New agent rule leaves college basketball player in limbo

By AARON BEARD AP Basketball Writer
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The new NCAA rule designed to help players explore their NBA draft potential by allowing them to sign with an agent and still return to school surprisingly doesn’t apply to all college players.
It was a stunning revelation for Phil Bledsoe from tiny Division II Glenville State in West Virginia when he learned the rule adopted amid the college basketball scandal only applies to Division I players.
Though Bledsoe followed the meticulous guidelines outlined by the NCAA to take advantage of the rule, he found out Tuesday that the restriction leaves him entangled in bureaucratic limbo and his college status unclear. He pulled out of the draft before Wednesday night’s 11:59 p.m. NCAA deadline for underclassmen to withdraw if they plan to return to campus.
“This didn’t need to happen,” Bill Lilly, the dismayed compliance coordinator at Glenville State who made the mistake, told The Associated Press. “I could’ve avoided it, but we could’ve had help in avoiding this thing, too, because we weren’t trying to sneak anything by anyone. We were just trying to give the kid the option we thought he had, and now he doesn’t have it.”
The NCAA did not immediately respond to inquiries about why the rule doesn’t apply to all college basketball players.
However, one thing is clear: Compliance officers play a pivotal role in the deciphering the rules. The NCAA allows schools to communicate directly with the NBA when notifying the league of a player’s intent to enter — then withdraw — from the draft.
Bledsoe sought out Maryland-based agent Jerry Dianis as he declared for the draft with the intent of maintaining his college eligibility. Dianis had previously attended a National Basketball Player Association seminar in recent months where NCAA representatives had attended to discuss the new rule, while Lilly said he spoke with colleagues and twice consulted with the NBA — which is focused on who is entering the draft and who is withdrawing, not who plans to return to school per NCAA guidelines.
Still, no one working with Bledsoe foresaw a problem for the 6-foot-6 junior who played his first two college seasons at Marshall in the Division I ranks.
“Everyone collectively, there was no division in thought in this,” Dianis said, “from the agent to the compliance officer to the head coach to the player. We were all on one accord.”
The rule, implemented last August amid numerous reforms proposed by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s Commission on College Basketball. It permits agents to cover minimal travel expenses for team meetings and workouts, though those contracts must end if the player withdraws from the draft and returns to school.
Sounds simple enough, until trying to determine who the rule applies to.
The rule was adopted by the Division I Board of Directors overseeing only the NCAA’s top division of athletics. The NCAA launched the “Committed to Change” web page to explain the reforms, and broad terms such as “basketball student-athletes” and “college basketball players” are used when referencing the new agent rule without definitively saying it does not apply to Division II or Division III players.
It takes a deeper dive into the NCAA’s legislative database to make that distinction.
All three divisions have a starting point of General Rule 12.3.1, which prohibits athletes from agreeing to be represented by an agent either verbally or in writing. But there’s an exception outlined in the Division I rules permitting players to sign with an NCAA-certified agent (Section 12.3.1.2), yet that exception doesn’t appear in the Division II and Division III rulebooks and was never adopted at those levels.
“You just don’t think of this being separated between Is, IIs and IIIs, and if so, why?” Lilly said. “What’s the purpose of not allowing a Division II kid to have the same opportunity a Division I kid has?”
Some Division I players took advantage of the rule, following the same steps that Bledsoe took, including one who also worked with Dianis without any problems.
The agent helped Kevon Harris of Stephen F. Austin get feedback on his game before he withdrew from the draft to return to school.
“Just having somebody that’s just for you, that’s looking out for you, that’s calling and talking to teams — just for you,” Harris said. “Because your coach, he can only do so much. He’s got a team full. Of course he’s going to look out for you, but an agent is supposed to do his part and talk to GMs himself and call around. … I’ve got my name out even more. I’m just excited to be able to do it.”
Northeast Conference player of the year Keith Braxton of St. Francis in Pennsylvania agrees with Harris.
Braxton, a 6-5 guard, signed with agent Pedro Power but hopes he has generated NBA interest as he returns for his senior season after withdrawing from the draft.
“Just having an agent helps you build those connections that you might not have had beforehand,” Braxton said, adding: “It’s very helpful, very helpful. I couldn’t imagine doing it without him.”
Bledsoe took the same route, followed the same steps. But because he plays at a Division II school, the accounting major who Dianis said has a 3.7 GPA now is awaiting to see what’s next for him.
Dianis doesn’t believe this is what Rice and the commission had in mind and he is optimistic Glenville State and the NCAA will be able to resolve Bledsoe’s situation.
“I’ve had the conversation with the NCAA and I don’t anticipate there will be any issues at all in reference to his continued playing,” Dianis said. “Rational minds realize it’s just an oversight on the NCAA’s part, is the way I look at it. You just have to be more clear.
“How hard is it to add a sentence or to add ‘Division I’ just to include that in the information that was sent out?”
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Officials confirm 3 new cases of rat lungworm in Hawaii island visitors

