Andy Lyons/Getty Images(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) -- As the NCAA investigates a potential scandal involving the University of Louisville's recruiting, the school has decided to impose a one-year post-season ban on its men's basketball team.
The ban comes after former escort Katina Powell claimed in a book that she and others were hired by former men's basketball staffer Andre McGee to strip and sleep with recruits and players at an on-campus dorm.
The decision was announced at a news conference on Friday afternoon when University president James R. Ramsey said it was "reasonable to conclude violations [had] occurred in the past."
"While this was a difficult decision, it was made in the best interest of the university," Ramsey said Friday.
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said the news was "painful" and it came to him as a "complete shock" because he had been "kept in the dark" regarding details in the investigation.
"Painful probably would, I could characterize it is one of the best understatements I could make," he said.
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images(DENVER) -- Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is willing to put some products made in Colorado on the line in a friendly Super Bowl 50 bet with North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory.
In a statement made by the governor’s office, Hickenlooper is offering to give the state of North Carolina the following products should the Broncos lose to the Panthers on Sunday:
50 Osprey backpacks filled with school supplies that will be donated to a North Carolina shelter
50 cases of Pueblo Salsa provided by Milberger Farms, Musso Farms, Pueblo County, and the Pueblo Chamber of Commerce
500 boxes of crackers from 34 Degrees Crackers
500 packages of sausages from Continental Sausage that will be donated to a food bank in North Carolina
Dog food that will be donated to an animal shelter
If the Panthers should lose, McCrory has offered to donate 50 cases of turkey burgers and turkey sausages, provided by North Carolina-based Butterball, LLC, to a Colorado food bank. He will also donate dog food to an animal shelter in Colorado.
"This Broncos team has proven time and time again that they know how to overcome challenges,” Hickenlooper said in the statement. “The Carolina Panthers are certainly a formidable foe, but they will simply be another challenge that our Broncos will overcome in Super Bowl 50. Peyton Manning, DeMarcus Ware, Pat Bowlen and the entire Broncos team deserve a championship to cap a season that will be remembered as nothing short of magical."
“I predict the Panthers will win 33-10,” predicted McCrory. “The Broncos may have one of the best defenses in the league, but they haven’t faced Cam Newton and his offense yet. I fully expect the Carolina Panthers to be Super Bowl 50 Champions. I am good friends with Governor Hickenlooper, but his team will be on the losing end this time.”
Hickenlooper and McCrory will both be at the game at Levi’s Stadium cheering on their respective teams on Sunday.
ABC News(SAN FRANCISCO) — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says there is a “culture change” in the NFL when it comes to concussions and, if he had a son, would have no problem allowing him to play the sport.
“The number of concussions went up this year and they're going to go up and they're going to go down in any given season, but screenings went up by 108 percent and also we saw more self-reporting in the players and teammates,” Goodell told Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts. “That’s what I call the culture change.”
“It used to be, as you know, ‘It’s just a ding.’ Those days are long gone and that's a positive thing for our game,” Goodell said.
Goodell, who has two daughters, said he would encourage a son to play the sport because of the "tremendous values" that come from playing football.
"I would not only want him to play football, I would certainly encourage him to do it and I would let him do it," he said. “There is risk involved in anything in life but what we need to do is to make sure we show people how to get the most out of playing sports and do it safely.”
This week, as buzz for Sunday’s Super Bowl was building, it was announced that former Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler, who died last year, also suffered from the effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.
The issue of CTE has also been put in the public spotlight with the Will Smith-starring movie Concussion. Goodell says the league is now “leading the way” in protecting its players and investing in research.
“If I had known that I could have we could have done things different we could have made more changes but the league has a history of changing the game,” he said. “We're over 100 million dollars in research going not just to make football safer, this is going to make all sports safer, the military safer, and quite frankly will probably have an impact on brain disease in general.”
Goodell has also navigated the NFL in recent years through a series of high-profile domestic violence charges against some players, an issue Goodell says the league is addressing.
“When our policies haven't met the types of standards that we think should be upheld, we acknowledge that [and] in the domestic violence, and sexual assault area, we changed that,” Goodell said. “In this past 12 month cycle, we had the lowest amount of arrests in the history of the NFL.”
Super Bowl 50 will be played on Sunday at Levi's Stadium with the Carolina Panthers facing the Denver Broncos. Goodell sat down with Roberts Thursday in the San Francisco area just after attending the NFL’s first-ever “Women’s Summit.”
The commissioner announced Thursday the league will institute a “Rooney Rule” for women, meaning NFL teams will be required to interview women for executive positions.
