Tennessee settles Title IX lawsuit for $2.48 million

Jul 5, 2016 45

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee is paying $2.48 million to settle a lawsuit filed by eight unidentified women who said the school had violated Title IX regulations and created a ”hostile sexual environment” through a policy of indifference toward assaults by athletes.

Lawyers for the school and the plaintiffs issued a joint press release Tuesday announcing the settlement.

”We are satisfied that, while universities everywhere struggle with these issues, the University of Tennessee has made significant progress in the way they educate and respond to sexual assault cases,” said David Randolph Smith, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs. ”My clients and I are also convinced that the University’s leadership is truly committed to continue its exemplary efforts to create a model as it relates to sexual misconduct.”

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Tennessee’s athletic department and the school’s central administration will split the cost of the settlement. According to the release announcing the settlement, no taxpayer dollars, student fees or donor funds would be used to fund the settlement, and the funding instead will come ”from other income-generating activities within the university.”

Tennessee chancellor Jimmy Cheek said he will soon announce a new series of initiatives on campus to improve its Title IX efforts, including additional support and budgeting specifically in areas related to sexual assault, student conduct, education programming and student well-being. UT president Joe DiPietro said he would appoint an independent commission to review existing programs make recommendations addressing the issues of sexual assault and misconduct.

”No university will be able to prevent every incident of students, faculty or staff making bad judgments,” Cheek said in a statement. ”Like many institutions we are not perfect, but our goal is to continue to be the best we can be at creating awareness, educating, and preventing discrimination and abuse in any form, and to continue to be equally prepared when it does happen and to deal with it promptly, sensitively, fairly and effectively.

”We’ve come a long way in recent years, and we are working every day to be even better. Our first priority is the safety and well-being of every member of our University community.”

The announcement of the settlement comes two weeks after Cheek announced he would step down as chancellor to return to teaching. Cheek’s move won’t become effective until a successor is appointed. When he announced the move last month, Cheek said it was a personal decision unrelated to the Title IX suit.

According to the release, negotiations toward a settlement ”began in earnest in April.” The case wasn’t scheduled to go to trial until 2018, and the release noted that the cost to litigate the case all the way to trial could have cost as much as $5.5 million. As of June 8, the state had paid over $220,000 in legal fees associated with the lawsuit.

The release also noted that the school ”is not admitting guilt, negligence or unlawful acts” as part of the settlement.

Six women filed the suit in federal court in Nashville on Feb. 9. Two more plaintiffs added their names to an amended complaint two weeks later. The original complaint referenced incidents dating back to 1995 to show how the school has historically handled reports of player misconduct, and one paragraph mentioned a sexual harassment complaint made by a Tennessee trainer in 1996 that included an incident involving recently retired quarterback Peyton Manning, who was playing for Tennessee at the time.

The amended complaint included a statement from former Tennessee football player Drae Bowles in which he said he assisted a woman who said she had been raped by two other players and that he later was attacked by teammates and told by football coach Butch Jones that he had ”betrayed the team.” When the document was filed, Jones responded by saying ”the assertion that I ever attempted to belittle or demean a young man for taking action to help another person is absolutely false.”

Tennessee reacted to the lawsuit by bringing all its head coaches together for a February press conference in which they defended the culture of the athletic department. Athletic director Dave Hart made similar remarks at a separate press conference two days later.

No athletic officials commented Tuesday night, but the release announcing the settlement included statements from Cheek, DiPietro and Tennessee Board of Trustees vice chair Raja Jubran.

”Settling this case was the right thing to do from a compassionate perspective for the young women involved and from a reputation perspective for the institution, regardless of the merits of the case,” Jubran said. ”One side ultimately would have won in court several years from now, and we felt confident about our legal position, but I truly believe that both sides would have lost.

”The intangible costs of emotional stress to those involved and the distraction to all of our positive progress at UT, over and above actual legal costs, would have been exorbitant.”

Title IX is a federal statute that bans discrimination at schools that receive federal funding. The U.S. Department of Education in 2011 warned schools of their legal responsibilities to immediately investigate allegations of sexual assault, even if the criminal investigation has not concluded.

Jaguars RB Denard Robinson not injured after single-car accident

Jul 5, 2016 125

Dec 20, 2015; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Denard Robinson (16) runs with the ball against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half at EverBank Field. Atlanta Falcons defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars say running back Denard Robinson was in a single-car accident over the weekend, but he was not injured.

The Florida Times-Union, citing a police report, says the car crashed in a retention pond about 4:20 a.m. Sunday when Robinson fell asleep at the wheel. Authorities say he was not impaired and should not face a DUI charge.

