile Thursday night game against Auburn three weeks later. And it will be played in a stadium that recently underwent a $90 million renovation, with another $65 million in work scheduled to begin after the season.

The school has also opened an $18 million basketball training facility and spent several million to update Bramlage Coliseum in recent years, while also building a new rowing center and tennis stadium - all told, about $125 million in facilities in less than three years.

"Everybody is building Taj Mahals," Snyder said, "and I think it sends the message - and young people today I think are more susceptible to the downside of that message, and that it's not about education. We're saying it is, but it's really about the glitz and the glitter, and I think sometimes values get distorted that way. I hate to think a young guy would make a decision about where he's going to get an education based on what a building looks like."

Yet across college sports, schools are in constant competition to do things bigger and bolder. Iowa State recently announced plans to spend $60 million renovating Jack Trice Stadium. Baylor is preparing to open a new, $250 million football stadium this season. Oklahoma has received approval for $370 million in upgrades to Memorial Stadium.

"Our professors - I have an office I could swim in. They're in a cubbyhole somewhere," Snyder said, "yet they go out and teach and promote education every day, and I value that."

Snyder, who has won 178 games in 22 seasons at Kansas State, also bemoaned the way schedules have bloated, not only in the number of games but the way they are played throughout the week.

When Snyder was a graduate assistant at Southern California in 1966, the Trojans opened the season on Sept. 17, played 10 games and were done with their regular season the Saturday after Thanksgiving. They played in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 2.

This year, Kansas State will play its third game on Sept. 18 and wrap its regular season on Dec. 6. If the Wildcats made the national title game, they would play on Jan. 12.

"Now tell me how that stuff happens. To me, that's not what football is about," Snyder said, shaking his head. "Now, that's only my opinion. I'm not upset with the people that promote some of that stuff because they're trying to do their thing. That's what they do. But I think we've lost sight of what college athletics is all about."

Selig expects vote next week on his successor

GRAPEVINE, Texas (AP) Commissioner Bud Selig expects baseball owners to vote next week from a list of three candidates for his successor.

"Yes, there will be a vote in Baltimore," Selig said Wednesday, referring to the owners' meeting next week.

Selig said the seven-member panel appointed earlier this year, and headed by St. Louis Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr., worked independently to get to this point.

"I told them at the time that the job was theirs because, after all, they have to live with the commissioner. I'm going to be gone," said Selig, who is retiring in January.

"I've been very well-informed and briefed and so forth, but they've been independent and they've come up with this list on their own, and I'm grateful for that. They did what I asked them to do."

The reported finalists for the job are Rob Manfred, MLB's chief operating officer; Tim Brosnan, MLB's executive vice president for business and Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner.

When asked about those names, Selig said "the list is accurate."

The commissioner has refrained from publicly endorsing anyone as his replacement after 22 years on the job.

Selig spoke to reporters after addressing the opening luncheon for the 2014 Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series, which will feature about 300 players ages 13-18 with 16 teams playing in the Dallas-Fort Worth area this week.

The gathering came a day after the former clinic owner accused of selling performance-enhancing drugs to Alex Rodriguez agreed to plead guilty in what prosecutors called a wide-ranging conspiracy to distribute steroids to both major league ballplayers and high school athletes.

With potentially more legal proceedings related to Biogenesis, after former owner Anthony Bosch and six others were charged, there is always the possibility of additional names being revealed.

"I'm really not concerned," Selig said. "We did what we had to do. We'll be very thorough. ... I don't really have any knowledge if there's anything else coming.

"Look, I'm proud of where we are," he said. "We have the toughest drug testing program in America, and certain American sports."

It was a year ago this week that Rodriguez was among 13 players disciplined by Major League Baseball as a result of the Biogenesis scandal, two weeks after Ryan Braun had already accepted a 65-game penalty. Most of the other penalties were for the final 50 games last season, though Rodriguez appealed his much longer suspension and is out for all of this season.

Selig planned later Wednesday to visit the Rangers' ballpark in nearby Arlington on his tour of the 30 franchises. He also planned to visit with Dr. Bobby Brown, who practiced cardiology in the Dallas-Fort Worth area before serving as vice president of the Texas Rangers and later the AL president from 1984-94.

"I've been so busy and things have been so hectic that I haven't really had a chance to focus on (pending retirement). Next November, December and January, I'm sure I'll do a lot of that," Selig said. "I try not to think about that, I really don't. Yeah, there are a few times when I've said to myself, well, this is the last time you'll do this. And this is the last time I'll do this. I think the emotion will come later."

Sharks, Kings to play game at 49ers' new stadium

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) The San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings are going to take their rivalry outdoors next season.

The NHL announced Wednesday that the Pacific Division foes will meet at the 49ers' new home in Santa Clara on Feb. 21. The $1.2 billion Levi's Stadium beat out the San Francisco Giants' cozier confines at AT&T Park for the game, which is part of the NHL's growing Stadium Series.

This will be the second straight year the NHL has staged an outdoor game in California. The Anaheim Ducks beat the Kings 3-0 at Dodger Stadium in front of an announced crowd of 54,099 on Jan. 25.

Sharks Chief Operating Officer John Tortora expects the game at Levi's Stadium to attract a capacity crowd of 68,500 for a scintillating spectacle of ice in Silicon Valley.

"We think this will be one of the bigger sporting events the Bay Area has ever seen," Tortora said.

The NHL's first outdoor game in Northern California features a fierce and fan-pleasing matchup.

In the latest and perhaps most dramatic chapter of the playoff history between these franchises, the Kings eliminated the Sharks in the first round last season to become the league's fourth team to win a best-of-seven series after losing the first three games. Los Angeles went on to win its second Stanley Cup in three years.