The rule has previously been applied to minorities and the NFL now has five African-American coaches and one Latino coach, the Panthers Ron Rivera, who led his team to the Super Bowl this year.
“We want to make sure that when we have an opening we're making sure we not only have a diverse slate of candidates but we also have women we believe can do this job and give them the opportunity,” Goodell said. “I always think diversity is still an issue we're not finished we're not done and so much of what we do is incomplete so we're going to continue to make progress here.”
When the Panthers and Broncos kick off at Levi's Stadium in Sunday's Super Bowl, Goodell says he hopes the game can bring everyone together.
"When I see a world that we live in right now, there's so much division. There's so much discourse and concern," Goodell said. "The whole world is going to gather around their television sets this weekend, around NFL football and Super Bowl and celebrate the game, and celebrate everyone coming together."
"When you can be involved with that, that's a good moment."
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- When the Denver Broncos hit the field Sunday, they'll be dressed in their white uniforms instead of the orange ones they typically wear for home games.
And it may have been a superstitious choice on their part: the Broncos won their last Super Bowl in those white jerseys during the 1998 season. And this season, the Broncos were 6-2 on the road and tied a franchise record for the most away-game wins in a season.
"We've had Super Bowl success in our white uniforms, and we're looking forward to wearing them again in Super Bowl 50," John Elway, executive vice president of football operations and general manager of the Broncos, said in a press release about the decision.
Although there's no way to prove that superstitions really work, a number of players and even coaches on both teams will probably continue their game day rituals this Sunday.
Here are some of the pre-game rituals the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos have previously admitted to doing:
Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera always wears the same shoes on game days.
Rivera has admitted to being very superstitious before games. Rivera's wife Stephanie cooks him the same breakfast before every home game using bread from a local store called Great Harvest Bread Co. She also gives him a peanut butter and oatmeal cookie before every game, according to ESPN.
Before every game, Rivera said he walks to the 20-yard line during introductions, looks up at his wife in her seat and says "I love you" in sign language.
For the last three years Rivera has worn the same pair of black Nike shoes, which equipment manager Jackie Miles shines before every game, according to ESPN. He only wears the shoes on game days.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton chews gum.
Newton said he's superstitious about chewing gum during games.
"I just depend on Wrigley's Winterfresh chewing gum to get me through the adverse times in the game...and in a given game, the superstition comes. You made a big play? Even if the gum is rock solid, you can't take it out," Newton said in an interview with the Charlotte Observer in December 2013. "You got to keep fighting through it. You may put another piece of gum in, but that's that play-making gum. But if you're sucking, of course, you've got to toss that gum."
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning likes to sleep in.
At his last Super Bowl appearance in 2014, Manning said his Super Bowl ritual is sleeping late.
"Hopefully I'll sleep in," Manning said in an interview with the Denver Post in January 2014. "It ends up being a little bit of a longer day and you can shorten the time before the game by being asleep." Denver Broncos offensive lineman Louis Vasquez keeps his mouthpiece in the whole game.
At media day for Super Bowl 48, Vasquez admitted that he had a game-day superstition.
Vasquez said he never takes out his mouthpiece during the game. Carolina Panthers linebacker Ben Jacobs grows a beard.
Hair is pretty important to Jacobs.
"I kind of do a beard every year. Mostly because I'm lazy, and I don't want to shave it, and then half because I'm superstitious, I think it helps us win games," Jacobs told KLAS-TV on Super Bowl 50 opening night. "This has been about 14 weeks now, and I haven't had a haircut in 14 weeks. Just one more week, and then I'm shaving it off."
Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders plays video games.
Sanders tweeted in September 2014 that his pre-game ritual is to play the Madden NFL video game "against the opposing team."
Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly eats at a local restaurant before games.
Kuechly regularly eats at the Roasting Company in Charlotte, North Carolina.
"That's one of my go-tos before a game," Kuechly said in an interview with the Charlotte Observer on Wednesday.
The Roasting Company owner Doug Bell told the Charlotte Observer that when the Panthers lost on Dec. 27 to the Atlanta Falcons, Kuechly confessed to him that he broke his streak and hadn't eaten there the week before the game.
Before he left for California for Super Bowl 50, Bell said Kuechly ate at the restaurant. But just in case, Bell said he decided to send the restaurant's bottled "Tico" sauce so Kuechly could put it on whatever he eats while on the West Coast.
Denver Broncos outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware listens to music.
Ware's pre-game ritual consists of listening to calming music before kickoff.
