8:47 am
Thu October 18, 2012

Abbott Sides With East Texas Cheerleaders in Bible Verses Case

A judge is expected to decide today if a group of cheerleaders can use Bible verses at public high school football games.

A Hardin County Judge is expected to rule today on whether to allow a group of high school cheerleaders to continue to display Bible verses at football games.

The Kountze High School cheerleaders are seeking a temporary injunction after Kountze Independent School District officials told the cheerleaders they could no longer use scripture on banners. An atheist group complained about the displays.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says he’ll defend the East Texas cheerleaders.

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8:17 am
Thu October 18, 2012

With Bowl Bid, Houston Dreams of Being 'Super' Once More

Reliant Stadium is in the running to host the Super Bowl in 2017.

The City of Houston has been selected as one of two finalists to host Super Bowl LI in February 2017.

At the NFL’s Fall Meeting, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that San Francisco and South Florida will duke it out for the opportunity to host the NFL’s 50th Super Bowl, Super Bowl L, in 2016. Goodell says the losing city will compete with Houston for the chance to host Super Bowl LI.

NFL owners will vote on the two Super Bowl sites during league meetings in Boston next May.

Houston’s bid is being lead by the Texans, the Greater Houston Convention and Visitor Bureau, the Harris County – Sports Authority and Reliant Park.

Texans president Jamey Rootes says Houston should feel good about their chances to host the Super Bowl in 2017.

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Austin City Limits
4:43 pm
Sat October 13, 2012

What You Need to Know to Get Around this ACL Weekend

Fans crowd a stage at the 2011 Austin City Limits Music Festival.
Sean C. Murphy for KUT News

With 70,000 people making their way there each day, you can expect heavy traffic this weekend as people head down to the Austin City Limits Music Festival

Big delays around ACL host Zilker Park are a given. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Catch the Bus: Roads will also be closed around Republic Square Park at Fifth Street and Guadalupe Street to make room for Capital Metro's free ACL Shuttle at downtown. The shuttle drops off at ACL’s doorstep in Zilker Park.
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1:30 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

AISD Considers Paying More For Coaches

School board members and Superintendent Meria Carstarphen will discuss AISD athletics at their meeting tonight.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The Austin school district could start offering more perks to athletic coaches in hopes of attracting better talent. School board members will hear about a proposal tonight to pay coaches competitive stipends and offer flexible work schedules.

Austin ISD says student athletes do better in school than non-athletes. Their attendance rates are five percent higher. They score almost seven percent higher on math tests. And they are 16 percent more likely to graduate. The relationship between learning and sports is the subject of much scholarly analysis.

That’s part of the justification for increasing how much AISD dedicates to athletics. Currently, the district spends about $10.7 million a year, which amounts to 1.1 percent of AISD’s budget. Almost two out of five high school students play sports. In middle school, it’s closer to three out of five.

Providing stipends to coaches and giving them more flexible work schedules might help attract better talent and make students more likely to play sports, but the head of the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association Rusty Dowling says that’s not the only thing coaches will consider.

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1:18 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

Move Over Longhorns: Ultimate Frisbee On the Rise in Austin

At last year's nationals, players for Doublewide await "the pull" – basically a kickoff – from the other team.

Maybe it’s time to drop the idea that only hippies play Frisbee.

Far afield from the Frisbee golf crowd, Ultimate Frisbee has grown into a collegiate sport, catching the attention of athletic students who aren’t scholarship athletes. And after college, players can  go on to club teams. Doublewide is one of the nation’s best, and it’s based right here in Austin.

Doublewide plays teams from all over the nation. Its traditional rival is Chain Lightning, based in Atlanta, but USA Ultimate (basically the MLB or NFL of Ultimate Frisbee) has recently shifted the region. Now they play in a region that stretches from Colorado all the way into Mexico. The elite of teams from this region will face off this weekend – right here in Austin.

Michael Natenberg is one of Doublewide’s three team captains (Jeff Loskorn and Valley Renshaw are the others.) In college, Natenberg played for the University of Texas, where he learned the game.  

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8:03 am
Thu September 27, 2012

We Have A Ruling: NFL Referees Are Returning To The Field

They'll be welcomed back by fans: Regular NFL refs will be on the job again starting tonight. (2006 file photo.)
Shaun Best Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 6:34 am

The not-so-long, not-so-much of a national nightmare is over.

Regular NFL officials will be on the field starting with tonight's game now that the league and its referees union have reached tentative agreement on a new, eight-year contract.

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10:35 am
Wed September 26, 2012

After Uproar, No Signal NFL Refs Will Be Back Soon

Things haven't been going well for these guys: Some of the NFL's replacement referees, during a Sept. 23 game between the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens.
Kevin Dietsch UPI /Landov

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 1:22 pm

Though the nation's football fans — from President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to the average couch quarterback — are begging the two sides to settle their contract dispute so that regular NFL referees can come back to work, there seems to be no clear reason to think that's going to happen in time for this week's games.

