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PA Sports Blog

High school, college and professional sports news, results and commentary

Last Build Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2013 10:00:44 UTC

Copyright: Copyright 2015

Good morning, sports fans: Andy Murray cruises in first Australian Open match

Tue, 15 Jan 2013 10:00:00 UTC


Here are your high school, college and professional sports updates.

MELBOURNE, Australia  — Playing his first Grand Slam match as a major winner, Andy Murray looked quite comfortable in his return to the Australian Open.

Murray beat Robin Haase of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 in the opening round at Melbourne Park on Tuesday.

(image) Andy Murray wins his first match at the Australian Open in straight sets.

Asked what it felt like to play after his triumph at the U.S. Open, where he became the first British man since 1936 to win a major title, the third-ranked Murray said: "I can try and focus on the second part of my career now."

Read the complete story here

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College basketball: men’s results, women’s results 

High school basketball: boys’ results, boys’ schedule, girls’ results, girls’ schedule

High school wrestling: results, schedule

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NFL chief Roger Goodell apologizes to fans for replacement refs

Thu, 27 Sep 2012 18:18:05 UTC


Two days after a missed call on the final play cost the Green Bay Packers in their loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the NFL and the officials' union announced a tentative eight-year agreement to end a lockout that began in June.

NEW YORK — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell apologized to the fans who fretted through three weeks of replacement officials calling their teams' games.

(image) View full sizeNFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

"Obviously when you go through something like this, it's painful for everybody. Most importantly, it's painful for fans," he said on a conference call today, about 12 hours after the league reached a deal to bring back the regular officials. "We're sorry to have to put fans through that. Sometimes you have to go through something like that in the short term for the right agreement for the long term."

Two days after a missed call on the final play cost the Green Bay Packers in their loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the NFL and the officials' union announced a tentative eight-year agreement to end a lockout that began in June.

Goodell insisted the timing of the deal was not a reaction to the outcry over "Monday Night Football." The two sides had been in "intensive negotiations" the last two weeks, he said, though he acknowledged that game "may have pushed the parties along."

The commissioner was watching at home Monday night. "You never want to see a game end like that," Goodell said.

But he wouldn't concede that the presence of replacement officials increased the chances an egregious mistake would occur. Goodell repeatedly reminded reporters that the regular officials have botched plenty of calls over the years.

The new agreement, he said, will improve officiating week in and week out, reducing similar mistakes in the future and making the strains of the last three weeks worthwhile. "You're always worried about the short-term impact on your brand and the long-term impact on the brand," he said. "Obviously this has gotten a lot of attention and it hasn't been positive. It's something you have to fight through and get to the long term."

In the meantime, he asserted, players' health and safety were never jeopardized by the use of replacement officials.

"The folks on the field during the last three weeks were under unprecedented scrutiny," Goodell said. "Everything they did, every call was magnified. They kept the game going. They worked and they trained hard. They were incredibly focused and dedicated."

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'You have to have competent people': NFL refs' return welcomed by players, coaches, fans

