In Brief | Nation and World


Reports: NCAA investigating Syracuse program

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Two media outlets are reporting Syracuse has been under investigation for possible NCAA violations, mostly in its basketball program, for at least a year.

CBSSports.com, citing an unidentified source, reported Wednesday that the school has received a letter of preliminary inquiry from the NCAA.

The Post-Standard reports NCAA investigators have been conducting interviews with Syracuse employees and former employees. The newspaper reports the investigation includes the handling of center Fab Melo’s academic eligibility.

In 2012, the star center was declared ineligible for the NCAA tournament days before it started.

The school also acknowledged last year the college sports governing body had inquired into old allegations that players were allowed to practice and play despite being in violation of the school’s drug policy.

Obama picks Indiana to win NCAA men’s basketball title

BRISTOL, Conn. — President Barack Obama is picking Indiana to go all the way in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

ESPN revealed Wednesday that Obama picked the Hoosiers to win it all in his 2013 bracket. He predicted Louisville, Ohio State and Florida would round out the Final Four.

Obama has made an annual tradition of giving his bracket predictions to ESPN but only correctly picked the winner once — North Carolina in 2009. He says he thinks he can do better in his second term.

This time, Obama repeatedly advanced teams from the Big Ten. But he said “I think this is Indiana’s year.”

Obama filled out the bracket Tuesday at the White House, before departing on a trip to the Middle East.

On the women’s side, Obama selected Baylor, California, UConn and Notre Dame to advance to New Orleans. Baylor, UConn and Notre Dame are all No. 1 seeds and California is a No. 2 seed.

Giants’ Manning considers reworking contract for Cruz

NEW YORK — Quarterback Eli Manning will consider reworking his contract if it will help keep leading receiver Victor Cruz on the New York Giants.

The two-time Super Bowl MVP indicated Wednesday at a sponsor event that the Giants haven’t asked him to redo his contract to open cap space. However, he said he would consider anything that helps the team.

“I want Victor back with the Giants,” Manning said, adding that he checks the newspapers every morning to make sure that Cruz has not signed with another team. “It is nerve-wracking. He is anxious. He has been dealing with this contract issue for a long time, last year and into this year. I know he wants to get this settled and get back to playing football, and just worrying about that.”

The Giants recently allowed Cruz to enter restricted free agency, placing a first-round tender ($2.87 million for 2012) on the popular local product from Paterson, N.J., which is about 10 miles from MetLife Stadium. New York has the right to match any offer he receives. It would receive a first-round draft choice as compensation if he leaves.

Freeney, Abraham set to visit Broncos

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos are set to talk with free agent pass rushers Dwight Freeney and John Abraham on Thursday, 48 hours after they submitted a new contract proposal to Elvis Dumervil.

Freeney, 33, and Abraham, 34, are both older and less productive than Dumervil, 29, but might make financial sense for the Broncos, who had to cut Dumervil last week to avoid paying him $12 million in 2013.

Dumervil’s then-agent Marty Magid and the Broncos renegotiated a three-year, $30 million deal Friday that included an $8 million 2013 salary, but the paperwork didn’t get done in time.

So, the Broncos cut Dumervil and took a nearly $5 million salary cap hit. They submitted a new offer this week to Dumervil and his new agent, Tom Condon, who also represents Freeney.

Cardinals’ Arians confident if Stanton is quarterback

PHOENIX — New Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians says his team isn’t looking for a quarterback.

He says he believes he has one in Drew Stanton, the backup to Andrew Luck at Indianapolis last season.

While Arians hasn’t officially named a starting quarterback, he says he will do so soon.

And he says he has “all the confidence in the world” with Stanton as the starter. Arians saw Stanton up close as Indianapolis’ interim coach last season.

Arizona signed Stanton to a three-year contract, then released Kevin Kolb. The team’s quarterback woes of a year ago left Arizona with the NFL’s worst offense and was a main reason that coach Ken Whisenhunt lost his job.

Tseng dropped from Kia Classic after missing pro-am tee time

CARLSBAD, Calif. — Defending champion and formerly top-ranked Yani Tseng was dropped from the Kia Classic field after missing her 9:10 a.m. pro-am tee time Wednesday.

“I’m embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t feeling well last night and accidentally overslept and missed my tee time for the pro-am this morning,” Tseng said in a statement released by the tour. “I was extremely excited to compete this week to defend my title at the Kia Classic and to try to regain the No. 1 spot. This was an unfortunate mistake and I want to apologize to Kia, my sponsors and all of the fans.”

On Sunday, Stacy Lewis won the LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix to end Tseng’s 109-week run at No. 1.

Tseng is winless in 23 events since her Kia Classic victory last year. The 15-time LPGA Tour winner tied for 59th last week in Phoenix. She opened the season with a second-place finish in the Women’s Australian Open, tied for third in the LPGA Thailand and completed the Asian swing with a tie for 28th in Singapore in the HSBC Women’s Champions.

Diamondbacks trade SS McDonald to Pirates

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks traded shortstop John McDonald to Pittsburgh on Wednesday for a player to be named or cash, giving the Pirates some much-needed infield depth.

The trade came two days after Pirates backup shortstop Chase d’Arnaud, injured in a rundown drill earlier, had surgery for a torn ligament in his left thumb. He is expected to be sidelined six to eight weeks.

The 38-year-old McDonald hit .249 in six homers and 22 RBIs in 70 games for Arizona last season and gives the Pirates an experienced reserve for regular shortstop Clint Barmes.

McDonald, who can also play second base and third base, made only one error in 210 chances last season.

“He’s a very accomplished defensive player and a veteran presence,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. “He brings depth and stability at a position where all of a sudden we didn’t have much depth or stability.”

From wire sources