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Wisconsin Football Coach Bielema Leaves for Arkansas

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University of Wisconsin-Madison head football coach Bret Bielema has accepted an offer from the University of Arkansas for the same position, as reported by ESPN and Yahoo! Sports.

Both sources say Arkansas will officially announce the hiring Tuesday.

Bielema, fresh off leading the Badgers to a third consecutive Rose Bowl appearance with their victory over Nebraska this past Saturday, leaves Madison with a career record of 68-24.

He replaced long-time Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez in 2006, who now serves as the athletic director for the school.

Wisconsin has not announced whether Bielema will coach in January's Rose Bowl game against Stanford.

Arkansas expected to be looking for a coach this off-season after hiring John L. Smith on just a 10-month contract. Smith was brought in to replace Bobby Petrino, who was fired during a scandal where he hired his mistress to work in the football department.

Arkansas went 4-8 this season under Smith, after going 21-5 the previous two seasons with Petrino as coach. Bielema will certainly be expected to return the football program back to an SEC conference power.

Ricky Rubio Cleared to Play for Timberwolves

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Stories from ESPN and the Pioneer Press report that Timberwolves star point guard Ricky Rubio has been cleared by doctors to return to practice, putting him one step closer to rejoining the team.

Rubio has been out since last March with a torn ACL he suffered in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Since then, he has been on the slow road to recovery.

Rubio started participating in walk-through portions of practice early last week and coach Rick Adelman said it was clear in those situations that "he has not lost his aptitude for the offense and what will be asked of him when he returns", says ESPN.

His return is much anticipated not only because of the bolt of energy he will inject to the Timberwolves, but also because Minnesota has had a myriad of injury problems this year.

All-star forward Kevin Love just returned from a hand injury last week. Guards Chase Budinger and Brandon Roy are out indefinitely.

The Timberwolves had high expectations heading into the season; the return of their start Spaniard may be enough to get them back on track.

Both reports say that is unclear which game will mark Rubio's offical return, but speculation is that he may return for the Dec. 4 game against Milwaukee.

Texas A&M Football Player Missing

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According to reports by ESPN and the USA Today, Texas A&M football player Thomas Johnson is missing.

Both stories say that Johnson was last seen since he left his College Station residence at approximately 6 p.m. Monday, according to the university's police department.

A school spokesman said that no one in the football program has seen Johnson since late Saturday night, after the team's upset victory against Alabama. The football team was given Sunday off.

According to a statement from the Texas A&M Police Department, Johnson may have left the university to spend time in the Dallas area, where he attended high school, said the USA Today.

A statement made by Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin:

"All of us are obviously very concerned about the safety and well-being of Thomas Johnson, who has been missing since Monday evening. Authorities are working closely with his family, friends and law enforcement agencies to help locate him. Thomas is a tremendous student-athlete, greatly admired by his fellow teammates and all of us on the coaching staff. If anyone has any current information about him or knows of his whereabouts, please contact his family or law enforcement authorities immediately. We pray for his quick and safe return."

ESPN and the Los Angeles Times reported Friday that the Los Angeles Lakers have fired their head coach Mike Brown after just five games.

The Laker front office made this decision based on what owner Jerry Buss said was "a mishandling of the offense, mainly." The Lakers have begun the season with a 1-4 record, their worst start since 1993.

Los Angeles named one of Brown's assistants, Bernie Bickerstaff, as the interim head coach. Bickerstaff has never been a head coach in the NBA before.

According to the LA Times, this is believed to be the earliest firing of a head coach in team history.

Mike Brown was previously the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2005-2010, where he and star player Lebron James led Cleveland to the NBA Finals in 2007. Brown also assisted for Rick Carlisle in Indiana and Gregg Popovich in San Antonio before his days as head coach in Cleveland. He most recently was an NBA analyst for ESPN.

ESPN says the Lakers are undergoing a search for a permanent replacement and the leading candidates are Jerry Sloan, Nate McMillan, Mark D'Antoni and former Lakers and Bulls head coach Phil Jackson. Jackson has won 11 championships in his career as a head coach.

Los Angeles had championship expectations this season with the arrivals of star center Dwight Howard and point guard Steve Nash to go along with Laker stalwarts Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

Bickerstaff will coach his first game tonight against the Golden State Warriors.