The newspaper reports that a woman was with Robinson in the car, and both had fallen asleep. When an officer arrived, the driver’s side of the car was submerged in the pond. The officer had to help the woman out of the car and wake up Robinson.

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The Jaguars released a statement Tuesday saying they were thankful nobody was injured.

Jaguars RB Denard Robinson in single-car accident, not hurt

Jul 5, 2016 167

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) The Jacksonville Jaguars say running back Denard Robinson was in a single-car accident over the weekend, but he was not injured.

The Florida Times-Union, citing a police report, says the car crashed in a retention pond about 4:20 a.m. Sunday when Robinson fell asleep at the wheel. Authorities say he was not impaired and should not face a DUI charge.

The newspaper reports (http://goo.gl/gBRK9b) that a woman was with Robinson in the car, and both had fallen asleep. When an officer arrived, the driver’s side of the car was submerged in the pond. The officer had to help the woman out of the car and wake up Robinson.

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The Jaguars released a statement Tuesday saying they were thankful nobody was injured.

Big shoes: Brandon Ingram not daunted by taking Kobe's spot

Jul 5, 2016 72

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) Until a couple of months ago, Brandon Ingram’s new locker at the Los Angeles Lakers’ training complex was occupied by Kobe Bryant.

The 18-year-old rookie sees the daunting symbolism in literally taking the place of the most prolific scorer in franchise history, and he greets it with a smile.

”I did see where my locker was, and I definitely knew it was Kobe’s locker,” Ingram said. ”(General manager) Mitch (Kupchak) told me I had some big shoes to fill when I came in here, but I liked it. I like the pressure that’s on me right now. Of course it’s going to motivate me to do good things on the court. It’s all good pressure for me.”

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Ingram put on those shoes for the first time Tuesday at a practice for the Lakers’ Las Vegas summer league team. The No. 2 overall pick in last month’s draft then joined fellow Lakers selection Ivica Zubac in a tour of the complex, posing in front of owner Jeanie Buss’ collection of championship trophies before receiving their new gold jerseys – No. 14 for Ingram, No. 40 for Zubac.

The Lakers believe Ingram is a centerpiece of their next great roster. They’re starting nearly from the bottom after the worst season in team history and the retirement of Bryant, who won five titles and became the NBA’s third-leading scorer during his 20-year career.

Ingram could be two decades away from approaching those achievements, but the smooth-shooting forward hasn’t flinched under the weight of comparisons to Bryant – or to Kevin Durant, another lanky shooter who transformed a struggling team. Just over a year after graduating from high school in tiny Kinston, North Carolina, Ingram is shouldering those burdens with apparent ease.

”He never talked about (being compared to Durant),” said Ingram’s father, Donald. ”He definitely has similar tools on the court, but he’s never showed that he feels the pressure. Even here, with people talking about filling Kobe’s shoes, he’s just going to pave his own way. He’s going to be Brandon.”

Ingram is already determined to build chemistry with Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and fellow No. 2 pick D’Angelo Russell, the Lakers’ point guard. His primary goal is to become a more vocal player after Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski impressed the importance of communication on him last season.

”I was ready for this first practice,” Ingram said. ”Just getting on the floor with those guys, and just seeing how he (Russell) wants to play, and of course how the coach wants to play. Connecting with those guys is really important to see what they want to do to be a contender in this league.”

Ingram’s cool is even impressing Zubac, the 7-foot Bosnian teenager chosen with the 32nd overall pick. Zubac grew up an enormous Lakers fan, but he wouldn’t want Bryant’s locker.

”He can have that pressure,” Zubac said, drawing a laugh from his new teammate.

Ingram will have plenty of support in his rookie season, starting with Luke Walton and the Lakers’ new coaching staff. Los Angeles also signed fellow Duke product Luol Deng as a free agent, and Ingram intends to stick close to his fellow 6-foot-9 Blue Devil.

He’ll also have support from family and friends, including Jerry Stackhouse, his longtime mentor and fellow Kinston native.

Donald Ingram is a veteran basketball referee who has also run a recreation center back home in Kinston. He raised his sons with a healthy respect for the game’s rules and fundamentals, putting Brandon into ball-handling drills as a child. Donald was determined to prevent his sons from falling into what he calls ”the AND1” mentality of flashy, highlight-driven play.

”He’s always been a player that listened, even when the adults were playing,” Donald Ingram said. ”That’s part of being coachable, his ability to listen. He’s a kid that’s willing to learn.”

Ingram’s 25-year-old brother, Bo, played at the University of Texas before getting drafted by the D-League and playing professionally in Mexico. Bo will be out on the West Coast with Brandon after summer league, looking for a place to live before getting to work in September.

