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Alabama QB Jalen Hurts pays off bet, wears Auburn jersey

It’s easier to pay off a bet when you have a national championship in your pocket.

>> Read more trending news

On Thursday, Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts wore the jersey of the Crimson Tide’s bitter rival, Auburn, on campus, ESPN reported.

Hurts had made a bet on Nov. 14 with Auburn alumnus Charles Barkley before the Iron Bowl game between the two Alabama universities. 

"Jalen Hurts challenged me to a bet, and I ain't forgot it, Jalen," Barkley said that day. "I'm either going to wear an Alabama jersey on TV, or he's going to have to wear (an Auburn jersey) on campus. ... I've got the jersey coming.

"My Tigers need to win because I don't want to wear that crap on TNT."

Auburn stunned No. 1 Alabama 26-14, handing the Crimson Tide its only loss of the season.

Hurts paid off the bet Thursday, as the school posted a video on its Twitter feed.

"What's up, Charles," Hurts said. "Obviously, I'm a man of my word. And first off, I'd just like to congratulate Auburn and the Auburn family on their successful season this year. But I think it's time I get to class. I'm running kind of late for English."

Hurts added a “Roll Tide” before walking away.

While Alabama lost to Auburn, the Crimson Tide qualified for the College Football Playoff games and won the national title with a 26-23 overtime victory against Georgia.

Wright State beats Milwaukee to reach Horizon League final

Wright State will play for the Horizon League championship Tuesday night after beat Milwaukee 59-53 Monday night in a sloppy semifinal game at Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit.

The second-seeded Raiders (24-9) will face No. 8 Cleveland State, which upset No. 4 Oakland in Monday’s first semifinial.

WSU freshman Loudon Love had 18 points and 12 rebounds, while freshman Jaylon Hall added 12 points, including four free throws in the final minute.

The Raiders won the game at the other end of the court, holding the Panthers (16-17) to 31.7 percent shooting (20 of 63)

Mark Hughes spurred the defensive effort, blanking Milwaukee’s Brock Stull in the second half. Stull, who had a career-high 25 in Sunday’s quarterfinal win against UIC, had 11 points in the first half but was 1 for 4 after the break.

Jeremiah Bell, a second-team all-league pick, scored a game-high 22 points, but they came on 8 of 24 shooting.

The Raiders only shot 33.3 percent (18 of 54) and trailed by as many as six in the first half, but WSU went into halftime on a 9-2 run for a 27-25 lead and never trailed in the second half.

The 24 wins set a Division I program record for WSU.

LaVar Ball blasts Trump after report says UCLA players were freed before president stepped in

We now have a LaVar Ball vs. Donald Trump Part II.

ESPN released a report on Saturday chronicling UCLA’s China shoplifting incident involving freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley. The three allegedly had stolen sunglasses from Louis Vuitton, a boutique store and a bracelet from H&M.

>> LaVar Ball pulls son LiAngelo out of UCLA after suspension

ESPN’s Arash Markazi wrote that Trump actually had nothing to do with the release of LiAngelo Ball, Hill and Riley.

Upon hearing the news, LaVar Ball doubled down on his stance that Trump had zero to do with getting the three out of harm’s way.

>> See his tweet here

LaVar Ball and Trump previously got into a spat on social media in the days and weeks after the highly-publicized theft. Soon after the LiAngelo Ball, Hill and Riley were released from house arrest, Trump took to Twitter seeking credit.

LaVar Ball dismissed Trump’s request for validation on multiple occasions.

The two had quieted down their tug of war, but Saturday's news has evidently resuscitated the matter.

>> Read more trending news 

LiAngelo Ball has since left UCLA to play professional basketball in Lithuania. Hill and Riley are currently serving a one-year suspension as punishment for the international shoplifting incident but were permitted to practice with the team on Dec. 26.

Jacksonville State center from Lithuania reunited with mother after 5 years 

A college basketball senior from Lithuania was reunited with his mother for the first time in five years, thanks to his coaches at Jacksonville State University, People reported.

>> Read more trending news

Norbertas Giga, a senior for the Gamecocks, had been invited to watch film with the coaching staff in a hotel conference room Tuesday as the team from Alabama prepared to play in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament. 

Giga was told by the coaches that video cameras were present simply to document the team’s postseason run, People reported. Assistant coach Chase Richardson begins the session by asking the 7-footer about his mother’s discipline tactics.

“What did your mom used to tell you about belt whippings? You need them?” Richardson asks Giga. “When’s the last time you had one?”

“Oh man, that was about eight years ago?” Giga said.

Richardson walked to a door near the film screen and told Giga, “I’m tired of belt-whipping you myself. So we got the real thing for you.”

Richardson opened the door and Giga’s mother walked into the room. Giga ran to the opposite side of the room in disbelief, then returns to give his mother a teary embrace.

