Afternoon State Sports Briefs: UW gets huge leg up in Big 10 as PSU is punished hardWisconsin Sports
-- As expected, the NCAA came down hard on Penn State’s football program this morning for the way it handled assistant coach Jerry Sandusky’s child sex abuse.
INDINAPOLIS - As expected, the NCAA came down hard on Penn State’s football program this morning for the way it handled assistant coach Jerry Sandusky’s child sex abuse.
The Nittany Lions were fined $60-million , and were banned from the post-season for four years. They also had to reduce their scholarships by 10-a-year over the next four seasons – and all of its current players and incoming freshmen can transfer without restrictions. In addition, Penn State was ordered to vacate all of Joe Paterno’s coaching victories since 1998. New football coach Bill O’Brien says he remains committed to Penn State in spite of the sanctions. O’Brien said he knew there would be tough times ahead – and he’s ready to accept them. School president Rodney Erickson said the NCAA’s punishment would help Penn State quote, “define our course.” For football, Penn State plays in the Big Ten Leaders’ Division, the same one as the Wisconsin Badgers. Ohio State is also in that division, and the Buckeyes were given a post-season ban as well for this year. That means the Badgers will only compete with Illinois, Indiana, and Purdue for the division crown and a spot in its second straight Big Ten title game in December.
The NCAA is not the only one that threw the book at Penn State’s football program today for its handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. The Big Ten Conference announced additional sanctions. The biggest one is a loss of around $13-million, which would have been Penn State’s share of Big Ten bowl revenues over the next four years. The conference said it would donate the money charities in Big Ten communities – including Madison and the Twin Cities – which deal with protecting children. The league also issued an official censure against Penn State, placed the school on five years’ probation, and made its players ineligible for the Big Ten Championship game for the next four seasons. Wisconsin won the inaugural Big Ten title game last December.
Also, all of Joe Paterno’s coaching victories since 1998 will be vacated – and that means, Paterno’s last official win will have come against Wisconsin. The Nittany Lions crushed the Badgers at State College Pennsylvania 35-10 on November 22nd of 1997 with Mike McQueary as the Nittany Lions' starting quarterback. In a statement, the Big Ten said Penn State has been working to quote, “right a terrible wrong. There is more to be done.” The league said its sanctions were not meant to destroy Penn State but to quote, “seek justice and constructively assist a member institution with its efforts to reform.” The school said it would accept its NCAA penalties. New coach Bill O’Brien said he would stay and do his best to rebuild the program.
Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said the Brewers had a disappointing weekend when they got swept for three games at Cincinnati. But he does not expect his team to throw in the towel when it opens a series at Philadelphia tonight. For one thing, the Phillies are playing worse than the Brewers are. The Phils are last in the National League East at eight games below .500 – and they would lost eight straight at home for the first time in 40 years had they not beaten San Francisco 4-3 in 12 innings yesterday. Philadelphia has not won back-to-back home games in almost a month. And they’ll try to do that tonight against a beleaguered Brewers’ team that’s six below .500, and a season-worst 10-and-a-half games out of the National League Central lead. The Brewers only scored four total runs against the first-place Reds, while batting .218 in their three games at Great American Ball Park. Ryan Braun says either the Brewers are hitting well and pitching badly, or the other way around. Braun says his team deserves to be in a distant fourth in the division. And while he’s not giving up yet, Braun says the Crew’s biggest battle will be to get past the three teams ahead of them in the Central – the Reds, Pittsburgh, and Saint Louis. Left-hander Randy Wolf will start for the Brewers this evening against Phillies’ right-hander Roy Halladay – who’s still working out the bugs after being out for seven weeks due to a strained right shoulder.
In the Midwest League, the Beloit Snappers will close out their home series with Great Lakes today in an afternoon contest. The game begins at noon, after Beloit fell to the Loons 10-7 yesterday. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will close out their home series against Lansing tonight. The Rattlers lost to the Lugnuts 7-5 yesterday. Lake County plays at Cedar Rapids in the league’s only other afternoon contest. Tonight, Clinton is at Bowling Green. Fort Wayne plays at Quad Cities. South Bend entertains Peoria. Dayton hosts Kane County. And Burlington is at West Michigan. Burlington, Clinton, and Kane County all lead the Western Division at 16-and-13. They’re a game up on Quad Cities and three ahead of Wisconsin. Bowling Green, Lansing, and Fort Wayne all lead the East at 18-11. Four other teams are three games off the pace.
Steve Stricker of Madison remains at Number-14 in the new World Golf Rankings released this morning. That’s after he tied for 23rd at the British Open. Pewaukee native Mark Wilson missed the cut at Royal Lytham-and-Saint Anne’s. And he dropped two spots in the World to 45th. Jerry Kelly of Madison did not play over the weekend, but he still rose three spots in the World Rankings to 162nd. Luke Donald still at Number-One. Tiger Woods rose two places to second. Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood both dropped a place to third-and-fourth. In the Fed-Ex Cup season point standings, Stricker dropped one spot to 17th. Wilson fell from 20th-to-25th. Kelly rose one place to 116th. Woods still leads the Fed-Ex point totals.
Former Wisconsin forward Jon Leuer has been claimed off waivers by the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers. Leuer played for the Milwaukee Bucks last season, but the Bucks dealt him to Houston just before the June draft in the trade that brought Samuel Dalembert to Milwaukee. Leuer averaged five points and two-and-a-half rebounds in just over 12 minutes a game with the Bucks last season. He started 12 games as well.
Hailey Dreyer has become the new softball coach at Lakeland College in Sheboygan. Dreyer has spent the last two years as the pitching coach at Dubuque, and she was the interim head coach for four months. Dreyer earned her undergraduate degree from William Penn in Iowa in 2010 – and she received a master’s in business administration from Dubuque this past spring. At Lakeland, Dreyer will take over a team that went 20-and-19 last season. The Muskies have won 20 games in four-of-the-last-six years, with a school-record 30 victories in 2009.
The Northwoods League is starting a three-day All-Star break. Tonight’s highlight is an All-Star banquet in Madison featuring Brewers’ general manager Doug Melvin. All of the on-field action takes place tomorrow. The Northwoods Home Run Derby begins six p.m., and the All-Star contest begins at 7:35 at Madison’s Warner Park. The All-Stars represent the best of the top college players recruited by the summer league’s 16 teams. The league is well into its second-half. The Wisconsin Woodchucks have won 10-of-their-last-11, and they lead the South Division at 15-3. The Madison Mallards have won four straight, and they’re second at 13-4. The Duluth Huskies lead the North Division at 12-7. Mankato and Willmar are next at 10-8. League play resumes Thursday night.