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BUCKEYES: TRESSEL MUST PAY LEGAL BILLS

Colleges

Ohio State will not have to pay for Jim Tressel's legal team as the football coach defends himself against NCAA charges that the knew his players received improper benefits but didn't report it.

Athletic director Gene Smith, attending Big Ten meetings in Chicago with Tressel on Wednesday, confirmed that the coach is responsible for his lawyers.

Tressel, in his 11th year at Ohio State where he makes about $3.5 million per season, has hired Gene Marsh to represent him before the NCAA's committee on infractions Aug. 12 in Indianapolis. Marsh has said the media is "piling on'' Tressel.

The NCAA charged that Tressel "failed to (comport) himself in accordance with ... honesty and integrity." Tressel violated NCAA bylaws - and his contract's stipulations - that require he immediately report all knowledge of any NCAA violations to his superiors, the NCAA or the university's compliance department.

Tressel, who is scheduled to attend the NCAA compliance seminar in Tampa in June, still appears to have the backing of Smith.

"Oh, definitely, no question," Smith said when asked at the Big Ten meetings if he supported Tressel. "I haven't changed. But I'm not talking about the case beyond that."

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More colleges

Eckerd's Cuda named SSC pitcher of year

Eckerd junior right-hander Joey Cuda was named Sunshine State Conference pitcher of the year. The former Canterbury High standout led the league in innings (1082/3), ranked second in ERA (1.66) and third in strikeouts (110).

Joining Cuda on the All-SSC first team: Tampa's Patrick Donahue (senior, shortstop), Andrew Jones (junior, outfielder) and Damon Elder (junior, utility player); and Saint Leo's Ryan Brnovich (sophomore, second base).

Playoff inquiry: NCAA president Mark Emmert told the Justice Department that its questions about the lack of a Division I football playoff system are best directed to another group - the Bowl Championship Series. Other than licensing the postseason bowls, "the NCAA has no role to play in the BCS or the BCS system," Emmert wrote to the department's antitrust chief, Christine Varney. He said that unless member universities discontinue the BCS and proposing an NCAA championship, "there is no directive ... to establish a playoff."

Auburn: Former Tiger football players Michael McNeil, Antonio Goodwin, Shaun Kitchens and Dakota Mosley were indicted on five counts of first-degree robbery, one count of first-degree burglary and one count of misdemeanor third-degree theft of property. Arraignment is set for May 26.

Signings: Shooting guard Trevor Lacey, Alabama's two-time Mr. Basketball, signed with the Tide over Kansas, Kentucky and Auburn. ... Jamari Traylor, a forward who played last season for IMG Academy in Bradenton, signed with Kansas over Minnesota, Oklahoma State, Indiana and St. John's.

Connecticut: Basketball coach Jim Calhoun doesn't expect to decide on retirement until at least next month.

Kansas state: Dalonte Hill, the Wildcats' highest-paid assistant basketball coach and top recruiter, resigned to take a similar position at Maryland.

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Et cetera

NFL: The state of Minnesota and Ramsey County agreed it will cost $131 million to fix roads near the proposed Vikings suburban stadium site, clearing an obstacle to getting a $1.1 billion plan approved.

Soccer: Porto revived its status as a European power by beating Braga 1-0 in an all-Portuguese Europa League final in Dublin, the club's biggest title in seven years. Andre Villas-Boas, 33, became the youngest coach to win a European title.

Tennis: Tampa tandem Mardy Fish and John Isner gave the United States a 2-1 win over Kazakhstan at the World Team Cup, beating Andrey Golubev and Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 7-6 (12-10) in doubles in Duesseldorf, Germany. The United States plays Argentina, which beat Sweden 2-1, to decide the Red Group and the right to play in Saturday's final against the Blue Group winner. ... Fourth-seeded Jelena Jankovic continues to struggle on clay, falling to Sofia Arvidsson 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 at the Brussels Open.

Greyhounds: Hi Noon Renegade remained undefeated and Kentucky Fire won in final qualifying in the $20,000 Gold Trophy Juvenile at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg. The 550-yard finale is Saturday night.

Cycling: Chris Horner of the RadioShack team powered to a solo uphill win in Stage 4 and assumed the overall lead at the Tour of California.

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