HONOLULU (AP) — There have been three new cases of rat lungworm disease contracted by visitors to Hawaii, officials said.

The state health department received confirmation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of three unrelated cases diagnosed in visitors to Hawaii Island, news outlets reported Thursday.

Rat lungworm is a parasite that can cause “severe gastrointestinal or central nervous system disease,” according to the CDC website. The disease can have debilitating effects on an infected person’s brain and spinal cord.

All three who contracted the illness were adults who live on the mainland and visited the Big Island.

The first person became ill after eating a slug in Hawaii in late December 2018, but was not hospitalized.

The second visitor became ill in early January of this year and an investigation failed to find out how the illness was contracted.

The third person became ill in late February of this year and was hospitalized for a short time.

The person who got sick in December was the eighth to test positive on Hawaii island in 2018, bringing the statewide total to 10 confirmed cases last year, officials said.

There have been five confirmed cases this year, all contracted on Hawaii Island.

“It’s important that we ensure our visitors know the precautions to take to prevent rat lungworm disease, which can have severe long-term effects,” state Health Director Bruce Anderson said in a release.

“Getting information to visitors about the disease is just as critical as raising awareness amongst our residents,” Anderson said.

Body of missing teen found, mother’s boyfriend charged

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. (AP) — Authorities say they’ve found the body of a missing West Virginia girl and her mother’s boyfriend has been arrested.
News outlets report Morgan County Sheriff K.C. Bohrer said during a news conference Thursday that 15-year-old Riley Crossman’s decomposed body was found on an embankment near a road in rural Berkeley County by officers from the Division of Natural Resources. The Berkeley Springs High School student had been reported missing May 8 by her mother.
Bohrer said 41-year-old Andy J. McCauley Jr. was taken into custody hours after the body was found and charged with murder. Bohrer said McCauley had been a person of interest since the first day of the investigation.
Online jail records show McCauley is being held without bond. The records don’t say whether he has an attorney.

Garage sale on Mississippi River spans 100 miles in 2 states

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Kentucky Derby isn’t the only spectacle on the first weekend in May. There’s also the 100 Mile Garage Sale.
The annual bargain shopping event along both the Minnesota and Wisconsin sides of the Mississippi River has been happening for more than two decades. The sale follows Highway 35 in Wisconsin from Fountain City to Prescott and Highway 61 in Minnesota from Red Wing to Winona.
Pat Mutter, executive director of a convention and visitors bureau in Winona, Minnesota, says the sale draws people from around the country. It is sponsored by the Mississippi Valley Partners, which runs a website that lists the sales, addresses and brief description of inventory.
Lake City, Minnesota, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michelle Larson says the sale also benefits local restaurants and convenience stores.
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This version has been correct to add dropped word “in” in the first paragraph.

West Virginia 2019-20 nonleague schedule has 7 home dates

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia will play seven men’s nonconference basketball games at home next season.
WVU announced the nonconference portion of its schedule Monday.
The Mountaineers open the 2019-20 season at home against Akron on Nov. 8. After playing at Pittsburgh Nov. 15, WVU will host Northern Colorado on Nov. 18 and Boston University on Nov. 22 as part of the Cancun Challenge before completing the tournament with two more games in Mexico on Nov. 26 and Nov. 27.
Other nonconference home games are Dec. 1 against Rhode Island, Dec. 12 against Austin Peay, Dec. 14 against Nicholls State and the Big 12-SEC Challenge against an undetermined opponent Jan. 25.
Other road games include Dec. 7 or 8 at St. John’s, against Youngstown State at an off-campus site in Youngstown, Ohio, on Dec. 21, and a neutral-site game against Ohio State in Cleveland on Dec. 29.