Thu, 27 Sep 2012 12:52:49 UTC


For the Packers, Redskins, Lions and other teams who voiced their displeasure with calls that might have swayed games, the agreement doesn't change their records. NEW YORK — The NFL's regular officiating crews are back. Their return couldn't have come soon enough for many players, coaches and fans.After two days of marathon negotiations — and mounting frustration throughout the league — the NFL and the officials' union announced at midnight Thursday that a tentative eight-year agreement had been reached to end a lockout that began in June.View full sizeAP Photo/Stephen Brashear, FileIn this Sept. 24, 2012, file photo, an official, rear center, signals for a touchdown by Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate, obscured, as another official, at right, signals a touchback on the controversial last play of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers in Seattle. The Seahawks won 14-12. The NFL and the referees' union have reached a tentative contract agreement on Wednesday, Sept. 26, ending an impasse that began in June when the league locked out the officials and used replacements instead.The deal came on the heels of Seattle's chaotic last-second win over Green Bay on Monday night in which the replacement officials struggled. Commissioner Roger Goodell, who was at the bargaining table Tuesday and Wednesday, said the regular officials would work the Browns-Ravens game at Baltimore on Thursday night."We are glad to be getting back on the field for this week's games," NFL Referees Association president Scott Green said.And plenty of players echoed that sentiment."Welcome back REFS," Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller tweeted shortly after the news broke.The tentative deal must be ratified by 51 percent of the union's 121 members. They plan to vote Friday and Saturday in Dallas.For the Packers, Redskins, Lions and other teams who voiced their displeasure with calls that might have swayed games, the agreement doesn't change their records. But after having replacements for the first three weeks, triggering a wave of outrage that threatened to disrupt the rest of the season, Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck probably spoke for his peers by simply echoing Spiller: "Welcome back."The agreement hinged on working out pension and retirement benefits for the officials, who are part-time employees of the league. The tentative pact calls for their salaries to increase from an average of $149,000 a year in 2011 to $173,000 in 2013, rising to $205,000 by 2019.Under the proposed deal, the current defined benefit pension plan will remain in place for current officials through the 2016 season or until the official earns 20 years' service. The defined benefit plan will then be frozen.Retirement benefits will be provided for new hires, and for all officials beginning in 2017, through a defined contribution arrangement. The annual league contribution made on behalf of each game official will begin with an average of more than $18,000 per official and increase to more than $23,000 per official in 2019.Beginning with the 2013 season, the NFL will have the option to hire a number of officials on a full-time basis to work year round, including on the field. The NFL also will be able to retain additional officials for training and development, and can assign those officials to work games. The number of additional officials will be determined by the league."As you know, this has to be ratified and we know very little about it, but we're excited to be back. And ready," referee Ed Hochuli told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "And I think that's the most important message — that we're ready."The longest contract with on-field officials in NFL history was reached with the assistance of two federal mediators.Replacements have been used both to play and officiate NFL games before. In 1987, the players went on strike and three games were played with replacement players. In[...]

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Penn State football opens practice for 2012 season: Photos, commentary, tweets

Tue, 31 Jul 2012 12:21:22 UTC


Penn State football opened the 2012 today with the first official practice of the season. Check out photos, commentary, video and analysis from this morning's practice.

(image) Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien gives instructions during the annual Blue-White game held at Beaver Stadium. JOE HERMITT, The Patriot-News
Penn State football opened the 2012 today with the first official practice of the season.

After a brutal offseason which included difficult NCAA sanctions and numerous transfers, Bill O'Brien and his staff are poised to usher in a new era of success into Happy Valley.

More Penn State football news » 

Check out photos, commentary, video and analysis from this morning's practice below.

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Olympics 2012: Women's soccer tourney all about Hope Solo, just as Hope Solo wanted

Mon, 30 Jul 2012 19:58:43 UTC


The Olympic women’s soccer tournament has suddenly become all about U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo’s robust id and thirst for attention. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward, FileIn this Friday, Jan. 27, 2012 file photo, United States goalkeeper Hope Solo (1) clears the ball from in front of her net during the second half against Costa Rica at the CONCACAF women's Olympic qualifying soccer game action at B.C. Place in Vancouver, Canada. Brian StrausSporting NewsAn Olympic women’s soccer tournament that suddenly has become all about U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo’s robust id and thirst for attention continues on Tuesday as the Americans, already through to the quarterfinals, finish up group play against North Korea (12:15 PM ET, NBC Sports Network). Rather than focusing on the emergence of star winger Megan Rapinoe (two goals and four assists in the first two games), the consistent brilliance of veteran striker Abby Wambach (two goals and one black eye) or the tough decisions facing coach Pia Sundhage, who must manage an 18-member squad through six games (potentially) in 16 days, the conversation since Saturday’s 3-0 defeat of Colombia has focused almost entirely Solo’s bizarre Twitter attack on NBC analyst and former U.S. defender Brandi Chastain. It’s not the first time that Solo has hijacked the spotlight. She was sent home from the 2007 Women’s World Cup for lashing out following then-coach Greg Ryan’s decision to bench her for the semifinals (Solo’s point was correct, but her delivery was ill-timed and childish). Following two separate Women’s Professional Soccer matches in 2010, she accused the Boston Breakers of enabling racist and profane fans and league referees and officials of conspiracy to aid an opponent. In a recent ESPN story, Solo bragged about the national team’s drunken ’08 appearance on the Today show and sexual exploits at the Olympic Village in Beijing. “I may have snuck a celebrity back to my room without anybody knowing, and snuck him back out. But that's my Olympic secret,” she said. Solo’s latest outburst ultimately may win her some fans and cost her others, but two days later it remained the talk of the tournament. U.S. Soccer made her available at a Monday afternoon press conference in Manchester, but she took only one question about Chastain, who won two Women’s World Cup titles and two Olympic gold medals as a player. “The best analysts should be analyzing come Olympics, World Cups. It's only my opinion,” Solo said, according to Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl. Solo, who turned 31 on Monday, reportedly was furious with Chastain for her criticism of central defender Rachel Buehler, who has been shaky over the first two games and who struggled during last year’s Women’s World Cup final loss to Japan. The U.S. back four, which wasn’t tested against Colombia, likely is the team’s weak link. But the attack has proven to be so lethal that it might not matter. Rapinoe, Wambach and their teammates have run rampant since midway through the first half of the Olympic opener vs. France and should have little trouble on Tuesday. North Korea (1-1-0) lost, 5-0, to Les Bleues (1-1-0) over the weekend, hasn’t beaten the Americans in four previous meetings (scoring just twice) and lost several players from last summer’s World Cup team following a doping scandal. A draw will clinch first place in the group for the U.S. (2-0-0), ensuring an Aug. 3 quarterfinal in Newcastle against a third-place finisher from one of the other two first-round quartets (Canada and New Zealand are possible opponents). Following Saturday’s win over Colombia (0-2-0), Sun[...]

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Philadelphia Phillies trade rumors: Cliff Lee, Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino among possible deal candidates

Mon, 30 Jul 2012 17:28:26 UTC


Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., his team swept over the weekend in Atlanta, has stopped short of putting up the "For Sale" sign and saying, "Everything must go!" Could Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee and Hunter Pence be headed out of the City of Brotherly Love? (AP Photo/Al Behrman)Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., his team swept over the weekend in Atlanta, has stopped short of putting up the "For Sale" sign and saying, "Everything must go!" But be sure of this: The Phillies, 12½ games out of the second wild-card spot entering the week, are in full-scale "sell" mode, according to multple media reports.With the Phillies' five-year playoff run all but over, the focus, reported, shifts to who stays and who goes. The non-waiver trade deadline is 4 p.m. ET Tuesday and the Phillies will be busy, the website noted. But unlike recent years when they added left-hander Cliff Lee, right-hander Roy Oswalt and outfielder Hunter Pence, Philadelphia most will likely be unloading players. Amaro declined to speak with reporters after Sunday's series-ending loss to the Braves, but starting pitcher Roy Halladay, who in an odd way holds a key to future deals, acknowledged that some of his teammates could be gone as soon as today. "It's nothing we aren't all responsible for," he said of the Phillies' plight. "It's not easy to swallow, but we've kind of put ourselves in this situation and sometimes you have to take it like a man." The likely candidates to be dealt: Center fielder Shane Victorino. He is a pending free agent and, according to multiple reports in Philly, remains the player most likely to be dealt. The Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates have been mentioned as possible destinations. "I'm not even thinking that way," Victorino said to reporters when it was mentioned his three-hit game Sunday may have been his last as a Phillie. "Ruben hasn't said anything to me personally. Until the GM calls me and tells me something I'm going to go out there and help this team win. We have 60 games left and my goal is to play those 60 games here." Right-hander Joe Blanton. The starting pitcher has been linked to trade rumors with the Baltimore Orioles and St. Louis Cardinals. Blanton, quoted by the Philadelphia Inquirer after a strong outing Saturday enhanced his trade value, sounded like a player on his way out of town. "Phenomenal," he said, in describing his time in Philadelphia: "I came over, we won a World Series, went back again, and we've been in the playoffs every year I've been here. It's one of the best places to play with the fans and everything." Outfielder Hunter Pence. His name was connected to the San Francisco Giants as one Bay Area TV station tweeted "a deal is in place," however the Giants have refuted that claim. reported that Amaro would have to be "blown away" with an offer to trade Pence. Outfielder Juan Pierre. His name has been linked most recently with the Reds, but he looks at any of the trade rumors with bemusement: "I was a nonroster invitee, so 30 teams didn't think I was good enough to make a big- league team," Pierre said recently, according to the Inquirer. "Whatever now they talk about, I don't pay attention to." Utility player Ty Wigginton. He could bolster any team's bench. Left-hander Cliff Lee. Wait. What? It appears for now that Lee, scheduled to start Tuesday in Washington against the Nationals' Stephen Strasburg, is staying for now. Amaro told reporters on Friday that he plans to keep his top starters together but acknowledged that plans could change. Translation: The Phils could shop Lee in the offseas[...]

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