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3:49 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

Wide Gap Remains Between NFL And Refs; League Insists On Respect For Subs

Denver Broncos Coach John Fox yells at field judge Jimmy Buchanan during the Broncos' game against Atlanta Monday. Referring to the game, the NFL insisted that players and coaches give replacement referees, and the game, more respect.
Kevin C. Cox Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 24, 2012 5:44 am

Despite complaints from NFL coaches and players, the league and its locked-out officials are no closer to reaching a deal than they were last week, according to reports. The two sides are separated by "significant and serious economic gaps," an anonymous source tells the AP.

A representative of the NFL Referees Association confirmed that talks had taken place, but he would not go into detail, the AP reports.

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3:49 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

From Special Forces to Special Teams: Iraq Vet Newest Longhorn

Iraq veteran Nate Boyer had his Texas Longhorns debut this weekend.
Boyer photo; stadium photo KUT News

Green Beret Staff Sgt. Nate Boyer fulfilled a long-time dream during last Saturday’s Longhorn football game against New Mexico. Boyer joined the team as a walk-on after his tour with the Special Forces in Iraq. Now he represents the Longhorns’ special teams as a deep snapper.

Boyer is a unique figure on the team. Being ten or so years older than his teammates, he brings a certain sense of maturity and imbues a breath of enthusiasm into the new season.

Having gone to a high school without a football team, Boyer said at today's Mack Brown press conference that his only advantage was his work ethic and his ‘no-regrets’ mentality. “I just felt confident that going through what I’d gone through, I could make the team and help out in any way and at least be a part of it,” Boyer said. 

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1:58 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

Longhorn Network on AT&T U-verse: What We Know Now

UT's first two football games of the season will be broadcast on the Longhorn Network.
KUT News

We’re learning more details about the Longhorn Network’s deal with AT&T U-verse.

Texas U-verse customers with at least the U100 package can watch the network on channel 1609 (channel 609 SD). Outside of Texas, customers will need to have the U-verse U450 package to watch.

ESPN says the agreement will bring the network to more than a million Longhorn fans in Texas and throughout the country. The Longhorn Network has been around for one year but, up until now, has not been widely available.

Officials with ESPN say the deal to bring the Longhorn Network to AT&T U-verse happened early this morning.

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Lance Armstrong
9:04 am
Mon August 13, 2012

What's Next for Lance Armstrong's Injunction Case?

Jurisdiction is at issue in Lance Armstrong's most recent court case, held late last week in Austin.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Lawyers for seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong argued for more than two hours in federal court in Austin Friday afternoon. But in lieu of a decision, Judge Sam Sparks gave both sides a week to submit final claims in the case.

The case should boil down to jurisdiction. Armstrong’s lawyers asked District Judge Sam Sparks for an injunction against the US Anti-Doping Agency, or USADA. The USADA claims that Armstrong was a part of a doping conspiracy that led to Tour de France victories between 1999 and 2005. They want to ban Armstrong from competition for life and take away his titles.

Armstrong has consistently denied doping. His lawyers claim that the International Cycling Union, or UCI, holds jurisdiction in this case. If any body is to charge Armstrong with doping, his attorneys argue, it would have to be the UCI.

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7:44 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Would You Rather Win Silver Or Bronze? (Be Careful What You Wish For)

Who's The Happiest? Researchers studied photos of Olympic medalists to learn who is the happiest. Here, bronze medalist Aliya Mustafina of Russia, gold medalist Gabby Douglas of the U.S., and silver medalist Victoria Komova of Russia pose after the all-around gymnastics final.
Julian Finney Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 8:32 am

Both athletes were U.S. swimmers, both were dripping wet after finishing an Olympics final, and both had just won medals.

The first said, "It's not my normal specialty. ... We went out there and raced tough – and just came up a little short."

The second had a beaming face. He said, "[I] swam my own race. And knew I had a lane, and had an opportunity, and I went for it. It worked out, you know, it's just awesome that I get to go on the podium tonight. Honestly, I'm really proud of myself!"

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3:05 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

London Opens Up, in Danny Boyle's 'Warm-Up Act' For the Summer Olympics

Animals and actors enter the stadium for the British meadow scene prior the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on Friday.
Franck Fife AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 5:33 pm

Every recent opening ceremony of the Olympics went for glitter and glamour, in an escalating war of excess. Ceremony fanatics consider the Beijing opening ceremony the gaudiest of all — and Oscar-winner Danny Boyle (the director of Slumdog Millionaire) had $42 million to try to outdo the Chinese organizers.