LEADING OFF: Sabathia goes for 3,000 Ks, Yelich hobbled

By The Associated Press undefined
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
MISTER 3,000
CC Sabathia (1-0, 2.40 ERA) needs three strikeouts for 3,000 when the New York Yankees visit Arizona. The 38-year-old veteran, who plans to retire after this season, is trying to join Randy Johnson and Steve Carlton as the only left-handers to reach the milestone. Sabathia would become the 17th member of the club and first to enter since John Smoltz in 2008. With 13 players on the injured list, the depleted Yankees (17-11) have still managed to win three straight and 11 of 13. But in Arizona, they will be facing a team that currently has a winning record for only the second series this season. New York was swept by Houston in three games from April 8-10.
INJURY WATCH
Some of the game’s top stars have hobbled into the work week. NL MVP Christian Yelich sat out Monday, a day after the Brewers right fielder left a game with lower back soreness. Mets second baseman Robinson Canó has a swollen hand after being hit by a pitch, but X-rays and an MRI were negative. Padres rookie Fernando Tatis Jr. was held out Monday with a hamstring injury. He was hurt during an awkward-looking split stretching for a throw at second base Sunday. All three are considered day to day.
SINKING SHIP
Looking to snap an eight-game losing streak, the Pittsburgh Pirates open an interleague series at Texas. Jordan Lyles (2-1, 2.05 ERA) starts against a Rangers team that has scored 29 runs over its past two games.
ALL HEALED
Twins third baseman Miguel Sano will begin an injury rehab assignment with Class A Fort Myers after recovering from a right heel laceration. Sano missed all of spring training and the start of the season after cutting his right foot falling down metal steps celebrating a winter league championship in the Dominican Republic. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said Sano will start with partial games at Fort Myers and build himself up. Sano is expected to make stops in Double-A and Triple-A during a lengthy assignment.
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Cardinals score 6 in 5th inning to beat Nationals 6-3

BOBBY BANCROFT Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Held to one hit through four innings, the St. Louis Cardinals suddenly broke loose.
Harrison Bader homered to spark a six-run fifth as the surging Cardinals rallied past Patrick Corbin and the Washington Nationals 6-3 on Monday night in the opener of a four-game series.
“Harry got a pitch and drove it, and kind of opened it up from there,” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said.
Marcell Ozuna put the Cardinals ahead 4-3 with a two-run single. Jose Martinez had an RBI double and Yadier Molina added a run-scoring single off Corbin, who took a 3-0 lead into the fifth.
“They continued to make good at-bats,” Shildt said. “We are really sincere about getting better as the game goes. This group’s pretty dedicated to that.”
Michael Wacha (2-0) went five innings after being activated from the 10-day injured list earlier in the day. The right-hander allowed three runs and four hits while striking out five.
Jordan Hicks pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his ninth save.
St. Louis has won three straight and eight of nine.
After yielding only one hit through the first four innings, Corbin (2-1) let the Cardinals bat around in the fifth. He gave up six runs — five with two outs — in his first loss since joining the Nationals as a $140 million free agent from Arizona.
“I put myself in trouble with those couple of walks there in that inning and it kind of just led to a big inning for them,” Corbin said.
Coming into the game, the left-hander had walked just six in 32 2/3 innings this season. But he issued four free passes against the Cardinals, two in the fifth inning.
Following Bader’s solo homer, Corbin got Wacha to ground out but then allowed the next six batters to reach. Matt Carpenter walked and later scored on a wild pitch to Ozuna.
“Guys bounced back and scored a big six spot for us there, and the bullpen came in and shut the door like they’ve been doing,” Wacha said. “This was a good team win.”
Molina’s single extended his hitting streak to 16 games, tying a career high.
Washington took a 3-0 lead in the second on a bases-loaded walk to Corbin and a two-run single by Adam Eaton.
TRAINER’S ROOM
Cardinals: RHP Luke Gregerson (right shoulder impingement) was set to arrive in Washington. The 34-year-old reliever began the season on a rehab assignment with Double-A Springfield, where he allowed two runs in 11 innings.
Nationals: 3B Anthony Rendon (bruised left elbow) was out of the lineup for the second consecutive game and the seventh time in eight after being hit by a pitch April 20 in Miami. Rendon tried to go in pregame warmups but was unavailable. “We’re going to sit back here and re-evaluate,” manager Dave Martinez said. “See what’s going on (Tuesday).” … RHP Trevor Rosenthal (viral infection), placed on the 10-day injured list Friday, left for extended spring training in Florida without a timetable for his return.
BAD STARTS
Washington is 1-9 in series openers. “We’re not playing well right now and I think that’s apparent,” Eaton said. “When you don’t play well, you don’t win too many games. … It’s just been a struggle right now.”
ROSTER MOVE
Washington recalled infielder Adrian Sanchez from Double-A Harrisburg. Sanchez was with the Nationals in early April but did not appear in a game. In the corresponding move, the team optioned RHP Erick Fedde — who pitched four scoreless innings on Sunday — to Double-A.
UP NEXT
Cardinals: RHP Adam Wainwright (2-2, 3.96 ERA) is 8-4 with a 3.38 ERA in 15 career games against Washington.
Nationals: RHP Anibal Sanchez (0-3, 6.00) is still looking for his first win with Washington in his sixth start of the season.
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Butler scores 30 as 76ers beat Raptors 94-89 to even series

By IAN HARRISON Associated Press
TORONTO (AP) — Jimmy Butler’s big game helped Philadelphia snap a lengthy losing streak in Toronto and, more importantly, brought the 76ers level in their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Butler had 30 points and 11 rebounds, James Ennis scored 13 points and the 76ers held on to beat the Raptors 94-89 on Monday night, knotting the series 1-1.
It was Philadelphia’s first win in Toronto since Nov. 10, 2012, snapping a 14-game losing streak.
“Everybody wants to paint the picture that we haven’t won here in however many years,” Butler said. “I’m just glad that we came out on top. We don’t care how many games we’ve lost, nothing like that.”
Butler scored 12 in the final quarter to help the 76ers withstand a late Toronto rally.
“He was just a tremendous rock,” coach Brett Brown said. “He willed us to a lot of different situations. He was a stud.”
Butler scored just 10 points in Game 1, when he shot 4 for 12.
“Jimmy Butler is a gamer,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “He wasn’t going to be quiet this whole series.”
Game 3 is Thursday night in Philadelphia.
Down 19 in the first half, Toronto cut the deficit to one late in the third, only to go cold to start the fourth, missing six of its first seven shots.
The Raptors kept coming, however. Lowry made 3-pointers on both sides of a pair of foul shots by Butler cutting it to 90-87 with 1:36 to go. Toronto got the ball back, and Siakam scored on a layup to make it a one-point game, but Joel Embiid answered with a driving shot at the other end, restoring the three-point advantage with 24 seconds left.
After Lowry nearly turned the ball over, Danny Green missed a potential tying 3, and Philadelphia’s Tobias Harris came up with the rebound, his 11th. Harris was fouled and sealed it by making a pair with 3.9 seconds left.
“We got lucky there at the end,” Brown said.
Embiid scored 12 points in 32 minutes despite missing the morning shootaround because of flu-like symptoms. Brown said Embiid received intravenous fluids before the game.
“Full credit all over the place to Joel,” Brown said.
Embiid acknowledged feeling rough, but refused to sit out.
“There’s no way I was missing this game,” he said. “This game was really important to us. It doesn’t matter what I had, I was going to play.”
Kawhi Leonard scored 35 points, Siakam had 21 and Lowry 20. Toronto shot 10 for 37 from 3-point range and 33 for 91 overall as its franchise-record five game postseason winning streak came to an end.
“We didn’t play well tonight,” Lowry said. “They played really desperate and played super hard tonight and they got a victory.”
Toronto missed six of its first eight shots, matching the number of misses it had in the first quarter of Game 1, when the Raptors made 16 of 22. Toronto shot 7 for 24 in the first and missed its first seven from 3-point range before Norm Powell connected.
Butler scored six points for Philadelphia, who led 26-17 after one. Toronto got 17 from both Leonard and Siakam in the first quarter of Game 1, when they scored 39 points.
Ennis and Butler each scored seven points in the second and Philadelphia led 51-38 at the half.
Leonard scored seven more as Toronto used a 13-4 run out of the break to cut the gap to 55-51. Leonard had 11 points in the third and Siakam had seven. Toronto trailed 61-60 with 2:50 left in the quarter but Embiid made four free throws before the quarter ended and the 76ers took a 69-63 lead to the fourth.
TIP-INS
76ers: Embiid only attempted one shot in the first half, a missed 3-pointer at 8:39 of the second. … Greg Monroe left in the third because of a sore left ankle and did not return. … Philadelphia had 13 turnovers in the first half, leading to 18 points for the Raptors. They finished with 20, leading to 24 points
Raptors: Siakam missed eight of his first 10 shots and finished 9 for 25. … Leonard shot 6 for 10 in the first half, while the rest of the Raptors shot 9 for 36. … Toronto held its opponent below 100 points for the sixth straight game.
NAME GAME
Brown praised the maturity of Butler’s performance in his post-game remarks.
“This was James Butler,” Brown said. “That was the adult in the gym.”
Told of his coach’s comments, Butler offered a correction.
“My name isn’t James,” he said. “It’s literally Jimmy.”
BOARD MEETING
Philadelphia out rebounded Toronto 53-36, including a 27-11 edge in the first half.
COURTSIDE COUPLE
Hockey player PK Subban and skier Lindsey Vonn sat together in courtside seats opposite the Toronto bench.
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Rockets’ Paul fined $35K for ‘reckless’ contact with ref