Former Penn State President Charged in Sandusky Scandal

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ESPN and NBC News report that former Penn State president Graham Spanier was charged Thursday with perjury, obstruction of justice, and endangering the welfare of children by Pennsylvania state prosecutors.

The prosecutors cited Spanier for a "conspiracy of silence," as said in both reports.

During his time as president of the university, Spanier hushed complaints against former Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who has been convicted for child molestation.

Prosecutors also brought charges against two other former Penn State officials, Gary Schultz and Tim Curley. Each was already charged with lying to the federal grand jury that investigated Sandusky.

All three men have publicly insisted on their innocence, said each report.

According to both ESPN and NBC News, Spanier's lawyer pointed to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett for the new charges brought against the three men, saying that he is diverting attention from the three-year investigation that began under his watch as attorney general.

Corbett failed to bring charges against Sandusky in 2009.

These charges come nearly a year since Jerry Sandusky was arrested for repeatedly molesting young boys dating back to 1998.

According to stories from ESPN and CBS Sports yesterday, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi made a call to the Yankee Stadium press box during a game to spare the embarrassment of his third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

Both reports say that the call happened during the third playoff game of the American League Division Series, when New York was playing the Baltimore Orioles on October 12.

Girardi reportedly called the public address announcer to tell him not to announce Rodriguez's name when the manager decided to replace him in the game with veteran Eric Chavez. Normally, the announcer would say the substitute player's name as well as the player he replaces.

According to CBS and Yankees general manger Brian Cashman, Girardi wanted to shield his struggling star from further embarrassment, who hit 3-for-25 during the 2012 playoffs.

Despite being pinch-hit for and benched by Girardi throughout the playoffs, Rodriguez spoke very positively of his manager. CBS said that Rodriguez and Girardi have typically a close relationship, and Cashman said that the call to the press box showed just how much the manger cares for the third baseman's feelings.

The Yankees' playoff run ended last week when they were eliminated by the American League champion Detroit Tigers.

Victims' Families Invited to Watch 9/11 Hearings

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The families of those killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 have been invited to military installations in four states to watch pretrial hearings in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for five men charged with assisting and taking part in the attacks, according to The Pioneer Press.

The hearings, which begin Monday, are typically closed to public viewing, but relatives of victims who registered in advance can watch via closed-circuit television cables in forts in New York, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

Of those on-trial in the hearings includes the "self-proclaimed mastermind of the attacks," Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

In May, earlier rounds of hearings took place and was transmitted to viewing locations for relatives of victims and survivors. The proceedings were a frustration to many, as the suspects refused to cooperate with the court and often knelt in prayer, interrupting the proceedings.

One of those interviewed in the article, Jim Riches - whose firefighter son died at the World Trade Center, expressed that he wished the trials could be broadcast for the whole world to see so that "everyone could see what these guys are like."

Only a few dozen people viewed the initial trials in May. A large crowd is not expected for the proceedings Monday either.

St. Paul Sued Over New Ballpark

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A lawsuit was filed against St. Paul officials Friday alleging the city erred in how it went about awarding the construction contract for the new Saints baseball stadium in Lowerton, according to The Star Tribune.

The city was sued by The Taxpayers League of Minnesota, as well as Greg Copeland, chairman of the St. Paul GOP City Committee. They say the city violated city ordinances and state statutes by awarding the designing and building contract of the stadium to Ryan Companies of Minneapolis without a competitive bidding process.

The suit argues that the contract is therefore illegal due to this and that work on the ballpark project should come to a halt until the contract can be rebid with a competitive bidding process.

According to plaintiff spokesman Dean Thomson, the suit hopes to ensure "that we have competition so that our tax dollars are spent prudently." He added that since it is still early in the building process that the project can be restarted without much harm done.

In September, St. Paul was awarded $25 million in grant money from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to build the new stadium for the Saints. The city and team will pay the remainder of the project.

The day the announcement of the grant for the project, Ryan Companies was awarded the design-and-build contract. St. Paul attorneys are still reviewing the lawsuit and will comment later in the week.

The ballpark promises at least 248 jobs and bring $10 million a year to the city of St. Paul. It is scheduled to be ready for use in 2015.

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