Instead, Boyle says, "You can't get bigger than Beijing. So that, in a way, kind of liberated us. We thought, 'Great. Oh good. We'll try and do something different, then.' "

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12:45 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

How the Blind Play Ball: Austin in Beep Baseball World Series

The Austin Blackhawks pose with the Taiwan Homerun.
National Beep Baseball Association

Imagine a baseball diamond.

Now imagine that first and second base are tall, buzzing, blue-foam pillars, and that third base is gone.

Now imagine six fielders and a couple "spotters," who direct fielders toward a beeping ball — because everyone except the spotters, the pitcher and catcher are blind and/or blindfolded.

That’s what a beep baseball game looks like. 

The 2012 National Beep Baseball Association World Series is underway in Ames, Iowa, where several teams of blind and visually impaired players will compete. Representing Austin, the Blackhawks added another win in their fight for the pennant Thursday.  

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3:57 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Penn State Sanctions Charter 'Unprecedented' Ground, Author Says

NCAA President Mark Emmert answers questions about the sanctions against Penn State's football team during a news conference in Indianapolis, Monday, July 23, 2012. The NCAA slammed Penn State with an unprecedented series of penalties in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
Michael Conroy AP

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 3:20 pm

The sanctions slapped on Penn State football in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal charter a new territory in punishment by the NCAA, a sports author said today.

"I think it is unprecedented in terms of taking away wins. That's a huge blow," says Ted Kluck, author of several books on sports, including Game Time: Inside College Football.

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8:20 am
Mon July 23, 2012

Penn State Fined $60M, Banned From Bowls, Wins From 1998 On Vacated

Before its removal from outside the school's football stadium on Sunday, a statue of former football coach Joe Paterno was covered. An independent report concluded he was among top university officials who failed to act when they learned that Jerry Sandusky might be sexually abusing young boys.
John Beale AP

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 4:19 pm

Saying that the punishment is "warranted by the conspiracy of silence" among Penn State University's top leadership that turned a blind eye to former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse of young boys, the NCAA just announced sanctions on the school that include:

-- A $60 million fine. The money will go into an endowment fund to support programs around the nation that assist victims of sexual abuse, NCAA President Mark Emmert said.

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Penn State
2:01 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Report Slams Penn State Leadership for Failures in Sandusky Case

A report says top university officials failed to act in reporting and preventing sexual assaults by Jerry Sandusky.

A scathing report on the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State was released today, indicting authorities at top levels of the college for failure to report Jerry Sandusky’s sexual assault of young boys in the university’s football program.

The report, prepared by Louis Freeh, states the following:

Four of the most powerful people at The Pennsylvania State University—President Graham B. Spanier, Senior Vice President-Finance Gary C. Schultz, Athletic Director Timothy M. Curley and Head Football Coach Joseph V. Paterno—failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade. These men concealed Sandusky's activities from the Board of Trustees, the University community and authorities. They exhibited a striking lack of empathy for Sandusky's victims by failing to inquire as to their safety and well-being, especially by not attempting to determine the identity of the child who Sandusky assaulted in the Lasch Building in 2001.”

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Lance Armstrong
1:28 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Three Former Armstrong Associates Receive Lifetime Bans for Doping Violations

Lance Armstrong, rear left in yellow jersey, rides in the pack flanked by his US Postal Service teammates during the 18th stage of the Tour de France in 2004.
Christophe Ena AP

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 12:48 pm

Two doctors and a trainer affiliated with seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong have received lifetime bans from the sport because they failed to contest allegations that they violated doping bans.

The former members of the U.S. Postal Service Pro-Cycling Team — Dr. Luis Garcia del Moral, cycling team doctor, Dr. Michele Ferrari, cycling team consulting doctor, and Jose "Pepe" Martí, cycling team trainer — were charged by the United States Anti-Doping Agency at the same time they announced charges against Armstrong.

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Lance Armstrong
1:06 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Lance Armstrong Sues To Block U.S. Anti-Doping Hearing

Lance Armstrong competes in the Ironman Panama 70.3. triathlon in Panama City, Panama.
Arnulfo Franco AP

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 5:05 pm

Update at 5:58 p.m. ET. Lawsuit Dismissed:

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Lance Armstrong that sought to stop a USADA hearing into accusations of doping. The AP reports:

"U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruled just hours later. He criticized Armstrong's attorneys for filing an 80-page complaint the judge says seems more intended to whip up public opinion for his case than focus on the legal argument.

"Sparks, however, did not decide on the merits of Armstrong's case and said he can refile his lawsuit."

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5:34 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

BCS Presidents Approve Four-Team College Football Playoff

The Coaches' Trophy is displayed before the BCS National Championship game between the LSU and Alabama in New Orleans. College football will finally have a playoff.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 5:40 pm

The college football champion will be decided by a playoff beginning after the 2014 season.

The AP reports:

"Come 2014, the BCS is dead. A committee of university presidents on Tuesday approved the BCS commissioners' plan for a four-team playoff to start in the 2014 season.

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