Around the Nation (Nov. 8): Council members want Michigan billboard taken down

Associated Press Published:

ASSOCIATED PRESS

COLLEGE

Council members want Michigan billboard down

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The Ann Arbor City Council has passed a resolution asking the University of Michigan to take down a $2.8 million digital billboard outside Michigan Stadium that some say distracts drivers.

The Ann Arbor News reports the vote came Thursday night. The billboard has been up several months near the home of Wolverines football and also is near Crisler Center, where Michigan plays basketball. It is 21 feet above the ground, 27 feet tall and 48 feet wide.

The council's resolution calls for the billboard to be replaced with a sign. If it's not taken down, the council wants it only activated during events at the football and basketball venues.

Jim Kosteva, the school's director of community relations, said he would take the city's concerns back to the university.

Rutgers suspends freshman basketball player six games

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rutgers freshman forward Junior Etou has been suspended for six games by the NCAA for accepting impermissible benefits from a third party.

The university announced the suspension of the player from the Congo on Friday, hours before the Scarlet Knights played their first game under new coach Eddie Jordan.

The university said that the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Staff ruled that Etou accepted the benefits from overseas during the fall of 2012. This decision was rendered as part of his amateurism certification condition.

Impermissible benefits are those provided to an individual based on their status as an athlete.

AUTO RACING

Johnson wins pole, Kenseth to start

AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Jimmie Johnson has won the pole for the penultimate race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

The five-time NASCAR champion turned a lap of 139.222 mph in his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to earn the top starting spot for Sunday's race at Phoenix International Raceway.

Matt Kenseth will start 14h in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Kenseth trails Johnson by seven points with two races remaining in the Chase.

Denny Hamlin qualified second with a lap at 139.023 for JGR, but he went out much later in Friday's session than teammate Kenseth.

Joey Logano qualified third in a Penske Racing Ford, and Kyle Busch was fourth as both of Kenseth's teammates out-qualified the title contender.

ICE HOCKEY

Panthers fire coach Dineen, two assistants

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Kevin Dineen has been fired as coach of the Florida Panthers.

The team made the announcement Friday, one day after their losing streak reached seven with a 4-1 loss at Boston. Also fired were assistants Gord Murphy and Craig Ramsay.

Peter Horachek is the Panthers' interim head coach. He has been the coach of the team's AHL affiliate in San Antonio. The Panthers have also hired former players Brian Skrudland and John Madden as assistant coaches.

The Panthers have three wins in 16 games this season and are 14th in the Eastern Conference. Dineen was 56-62-28 in parts of three seasons, leading the Panthers to the 2012 Southeast Division title.

BASKETBALL

Bobcats head coach needs heart procedure

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte Bobcats have announced head coach Steve Clifford will need a procedure to have two stents placed in his heart and will not coach Friday night's game against the New York Knicks.

Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins says in release that Clifford went to the hospital Thursday night because he was suffering from chest pains. Higgins says Clifford is "resting comfortably" in the hospital but it's too early to know when he'll return.

Patrick Ewing will serve as Charlotte's acting head coach Friday against his former team.

Ewing, the Bobcats' associate head coach, says he's "a little nervous" about coaching his first game.

Ewing says, "It's ironic that my first chance to be a head coach will be against a team I played with for 15 years."

Heat's Chalmers fined $15,000

NEW YORK -- Miami Heat guard Mario Chalmers was fined $15,000 by the NBA on Friday for hitting Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin in the throat with a forearm Thursday night.

The foul also was upgraded to a Flagrant Foul 2 from a common infraction. The incident occurred with 8:05 remaining in the third quarter of the Heat's 102-97 home victory.

Mavs' Carter susp. game without pay

DALLAS -- Mavericks forward Vince Carter has been suspended one game without pay by the NBA for a flagrant foul.

The NBA announced the penalty Friday, two days after Carter threw an elbow and made contact with the head of Oklahoma City center Steven Adams.

Carter was assessed a flagrant foul 2 and ejected after the incident with 4 minutes left in the third quarter of the Mavericks' 107-93 loss at the Thunder on Wednesday night.

Carter was set to serve his suspension Friday night, when the Mavericks play at Minnesota.

FOOTBALL

Bucs place RB Doug Martin on IR

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin will miss the remainder of the season with a left shoulder injury that's sidelined him the past two games.

The second-year pro was placed on injured reserve Friday. Linebacker Ka'lial Glaud was promoted from the active roster to fill the opening.

Martin was a Pro Bowl selection as a rookie, rushing for 1,454 yards and finishing third in the NFL behind Adrian Peterson and Calvin Johnson with 1,926 total yards from scrimmage in 2012.

He started the first six games this season, rushing for 456 yards and one touchdown before being injured against Atlanta on Oct. 20.

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