"I have some type of nice music [playing]. I listen to more calming jazz music. I don't need pump-up music. I'm already pumped up for the game. I'm listening to Al Green, some type of B.B. King, or Jason Mraz — soft listening stuff; that's more me. I feel like if I'm listening to calm music, my body is more calm, and I can stretch and release," Ware said in an interview with Pop Sugar in February 2015.
Scott Clarke / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- Drew Brees and J.J. Watt are giving their pro insights on what to watch for Sunday.
The NFL superstars appeared on ABC News' Good Morning America Friday to reveal their predictions and discuss what Watt says is the "million dollar question": How do the Denver Broncos stop Panthers' quarterback Cam Newton?
"I think that [Bronco's coach] Wade Phillips and his guys have a tough task on their hands obviously," Watt, defensive end for the Houston Texans, told GMA co-anchor Jesse Palmer. "But, having played for Wade and seeing the guys that he has on his defense...I think they're going to put together a great plan, but you're not going to stop Cam. All you can hope to do is slow him down and find a way to at least minimize his impact on the game."
The Denver Broncos' loss to the Seattle Seahawks in 2014's Super Bowl will be an experience that will "serve them well," said New Orleans Saints' quarterback Brees.
As for winner predictions, Watt admits he hopes the Broncos are victorious.
"I do hope they get a championship under their belts because I think they're great guys and they deserve it," he said.
Brees said he also is leaning toward a winner.
"I feel like Carolina would win 8 out of 10,” he said.
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images(SANTA CLARA, Calif.) — Two weeks ago, when Carolina Panthers left tackle Michael Oher took the field in the NFC championship, Leigh Anne Tuohy burst into tears.
For Tuohy, whose family was the focus of the 2009 film The Blind Side, seeing Oher playing football at this level is an overwhelming experience.
To that end, she's been crying all week, and she knows that come Super Bowl Sunday, she'll sobbing "like a baby."
"On Sunday, I will be bawling because that's my child first of all - to see your child live out a dream is wonderful - but every time he comes out there it represents hope to me," she told ABC News. "The Panthers gave my son a chance and I'm forever grateful. That's part of being a mother."
Last season didn't end well for Oher, who entered the NFL in 2009 as a first-round draft pick and won the Super Bowl in 2013 with the Baltimore Ravens. However, in 2014, while he was playing with the Tennessee Titans, he injured his toe and missed a few games. Last February, he was released from the team. The next month, however, proved to be a turning point, as the Panthers announced that they'd signed Oher to a two-year contract. It was a great move for the team: This season, Oher has successfully protected quarterback Cam Newton's blindside time and time again, and has only allowed a few sacks.
"The greatest validation is the fact that so many people counted Michael out last year and here is a life lesson for everyone: Don't count people out. Don't look at that person because they didn't do what you think they should've done or what you think they should've been doing and say they're done or they're toast. Don't label that person because you don't know their story," she said. "When people are determined and they work hard, you don't know what can happen. Here's a kid who didn't listen to what people said about him. He kept working. He kept focused, and he kept doing the right thing."
She said that while it's not her son's nature to say "I told you so," to his critics, she has noticed that "he has a giddy step right now." Tuohy added that Oher became especially motivated after receiving a pre-season call from Newton, who persuaded him to join the team.
"He's in an extra-special spot because he gets a call from Cam and Cam says, 'I need you.' When somebody tells you that, you're just like, 'I'm all in,'" she said. "It's like [he's thinking], 'Look. These people believed in me and they coached me up. They realized I had value and they're giving me an opportunity because they believed in me, so I'm going to work my a** off for them,' and look what's happened."
Tuohy said that her whole family is in San Francisco right now to support Oher, and that on Sunday, they'll be celebrating in their Panthers gear no matter what happens. If they win, she promises to "celebrate and be obnoxious, honking the horn," and if they don't, they'll take Oher out for a nice dinner and reminisce about the team's "fairytale, magical, Disney-esque season."
"This is a team full of character and integrity from the owner to the head coach to Micahel's position coach to the little boy that works the door. Theyr’e all just great people - 'Yes ma'am. No ma'am. Thank you.' They smile at you. It's just that kind of organization," she said. "I just thank God: How did we get so lucky to end up with a group of people like this? You don't get that lucky in life and we feel very, very fortunate. We feel very blessed to be part of the Panthers organization."
Focus on Sport/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — This Sunday marks the 50th Super Bowl in NFL history, a league with more than 90 years under its belt. So, how did this game come to be since football has been in this country for more than four decades?
The story of the first Super Bowl is a unique one that actually came out of competition between the old guard at the time, the NFL, and a rival upstart league, the AFL. Now five decades later, the game is one of the biggest sporting events in the world. The AFL-NFL Merger
With professional football's popularity on the rise in the late 1950s, the American Football League was founded in 1959 to compete and also to bring football to new markets. The AFL had teams in new areas like Houston, Buffalo and Kansas City, and were able to steal away top talent from the NFL. The two separate leagues finally decided to merge in 1966, but wouldn't play each other during the regular seasons for four more years (the merger was finalized in 1970).
The two leagues did create a championship for the separate leagues to compete in and determine who was the best team that year. This began in 1966. It Wasn't Called the Super Bowl
The first championship game was actually called the First AFL-NFL Championship Game and became known as Super Bowl just one year later.
The first championship game wasn't even a contest as the resident champs, the Green Bay Packers and their legendary coach Vince Lombardi, crushed the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10. In fact, the NFL would dominate the AFL until the the third championship game, when a young, upstart quarterback name Joe Namath predicted his New York Jets would defeat the NFL's best team and take the crown away from the incumbent league.
The next year, Super Bowl 4 was the first time the championship game used the now famous title.
Remember those Chiefs that were crushed in the first big game? Lamar Hunt, the owner and founder of the team and of the AFL itself, had been using the term "Super Bowl" for years. Hunt would later explain that his daughter had a toy called the "Super Ball" and he tweaked the name. The media caught on, and eventually, the unified NFL-AFL did as well. The First Championship Wasn't the Spectacle It Is Today
Let's be clear, this was a big deal. It was broadcasted on two networks, who both used their own announcers, not like today. And it wasn't even close to being a sellout. The game took place at the LA Coliseum and out of the 94,000 available seats, a third were empty. The tickets also cost $12.
The entertainment also wasn't Beyonce or Lady Gaga, but the University of Arizona marching band. The halftime show starred Al Hirt, a famed trumpeter, and men with jet packs.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the latest scores and winners: NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION Detroit 111, New York 105 Houston 111, Phoenix 105 L-A Lakers 99, New Orleans 96 Toronto 110, Portland 103 NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE 2OT Boston 3, Buffalo 2 (SO Boston 1-0) N-Y Rangers 4, Minnesota 2 Florida 6, Detroit 3 Edmonton 7, Ottawa 2 2OT Toronto 3, New Jersey 2 (SO Toronto 1-0) Washington 3, N-Y Islanders 2 Philadelphia 6, Nashville 3 San Jose 3, St. Louis 1 OT Chicago 5, Arizona 4 OT Dallas 4, Colorado 3 Anaheim 4, Los Angeles 2 2OT Columbus 2, Vancouver 1 TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL Vanderbilt 77, (8) Texas A&M 60 (16) Oregon 76, Colorado 56
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- BMX biking star Dave Mirra was found dead of an apparent suicide on Thursday.
The Greenvile, North Carolina Police Department released a statement on their Facebook page saying that "upon arrival, officers discovered Dave Mirra, 41, of Greenville, sitting in a truck with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound."
Mirra was in the area visiting friends.
Mirra was considered an icon in the pro-BMX world and also hosted MTV's "Real World/Road Rules Challenge" shows.
Greenville's Mayor, Allen Thomas, said, "We mourn the loss today of a great friend and wonderful human bein who touched the lives of so many around the world with his gift. He called Greenville, North Carolina home and was as humble a guy talking with kids on a street corner about bikes as he was in his element on the world stage. A young life with so much to offer was taken too soon."
Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A full report released by the Fort Worth Police Department in Fort Worth, Texas on Thursday provides details on the alleged altercation between Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel and his girlfriend.
The first police report from the January 30 incident indicates that a woman was with Manziel. That woman has now been identified as Colleen Crowley.
In the police report, Colleen Crowley "tells police that Manziel struck her several times and seemed to be on drugs."
The report also provides further details and says that she was "struck several times by Johnathan including a strike to her left ear."
The alleged incident occurred at Hotel Zaza in Dallas. Crowley alleged that it was "as if he were on some kind of drugs."
The Dallas Police Department was also investigating the incident. The Dallas Police Department released a statement on Thursday saying that the department, "has conducted the appropriate investigative follow-up to the report forwarded to use by the Ft. Worth Police Department regarding an alleged incident involving Johnny Manziel. Investigative efforts to date have not resulted in the filing of a criminal complaint and the incident is determined to be closed."