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1,500 athletes in UNC academic fraud

(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) Bogus classes and automatic A's and B's are at the heart of a cheating scandal at the University of North Carolina that lasted nearly two decades, encompassing about 3,100 students - nearly half of them athletes.

At least nine university employees were fired or under disciplinary review, and the question now becomes what, if anything, the NCAA will do next. Penalties could range from fewer scholarships to vacated wins.

Most of the athletes were football players or members of the school's cherished basketball program, which won three of its five national titles during the scandal (1993, 2005, 2009).

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Judge questions concussion settlement

CHICAGO (AP) The federal judge overseeing a first-of-its-kind head injury settlement with the NCAA expressed serious concerns Thursday about some terms and the vast scope of the $75 million deal that currently encompasses all college athletes going back decades.

Facing NCAA and plaintiffs' attorneys who crafted the deal, U.S. District Judge John Lee wondered why sports like rifle teams, golf and swimming would be covered by the proposed agreement along with football, hockey, soccer and other contact sports.

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Iowa St. G Cooke to miss 6-8 months

AMES, Iowa (AP) Iowa State guard Hallice Cooke is having surgery to repair cartilage tears in both hips and will be out 6-8 months.

The Cyclones say Cooke, who is redshirting the 2014-15 season, will have surgery to repair one of his ailing hips in New York City on Monday. Cooke, who is from Union City, New Jersey, will have a second surgery four weeks later.

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Arizona picked by media to win Pac-12

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Just about everybody agrees - except for one person, apparently - that Arizona is the overwhelming favorite to win the Pac-12 again this season.

How everything else shakes out is up for debate.

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NJ files reply to allow sports gambling

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) Claims that New Jersey's plan to allow legal sports gambling violates federal law are meritless, the state wrote in a court filing in response to efforts by four major U.S. pro sports leagues and the NCAA to stop gambling from beginning this weekend.

The state filed the response late Wednesday to the leagues' request to a federal judge earlier this week for an injunction to prevent Monmouth Park racetrack from accepting sports wagers this Sunday. The track is the only venue in the state that has said it will take bets under a law signed by Gov. Chris Christie last Friday that allows sports betting at racetracks and casinos.

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Lawyers for O'Bannon seek $50M from NCAA

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) The bill has come in for former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon's successful court challenge of the NCAA - and it's a whopper.

Lawyers for O'Bannon want more than $50 million from the NCAA in attorney fees and other costs as part of the price of winning an antitrust lawsuit that took five years to make its way to trial.

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Kentucky, Florida picked 1-2 in SEC

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings believes the Southeastern Conference can play with any of the so-called best basketball leagues in the country.

Leading the way once again this season will be the SEC's Final Four teams of Kentucky and Florida.

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'Nova unanimously picked to win Big East

NEW YORK (AP) Villanova coach Jay Wright is happy to just be talking about basketball this year and not conference realignment.

"Last season, with it being the first year of the new conference we were talking about a lot of different things," Wright said. "Now we can just focus on what's best for basketball."

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Pac-12 officiating remains top priority

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott remains committed to the continual improvement of officiating in the conference for both men's and women's basketball and considers it a top priority.

It's been more than a year since the Pac-12 teamed with the Mountain West Conference to form a men's basketball officiating alliance to better coordinate the two leagues' officiating, putting longtime Mountain West coordinator Bobby Dibler in charge of the programs and of managing a pool of top national and regional officials.

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Ex-Illinois assistant McClain hid cancer

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) It seems no one knew that former University of Illinois assistant basketball coach Wayne McClain had lung cancer until just before he died last week. Not even his brother Terry.

"None," Terry McClain said at the funeral Wednesday, shaking his head in disbelief.

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