Around the Nation (April 5): Auburn in self-defense mode over scathing reports

Associated Press Published:

Associated Press

COLLEGE

Auburn in self-defense mode over reports

AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn is back on the defensive amid allegations of wrongdoing dating to the 2010 national championship season.

Two reports surfaced this week accusing the athletic department of misdeeds ranging from covering up widespread use of synthetic marijuana among football players to grade-changing and illicit payments.

Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs and other officials have disputed the findings in both reports, which painted a bleak picture of a department and football program that weathered an NCAA investigation into the recruitment of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Cam Newton through much of the title run.

Jacobs dismissed allegations made in an ESPN report that the school covered up use of synthetic marijuana as "baseless and inaccurate." Former football coach Gene Chizik said an earlier report on roopstigo.com was "short on facts and logic."

NC State's Purvis transferring to UConn

RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina State freshman Rodney Purvis says he's heading to Connecticut.

Four days after announcing he would transfer, Purvis said Friday afternoon in a brief phone interview that he planned to play for the Huskies.

The school had granted Purvis a release to transfer to any school outside the Atlantic Coast Conference except Missouri and Cincinnati, which the program plans to add to its nonconference schedule. The ACC ban includes eventual new arrivals Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Louisville.

Purvis would have to sit out a year before taking the court for the Huskies.

In a statement at the time of his announcement, Purvis said he needed "a fresh start" and to "step outside of my comfort zone" by going elsewhere. By Friday, he had tweeted he was "feeling Husky!!!!!!"

Chattanooga's Moore named new women's coach at NC State

RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina State has hired Chattanooga's Wes Moore as its new women's basketball coach.

The school announced Friday that Moore would succeed Kellie Harper, who was fired after four seasons in which she reached the NCAA Tournament only once.

Moore spent the past 15 seasons at Chattanooga, guiding the Lady Mocs to the NCAA Tournament nine times in that span. This year's team tied a program record with 29 wins, including 19 straight with a run to the Southern Conference title before losing to Nebraska in the opening round of the NCAA's Norfolk Regional.

The 55-year-old coach has 558 career wins in 24 seasons going back to stops at Division II Francis Marion and Division III Maryville College, and led both programs to the NCAA Tournament.

FOOTBALL

Massaquoi, Jaguars reach two-year deal

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars and receiver Mohamed Massaquoi have agreed to terms on a two-year contract.

The 26-year-old Massaquoi spent the last four seasons in Cleveland, catching 118 passes for 1,745 yards and seven touchdowns. He has averaged 14.8 yards a catch in his career.

He had 17 receptions for 254 yards in nine games last season while dealing with hamstring and knee injuries. He also endured multiple concussions during his four years with the Browns.

The Jaguars are looking for depth behind starters Cecil Shorts III and Justin Blackmon. They signed slot receiver Jordan Shipley last month, and also have Mike Brown, Toney Clemons, Jerrell Jackson and Taylor Price on the roster heading into next week's orientation camp.

Lions agree to terms with kicker Akers

DETROIT -- The Detroit Lions have added kicker David Akers one day after Jason Hanson retired.

Akers' agent, Jerrold Colton, confirmed Friday that he and the Lions agreed to terms. Colton declined to give details.

The Lions didn't have to look long to find someone to replace Hanson, who retired Thursday, ending his 21-year career in Detroit.

San Francisco released Akers a month ago after he slumped during the 2012 season. The six-time Pro Bowl kicker made 73-of-94 field goals over two seasons for the 49ers. He underwent double hernia surgery in February 2012 then aggravated the area during the season when he slipped on the field during practice.

Akers has made 367-of-453 field goals in his career with Washington, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

Raiders waive LB Rolando McClain

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders have waived linebacker Rolando McClain less than three years after drafting him eighth overall.

McClain is the third player drafted in the top 10 by late owner Al Davis to be let go so far this offseason by second-year general manager Reggie McKenzie. Defensive back Michael Huff (seventh pick in 2006) and receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (seventh pick in '09) were cut last month.

Oakland has only two of its own first-round picks on the roster in running back Darren McFadden and kicker Sebastian Janikowski as McKenzie overhauls the roster. There are only 15 players left who were part of the organization at the end of the 2011 season.

49ers ink OL Davis to five-year extension

SAN FRANCISCO -- Right tackle Anthony Davis has signed a five-year contract extension with the San Francisco 49ers.

The deal is worth more than $37 million, with $17 million guaranteed.

The 23-year-old tackle has started 16 games in each of his first three years. He helped the 49ers win consecutive NFC West titles and reach the Super Bowl last season, a 34-31 loss to Baltimore.

Davis played at Rutgers and was the 11th overall pick of the 2010 draft.

"Anthony is a very hard-working, dedicated and talented young player who has earned the respect of our entire organization," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said Friday. "Having already made significant strides early in his career, Anthony is just beginning to realize his full potential. We look forward to watching him achieve even greater results in the years to come."

AUTO RACING

Jeffrey Earnhardt to drive uncle's car at Richmond

MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- JR Motorsports says Jeffrey Earnhardt will drive the team's No. 5 Chevrolet in the Nationwide Series race in Richmond later this month.

Earnhardt is the nephew of team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. He has competed in 14 career Nationwide Series races, including four this season for Archie St. Hilaire and Go Green Racing. He recorded a season-best 20th-place finish at Phoenix on March 2.

The Nationwide Series race at Richmond is scheduled for April 26.

The son of Kerry Earnhardt also made 10 starts in NASCAR's truck series in 2010 and 2011. He is only the second fourth-generation driver to compete in NASCAR's top touring series, joining the late Adam Petty.

The No. 5 car is usually driven by Kasey Kahne or Brad Sweet.

BASKETBALL

Knicks honor 1973 championship team

NEW YORK -- Hoping to contend for a title this season, the New York Knicks are honoring their last team to win one.

The Knicks assembled most of their 1972-73 championship team for a 40th anniversary celebration. The team had a dinner Thursday and was to be recognized Friday during halftime of their game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

With six future Hall of Fame players, the Knicks beat the Los Angeles Lakers in five games to win their second title in four years. New York has been back to the NBA Finals just twice since.

Former Knick Bill Bradley says: "Once a Knick fan, always a Knick fan, and for 40 years we've been suffering Knick fans."

But the franchise was once among the NBA's best, also winning in 1970 and reaching the '72 finals.

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