1/6/13 Sports Briefs: Football sex charges in Ohio prompt website

JULIE CARR SMYTH Associated Press Published:

COLUMBUS -- Authorities investigating rape accusations against two high school football players in eastern Ohio launched a website Saturday as interest in the case balloons, an extraordinary step designed to combat the misperception "that the football team runs the city," the city manager said.

Two 16-year-old boys are set for trial next month in juvenile court in Steubenville, a town of about 18,000, on charges that they raped a 16-year-old girl in August. Their attorneys have denied the charges in court.

Public interest in the case increased with circulation online this week of an unverified video, more than 12 minutes long, that purportedly shows another young man joking about the accuser. The video apparently was released by hackers who allege more people were involved and should be held accountable.

One aim of the website, City Manager Cathy Davison said, is to combat a common perception that Steubenville High School -- home of the "Big Red" sports program -- controls politics in a small city where special prosecutors and a visiting judge are handling the case because local authorities knew people involved with the football team.

"When people are saying that our police department did not follow procedure, that the football team runs the city, that is not the case," Davison said. "They went by the book. Everything was handled in an above-board fashion to make sure that the case can benefit from the fullest extent of the law."

• Football

Henry shines: Alabama running back commit Derrick Henry ran for 53 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries in the U.S. Army All-America Bowl on Saturday, showcasing the form that made him a key recruit for the Crimson Tide.

Henry also scored on a 2-point conversion to help the East team beat the West 15-8.

Wide receiver James Quick announced that he'd stay in his hometown and play for Louisville, which is fresh off a Sugar Bowl win over Florida. Quick scored on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Jeremy Johnson for the East.

The West went ahead 8-7 with just less than seven minutes to go when Max Browne, a Washington state high-school passing record-holder from Sammamish, Wash., completed a 16-yard TD pass to Derrick Griffin.

Jamison enters draft: Rutgers running back Jawan Jamison has elected to forego his final two years of eligibility and enter the NFL draft.

Jamison is the sixth player since 2008 to leave the school early for the draft. Cornerback Logan Ryan also decided to leave school recently.

Jamison rushed for 1,075 yards this season, averaging 4.2 yards per carry. The Starke, Fla., native scored four touchdowns and also caught 28 passes for 323 yards.

For his career, Jamison rushed for 1,972 yards and 13 touchdowns in 25 games.

Rutgers coach Kyle Flood says Jamison "has tremendous vision, great balance and has the gift to make people miss in the open field."

• Basketball

Irish stun Huskies: Kayla McBride scored 21 points and Skylar Diggins added 19 to help No. 5 Notre Dame upset top-ranked Connecticut 73-72 on Saturday in the Big East conference opener for both teams.

Trailing 73-72 with 6 seconds left, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis missed a 3-pointer from the corner and the Irish (12-1, 1-0 Big East) got the ensuing rebound and ran out the clock as Diggins threw the ball into the air at the final buzzer.

The Irish have had the Huskies' number the past few years, winning five of the past six meetings, including two in the Final Four the past two seasons.

Mosqueda-Lewis and Stefanie Dolson each scored 17 points to lead UConn (12-1, 0-1).

Cavs fall: James Harden scored 29 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter, and the Houston Rockets defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 112-104 on Saturday night.

Jeremy Lin added 20 points for Houston, which has won 11 of its last 14.

Kyrie Irving led Cleveland with 30 points, including 11 in the final period, but the Cavaliers fell short of winning two in a row for the second time this season.

• Elsewhere

Still planning: The seven Catholic schools that have decided to leave the Big East and form their own league continued to plot the future, retaining Proskauer Rose LLP and Pilson Communications, Inc., to aid in their defection.

St. John's, Georgetown, Marquette, DePaul, Seton Hall, Providence and Villanova all decided last month to set off on their own as the Big East continues to reshape itself.

The university presidents met in New York to discuss the future of the new league. They vow to "Honor the history and tradition on which the Big East was established."

Close to a deal: A person familiar with the situation says the Texas Rangers are close to a deal with Lance Berkman to be their designated hitter.

Berkman's deal is pending a physical, according to a person who spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press on Saturday because the contract wasn't finalized.

Multiple reports, all citing unidentified sources, said it would be a one-year deal worth at least $10 million. The deal could also include a vesting option for 2014.

Two sides meet: A federal mediator has finally been able to get the NHL and the players' association back together Saturday for their first face-to-face meeting since talks broke down two days earlier.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly went to union headquarters for what a players' association spokesman called a "small group meeting" with the sides and mediator Scot Beckenbaugh.

Beckenbaugh had already held separate meetings with the union and league Saturday before bringing them together.

Postponed again: For those who think the PGA Tour season never ends, here's a new twist: This one can't get started.

For the second straight day, the Tournament of Champions was postponed Saturday because of gusts topping 40 mph that made it impossible to play.

The tournament was supposed to begin Friday. The plan is to play 36 holes Sunday and get in 54 holes by Monday afternoon, making it likely that the Tournament of Champions will be decided over 54 holes.

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