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Sports Briefs

- - Wednesday, March 30, 2011

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Fiesta Bowl troubles could lead to ejection from BCS

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. | The Fiesta Bowl ejected its chief executive amid corruption accusations and now faces another challenge: persuading the BCS to let it stay in the lucrative bowl system used to crown a national champion.

If Fiesta Bowl officials can't, BCS executive director Bill Hancock says, the organization has no problem booting them.

The Fiesta Bowl released an internal report that uncovered "excessive compensation, nonbusiness and inappropriate expenditures and inappropriate gifts" and fired longtime CEO and President John Junker.

The BCS has set up a task force to help determine whether the leaders of major college football want to continue doing business with the Fiesta Bowl. It is in the second year of a four-year deal to be part of the BCS.

The BCS is one of three organizations whose polls crown national champions. The others are the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today.

The reimbursements, listed as at least $46,539, are an apparent violation of state campaign finance laws and the charter that allows the Fiesta Bowl its nonprofit status. Arizona state prosecutors are also conducting a probe.

The Fiesta board unanimously fired Junker "for his improper and inappropriate activities documented" in the report.

NBA

Nets start selling premium seats to Brooklyn arena

BROOKLYN, N.Y. | The New Jersey Nets have started selling their premium season tickets for their inaugural 2012-13 NBA season at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Nets Chief Executive Officer Brett Yormark said the team has offered current season tickets holders the opportunity to buy its top ticket package, which is being called "All Access" season tickets. The offers were mailed recently.

The packages will cover 4,000 club and courtside seats in the area. Yormark said that all of the top-of-the-line All Access seats have been sold. He did not say how much they cost.

The remaining premium seats range in price from $99 to $1,500 per seat.

JURISPRUDENCE

Four Penn State athletes charged with disorderly conduct

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. | Police have charged four Penn State athletes - two football players and two basketball players - with disorderly conduct in connection with a scuffle at an off-campus apartment building last month.

State College police Lt. Keith Robb said Wednesday they were among seven suspects charged with the summary offense after the Feb. 26 fight. One person suffered "very minor injuries" and did not require treatment, Robb said.

Police identified four of those charged as Curtis Drake and Derrick Thomas, both 20; and Tre Bowman and Taran Buie, both 19. Drake and Thomas play football, while Bowman plays basketball.

Buie has been suspended from the basketball team since late December for an unrelated and unspecified violation of team rules.

Also charged were Penn State student Christopher Felter, 21, of State College; and two non-students from Susquehanna, Bryan Price, 23, and Craig Price, 21. It was unclear if the Prices were related.

TENNIS

Mardy Fish wins, becomes top-ranked American player

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. Mardy Fish is the new No. 1 in the United States, and he's among the final four at the Sony Ericsson Open.

Fish claimed the top American men's ranking for the first time Wednesday by reaching the semifinals when he beat No. 6-seeded David Ferrer 7-5, 6-2.

A Minnesota native who grew up in Florida, the 29-year-old Fish will climb to at least 11th, a career best, in the next rankings. Good friend Andy Roddick will fall from eighth to 14th after losing his opening match last week.

"I don't think I would ever feel like I was the No. 1 American," Fish said. "Andy has had a pretty good career. You can put his career on top of mine about six times. He's always going to be the top dog in my generation."