- Associated Press - Friday, April 3, 2015


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - The woman who said former Alabama football player Jonathan Taylor assaulted her now says she made it up because she thought he was cheating on her.

A deposition released Thursday by Tuscaloosa County District Court indicates “she made it up to get back at him for cheating on her in December and she thought he was cheating again.”

The 24-year-old woman, identified as Gina Marie Nawab, was charged with False Reporting to Law Enforcement. The deposition says bruises on her neck were self-inflicted.

University spokeswoman Deborah Lane said Thursday in a statement that Taylor is no longer a student and “is not eligible for re-admission.”

Alabama coach Nick Saban dismissed Taylor from the team on Sunday. Domestic violence charges that led to his July dismissal from Georgia are still pending.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Shaka Smart is leaving Virginia Commonwealth to coach the Texas Longhorns.

VCU sports information director Scott Day confirmed to reporters gathered at the campus Thursday night that Smart was making the move. Smart met with VCU players earlier in the evening.

Texas athletic director Steve Patterson flew to Richmond on Thursday to close the deal.

Smart has been one of the hottest names in college coaching since leading the Rams to the Final Four in 2011. Patterson has zeroed in on bringing Smart to Texas immediately after firing former Longhorns coach Rick Barnes last weekend.

Terms of Smart’s contract were not immediately released and VCU said a statement would be released Friday. Barnes made $2.62 million last season. Smart made $1.8 million with the Rams.


CLEVELAND (AP) - Cavaliers star LeBron James has moved into 20th place on the NBA’s career scoring list, passing Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing.

James scored on a hook shot in the lane with 7:22 left in the first quarter Thursday night against Miami, giving him 24,816 points. The 30-year-old has passed several prominent players this season, including Robert Parrish, Charles Barkley, Allen Iverson and former teammate Ray Allen.

Next on the list is Jerry West with 25,192 points.

James, who came in averaging an Eastern Conference-best 25.7 points per game, is in his 12th season as a pro. He has averaged at least 25 points in his first 11 seasons, joining West and Karl Malone as the only players to accomplish the feat.

James became the youngest to score 24,000 points on Jan. 16. He entered Thursday’s game having scored at least 10 points in 636 straight games.


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - NCAA President Mark Emmert made it clear the association wouldn’t tolerate discrimination and was willing to take its business out of Indiana if the state’s religious objections law wasn’t fixed to his satisfaction.

Whether he and the NCAA’s leaders can take that stand in other states with similar laws is less clear - and its leaders acknowledge wading into social debates and state law is new and tricky territory for college sports’ governing body.

Emmert’s annual state of the NCAA address on Thursday came as the Indiana lawmakers were revising the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that has, in some ways, overshadowed the start of one of college sports’ biggest events, the Final Four.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz defended the NCAA’s role in policing academics and says there’s no need for more involvement.

The NCAA has come under criticism for part of its response to a lawsuit filed against it by former North Carolina athletes. In the filing, the NCAA wrote the association “did not assume a duty to ensure the quality of education student-athletes received at member institutions.”

Two former Tar Heels athletes have filed a lawsuit against the school and NCAA, saying neither has done enough to ensure athletes get a quality education.


HOUSTON (AP) - Scott Piercy tied a tournament record with a nearly flawless 9-under-par 63 Thursday to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Houston Open.

Alex Cejka, playing in one of the afternoon groups, made four birdies on his back nine - the course’s front nine - to finish with a 64, one stroke behind Piercy.

J. B. Holmes was next at 65, having also gotten to 8-under with four holes to play before finding a fairway bunker with his first shot at No. 6. After badly missing the green, Holmes had to scramble to a bogey.

Phil Mickelson, Luke Guthrie, Charles Howell III and Houston’s Shawn Stefani each shot a 66 and trail Piercy by three strokes.


CHICAGO (AP) - The Chicago Cubs don’t have to halt construction on a Wrigley Field video board that will block game views of adjacent rooftop clubs, a federal judge ruled on Thursday, dismissing claims from the one-of-a-kind businesses that they’re doomed if it goes up.

The ruling means both that the right-field sign could be operational soon and that the Cubs’ $375 million renovation of the century-old ballpark - which the teams sees as central to its future success - remains on track.

Skybox on Sheffield and Lakeview Baseball Club requested the preliminary injunction until a wide-ranging lawsuit is resolved. The rooftop owners say a 2004 revenue-sharing agreement with the Cubs prevents the team from obstructing views. They hoped the judge would issue an order in their favor before the Cubs’ first home game, this Sunday.

But in a 35-page opinion laden with baseball puns, U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall wrote that the rooftops “have cried foul” but haven’t demonstrated their businesses would, in fact, go under for good if the Cubs weren’t stopped immediately from erecting the video board.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Oakland Athletics left fielder Coco Crisp will have surgery on his right elbow and could miss up to two months.

Crisp said before Thursday night’s exhibition game against San Francisco at AT&T; Park that he will have the surgery on Friday to remove a bone chip and spurs.

The A’s did not announce a roster move but they’re expected to place Crisp on the 15-day disabled list soon.



KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) - Top-seeded Serena Williams will play in the Miami Open women’s final after holding off third-seeded Simona Halep of Romania 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 in a semifinal Thursday night.

Looking for her eighth title at Key Biscayne, Williams will meet Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain in Saturday’s final.

Halep was the last woman to beat Williams, easily topping her at last year’s WTA Finals. And she almost did it again, before succumbing in just over two hours.

Suarez Navarro earned her finals berth and first Top 10 ranking with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Germany’s Andrea Petkovic.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and John Isner of the U.S. will meet in a men’s semifinal Friday, after straight-set wins Thursday.

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