"The growing excitement around NHL hockey in California, the intensity of last season's playoff series between these teams and the state-of-the-art setting at Levi's Stadium will bring a thrilling new dimension to the Kings-Sharks rivalry," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.

The NHL has been taking its game to iconic outdoor venues more and more over the last decade.

The new Yankee Stadium, Boston's Fenway Park, Chicago's Wrigley Field and Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor are just a few of the notable names to host hockey in recent years. The league previously announced that the Washington Capitals would host the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2015 Winter Classic on Jan. 1 at a site to be determined.

The Sharks will be the 14th team since 2003 to host an outdoor game. The league has averaged 56,942 fans at each of those contests.

NHL Senior Vice President of Events Don Renzulli said the outdoor games have been popular because they allow the league to do things such as flyovers during the national anthem and create a more festive atmosphere with large crowds that smaller, enclosed arenas can't offer.

"It's all kind of wrapped up into one big event and that's what makes it pretty special," he said.

Renzulli said the Sharks have wanted to host an outdoor game for years and the league began more serious discussions with the team last summer. He said the league waited until it saw how the Kings-Ducks game at Dodger Stadium played out.

The temperature for that contest in Los Angeles was 63 degrees, but concerns about ice conditions turned out to be unfounded.

"If we can make it in L.A., we can make it in Santa Clara," Renzulli said. "And then we just have to hope that Mother Nature plays well in the sandbox with us."

The weather in Santa Clara is typically warmer and drier than in the more scenic San Francisco, which is about 45 miles north, but Renzulli and Tortora said it was more of a competition between venues than cities.

While the Giants' waterfront ballpark offered dramatic backdrops of the Bay Bridge and San Francisco skyline for television viewers, the league chose the 49ers' digs because football stadiums typically offer better sightlines, more flexibility on the rink's configuration and the ability to host a larger crowd.

Renzulli said that AT&T Park, which holds about 42,000 fans, could still host an NHL game the next time the Sharks bid in a year or two.

Tortora said the larger Levi's Stadium will help lower the average price of a ticket, which he said will cost $150. He said 67 percent of the tickets will be at or below that price and the team is not concerned about selling out the venue.

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Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP

Benzema extends contract with Madrid through 2019

MADRID (AP) Real Madrid says France striker Karim Benzema has agreed to extend his contract with the European champions to the end of the 2018-19 season.

The 26-year-old Benzema's previous contract expired in June 2015.

Benzema joined Madrid in 2009 from French club Lyon.

He has scored 111 goals in 235 games for Madrid, helping it to win the Champions League last season along with one Spanish league and two Copa del Rey titles.

Williams savors entry into Naismith Hall of Fame

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) All the hard work and yes, sweat, was worth it for Gary Williams.

Williams will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday in Springfield, Massachusetts. It is an achievement the coach does not take lightly.

"Winning the national championship at Maryland and getting into the Hall of Fame, those two things are the highlights of my career," Williams said in a telephone interview. "The Hall of Fame is special because it's somebody else validating what you did. It's the top honor in basketball."

To be elected, finalists required 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee. Joining Williams for induction in the Class of 2014 are: Immaculata University's AIAW national championship teams of the early 1970s, Alonzo Mourning, Nolan Richardson, Mitch Richmond, Bob Leonard, Nat Clifton, Sarunas Marciulionis, Guy Rodgers and David Stern.

Now 69, Williams enjoyed success coaching at the high school level in his native New Jersey before working at American University, Boston College and Ohio State. His final move was returning to his alma mater, Maryland, in 1989.

"I had a really good job at Ohio State, but Maryland gave me my education and got me started in coaching," Williams said. "We had some problems there in the beginning, but it all worked out."

He spent 22 seasons at Maryland, uplifting the program following the cocaine-induced death of Len Bias and harsh NCAA sanctions. He guided the Terrapins to 14 NCAA tournament berths in his final 18 seasons, reached the Sweet 16 seven times, made the Final Four twice and won the school's first NCAA basketball championship in 2002.

Williams' frenzied approach on the sideline often left his white shirt, tie and suit completely soaked in sweat.

"Gary has earned the honor of being inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame through his relentless pursuit of excellence," said Debbie Yow, who served as Maryland's athletic director from 1994-2010.

Upon his arrival at Maryland, the Terrapins were coming off a 9-20 season and a last-place finish in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Williams was in the first year of reviving the program when the team was banned from postseason play in 1991 and 1992 and placed on three years' probation by the NCAA for major violations that occurred during the three-year tenure of his predecessor, Bob Wade.

In spite of it all, Williams became the winningest coach in Maryland history, going 461-252. He retired as one of only five coaches make 11 consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament (1994-2004).

"Gary had so many great qualities, but I think he was exceptional at motivating his players. He always found a way to get the most out of them," said Walt Williams, a member of Gary's first Maryland team.

Gary Williams' success at Maryland got him recognition, but he was an exceptional coach long before he arrived in College Park.

"Maryland was the most recent place I coached, so a lot of people overlook everything else," he said. "I learned a lot about coaching in high school. I won the state championship in New Jersey (in 1970 with Woodrow Wilson High). That gave me confidence."

Years later, Williams cut down the nets at the Georgia Dome after Maryland beat Indiana 64-52 to win the NCAA title.

"Coach Williams was a great coach," said Steve Blake, the point guard on that team. "His intensity and knowledge of the game helped us all become better players, and his leadership led us right to a national championship."

Williams has been retired for three years now, long enough to finally appreciate what he accomplished during his four-plus decades as a coach.

"When you coach, all you're thinking about is the next game, the next player you're going to recruit," he said. "You never get to look back. Well, now that I've had the chance to look back, I realize that I got to do what I love in life. To get into the Naismith Hall of Fame, that validates that your life's chase."

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