By JANIE McCAULEY AP Sports Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Houston guard Chris Paul was fined $35,000 by the NBA on Monday for making contact with an official with 4.4 seconds left in a 104-100 loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Paul was automatically ejected following his second technical Sunday. The league said his discipline — handed down by executive Kiki VanDeWeghe — was “for aggressively confronting and recklessly making contact with a game official,” Josh Tiven. Paul would not say after the game whether he had indeed made contact with Tiven as it appeared on replays.
The incident happened when Paul argued that Warriors guard Klay Thompson committed a loose-ball foul against him.
“I don’t know yet. Nobody told me. He just called a tech. And I knew that was my second,” said Paul, who had rebounded James Harden’s missed 3 with 10.1 seconds left.
The Rockets publicly complained in postgame interviews about the officiating, particularly frustrated with Golden State’s closeouts on 3-point shooters like Harden.
On Monday, the NBA’s Last-Two Minute Report confirmed a no-call when Draymond Green defended that 3-point try by Harden that could have tied the game.
Paul has been determined to have a great series against the two-time defending champion Warriors after he missed the final two games of last year’s seven-game series because of an injured right hamstring. Houston squandered a 3-2 series lead by losing Game 7 at home.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night at Oracle Arena. The West powers are meeting in the postseason for the fourth time in five years.
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Ex-Raiders, Seahawks kicker Sebastian Janikowski retiring

By The Associated Press undefined
Former Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks kicker Sebastian Janikowski is set to retire after an 18-year career.
Janikowski spent 17 seasons with Oakland before kicking last season with Seattle after signing a one-year deal. Janikowski’s agent, Paul Healy, confirmed to The Associated Press on Monday that his client intends to retire. Janikowski, 41, told ESPN over the weekend he didn’t believe his body could handle kicking in the NFL anymore.
The Raiders took Janikowski with the 17th overall pick in the 2000 draft out of Florida State. Nicknamed “Seabass,” Janikowski converted 80.4% of his field goal attempts during his career, including a career long of 63 yards during the 2011 season, the only time he was selected for the Pro Bowl. The kick at the time matched the NFL record for longest field goal made.
Janikowski was synonymous with the Raiders during his tenure in Oakland. He played in 268 regular-season games for the Raiders and made more than 30 field goals in three straight seasons from 2010-12, including a league-high 33 in 2010.
Janikowski missed the entire 2017 season due to a back injury and his final season in Seattle was the first time he kicked anywhere other than Oakland. Janikowski had some conversations with the Chargers about kicking last season in Los Angeles, but he decided Seattle was the better opportunity. Janikowski was 22 of 27 on field goals in his one season with Seattle, but hit three game winners.
Janikowski is 10th in career points scored with 1,913, ninth in career field goals made with 436 and 16th in career games with 284. He was a second-team AP All-Pro selection in 2011.
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