- Associated Press - Friday, February 12, 2016

The U.S. Olympic Committee will hire two infectious disease specialists to advise potential Olympians who are worried about the Zika outbreak in Brazil.

USOC CEO Scott Blackmun sent a letter to all possible Olympians, acknowledging the growing worries over the virus.

“I know that the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil is of concern to many of you,” Blackmun wrote. “I want to emphasize that it is to us, as well, and that your well-being in Rio this summer is our highest priority.”

The letter goes on to spell out much of the information that’s already been relayed by the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The virus is spread by mosquitoes. About 20 percent of those infected display mild symptoms, including body aches and rash. But pregnant women and those considering getting pregnant have greater reason for concern because the virus can cause microcephaly, a birth defect marked by an abnormally small head.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A lawyer for Olympic gold-medalist skier Picabo Street said she was defending herself during a December fight with her father and will demand a jury trial on domestic violence and assault charges.

Attorney Joe Wrona said that the ex-Olympian called 911 for help after her father attacked her, and she doesn’t plan to strike a plea deal with prosecutors.

“We’re not interested in a sweetheart deal. We’re interested in being vindicated at trial,” he said.

Street is accused of throwing her 76-year-old father down the stairs and locking him in the basement during a fight at her home near Park City, Utah, on Dec. 23.

Street, 44, told 911 dispatchers that she “put” her father Roland Street down the stairs after he pulled her hair and scratched her face, according to a recording of the call. Her mother can be heard in the background disputing that version of what happened.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Penn State’s ex-president has sued the university, saying it reneged on an agreement they struck when he stepped down in 2011, and filed another claiming former FBI director Louis Freeh defamed him through a blisteringly critical report about how the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal was handled.

The two lawsuits by Graham Spanier were filed in the county courthouse near State College about three weeks after a state appeals court dismissed several of the more serious criminal charges over his response to complaints about Sandusky and Spanier’s related grand jury testimony.

Spanier accused Penn State of violating a non-disparagement agreement made when he resigned under pressure shortly after Sandusky was first charged. Spanier’s lawsuit alleges that he has been unfairly vilified by the report and by statements critical of him by university trustees.

Spanier also asserts the university has not lived up to promises to provide him with administrative and computer support, or to pay all of his legal costs. He seeks damages and costs for seven counts of breach of contract.

UNDATED (AP) - Replay officials are likely to have more power when it comes to calling targeting penalties in college football next season.

The NCAA football rules committee proposed giving replay officials more authority to overturn incorrect targeting fouls and to call targeting penalties when they are missed on the field. The committee also agreed to allow conferences to experiment with NFL-style centralized video replay review systems in 2016.

The rules committee completed four days of meetings in Orlando, Florida, and announced several proposals that could be implemented next season if approved by the playing rules oversight panel on March 8.

The targeting penalty was adopted in 2013 as a way to reduce helmet-to-helmet hits and potential head and neck injuries. The penalty for targeting is 15 yards, plus ejection of the player who committed the foul. While officials say the rule has changed player behavior, its application has drawn plenty of criticism from fans, players and coaches.

There were 158 targeting penalties called in all FBS games last season. Forty-three were overturned by replay review and 115 were upheld.

FIFA

GENEVA (AP) - FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali has questioned the role of election rival Sheikh Salman in not protecting Bahrain players who alleged abuses after pro-democracy protests in 2011.

In the strongest statement yet on human rights ahead of the Feb. 26 election to succeed Sepp Blatter, the Jordanian prince dismissed the sheikh’s consistent defense that national security issues are beyond the control of sports leaders.

“How are you then going to earn the respect of the entire world and players across the world, as well as FAs (football associations), if you couldn’t even take care of your own?” Prince Ali told reporters after a news conference near the United Nations office in Geneva.

Sheikh Salman has become front-runner in a FIFA campaign he began by strongly denying any part in helping to identify athletes who took part in Arab Spring protests five years ago.

Some Bahrain team players alleged they were tortured by government forces while detained for attending pro-democracy events.

Sheikh Salman was then president of the Bahrain Football Association, and has often said government issues are not the duty of sports leaders.

OTHER

UNDATED (AP) - Kenya is being investigated for breaching the world anti-doping code, WADA said, and could be declared non-compliant in a matter of weeks.

The World Anti-Doping Agency said an independent compliance review committee will now evaluate Kenya and make a recommendation to WADA’s board.

It’s also possible that Kenya could instead be given a deadline and a final chance to honor commitments it made to WADA regarding its anti-doping program.

The investigation relates to the Kenyan government’s failure to set up and properly fund a working national anti-doping agency, and also its failure to finalize new anti-doping legislation.

WADA expects a decision over Kenya’s status in a few weeks.

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