Morning State Sports Briefs: No division realignment for Big Ten footballWisconsin Sports
-- Big Ten Conference officials say they have no plans to re-align its football divisions, after Penn State was handed a four-year post-season suspension yesterday.
ROSEMOUNT, Ill. - Big Ten Conference officials say they have no plans to re-align its football divisions, after Penn State was handed a four-year post-season suspension yesterday.
Commissioner Jim Delany said the subject has not been discussed but quote, “You never say never.” Penn State and Ohio State will both be ineligible for post-season play this year – and both are in the Leaders’ Division along with Wisconsin. As a result, the Badgers will only have three divisional opponents while each the team in the Legends’ group has five. Illinois, Indiana, and Purdue are the only other Leaders’ Division schools still in post-season contention. Penn State’s post-season ban was just part of the sanctions handed down yesterday by the NCAA and the Big Ten over the school’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Current Penn State players and incoming freshmen can transfer without penalty. Corner Ross Douglas renounced his verbal commitment to the Nittany Lions yesterday – and he’s expected to visit Wisconsin and several other schools.
Except for the construction work, it’s been quiet at Lambeau Field since the June mini-camp. But that ends today, when about 25,000 stockholders are expected to attend the team’s annual meeting. It will be about seven-thousand more than the previous record crowd for the session, after a quarter-million new stockholders were added this past winter during the Packers’ stock sale. Two weeks ago, the Packers reported a record net income of almost $43-million in 2011, spurred by the glow of the 2010 Super Bowl season and last year’s 15-1 regular season mark. The stadium is in the middle of a $143-million expansion and renovation that will add around 6,600 seats in the south end zone starting next year. Yesterday, the Packers’ announced that ShopKo will sponsor the new south gate at the stadium starting in 2013. The stockholders’ meeting normally takes place two days before the Packers hold their first training camp practice. And the first practice is on Thursday – two weeks before Green Bay’s first exhibition game.
The Milwaukee Brewers will try to avoid losing five straight games for the first time this season, when they play at Philadelphia again tonight. One of the biggest question marks is how starter Zack Greinke will perform after 11 days off. Manager Ron Roenicke says he now second-guesses himself, for letting Greinke make three starts in seven days – spurred by his ejection after just four pitches on July seventh. The right-hander Greinke gave up 10 runs in eight-plus innings during those three starts. And his ERA in July is a bloated nine, after he went 4-0 with a one-point-six-seven ERA in his previous six outings. But with Milwaukee virtually out of playoff contention, Greinke is the Brewers’ biggest trade bait for getting prospects – and a number of other teams’ scouts are expected to be on hand tonight to see how Greinke performs. For the year, he’s 9-3 with a three-point-five-seven ERA. The Phillies are putting up left-hander Cliff Lee, who’s had troubles of his own. The Phillies are just 4-12 this year when Lee starts. Last Wednesday, he gave up one run in eight innings of a no-decision against the LA Dodgers – and the Phils' still lost that game in 12. Philadelphia scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth to win last night, as closer Francisco Rodriguez blew a three-run lead. Milwaukee is now eight games out of Wild Card contention, and 11-and-a-half away from division-leading Cincinnati.
The Class-“A” Midwest League has the day off. The Beloit Snappers are coming off a 3-0 home victory over Great Lakes last night. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers wrapped up a series against Lansing with a 6-1 home loss. Clinton is in sole possession of first place in the Western Division at 17-13. Burlington, Kane County, and Quad Cities are all one game back. Lansing, which ran away with the first have title in the East, now leads the second-half standings by a game over Fort Wayne and Bowling Green.
The Northwoods League All-Star Game will be played tonight in Madison, weather permitting. It’s been bone-dry all summer in southern Wisconsin, but scattered thunderstorms are in this evening’s forecast. The annual Home Run Derby starts at six o’clock at Madison’s Warner Park. Tyler Marincov of the home town Mallards will represent the South Division along with three other Wisconsin sluggers – Alex Bacon of Wisconsin Rapids, Richard Prigatano of La Crosse, and Casey Gillaspie of Eau Claire. Seven Northwoods’ teams from Wisconsin will have a combined 25 players on the South squad in tonight’s All-Star contest, which begins at 7:30. The Green Bay Bullfrogs will have six of its players suited up – that’s tied with Duluth for the most representatives of any team.
As training camp is about to open, the Green Bay Packers still have no idea what will happen with defensive end Johnny Jolly. He’s been under suspension by the NFL since the end of the 2009 season. And while the Packers still retain his rights, the team has not said whether they’d take Jolly back if he’s eligible to play. Jolly has applied to the league for re-instatement – and a league spokesman says there’s no time frame as to when Commissioner Roger Goodell will make a decision. The 29-year-old Jolly was released from prison earlier this year after several felony arrests for possessing codeine in his home town of Houston. He’s on probation in the Texas justice system for the next decade. Jolly told the National Football Post last month that he needs football much more than the game needs him – and he hopes to show he can be a quote, “good, reliable citizen that the league and others can depend on and trust.” Jolly said a month ago that he had been clean for eight previous months – and he’s been working out.
In the Midwest League…
Beloit 3, Great Lakes 0
Lansing 6, Wisconsin 1
Clinton 6, Bowling Green 2
Quad Cities 9, Fort Wayne 6
Cedar Rapids 2, Lake County 1
West Michigan 3, Burlington 2
Dayton 5, Kane County 1
South Bend 2, Peoria 0