”We’re from the East Coast, and he’ll be 19 years old,” Donald Ingram said. ”We want to make sure he has somebody with him, and he’s living as close to the facility as possible. It’s a big concern, and that, to me, is more of a concern than his ability to make an impact with the Lakers.”

Angels lefty C.J. Wilson to have shoulder surgery

Jul 5, 2016 131

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Los Angeles Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson will have shoulder surgery to address fraying of the labrum and rotator cuff.

The team announced the news during a game Tuesday night at Tampa Bay. Surgery is tentatively scheduled for next week in Los Angeles with Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said before the game that Wilson was ”leaning” toward having season-ending surgery after getting a second opinion Thursday.

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”As of right now, he hasn’t been able to get over the hump,” Scioscia said.

Wilson has not pitched in a game since having surgery last August to remove bone spurs from his left elbow. He has a career record of 94-70, including 51-35 with Los Angeles.

The Angels are also without two other starters, Garrett Richards and Andrew Heaney, who are both out with elbow injuries.

Brendon de Jonge out of Olympics to try to keep his card

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Brendon de Jonge of Zimbabwe has withdrawn from the Olympics because he doesn’t want to miss two tournaments as he tries to keep his PGA Tour card.

De Jonge is 12th player to pull out of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where golf makes its return after a 112-year absence. He is the first player to specifically cite the schedule as it relates to keeping his full playing privileges next year.

Only the top 125 reach the FedEx Cup playoffs and keep full status. De Jonge is at No. 160. To play in the Olympics would mean to skip the Travelers Championship and John Deere Classic. He calls it a business decision that was best for his family.

The withdrawal means Zimbabwe will not have a golfer in Rio.

Cardinals backup catcher Pena to go through reserve training

Jul 5, 2016 81

ST. LOUIS (AP) St. Louis Cardinals backup catcher Brayan Pena is going to undergo training in the U.S. Army Reserve in the offseason.

The 34-year-old Pena defected to the United States from Cuba as a teenager and made the majors in 2005. He made the announcement on Twitter , saying he was ”very proud” to get involved.

He won’t enlist in the Army Reserve because it could interfere with his major league career. He has missed much of the season with a knee injury and was in the lineup for his second start of the year Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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Pena played for the Cincinnati Reds in 2014 and 2015 and said he’d had several discussions on the topic with outfielder Jay Bruce.

Pirates' Jung Ho Kang investigated for sexual assault claim

Jul 5, 2016 77

CHICAGO (AP) Chicago police say they’re investigating an allegation of sexual assault against Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang.

In a statement Tuesday, police said a 23-year-old female reported being assaulted by Kang inside a hotel. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the Chicago woman met Kang through a dating app. Kang invited the woman to his hotel room on June 17.

The woman said she blacked out, then drifted in and out of consciousness as he sexually assaulted her.

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The 29-year-old Kang has not been charged. He was not the lineup Tuesday night against the St. Louis Cardinals

Pirates team president Frank Coonelly said in a statement the team was taking the allegation ”extremely seriously” and was cooperating with Major League Baseball. Coonelly declined further comment.

Yankees recall LHP Shreve from minors

Jul 5, 2016 68

CHICAGO (AP) The New York Yankees have recalled left-hander Chasen Shreve from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre and optioned right-hander Luis Cessa to their top farm club.

The Yankees announced the moves before Tuesday night’s game against the White Sox.

Cessa pitched two innings in relief of CC Sabathia on Monday and allowed three runs and five hits. Manager Joe Girardi said he will work as a starter in Triple-A.

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Shreve went 1-1 with a 5.21 ERA in 19 appearances before he went on the disabled list in May with a sprained shoulder joint. He was sent down after he was reinstated from the DL on June 19.

Shreve said he worked on a new slider grip while he was in the minors.

5 Cubs elected to start in All-Star Game

Jul 5, 2016 11

NEW YORK (AP) The Chicago Cubs became the first team since the 1976 Cincinnati Reds’ Big Red Machine to have five players voted as All-Star Game starters when their entire infield earned the honor Tuesday along with centerfielder Dexter Fowler.

First baseman Anthony Rizzo, second baseman Ben Zobrist, shortstop Addison Russell and third baseman Kris Bryant also were elected. The only other team to start four infielders was the 1963 St. Louis Cardinals.

The July 12 game at San Diego’s Petco Park will feature 11 first-time starters, the most since 2005. In a sign of the sport’s generational change, 12 of the 17 elected starters are 26 or younger.

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Boston has three-first time starters and four overall. Designated hitter David Ortiz, who is retiring at the end of the season, became a 10-time All-Star and is joined by shortstop Xander Bogaerts and outfielders Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts.