Staff and wire report
All-MAC academic trio for Kent State program
CLEVELAND — For the third straight season, three Kent State student-athletes were named to the Academic All-Mid-American Conference Football Team, as announced by the conference office Thursday. Senior quarterback Spencer Keith (Little Rock, Ark.) earned academic all-conference accolades for the third straight year and was joined by senior defensive end Jake Dooley (Mason, Ohio) and sophomore running back Anthony Meray (Spanaway, Wash.). Five other Golden Flashes earned Honorable Mention.
Keith carries a 3.74 GPA as a pre-med biology major and a member of Kent State’s Honors College. Keith started all 14 games at quarterback and completed 183 passes for 2,021 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also ran for five touchdowns and caught a touchdown pass. In the spring, Keith earned the Matt Ramser Award for exemplifying courage, dedication, attitude and commitment. He is Kent State’s career leader in completions (732) and passing yards (8,062) and ranks second in career touchdown passes (45).
Dooley maintains a 3.32 GPA as a business management major. This past season, Dooley was named to All-MAC Third Team. He started 13 games at defensive end and led Kent State with 7.0 sacks, which ranked sixth in the MAC. Dooley also ranked second on team and 15th in MAC in tackles for loss (9.0). He had 45 total tackles, recovered a fumble and had four quarterback hurries.
Meray carries a 3.89 GPA as an exercise specialist major. He played in eight games at running back. Meray had nine rushing attempts and caught one pass.
The team was voted on by faculty athletic representatives at MAC institutions. A total of 38 student-athletes from 13 football programs were named to the 2012 team. In order to be eligible for the Academic All-MAC team, a student-athlete must maintain at least a 3.20 grade point average and participate in more than 50 percent of the team’s games that year. First-year students and junior college transfers in their first year at a school are not eligible.
Earning Honorable Mention for the Golden Flashes were: sophomore receiver Chris Humphrey, redshirt freshman long snapper Chad Bushley, junior offensive lineman Max Plunkett and Stow High School products sophomore defensive lineman Nate Vance and sophomore linebacker Nick Conrad.
NFL, union clash once more on concussions
NEW ORLEANS — So much for labor peace in the NFL.
Less than 18 months after the league and players ended a lockout by signing a 10-year collective bargaining agreement, NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith and union president Domonique Foxworth used a Super Bowl news conference to lay out a series of complaints about safety issues Thursday.
Smith began by threatening to file a grievance if the NFL refuses to institute a system to verify the credentials of all medical personnel on the 32 teams. He mentioned three amendments the NFLPA wants to make to the new CBA, including the appointment of “a neutral chief safety officer who can hear appeals about acceptable levels of medical care.”
He called the NFL’s lockout of its officials at the start of this season “one of the most deliberate disregards of player safety that I think has occurred in the National Football League since our inception.”
All in all, it sent a clear message that the union and owners have significant differences about how to improve players’ health and safety.
Even when the sides do agree, they can’t seem to agree.
The union has been pressing the NFL to put independent neurological consultants on sidelines during games to help diagnose and treat concussions, something league general counsel Jeff Pash announced at a news conference earlier Thursday he expects to begin next season.
But Smith would only acknowledge having “heard that they have relented, at least in some respect, to have sideline concussion experts. We have not seen the proposal.”
Pash did say that “details need to be worked through” with the NFLPA.
Former NFL defensive back jailed for taxes
CAMDEN, N.J. — A former NFL defensive back was sentenced Thursday to seven months in prison for failing to file a federal income tax return for 2005, when he was a member of the New York Giants.
William James, formerly William J. Peterson, had already spent four months in a federal detention center so he will only need to serve three more months for failing to pay taxes on $5.5 million in income, a federal judge said at his sentencing. The judge also ordered James to file back returns and pay back taxes and penalties totaling $470,000.
James, 33, was a third-round draft pick of the Giants in 2001. He spent his first five seasons in New York and also played for the Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers.
James had been accused of not filing returns from 2005 to 2009. He pleaded guilty to a single count in May.
James, of Brownsville, Pa., was also ordered to serve one year of probation following his release, which will include mental health treatment. His attorney said a medical report found James suffered from post-concussion syndrome that left him mentally impaired, affecting both his memory and behavior.
U.S. District Judge Jerome Simandle said that while the post-concussion syndrome was not an excuse for the crime, it is “something that will probably be with Mr. James for a long time.”
SWATS owner fires back: “not some quack”
FULTONDALE, Ala. — The owners of the company that stirred up the Super Bowl controversy with deer antler spray and other performance-enhancing products don’t like being labeled snake oil salesmen.
Co-owner Christopher Key says he’s “not some quack,” although the director of Auburn University’s medical clinic says a clinician called Key “the P.T. Barnum of the present time.”
The phones were buzzing Thursday at the modest gym/headquarters of Sports With Alternatives to Steroids after a Sports Illustrated article linked the company to college and pro athletes — including Baltimore’s Ray Lewis.
A poster of Lewis hangs on the wall but Key and his partner Mitch Ross declined to discuss Lewis. Ross is planning a news conference in New Orleans.
Beckham signs deal with Paris Saint-Germain
PARIS — David Beckham has joined Paris Saint-Germain, and will be donating his salary to a children’s charity.
The 37-year-old former England captain was presented at a news conference Thursday at the French club’s Parc des Princes stadium. The club said he signed a five-month deal.
PSG President Nasser Al-Khelaifi says “we’re very happy to welcome David Beckham to Paris Saint-Germain. He will be joining for five months until 30 June.”
During that time, Beckham says his salary will go to a Paris children’s charity.
PSG is the latest stop in Beckham’s glamorous career, which has seen him win titles with Manchester United, Real Madrid and the Los Angeles Galaxy. Beckham ended his six-year stint in the U.S. last month.