Giga has been a two-year starter for the Gamecocks since arriving at the school in 2016, CBS Sports reported. Prior to that he spent a season at the junior college level at Midland College and Tallahassee Community College and a year at St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark, New Jersey, CBS Sports reported.

A HUGE Thank You to everybody that was involved in this surprise for me. I can’t even explain how much it means and how this moment feels to me,” Giga wrote on Twitter. “THANK YOU! We are Gamecocks!”

The surprise was not enough to help Giga spark Jacksonville to an OVC title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. After defeating Tennessee Tech 73-70 on Thursday, the fourth-seeded Gamecocks lost 70-63 to top-seeded Murray State in the conference semifinals Friday night, ESPN reported.

Texas college baseball coach fired after email to recruit about Colorado’s drug policies

A Texas college baseball coach and former major-leaguer was fired Thursday, partially because of comments he made about players from Colorado in an email to a potential recruit, the Star-Telegram reported.

>> Read more trending news

Mike Jeffcoat, who pitched in the majors from 1983 to 1994, was dismissed as Texas Wesleyan’s coach Thursday morning, university president Frederick Slabach announced at a news conference.

Jeffcoat, in an email to 18-year-old Gavin Bell of Cherokee Trail High School in Aurora, Colorado, cited that state’s politicians and its marijuana policies as reasons not to recruit players from the Centennial State, the Denver Post reported.

“Thanks for the interest in our program,” wrote Jeffcoat, 58, who has been Texas Wesleyan’s coach since 2002. “Unfortunately, we are not recruiting players from the state of Colorado. In the past, players have had trouble passing our drug test. We have made a decision to not take a chance on Student-athletes from your state. You can thank your liberal politicians. Best of Luck wherever you decide to play.”

A screenshot of the email was tweeted out Wednesday afternoon by a Denver radio host.

That email, and violations of National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics rules regarding player eligibility, were the reasons for Jeffcoat’s firing. Slabach said. The school had been investigating the rule violations for about a week and reported them to the NAIA on Thursday, the Post reported.

“Mike Jeffcoat is no longer an employee of Texas Wesleyan University,” Slabach said at the news conference. “He was separated from the university due to the discriminatory remarks contained in the email to a potential recruit from the state of Colorado, and for another factor that we have been investigating for the past week.”

Bell told KCNC, that he "didn't know what to think" when he received Jeffcoat’s email.

"What does it have to do with anything with me playing baseball because of past encounters and not taking a chance with me?" Bell told KCNC.

During Thursday’s news conference Thursday, Slabach said the university, located in Fort Worth, “would love to have Gavin here as a student."

Since sales of recreational marijuana became legal in Colorado in 2014, Wesleyan has had only one other player from the Centennial State on its baseball roster, Eaglecrest graduate Aidan Laurini, the Post reported.

"My intention really wasn't to do anything to hurt anybody or get anybody fired," Bell told KCNC. "It was just me talking to my coaches and my loved ones about what do I do with this."

Jeffcoat had a 25-26 record over 255 games with the Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants and Florida Marlins.

Louisville basketball team stripped of 2013 NCAA title

The NCAA stripped the University of Louisville of its 2013 national basketball title and mandated that the school must vacate 123 wins between 2011 and 2015, the organization said on its website Tuesday. The decision by an NCAA panel denied the Cardinals' appeals in a sex scandal case.

>> Read more trending news

The NCAA’s appeals committee also upheld the Division I Committee’s decision in June 2017 to require the university to return money it received through conference revenue sharing for its appearances in NCAA basketball tournaments during 2012 and 2013, when the Cardinals appeared in the Final Four; and tournament appearances in 2014 and 2015.

It is the first time in modern Division I men's basketball history that a championship was vacated. The Louisville-Courier Journal reported.

The decision ended a two-year process that began after a book published by Katina Powell sparked an NCAA probe in October 2015. In “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” Powell alleged that former Louisville basketball staff member Andre McGee paid women thousands of dollars and gave them game tickets to dance for and have sex with players and recruits, the Courier-Journal reported.

Louisville officials imposed a postseason ban for the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference and NCAA tournaments, and then added recruiting sanctions after confirming Powell’s allegations, the Courier Journal reported. Former coach Rick Pitino was suspended for five conference games and appealed the ruling. Pitino dropped the appeal after he was fired in October 2017 after an FBI investigation into college basketball recruiting practices included allegations against the school, the Courier-Journal reported.

In its appeal, Louisville argued that the penalties were “excessive,” the NCAA said. 

Kid from ‘The Blind Side’ now works for Arkansas football team

Sean “SJ” Tuohy Jr. has not been blindsided by fame. In fact, he has embraced it.

>> Read more trending news

Tuohy works for University of Arkansas coach Chad Morris, but many remember him because of the character portrayed by Jae Head in the 2009 movie “The Blind Side.”

