SANDESTIN — Despite the economic downturn affecting Florida's overall budget, UF president Bernie Machen said Friday that football coach Urban Meyer deserves a raise and that Meyer has earned the right to be the highest-paid coach in the SEC.
Alabama coach Nick Saban is the highest-paid at about $4 million a year. Meyer, who earns about $3.25 million annually, has won two national championships the past three seasons, and talk of a new contract has been prevalent since the Gators won the second in January.
Athletic director Jeremy Foley said at the SEC spring meetings this week that the athletic staff is still assembling a budget and that he'll begin talks about a contract at the appropriate time.
While SEC schools are suffering financially on the academic side, athletics is thriving. Commissioner Mike Slive announced the league distributed a record $132.5 million to its 12 schools, a 4 percent increase from a year ago. Each school received an average of about $11.1 million, not including $11.6 million more awarded to bowl participants.
NEW MEXICO: Mike Locksley, the football coach for less than six months, has been accused of sexual harassment, age discrimination and retaliation by a former administrative assistant. Sylvia Lopez filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She worked under Locksley before transferring last month, then quit her university job May 15. Athletic director Paul Krebs said the university is taking the complaint seriously but he stood behind the coach.
DUKE: Coach David Cutcliffe said former starting quarterback Zack Asack has been kicked off the team for an undisclosed violation of team policy.
SOFTBALL WORLD SERIES: Megan Bush homered and Stacey Nelson threw her second straight shutout as Florida, the top seed, edged Michigan 1-0 at in Oklahoma City. Nelson pitched a one-hitter for her 21st shutout this season, and the Gators (62-3) held an opponent scoreless for the 39th time. Nelson (41-3) allowed only Bree Evans' single up the middle in the fourth inning. Also, Washington stayed unbeaten by knocking off defending champion Arizona State 1-0 in eight innings. Florida and Washington get today off and play Sunday needing only to win one of two to reach next week's best-of-three championship.
BASEBALL REGIONS: Teddy Foster's two-run single in the ninth inning helped host Florida avoid a stunning upset as the Gators edged Bethune-Cookman 8-7. Hiram Burgos mostly baffled UF (40-20) in seven innings, but the Wildcats (32-27) fell to 1-19 in the NCAA tournament and remained winless in 23 tries against the Gators. At 6:30 tonight UF faces Miami (37-20), which defeated Jacksonville 9-4 as Jason Hagerty homered from both sides of the plate. UM coach Jim Morris left right after the game to be with his mother in a local hospital; school officials said she suffered a heat-related illness and they had no word on her condition. Jacksonville (36-21) plays B-CU in an elimination game at 1 p.m. today. In the Tallahassee region, Georgia hit seven homers and pounded Ohio State 24-8. The Bulldogs face the winner of Friday's late Florida State-Marist game at 4 today, and the loser plays Ohio State at noon.
BASKETBALL: Kentucky coach John Calipari received a letter from the NCAA that said he isn't the target of an investigation into possible infractions at Memphis but that he still needs to attend a June 6 hearing on the matter. Calipari plans to participate by phone because he will be in China at that time.
MEN'S TENNIS: The Pac-10 forced UCLA to forfeit several matches from the 2008 season, giving USC the conference title.
Times wires contributed to this report. Antonya English can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3389.