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Sports in brief

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COACHES DEFEND VOLS

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee's coaches held a rare joint news conference Tuesday to say that an unfair picture of the athletic department is emerging amid a lawsuit that states the school mishandled sexual assault complaints against athletes.

"We don't want the stereotype that there's something out there that's not true," said Rick Barnes, the men's basketball coach.

The federal suit filed Feb. 9 in Nashville by six unidentified women states Tennessee violated Title IX regulations and created a "hostile sexual environment" through a policy of indifference toward assaults by athletes. The suit says the university interfered with the disciplinary process to favor male athletes.

Coaches defended the university but declined to address the lawsuit.

"The culture here right now is the best it's ever been. … The image that's being displayed of our culture is unfair," softball co-coach Karen Weekly said.

Tennessee's 16 head coaches said they decided on their own to hold a news conference. Athletic director Dave Hart wasn't at the event.

SOCCER

Messi carries Barcelona

Two goals from Lionel Messi steered Barcelona to a convincing 2-0 victory over Arsenal in the last 16 of the Champions League in London. Messi provided a clinical finish to a breakaway move that featured strike partners Luis Suarez and Neymar in the 71st minute then scored an 83rd minute penalty to seal the first-leg match. Also, Juventus came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 against Bayern Munich in the first leg of their last 16 match.

FIFA ELECTION: FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali is asking for Friday's election to be suspended after his request for the use of transparent voting booths was rejected.

U.S. WOMEN: The World Cup-winning U.S. national team will face Colombia on April 10 at Talen Energy Stadium outside Philadelphia.

GIRLS ACADEMY: U.S. Soccer is launching a Girls' Development Academy program next year aimed at the cultivation of elite-level players.

TENNIS

Wawrinka has a breakthrough

Second-seeded Stan Wawrinka finally won a match at the Dubai Tennis Championships after beating Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 to advance to the second round United Arab Emirates. Wawrinka played at the tournament in 2006 and 2008 and lost in the first round both times.

QATAR OPEN: Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber made a disappointing return to tournament tennis, losing 7-5, 6-1 to China's Zheng Saisai in the second round in Doha.

DAVIS CUP: John Isner, Jack Sock and the Bryan twins will represent the United States against Australia in the first round next month. Andy Murray will lead Britain when it opens its title defense against Japan next week. And top-ranked Novak Djokovic will lead Serbia against Kazakhstan.

ET CETERA

AUTOS: Alexander Rossi is joining the IndyCar Series after leaving Formula One. Michael Andretti announced the 24-year-old American would drive the No. 98 car for Andretti Autosport.

MMA: UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos has a broken foot and has dropped out of his March 5 title defense against Conor McGregor.

OLYMPICS: Ice dance champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White and actor Cicely Tyson will be honored in April by Figure Skating in Harlem.

SLALOM: Lindsey Vonn was beaten in the opening round of the dual slalom in central Stockholm but retained her 23-point overall World Cup lead over Lara Gut of Switzerland. Marcel Hirscher won the parallel slalom to increase his overall lead, and Wendy Holdener of Switzerland clinched the women's event for her first career victory.

Times wires

Sports in brief 02/23/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 23, 2016 8:49pm]
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