"Everyone wants me to stay as this 11-year-old kid," Tuohy, an assistant director of football operations, told KATV. "Some people think I 'Benjamin Button'-ed it, never aged or went backwards. I think it's disappointing to someone when I say ‘That's me.’ ‘Oh man, I thought you were much smaller and cuter!’”

“The Blind Side” is the story of Michael Oher, an impoverished youth adopted by the well-to-do Tuohy family. Oher went on to a successful career as an offensive lineman at the University of Mississippi and the NFL, most notably with the Baltimore Ravens.

Tuohy continues to have a good relationship with his adopted brother.

"You look back at it and think, I wasn't really like that, that's not how it was. (But) that's what it was like," Tuohy told KATV. “(Michael) excelled in football, he excelled in basketball, everyone socially loved him. He was someone you look at like, 'Man, I hope I can be like that one day.'"

Tuohy shed some light on the film, which starred Sandra Bullock in the role of his mother and Tim McGraw as his father. Quinton Aaron played Oher in the film.

He said Bullock’s characterization of his mother, Leigh Anne Tuohy, was accurate, but was only a capsule version.

"She's much worse in real life than Sandra Bullock was in the movie,” Tuohy told KATV. “That was two hours of my mom. Think about that as a 24-hour day, all the time."

Bullock won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Leigh Anne Touhy.

Tuohy said the movie sometimes was a curse, adding that he’d often be taunted while playing high school sports.

"'Good job, Sandra,' chants and I remember we were warming up one time playing a school in football and they played the whole 'Blind Side' soundtrack before the game,” Tuohy told KATV. “I can't control any of that stuff and just laugh it off."

UPDATED: Ohio State junior, Fairmont grad Makayla Waterman records social media message after frightening neck injury

Feb. 3, 7:39 p.m.

The following was posted on Twitter.

Feb. 3, 6:33 p.m.

Ohio State junior forward Makayla Waterman was injured after taking a hard fall in a the third quarter against Wisconsin on Saturday. 

The Fairmont graduate was reaching for a rebound, and fell to the floor. EMT’s responded, strapping Waterman to a stretcher and taking her by ambulance to a local hospital.

In a statement after the game, Ohio State athletic trainer Chalisa Fonza said that Waterman had full function in all of her extremities.

Waterman was reaching for a rebound when she fell backward and hit her head on the body of an opponent as she fell. 

Waterman has played in 21 games this season off the bench, averaging 3.2 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. 

Halftime performer Red Panda’s unicycle stolen from San Fran airport

The 7-foot unicycle used by Rong Niu, the acrobat who performs as Red Panda at halftime shows at basketball games, was stolen from San Francisco International Airport last week.

Pat Figley of Farallon Entertainment, and is Niu’s agent, has offered a $2,000 award for the unicycle. 

“She’s heartbroken, Figley told KTVU-TV in Oakland. “It’s like her baby was kidnapped, she’s had that unicycle for 30 years.” 

Niu was waiting for her unicycle at the the luggage pickup, saw the bag from a distance, but said it appeared someone grabbed it before she could. Figley said someone may have taken the bag by mistake. 

Figley told KTVU-TV that Niu is back on the road on a backup unicycle, but has had difficulties performing with it. The unicycle that was stolen was custom built for her, while the backup wasn’t. 

San Mateo County Sheriff’s Cargo and Task Force is reviewing surveillance video from the airport. 

Dayton Daily News award-winning columnist Tom Archdeacon  wrote a feature about Niu less than a week ago.

Georgia State soccer player withdraws from school after backlash over racial epithet

A Georgia State University soccer player who was suspended from the team after she used a racial epithet on social media has withdrawn from the school, officials said.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Georgia State soccer player suspended over racial slur used on social media

Some students had called for the expulsion of 18-year-old freshman defender Natalia Martinez after the epithet appeared on her Finsta page, a secret version of Instagram that is growing in popularity among teens.

>> On What is a ‘Finsta'? Teens and their secret Instagram accounts

“As a progressive, diverse university, we ... feel like this sort of behavior should not be tolerated,” said India Bridgeforth, who created a petition demanding the university take a tougher approach with Martinez.

The petition had garnered more than 500 signatures by Monday afternoon when the university announced Martinez had “officially withdrawn.”

Associate athletic director Mike Holmes told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that officials were made aware of Martinez’s post Friday morning — just days after the University of Alabama expelled a 19-year-old student who posted a video of a racist rant on her Finsta page.

>> Read more trending news 

That student, Harley Barber, uploaded a second video on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in response to people who were upset by the language and threatened those who wanted to report her fake Instagram account, The Washington Post reported

In a statement, Georgia State University said the school does “not tolerate the language (Martinez) used in her post.”

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