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Florida Gators running back Mike Blakely to transfer

GAINESVILLE — Florida's Mike Blakely, one of the nation's top running backs in the class of 2011, has decided to transfer, Gators coach Will Muschamp announced Tuesday.

Blakely, a former Bradenton Manatee High standout, was the nation's sixth-ranked running back by Rivals.com.

"Mike has come to the conclusion that the University of Florida is not where he wants to play football," Muschamp said. "We wish him the best of luck."

A 5-foot-9, 198-pound freshman, Blakely enrolled early but missed spring drills undergoing rehab for a shoulder injury.

"Everyone at Florida has been very supportive of me in my time here, and I'm thankful for the experience that I had, but I've made a decision to continue my college football career somewhere else," Blakely said in a statement released by the school.

Blakely considered Auburn, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Tennessee and USC before committing to Florida in October.

TV: Announcer Gus Johnson is joining Fox as its top college football play-by-play voice. Johnson had worked for CBS since 1995. He called NFL games but was best known for calling basketball's NCAA Tournament.

ARKANSAS: Receiver Lance Ray is leaving the school. Coach Bobby Petrino declined to say whether Ray asked to be released from his scholarship or was kicked off the team.

COLORADO: The regular-season finale at Utah, the school's fellow newcomer in what will now be the Pac-12, was moved a day earlier to Nov. 25. That lets the Buffaloes play the day after Thanksgiving, which it did for the past 15 years against then-Big 12 rival Nebraska.

NORTHWESTERN: The school and Pat Fitzgerald agreed to a new deal that keeps the coach under contract through the 2020 season. The sides didn't release financial terms, but the Chicago Tribune reported it was worth about $1.8 million per season.

Softball: USF coach suspended one game

TAMPA — USF softball coach Ken Eriksen has been suspended from the Bulls' opener in the Big East tournament for his decision to take his team off the field Sunday in the second inning of a game at DePaul, resulting in a forfeit loss. USF issued a statement, saying that "NCAA rules mandate a suspension of the head coach" as a result of Eriksen's actions, which the school said Sunday were done out of concern for the "safety and welfare" of his players. No further explanation was given. Assistant Stacey Heintz will step in for Eriksen in Thursday's first-round game against Louisville. In an interview Tuesday, Eriksen had spoken about preparing for Thursday's game as normal.

Sunshine state conference: Tampa placed two local products, junior pitcher Deanna Henriott (St. Petersburg Catholic) and junior third baseman Susan Jallo (East Lake), on the All-SSC first team. Plant High graduate Grace Collins (Barry) also made the first team.

Basketball

BUTLER: Guard Shelvin Mack formally announced that he is staying in the NBA draft and skipping his senior season.

XAVIER: The school gave coach Chris Mack a new contract through the 2017-18 season.

NCAA boss talks tough

Mark Emmert wants to start hitting NCAA rule-breakers hard. The governing body's president said he wants schools that violate the rules to pay a stiff penalty — one punitive enough to make coaches and others think twice about cheating. "We need to make sure our penalty structure and enforcement process imposes a thoughtful level of concern, and that the cost of violating the rules costs more than not violating them," Emmert said.

Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report, which used information from Times wires.

Florida Gators running back Mike Blakely to transfer 05/10/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 12:50am]

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